One more visit to Parambikulam

May 2015

I had visited Parambikulam in 2007 and 2008. The experience was great both times which prompted me to visit this place again. This time I went with my friend Krishna.

With time Parambikulam has undergone some change. Good news is that the forests remain intact and so are the animals. But number of tourists has increased. Earlier, only one vehicle was allowed every 20 minutes. That rule seems to be relaxed now going by the number of vehicles inside the forest. The focus is shifted from nature to picnic. The tramway trek and all other treks to the core areas are stopped now. But compared to neighbouring Top Slip in TamilNadu, Parambikulam still looks better in terms of handling tourists.

An interesting event was when the forest guard checked our vehicle at the entrance. Alcohol is banned in the forest and the forest guard could not believe when we told that we had no drinks. Two Boys from Bengaluru without drinks was hard to imagine for him!! He checked everything in the car while we were laughing looking at his efforts. He even opened all water bottles and smelled to double check!!

A monitor lizard
The trip to Parambikulam comes as a package from forest department. There are day and stay packages. In a way, they are trying to emulate Jungle Lodges in Karnataka. We went for a stay package for two nights which includes Safari.

The safari is on a rickety vehicle without much focus on photography. Since many events like dam visits, boat ride and tribal dance are included; the guides are always in a hurry in covering all of them. In spite of that we did find many animals like Bison, Spotted deer, Sambar deer, Elephants, Nilgiri Langur, Monitor lizard and many birds. Herbivorous are omnipresent in Parambikulam.

For peacocks, there are present around the reception area.

Safari also takes us to several viewpoints in Parambikulam mainly overlooking dams. The picture below is the backwaters of Tunakadavu dam.

The view from the top looks better.

Parambikulam dam is at a more scenic location.

What I liked a lot of Bamboo ride in the backwaters of Parambikulam Dam.

Look at the Elephants grazing peacefully.

Another group of Elephants.

Tribal dance included in Safari was not impressive for me. The tribes have already joined mainstream and live a life like anyone else.

It gets dark by the time all events in Safari are completed. During trip back to forest guest house, huge numbers of Bison could be seen. I am not very comfortable with nigh safari. They disturb the animals a lot. I would prefer to leave them alone at least during night.

Place we stayed.
We were also taken for morning walks where we saw lot of birds. Here is the compilation of list of birds that I and Krishna could recognize.

White bellied treepie

Whistling Thrush
Malabar Parakeet
Jungle Babbler
White throated Kingfisher
Spotted Dove
Hill Myna
Common Myna
Black rumped flameback Woodpecker
White browed wagtail
Racket tailed Drongo
Black Drongo
White breasted Water Hen
Common Cuckoo
Lesser fish eagle
Little Cormorant
Common Kingfisher
Pond Heron
Stork billed Kingfisher
Little egret
River tern
Red Wattled lapwing
Serpent eagle
Indian roller
White rumped Munia
Magpie Robin
Red whiskered bulbul
Red vented bulbul
Heart spotted woodpecker
Great Pied Hornbill

Does trip to Parambikulam worth? I think so if you have not visited before. It is a nice place but the crowds will mostly be touristy in nature. Staying at loghut next to backwater or island would be a nice experience. Do not go with carnivorous animals in mind. There are many but it is hard to be seen due to the way the safari is structured.

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