Gavi is a village in Pathanamthitta District,Kerala – a beautiful small place in the middle of a vast forest. A part of the many eco-tourism projects sponsored by the Kerala Forst Development Corporation, it recently gained much public attention via a malayalam movie called Ordinary. Along with a few friends, I had visited Gavi on a one-day trip in August.
Gavi can be reached from Vandiperiyar or Pathanamthitta via road. KSRTC bus service is available for both these routes. If you are taking your own vehicle, the Pathanamthitta route is the only option as the Vandiperiyar-Gavi road is closed for private vehicles. Again, this route might also be closed some months of an year, do remember to check with forest officials if you are planning to go.
We took the route Ranni->Seethathode->Angamuzhi->Kochandi->Gavi on an i20.The plan was to reach Kochandi by 7am so as to spend enough time in Gavi, but by the time we reached Kochandi and started the trip into Gavi it was already past 9.There is a forest check post in Kochandi and entry to Gavi is limited between 7am-12noon for private vehicles. An entry fee of Rs.30 per head needs to be paid at the check-post to obtain the pass (keep it safe as it will be asked in many check posts along the way; also make sure that your driver has a valid driving license too ).
Gavi Route Map
After the check-post the road starts to get rough and the jungle path starts. It takes 30minutes to complete one kilometer in some areas!.
About a kilometer or two from the check-post you can see the Moozhiyar dam and the pen-stock.Keep your senses sharp from here onwards. Luck may favor you and you may get a chance to see animals.
The Gavi route is famous for sighting of Elephants, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Peacocks, Bisons etc. Every time we saw elephant poo on the road, we were scanning bushes in anticipation of seeing the mighty “kariveeran” (the Black hero). Finally the sharp eyes of jayakumar spotted one in the jungle; it wasn’t the mighty “komban” we were hoping for, but a “mozha“. Nevertheless, we did see an elephant ;).
Be careful when you get out of the vehicle, there will be leeches ready to feast on you. A tip incase you’re bitten by one: Put some salt over it or show lighter flame near it; If you don’t have any of these handy,its best to let it finish the feast, after which it will fall off
Note: if you forcefully remove it, its teeth will be left out in the wound, will cause irritation and will require proper medical care.
After almost 3hrs of slow driving with many “photo” stops we reached Gavi dam, which is the farthest private vehicles are allowed to go. Enjoyed the view of Gavi in the drizzling rain and started back.It is places such as Gavi that show us how much beauty there is in nature and how each one of us has to do our share in conserving and live in harmony with our natural surroundings.