Thekkady is a thrilling delight for nature lovers. This world of seemingly unending rolling hills that are home to fragrant coffee, tea and spice plantations will invoke your imagination. The quaint little hill towns are yours to explore. Romance amid the unspoilt flora and fauna, from vivid flowers to patterned butterflies, and breathe in the fresh, pleasantly warm air. The whisper of nature sounds from the tropical jungles will lull you into calm, as will the forested hills as they reflect onto the wilderness of Periyar Lake, where elephant herds come to quench their thirst.
Thekkady, the undisputed ‘spice heartland’ and ‘spice capital’ of the world, has over 12 home-grown varieties. Spices have always dominated Kerala life – cuisine, medicines and cosmetics. Ayruveda masters discovered the use of spices for medicinal purposes. Also called Periyar (home to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary/Tiger Reserve), its lower mountain location 1000m above sea level, offers captivating plantations to wander in – cardamom, pepper, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, coffee and more spice varieties, as well as medicinal plants. Learn what makes Kerala cuisine so different from most other Indian cuisines. Experience boating in the scenic Periyar lake amid lush, calm environs of Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Safely sight animals at close quarters from the boat. A Naturalist accompanying you on the boat explains all about Periyar’s wildlife. Glimpse elephants frolic; see gaurs and bisons along the lake shore bathing, drinking, resting; sight River Otters – the only lake mammal here. A camera and binoculars would be ideal accessories.
Kalaripayattu, the vibrant, traditional martial art form of ancient Kerala, is richly blended with its cultural heritage. ‘Kalari’ denotes a gymnasium for training the mind and muscle, while ‘Payattu’ means training/exercise in the traditional style of combat. A Dravidian martial art, legend traces it back to the 3000yr-old art form of Sage Parasurama. Yet practiced in Kerala, it includes strikes, kicks, grappling, preset forms, weaponry and healing methods. This martial art has been revived by some families of ‘Kalari’ masters and the Kerala Government. Regional variants depend on geographical location – northern style of the Malayalis (hard techniques); southern style of the Tamils (soft techniques); central style of inner Kerala. Enjoy a leisure Natue Walk/Trek through the magic of the woods; connect with nature in its most virgin form – take in her sights and sounds. Different nature trails traverse varied habitats, up to about 4-5kms (3hrs), passing evergreen and moist deciduous forests dotted with marshy grasslands. This interpretive program is with a trained ‘tribal’ guide; see rare birds, butterflies and small wildlife.
Experience ‘Mother Nature’ with a half day bamboo rafting adventure through the Periyar Tiger Reserve, also known as the ‘Pride of Kerala’! You’ll cross a mosaic of habitats by boat before boarding bamboo rafts for a thriling ride. With an hour or two of hiking included, you can discover rich, dense forests with their many beautiful visuals and captivating sounds. This experience is a true photographer’s delight with large winged butterflies, vibrant flowers and wildlife such as elephants. The pièce de résistance? The reflection of forest-clad hills on the lake!
Experience ‘Mother Nature’ with a full dawn to dusk bamboo rafting adventure through the Periyar Tiger Reserve, also known as the ‘Pride of Kerala’! You’ll cross a mosaic of habitats by boat before boarding bamboo rafts for a thriling ride. With hiking included, you can discover rich, dense forests with their many beautiful visuals and captivating sounds. This experience is a true photographer’s delight with large winged butterflies, vibrant flowers and wildlife such as elephants. The pièce de résistance? The reflection of forest-clad hills on the lake! En-route, take time to enjoy lunch and tea.
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