TODAY -

Exploring the enthralling Tuilha Kol

Laishram Roshan *

Tuilha Kol  at Chalwa Village in T. Waichong sub-division of Kangpokpi district
Tuilha Kol at Chalwa Village in T. Waichong sub-division of Kangpokpi district
Photographs by Oinam Ibomacha and Deepak Oinam



A team of four members from DIPR, Manipur went for a 3- day- expedition at Chalwa Village in T. Waichong sub-division of Kangpokpi district and explored three different waterfalls.

Chalwa village in T. Waichong sub-division of Kangpokpi district is blessed with nature's bounty. The small village with just 250 households and a population of around 1500 is the abode of TuilhaKol waterfalls. TuilhaKol, which literally translates to "waterfall mountain" in Thadou-Kuki dialect ('Tuilha' which means waterfall and 'Kol' which means hill or mountain), is the starting point of the three enchanting waterfalls which are the source of water for the I rang River.

The Directorate of Information and Public Relations (DIPR), Government of Manipur under the initiative and guidance of its Director Shri H. Balkrisna Singh, MCS organised a three-day expedition from 4th to 6th July 2018 with the objective of exploring and documenting TuilhaKol waterfalls.

The expedition team gathered at around 7.30 a.m. at DIPR HQ, Moirangkhom on 4th July 2018. Everyone turned up on time as they were all set to start the journey with gusto.

At 8.30 a.m., the team started the journey towards Chalwa village. The visitors were eager to reach the place as early as possible. However, due to poor conditions and incessant rainfall, they reached Kangpokpi Bazar after a bumpy ride for some two and half hours at 11.30 a.m.

They were welcomed by Thangkholal Haokip, Village Chief and Seikhogin Vaiphei, General Secretary of Chalwa Village along with their team at the Imphal-Tamei (IT) road junction of Kangpokpi Bazar. After exchanging warm greetings, they again started for Chalwa Village.

After a roller-coaster ride of two hours, the team finally reached Chalwa Village at 2.30 p.m. The small village with just 250 households lies some 40 km away from Kangpokpi HQ along the IT road. IT road is the only lifeline of the people residing along the road.

The expedition members were welcomed by the villagers in their Community Hall. On the same day, a felicitation programme for the 10th and 12th passed out students were organised.

At around 4.30 p.m. after partaking lunch, the village chief advised them to call it a day as it would be impossible for them to reach the Tuilha Kol Waterfalls before sunset.

They stayed at a tidy and well maintained village guest house for the night. "We could hardly wait for dawn to see the Waterfalls. I barely slept through the night and woke up many times to check my watch", said Ibomcha Oinam.

Next morning, at around 7:00 am, the team started the trekking. "We could see two waterfalls from the village ground. The sight was extremely mesmerising as we gazed up from the foothill. I can bet the Shangri-la of China wouldn't be more beautiful than this," said Longjam Kishan, the team leader of the expedition.

Tuilha Kol  at Chalwa Village in T. Waichong sub-division of Kangpokpi district
Tuilha Kol at Chalwa Village in T. Waichong sub-division of Kangpokpi district
Photographs by Oinam Ibomacha and Deepak Oinam



With the help of four local guides including the General Secretary, the team started hiking towards the waterfalls. "The first half an hour was extremely exciting as we didn't face much difficulty", said Ibomcha.

Since Tuilha Waterfalls are relatively off-the-radar for travellers, there was no proper route. The expedition team were provided pullovers made of large polythene bags to protect themselves from rain. They had to trek on the extremely steep hillside by holding the grasses for support.

Enroute, they came across different seasonal flowers and migratory birds. "The flora and fauna is totally new to us who came from the Imphal Valley. We have captured them in our cameras for posterity and for documentation purpose", said Ibomcha.

TUILHA KOL WATERFALLS

At around 12 p.m, they finally approached the first waterfall. "It was the first waterfall which we saw from the foothill of Tuilha Kol. And nearby we could see another waterfall. We were extremely gratified and forgot all the hardships faced while reaching them", said Ibomcha.

The guides informed the expedition team of the presence of another waterfall at another side of Tuilha Kol. They promptly went to search the last waterfall. The search led the team to a enchanting place filled with mist a few meters away. They finally readhed the gigantic waterfall.

The team exclaimed with joy on seeing the enchanting scenery. The last waterfall is approximately 400-500 ft. in height. The team photographer, Oinam Deepak Singh said that he could capture only one-third of the waterfall on his camera because of its gigantic size and height.

"To our great delight and surprise, the water was clear even in the rainy season", said Ibomacha.

The magnificently pouring down cascades hit the team members with water sprinkles. Along with the cacophonous sound of the flowing water, the slippery terrain made it difficult for the visiting team to stay for more than half an hour.

RETURN JOURNEY

For the return journey, the team decided to take an alternate route that passes from the edges of the ranges across the river that flows towards Chalwa Village. As the current of the stream was very strong, the team crossed it by holding on the bamboo extended by the guides. The stream at some part reached until the chest of the trekking team. They have to stop at least four times to find a safer path.

The hillside was dotted with 4-5 huts illuminated by a single bulb self-generated by turbines installed near the stream.

'Go to Village' Mission at Chalwa Village After returning to Chalwa Village, the DIPR team interacted with the villagers. They expressed their desire for the pride of Chalwa, Tuilha Kol Waterfalls, to be developed as a tourist destination.

Top of the priority list is a Guest House with basic amenities to lodge visitors, said the General Secretary.

Government schemes and benefits hardly reached the villagers in the past. But this has been rectified by the ongoing outreach programme 'Go to Village' which the villagers termed as a boon to Chalwa Village. "Only through the 'Go to Village' Mission, we came to be aware of schemes such as Saubhagya and CMHT", said the Village Chief.

Tuilha Kol  at Chalwa Village in T. Waichong sub-division of Kangpokpi district
Tuilha Kol at Chalwa Village in T. Waichong sub-division of Kangpokpi district
Photographs by Oinam Ibomacha and Deepak Oinam



Chief Minister's flagship programme Chief Minister-gi Hakshelgi Tengbang (CMHT) is a pioneering health assurance scheme for the poor and disabled people of Manipur. Saubhagya Scheme or Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana, is a central Government scheme to provide last mile electricity connection.

The village faced regular outages of electricity, with most houses receiving only an hour or so of electric light a day till date. "However, we are not in a position to get pre-paid connection installed as most of us are economically backward", said the Village Chief.

The villagers expressed the need for better connectivity with State Capital Imphal as well as the district headquarters and other districts of Manipur. The villagers also said a mobile tower need to be installed as the region suffers from poor mobile connectivity.

The villagers said they need to set up a veterinary centre as their main source of livelihood is animal rearing and a primary healthcare at Chalwa Village.

Though crime rate is extremely low, the villagers said they need to re establish a Police Station. The police posted earlier in the village moved away due to some inexplicable reasons.


* Laishram Roshan wrote this article for DIPR Manipur's "Kangpokpi Today" A special Issue on 15th August 2018
This article was posted on 10 September, 2018 .


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