Thus, I had to take a sharing Jeep to Marayoor, which was 40 kms from Munnar and then probably hope on to some local vehicle to reach Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary which was another 15 kms away.
Our 'skillful' Jeep Driver:
"The road cutting through picturesque hills, slight drizzles dripping on my elbow, occasional lambs crossing the road and some Tamil folk-song playing in the background; it had its own charm."
I was amazed with the skillsets of our Jeep driver.
He had not only 'managed' to accommodate so many people in that tiny Jeep, but was also driving comfortably, despite seating almost at the edge of the window.
Though we were nearly 20 of us in that jeep, it somehow didn't feel congested.
The road cutting through picturesque hills, slight drizzles dripping on my elbow, occasional lambs crossing the road and some Tamil folk-song playing in the background; it had its own charm.
I wondered why the houses there didn't have conical roofs for rain protection, like the ones in rest of Kerala.
We were about to reach when it started raining again.
I was a little worried as my backpack was tied to the roof of the Jeep.
The driver told me that Chinnar is a rain-shadow region (areas receiving scantiest of rainfalls) and thus, I need not worry.
Yet again I was impressed with him, this time with his choice of words.
Entering Chinnar Wildlife sanctuary:
It was pretty dark by the time I reached Chinnar.
I had visited this sanctuary in 2016, which is when I had first met Shankar, one of the oldest forest guides in the sanctuary.
In the interiors of a sanctuary, the nights are long, crisply dark, unpolluted and absolute, helping the villagers rear deep communication with their fellow beings as well as with nature.
He knew these forests like the back of his hand.
All the bird species, mammals, butterflies and the trees; he knew their English as well as common names.
He said he learnt the English names from the researchers who come here.
I was hoping that using the same skills with which his grandfather might have led the British range officers to the mysteries of this land, he would lead me too, to some blinding light.
I had fresh memories of this place, but 4 years was a long time...
My Stay at Forest Dormitory:
"It was as if someone forgot his musty old gym socks in the cupboard and then opened it after a week. A little annoyed, I followed the direction of the smell and as soon as I stepped out of the back door, I was shocked!"
I got down at the forest dormitory in Chinnar wildlife sanctuary.
As usual, I didn't have any bookings but I was lucky I had the pics from my previous visit. They recognized me and arranged a bed.
Unlike the reputation of Govt. owned buildings, the forest department dormitory in Chinnar was well maintained.
The entrance and the corridor were nicely decorated with wildlife photo frames and tribal artworks.