Monday, July 4, 2011

Courtallam in Canada

I am from south India and love bathing in waterfalls. Several waterfalls in the southern region have mythical status and in fact are “punya theethams” for many of the temples in South India. Pananasam, Vaanatheertham, Thiruparappu and Courtallam are known for its healing powers as the water flows through fields of wild medicinal herbs before tumbling over the rocks. In-fact Courtallam has a high season, where fans and pilgrims alike travel in chartered buses over 500 kilometres to experience the refreshing waters of the waterfalls.

Born raised in South India, water and waterfalls have always been a source of enjoyment and fun growing up. This part of my Indian experience was greatly missed in the last 13 years I have been in USA and Canada. Every summer, I drove hours to find a waterfall, fit for a soak. But most of them are barely a waterfall or they are majestic like the Niagara. The ones that bear some hope have signs preventing the visitors to go anywhere near the water, thanks to the liability lawsuits of North America.

When I had almost given up, I discovered Webster Falls, a nice little cascade in the Hamilton region, some 52 miles North of Niagara falls. I was pleasantly surprised that adults were allowed to take responsibilities for their actions and the result was a waterfall with access all the way to the cascades and the downstream pools. Webster falls is administered by the Hamilton Conservation Authority. This is a popular summer watering hole for the locals especially the people of Indian origin from Mississauga. It felt like India, just a lot cleaner, no pick-pockets and nicer people. I am sure this little waterfall will keep me drawing to it again and again.

Webster Falls is part of Spencer george conservation area. It is a very popular attraction and the parking lots would be full early on warm summer days. There is a parking and entery fee of $8 per vehicle. A nature trail leads to Dundas peak, which provides stunning views of Hamilton. The park is in a residential area and there are no gas stations or restaurents in the vicinity. If you would like a sandwich for a picnic and your hike, there are a few stores about 5kms away on King St E.(Address for GPS 38 York Road, Dundas, ON ).

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