The day begin for us at Pollachi – the coconut country. Topslip is about 35km from here and 80 km from Coimbatore, can be called as the capital of Anamalai Tiger Reserve, a part of Indira Gandhi National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, on the Anamalai range of Western Ghats Mountains. Our relative from Valparai received us in the morning, directed us towards Topslip and he also accompanied us throughout our week-long journey across Topsip and Valparai, more than since he’s familiar with places and routes. Hence reached early at night and stayed at Pollachi Govt. guest house booked by my cousin brother, we moved leisurely at morning after breakfast taking the scenic countryside road of Pollachi, which are filmmaker’s favorite shooting spots.
The road passed almost either side with coconut groves and looking at the green and orange tender coconuts kept for sale on a roadside inspired us not to miss, relish upon the enriched natural tender drink. We also passed beautiful village towns like Anamalai, Vettaikaranpudur and Sethumadai. What interesting was, these town villages are almost pained in white and we also come across a group hassle at Anamalai, where people kept flowing from nowhere like blocking the road, and before something happens we moved quickly. It was like watching a scene from a regional movie and I hear from our relative, such things are casual in these areas. At the foot of Anamalai hills, the Tiger reserve arch welcomed us and we climbed on after sign in form at the forest check post.
|Glasshouse above grassland|
Sethumadai is the last village on the road lead to Topslip, the winding road all the way took us through crushed dry leaves shattered everywhere amid I looking for animals. It was the same month of Feb. then, the dry season was encouraging the fall of leaves and reaching the Topslip I was surprise to see dry grasslands instead of evergreen I saw in internet. Topslip offers different accommodations as per we wish, there are tree house, lodges, dormant and glasshouses as limited enough. We sought for the glass house (Ambuli Illam) sits on top of all with vast views and all side glass panes to sight animals that come grazing on grasslands around. But due to some renovation work, they refused to allow us and suggested to take the Bison Lodge on the main lane with no other option we took it on basis of comfort.
Being controlled by Forest Department, Topslip also arranges for food on three bases on pre-order. Since it took an hour for us to settle down rooms and arrived only by noon we couldn't go for an order, so adjusted with the available of rice, sambar and appalam. Topslip being restricted to sound, we enjoyed a quite silent reserved around unless for leaves crushed to wind, and huge pigs creating terror by chasing one another. The silence flourished outside doesn't want me to go inside the room and even it was a sunny afternoon, the breeze put everything under a cozy weather, I and my cousin were alone wandered around.
|Me at top of topslip (glasshouse is behind|
Taking the road on power wheel chair, we find the tree houses and bamboo huts on the other side of the lane and checking the grasslands by moving up to glasshouse, I got a panoramic view on the forest grasslands. It would have been a great pleasure if I got chance to stay on one of the wood or glasshouses atop. I don’t want to miss another chance if future allowed visiting Topslip, I wanted to stay there and watch animals. During our roaming phase we met an old man (not so old) sitting under a bus shelter opposite to our Bison Lodge and I must say he’s wise about wild since he works as a guide in Topslip, taking tourist inside the forest. He shared some of his experience and knowledge about the Anamalai Tiger reserve and he had seen almost animals in the wild, except Lion which is the only animal missing at Anamalai. He told there are about 55 tigers in Anamalai Tiger Reserve.
Coming from a tribal community, he had been born and brought up in Anamalai hills and when the government declared it as wildlife sanctuary; some of their members were employed as guides in forest department and activities based on Topslip tourism development. The forest department also runs a primary school for the tribe children. Pointing at the grassland he told he has seen tigers encounters deer and wild elephants and bison grazing at evergreen time… and sighting deer’s at regular. Questioning him let us know more about this place and also the neighborhood Parambikulam – which is another wildlife sanctuary inside the Kerala border.[To be continued…]