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Published: September 2nd 2011
Excitement was building...it is time about to get ready for the gangs second trip to Kerala...Trekking at periyar...Indian Niagara...Summer heat…Chai breaks…non -stop gossip and jalla songs…ohh yeah…also …..DJ wedding.
We have been eagerly waiting for this day...summer setting in...India upbeat with the world cup win..:-)...it was a perfect time to take a pre summer break,before month of May can create a mayhem in your life.
Morning: for the first time in Babo Karth couple's history we had slept at least for a few hrs before the travel. Got up and had Indian staple food of Masala Maggi and waited for the Cab to arrive. Our home was the starting point…
8:00 am…we were out to pick up Deepa at her place and dashed to the airport. It was only 9:30 am when we reached the airport…we had reserved 1 hr for the nice breakfast (for a change) you get in Hyderabad airport…we had a nice idly sambhar breakfast. A good breakfast is a must to open you holiday innings with a smile :-)
After an hr of sooper shaky n the scariest landing we have ever been through (esp. In these times when u keep hearing about pilots buying out fake licenses)…we landed in Cochin. As this was our second trip to Kerala, we checked with our local guide (none other than Mr. Lijo) n realized that the cabs from airport are obnoxiously expensive)
A few checks in “just dial” of Cochin and after a few frantic calls we were on the verge of giving up….when lady luck struck…we managed to settle a deal with a local cab operator for a decent price for next 3 days…..
Post a comprehensive lunch of famous malabar parotta we were all set for our 5 hr drive across Kerela's narrow state high ways to Thekady. The drive was surprisingly not sleepy or boring as we were continuously treated with enthralling sights of greenery. I just realized that lush greenery keeps u fresh n does let u falls asleep. A few stops to click the streams flowing or the green valley made our day.
Finally reached the destination "home-stay". These home-stays are the latest treat for Indian travelers. These home-stays have mushroomed everywhere. First of all u get good home cooked food and hospitality and then u are safe from a lodge kinda rules. But it is always worth to do a detailed check before u can book the home-stay.
Next day we had to get ready to enter the Periyar wild life sanctuary. We were out by 6 as the sanctuary opens by 6:30. Already there was huge rush to enter the place. We were lucky enough to run inside and get a berth in the 7:30 boating. We felt Thekady boat trip was almost the most scenic view. This beautiful lake in the backdrop of lush evergreen forest made it one of its kinds. Then after a scrumptious breakfast...we ran off to a forest trek. Initially there were few hiccups but overall it was exhilarating.
The western ghats is an enigma for any nature lover. I have
read in school geography (btw we hardly get to read on the wide variety n expanse of our own country :-() that western ghats has the largest variety of flora and fauna (used to come in fill in the blanks"). What it ideally means is that there are more no. of species per sq m than most of the places. Most populated with living organisms - the tropical climate (conducive temperature and lots of rain fall) - the right conditions for life to evolve.
I believe that is true with human population too...this tropic - temperate weather belt around has the bulk of the population. This is what I call the “magic of tropic” theory. Hence there is nature against us when it comes to population control - government's hapless population control policies have one more hurdle to clear.
The forest trek was a out of the world thingy...we had a ranger accompanied who was speaking with a slight (light-ga) US accent. He took us through a patch of the forest which was semi evergreen forest.
He seemed to know everything about the forest. That’s the beauty of having a local as your guide. Our guide was a part of the tribal clan which once used to dwell in this periyar forest. Once this became a protected area, there was a huge tribal settlement taken up where the tribals were provided alternate home settlements, good education and job opportunities…though sounds utopian…this whole process can go awry if not implemented properly by the Govt. Not a new thing in India where we displace thousands of indigenous people from their forests in the lust for minerals, real estate land or metals…
We started off crossing the flowing Periyar river and proceeded for our precautionary pit stop. We were already wearing protective socks to avoid leeches on top of this he sprinkled tobacco dust all over to avoid the slimy creepy parasites. In the forest which was so thick with very minimal sunlight. It was peak noon with full sun overhead but the forest walk was a disaster…. all our precaution bulbed (went down the drain) after 10 min of forest walk. Our shoes were covered with blood sucking
leeches trying next to climb all over our shoes and socks in search of blood and flesh. We aborted the walk and ran back to the sun where the leeches can dry and fall out.
Post a rigorous (or not so!) forest walk we completed the walk and and retreated back to our home stay to take a small siesta. Post which we went to a show of Kalari – Kerela’s own martial arts. This Kalari, varama kalai have been kept secret for ages, only in recent times, this form of martial art and self defence has been taught in a more organized and commercial manner. If at all, Indians had taught these original martial arts…they would have been very popular…who knows…Rajnikanth would have acted in “Enter the Tiger”…and we could have had animation…”Kalari Haathi”…instead of Kungu-fu Panda…
One cool discovery in this trip was a nice breakfast place in Thekady…it is called “Ambadi”…we ate there almost every day…including a jumbo brunch on the day we were leaving the place…
We left Thekady with a heavy
heart…but more excitement on the way, as we were heading to DJ’s wedding (the actual reason why we came to Kerala in the first place!)…
The girls in Mallu dress and Harsha with his coat on…and sooper pics by Vivek…this Kerala trip finally came to an awesome end…
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