Only 6 bloggers decided to go for the nature walk at Periyar Tiger Reserve because we had to leave by 5am. Since the bloggers were hosted at different hotels in Kumily town, we met at the junction near Hotel Ambadi and walked towards the Periyar Tiger Reserve.
At such early hour, the road was empty. Once we reached the entrance, our guide asked if we were interested in drinking tea. Definitely, a cup of tea would be perfect since we were too early to eat breakfast at the hotel. Near the entrance, a tea stall bearing the name “Halal Fast Food” was already open for the early risers. Most people in Thekkady and Kumily are Indian Muslims. Something that I learned while walking around Kumily town the day before.
Halal Fast Food, Periyar Tiger Reserve
We were treated to a drink likened to Malaysian’s ‘teh tarik’. A drink made by cooling of brew of hot tea and milk through the process of pouring and pulling it between two cups to create the frothy drink. The length of pulling depends on individual’s skills.
The art of tea making in India
Frothy milk tea
Two nature guides led us into the nature trail. Nobody is allowed to venture into Periyar Tiger Reserve without authorised nature guide. Apart from the noise we made while walking, we listened to the chirping of the birds.
According to the guide, animals are active during the early hours as they forage for food. So the chance of animal sighting is higher provided that we need to keep silent during the nature walk.
The first sighting was the wild boar.
Wild boar on the run
Not far from where we spotted the wild boar, we saw a herd of deer that fled at once. Thanks to broken branches and leaves spread on the jungle floor.
One last curious look before they went away.
As we went deeper into the jungle, we walked in a file minding our steps over the lingering tree roots. The jungle was diversified in that one could see layers of trees in different colours. It was very difficult to spot a space without trees canopying the jungle floor, except, of course, the savannah. It was beautiful.
A surreal jungle
The nature guide pointed to a huge squirrel peeping on us from the tree above. It was the famous Malabar giant squirrel. The squirrel was high up on the branch, not threatened by our presence. No wonder, it was known as giant squirrel. It had the body of an adult cat with long tail.
Malabar Giant Squirrel (Ratufa indica)
Apart from the gaurs that ran away as soon as they spotted us, we saw birds and footprints of an animal.
The gaur or Indian bison is native to South Asia and Southeast Asia and the species have been listed as vulnerable.
The savannah was calm and overwhelmed in mist. We crossed a small waterway and ascended the hill to go back to the entrance. Our two-hours nature walk at Periyar Tiger Reserve was about to be concluded.
It was then that we saw more than ten Nilgiri langurs by the tarred main road leading to the Periyar Lake.
For more info on the nature walk at Periyar Tiger Reserve, please read here.
The trip was made possible by Kerala Blog Express 2016 from 15-29 February 2016. #keralablogexpress2016