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Old 4th September 2010, 19:23   #46
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Day 02, 20.08.2010
Top Slip


By the time we finished breakfast at the canteen, Kalpana had already arrived.

Kalpana with her Mahout majestically walking towards the parking lot
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Kalpana Climbing the slope with ease
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That rule is not applicable for her!!
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Mahout went to collect the seats ( "Ambari" ) and took Kalpana for mounting it all up on her.





So we went to see the small museum. All normally expected items like some charts, stuffed animals etc...

But I have never seen one like this any time in my life.

Aborted Foetus of an elephant
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After finishing with the Museum, we waited for Kalpana to arrive.
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I went to check out a small temple nearby.
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A Niligiri Langur caught my attention. He was busy eating away and his activities were pretty much interesting.
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I was so involved in shooting him I saw Senior Power Puff Girl running to me.

Daddy... Kalpana has come with seats!!
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The other girls got up from their rest and became ready for the ride.
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Kalpana with the seats
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We boarded her and went for an hour safari
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Kalpana though 33years was a naughty little elephant. She took us down a steep slope when she found a bamboo shoot. We were all little shocked at the speed at which she climbed down, broke the bamboo shoot and climbed back. She kept the bamboo shoot in the trunk and took us back to the boarding place.


@Star - You call came in during this time. I was forced to switch of the phone after that I switched it on back only at 03:00AM on 02.09.2010.



A kodak moment again
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Kalpana bids us farewell for now
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Kalpana munching away the bamboo shoot
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Offers me a small piece for making a portrait of hers. I politely refused!
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There was another guy ready by then
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The bus safari is available between 07:00 to 10:00 and 16:00 to 18:00, in between these you get the elephant safari. Elephant safari costs 400, an elephant is allowed only 4 people.

We bid farewell to Top Slip by 12:00 and drove to wards Parambikulam.

A few meters from the check post we saw some other accomodation available at Top Slip. Seems non functional.
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Old 5th September 2010, 00:07   #47
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Surprised to see Top Slip empty of tourists!
How did you find the facilities at Top Slip?
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Old 5th September 2010, 00:20   #48
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Great snaps. Looks like you had the place to yourself. Must be the monsoon.

We stayed in one of the bungalows there. The one just above the lawn with all the deer grazing in it. Nice place. Wooden walls and flooring inside, big bathroom with hot water. My dad knew someone in the Forest dept and had it booked through them.

Unfortunately we landed up there in summer and though there were too many tourists, not much of wildlife. They all move down in search of water.
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Old 5th September 2010, 04:11   #49
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laluks,

I am sorry I rated the thread only now and I am even sorrier that there are only 5 stars. The 33 year old is the highlight for me thus far, I simply love her expressions in "that rule is not applicable to her".
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Old 5th September 2010, 07:48   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Surprised to see Top Slip empty of tourists!
How did you find the facilities at Top Slip?
I guess since the day was a Friday, the place was empty.

Bus Safari and Elephant Safaris are available as per the time indicated. Canteen services are not for tourists, so food can be an issue. The common toilets for the tourists are a mess.

Accomodation wise I have seen them only from outside. The Bungalow was looking good, and csentil in his post below has said it is good too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by csentil View Post
Great snaps. Looks like you had the place to yourself. Must be the monsoon.

We stayed in one of the bungalows there. The one just above the lawn with all the deer grazing in it. Nice place. Wooden walls and flooring inside, big bathroom with hot water. My dad knew someone in the Forest dept and had it booked through them.

Unfortunately we landed up there in summer and though there were too many tourists, not much of wildlife. They all move down in search of water.
Thanks sentil.
It could be the monsoon, and also it could be that it was a Friday.

Quote:
Originally Posted by khoj View Post
laluks,

I am sorry I rated the thread only now and I am even sorrier that there are only 5 stars. The 33 year old is the highlight for me thus far, I simply love her expressions in "that rule is not applicable to her".

Thanks Khoj.
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Old 5th September 2010, 07:51   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
I guess since the day was a Friday, the place was empty.
Weekdays definitely would be the reason. Monsoon may have played a small deterrent. I was in Munnar on a weekday in Dec and it was almost deserted.
Hardly any folks in town. Thats when I realized, instead of weekend, weekdays should be planned for vacation!
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Old 5th September 2010, 08:13   #52
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Lalu, very nice coverage. Need to take few more details from you before I try out these places. Any idea as how's the weather during end October?
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Old 5th September 2010, 09:09   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudra Sen View Post
Lalu, very nice coverage. Need to take few more details from you before I try out these places. Any idea as how's the weather during end October?
Thanks Rudra da.

November to February, and Summer was told to me by the guides the best time for animal sightings.

October should be pleasantly warm I guess. This time the temperatures varied between 18 to 24 degrees at Parambikulam due to the rains. Nelliyampathy, the upper forests was a pleasant 30 degrees in May this year. So extrapolating - I guess it should be pleasant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Weekdays definitely would be the reason. Monsoon may have played a small deterrent. I was in Munnar on a weekday in Dec and it was almost deserted.
Hardly any folks in town. Thats when I realized, instead of weekend, weekdays should be planned for vacation!
Definitely I too think so.
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Old 5th September 2010, 09:13   #54
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But, laluks, the Top Slip-Parambikulam region may be receiving some rainfall during the Oct-Nov time also thanks to the returning North East monsoons?

What is the exact period when the WLS is closed?
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Old 5th September 2010, 09:45   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
But, laluks, the Top Slip-Parambikulam region may be receiving some rainfall during the Oct-Nov time also thanks to the returning North East monsoons?

What is the exact period when the WLS is closed?
Yes, You are right. November is rainy there, but WLS is still open.

