Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Eravikulam National Park... my journal pages

THE ROLLING GRASSLANDS - AN ISLAND OF THEIR OWN
25th - 31st December, 2007

I was quite fortunate enough to tag along with my brother to Eravikulam National Park. Sure enough, i had seen pictures, video clippings and heard about all the words of praise about this place i was going to visit. But i can say -nothing,absolutely nothing- can come close to *just being there* and seeing the beauty that stands in front of you! The Landscape only got better and better... mountains and valleys that run along till as faaaaar as your eyes can see; and nestled in between some of the valleys are dense Sholas or mini-rainforests, if you can call it! Being the month of December, the grassland was ochreish-greenish-brown. So untouched, so pristine! I so consider myself one of the luckiest!
I hiked deeper into the national park with Sandesh, Mandi, Sara and 15 other porters, who were carrying all the filming equipment and ration for the week.Not to mention,i would be the first person to start the hike and no sooner all the porters carrying much heavier baggage than me would run along next to me, leaving me trotting behind at the end of the trail!! I sure did make it to the hut with a smile though! You don't tend to know the meaning of a 'frown' in that landscape. Also, i must confess, except for the beginning uphill, the later part of the hike is not too bad (thankfully) ! :)


I was so mesmerised by the place that i was smiling throughout and soon sat to do a quick pen & ink sketch of the landscape in front of me in my journal. This is the view from the Eravikulam hut which faces a stream and the 'kathu-malai' mountain in front of us. To the left is a quick pencil sketch of the skull of a Sambar deer.

The next day early morning, went up to see the morning light and the spell of shadows as the sun came up, on the mighty Anaimudi and its valleys around. It was beautiful! Anaimudi is known to be the highest mountain peak in the south of the Himalayas.. about 2695 meters! The name 'Anaimudi', refers to 'the Elephant's head'. Sadly, i could not make time to sketch this.


Above, is a quick sketch of the 'Eravikulam hut', where we stayed. Below, just a quick landscape sketch of the mountains, valleys, sholas and the swifts i saw flying about the place! Next to these sketches are the birds i got to see during my stay!


The bird highlights for me on this trip were the Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Pacific swallow, White-bellied Shortwing, Nilgiri Pipit, Indian Schimitar Babbler, Black eagle and with all probability a Fork-tailed Swift! To add to this... allll these birds,except for the Black eagle, were my lifers (seeing them for the first time!)
I have come back now,but have left many things undone. I still need to see those lush green grasslands in the monsoons,need to hike up to the top of Anaimudi, explore more of the sholas and see more of its wildlife. One cannot ask for a better landscape to learn how to sketch and paint. I so wish i get to go back!

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

oh, wow! :-)

Madhu said...

Hey,

Nice writeup. Nice sketches, as usual. I can imagine how happy you would have been hiking the mountains and walking in the sholas.

Adding this place to my "to-be-list" of 2008 ;0)

Madhukar

Chandy said...

Nice sketches..I just stumbled on ur blog while searching for the eravikulam hut...Me planning a trip der dis month. Ur writeup has inspired me further..
Saw ur paintings and stuff. All r really good. Keep up the good work.
I wud suggest u dont publicise such beutiful and ecologically sensitive places on the internet. Its true that u feel nice when u share the info but u r unknowingly damaging the place. The more the people visit the more the damage. I've been to munnar and eravikulam many a times but never been to this place. Maybe u care for the place and am interested in preserving it but not everyone is. When more people get interested in a place, the place becomes commercially profitable and once money comes into the picture believe me the place is lost.
I've seen munnar 12 yrs before and i see it now. It has lost all its beauty.

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