Date: August 31st, 2009
This is in continuation of a travel series that began in Kumarakom. To recap, we had gone to Kottayam for a friend’s wedding and after another friend, Ramesh, joined us in the afternoon, we took a bus from Kottayam’s main bus depot to reach the town of Kumily.
The nearly 3 hour long journey was quite an experience by itself. Once we passed the low lying towns, we sensed we were going uphill, but it’s not like we could see anything. It was pitch dark outside, and we could only assume the bus was taking hair-pin bends when the three of us slid from side to side on our seats. We had a blast, quite a roller coaster ride it was!
We reached Kumily town past 7pm, if I remember correctly. We didn’t have a reservation anywhere but we got a room easily for less than Rs. 1000 a night. I don’t remember the name of the hotel, sorry, it’s been nearly 3 years ago and I don’t remember where I wrote down all the details.
We had our drinks from a bar near by and then ate hot dosas and fried eggs from the street stalls that appear in the market centre at night.
The next day, we woke up early and took an autorickshaw to the Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary. We wanted to get there as soon as it opened at 6am as we were keen on taking the very first boat ride on Periyar Lake, for a couple of reasons. One, a lot of guides said it was the best time to see animals and the other being, the morning calm in the air. Plus, if we got the very first boat ride itself, we could have left for Ernakulum today itself.
We bouight our tickets (Rs. 150 for the upper deck) and got on our boat.
Here’s a video I took:
What was a pleasant journey for us ended up being a nightmare for other tourists a few weeks later. On September 30th, one of the tour boats operated by KTDC capsized and over 40 tourists died. It was a grim day for Thekkady’s tourism and one that woke up officials to address passenger safety. It wasn’t even until this incident that the boat operators insisted on life jackets for all passengers. Appalling, when you think about how they wait until some lives were lost to understand the value of certain basics.
We checked out of our hotel, had lunch and got a KSRTC bus going to Ernakulam, Cochin from the town bus station.
We reached Ernakulam (Cochin’s main city) just past sunset. After a tea break, we took an autorickshaw to Fort Kochi, where we would be staying the next two days. (Photos from Fort Kochi in the next post)
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