They were still managing to run boat trips despite the lake being half its maximum size.
I set the alarm for 6am as our driver was picking me up at 6:30 to enable time to pick up Sachi and get to Periyar by 7. Only problem with this was that the monkeys like to wake at around 5:30 with dawn. What a noise but what an amazing way to start a day. I moved out on to my balcony and simply sat there whilst my ears were assaulted by first the monkeys and then various insect choruses. Dawn chorus in the UK really is very tame.
Sachi and I had decided to take full advantage of today’s limited time. Aravind are never keen on their guests travelling on the roads in the dark so we are planning to depart around 3:30 at the latest. Our schedule for the day is:
- 7am - 3 hour jungle trek in Periyar
- 10:15 - breakfast at the Taj
- 10:45 - 90 minute Spice plantation tour
- 13:00 - 2 hours Elephant experience
- Head home
Today will be a long day!
Periyar is a beautiful place, it’s 777 square KM set in the Cardamom hills with a huge man made lake at
This chap was checking us out in the jungle - I'm sure I saw him earlier at the hotel!
its centre. The park is home to around 35 tigers, solitary and reclusive animals which visitors are highly unlikely to ever see. There are also leopards, elephants, giant tree squirrels and wild boar. Not to mention over 260 bird varieties. Our trek took us alongside the lake, crossing over the extremely low water via a bamboo bridge which was literally crawling with thousands or small black frogs, and then into the jungle. Our group of about 8 was escorted by 2 guides, one at the front who explained what we were hearing and seeing and one at the back whose role was to make sure we returned with 8 people.
We saw, and heard a huge amount of small wildlife, gorgeous multi coloured birds, giant tree squirrels and many monkeys but unfortunately non of the larger inhabitants. At one point we did catch sight of what we were reliably informed was the back-side of a bison moving into the forest but we were also reliably informed it might have been an elephant or even a shadow!
The trek was great fun, although I am sure we were kept close to the edge of the forest it certainly felt
Sunrise at Periyar
30 minutes in and the sun breaks over the surrounding hills.
like we were miles from civilisation. We also saw a lot of evidence of some of the larger inhabitants, elephant dung in the most unlikely places, areas where we were struggling to fit through. We also saw trees marked by Tiger’s as well as claw marks going up a tree where a leopard had climbed up. I was pretty confident that our chance of meeting a big cat was very low as neither of our wardens were armed and on the deeper multi-day forest treks they always carry guns.
By the time we had been exploring for 3 hours and had returned to the Taj we had certainly built up an huge appetite for breakfast.
30 minutes later, having eaten and then checked out of both hotels we picked up our hotel provided guide and were back in the car heading for the spice plantation. It’s only 11am and it feels like mid afternoon!
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