Nilgiri Tahr

Nilgiri Tahr
Nature Beckons you....Listen to her whispers.....

Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer Vacation 2010:Photos

Summer Vacation 2010

Schools closed by the end of March and it is by May that we started on our summer vacation travel.We chose to visit Muthanga,Bandipur,Mudimalai,Masnagudi,Ooty,Munnar,Chinnar and Kodaikkanal.It is a long list by any stretch of imagination.Here are some pictures from our trip.......

Pine Trees of Kodaikkanal.......Magnificient

                      Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary.......Wilderness Paradise

A Rock Agama changed colors in 5 secs......Amazing Nature

A Hawk Eagle........Stunning stare

Thoomanam Waterfalls......Breathtaking

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Loghouse Stay at Chinnar

Log House Stay At Chinnar........

I have visited the Chinnar WLS few times over the years and never had the opportunity of spending a night in the wilderness of the beautiful place.The idea of visitng Chinnar and staying for a night came up again in this May(2010), and we packed our bags and headed towards Munnar on a fine morning.

Chinnar is one of the 12 WLS that Kerala is proud of and is adjoined by Eravikulam Natonal park,Anaimali WLS and Kodaikkanal WLS.The highest peak of Kerala,The Anaimudi is just 23kms away from Chinnar.

We reached Munnar around 8pm and stayed for the night there.The climate was pleasant and we felt really good and at least for  a few days escaping the gruelling heat down the plains.

The next day, our idea was to visit Eravikulam National Park and then proceed to  Chinnar.But the tourist inflow was very high and we saw quite a number of them lining up to get to Eravikulam NP.We decided to skip the Nilgiri Tahrs for this vist and headed immediately towards Chinnar.

We have planned to stay at one of the Loghouses that Chinnar offers.We havn't planned which particular loghouse.Any one of them would do for us.All are inside the Chinar sanctuary.

We meandered our way towards Maraiyur(which is around 40kms from Munnar).Both sides were filled with tea plantations and we stopped at a few places to take some pictures.We reached Maraiyur and without stopping headed towards Chinnar which is a further 18 kms away.

We stopped on way to view the Thoomanam waterfalls which was cascading with all its splendour.I clicked a few photos with my Canon 400D and 55-250 IS lens.

From the tourist info center we came to know about the loghouse near the falls.But we have already made up our mind to be at Chinnar proper.

We finally reached Chinnar checkpost around 2pm.A quick vegetarian lunch at the hotel run by tribals satisfied our hunger.We booked the loghouse and waited for the Tribal forest guard to come and lead us to the loghouse.

The Loghouse at Chinnar.....Spectacular surroundings

Mr.Kannan ariived at around 3pm and we immediately started our trek rowards the Loghouse.We kept only a few pieces of cloth and rest of the baggage remained in the car which we parked near the Checkpost.

Chinnar boasts of certain wild animals which can be seen only here.Star Tortoise is one among them.The white Guar is another and this an extremely rare sighting.Only a few  handful of people have seen it
and very less number of photographs exists of the animal.The largest population of Mugger  Crocodiles are living in Chinnar sanctuary.

We started our 3km trek to the loghouse in right earnest.The heat here is unbearable.Chinnar is the "Rain shadow" region of the Western Ghats.Rain shadow region is where the rainfall is minimal.The temparature can raise upto 38degree celcius at times!

I was expecting to sight elephants on  the way to the loghouse and Kannann also gave me assuarance.We passed the watch tower(Didnt bother to climb as it was early afternoon) and continued to walk towards our destination.Yellow throated bulbul is one of the 245 or so species of birds that can be seen here.

A Rock Agama has blended in with the surroundings

In around 45 minutes we reached our loghouse which was built near the Pambar river bank.Chinnar is the other river and it becomes the Amaravathy river as it reaches Tamil Nadu.

The log house is built with logs(of course) and thatched with asbestos sheets.The time was around 4:30pm and the heat was still on the higher side.Kannan informed us that the temperature will be cooler during night.

