Trekking There is certainly more to Pandiar Tiger Valley than being just a trekking destination. The lessons learnt here will stay with you forever. BHARATHI MOHAN
“It’ll be very cold there, don’t forget your blankets.” “Where is my torch??”There was quite a din; throwing, catching and last minute packing was on in full swing. It was a miracle that we even caught the train. Finally the trip began: a four-ay trek to the Nilgiris-Pandiar Tiger Valley. Eight of us, from Anna University’s Green Brigade, were super thrilled; for most, this was the first trekking trip.
Grumpy from bumpy rides, the winding roads vanished the moment we set foot on the camping site. It was like a picture postcard, nestled between two gurgling streams and surrounded by thick forests. Brightly coloured tents illuminated by lanterns in wooden posts dotted the large campfire. Four days in the wilderness with no electricity or gadgets transported us to an entirely different world. A world where minimum facilities were luxuries; where soft footsteps outside the tent could jolt you awake wondering if it was a tiger or a sambhar deer!! Pandiar Tiger Valley— with its rolling grasslands and thriving jungles — made us gape in wonder.
Many of us thought that trekking would mean walking leisurely up a mountain or along a river, but it was not to be. Walking along a no-path in the forest with bushes waiting to scratch, slipping and sliding on wet slopes and discovering pug marks along the way were overshadowed the moment we emerged into the Shola forests. The canopy was so dense that it felt like evening in the middle of a hot afternoon. The shola forests made us pause for a second and reflect on their marvels and the need for such treasures to be kept intact. The lessons on the self-sufficient ecosystem were eye-openers.One afternoon, after the hike through the Sholas and the grasslands, we were to “stream walk”. What a misnomer! It was a stream that flowed over huge boulders downstream with thick vegetation enveloping the sides.
The stream had to be crossed to get to the plains. Thus began the two-hour upstream climb. The hours melted away as all our energy and attention was focused on jumping from one boulder to another — sometimes with Tarzan-like tactics of swinging with vines — without falling into the water. It was an experience that made me reflect on the many things we take for granted. An eye-opening trip, thanks to the efforts of Prof. P. Kandasamy.All bubbles burst and all good times come to an end. On the return trip to Chennai were eight people contemplating the powerful impact this trip had had on them. Forever.
Bharathi is III Year Chemical Engineering AC.Tech student at Anna University.
Popularity: 1% [?]