Sunday, 15 April 2007

Periyar Tiger Reserve

Park Entrance

Our three day walk in the hills was a definite highlight of our time in India. It was just the two of us, a very official Park Ranger with a gun, a local guide, a cook and a couple of raft paddlers / wood gatherers.

It was the start of the dry season so the lake which in the wet season reaches the treeline was quite low so much of the walking was in the river bed. Periyar is a man made lake which provides water and power to Tamil Nadu.

We would walk in the morning, and rest in the camp during the heat of the day before going out walking again. One day we also went on a long bamboo rafting trip (Amy's arms hurt!).

The park is home to lots of animals - samba deer, sloth bears, bison, boar, elephants, kites, giant squirrels, monkeys, bats, mongoose - which we saw ... and leopards and tigers, which remained hidden.

The guides were really good, and let us have lots of time to watch the animals as well as explaining some of the local cultural things. We were also fed like kings!

Paul walking in the lakebed

Bamboo raft to the camp site

Camp site by the lake




We followed this group of elephants from the trees for almost an hour. You can't see but there was a super baby one which hid in the legs of the others

Leopard print

In the Hills

This is my email from up in the hills...

After a bit of time on the beach and then some time inland visiting lots of different temples we are now up in the hills just inside Kerala.

This area is known for its spices and the streets are really fragrant, which makes a lovely change from the constant smell of people and exhaust fumes. Today we did a trip even further into the hills and checked out both spice and tea plantations, and sampled lots of very fresh spices. My project tonight is to label the photos so I can tell my pepper vines from the vanilla ones.

We're staying in a little cottage which looks into some parkland and has some great under tree relaxing areas. Last night on our way back from dinner we spent lots of time trying to work out what the random animals lurking in the distance were, and we think they were some type of wild pig, but not entirely sure.

Hopefully the animals are about to get more exotic as we head off on a three day trek in the jungle. In theory this is tiger country but I hear they are shy.

Best go rest up now for the walk.

Hope you are well,

Amy & Paul (who wanted to spend some time in an internet cafe to check the NZ cricket results)

PS We also went elephant riding yesterday.

The Elephant after our ride


Cinnamon Tree

Green Pepper



Tea picking

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Tamil Nadu Temples

Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram

Temple Gate

Bathing in the Ghats

Paul after his fire blesing with his red ash

Temple Elephant going for a walk

Brihadishwara Temple at sunset (Thanjavur)

Another temple elephant

Paul in the courtyard Brihadishwara Temple
Rock Temple - Trichy

View to the top, after 400 or so steps

Side of the Rock Temple

Sri Menakshi Temple - Madurai

One of the gates

Ghats at sunset