Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Incredible India - Day 5 - Periyar Reserve and on to Allaphuzza

After our Day 4 adventures we had to wake up really early for us and check-out of the hotel, and be at the check-point in the Periyar Tiger Reserve by 7:30am. Once there we got a packed-lunch and guide (and had to wait ages for some tardy German tourists!) and then set-off on a hike in the Periyar Reserve. It is technically a Tiger Reserve and there are apparently Tigers around - in fact there is evidence of their presence from the scratching on the sides of some of the trees - but it is very rare to see them, since they are shy and mostly nocturnal too I think. We walked about 5km through this beautiful big and diverse forest. Seeing some red flying squirrels and a few monkeys on the way. The forest and trail were so pretty (although I realised it was very similar to our own Newlands Forest in Cape Town which is in some respects even more beautiful and lush. I am not sure if people realise just how much natural splendor we have on our own door steps and if they take full advantage of and appreciate it!?). 

Eventually we arrived at Lake Periyar, where we had a lunch break before donning life jackets and boarding our bamboo rafts. We'd opted for the bamboo raft tour rather than a motorised boat, or longer hiking trail as there are elephants in the reserve and had read that we'd have a better chance of seeing them on the quite and stealthy rafts compared to the disruptive noise of a motor boat or scrunching through the under-growth - not to mention that the boys would have rioted if we'd made them walk even FURTHER ;) - so raft it was. We were pretty glad we'd opted for the early morning excursion because although it was by now 9am it was really hot. A mid-day trip would have been pretty harsh. 

It was really pleasant and tranquil floating down the lake, passing tribal village people doing laundry on the banks and resting under the shade of nearby trees and going about their business, Then we heard some crackling, which sounded like tree cutters. There were loud cracking and ripping sounds. The rafts stopped and we waited quietly, and low and behold a short while later elephants emerged through the trees and started walking right down to the water. Right in front of us! It was amazing to see these awesome animals, right there in front of us. After a while a mom with 2 gorgeous little baby elephants came out. That was a treat to see. In the end we counted about 12 different elephants.

After a couple of hours on the lake we headed back to the pier, and our trek back. Half way back we stopped under a huge tree and were given fresh forest honey by our guide. It was delicious! We hiked on, returning via a slightly different route than we'd taken in the morning getting to see more of the beautiful forest.
After getting back we jumped into the car and hit the road to Alapphzha (aka Alleppey). We stayed in the Kayalorum Heritage Lake Resort in Allaphuza. It is a gorgeous place. We took the opportunity to cool off in the pool and do some chilaxing in the hammocks next to the Lake Vembanad with a cold beer of course!

Once we were refreshed and cooled off we decided to venture into town to take a look around and have dinner. We tend to always opt to get out and explore the local towns and environments and eat with the local people which we find more fun and interesting, as well as WAY cheaper than eating in the hotel restaurants. I also find you get better variety, more tasty and varied options and it just much more of an experience. So we walked most of the way into town and then caught a local bus - once we realised it was actually pretty far!

We checked out the nights market and had a yummy meal and finally headed back via tuk-tuk taxi.

Another interesting and fun-filled day. The next day we were going on our House Boat adventure!

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