Rains are fun there if you brave it out and trek, believe me And since these are deciduous forests the leech attacks are very rare. Deciduous forest are a great sight in autumn due to the leaves changing colours before they fall off. All in all Autum should be a photographers delight there.


WLS is closed only during peak Summer as I understand to prevent fire by the visitors. That's what happened in April when I tried to access the WLS. But I am not sure, if you happen to book there by some means in summer, whether you will be allowed at Sethumadai CP.
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Old 5th September 2010, 10:52   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
But I have never seen one like this any time in my life.
Aborted Foetus of an elephant
me too, it made me SAD when i saw the pictures. pre-birth mortality and infant mortality are the two biggest causes of the deaths in the world other than aging.

Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
A Niligiri Langur caught my attention. He was busy eating away and his activities were pretty much interesting.
wonderfully done collage there. the guy was also seem to be posing for the pictures

Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
We were all little shocked at the speed at which she climbed down...

@Star - You call came in during this time. I was forced to switch of the phone after that I switched it on back only at 03:00AM on 02.09.2010.
hmm.. interesting, I tried calling you couple of days later but your phone was switched off. I even sent you an SMS enquiring your well being.
Now i understand.


Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
A kodak moment again
good one,,a rare one of all 4 of you i think in the public domain
We (wife, daughter) also liked the picture of your girls waiting for Kalpana to arrive. We thought, that was worth the wait.

Last edited by StarVegabond : 5th September 2010 at 10:55.
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Old 5th September 2010, 12:45   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarVegabond View Post
wonderfully done collage there. the guy was also seem to be posing for the pictures
...
We (wife, daughter) also liked the picture of your girls waiting for Kalpana to arrive. We thought, that was worth the wait.
Thanks Star.

The Langur was happy with the attention he got

We could have continued on to Parmbikulam after the safari by 10:00 itself, but the interaction with Kalpana at the camp made us wait for her. The Power Puff Girls wanted to see her again. So we almost spent another 2 hours and only by 12:00 we moved on to Parambikulam. Looking back we all still have very good moments with her.
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Old 5th September 2010, 13:33   #58
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Day 02, 20.08.2010
Parambikulam WLS

By 12:15 we reached the Kerala Border Check Post.
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You just have to say that you are going to stay, probably show the permission obtained from the CP before, and drive away. No registers here. It is very clear that if you have been allowed thus far, then you are genuine and can go further. Anyhow we stopped by to chat with the gentlemen there and to click some photos.

Gentlemen at the CP watching us click like crazy
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Civvy at the WLS entrance
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Junior Power Puff Girl saying cheers to "Save our Wild Life"
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There is a restroom, unlike Topslip is in good state, and is built in an interesting way. Power Puff Girls looking around.

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From here the KFDC Reception is just 2Kms away.

Roads have become good, and it was like that all the way till Parambikulam, which is 20Kms from here.

On the way we spotted more wild life.

Wild Boar - Obelix was thankfully not present , and hence all wild boars were at peace
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Beautiful Peacock - there were plenty of them
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Why do Peacock and Spotted Deer most often are seen together? Look at both of them posing together in the second picture.
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Most P&S cameras would have asked - did you blink an eye?
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How can we ignore our omnipresent guy?
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Finally we reached the reception by 12:30. We were allotted a tent and a guide and we proceeded further to the tents which were a few hundred meters away from the reception.

Entry to the tents
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The concept here is if you take an accomodation at the tent, you get a package for 24 hours which includes some activities and three meals. Check in is by 13:00 and Check out by 12:00 next day, Lunch, Tea, Dinner and Breakfast is included - along with some trekking, boating and a safari. You can get all details from the Website of Parambikulam.

We parked Civvy at the designated spot
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We dumped the luggage and went directly for lunch. Lunch was a simple affair with 2 nonveg items, rice with 3 to 4 vaireties of veg curries, chapathis and a dessert.

After finishing lunch we relaxed a bit at the tent.

Our tent - Myna
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Our next activity is only at 15:00, which is the bus ride through the santuary.


continued...

Last edited by laluks : 5th September 2010 at 13:42.
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Old 5th September 2010, 14:28   #59
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Day 02, 20.08.2010
Parambikulam WLS

Since we were free till 15:00 I decided to take a stroll around to see what is there in that area.

This board says it all.
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I went to the Orientation centre.
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There will be some films on wild life at Parambikulam being displayed here.
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Saw for a few moments and got out, and continued the stroll.

I found that there are trenches around the tents so as to avoid surprise visitors.
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I continued the stroll and reached the centre of the place, where there are quite a few buildings. Some Random pictures from there.
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I saw another sign board showing the trek paths.
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Decided to move in that direction for a few minutes. It paid off, saw some more wild life.

Peahen
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Malabar Whistling Thrush
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Nilgiri Langur way up in a tree
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I returned back to the tent so as to catch the safari by 15:00.

On the way saw some labelled species of plants.
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Saw wifey checking out a berry from one of that plants, the colour matching was irressitable to avoid a click.
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Saw Junior Power Puff Girl deep in thought
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What came to my mind was the poem "Daffodils" by William Wordsworth, especially the lines I have marked in bold.

I WANDER'D lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,

They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:

I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.



After all my travels, this Poem comes to my mind always. I learnt this Poem at school in my 6th Standard, I have not yet forgotten this one.

This also reminds me of my teacher - Rev. Father Berthold, who taught me English and Latin. I owe a lot to him, almost all my skills in English. What more better than this to remember him on Teachers Day. Thanks a lot Sir, Thanks a lot.


@Jaggu, @Nutty - do you remember those days?

continued...
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Old 5th September 2010, 14:48   #60
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Can you walk around freely? Those trails on the display board there - they are only motorable or can you do it yourself with/without guide?

I remember there used to be water-side stilted cottages - are those in the same place you stayed in?
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