Sunday, 25 October 2015

Follow me into the Jungle


Be warned that this post will be incredibly lengthy. Have lots of patience to read this. I can assure you it will be worth the read if you're planning for a forest trip in Kerala.


Gavi is a very small village located amidst the thick forests of Western Ghats and it is a part of the World famous Periyar Tiger reserve (well, i'm not sure whether the babies in Namibia know about this, but trust me, this is World famous). Gavi can be reached by two ways and by only one mode (road transport). One option is to make an entry from Kerala, where you need to reach Ernakulam (Cochi is the nearest airport) or Kottayam (again, Cochi is the nearest airport) and take a bus all the way to a place called Kumily (you'll burst into a hearty laugh if someone calls this a hill station). From Kumily, you need to reach Gavi either by hiring a jeep or by taking an Ordinary bus service that runs between Kumily and Pathanamthitta (2 buses per day), which i'll be discussing in detail as the post progresses. The other option is to make an entry from Tamil Nadu, where you need to reach either Madurai or Theni (Madurai is the nearest airport) and take a bus all the way to the mother of all hill stations Kumily. You poor thing have no other option than to take either jeep or the Ordinary bus services (or by your own car if you're self driving) to reach Gavi from Kumily, even if you make an entry from Tamil Nadu.   

Option 1:
Chennai to Kottayam - distance: 749 Km (overnight journey by train)
Kottayam to Kumily - distance: 108 Km (4 hours journey by KSRTC bus) 
Kumily to Gavi - distance: 32 Km (1.5 hours journey by Ordinary KSRTC bus)

Option 2:
Chennai to Madurai - distance: 472 Km (overnight journey by train)
Madurai to Kumily - distance: 141 Km (4 hours journey by TNSTC bus)
Kumily to Gavi - distance: 32 Km (1.5 hours journey by Ordinary KSRTC bus)

Route Map - Chennai to Gavi
I decided to choose option 2 as option 1 was ruled out because of festive season (no train tickets were available from Chennai to Kottayam). In the route map, the total distance between Chennai to Gavi is shown as 642 Km, which is applicable when you're driving from Chennai to Gavi on your own vehicle (conditions apply) and it can increase according to the road conditions.

My option 2 had this plan: Chennai to Madurai by Duronto Express (departed on October 21st 10.30 pm and arrived on 22nd 7 am) - Madurai to Kumily by bus (departed at 8 am on 22nd and arrived at 12 pm on 22nd) - Kumily to Gavi by Ordinary KSRTC bus (departed at 1.15 pm on 23rd and arrived at 2.45 pm on 23rd). Then, depart from Gavi on 24th by following a different plan, which i'll explain as the post progresses (told you, it will be an incredibly long post).