• Saloni Rose

Weekend at Thenmala

Updated: Apr 29, 2019

I spent the last weekend at Thenmala ("Then" meaning honey, "Mala" meaning hills in Tamil), a lovely town in Kerala and the first planned Eco-tourism destination in India.The picture above is of that of the Kallada River I took during the boating trip. The ride was marvelous: there were small islands on the river with weird trees and birds including river terns and little cormorants basking in the sun. The forest department had erected few tents on these islands and tourists could stay in here at a reasonable price. When I showed the pictures to my friend, he described the place as "Tropical islands with dinosaurs and lost kingdoms". Wonder if Spielberg would like to shoot an Indian Version of the "Jurassic Park"? Does India have interesting Dino fossils? Wait, Rajasaurus does look badass!! Check out this article for more information about Indian Dinos( https://scroll.in/article/824434/when-rajasaurus-and-other-dinosaurs-roamed-the-land-where-indians-live-now ).

Speaking on existing dinosaurs, we began the morning birding in Shendurney wildlife sanctuary. We went inside dense forests with a guide from the forest department. The canopy so thick that it didn't allow the light to penetrate. I was really hoping to see endemic species like the White-bellied Treepies and Nilgiri Wood Pigeons. Sadly, after spending 4 hours in the forest, we only observed generalists like Hill and Forest Mynas, White-cheeked Barbets, Plum headed Parakeets, Asian Koel, Jungle fowls and Grey Malabar Hornbills.

We visited the Butterfly safari before the end of the day. It was lovely garden with several flowering plants including the larval host plants of many swallowtails. We saw common tigers, blue tigers, lime swallowtails, emigrants, and few caterpillars of the "Southern Birdwing" i.e. the largest butterfly in India. Quite a treat! I have been aching to capture a Blue Mormon on shot. But, they are really swift flyers, so I haven't been able to do that for the last few months.

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