This is a popular and very important spice trading region of Kerala's Idukki District. This is situated on the Cardamom Hill and the name is apt. Tourists come here in large numbers to explore the green spice plantations here and also shop from the spice market. The spice Market is the main tourist attraction here followed by the Periyar Tiger and Wildlife Sanctuary. Kumily is also close to other tourist destinations of Kerala and Tamil nadu. Apart from buying spices, you also get spice preserves, spice chocolates, tea varieties and coffee of good quality in Kumily. The climate of this place is tropical and thus the climate is not really bad. There is abundance of natural beauty and the ingredient of fauna is added in full amount by the Periyar Wildlife Reserve.
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Thekkady is a place in the Idukki District of Kerala and is also a part of the Periyar Wildlife Reserve. The main reasons of its popularity are the attractions which are a part of it and the ones surrounding it. The main attractions within Thekkady are Murikkady known for spices and coffee plantations and the Chellar Kovil known for its natural beauty and waterfalls. The surrounding attractions include the Mangala Devi Temple and the Nearby International Airport.
PWS is dotted with deciduous trees of the eucalyptus kind that I could identify, grasslands and a huge manmade lake. We were told that these forests contain rosewoods, teak and sandalwoods; and surrounded by plantations of tea, cardamom, and coffee. The chill fresh air with scents of eucalyptus stirs up your spirits (pun unintended). We purchased tickets for the 1.00 p.m. boat ride. As these woods cleared, we sighted the Periyar Lake. It is rare to spot animals in the blazing afternoon heat. The morning ride is most sought after- but with two tiny tots, we had decided on this leisurely afternoon ride. The waiting area at PWS was best of its kind- clean and comfortable, audio video displays, professionally designed merchandise on sale, binoculars for hire (working). It was impressive to see a Govt. run body spic and span and in sync with the times!We climbed down a huge flight of stairs to reach the boat. The upper deck that we had preferred was crammed, making it uncomfortable for the children. Accommodated on the lower deck by boat attendants, we were happy to have some breathing space. The unfortunate 2009 Periyar Boat tragedy ensured that life jackets were donned by all aboard.As the boat sailed, so did our hopes- of sighting animals in its natural habitat. A bird here, a squirrel there, but we were looking for more. The trained eyes of our guide spotted a lone elephant calf. Now that’s what we were waiting for. Sooner, we caught glimpses of sambhars, nilgiri langurs and Indian giant squirrels that had come to the wetland to quench their afternoon thirst. The icing on the cake was reserved for later. A playful mother baby duo at the edge of this lake. Their trunks cuddled against each other, they were oblivious of the prying human eyes. What a sight! Aww! It is awesome when you watch wildlife in its original setting. Lucky and contented, we headed back to the resort by around 5 p.m. A day well spent! Inspired by the elephant encounters, our calves also sketched it on paper at the activity room, where we hung around for rest of the day.Tuesday was reserved for a relaxed day by the pool. We also peppered it with walks around Thekkady. Like Satyajit Ray said in ‘Kanchenjunga’, mountains do have a mystique way of calming you. You realise how inconsequent you are in the whole array of the universe. Our train back to Chennai was from Madurai this time. We took the Mullaiperiyar-> Theni-> Madurai route. We even caught some beautiful rainbows on the way. The Kottayam->Thekkady route was more scenic vs. the Thekkady->Madurai one. If Kerala were an accelerator to dreamy musings, Tamil Nadu- quite the antithesis and a speed breaker. Thud! Helped us land back to reality though!!Captivating Kumarakom and Thrilling Thekkady made one memorable trip for us.Endof the day, a glow of satisfaction shone on everyone’s face. Isn’t that what holidays are for? Experience Nirvana.Kerala Facts-Thekkady is 120 km from Kumarakom by road, by rail- nearest railway station is Kottayam 114 km, nearest airports are Madurai (Tamilnadu) 140 km; Kochi 190 kmtunictraveller’s tips- Homestays in Kerala is worth experiencing. Make the right choice though. There are many houses that advertise as homestays. We preferred the stay at VLV vis-à-vis the Club Mahindra Thekkady resort. The reasons being ‘homely’ and ‘warm’. Also, you can custom food, which is an important factor if you are travelling with kids. Less oily, zero preservative, rather fresh food. Points that score with young kids in tow. We also relished some orchard fresh fruits- jack fruit, a star shaped fruit at the homestay. Kumarkom->Thekkady is hilly terrain and a winding ride. Advisable for kids to travel on a light stomach. There are not many bends and the terrain rather flat if you do Madurai->Thekkady. If want to get to Thekkady without too many ‘round and around the hill’, you can choose the latter route. Vembanad Lake Villas- www.vlvs.com -Mr Thomas/ Mr Simon +91 91425 42377 / 93886 08232 Club Mahindra Thekkady- www.clubmahindra.com/our-resorts/club-mahindra-thekkady/ This post was originally published on the blog The Tunic Traveller.
Thekkady Wild Corridor
Periyar Wildlife Reserve is home to more than 200+ species of birds, 35+ species of wildlife, flora and fauna. A Tiger Reserve, this sanctuary can be explored by trekking/hiking, by boat, and by jeep safaris. A great way to explore the wilderness in the tranquility of nature. Do not forget to notice the submerged trees in the water, they might appear to be artificially put there, but they are very much natural!!!!
Vanya Tree House
Built on a single tree on the face of a hill, the Vanya Tree House is nestled quietly in the dense forests of the Western Ghats and offers you a perfect escape from chaos. The nature resort spread over 10 acres of giant trees and plantations and is located just next to Periyar Wildlife Park. The accommodation and facilties are comfortably adequate, and the tree house is quaint...almost mystic when it rains and it can transport you to a better life, immediately.