Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Manam Mutti Medu - Periyar Tiger Reserve

                      This time it is to Vallakkadavu in the Periyar Tiger Reserve. Myself & Manu started at 3.15 AM from Thiruvananthapuram in our Tavera. Reached Chengannur by 5.30 PM, picked Sinesh from there and were off by 6.30 AM. If Manu or Sinesh is in the team, I tactfully keep away from the wheels as they do it far better than me. We took a less travelled jungly route to Vallakkadavu through Pathanamthitta, Chittar, Seethathode, Angamoozhi, Moozhiyar, Kakki, Aanathode, Kochupampa, Gavi & Pachakanam. Had breakfast from Chittar by around 8 AM and reached Kochandi forest check post near Angamoozhi by around 9AM. Dwellings end and thick forest starts here & we were welcomed by wild fowls & Giant squirrels all around. 




                    Went past picturesque reservoirs of Moozhiyar, Kakki & Aanathode and reached Kochupampa by 12.45 PM. [In fact KSRTC plies a bus from Pathanamthitta to Kumili in this route. Last month I had tried that bus which starts from Pathanamthitta at 12.45 PM and reaches Kumili
(4 km from Thekkadi) by around 7 PM. It leaves Kumili next morning 5.30 AM and willbe back at Pathanamthitta by 11.30AM. For nature lovers its a real feast for just Rs.106] 







                       The only place where you can expect food along this entire stretch of around 75 km through dense forest is the small KSEB canteen at Kochupampa run by Gireesh & his wife, and that too if you have ordered it in advance. We had communications with Gireesh the day earlier and he greeted us with meals & chicken curry which was truly a tongues’ delight. Journey after meals was through another place of tourist attraction - Gavi. Kerala Forest Development Corporation provides trekking and accomodation at Green Mansion, Gavi. Finally we were at Vallakkadavu forest range office at 3.00 PM. After the formalities we checked into our jungle camp which was a very basic tent by the side of Periyar which can just accomodate two. 

                        We started our trek to Manam Mutti Medu by around 4.30 PM accompanied by armed guard Sudhakaran & Watcher Balan. The very start was promising with the sighting of a leopard which, unaware of unexpected visitors, was having a lazy lay over a Junta. Our whispers in excitement were enough to disturb him that he quickly pulled back and disappeared. We could manage only a single snap as it took time for us to realize where we were. 



                     We continued with the climb & reached the top by 6.30 PM. The trek path is so steep that we had to have many breaks to bring back our hearts to their natural frequencies. 










                       Once atop – around 3 km from base – the heavenly beauty around will peel off all the pain of the climb. Folds of meadows lay around with all the wilderness contained. Mullaperiyar dam there lies in the valley like a small pond. 

                    View of Bison & Sambar deer grazing in the adjacent meadows will force you to stay there for ever. But Sudhakaran – not mesmerized at all – forced us to descend. Down the way he revealed that he was praying not to be blessed with the sighting of a bear, which would have really tested him. By then darkness fell & the powerful torches, Sinesh had carried along, proved themselves. We were back at the base camp around 8 PM.

                    After 10 PM we had a drive along Vallakadavu – Pachakanam road in our vehicle and it is to be thankfully remembered that Sudhakaran & Balan did accompany us, even at this hour, with out hesitation. We had sightings of Sambar deer and another rare species, the mouse deer – he wasn’t happy to have a photo session as a bad photographer I am. 


              Back by 12 & hit the floor – not bed – to faint – not to doze.

            Up by 4.30 AM and had another drive along the same route accompanied by Balan – really what a guy he is ; a single call and he left his bed and got into the vehicle not even bothering a face wash. Many of the inhabitants weren’t lucky enough to have an encounter with us except a wild dog. But still drive through the jungle in the early hours was really refreshing. 






