A dash to Parambikulam - Trip report

#1 Aug 20th, 2010, 22:15
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I had made a very short dash (not sure if it was even long enough to be called a day trip)to Top slip and Parambikulam a couple of days back. So here goes a log which is not so brief as the trip was. But wait! If you just want to know something useful about the place, you can always head to the final 'Some Info' section.

It was well past 8 AM as I was wandering near Pollachi bus stand, looking to hire a cab to take me to Top slip and Parambikulam. Unfortunately, I found the rates to be quite exhorbitant for a solo traveler So there I decided to make use of public transport though I knew I would miss the luxuries of traveling in privacy.

So headed to the bus terminus and got to know that the bus to Top slip was at 10 AM. So headed to the hotel, got refreshed and came back to the terminus by 9 30 hoping to get a front seat in the bus. It was 10.. 10,30.. 11. Heck the bus wasn't there yet. It was soon 11 30 and I almost decided to leave the place in desperation. And in ten minutes comes the bus Talk about the lacklusture attitude of the govt staff, the bus wasn't scheduled at 10 but at 11 30. [Find the bus timings in one of my pics attached]

So finally managed to reach Top slip by 11. For the unawares, Top slip is the name for the sanctuary on the Tamilnadu side. So went straight into the reception area to enquire about the safari. I was told that the next safari was at 2 30 PM. Well quite a lot of time to kill then Enquired about trekking options and came to know that it costs around 500 bucks for a 2 and a half hour trek around. No prizes for guessing what I did. The flipside of solo trips!

The Top slip authorities require a minimum of 25 people to run a safari trip. The safari trip costs a fixed fee of 750 Rs. and is shared among the 25 people. If there are less people, the share goes up accordingly. Now it was almost 2 PM and we had around 20 people. They refused to start a trip for the simple reason that there weren't 25 of us. I was as to why they couldn't simply come down and check with the people if they are prepared to pay the extra 10 or 15 rupees. Instead, they just kept waiting! One group of 8 people were sick of waiting and left. Now the count was even lesser. Then came another group and even they waited and then left. After all the 'attrition' took place, out comes the swaraj mazda safari van. Now, we needed 24 more people. I was the only one sitting over there! Was totally disappointed with the lethargy of the authorities.

But all this time I was interacting with a forest guard who was talking how he walks 8 kms to and fro inside the forest everyday to reach his house. He claims to have spotted the tiger thrice in the last 5-6 weeks. He also mentioned that the Mt. Stuart house, which is one of the cottages providing accommodation in Top slip, is a great place to stay in the monsoons, to spot sloth bears. He also suggested me to take the bus to Parambikulam by 4 30 and return in the same bus to Pollachi again via Top slip. He assured me that I would definitely have good animal sightings right on the road side while returning as it would be dusk then.

So hopped on to the bus at 4 30. It was so full with local people heading to Parambikulam. I wonder how these people make a living out there in the forests. I could already spot deers and peacocks on the road side. After a few minutes, we cross the anapadi checkpost and enter the kerala state. The parambikulam reception center is located here. Private vehciles are not allowed to proceed beyond this point unless you are staying inside the sanctuary. Safari vehicles are provided to go into the sanctuary.

The bus arrived at Parambikulam around 5 30 PM where I got down to sip some tea. The place was so serene. I quite felt like coming back sometime again. As the bus started its return journey, I rushed and occupied the single seat in the front. Vantage point Now started the deluge of deers in herds of 20 - 25. Have never seen so many deers. Lost count of how many such herds I came across, and mind you, all that just alongside the road. I would have spotted atleast 150 deers and trust me, I am not exaggerating And peacocks and peahens ran around like stray dogs. And a huge herd of bisons were the next to come. The bus driver was kind enough to slow down everytime we spotted these animals. I just couldn't believe I was traveling in public transport! All for good they say It was getting dark and watching the bends unfold slowly were a treat to watch from the front. Also add the suspense element of catching something in the next bend. More deers and peacocks later, we crossed top slip again. And voila, another big herd of bisons running around and having fun while enjoying their dinner. Ina nother half an hour, we reached the exit checkpost. And there was a little disappointment in me for not able to spot the 'anai' in the 'anaimalai'! But that's pure greed and I realized that soon. Perhaps that was for some other time

Monsoons are generally supposed to be a bad time for visiting wildlife sanctuaries but this experience was outstanding. I am sharing a few pics here. Some of the pics are of low quality as they were taken in motion.

