This lesser-known hill station is located just below 40km from the Periyar sanctuary in Thekkady. Gavi is a eco-tourist spot that has gained a lot of importance on Kerala’s tourism map in the recent years. The ride to Gavi is as interesting as the place itself. On either side of the winding roads you’ll find tea and spices plantations. You can even get down at waterfalls on the way. The Pamba Reservoir is located enroute.
The area is adjacent to the Periyar Reserve and is abundant in elephant, bear, Nilgiri tahr, leopard, Indian gaur, tiger, sambar, mouse deer, lion-tailed macaque and Nilgiri Marten. This verdant landscape is great for trekking and jungle safaris. Pullumedu is great peak for mountain climbing. From atop this peak, you can spot the famous shrine of Sabarimala. Other nearby areas for trekking are Vandiperiyar, Kallar, Kochu Pampa, Pachakanam, Meenar and Anathodu. You can go night camping in these forest areas.
Besides the wild animals, a number of birds make it their home. There are more than 300 recorded species of birds in Gavi-great Indian hornbill, kingfishers, sunbirds, cuckoos and much more. Visitors can also go bird-watching and boating. You can spot a number of them near the Gavi Lake, where you can go boating, too. There are tourist guesthouses that arrange bird-watching and animal-spotting tours and rents out trekking gear.
The Gavi Eco-tourism Programme is sponsored by The Kerala Forest Development Corporation Ltd. This is truly an experience in the wilderness. You can pitch tents or stay in tree houses. The project uses tribal persons as guides and watchers. They know the forests in and out, and prove to be great companions during night camping and trekking tours. Also, it is in the interest of providing the tribal families within the forests to have a livelihood.
The forest museum and library on the premises should not be missed. Do not forget to buy local produce before you leave- tea, honey, cardamom and other spices. The day and the overnight trekking and stay packages are very attractive.
How to get there
Vandiperiyar, which is roughly 28km from Gavi is on NH 220 Highway that connects Kollam and Madurai. You can hire a jeep from Kumily, near Thekkady, or from Cochin. Vandiperiyar also has the nearest bus terminal. Kottayam is the nearest railhead, at 115km away.
Madurai, in Tamil Nadu has the nearest airport, 150km away. Cochin airport is 190km away and Trivandrum is 250km away.
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