Murli Menon in conversation with Prittle Prattle News
One has just returned after a close encounter with nature at Pervumba village in Kerala State. Pervumba is a 30-minute drive away from Palakkad Town. It is interesting to note the historical origins of the word Pervumba. Tamil Brahmins migrated to Kerala from Thanjavur a few hundred years back and settled down in communities that came to be known as agraharams. Pervumba has one such agraharam known as East Village. This village is home to an ancient temple dedicated to Goddess Amba. As this temple was big, it was known as Periye Ameba (periye means big in Tamil). Periye Ameba metamorphosed into Pervumba over the years and today, the village is named Pervumbva.
One passes the historical village of Kalpathy along the way. We are welcomed by a group of Malabar Hornbills flying in formation, as soon as we enter Palakkad Town. We start our trek through the verdant rice fields and coconut groves on foot. and soon find ourselves in the middle of a tiny village with concentric rows of identical houses at the agraharam.
After thirty minutes of cruising through the fields, one sees a large water body in the distance. We are informed by our guide that the water body is a lake surrounded by three temples. The water is crystal clear and transparent and surrounded on all four sides by giant trees.
We come to the edges of this lake to find many colourful birds. It is a pleasure to watch a multitude of birds at close quarters, as they flock to the edge of the water. The water is shallow and swampy and boating is not possible, so one has to be content watching the birds from a distance. However, the deep blue sky, reflected in the crystal clearness of the waters is a joy to behold. Watching the crimson sunset over the Ambala Kolam (Malayalam for Temple Lake) is memorable.
After a brief stop to watch the birds, one goes deeper into the fields to spot the Malabar Hornbill. After an hour of walking through the fields one can see a glimpse of this magnificent bird. Hornbills are black in colour but have two large elliptical brown spots one on each side of their large yellow coloured beak which makes them look incredibly attractive to behold. Hornbills are shy creatures and fly away at great speeds on hearing the sound of footsteps. Hence the ideal strategy to spot these gentle and shy friends, is to stealthily trek towards them in a non menacing way and shoot with the camera as I did. Hornbills live on the coconut trees and use their beaks to break open dried coconuts and eat the coconut fruit.
Pervumba, in Kerala situated on the border with Tamil Nadu, is a sanctuary for the Malabar Hornbill and several other colorful birds. This extraordinary area gets partly inundated by about 2 feet of water in the monsoon months (July-September). Once below sea level, this area was raised by earth movements which cut it off from the Eastern Ghats. It was broken up by later earth movements into flat farmlands (where people can be seen growing rice) and higher grounds with sandy, salt-free soil. The Hornbill depends on the thorny scrub of the higher ground area for its feed. The other wildlife sighted at Palakkad includes blue bull, elephants, foxes, jackals, wild-cats, and caracals.
How to get there?
Pervumba is 10 km. away from Palakkad Town. The non-stop drive from Palakkad to Pervumba should not exceed thirty minutes.
Visitors traveling by road have to drive from Palakkad to Pervumba which is approximately10 km.
The nearest airport to reach Palakkad is at Coimbatore. Coimbatore is connected by direct flights from most Indian cities.
Palakkad Railway Station is the nearest railhead to reach Pervumba. From Palakkad private buses ply to Pervumba.
All trains going to Kochi and Thiruvanthapuram via Coimbatore stop at Palakkad.
Where to stay?
The Kairali Health Resort is one of the most convenient places to stay during one’s visit to Palakkad. This Resort arranges jeeps for the jungle safari. The resort charges Rs. 4500/- for an air-conditioned double room with an attached bathroom during May to July which is the off season.
Homestays are the only option for tourists who want to visit Pervumba on a budget. A family of four can avail of a homestay at Rs. 2000/- per night, exclusive of food. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner which includes traditional Kerala delicacies like idlis, dosas, injipuli (ginger with tamarind), rice, and elisseri (pumpkin) can be home delivered from the small eateries at Pervumba.
Where to eat?
Lots of small restaurants serving Malayali vegetarian cuisine dot Palakkad. Freshly steamed vegetables with spices, cooked in coconut milk, with hot freshly steamed idlis are available at most roadside dhabas. The food at the high profile hotels is only for the gastronomically adventurous who like greasy food. Vegans can opt for fresh tropical fruits including watermelons, papayas, tender coconuts, and bananas which are available at the local market.
About the Author :
Murli Menon is a travel writer, stress management consultant, and author based in Ahmedabad, India. He is the author of “ZeNLP-Learning through stories” published by The Written Word Publications, “ZeNLP-the power to succeed” published by Sage publications, and “ZeNLP-the power to relax” by New Dawn Press. He can be reached at email@example.com