Travel Journal

Kumily and Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

(Friday 24 December 2010) by Timo and Jon
Kumily & Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

The journey to Kumily town was very fast, well 4 hours of hair-raising speed by local bus, slowly rising in altitude and we went through some magnificent scenery - rubber plantations, toddy tapping (local booze tapped from a tree), then the lush greenery of numerous tea plantations - it reminded us of the PG tips advert as the colours were so vivid. By the time we safely reached the town we actually felt cool, the first time since we left London at the end of October!B-)

As we only had the small backpacks with us, we easily found (well after 10 minutes when we realised the map was the upside down)somewhere very nice and comfortable to stay, it even had a TV with BBC World, so we were able to watch how lovely the weather is in Europe ;-)

We immediately arranged to take a very short trip the next morning to see and experience for the first time in India an elephant training camp. We were standing in the middle of the camp waiting for 'our elephant' to arrive. When our elephant slowly plodded into vision we both said 'oh my god' and couldn't believe the size of him. 'Madurin' is a fully grown 35 year old working Indian elephant. Next we climbed a flight of wooden stairs in order to climb on....we've been on horses before but this was another story! We then went on a 30 minute ride up and down hills and through the jungle with spices growing all was odd to be so high up with only the noise of Madurin's feet to be heard.:-*

Then it was payback time....we were then expected to help with washing he lay down and let us hose him down and scrub hard with a half coconut shell...he loved every did we. After that, we also had to feed him, and it didn't take more than 3 minutes to get through a whole basket of fruit....a banana didn't even touch the sides, though his tongue felt very weird. Lots of photos so we can't resist putting quite a few on here....our time with Madurin went so quickly but it was worth every moment and every rupee...:-*

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is 777 sq kms, (with a massive lake created by the British) - and is now home to over 1000 elephants and 48 tigers, amongst many other creatures..and we were lucky to get the last 2 seats on a safari-cruise on a lake within the sanctuary. Unfortunately the tigers were not hungry enough to go for any of the samba deers, so we didn't see any kills or action....maybe next time.

From here, we headed back on the same route to Alleppey (now laden down with a good supply of Connemara tea to remind us of the plantations as we continue our travels) - then by train to our most southerly point to date... Varkala which is where we are sitting now on our balcony writing this journal (24 December). We have found a lovely place to stay for the Christmas period....


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