We were passing by on the hair pin bends down the Western Ghat mountains in Anamalai Tiger Reserve, near Aliyar in Pollachi, when this beautiful sight welcomed us. Peeping around a corner of the road, was this serene sight. With not a single ripple to disturb the reflection, it was nature at her best!
A further way down, it was monkeys everywhere. It looked like monkeys had come down from the forest to spend a day sighting the tourists and their antics. Monkeys were perched on the road side, gazing at crowds of tourists who stopped by.
South India had seen continuous rains and flooding this year. Yet another cyclone is raging already. The reservoir in Aliyar was full with water. It looked beautiful with new islands and streams gleaming in the sun light.
Aliyar reservoir is located 20 km from pollachi. It is nestled at the foothills of the western ghat mountains. Driving past spot at leads straight to the entrance of the Annamalai tiger reserve.
Aliyar dam has a sprawling garden with a children’s park. Towards the end of the park, winding steps lead the way up to the reservoir. There are boats operating on the reservoir on select days.
Canals go sit zag around the garden. The garden is old, statues are faded and do not interest today’s youngsters. But it is still a sprawling place for family picnics and children’s play activities.
An occasional drive through the Western Ghats towards Valparai is one of our preferred activities for holidays. It has stopped raining almost a month back… One more month remains before the next spell of rains. So the forest was dry and we were expecting to see wild boars and monkeys cross the mountain road in search of water.
In a short while, we saw goats on the roadside. We were happy and surprised when we recognised them as the Nilgiri Tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius). They are known as varaiyaadu (cliff goat) in tamil.
These are wild goats or mountainous goats, native to the southern western ghats. They are found only in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. They are known for their uncanny ability to climb steep rocky mountains. They are an endangered species now, with only around 2000 of them alive.
They were nothing like other wild animals… they were very calm and grazed away peacefully without minding us. We were watching them, enjoying the peace and calm that surrounded us.
But then another car passing by saw us with cameras standing next to these animals. Four excited men with cameras in hand got down from the car and walked towards us, talking excitedly in raised voices. That was enough to put the goats on alert. In a minute the three goats had climbed over the ledge and disappeared in to the deep forests.
Regardless of any kind of human intervention, there is one animal which continues to thrive. Not only does it thrive, but often proves itself to be more wile than man. Yes, it is the monkey…
As we were intently watching the landscape for the Tahr or Langurs, this monkey family spotted us. The mean look on their faces was enough to make us speed away from there 🙂