Western Ghat Scramble

“The rain on some days whispers to me. Sing it loud. Dance to the core. Fly high with the wind. Forget your sorrows a bit more.“(Selin S.R. impression of Western Ghats)

Crossing into the state of Kerala on day 11 of our South India adventure, our tour bus rose steeply from central lowland plains into the rugged mountains of the Western Ghats. This slow moving road into wild nature’s isolation would hopefully provide us a timely “break” from the urban chaos of our Chennai, Madurai, and Pondicherry visits earlier in Tamil Nadu. The photographic display below documents several Ghats highlights from our , nature-filled days at Periyar National Park.

Ruth and I settled into Elephant Court, a Tiki Hut- like Lodge, in late afternoon and looked forward to quiet time on our patio overlooking this upland sanctuary of tropical bliss for the remaining of the day.

We seemed unprepared, however, that this 1st evening would be filled with jungle uproar of aggressive monkeys, squawking birds, and religious chanting.

So we would decide to join our tour group in booking an optional excursion that night to witness the dazzling theatrics of a local martial arts practice called Kalaripayattu.

When I first heard the word Jeep by our tour guide, I knew it was going to be a very bumpy mountain ride we would join in on the next morning.

Fortunately, the air seemed cooler as our sturdy vehicle dodged potholes on the way up to 4300 feet elevation along the steep mountain called “Ottakathalamedu”.

In spite of the hazy atmosphere beyond, I envisioned a distinct resemblance to the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. This scenic apex also inspiring pleasing group photos of the men and women separately posing on our tour.

It seemed Ruth got “carried” away raising a Communist flag from an Indian “local” then.

Our very busy 2nd day would continue with a thrilling boat ride through the wildlife sanctuary of Periyar Tiger Reserve.There we observed close up views of elephants, water buffalo, monkeys, and deer but no tigers.

After completing another full day schedule of this action packed, Gate 1 tour, we would finally settle into a night of quiet rest. Oh no! Here came the monkeys again.

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