I thing one of the most exciting thing while travelling is when you go to a place that you never ever have heard the name of and have no idea of what kind of location it is and once you arrive there you wonder how come that you did not know as you are surprised with awesome beauties .
Our trip to the Western Ghat Mountains or Sahyadari as it is locally called in India was a trip like this .I did not hear about this mountain range in India nor had I an idae of what kind of surrounding or place it was . But certainly I was very curious to find it out soonest .
Often when I am going to start a trip through the mountains and I know that the roads are not that developped I feel quite tense as due to many experiences that I have made in so many years I know that once you start to take this road you need to go till the end as there is no option of a way back .
I know that these type of mountain roads can be very steep , very curvy , very high , not secured at their side , very tight ,sometimes under water , sometimes cracked and very dangerous and sometimes once you did a mistake they could end up at the end of nowhere and nobody to ask .If you are too late then they can be superdark so that you cannot see the way and you are at the edge of 100s or thousands of meters at you side without any security or you can meet very bad weather conditions such as heavy rain or even snow or fog so that you are again lost and in a very dangerous situation .
Thanks God it was not the case when we in the Western Ghat Mountains .The roas were curvy , yes but safe .There was no problem at all .
“Ghat” is an Indian word and means either “gateway through the mountains” or “steps down to the waterside”.
Actually we were on our way from Kerala but decided to make also a trip to West Ghats before moving on to Sri Lanka .
You might not have heard of the Ghat Mountains before but these mountains are a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE Site since 2012 .
The 1600 km long mountains range is located at the western coastline of India and extends from the north to the south and is a mountain range that is even older than the Himalaya Mountain range .
It covers an area of about 160.000 squarekilometer and we found ourselves in this great wonderful greenish area .Our goal was to reach out to Thekaddy -Periyar .It was in March ,weather was fine and the roads were not crowded .Here and there we just see some local village people with beautiful black eyes and a dark skin .
They are very friendly and love to talk to tourists .Often they wear some Indian traditional clothes and often they pass by with their little tuk tuks .
Sometimes we just stop to buy some fruit especially red bananas or some small samosa as a small bite before we just move on .It is all very delicious .
The roads are curvy , sometimes up and downs but the view at each and every corner is gorgeous . Endless nature , mountains with a tropical fauna .It llooks so beautiful and also peaceful .Being here on the road trip is really fun .
There are several reasons why the West Ghat Mountains are a UNESCO WORLDHERITAGE site . These tropical mountains are first of all home to about 3000 tigers which is about 70% of the world tiger poulation and thousands of Asian elephants .For this reason there are many national park over here in order to save this wildlife and nature .On the other side it is geologically a very important place where in summer months the monsoon winds and rains are captured here and build a very important water supply source for the 245 million people who live in this area .
Moreover it is at the 8th place in the world what concerns the variety of the fauna and the flora in this region .
Here in the West Ghat Mountains 325 endangered species are living and are under protection .
We pass by this great nature , admire all the huge trees with their great leaves whether they are palm trees or tropical fruit trees.So many flowers and trees that we see for the first time .From time to time clouds are settling on the peaks of the mountains which gives the surrounding again another nice flair .
AS wide as you can see there is a huge area with endless numbers of green shades .In the afternoon finally we arrive at Thekaddy but we need to change our car as our hotel is in Kumily at the peak and the road is only suitable for a jeep .
With our little jeeps we climb up the hill and arrive a our beautiful hotel where our room is at the highest level with a nice terrace where we can see the whole mountain range .
I think it is difficult to explain the beauty of nature over here .White clouds are passing by .The hotel has an endless pool where we can relax a little bit from our road throughout the day , where we can breathe the pure mountain air , the silence and enjoy also the view from our pool .
It is just gorgeous !
The reason why we especially wanted to visit the West Ghats is to visit the Periyar Tiger reserve which is located at the Periyar River here in 2000 m height .
In the morning we drive with our jeeps to the entrance of this wildlife protection park and then take the bus which brings us down to the Periyar Lake .
As soon as we arrive down there monkeys are jumping from the trees to get a banana or some peanuts but we need to be very careful as they are wild animals and a bit agressive .Even a small scratch of them could lead us to a hospital to get soe vaccine .Monkeys are animals which carry most of the diseases in their body which could be dangerous for us .
The Periyar National Park is about 925 squarekilometer and gives protection to wildlife since 1978 .
There is the Periyar and the Pamba River as well as the Periyar lake in the National Park .
Beautiful teak , mango , rose , jacaranda ,eucalupthus , bamboo ,banyan and sandal trees are around . More than 140 different species of orchids and 170 different types of grass can be found in this park .
Close to the park there are tea , coffee and cardamon plantages around . We take the legendary boat tour through the park which takes about 3-4 hours on the lake .We need to take on our life vests which is fine .
The water is quite calm , there is very little river flow . We can just hear the vices of the animals around as everybody is supersilent amd just listening and watching .
While we are slowly drifting down on the water we have the feeling that we are in another surreal world , far away from home and in a totally different dimension .It is an unbelievable awesome experience .We just hold our breathe and watch the riverside , the water and are curious of which animal will apppear next on the stage .
The colours of nature in these morning hours are really very beautiful .
Our biggest wish of course is to see a tiger but this needs a big portion of chance .
In the Periyar Tiger Resrve there are about 40 Bengal tigers living including the also some white tigers .
The administration of the park is doing everything to protect those and to raise their population .
Besides the tigers about 800 Asian elephants are living in the park as well .
While we are drifting over there the animals are coming one by one to the riversides of the lake .
There are may gaurs which are Indian type of bizons which have a weight of about 1 ton in average .
They are the most heaviest type of bizons .
A bit further we can see several dholes which are the Asian type of wild dogs .
For me they look like the Australian dingos .
They are so strong that 2 dholes can kill a deer in the water that is much bigger than themselves , pull the animal to the ground and make it a lunch .
Far away we can see a little elephant family approaching the riverside to take some bath with their little babies.
In the park area there are also wild pigs , Sambar deers , giant squirrels , lazy bears , Nilgiri goats , Nilgiri monkeys , about 300 different birds species , 45 types of snakes and reptiles , lots of different frog types , fish and bugs and insects .
It is an enormous dense ecosystem that is working over here and which is so impressive for us .
On the waterside we can see the roots of trees where black herons fly around .They are so cute .
A whole day we spend in the Periyar Park where every corner is so exciting for us .
Nature is permanently in action .The animals are always running around either they run behind their own herds or they run away from their enemies or they run around their youngsters to protect them .There is always some great energy around you .
In the Periyar Park you can either have a boat tour as we had or you can have an accomodation in the park and get some guided tour through the park during the day or in the night or you can take a very simple wooden platform to drift down the lake and explore your environment.
Unfortunately we could not sight a tiger on our boat trip but if you ask me this is good news .
The longer the distance between these wonderful animlas to humans the better it is as otherwise it might be not possible to protect their wildlife .
Normally they live in the deeper parts of the mountains and are observed by cameras .
From time to time the rangers interfere to protect the animals when they are in danger or need of help but manage to put them back to nature once they have overcome the challenge .
The local rangers are real naturelovers and the real protectors of this giant and beautiful mountain range .
We are so grateful to have had the chance to be here and experience the Western Ghats and this beautiful park with its gorgeous natural sightings .
Being a part of you for even just this one day was gorgeous !
We had a great time in this wonderful corner of the world that so many people might even not have heard about .
I do hope that soonest we will have the chance to travel to other parts of this world that we have not heard either and which are also of great beauty .