Full-Moon outing at Parambikulam…

The day was perfect in planning to Parambikulam tiger reserve, Our long wish of staying at Thellikal forest guest house for full moon day was almost got materialized.

We distributed work among ourselves; Karthik took ownership of booking Thenikal FRH and Sambar machan for 4 nights and 5 days. I was occupied in organizing the trip. Finally everything was set, got accommodation and the team to our WildlifeOdyssey was ready.

The team comprised of [Amit-me, Karthik, Ganesh, Pavan, Varun]. Before I put across our traveling experience, I would let you know little bit of Parambikulam forest….

About Parambikulam :
Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary is the most protected ecological piece of Anamalai Hills of Western Ghats and is situated in the Palakkad district, 135 km away from Palakkad town. This 285 sq.KM of thickly forested area, with Bamboo, Sandal wood, rose wood and teak wood, is one of the Premier Wildlife Reserves in Kerala. The sanctuary is blessed with several rivers such as Parambikulam, Sholayar and is very much Hilly and rocky. The sanctuary also includes some lush green grassland.

The Parambikulam Dam and the area around it located in the Parambikulam sanctuary offers a wide variety of options such as Dam visits, lake cruises and Jungle safaris.. Animals such as crocodiles, otters, Elephants, Wild boars and deers can also be spotted around the area.

Thoonakkadavu is the beautiful lake formed by the Parambikulam dam. The whole sight of the lake with its crystal clear water surrounded by lush green forests with otters playing along the banks will be very soothing. In fact it would be so beautiful and inviting that you may think about going for a swim in it. But it is inhibited with a number of crocodiles who quite surely will not be playing the role of friendly hosts if you decided to take the dip. But don’t lose heart for you can explore the beauty of the lake by taking boat cruises. A jungle Jeep must be hired in order to access this remotely situated lake.

We got bookings from 17th Jan to 20th Jan 2011, previous night of traveling we purchased eatables, groceries, toiletries and packed thoroughly. On 16th Jan we started our journey towards Parambikulam at 3.30Pm in the noon. The route we took is HossurKrishnagiriSalemThirupurPollachiVallapariParambikulam. The roads are very neat and driver friendly one way journey is 600Km. First pit stop was at Krishnagiri for hot sip of coffee and snacks…

Everyone was energized with midday meal, and started chatting, gossips went on and on… pulling each others leg. Discussing wildlife experiences and adventure stories among us, it was almost 7.30Pm when we wanted a break!!! Chai Chai Chai!!!!

Arrived at Salem, drove straight to Sarvana Bhavan after finishing sumptuous dinner we reached Thirupur at 10.00Pm. Our first halt was at Thirupur, without any delay we fell asleep.

Day#1 – 17th Jan 2011

Early next morning after finishing breakfast, we purchased few farm fresh veggies and started to Parambikulam. Covering a long stretch of 140km, after 4 hours we reached Parambikulam information centre. En route to Parambikulam we witnessed the serene beauty of Vallaparai – Top slip. Thellikal forest rest house is not accessible by vehicle. After trekking for about 8 km from Thoonakkadavu dam, where we had parked our car, we reached forest rest house. A guard and a cook accompanied us to the rest house.

It took 2 hours to reach forest rest house, passing through the dense forest was an amazing experience time was 12.30Pm when we finally settle down at Thellikal forest bungalow, the ambience of the location is mesmerizing in front of the forest rest house a water hole is located birds chirping is a musical orchestra through out the stay… one more fact is only 5 members are allowed inside the pristine forest of Parambikulam so we were the only troupe inside the whole forest which made us more happy without seeing un wanted crowds and nuisance they usually create.

 

Most of them settled down on the bench laid outside the rest house, whilst I and karthik took a walk till the waterhole to investigate for any pug marks or hoof marks. We did not find any rather we spotted a “Barred Owlet” perched on a trunk of a tree, it was so camouflaged we took 5 mins to spot it and click.

