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The reserve bath

All around me were the soothing grey of calm waters at dusk punctuated by remnants of tree trunks that rose fiercely in a thousand tales. Smack in the middle of the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala, this was indeed an Alive is Awesome experience.

It pays to be nice to the locals

The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, widely known as Thekkady, is a 777 sq km tiger reserve, and is among the most popular ones in the country. While most travellers stick to the properties in the periphery of the reserve, unknown to many is an erstwhile palace on an island in the middle of the Periyar Lake in which the reserve is situated. This former summer palace of the King of Travancore is now a six-room comfortable property from where you can really listen to the jungle. A Malabar Hornbill was taking a late flight home while the kingfishers and cormorants were already wishing each other a pleasant night. From afar I heard a lovelorn bull elephant make his displeasure clear at having to go to bed alone, again. The barking deer promised to keep a close watch over his brood.

The local staff knows the woods and the water like their own backyard, which it is. Be friendly with them and they will show you some awesome new ways to experience the jungle – from the water. Like I was!

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