                   Got back, had break fast and set out for the trek to Mullaperiyar dam. Not to mention, Balan lead us. As we were warned of Draculas– leeches – along the path we were armed with crosses and we had our trousers well inside our socks. 



                    But unfortunately many of them were determined and we had hard time with them. But Balan – the priest he is – had least care for these creatures and divinely they spared him. It was a long trek – 8 km one way – and we took a good three hours to reach the dam. 

                       As Balan had worked earlier at this place, the officials were his acquaintances and we had easy access to the place. Apart from the natural beauty, it was the historic importance and the influence it may have on the future relations between two neighboring states, that has attracted me. 

                      Got back to the base camp by 4 PM, had lunch and left, tired but recharged.

                            Lemme use this opportunity to express our gratitude to Mr.Sajeevan, Range Officer, Vallakkadavu, who happily extended all possible support to have an ever relishing patch of greenery in us.


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20 comments:

  1. hey that snap of the leapord is awesome. Next time we can try for that bus journey(KSRTC) from pathanamthitta

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  2. Can I post this article on my blog (www.wheredowego.in). Due credit will be provided.

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  3. Your blog is inspiring to those who love travelling,infact on seeing this I made one of my own at www.kamk1234.blogspot.com .Mine is a smaller edition of you's .Thanx...Moideen

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  4. Hai kamk
    Thanx for the compliment

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  5. Great post ..thoroghly enjoyed the Deshi view than a tainted videshi view...keep posting

    Dr Charlie
    Dubai
    www.charlypolyclinic.com

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  6. wonderful journey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  7. I following your blog for some time, photos, narrations, everything is excellent, why can't u publish a book.

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  8. this blog is great... the only blemish I could note is the dressing.. which is not suitable for jungle safaris ... Great work mate...

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  9. WOWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!! Its amazing man........ You have paid very much effort in detailing the blog!! I just went through the pictures & I'll read fully taking good time.... Also,, I thing it is not possible to explore through the forest without the help of some forest officers. How can we get that dear brother??

    Aju Mohan (ajufsd@gmail.com)

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  10. A great tour diary.
    I am also interested in going to Gavi this week. I have some doubts regarding entry into gavi. Will the entry pass available to all? How much time does it take to hang around Gavi ?

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  11. Hi
    Thanks for your beautiful article. I have some more doubts..
    How did you plan the trekking at Manam Muttimedu ? Did the KFDC arrange that ? Or whom should we contact to do that trekking ?? How much about the cost ?
    Thanks !!

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  12. Hi friend
    Heard that entry through Aangamoozhi, near Pathanamthitta is restricted. But Gavi is acessible from Vandiperiyar side, near Kumili. KFDC arranges treks and stay. For details visit www.keralafdc.org/eco-tourism.asp

    Another cheaper option is to stay at KSEB guest house, Kochupampa, near Gavi and explore the places. Two days will be fine.
    Refer my recent post on Kochupampa, for details.

    Manam mutti medu trek was arranged by a friend in the forest dept. But I think they permit the same for a cost. Contact numbers and details can be had at www.periyartigerreserve.org

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  13. hi shin sir,can u pls tell how uch was the cost u paid at the truking to vallakadavu to mullaperiyar dam to the forest dept.?bcz i am also plan 4 the trip but am an ordinary class member .so u pls exactly tell the money details that i want 2 arrange it 4...wil u also tell the expense at atirapilli?

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  14. Friend:Actually I haven't spent any thing for this trip as it was arranged by a friend in the dept. The PTR authorities have a full fledged web site from where you can have all details about the trails arranged by them. Try this link
    www.periyartigerreserve.org/Periyar/index.htm

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  15. Thanks.... for sharing your excellent journey...

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  16. I am planning a trip to gavi later this week. Is it possible to drive there in a swift dzire? Are the roads manageable if we drive slowly? Thanks in advance Shinu

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    Replies
    1. Sandeep : I have done that stretch even in an Alto. The track is not that good at places. And its not that bad too..

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