Another lovely destination which is easily reachable but really refreshes one is Parambikulam. Parambikulam Tiger Reserve is located in Palakkad district of Kerala.It is located 40 km from Pollachi in Tamil Nadu. The tiger reserve is located in an area surrounding the Parambikulam Aliyar Project or PAP.
The Parambikulam Aliyar Project is a unique initiative aimed at augmenting the irrigation facilities in the drought prone Coimbatore and Erode districts of Tamil Nadu and the Chittoor area of Kerala. The project includes 10 dams , 4 power houses, 6 main tunnels and 7 irrigation canals. It accomplishes the integration and diversion of 8 rivers with reservoirs at various elevations and utilising this for generating hydro electric power. Most of these rivers are rain fed rivers in the Anamalai ranges. The canals, tunnels and reservoirs are located in picturesque surroundings in reserved forests. Thus , it utilises natural resources optimally and also serves the interest of tourism. It is also an excellent example of inter state cooperation between Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
The Parambikulam Tiger reserve is home to four tribal communities who live here in hamlets. These tribals work as guides for treks and safaris in the reserve and serve as an integral part of the comprehensive harmonious ecosystem.
The activities available here include Jungle safaris, treks, bamboo rafting and tree top experiences. There is a giant 500 year old Kannimara teak tree here. It is more than 41 metres in height and almost 8 metres in girth. This tree is worshipped by the indigenous people of Parambikulam. Legend has it , that it bleeds when anyone tries to cut it and hence the tribals preserved it. “Kannimara” means virgin tree .
We drove down from Coimbatore to Pollachi and after a sumptuous breakfast, headed to Sethumadai. The road was beautiful with trees on either side of the road.
From Sethumadai we first reached the Anamalai Tiger Reserve where the first check post is located.
Anamalai Tiger Reserve
Here we paid the entry fees and completed registration formalities and proceeded further and reached Top Slip.
From Top Slip, we proceeded further. As we proceeded further, we saw the Elephant camp at Top Slip.There were lot of deer in the forests around and very often they crossed the road in front of us.
The Elephant Camp at Top Slip
Deer roaming around freely at Top Slip
Proceeding further, we reached the Kerala border at Anapady where we entered the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve. Here again we had to pay the entrance fee and register the vehicle number .
Parambikulam Tiger Reserve entrance
About 2 km after this check post, we reached the Parambikulam jungle safari area. From here on, only people with pre booked accommodation are allowed entry into the reserve. Others have to leave their vehicles here and join the jungle safari organised from here in special vehicles.
Since we had booked for accommodation, a guide who belongs to the local tribe accompanied us inside the reserve. As we drove along inside the reserve we saw some more deer. Langurs and peacocks were also seen. We also spotted a fish eagle.
A peacock and an inquisitive langur
As we drove on, we entered more forested areas. Soon we were at Thoonakadavu where there is a large reservoir. As we drove past the reservoir, we saw some crocodiles basking in the sun on the banks of the reservoir.
The forested roads near Thoonakadavu
We proceeded further down and reached another reservoir , the Peruvaripallam Reservoir.
We had booked accommodation at Peruvari Island nest, a beautiful tree top bamboo house on an island in the Peruvaripallam reservoir. The only way to reach this resort is by bamboo rafts.
So we had to leave our vehicle near the bamboo rafting point and we boarded a bamboo raft .The local guides including the guide who accompanied us rowed the raft.
The Bamboo raft
Starting our journey to the Island resort in the bamboo raft
This was really a unique experience. The surrounding areas had large bamboo clusters which looked beautiful against the waters of the reservoir.
The beautiful bamboo clusters on the banks of the reservoir
Reaching the Bamboo house….seen with green roof in the back drop
The beautiful tree top bamboo house called Peruvari Island Nest
The house was made of bamboo and had all modern amenities. In addition, there was a bamboo extension bridge built into the reservoir where we could walk up to and enjoy the scenery around
The bamboo extension bridge
Feeling happy and safe on grandpa’s shoulders
The local guide who accompanied us quickly provided us some tea and snacks which we enjoyed sitting in the balcony of the tree top house.
It was truly a great experience. Beautiful views of the reservoir and surroundings with cool breeze wafting in made us feel ecstatic.
Beautiful views from the tree top house
After sun set, it was a different experience with the sounds of the forest and occasional sounds of nocturnal birds.
The guide along with the local raft helpers cooked up dinner for us. We enjoyed the meal in the stillness of the night. Spending one night in an island in the forest was really something unique for all of us.
Next morning we enjoyed the views of dawn and the breakfast provided by the helpers. After that we took the raft back ashore and then visited the Parambikulam dam by car.
At Parambikulam dam
We wanted to see the Kannimara Tree but unfortunately the road leading to the tree was damaged and tourists were not allowed at that time.
From there we proceeded back home via Pollachi with refershed minds and wonderful memories of a day well spent in the lap of nature.
This is again a very easily doable option for a unique refreshing holiday. The experience of living on an isolated island in a forest is a rare opportunity. So just pack your bags and head to Parambikulam…..
To keep me refreshed and enthused to get you more destinations, do keep your comments and feedback flowing in like the gentle breeze of Parambikulam….
There are various accommodation options available at Parambikulam and one can pre book at the site