Cook prepared simple vegetarian sambar and rice for us. We were tired, had good lunch and went for a nap. We woke up at 5.00 in the evening pleasant weather and chilled breeze tickled our mind for a walk in the jungle. All of us with guard set foot on a stroll in anticipation of wildlife sightings. It was a full moon day and one has to enjoy the full moon night in the jungle it can’t be explained it has to be felt. I got an opportunity to click a full moon in the dusk. Very soon the sun sank and moon was bright whole forest in matter of minutes changed its beauty and became alive.

After chatting and gossiping for sometime we observed silence to heed to any alarm calls or trumpet. The silence in the jungle is really unlike; we can hear much different type of nocturnal bird’s call. Simple vegetarian food was served by the cook, we called for the day very soon say by 10.00Pm.

Day#2 18th Jan

We geared up for early morning stroll and walked through the jeep track for more than a kilometer, we spotted a tiger pug mark and it was fresh, 4-5 hours ago a tiger had passed the track. Enthusiastic on spotting the pug mark our focus was fixed on spotting the tiger. Failing to catch a glimpse of the big cat, we returned to our den at 10.30 am.

We had located a water hole few yards behind our base camp. Reached the waterhole by 12 noon and silently settled down to observe wildlife. Caught sight of kingfishers and butterflies of myriad colors. After few hours we returned back to our base camp to continue our wild walk on the jeep track. Called the day at 10.00Pm.
Day# 3 19th Jan

Early morning at 6.00 am we went for a stroll. We were lucky enough to sight sambar deer, cormorants and snake birds. Returned to the base camp and checked out at 9.00am. Our next stay was at “Sambar Machan” located in a different range of the forest.

The Sambar Machan is situated in the heart of the parambikulam valley. After crossing several small streams on foot we reached our destination. Our machan serves as a view point to witness the wild drama unfolding in front of us.

In few minutes we settled down and watched for birding activity around watch tower, after simple vegetarian lunch tiredness took us to a quick nap. Time ticked 5.30Pm when we woke up from bed; silently Ganesh peeped out of the window and started gazing the cheetal deer’s and sambar’s grazing in the vayal in front of our machan.

All of us waked up and sat on a bench laid down the machan for observation activities. Slowly dusk engulfed, moon light was appearing bright the feel of the forest turned out truly amazing.

Hot coffee was served by the guard; sipping the coffee we continued the observation silently. We almost sat from evening 5.30pm to midnight 1.30Am for more than 7 hours of long wildlife observation. In this time many events occurred, I will narrate in below lines.

Cheetal’s were in 20’s and peacefully grazing, almost for 3 hours we could not sight any other wildlife activity other than this. It was around 9.00Pm when alarm calls picked up
by sambar and taken by barking deer continuously. We all gripped for the moment in anticipating any cat or any drama unfolding in front of us. Suddenly a Tiger roaring was herd from valley foot hills and second roar after few minutes. May be Tiger was passing by the vayal or on prowl. The observation went on for more than 2 hours from the time tiger roared but we were not lucky to sight the big cat.

After an hour of tiger roaring, the cheetal’s again indulged in grazing activity, few sat down, few were grazing and few were just seeing our machan or may be on alert.

A weird sound came out of the bush; at first glance we thought it was a death call of cheetal or sambar. But a huge dark shadow appeared from long distance; again all of us were on toes to see what it is. Huge male guar appeared making “woof!! woof!! woof!!” sound it was a mesmerizing view in front of us, a moon light gave more splendor to the whole scene.

It was 11.00Pm when guar disappeared from our view, again we sat for some more events to occur till 1.30 Am but forest stood stand still without any more activity. We decided to wrap up as we had to be on journey for long hours next day.

At 2.00Am we all went for bed with recollecting the memories that happened few hours ago.

Day# 4 20th Jan

After tiring night and knowing it was our last day at parambikulam woke up at 8.00Am, packed our back packs and started our trek to the places where we had parked our car.

We planned to have breakfast on the way somewhere near pollachi and started the journey by saying “See you soon parambikulam”.

WildlifeOdyssey crew reached Bangalore by 7.00Pm after 9 hours long drive.