Feel the wild at Thattekkad
Story Dated: Thursday, August 12, 2010 16:42 hrs IST
Thattekkad is a huge nest that holds the memories of the famous ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali. Soft flutters and chitter-chatter of different kinds of birds that fill the ambiance make Thattekkad a bird lover's paradise.
The Thattekkad sanctuary is home to rare species of birds such as the Malabar pied hornbill (pandan vezhambal), black sparrow (kakka thamburatti) which mimics the sound of eighteen birds, the ripli owl, the ceylon frog mouth (makkachi kaada), the Malabar whistling thrush (choola kakka) and the common grey hornbill. The sanctuary, widely known for its exclusive bird population, houses both migratory birds and rare birds of local origin.
The survey conducted by Dr.Salim Ali in 1933 spotted about 130 species of birds. It being legally protected, Thattekkad is now a safe haven to about 320 bird species.
Only 60 percent of the total bird population at Thattekkad are permanent dwellers. The rest of them are migratory birds who have flown to the sanctuary from far off places. Experts are of the opinion that migratory birds from countries like Siberia, Tehran and Iran are regular visitors.
It is recommended to visit the sanctuary between October and March. Birds are mostly spotted during the wee hours of the morning. On request, experienced guides are available to explain about the unique flora and fauna of Thattekad.
The Interpretation Center at Thattekkad provides a vivid description of the different ecosystems. It also provides valuable information about those rare animal species that have made their way to the Red Data book.
Sculptures of various extinct birds, animals, insects and reptiles adore the interpretation center. The sculpture of dodo, the bird that has been wiped off from the earth long back, deserves special mention.
Those travelers who have a passion for trekking can avail themselves of the service of a guide to explore the deep forest. The three hour journey through the woods would cost the traveler Rs.500. However, due to the possible threat from wild animals, travelers are not allowed to stride further into the forest. Every trekking group consisting of five members need to have a guide with them.
Tree houses have been built at various points for those adventurous travelers who would love to stay back in the forest for a day or two. The watch tower that has been set up in the forest is an ideal viewpoint from where the whole forest could be surveyed.
The forest department has built an inspection bungalow within the sanctuary. The dormitory, which is also maintained by the department, is ideal for the accommodation of large study groups. Tourists can also stay at cottages owned by private individuals.
Forest department charges Rs. 1500 a day for two people to stay at the watch tower. To lend a bed at the dormitory, one has to pay Rs.80.
Though the unparalleled experience of waking up with nature is most refreshing, one should also be cognizant of the lurking dangers.
Way to the bird sanctuary
The Kochi-Thattekkad route through Kothamangalam is about 62 kms. The buses going to places like Thattekad, Kuttampuzha and Pooyamkutty will also take you to the sanctuary.
phone: 0485 2588302.