Bandipur -> Wayanad -> Kozhikode -> Guruvayur -> Cochin -> Periyar
Thekkady was our next stop after Fort Kochi. We left Fort Kochi on a late evening and had our dinner at Ernakulam. The place where we had dinner – Gokulam Restaurant – was decorated like a village in Kerala and served local food.
Our plan for the journey was to drive to Kottayam which is two hours away, stay there for the night and continue driving towards Thekkady in the morning. It took some time for us to figure out how to get to Kottayam and then we were on our way quickly.
All along the way for the past few days, Kerala was good to us. We saw good places and the people we interacted with us were nice. But Kottayam changed all that. Hotels were priced unreasonably and in some places, we had bad experiences. My guidebook had warned earlier that finding a hotel of any level is difficult in Kottayam, and it did turn out true. In some hotels, the person at the security would question us in detail as if we were criminals, only to send us away saying that they have no rooms free! And at places where we made it till reception, we met rude front-desk people, or were quoted some unreasonable prices and even some strange conditions to be given a room. We spent nearly an hour looking for a friendly place and were only greeted with ugly frowns! After getting through all of them, we became like one of them – frowning about all that we had to go through.
Having a car puts you in an advantage in such situations. We did not want to succumb to bad treatment and decided to continue driving towards Thekkady till we could find a place to sleep for the night. It turned out be a long drive, and we went on for almost two hours without much luck. At the end we just pulled over the car by the road and succumbed to sleep. We were somewhere in the middle of the jungle – we had no idea where we were – and it was pouring heavily outside and visibility was minimal. We were so tired that we slept heavily in the car, ignoring all that was outside.
We woke up in the morning to realize that we were in the edge of small town somewhere high in the mountains. We continued driving through the road that took us through some amazing vistas and many tea estates(Read my earlier post on tea estates). We reached Kumily – the town head to Thekkady at around 8am. It was cold and foggy at Kumily and it looked like 6am even when the clock moved to 9. After looking around for a place to stay, we settled down at the beautiful Coffee Inn built on the edge of Periyar Tiger Reserve.
To be continued..