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