The most famous attraction in Thekkady is the Mulliperiyar reservoir. It is an artificial reservoir that was formed when the British constructed a dam across the Periyar river in the late 1800's. Formerly a forested area, the dead trunk of hardwood trees still stick out of the water like sentinels. The water body attracts a variety of wild animals, most commonly elephants, gaur and even tigers,. The best way to visit this protected area is by boat, and the local government has several excellent eco-tourism drives (check it out-for tickets, information and more: here). It is best to buy tickets in advance and queue up at the entrance of the Periyar Tiger Reserve at the crack of dawn. Mind you-there is a huge rush and some people seem to forget that they are in a nature reserve!
I got the chance to see several kinds of animals and birds from the boat. The lake itself is stunning. After this, I had an amazing breakfast provided by my very kind hosts and set off for Kochi via the cardamom hills and Idukki. The drive, again, was marvellous. The vegetation clearly changed with altitude, and the view of the gigantic Idukki dam and reservoir was quite impressive. The area is restricted though, and photorgraphy of the dam is not allowed. From Idukki, it is also possible to take a diversion and go to Munnar, if you have more time!
So, it is quite possible to get a flavour of Kerala over a long weekend (there are quite a few coming up in 2018, BTW). Does this mean that I would not like to sit in a houseboat for 3 days and just drink in the beauty of nature, spend an entire afternoon in an Ayurvedic spa or spend several more hours relaxing in the chic cafes of Kochi? OF COURSE NOT! But with limited time and a busy work schedule, this long weekend was the perfect way to experience the fascinating sights, sounds and tastes of God's Own Country.