When day three dawned we decided it was time to ditch KSRTC and go some place in a cab. It turned out to be a smart choice. The mildly sunny ride to the forests of Nelliyampathy was not that terrible but as I mentioned before the roads were bad (to say the least) and it made no difference, in terms of travel smoothness, no matter what mode of transport we took.
I realized quite late that we had already visited at least two places in this hill – Maanpara and Kesavanpara. But a quick check with the local guide revealed that there were a few more places to go.
We skipped Pothundi dam that we had already visited in our earlier trip. We headed straight into some tea estates, but it seemed to be a mistake by our driver rather than a pleasant introduction to Nelliyampathy. We headed back to a nearby resort whose manager arranged for our means of transport in to the forest.
To travel to the heart of the forest area in Nelliyampathi one must enlist the help of the local Jeep; there is no other vehicle which can traverse the terrain and that too in the advent of rain – yes it started to really pour once we were in the middle of the forest!
We were first taken taken to Govindamala where the view was initially foggy. There were quite a lot of butterflies around so there was no dearth of subjects for my camera. The fog lifted soon and I started to happily click away at the mountains.
We then started to Seetharkund with a halt at Minnampara. Our driver decided to show his skills in rough terrain ride every now and then, so I would rather not term the uncomfortable ride along the mountain roads as languid or anything other than awesome and unforgettable.
We were shown some bisons grazing way far off in another mountain and this was the only view of wildlife we got in Nelliyampathi, which was a let down considering the tales of wild elephant and tiger sighting which our driver so emphatically explained to us during our adventurous ride up the mountain.
We descended a bit let down but still glad in a way to have had a stirring drive and a whiff of fresh ‘cold’ mountain air. While paying cash to the driver we were told that a drive to each of the places would cost us Rupees Six Hundred as against our assumption of this amount for the entire package. Perhaps it was time to get our Malayalam straightened!