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Old 13th September 2009, 15:10   #1
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Default 4 men, a xylo and trekking in silent valley

Hi friends,

had three days of continous holiday this weekend, hence decided to go trekking in silent valley, Palghat, Kerala.

Brief description of silent valley -
Silent valley represents the triumph of conservation over mindless development pursuit by mankind, 237.52 square kilometers of virgin tropical evergreen forests out of which 89.0 square kilometers of core zone represents the single largest patch of un disturbed tropical ever green rain forests in India. We decided to explore this over one and half days- Friday 11th afternoon to Saturday 12th September evening. Half of this sanctuary would have gone under water, but for Dr. Salim Ali and Sugathakumari, Malayalam novelist who organised a movement to preserve the rain forests and stop the construction of sairendhri dam which was a hydel project conceived by Kerala State Electricity Board, This dam would have submerged atleat 100 square kilometers of the park had it been completed.

More info regarding the park is available at Silent Valley- Created by Nature ; Preserved by Mankind

Getting there-
From Kochi ( Cochin ) take NH 47 to Palghat,
Palghat to Mannarkad
Mannarkad to Mukkali which is the Head quarters for the national park.

A total distance of 182 kilometers

Here we go, am not quite good at travelogues,hence will try and keep it simple with pictures doing the talking,

lemme start with few pictures of our ride, my Xylo E8 ABS with 3500 kms on the ODO, Few shots of the machine which took us there.
Attached Thumbnails
4 men, a xylo and trekking in silent valley-picture-045.jpg  

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Old 13th September 2009, 15:59   #2
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sijil, good to hear about your trekks plans and looking forward to explore more by your posts and pictures.
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Old 13th September 2009, 17:30   #3
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Excellent. Looking forward to seeing the photos. Also please post about how the Xylo fared during the trip. We got a Red Xylo E8 ABS a few days back and plan to do similar trips once the run-in period is over.

Cheers
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Old 13th September 2009, 21:03   #4
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Sijil, eagerly waiting for the pics. The teaser was good. Your Xylo looks mean, and has a vicious sneer on its face.
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Old 13th September 2009, 22:07   #5
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Sijil, Silent Valley is one of the top destinations on my wish list. Eagerly waiting for your travelogue.
Ranjith
PS: Undue timelag (more than 1 day) in posting travelogues will attract infractions from mod team
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Old 13th September 2009, 22:59   #6
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Sijil, Welcome to the forum. Wainting for your writing and pictures. Silent Valley was in news so much some years ago and almost forgotten today.
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Old 14th September 2009, 11:11   #7
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Hi Sijil, nice start there. Am eagerly waiting for the trekking part
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Old 14th September 2009, 12:05   #8
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Sijil,

please share your xylo drive experience and also the experience as passenger?

-MUKE
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Old 14th September 2009, 12:08   #9
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Unhappy more pictures

sorry guys,
got stuck up with office presentations ,
more pictures of xylo on the way to silent valley, we visited a coffee and pepper plantation, we are into spice business and hence all 4 of us felt home in the pepper plantation, thought of capturing the xylo in the plantation, here we go,

day 1 -
started at 5.45 am from kochi, reached mannarkad by 10.45, had lot of pit stops on the way for food, meeting up with some old friends etc, other wise, would have made to mannarkad by 9.30.

stopped at this wonderful organic pepper and coffee plantation, xylo felt it belonged to the wilderness,
hope you guys would enjoy the xylo pictures


By 12.0 noon, we reached the mukkali forest checkpoint, this is the control point for entry into the park and you can opt for one of the below programmes,

a) safari in forest dept vehicle through the buffer zone, every national park will have following area demarcations,

1) buffer zone- representing outer periphery of the park, will have human inhabitations and private properties bordering this zone, in case of silent valley, this is approximately 65 square kilometers and includes 150 tribal settlements

b) Jeep drive to sairandhri which is the starting point of the core zone reprsenting the most pristine and un disturbed part of the national park with no human habitation. We opted for this followed by a 4 hour trek from sairandhri into the core zone.

For this, you will have to write to and get permission from the assistant wild life warden of the Mannarkad range, thankfully most of the forest range officers are from Kerala agriculture university and i am an alumni of this university, this helped in getting the permissions done fast.

