by Jayasudha Bhaskaran
Wayanad is one of the districts in Kerala (India) which is famous for its green cover. It is a place of tourist attraction with so many beautiful places to visit such as Banasurasagar lake,Lakkidi view point, Pookode lake, peak, Edakkal caves, Phantom rock, Soochipara falls, Meenmutty falls, Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary, Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary and so on. It is the home for several species of birds and wild animals. It is the border which divides Kerala-Tamilnadu and Kerala-Karnataka.
I was born in a rural village in Gudalur in the Nilgiris district of Tamilnadu which is just a stone's throw away from the Wayanad district of Kerala.It shares almost the same geographical features as that of Wayanad.
Being a nature lover, I always wanted to explore nature. Once myself and my husband happened to travel to Thirunelli in Wayanad to meet Manu, a friend of my husband who resides there. It is at a distance of around 100 Km from Sulthan Bathery which is also in Wayanad. My husband was born and brought up in Sulthan Bathery.
Manu called my husband over the phone on the day before our journey and warned us to be careful for there are chances of wild animals roaming about at daytime as it is a rural area with dense forest.
We started our journey at 1.30 in the afternoon after having our lunch. We stopped in between the journey to take rest and to take snaps of the beautiful sceneries witnessed on our way. We took as many selfies and photographs as possible until my phone was running out of storage. We resumed our journey.
Green lush grass and trees everywhere with the chirp of birds and the aroma of wild flowers filled the air. We were lucky enough to spot a herd of deer grazing on both the sides of the road.We stopped for a while to enjoy the beautiful scene.
As we drove further,we came across a board by the side of the road which says "ELEPHANT CROSSING ZONE". Even though elephants are not new to the people born and brought up in Gudalur and Sulthan Bathery as they are a part and parcel of their life, horror filled our eyes. My husband slowed down the car whereas my eyes rotated through 180 degrees to spot elephants,if any.
As the car moved through a hair pin bend, there was elephant dung at the centre of the road, which smelled fresh. We looked around and we could see a large rock like structure, few feet away from the road, at a distance. We stopped our car to verify if it was a rock or an elephant. By then, we could see a car stopped few meters away from it and taking photographs of it. Our doubt was clarified and it was not a rock,but an elephant. We observed it for a while and after making sure that it was not a dangerous one,we slowly drove towards it. It was grazing sleepily and suddenly its eyes met ours. Shivers ran down our spines on seeing its fierce look.But we felt excited at the same time for we had never encountered with an elephant before. We somehow managed to take photographs once we reached near to it.But we did not dare to stop the car for a long time and we rushed away. We then came to know that it was a permanent resident of that area and is harmless.
We reached at Manu's house around 4 in the
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