The silence of the green GAVI…
Gavi, an island decorated by evergreen forests. Gavi is 28 km south west of Vandiperiyar, 14 km from Kumily, near Thekkady. In the 9 km stretch to Vallakkadavu check post the traveler will spot houses and shops and after check post , its wild forest ahead, the forest abundant with wildlife including the Tiger and elephants. The two-hour jeep ride will take you past hills and valleys, tropical forests, sprawling grasslands, cascading waterfalls and cardamom plantations. With more than 260 species of birds, Gavi is a haven for birdwatchers. En route are the Pamba Reservoir and a large tract of reserve forests, so chances of wildlife encounters with endangered species like the Nilgiri tahr and lion tailed macaque are big. Developed into an exclusive ecotourism project, Gavi is listed as one of the must-see places in India.
When we reached near Vallakkadvu check post, it was 5 pm. There is strict restriction to follow in this check post which is under Periyar tiger reserve. Entry passes must be obtained from the Forest Check Post enroute at Vallakkadavu.
The entrance fee is 25 rupees per person and 50 rupees per vehicle. For cameras, it is 25 rupees and video cameras are charged 100 rupees. The admission in check post was easy as we already booked with forest mansions of the Kerala Forest Development Corporation.
They informed about our details including vehicle number in the check post. The entry through this gate is allowed only to vehicles comes with prior permission, vehicles of natives, KFDC officials and guests. We also spotted travelers returning from Gavi. They said they spotted herds of elephants in many places.
The breathtakingly beautiful roads across the lush green tea plantations will take you to Gavi. A jeep ride is the best way to reach and explore Gavi, which is famous for its pristine natural charm still untouched by the mass tourism trails. The verdant forests, rolling grass lands and waterfalls give Gavi a dramatic appeal and surreal beauty.
We chatted with the tourists who were on their way out of the forest after relishing its beauty for hours. They eyes were searching for beauty of the forest and Angela from Portugal felt like she bagged a fortune. Their team spotted herd of elephants from very near. Her friend stubbed the cigarette he was smoking and put the rest of the cigarette in his bag. We felt pride for the couple who was seen respecting the forest without even throwing the smoked cigarette. Though their drivers gave us
information on chances of spotting elephants, we haven't spotted any till we reached Pachakkanam check post.
When we covered up 4 to 5 kilometers, one man waved his hand from his vehicle. That was R Radhakrishnan, tourism manager in Gavi. He was there to make phone call. The place is known as phone point as there is no range for phone before and after that area. There are no land phones in Gavi too. One official from tourism department will come to the spot every evening to receive bookings and give replies to the queries. When we reached Gavi , the night had fallen. There situated the forest Mansion', the scenic eco-lodge overlooking the Gavi Lake and the adjoining forests.
This lake is the part of the eight lakes included in Sabarigiri hydro electric project. A temporary shed prepared during the construction of dam was converted as forest mansion. This is the only accommodation facility here. The stay at the mansion with three bedrooms was warm and food too was very tasty.
Gavi owns the history of agriculture and flow of migrants after wards. The cardamom plantations here as part of `Grow More project' was later taken over by the FDC. They own cardamom factory here. The workers from Sri Lanka who migrated to here during 80s are working as employees here. Gavi is their land and some distance ahead of green mansion, situated their colonies, school and temple.
A private bus, which operates, services one time a day is only connection to the outside world. Recently KSRTC began service to Kumili via Gavi to utilize the tourism opportunities. This service is through Pathanamthitta , Vadasserikkara, Perinad, Puthukkada and Mankkayam. The natives are working as guides in eco tourism projects.
One can have a distant view of Sabarimala from a hill top here. Tourist would be able to visit cardamom plantation and factory as part of the package. Waterfall can be seen during the boat journey. Gavi is home to over 260 avian species making it a haven for bird watchers. RJ will say that even the tree which Noha used to construct his ship can be seen here. RK also takes nature classes for tourists who come here.
There is night safari facility for those who are staying over night. A couple from Amsterdam came during the morning, Saira and William, a cute looking couple. RK detailed about the forest and the beauty and they enjoyed the class. They selected hard core trekking that means trekking in the forest from morning to evening. After breakfast they began their journey.
We returned by evening and that journey was endearing .The scenes which we missed last day were unfolded before us by the forest. We saw herds of elephants at various locations.
How to Reach
By air : Kochi-200 km, Thiruvanthapuram-250km, Madurai-195km.
By rail : Nearest railhead Theni-70 km. kottayam-120km
By road : Kottayam- Vandiperiyar: 95km. Vandiperiyar â€“Gavi: 27km
KFDC Head office, kottayam 0481-2581204, 205
Tourist Reception centre at kumaly-04869-223270
Vallakkadavu check post: 04869-252515
Email: mail@ greenmansions.co.in
November to March
Daily trips from Kumali and Thekkady organized by travel agents and hotels.
Private bus service from Vandiperiyar to Gavi at 4.30 pm.
KSRTC service from Pathanamthitta to Kumily via Gavi from 12.30 pm. Reaches Gavi at 5.15 pm. From Gavi to Pathanamthitta at 7 am.
Pathanamthitta KSRTC bus station Ph. 04868 222366
Forest Mansion, Gavi-Day time package: trekking and boating (including breakfast, lunch and evening tea): Rs.850/person
Overnight package: (stay at Gavi mansion, trekking and boating etc): 1750/person
Jungle camps (stay at tents, trekking, boating, night safari): Rs-2000/person.
For booking Mob: 9947492399 (4pm to 5pm)