Gavi Eco Tourism Spot – the ideal destination. Visit this place at least once in your life time. Actually Gavi is a small village in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala. Also it has got an important place in the tourism map of India. The Eco Tourism project, organised by the Kerala Forest Development Corporation, is the main attraction of Gavi. In addition, the scenic beauty, of the Western Ghats of Kerala, is really enchanting. Not only the wide range of flora and fauna but the geographical diversity, is another speciality. Surely, those who happen to be there once, will love to visit the place again and again.
The beauty of Gavi is well portrayed in the Malayalam movie ‘ Ordinary ‘ released in 2013. Until then, even we, the people of Kerala have not realised the importance of the place. No doubt, it is one of the most beautiful places in Kerala, God’s own country. Besides, a trip to Gavi, amidst the dense forests, is also informative in many ways.
How to reach there.
Though it is a part of the Pathanamthitta district, you can reach there from different places.The nearest airports are Cochin and Trivandrum. Both are approximately 180 kilometres from there. And the nearest railway stations are Kottayam and Thiruvalla, about 120 kilometres.
Different routes to Gavi
( Remember entry pass is compulsory to visit Gavi, irrespective of your boarding points)
1. By bus from Pathanamthitta KSRTC Depot.
You can travel to Gavi by the Road transport bus to Kumily, that starts from Pathanamthitta at 6.30 am. Usually it reaches Gavi at 11.30 am. If there is no plan to stay there, you can return by the same bus that arrives Gavi at 3 pm. With this trip you can do nothing else, but enjoy the tempting natural beauty all the way. Furthermore, you are not allowed to stay there and participate in the activities without prior booking. It is better to keep some refreshments and water with you.
2. Also you can reach Gavi from Angamoozhi, another place in Pathanamthitta district.
But you have to depend on vehicles like jeeps, suitable for off-road driving.
3. Generally, the most convenient route for families to reach Gavi, is from Kottayam.
You can reach the check post at Vallakadavu, through Vandiperiyar. Then proceed to Gavi, after collecting the entry pass from there.However it is better to get ready for a package trip as per the schedule of KFDC. Usually from August onwards, the climate becomes favourable. But try to keep some woollen clothes, if you plan to visit the place during December or January.I will try to share with you the experiences about my recent visit to this fantastic place.
The journey begins. Gavi Eco Tourism Spot – the ideal destination.
Truly the trip was not a pre planned one. Inspired by watching a clipping from the Malayalam movie Ordinary, we just contacted the KFDC office. Very soon we got the reply, that facilities are available for a family for two days. Without wasting time, we remitted the required fees and confirmed our package.The cost of the package is Rupees 3500/- per person, including all activities with stay in Cottage. And Rupees 3000/- for all others. In addition to cottages, rooms and dormitories are available. You can book the package by contacting the KFDC Office directly.
On January 26, at 8.30 am we started our trip from Kottayam by car. Around 12 noon we reached the little town of Vandiperiyar. The journey through the greenery of tea plantations of the high ranges, was really amazing. We had lunch from a hotel there and proceeded to Vallakadavu.About 1 pm we reached the Check post at Vallakadavu. Mr.Biju, holding charge of the office issued our entry pass. He is a well experienced guide and has been working with KFDC for the last eighteen years. After completing his duty there, Biju accompanied us to Gavi.
The condition of the road was not much better, but we didn’t feel anything worse. Because with his simple words, Biju was really opening the book of jungle before us, throughout the journey.We saw a lot of animals such as the sambar deer, monkeys, giant squirrel etc on the way. We couldn’t see any elephant on the way. But felt their presence throughout, with the excreta that spread everywhere. However we took extreme care to avoid horns that cause annoyance to the actual inhabitants of jungle. Around 3pm we reached our destination. After completing official formalities, we went to the cottage allotted to us.It is equally important that the package is a strictly organised one, and entry per day is limited. Therefore, individual attention is guaranteed to each and every guest reach there.
In the Cottage. Gavi Eco Tourism Spot – The ideal destination.
Actually it was a canvas tent with all essential amenities required for travellers. Neat and tidy beds, blankets, wash rooms with hot water etc. In addition, the cottages are protected from wild animals with electrified fencing all around. (Surely the fences are specially designed to turn away the animals without hurting them )
After having a hot tea, we set out for boating in the lake. It was really a wonderful experience, to spend about two hours in a boat, with dense forest all around. All these time Biju was telling jungle stories. Really, that were his experiences during the the past eighteen years in the department.Then we returned to our cottage and spend some time in front of it, watching the jungle.Glow worms shining in the darkness like stars, assisted by the music of crickets – the real jungle picture.Dinner.At 7.30 pm we went to the dining hall for dinner. A well maintained, spacious and neat place with buffet dinner. Truly we enjoyed the variety of veg and non veg tasty Kerala dishes. Moreover, the hospitality of the staff was really commendable.
After dinner everybody assembled around the camp fire near by. The excited children started dancing and singing. Elders, especially from different places began talking each other, and made the night a memorable one.In short, again to our cottage, a sound sleep inside the warmth of blankets.
The Jungle Safari. Gavi Eco Tourism Spot – The ideal destination.
At sharp 5.30 am Biju contacted us over mobile phone, to participate in the jungle safari. The BSNL tower inside the forest, is really very convenient for travellers.When we reached the boarding point, our jeep with driver was ready. Mr. Rajasekhar alias Deepam, was not only a driver but also a good guide. Born and brought up there, he is familiar with each and every corner of the jungle. Spending about three hours in the middle of the dense forest, was really awesome to us.
In addition, we could experience a lot of wonders of the forest including different species of animals birds and trees.For example, the one most attracted me was a huge tree with hanging branches. Deepam said that it is same species of tree used to make Noah’s Ark, described in the Holy Bible. He got the information from a traveller from some western country visited Gavi in connection with research. Finally we returned with a lot of memories, totally different from that of any other vacation travel.
Trekking. Gavi Eco Tourism Spot – The ideal destination.
Trekking, our next event started after breakfast . Again Biju joined us, and lead us to the skeleton museum first. The most amazing thing there, was the display of the skeleton of an elephant. Actually, it is that of an elephant fell down from the top of a hill after a fight with another one.From there, to the hilltop through the trekking path. Usually people use the permanent paths of elephants in the forest for trekking.
Actually we were walking through the tiger reserve forest, and the reality made us slightly panic. But Biju assured that wild animals never attack humans without proper reason. He also described his experience of meeting a tiger face to face, only about twenty metres away.
With guide Biju on the topmost point of Tiger Reserve Forest.Finally we reached on top of the hill. And from there, we saw the famous pilgrim centre ‘Sabarimala’. Then we spent a few minutes there and had some refreshments.
Again slowly down to the Eco tourism point. After having a tasty lunch, packed our things and got ready for the return journey. Also Biju told us to be prepared for a jungle camp, on our next visit . Meanwhile completed all the official procedures, and said goodbye to Gavi. Finally with fond memories, we covered the nineteen kilometers, watching our real friends of the jungle.Truly, we love to visit the place again, and I invite all of you to join us.*************************