Having not ridden for few months, the frustration was slowly creeping in. We finally decided we deserved a long break, and what better place to visit than Munnar/Thekkady. This is one trip which I had been planning ftom 10-12 years , but never materialised.
So, place and duration of 5 days decided, we booked places to stay and now just looked forward to the trip. We decided to head to thekkady first, and then to munnar. The plan was to do trekking and explore thekkady, and relax @ munnar before heading back to bangalore. As, we all know, plans never works out :p.
Started on Saturday morning around 5 am, and after a good ride, reached Thekkady by 2pm. We were looking for the Eco tourism ticket centre, but hit our hotel(The grand thekkady) first, so decided to check in. After a quick shower and lunch, we picked up tickets for the evenings shows and next days trek.
On the way, we ran into Mr Prabhakar Soman of kolhapur who was attempting to set the Limca book of records for the fastest bike ride from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. We were pleasantly surprised to know he was around 60 years old. He later called to inform us that he had bagged the record. Hats of to Mr Prabhakar.
The hotel is ideally located, and everything was a 5 minute walk (A clean and comfortable hotel). We grabbed some quick tea and pakoda( Out of this world paripu/uddina vada) from the local tea cart outside the kalaripayatty and kathakali arts centre. The Kalaripayattu martial arts demonstration and kathakali dance was really breath taking (literally too, as they actually let fly some bamboo rods by accindent into the crowd). The shows are back to back and 1hr each, and they are not to be missed.
For dinner, we decided to hit a local place called hotel Altaf, which had Sulemani chai to go with. This was the first time my wife (Though a mallu) was having sulemani chai. The veg options was the usual in kerala, parata and tomato fry, but was tasty. The non-veg options were decent, and after more than few cups of tea we called it a night, as the trekk was pretty early in the morning.
The messed up thing about the trek is, the start is quite far away from where we have to pick up entry ticket (This is excluding the eco trek tickets). Luckily, a rickshaw guy dropped us back just in time. After quite a bit of wait, the trek started with a armed forest guard/guide and few helpers/trainees. The food was packed, and was nothing to write home about (In-fact few bakes goods were stale).
The trek was for close to 1.5hrs, and we saw lot of birds, and malabar squirrels. We finally hit the periyar lake and got into the bamboo rafts. The lake is really un-touched, and we found a lot of birds and frogs. We were lucky to find 2 wild elephants. On our way back, when we exited the national park, we were surprised to find the rickshaw guy who had dropped us in the morning waiting for us. So, without thinking, we hopped on, and reached the hotel saving 1km of walk. Lunch at hotel Ambadi was kind of disappointment, as the food ran out and we ended up getting only limited sadya(meals), but what ever we got was tasty.