More pictures and a detailed write up follows, got to go now and catch up with some more work.
Before i go, let me post a few more pictures of the starting point

We started the trek by 1.15 noon with following preparations,
bought lots of tobacco and salt- to ward off all the leaches, silent valley is a ever green rain forest and leaches are every where
had carried supposedly leach proof socks which are knee high,
lots of water and banana for carbohydrate re charge

you will have to hire a 2wd jeep to get 15 kilometers inside the park, the trek starts at forest check point near kelan para, exactly 15 kms from the mukkali forest station, the road is purely for offroad vehicles and xylo would not have made it as there were quite a few slushy areas, The park allows only local registered mahindra jeeps for this journey,
Attached Thumbnails
4 men, a xylo and trekking in silent valley-picture-046.jpg  

4 men, a xylo and trekking in silent valley-picture-053.jpg  

4 men, a xylo and trekking in silent valley-picture-054.jpg  

4 men, a xylo and trekking in silent valley-picture-055.jpg  

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Old 14th September 2009, 12:14   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H3LIOS View Post
Excellent. Looking forward to seeing the photos. Also please post about how the Xylo fared during the trip. We got a Red Xylo E8 ABS a few days back and plan to do similar trips once the run-in period is over.

Cheers
Xylo held up very well, i had migrated to xylo from accent VIVA CRDI Peted, hence felt this was a bit under powered and body roll is above what you would feel in a sedan, other wise, this is a good vehicle, did not push it beyond 100 kms as am still in the running in period.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pjay_in View Post
Sijil, eagerly waiting for the pics. The teaser was good. Your Xylo looks mean, and has a vicious sneer on its face.
thanks mate, more xylo pictures have been uploaded
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nutty Nair View Post
Sijil, Silent Valley is one of the top destinations on my wish list. Eagerly waiting for your travelogue.
Ranjith
PS: Undue timelag (more than 1 day) in posting travelogues will attract infractions from mod team
Quote:
Originally Posted by muke31 View Post
Sijil,

please share your xylo drive experience and also the experience as passenger?

-MUKE
One reason why i went for xylo was the tall driving posture, i am 6 ft tall and this vehicle allows me to sit straight without bending knees and back. I do 2500 kms/month and driving posture is important for me.
As a second row passenger, xylo provides superb comfort, way above what you can experience in a sedan.
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Old 15th September 2009, 10:29   #11
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Great pics Sijil. Hope you have more shots of the trek and the forest.
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Old 15th September 2009, 13:38   #12
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Nice write up , please continue with the good work, how was the handling of the Xylo, what was the FE that you got for the whole trip?
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Old 15th September 2009, 15:55   #13
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Default day 1 trek photos

we got onto the 2 wd jeep and got dropped at kelan para, 9 kms from mukkali, inside the buffer zone, we got down from the road to reach one of the stream of bhavani river, had to cross this to get into the core zone, after half a kilometer of walking, reached the river,

Pictures of our drive, tracker and Bhavani river, also you could see the makeshift bridge which is used to cross the river
Attached Thumbnails
4 men, a xylo and trekking in silent valley-our-guide-driver-mahindra-2wd.jpg  

4 men, a xylo and trekking in silent valley-bhavani-river.jpg  

4 men, a xylo and trekking in silent valley-bhavani-river-pristine-virgin.jpg  

4 men, a xylo and trekking in silent valley-make-shift-bridge.jpg  

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Old 15th September 2009, 16:07   #14
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Default day 1- trek photos

We cross the river and started the trek, once we crossed into the core zone, our first hurdle was leaches, they are practically everywhere, we had done some preparation and had bought so called leadh proof socks from palghat, very tight cotton socks which are supposed to prevent the leaches away, had the socks coated with a paste of tobacco powder and salt, but all preparation went useless, leaches were all over the legs and then we realised the best strategy is to leave your legs un covered, so that leaches will be visible and you can then sprinkle salt or tobacco once they are visible, if you have the socks on, they get inside and start sucking your blood, you will not even realise this until you find blood spots on the socks, a lesson learnt which we implemented for the next day

photos of the trek party, yours truly with so called leach proof socks, starting of the trekking trail
Attached Thumbnails
4 men, a xylo and trekking in silent valley-trek-party.jpg  

4 men, a xylo and trekking in silent valley-yours-truly-supposedly-leach-proof-socks.jpg  

4 men, a xylo and trekking in silent valley-start-trekking-trail.jpg  

4 men, a xylo and trekking in silent valley-trekking-trail-.jpg  

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Old 15th September 2009, 16:11   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Majic View Post
Nice write up , please continue with the good work, how was the handling of the Xylo, what was the FE that you got for the whole trip?
majic,
xylo does have good amount of body roll if you compare it against sedans and innova, but i have got used to it, you definitely cannot carry speed into corners in xylo,
braking is very good for a vehicle of this proportion and the ABS definitely helps, i had couple of ocassions on the Trissur- palghat highway where sudden braking was required and xylo held up very well.

FE- The DDIAS ( digital information assist system ) was showing a FE of 15 for the whole trip, i am yet to re fill hence don't know the actual efficienty, but i have been getting 11-12 kmpl on my usual drives, i guess, this time it will be around 13-14 as most of the drive was on highways.
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