Periyar Wildlife Reserve
Trip Start May 31, 2008
107Trip End Jun 01, 2009
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I will start with the bad and then get to the good. The bad being the 5 hour bus ride to Kumily was like a ride at the Stampede. I was gripping the seat in front of me so hard my knuckles were turning white. This lasted for the full five hours. Latha and Siva both had their heads resting on their lap and when we got to our destination. I asked if they wanted to take a cab to a hotel and they both answered 'NO' as they had had enough of driving for one day. They actually had to sit on a stationary bench for a few minutes to settle their heads and stomach. But the views of the Western Ghats (the Mouton range here) were quite breathtaking.
The Periyar Wildlife Reserve was amazing. We went hiking through the forest and we could hear the elephants for the longest time very close to us but they where hidden by the dense forest. Just when we thought the whole day was a wasted effort (we still enjoyed the thrill, but our poor guides would have been so disappointed if we left without seeing the main attraction), we got to see a really nice big elephant very close. How could something that huge hide for so long?! We went for a short boat ride, and to everyone's disbelief we saw FOUR elephants by the water! Two babies and two adults!! They were bathing themselves, drinking, and just playing around. Seeing wild elephants here was definitely one of the highlights of South India.
On the safari ride back to town we saw lots of birds, giant tree squirrels, barking deer, and lots and lots of exotic plants. Well, exotic for us - cardamom, coffee, tea, pepper...
Kumily was such a treat and really showcased a whole different side of India. The pristine natural forests, and serene hill top towns.