With the mercury soaring, how about a one-day adventure-cum-leisure expedition to the verdant Chimmini wildlife sanctuary in Thrissur district? This trip is quite irresistible because of various engrossing elements.
One package involves a tour that starts early in the morning and ends by noon. And if you feel like staying back for the night, there is another plan whereby you can rest in the wilderness for a day and night.
Do you regularly ride a bicycle as part of your fitness regime? What about trying your hand at off-road cycling? If you all geared up to pedal through the forest, Chimmini is ready with some new bicycles and a beaten path amid the jungle.
The ‘Panther Ride’ has made bicycle forest safari popular in Kerala and one can have a thrilling experience riding through the wild side of life at the Chimmini wildlife sanctuary. The picturesque cycle track of sorts extends from Echipara forest check post to Virakuthodu, which is in the forest hinterland. The cycle path is sandwiched between the majestic reservoir of Chimmini dam and the scenic mountains and forests. The real punch of the cycle ride is the risk involved as there is a chance of elephants or any other wild animals crossing your path.
As the water level in the reservoir has dipped, one can also freeze some breathtaking vistas of the rocks and meadows on the other side. The cycling expedition can be completed in 90 minutes even if you had pulled over to enjoy the charm of wilderness. You can cycle from 7.30 am to 10 am and from 3.30 pm to 4 pm.
The cycling timing has been fixed to given an opportunity to the cyclists to safely spot the wild animals, says V Ajaya Kumar, assistant wildlife warden. A guide would also accompany the cycling team and the fee is Rs 200.
Trek to Choorathala
After reaching Virakuthodu and if you have time to spare, there is something great in store for you – trek to the spellbinding Choorathala waterfalls, which is just 3 km away from Virakuthodu. Keep in mind that during summer the waterfall dries to a trickle. The trek to Choorathala is through the heart of the forest and interestingly the trekking distance can be tweaked according to the wish of visitors. The fee for a three-member team is Rs 600 and each extra person have to pay Rs 200 and a team can have a maximum of 10 people.
The first leg of the visit to Chimmini concludes with the coracle ride in the dam reservoir. A 25-minute ride for four persons costs Rs 400 and it is noteworthy that no other tourist centre in central or north Kerala provides facilities for a coracle ride.
As the summer has set in, scores of wild animals, including elephants, venture out of the forests in search of water; meaning you will be sharing space with wild animals in the reservoir. A coracle ride in the dam reservoir, which is in the backdrop of majestic hills and lush green forest, is mesmerizing. It is better to carry food with you as there is only an outlet that serves refreshments.
Stay at Anaporu
If the charm of nature is forcing you to stay back, then lodging facilities are available at Anaporu. The rent for a hut, which can accommodate four people, is Rs 7,500. The facility, known under the brand name ‘Myna Eco-retreat’, has a package that involves boating and tent wildlife camping.
One can reach the retreat after travelling 4km from the dam in a boat. The service of a guard is available and dinner would also be served for the visitors at the hut. Moreover, people staying overnight can go trekking at the break of dawn.
To reserve a slot and plan a tour; contact 0480 2966700, 8547603454, 8078150136.
How to reach Chimmini
Echipara, the starting point of the road leading to the Chimmini forest, is 25km eastwards to Amballur centre on the Chalakudy-Thrissur national highway. One would reach Echipara after travelling through Varandarappilly and Palappilly towns. The drive from Palappilly to Echipara can give you an adrenaline rush as wild animals can cross your path on this stretch.