Gavi is known to be one of the most beautiful and famous places in India for its untouched beauty of the wild forest. It’s become a well-known place (but still less traveled) after a famous regional South Indian movie called ‘Ordinary’ was filmed there, showcasing the cold, misty weather and the dense green surroundings.
It has become an Eco-tourist spot located in Kerala and is a must visit-place for nature lovers or anyone who is looking for a wild, adrenaline pumping adventure through one of the densest forests in the south of India. It is not for the faintest of hearts.
Gavi’s Eco-tourism village can be coined as a more ‘commercial’ sight when compared to the whole area, but if you want to explore the untouched wild, then drive your way through the thick trees where little sunlight streaks in and the howl of animals can be heard all throughout day and night. This road connecting to Gavi can be taken by – Chittar – Seethathodu – Angamoozhy (Check Post)– Moozhiyar (Dam)– Kakki Reservoir – Anathode Dam – Gavi
The road to Gavi is a rough terrain hence its better made on a sturdy vehicle like a four-wheel drive. The forest is only little ventured so the road is nothing but a narrow path of rocks and rubble that is uneven. Other than a four-wheel drive, you can’t drive through this path.
Gavi is all about driving through the adventurous forest where almost no human can be found, except for tribes and occasional forest rangers.
To enter the Gavi forest, you need a special pass given out at Angharmoozy check-post. But entry is restricted after 11am, so all travelers have to get there before 10.30am at the least. There is a small charge with Rs25 per person, Rs50 per vehicle and Rs.25 for any camera or video camera travelers carry.
If you want to see wild animals roaming freely, pass the check-post by 7am, and every second is worth your time. Once the check-post is passed, it’s an entry into the dense forest of Gavi.
1 or 2 kilometers after the check-post, a river rafting or Coracle boat/bowl boat rafting is available for travelers. The raftsman takes up to five people on one Coracle boat and rows his way along the length of the river.
From your spot in the Coracle boat, the scene stretched in front makes you believe you are rowing through the Amazon River. A brown lake with dark trees stretching to the skies with roots of some sunk into the waters. White lotuses decorate the side of the river banks.
Once the rafting is over, the drive into the forest is slow and steady with innumerable hairpin bends leading your way to the top of the mountain. This is a tricky part and for adventurers it’s as exciting as it could get. Each hair pin bend you pass, the higher you climb.
A couple of kilometers later the road becomes tricky and unpaved. This is where the scenery starts changing into something wild.
The forest is known to be inhabited by rare and endangered species. Two of them that you can see, if you are lucky, are the lion-tailed macaque or Old World monkey and the Nilgiri Tahr also known as ibex. The ibex can be spotted as you drive towards the top with fewer plants and drier areas. Keep your eyes open for these wild beauties. You never know where they will spring from.
Botanists have claimed that Gavi is home to gopher trees with tons and tons of wild lavender sprinkled along the way. You will also see plenty of coffee plants springing between the trees.
While driving through the forest, caution is necessary. The path is very narrow and it is advised to drive extremely slowly. Travelers shouldn’t also stop here and there as they feel like it or venture out into unknown areas due to curiosity, because this is the territory of wild animals and elephants. You can never predict when a panther might attack or when a herd of elephants might come rushing.
There is a second check-point where the travelers should reach at the latest by 2pm. Any later than that then you can’t go forward. The last check-post should be reached by 6pm. Once the sunsets, the forest can be very dangerous and the pitch black darkness will make it impossible to go forward.
It’s not easy to get lost in Gavi as the only path that stretches in front is the narrow road. You’ll cross three mountains and two dams before getting to the other side. Once you are out of the forest, it is that moment when you realize that the journey was one-of-a-kind adventure to experience during your lifetime.
MUST REMEMBER TIPS TO FOLLOW
-Make sure to have a sturdy four-wheel vehicle. The road is rough where usual cars won’t be able to pass
-Drive SLOW and steady. Hair pin bends are a little wild where one end is a deep canyon.
-DO NOT drive close to the edge. There might be loose mud and it can be dangerous
-DO NOT venture out into unknown territories of the forest. If you get lost, there is no phone signal and no other human beings
-DO NOT stop and get out at random places. Gavi is filled with carnivorous and wild animals such as tigers, panthers, leopards, bears, and wild elephants.
-Make sure to reach the second check-point by 2pm and the last checkpoint before 6pm.
-If you see only one elephant standing in the path, stop your car and DO NOT honk as it will trigger the elephant to go mad. Step on the car accelerator and scare it away with the noise. If it doesn’t move, quiet down and wait.
-Don’t throw food at random animals, especially monkeys. They will attack your car.
-Your clothing must be completely covered from neck to toe. Make sure to not wear loose jeans or cargos. Snakes and leeches can climb their way up your leg.
-There are tribes of forest people that occupies some areas of the forest and you’ll see them walking around between the trees. If anyone needs help, these people often gives out a helping hand.
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