January 27, 2010, Periyar, Thekkady, Kerala : Siddharth and me along with our spouses planned our annual vacation to Gods own country – Kerala covering Kumarakom, Allepey, Munnar, Backwaters houseboat and Thekkady. Thekkady was our important destination as important like the backwaters or kumarakom and it proved right – 2 core reasons : (1) Wild Life – it’s a national park and a tiger reserve also famous for its elephants (2) This is the only Tiger reserve in the country, where wild life enthusiasts like us can do a NIGHT PATROLING in the JUNGLE which was the core USP for it.
Post all the walk, as usual, we asked the guard – kuch bada dikhao (show us something big and worth) – a tiger or a leopard. But could not sight one, but the guard warned us and asked us to stay absolutely quite. We wondered why and soon he gathered us around some excrete or dung and he said “beware- a sloth bear” around. And the guard too looked a bit tensed and asked us to move fast. That was to avoid an attack, which we too had learned at Kanha – Sloth bears are more dangerous than the tigers or lions as they come from somewhere unexpectedly and start spitting on the victim. The spit / saliva has some acid which starts immediately reacting on the victim and the victim gets distracted. The bear in the meanwhile hides somewhere and jump and attack the victim from the back usually. Ideally the heavy animal does not hit or bang the victim, it uses its sharp claws to simply rip apart the victim – either an animal or human. Another question which would come to your mind, would be how did the guard come to know from the shit that it was a sloth bear – the answer was that the shit was in round balls and black in color. This is usually the form and there were honey bee and bee nest particles in the shit and bears are know to steal and drink honey – tiger or leopard would never break a bee womb. And how did he know the bear was near –the shot was steamy soft and fresh and well, it’s the forest guards duty or skill to know all this.
Then we moved into a hilly terrain and finally I was getting too tired. We were again warned not to react if we see an elephant nearby, though we did not. It was said that if one reacts before a wild elephant, he is gone and if you behave like a good and silent boy the giant would not harm you. Soon we reached the forest gate post the most adventurous forest trip of ours. The night safari in
was a made up one unlike this one – exciting, unexpected and unpredictable and that’s what wild is all about. Singapore
In the day we did a morning boat ride in the Periyar lake – saw many birds, eagles, seals, wild buffalos. This was worth too (Rs 60 per person). There are also other wild tourism options like bamboo floating ( you float on a bamboo raft in the eater throughout the day in the jungle, a day long trek on the hills and many more – most of the tourists would be foreigners while the Indian counterparts would be busy getting the Kerala Massage or doing Kerala spice shopping - we were short of time as the rest of the trip was planned and Sid would not have appreciated more of Wild life so left it for the future !