Periyar Tiger Reserve in Thekkady, Kerala is a tropical evergreen forest located high up in the Cardamom Hills of the southern Western Ghats of India. An overnight train to Madurai and a three-hour taxi ride later we were in Periyar one cloudy Saturday morning.
On the way there, I excitedly tell P about the night trek organized by the Periyar Forest Department where visitors can join the regular forest protection party as paid volunteers. They have three slots; 7pm to 10pm, 10pm to 1am and 1am to 4 am where groups of 5 to 6 volunteers accompany a forest ranger on his daily beat. Our Bengali middle class risk-averse cells are suitably assuaged and we opt for what appears to be the least perilous of the three, 7pm to 10pm. Continue reading “Into the night in Periyar Tiger Reserve”→
The beautiful state of Kerala along India’s south western coastline is an ever popular tourist destination. However, come monsoon and it’s palm lined beaches, lush hill stations and emerald backwaters wear a desolate look.
Monsoon is grave matter in Kerala. It rains so heavily that even the mythical King Mahabali remembers to carry an umbrella for his annual visit to his beloved kingdom during the festival of Onam that falls in the middle of the monsoons. No Kidding!
But every second Saturday of August, the town of Alleppey (also known as Alappuzha) – the de facto capital of Kerala’s backwater country is abuzz with tourists, the rain notwithstanding. Thousands of visitors; local as well as foreign; flock to this “Venice of the East” to watch what is arguably the biggest water sport event in India – The Nehru Trophy Boat Race – commonly known as the Snake Boat Race. Continue reading “A Thriller in the Backwaters”→
It had been six months since we moved to Chennai and we had already covered the most popular weekend escapes from Chennai, Pondicherry and Mahabalipuram. Now, Chennai does have some really beautiful temples in its vicinity but we were not yet keen on a temple tour. So, the Easter weekend of 2015, leafing through the pages of Lonely Planet, we came across Gingee. It’s description was enough to get our interest going:
“Somewhere 37km east of Tiruvannamalai, nature sprinkled a smattering of marbles – rounded boulders and lumpy rocks – in shades of grey, brown and red over the flat green paddies of Tamil Nadu. Then man turned two of these stony protrusions into the Rajagiri and Krishnagiri (King and Queen fort).”
About this time last year, in between a horde of working weekends I got a single weekend off. Since we had not been out of town for a long time, my husband suggested that we go to Pulicat for a day trip.
Situated 50 kms north of Chennai, Pulicat is the second largest brackish water lake in India. It is also a well known a bird sanctuary where thousands of migratory birds flock every winter.
Of birds, we didn’t spot any but we were attracted towards the solitary tall lighthouse situated across the creek.