Day 111, Year 5: Happy Valentine’s Day
Date: Sunday, February 14, 2010
Weather: Beautiful Day with Blue Skies
Location: Kumily, Idukki, India

We were half-way through our day before we remembered it is Valentine’s Day. There are no reminders of such a holiday here in India, but we decided that our jungle safari was our present to each other. Hope all of you have a good day. Our Valentine’s Day is ending, but yours is just beginning.

Today we received a photo of Ziggy wearing a “Wild Periyar” shirt. Not sure where he got that, but it was certainly a timely photo as our today was all about touring the wild Periyar jungle and then going to a performance of Kalarippayat. This is an ancient form of martial arts and many believe that all martial arts can trace their beginnings to Kalarippayat here in Kerala beginning in the 12th century. We started our day at 5:15 am with a covered jeep ride that took us some twenty to thirty kilometers from here and into the Periyar Wildlife Reserve. Erica, young woman from London, joined us in the jeep. It was still dark when we arrived, but the top was rolled back on the jeep and we started our adventure. We saw a couple of elephants and a sambar deer on a ridge far in the distance, and later we saw long-tailed monkeys locally called lion monkeys because they have a shaggy mane surrounding their faces. As the mist lifted and the sun rose, we had a beautiful ride through the park, but there were no close up encounters with elephants and not a tiger to be seen. We had a lovely breakfast in the park as part of the tour, took a three and half hour guided walk up and down the mountains. For the walk, another young woman named Deepali joined us. She is from Toledo, Ohio, and has just completed graduate work in Mongolia. We all had lunch, and then headed back to Kumily. In the evening, we attended the Kalarippayat performance. We are totally exhausted and start again at 8 am in the morning. Tomorrow’s tour will be of a spice garden and a tea plantation and factory, before getting on a bus headed back to Cochin.

100214 Day 111 India–Jungle Safari and Kalarippayat