After an exciting journey from Delhi to Meenangadi in Kerala, the second day started with wake-up call by beautiful birds in Coffee plantations around our homestay – Treasure Trove. These plantations were just behind our room and easily accessible through our balcony. After spending some time with these birds we thought of taking a walk around the place. We walked across the road connecting Meenangadi with Sultan Battery. This road has some of the most beautiful houses in this region. Colorful shades on the walls look amazing against a green background of coconut & banana trees.
We had coffee after the morning walk and requested Sunil to arrange an auto for the day. We were told that the auto would reach Treasure Trove at 9:30am, so we planned to have breakfast by that time. We had home-cooked dosas with coconut chutney & gun-powder. Also had coffee and banana fry. Banana pieces were fried and then sugar was added on the top of it. We couldn’t relate to the taste of banana fry.
The plan was to go to Edakkal caves and then explore Curuva island. We started at around 9:40am in an auto and reached the base of Edakkal caves at 10:30am. From there we had to trek for an hour to reach the caves. It’s an average trek, but with a steep slope. So it’s recommended to go slow and not to rush. After reaching the place, we realized that it is a proper tourist place with lot tourist vehicles parked on both sides of the road and lots of shops selling kerala goods.
We started the climb and kept an eye on things being sold in the shops on our way. Apart from that we also noticed some shops selling Pineapple, Amla, Cucumber, and some sort of soda/juices. We avoided having anything while climbing up. On the halfway, we hit a counter from where we had to take the tickets for Edakkal caves. One ticket cost us Rs 20 per person and Rs 30 for camera. Apart from that we had to get a sticker for our water bottle which we wanted to carry to the caves as well. We had to deposit 20 rs for that, which was refundable upon showing the waterbottle after returning from the caves. I really loved the idea of providing stickers at a refundable cost. This ensures that none of the tourists throw their plastic bottles inside the caves.
It’s an interesting place, but if you plan to go, there don’t set high expectations. Basically it’s a huge cave with different sorts of signs carved on the rocks inside it. The scale and alignment of rocks is amazing and that makes you think about how nature handles different elements to create beautiful things around us.
On our journey back, we had American sweet corn and checked some stuff made up of coconut. We found most of the things quite expensive and didn’t do any shopping here. We met our Auto driver at the base and then headed towards Meenangadi market for lunch. The driver took us to a nice place called – ‘Thoufeeque Hotel’. We reached there at around 1:10pm and it was about to open. The restaurant owner allowed us to sit and wait till 1:30pm. Within few minutes, it was full. We ordered fish and kerala rice. Food was ok and most of the other things in the meal were not so enjoyable.
It was time to move towards Curuva Island. It was quite far from the market and our Auto-driver wanted us to reach there ASAP, because it takes time to explore the place. We couldn’t converse much with our driver as he didn’t know Hindi or English. But basic signs worked for us :). Many times we had to stop him on the way for clicking photographs. Few times he pointed and tried to convey that let’s go to the Island first and then you can click as many photograph you want :).
We reached the entry to the Curuva Island, which is maintained by Kerala Forest and Wildlife department. One needs to buy an entry ticket, which includes the raft ride and exploration of the island. Entry ticket costs Rs 80 per person and Rs 50 for still camera. There is also some parking fees which needs to be paid at the same counter. We took tickets and queued up for the bamboo raft ride. It was amazing to see the way these rafts are moved from one part to another using ropes. We shall share a video soon.
After reaching the island, we start walking around the paths dedicated for tourists. We were expecting a lot of birds as indicated by different boards put in place by Forest department, but just like any other crowded tourist place Curuva Island was also quite noisy and you can’t expect to see or even hear birds in such an environment.
After walking for a few minutes, we reached a place having lots of water streams, all full of people. Folks were enjoying in the water, as you can see in the photograph. We were not prepared for such fun and it was not that encouraging as well. We took u-turn and went back towards the core forest to try our luck. Overall it was an ok experience of Curuva Island. I wish that forest department would do something for nature lovers and create a section with some wildlife and birds and probably they can have an extra entry ticket for that.
It was time to head back to our Treasure Trove. We had tea at the home-stay and then took a round of plantation around the huts.
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