In search of the mysterious Tui Kutumu Falls
The author and his team of travellers planned to visit some of the lesser known, yet majestic, waterfalls in Bandarban, including the Tui Kutumu, known for its roaring water
In this part of the Chattogram Hill Tracts, nightfalls are quick. Before you know it, the sun goes down and darkness engulfs everything. The only signs of life are a few dim lights scattered around the villages.
Although we were exhausted after our day long trek, we stayed up till late listening to karbari (village head) dada's tales of the hills. Naturally, we woke up late the next morning. After a light breakfast, we packed our bags and headed towards the Tui Kutumu Falls.
Seven of us had been staying in Bandarban for a week by then. We were roaming around the hills and exploring the villages. We planned on visiting some of the lesser known, yet absolutely beautiful, waterfalls in Bandarban such as Sendavo, Chedlang, and Tui Kutumu, on our way back from Sepru Para.
Our first destination was Sendavo and Chedlang Falls, which were quite near Sepru Para. We decided to keep our luggage, etc, at Para for now. John, the karbari son, and Shanto, the son-in-law, were our guides. John pointed out a mulberry tree nearby and we enjoyed some delicious ripe fruits. We were quite surprised to find these 'foreign' fruits in the hills.
There were dense bamboo bushes on both sides of our road, but the road itself was quite wide, making it easy for us to walk. Once bears roamed this area, but now they live hidden deep into the forest and are seldom seen.
After half an hour, we reached a jhiri path (a trail along a stream), which eventually led us to Sendavo Falls. The clear water was worth diving into and some of our team members took on the risk. We simply stayed behind and took pictures, not willing to take part in their adventure.
Nearby was the Chedlang Falls, where water was running from high above. After some swimming and frolicking in the water, we walked towards Sepru Para to take our bags.
After bidding farewell from John, Shanto, and the others in the village, we began on our journey to Dhupani Chhora and reached Dhupani Para in an hour.
Navigating the area took a while because we no longer had a local guide and were not familiar with the surroundings.
The road to Dhupani Chhora had no boulders; it was a smooth hilly road. At the end of the slippery jhiri path, it seemed we were lost! But after a while we saw the chhora and it began to drizzle.
Google Maps told us this jhiri ends up in Raikhiyang Lake, which would lead us to Tui Kutumu Falls. After much hurdle we were happy to reach the lake. But little did we know what other dangers lay ahead for us.
We sat on a boulder and took a snack break. All of a sudden, our team member Lalon Bhai discovered a huge leech, swollen to twice its size, on his armpit. We went on many treks in Bandarban but I have to say I never saw a leech sucking so much human blood.
We cut out the parasite with a knife and blood gushed out, drenching the rocks. Opening the wound was another challenge as it was bleeding profusely. We put some bandages on it but it took forever for the bleeding to stop.
We were becoming frustrated because the clock was ticking and the waterfall was nowhere to be seen. Finally, we heard the water roaring and our fatigue seemed to fade away.
Tui Kutumu means 'the roar of water'; we understood why the name was so befitting. Locals used to think some monster was hiding in the falls because of the loud noise it made. Unless you see these hidden waterfalls in Bandarban, you will not believe how beautiful they are.
On our way back, we encountered perhaps one of the most horrific accidents in our lives. Our team leader Palash Bhai got bitten by a venomous green viper snake. Thanks to some of the experienced doctors in our team, and the Almighty, primary treatment was done quickly.
Evening was nearing and we figured going back will be more difficult now. When we reached Dhupani Jhiri, we were in a dilemma whether we would stay in Hatichhora or take another way. After a discussion, we decided that it was too late to experiment with the trek anyway.
We would have enjoyed the trek if the snake biting incident had not happened. The cool breeze did calm us down. In Hatichhora Para, the villagers gave us room to sleep in and quickly prepared some khichuri for dinner. But there are not enough words to describe our fear and tension that night.