The Kannan Devan Hills, nestled in the lush forests of Kerala, India is the perfect romantic retreat for anyone who wants to go back in time, and connect with nature.
Click here to read the introduction: The Romantic Kannan Devan Hills
With nothing much to do in the rain, we drove towards Chokkanad, our next stopover for the night which was located in yet another beautiful setting. With my bags stashed in my room, I hurried outside to do some bird watching. It was a perfect evening, with a mild breeze, blue skies and evening light making it one of the most remarkable locations to sight birds. I could identify 15 species of birds in about an hour before the sun finally set on the horizon.
I returned to the bungalow where a hot platter of pakoras from the butler, with tea, was waiting for me and I knew right then that life here was going to be good. Needless to say, this was a perfect place to apply the brakes to your fast-paced life and reconnect with a loved one.
Early next morning, I took a walk in the hope that I would witness a beautiful sunrise. I wasn’t lucky as a thick cloud cover had moved briskly over the area. We set out in a Mahindra jeep towards Eravikulam National park, a safe haven for the endangered Nilgiri Tahr. We were greeted by a solitary Nilgiri Tahr overlooking the vast stretches of Western Ghats. While driving up to the park, one can see a formation of rocks shaped like an elephant head and hence the name Anaimudi which also happens to be the tallest peak south of the Deccan Plateau.
At an hour’s driving distance from Anaimudi, we arrived at Gravel Banks. There were signs of the presence of elephants nearby as a pile of elephant dung indicated. Traversing an elephant territory is not without the element of risk and adventure. A river was meandering quietly across the wilderness and the chuckling sound of a giant Malabar squirrel with a burgundy coat and a long, bushy tail attracted my attention. A suspension bridge built in the year 1902 ran over the river.
I immediately fell in love with the tranquil wilderness of the place. This was definitely a great spot for wildlife sighting, angling, trekking and picnicking. I left the place reluctantly and moved on to my next destination. Every place I seemed to go to felt better than the last place I had been to. I could not wait to see what was in store at my next stopover.
Coming through Rajamali, I was lucky to sight the nimble-footed mountain goats right on the main road. It is remarkable that the species under extinction had made a comeback, thanks to the earnest efforts of the wildlife personnel and the tea estate management officials. I was told that every new employee has to undertake 5 day trekking along these hills to understand the boundary markings. I silently envied all employees of this gorgeous place and wished I had the privilege to live and work in one of the most breathtakingly beautiful spots in south India.
My thoughts were interrupted by a sudden change in weather when a downpour seemed imminent. We dashed off to the High range club which has a lot of character and history surrounding it. This century-old club, whose wooden walls are lined with stuffed heads of Nilgiri tahr, deer and wild boars, had until recently observed a strict European dress code. The bar lounge, I gathered has maintained the same colonial decor for over a hundred years. Another tradition is the hanging of hats by all those who have been a part of the club for over 30 years on the walls. In all, I was quite pleased to spend some time indoors in this magnificent place.
Click here to continue reading: Magical Holidays in Kerala
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