Tuesday, August 06, 2013

So near, yet so far ...

Thekkady is a typical Kerala countryside, with rich vegetation, constant rains and damp weather (at least that's how it was when we went a year or so back).

Thekkady’s single biggest attraction is its huge Periyar lake. With 2-tier motorised boats one can go boating which takes about 2 hours per trip. On a lucky day, I’m told that many wild animals can be spotted along the lake’s shores. All that we spotted were a group of bisons (very far away), a couple of wild pigs and a herd of sambhar. We didn't even see an elephant, for which Thekkady is so well known and famous for !! We were informed that during the rainy season, animals do not venture out since there will be enough water for them to drink inside the jungle itself. We were right there ... and yet couldn't see any 'real' wild life :-( !!! 

And, that's exactly why I titled my review 'So near, yet so far ...' !

The Forest Guides and those who manage the forest reserve were not very helpful. When I asked to go for a jungle trek, I was told that when it rains they do not encourage it because of the jungle leeches, millipedes and centipedes that would be swarming the jungle floor. 

In Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary apart from the Jungle Treks, there isn't much else to do. The Tiger Trails etc., are all seasonal and are heavily weather dependent. During monsoon time, the place has almost nothing to offer visitors except the 2-hour boat ride. Spice Tour though available, isn't very exciting. You are taken around to see the various plantations like Tea, Pepper, cardamom, Vanilla, and numerous medicinal herbs and plants.

Thekkady is quite easily accessible from any of the major cities of Tamil Nadu / Kerala, India. The place is well-connected by road and train services. The net also provides visitors all the information that they will require. 

From Thekkady bus stop, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is just 15 minutes and Rs.100 away by auto rickshaw. Once within the sanctuary it is very tranquil and quiet with only the sounds of the jungle - mostly the insects, some birds, monkeys, and the occasional wild animal. The place is very basic, modest and down-market in its offerings as the tourists who seem to visit it !

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