Some Info

http://www.topsliponline.com/ and http://www.parambikulam.org/ (official website) are great places to start.
Top slip: Van safari for 25 people - Rs.750 for the total van - 1 hour.
Elephant safari - Rs.400 for 4 - Half an hour
Treks - Rs. 500 upto a group of 5 people for a trek of 2-3 hours.
Parambikulam: Van safari for 13 people - Rs.140 per head - 3 hours. Need to stop your vehicle at parambikulam checkpost and take this van if you are having a day trip.
Tickets for this trip can be bought from kerala forest dept's office near the top slip checkpost.
Trekking and other packages as in their official website.

Personally found the Parambikulam side to be rich in terms of animal sighting. But thats with respect to the road side. Inside the forests, it might be a different story. Read here that one of the IMers recently managed to spot a leopard in the top slip side safari. So call it luck!

Accomodation wise, the rest houses in top slip are a lot inexpensive compared to Parambikulam. So you could ideally stay there and make a day long trip to Parambikulam.
Attached Images
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Travel tales of an insatiable wanderlust-
Life is a journey ...

And I will take the road less traveled..
Last edited by sharan_travelcrazy; Aug 22nd, 2010 at 00:49.. Reason: typo
#2 Aug 22nd, 2010, 00:43
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#2
Thanks for sharing, I wonder if I would have been so kind in my trip report if I met so many glitches
#3 Aug 22nd, 2010, 01:02
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#3
I know. But what's the fun in travelling (or life for that matter ) if everything goes according to the plan!
#4 Aug 22nd, 2010, 01:04
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Now that sounds like a good philosophy.
#5 Jan 2nd, 2011, 21:59
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#5
Nothing like travelling the local way!
Tragic that the forest department is so indifferent, but am aghast that tourists who have come all the way also go away without taking the tour, the main purpose of their visit to Top Slip.
Pity you could not stay there - do they allow you to book rooms on the spot? Or only on advance bookings?
H V Kumar
#6 Jan 2nd, 2011, 22:50
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#6
Yes HVK sir, their attitude was indeed pathetic. I sat there for more than 3 hours doing nothing.
I was told that stay at any of the cottages there requires prior permission (at least 2 weeks earlier) from the wildlife warden's office at Pollachi.
#7 Jan 16th, 2011, 15:11
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#7
Enjoyed reading this Sharan, I saw it just yesterday.

Pity about the bureaucratic attitude of the TN Forest Dept. But look at it this way, if they had not been so bureaucratic, you would not have enjoyed the wildest bus ride of your life!
Travelpod / Flickr


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#8 Jan 18th, 2011, 17:43
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#8
Thanks for your review.
It seems topslip website is not functioning any more.

Ronak.
#9 Jan 19th, 2011, 00:44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snonymous View Post Enjoyed reading this Sharan, I saw it just yesterday.

Pity about the bureaucratic attitude of the TN Forest Dept. But look at it this way, if they had not been so bureaucratic, you would not have enjoyed the wildest bus ride of your life!
Thanks synonymous. And ya, i don't really regret that. After all, how often do you get to witness such rich wildlife from a rattling government bus

Quote:
Originally Posted by shahronakm View Post Thanks for your review.
It seems topslip website is not functioning any more.

Ronak.
Yes, just checked it. But I don't think that was an official website either.
#10 Jan 19th, 2011, 18:42
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#10
There is one more website for Topslip (not official either)
http://www.topslipindia.com/

Don't think an official website exists.

Ronak.

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