Cherai Beach, Kerala
Vibrant pictorial representations of the God’s Own Country in several magazines, newspapers and television enraged my curiosity to visit this land of enchanted beauty. Finally this curiosity ended up with a plan of Kerala Visit with my friends last month. We contacted the Delhi based tour operator Caper Travels Pvt Ltd, which is a National Tourism Award winning company to book a tour of 10 nights – 11 days. The destinations included in this package were Cochin, Periyar Munnar and Backwater Cruise, which were enough to fulfil my desire of exploring beaches, backwaters, hill stations, wildlife etc.
With my friends I boarded the Hazrat Nizamuddin Eravikulam Express from Delhi and arrived Cochin after 51 hours of long journey. During the journey the train passed by many cities which gave us an opportunity to get a glimpse of their culture and taste the different kinds of cuisine. When we reached the Eravikulum Railway Station, a hotel representative was standing with a placard. He greeted and transferred us to the well-maintained hotel where we were booked. At the hotel reception we were welcomed with flower garlands. We enjoyed the delicious dinner which we rounded off with sweetdish. After that we had a comfortable night at the hotel.
Next morning the call from the hotel reception awaken us and soon we prepared for the sightseeing in Cochin. After having the sumptuous breakfast we with our guide left for the Cherai Beach. This beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Kerala which is ideal for swimming. It is formed by the combination of lakes, lagoons, canals and estuaries. Here we enjoyed swimming, played with sand and quenched our thirst with coconut water. Later, we visited St. Francis Church and Mattancherry Dutch Place which is renowned for its architectural beauty.
Our next destination was Munnar. Here, we stayed for two days. It is one of the most popular and beautiful hill stations of India which is situated at an altitude of 1800 meters above sea level. It is a romantic destination known for its sublime greenery, tea and coffee gardens and pleasant climate throughout the year.
The Mattupetty lake is another major attraction of this place which is noted for alpine setting with green fields. The arresting beauty of this place forced us to capture several beautiful sights in our cameras. After spending the whole day in the lap of nature we returned to the guest house and enjoyed the traditional south Indian cuisine in our dinner.
Next morning, we woke up early in the morning and our guide took us to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary which is located at Thekkady. It is one of the most famous wildlife sanctuaries of India which is situated on the banks of the Periyar Lake. This sanctuary is known for its dense evergreen, moist deciduous forests and savannah grasslands surroundings. According to the census of the forest department this Sanctuary has around 40 tigers, 20 leopards, 900 elephants, 280 gaurs and a wide variety of other wildlife.
The reserve is also known for the Lion-tailed macaque, the Nilgiri langur, the Malabar giant squirrel, porcupine, wild dog, sloth bear, jungle cat, sambar, palm civet, wild boar and jackal. We enjoyed elephant safari and saw many animals, colourful birds and various species of plants. This slow and steady elephant ride was full of fun and excitement.