After sitting in the loghouse for some time I headed to the river.I could see plenty of rock Agamas playing around.I photographed the agamas to my satisfaction and in between dipped myself in the Pambar river.

Thommanam Waterfalls....Magnificient

A few babblers were rustling at a distance and the sound of birds reinvigorated our souls.Since my lens can reach only up to 250 mm I decided against attempting to photograph them.

I asked Kannan about the prospect of sighting a Star Tortoise.Kannan as usual was very optimistic.Darkness was approaching and we sat on the steps in front of the door and listened to the sound made by nature.Before reaching the loghouse we saw a few sambars standing and looking at us from a hill top opposite the trek path.(Of course well out of range for my lens!)

A Hawk Eagle on the way

At around 7:30 pm another guard arrived with our dinner.It was simple Parothas and vegetable curry.We can't complain about the food when you are in deep forst!

The log house is comfortabel for 2 people.The guards said they would be comfortable sleeping on a rock face very close to the river.I saw some people moving in the opposite bank of the river.Kannan informed us that they are Tribals from Tamil Nadu laying nets for catching fish.

We had a good nights sleep in the middle of the Chinnar foest.That is what I have been dreaming for over a number of years.Now it has been fulfilled.Just before we retired to the bed I heared Kannn calling me from outside.On opening the door I saw a Star Tortoise baby crawling towards the door.Immediately I took some pictres using flash.

We got up early the next morning and went and sat near the river.It was a beautiful feeling to sit there just listening to the flow of water and chirping of birds.Far away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Amazing......A rock Agama changing colors.This happened in 10seconds!

We started our trek back to the check post around 8am.I was very optimistic about the sighting of an elephant herd on our way back.

We coudn't see any elephants but foot marks were aplenty.Kannan pointed out a particular set of foot prints which was of a tusker.

We reached the check post around 9am.We thanked Kannan for the way he has taken care of us and asuured him that we would be back agian for a stay.After having breakfast at the tribal hotel we started our journey back.

The famous Star Tortoise of Chinnar.....Head withdrawn

Another view of the Loghouse.....Away from Hustle and Bustle

The Watch Tower....

Chinnar........Get lost in this place!!!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Soochipara Waterfalls

Soochipara waterfalls......Breathtaking
Soochipara is a beautiful waterfalls in Wayanad district of Kerala State.It is roughly 22kms away from Kalpetta which is the gateway to Wayanad district."Soochi" in Malayalam means "Needle" and "Para" means "Rock".So it is "Needle Rock" waterfalls and the reason is obvious in the needle shaped mountain close to the waterfalls. Less water cascades because of summer heat The road which leads to the waterfalls from Kalpetta is in good shape.You have to take a right turn from Meppady and drive a further 13 kms to the breathtaking falls.Since we reached the falls in peak summer the water gushing down was lower than usual.Still it was a spectacular sight. Soochipara or Needle rock....... The Kerala Forest department is having a check-post just less than 1km from the falls.The entry to the falls is restricted from 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM.A nominal fee is charged for entry into the waterfalls area.As we walk down the nicely laid down granite path to the waterfalls we first see the "Needle" or "Soochi" hill.Then there is a steep downward path which takes us right to the front of the falls. Another view.......Refreshing... All tiredness goes away the moment we see the falls.Since the water levels were little low than usual we could go very close to the falls.As the cool droplets fell on our face we felt re-energised and rejuvenateed. Frozen....... The forest guards who accompanied us were very friendly and they narrated their experince in dealing with various types of people who come to see the falls.They informed us of the large variety of wild animals which inhabit this part of the forests.They even showed us the remains of a kill by a leopard. We were informed that there are large number of snakes which live in close proximity to the waterfalls.Even large sized king cobras can also be seen once in a while. A Leopard killed a deer a few days ago As we started back to the parking area we were satisfied in experiencing one of the magnificient waterfalls of Kerala.