Hoped to do this immediately after the first part, but laziness intervened ;).
In my last post, I forgot to mention an amazing part of Day 2 - we watched a Kalaripayattu performance at a small theatre - it was the colosseum kind where you sit in high seats and look down on a central space. I was almost expecting lions and tigers and then this group of boys/men just leave you open-mouthed with their agility and amazing moves. Was trying to add a video as I didn't take any photos there, but blogger not co-operating right now, let me try to add that a little later.
Day 3 - The resort was offering a jungle jeep safari organized by Gavi Eco Tourism, and we decided to take it up though it was an early morning start. First a hitch - we shared the jeep with another family who arrived at 5:55 for a 5:30 am start :(. Our poor jeep driver who was thrilled to see us punctually there, was a bit taken aback at having the earliest and the latest families together I guess! I felt really guilty at rushing everyone out of the room, to make it on time, and then to sit and wait like idiots for nearly half an hour before starting off !! Ok now that rant is out of my system, let me get to the good part :). We travelled in an open jeep(co-o-o-old!) to Gavi which is about 40 kms away from the resort. Once you get there, they give you breakfast etc and set you up with a guide. We were lucky to get this marvellous gentleman called Ayyadurai who took us first on a "short" trek - this was because we had children along and were not too keen on going to the leech ridden thicker jungle zones. The supposed to be one-hour trek took us first through the scenic route - up a mountain and to a viewpoint from where we could see the Sabarimala hills, and included so many other impromptu stops like visiting a cardamom factory that we made it back just a little before lunchtime!
For the benefit of someone who might go to Thekkady and attempt the same Gavi Safari, some stuff which was not apparent to us but you should be prepared for:
- It is quite cold - even though it's Kerala, it's a hill station and esp early mornings and late evenings are quite chill. If you want to attempt something like this jeep safari, definitely carry some warm clothing.
- Only the to and fro to Gavi is by the jeep. As it was a "Jeep" safari my idea was that we would be spending most of the time in the jeep, so that was my level of preparation. We managed to make do, but if the itinerary was clearer would have done better! There is an option of doing a further drive in the jeep once you reach there but the foot-trek is the preferred way to go :).
- If you are planning to trek, wear closed shoes. They even give you extra leech socks that you can put on over your shoes. Again - for young children no socks are available, so wear well covered shoes if you plan to trek.
Day 4 - As expected we were kind of flat from the previous day, so decided to chill out in the resort. Kids had been asking for the pool since the day we arrived, so today was the day for that. And of course some trampoline fun too :). We did a little shopping in the afternoon (how can you visit Thekkady without checking out the spices - I fell in love and bought loads of vanilla, now have to think of what all I can make with it ;)). Also managed to throw in a couple of massages for hubby and me in the Ayurveda centre.
Day 5 - Made an early start and drove 8.5 hrs to reach Bangalore by early evening ! Even though the vacation was lovely, it feels great to be back home :) And now it's back to school time already tomorrow!!