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SILENT VALLEY NATIONAL PARK

The core of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, the Silent Valley National Park is probably one of the most magnificent gifts of nature to mankind, a unique preserve of tropical rain forests in all its pristine glory with an almost unbroken ecological history. Thanks largely to its difficult terrain and remoteness, the extent of degradation is minimal in comparison with other sanctuaries.

Sairandhri Vanam, meaning the forest in the valley, as referred to in the Mahabharatha and the River Kunthi give a mythological dimension to the National Park. The Silent Valley is seldom silent but it has an inexplicably unique character about it, what with the dense forest, the music of the birds and its quitet majesty.With an area of close to 90 sq.kms, the park is situated in the north-eastern corner of the Palakkad district. It rises abruptly to the Nilgiri plateau in the north and overlooks the plains of Mannarkkad in the south. The river Kunthi descends from the Niligiri hills above an altitude of 2000 m and traverses the entire length of the valley finally rushing down to the plains through a deep gorge. River Kunthi never turns brown; it is crystal clear, perennial and wild.
Tropical Rain Forests

Tropical evergreen forests occurring within a narrow strip above the equator is perhaps the most endangered natural habitat. Extremely fragile, it has suffered most from human interaction.In species diversity it is the richest habitat and has developed in area of the heaviest rain fall. That there is a very little soil erosion and that the rains are transformed into perennial streams and rivers may be attributed to thick canopy and closely packed tree stumps. In fact, scarcity of water is rarely felt. The evapotranspiration from these forests is much higher than from any other surface. This cools the atmosphere helping easy condensation of water vapor. This is the origin of the much-awaited summer rains.

Wild fires lead to abrupt changes in the eco system degrading the forest. When the Britishers entered the Silent Valley more than a century ago, these forests were untouched and extended enormously on all sides. They named it the Silent Valley because there were no cycads then. Today however, true evergreen forests untouched by man is only a dream.

Unlike most other sanctuaries, viewing wild animals in this park is quite difficult because of the thick vegetation

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Kinnakorai – Where Man and Nature live in Harmony

 

It’s a place where the climate changes like your mood. Kinnakorai, situated at the tip of the Nilgiris, on the Kerala-tamilnadu border,is inhabited by a few score Badaga families that still believe in old-words Hospitality.

When we ask for directions at the Manjur bus stand, a local thalaivar comes to our aid and soon two Badaga men acompany us on the hour-and a-half drive. At Carrington Estate, the tea plantation stretchas far as the eye can see. The rays of the sun cut a swathe acros the middle of the deep green-gray valley part of which belongs to Kerala. As you walk down the quiet Carrington road enroute to Kinnakorai,even the sound of twigs snapping under your feet gets magnified. Nerby is the Thiasholatea estate, which grows organic tea. Carington and Thiashola are the oldest tea plantation in the Nilgiris.

Tea Gardens

 

Till 60 years ago , Kinakorai was known only for its coffee gardens. But falling prices saw the locals switch to tea cultivation, which has proved more profitable. From the tea gardens, situated at an altitude of 6,000 ft above sea level, you can see the Geddai power station, winch route and the narrow, widing road. You can also spot Kolathurai, Attapadi and Anaikatti.

 

Badaga Village

 

After stopping by at the tea plantations, make it a point to visit at least one badaga village. We choose Melur – a village where tradition and modernity have struck a truce. The children go down to the plains to study while the elders continue life at their own pace.

The people are so friendly that they don’t mind you gawking at their traditional attire. Known for their hospitality, they ensure that you never leave without sharing a meal with them. At the entrance to Melur is a semi – circular beach-like stone structure. This is were the village headman presides over meetigs. A hole in the midle server as a fireplace.

 

Nearby, a grid for a game of dice has been chiselled in stone. This and the image of a tiger were carved in 1882, as indicated by the artist’s signature on a stone near by. The local believe that anyone who is sick will be cured if they show the affected part to the image, first thing in the morning. The road leading to Kinnakorai is an example of harmonious co-existence between Man and Nature.

 

The forest is so well preserved that tigers and panthers don’t mind taking a stroll even in the middle of the day.The locals don’t panic and merely wait for the original inhabitants to move on. That the people here love nature is evident in the way they look after their surroundings.

All our trek programmes start off at 8am after breakfast at the lodge.

Packed lunch(usually chappati n vegges )&mineral water has to be carried 

by the guests themselves………baby is the guide for easy n medium treks,whereas for 

hard ones, tribal guide are going to accompany

THE 3day Programme…………

DAY-1

walk downhill to the nearby tribal village(erula tribe)………proceed get to banks of siruvani river

(supossed to be the softest n tastiest water in asia)and treak upstream to stages of 

water falls………,possibility of a swim if the weather is supportive(absolutely no spectators there)

taking a circle.get back to the lodge through another route ……..the lunch at the waterfalls though

Campfire,dinner,chat……….or sleep away.

(medium )(say10kms)

DAY-2

walk through jungles and farms…..the jungles mostly semi evergreen and farms of spices,vegetables,

fruits,rubber,coffee…….Tea estate visit(processing factory included) and again back through another 

route

(little hard but interesting)(say20-22kms)

DAY-3

Visit the local tribal temple,scattered tribal dwellings,tribal village too on the way………mostly through 

grasslands,great views of attapady,

(easy)(8km)

The lodge has deliberately kept many facilities minimal,offering a simple homely approach to your reatreat.

village treaks through farms and jungles,do reveal coliving among the different tribes ……….coexistance of man and nature.

quiet and tranquil………the lodge is set in a protected patch of semi-evergreenforests

treak around with a local guide,go birding,camping,or laze around in the eatery…….reading

only 3 cottages to reduce the impact