There was no sleep-in that morning as we had to wake up, be out of the home stay and on our way to be in time for the jungle jeep safaris that begins at around 6. Once again we were a big group of wildlife enthusiasts. The Wynaad wildlife reserve permits only a certain number of visitors in a day. We were lucky enough to be among them that morning.
Going into the jungle we saw some deer, a few receding elephants that trumpeted from the thickets, then later on, peacocks, jungle fowl and just about got a glimpse of a wild goat that disappeared when it heard the jeep approaching. At the entry point into the jungle, a rogue tusker stood by himself creating quite a flutter of excitement among the members of our group.
By now, every one was pretty hungry. We stopped by Jubilee restaurant for breakfast and gorged on Kerala parathas with egg curry, puttu and beans curry along with some good tea.
Someone needed a toothbrush, our hostess needed to visit the supermarket, so we all waited on the footpath of the little town watching life go by. Our next halt were old temple ruins. Left in shambles after Tipu Sultan plundered it, there is some restoration work happening at present. A helpful bystander began to describe the concept behind the architecture and reliefs that is modeled around the seven spiritual chakras in the human body as well as the nervous system. The path between sets of pillars on either side leading into the sancta sanctorum represents the spine with the pillars being symbolic of the nervous system.
Our next stop was the Edakkal caves. The Edakkal caves (Kal – with a soft ‘l’- means stone) are so called because of the positioning of one humongous rock on an open hill top to create a shelter of sorts. Ancient dynasties have apparently thrived and grown within the safe confines of this space. The highlight were the pietroglyphics of which you find both known and unknown scripts. A couple of guides are available within the caves to answer all queries and even show you around which I thought was a great idea. Mobile phones are not allowed inside and they are pretty strict about it too.
The climb up is not easy at all. But it’s not impossible either. Take ample breaks while you view the amazing sights and catch your breath. The climb down has been made easier with a proper stairway and as we all know, is harder than going up.
We broke up into many little groups on our way down, with the children and a few adults going ahead sooner than the rest. There were four of us and we decided to try out the bamboo rice delicacies which were on offer.
[Beware of monkeys : Do not carry eatables openly. A monkey attempted to snatch something from us and even snarled when we refused to part with it. And come to think of it, do not feed them either. This will only further tempt them to expect something from everyone who passes by and turn aggressive when that doesn’t happen.]
After this we visited the Regional Agricultural Research Station, the perfect place for those with a green thumb. Apart from saplings of various trees and flowering plants and bushes, many individual green houses with all kinds of trees and plants, there is a rabbit pen. We spent about twenty minutes there. Then we returned to our cousin’s house for lunch.
We had the rest of the afternoon to ourselves. 2014 was coming to an end. A short snooze and then we were back together partying the night away. A quiet damp blanket of mountain mist covered us while our very own homespun DJs rocked the New Years eve away. The barbecue night continued with a bonfire and fireworks as a new year began.
We opted to stay indoors most of the next day and took a walk down to our hosts’ home in the evening. It seems many people from the software industry come to Kliff’s View Resort only to spend time in the quiet languidness of the indoors.
On our return the next day, we stopped at a shop hoping to purchase a set of wind chimes. We left with a few wooden toys, some bamboo rice and a lot of other things but not get the wind chime I’d specifically wanted. But do take some time to check out the many shops on the way to Wynaad. You are sure to find something of interest – spices and oils, bamboo rice and many other things.
Some pictures taken at Kliff’s View Homestay