Men are nomadic by nature. Our long journey through space- time has jailed us in cages called modern homes. There are walls every where. In Home- in Office- in vehicles. By nature we long for infinite space. Space shrinks to a cage in rooms. We pretend to be content while we are boiling in the inside. So we undertake some journeys to cool off. Some journeys only add up the heat inside. But there are some places which will indeed cool you off. A journey to Parambikulam will surely cool you off.
We started our journey from Payyanur after supper and reached Palaghat early morning. We took some rest in a hotel and started off after breakfast to parambikulam tiger reserve. We reachered Parmbikulam by noon. As there is no private accommodation in Parambikulam you will have to book rooms in advance at the Govt. Guest houses. You can enter the forest only if you reach there before one pm . At the entrance the forest officials welcomed us. We had a hearty meal at the hut canteen and Mr. Natarajan, an official was entrusted to look after us.
We travelled through the forest for some 20 kms to reach ‘honey comb’ rest house where our stay was arranged. We were allowed to take rest until 3 pm. At 3 pm Natarajan came and we set forth for trekking. When our vehicle reached inside deep forest we spotted many animals in groups- deer bison and peacocks. The forest is not so thick. Teak was seen planted systematically. On enquiry, Natarajan explained that the natural teak worth millions of rupees were cut and ported to Foreign countries by the British who constructed a rail tram for the deportation. After that, in 1961, a special team was entrusted to plant teak trees. The longest and oldest living teak in the world is in Parambikulam. It is called ‘kannimaru’ now worth some 10 crores. The British also planned to cut it down but the tribesman who began to cut the branches noticed blood oozing from it. He declined to cut the tree saying that the tree is a virgin goddess. Thanks to the pagan believe, the tree lives to this day.
Parambikulam is home to some 27 tigers, hundreds of elephants, wild bears, deer, peacock and several other animals. While trekking we had a pleasant view of peacocks and bison and deer grassing. There are two dams in parambikulam . The water belongs to Kerala and the dam belongs to Tamilnadu -There of course is an agreement for sharing water- Parambikulam Aliyar projects water sharing agreement -which is seldom adhered to- The result –Kerala dries up and Tamilnadu gets the full share.
Once you are in the forest you will understand what the entire human race has lost in moving away from forests. The rejuvenating air will tell you everything. The chirping of birds and the distance cry of a sambar will tempt you to sing a song. The solace and peace of mind will cool you off. Interested and adventurous could stay overnight in a machan (tree hut) constructed over two or three teak trees. It has all the amenities-electric connection, attached toilet and the like – If you are fortunate enough you could witness a tiger hunting a deer live- There is also rafting through the river. There are plenty of crocodiles in the river.
We returned by night fall. We watched a tribal dance going on in full spirit. We got a very splendid supper and went to bed. The night was very still without the noise of motor vehicles- Total silence but for the occasional forest sounds.
Next morning we set off early. Natarajan told the case of a bear climbing up a high tree for devouring a honey comb. After getting intoxicated, it fell down over a stump causing fatal injuries. He also witnessed an elephant delivery- the act took place in the vigil of some fifteen elephants ready for any emergency. The mother is fed with fresh leaves by the others.
We set of to Aliyar Dam and then to Valpara,a picturesque mountain resort mounting some 40 hair pin bends. The journey was tough but the scene was rewarding. From Valpara we got down to Athirappalli Vazhachal waterfalls through tea estastes.
After witnessing the fury of the fall we climped up and jumped into the water upstream and got immersed in the running water for some time. The bathe refreshed us all and we returned home in good spirits.