Last week I was away on a family trip to Thekkady. It’s a beautiful little town perched on the border of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Just beyond the border is Kumily, after which comes Thekkady. There’s not much distance between the two towns, and we saw plenty of shops with address boards that read “Kumily/Thekkady.” It’s almost as if the locals have made peace with the fact that tourists will never understand the nuance differences between two small towns.
Nevertheless, we were in Thekkady. I love the way the name of the town rolls off my tongue. It starts slow but halfway through, it tumbles as if in a hurry. It’s a beautiful word, to name a beautiful town.
Even before we chose Thekkady to spend my parents’ anniversary, we knew there was nothing for us there. Sure, there were a handful of tourist attractions but they all came in a package. The package which starts at 5.30 am, ends at 3.00 pm. And during that time, we’d travel on a ferry, get a glimpse of a waterfall, trek through a spice garden, and ride through one part of the 1388 sq.ft of the forest cover.
We did none of those, though. We didn’t want to lose sleep and cram a tiny boat, with other tourists pointing fingers and cameras at overgrown trees and the silhouette of a tiger.
We chose the untrodden way, instead. My brother knew a local guide who had been doing jungle safaris for twenty-five years. He didn’t promise serene stuff like a lake-view lunch. But he asked for four hours of our time. And told us we’d be going to three places, all of them view points.
He took us to The Green Mountain, The Shola Forest, and Parunthampaarai (Translates to Eagle Rock). And a bonus, he bought us the local special tea in one of his friend’s tea shop. It was cardamom tea at its best.
Each of the three places had so much to capture that one panorama couldn’t do it. I realised a whole different meaning of getting high. Having lived in a city with just enough fresh air to sustain myself, I was thrust, all of a sudden, into more oxygen that I could take in.
All three places deserve separate posts, and that’s what they’ll get. Stay tuned.