Thekkady and Thattekad

Exploring the Natural Splendors of Kerala, 2018 - Dussehra vacation in deep south a road trip


Recently, my family and I embarked on an exciting week-long trip to Kerala, the enchanting land known for its natural beauty and diverse landscapes. Our journey began on a rather unusual day, a Monday, setting the tone for an adventure filled with surprises and discoveries. With an early start at 4:10 AM, we were pleasantly surprised by the lack of traffic as we crossed Bangalore city, breezing through toll booths. By 7:30 AM, we had already reached Salem, where we stopped for a delightful breakfast. As we continued our drive, we eagerly anticipated the wonders Kerala had in store for us.

Exploring Thekkady: Our first destination was Club Mahindra Thekkady, where we spent three memorable nights. However, upon arriving, we realized that due to Aarush’s age (he had not yet turned 12), the forest walks were off-limits for him. Undeterred, we made the most of our time in Thekkady. The following day, I embarked on a solo jungle walk with a guide who dedicated his time to help me spot various bird species. Meanwhile, my family drove to Vagamon, a picturesque hill station, where they enjoyed the scenic Suicide Point, surrounded by tea gardens, coffee estates, and spice gardens. In the evening, we were captivated by a mesmerizing Kathakali performance, immersing ourselves in the rich cultural heritage of Kerala.

Periyar Boat Ride and Gavi Point: The next morning, as a family, we embarked on a boat ride in Periyar, where we had the opportunity to observe numerous bird species. Although October wasn’t the peak season for migratory birds, we were still fortunate to witness a diverse array of avian life. Afterward, we journeyed to Gavi Point, eagerly anticipating further exploration. However, due to the lack of tourists, our options were limited. Nevertheless, we cherished the opportunity to soak in the tranquil ambiance of the region, unhindered by crowds. To our delight, that evening, the rain that had accompanied us throughout the trip finally ceased, allowing us to appreciate the beauty of the surroundings under clear skies.

The Quest for Neelakurinji and Thattekad Bird Sanctuary: On Thursday, we set off early from Thekkady, heading towards Munnar in search of the rare Neelakurinji flowers that bloom only once every 12 years. Unfortunately, heavy rains had dampened our chances of witnessing the picture-perfect moment, but we pressed on, undeterred. Continuing our journey, we reached Thattekad, home to the renowned Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. Here, we embarked on a captivating night walk with a guide and were fortunate to spot the elusive Great-eared Nightjar, adding to our growing collection of bird sightings.

Final Birdwatching and Homeward Journey: Friday morning brought our last opportunity for birdwatching in Thattekad. Despite improved weather conditions, the earlier week’s rain had impacted bird activity, limiting our sightings. With a heavy heart, we concluded our birding session and decided to head back to Bangalore. Departing around noon, we made three stops along the way, savoring the final glimpses of Kerala’s breathtaking landscapes. However, as we reached Bangalore, the traffic, particularly at the infamous Madiwala junction, tested our patience, extending our journey well past midnight.

Our week-long adventure in Kerala was a memorable experience, filled with captivating landscapes, diverse wildlife, and cultural treasures. Though we faced a few challenges along the way, the beauty and serenity of Kerala’s natural wonders made it all worthwhile. From exploring the forests of Thekkady and cruising through Periyar’s waters to venturing into the bird sanctuaries of Thattekad, we discovered a profound connection with nature. As we returned home, we carried with us cherished memories and a newfound appreciation for the enchanting state of Kerala.

P.S — The text edited by AI

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