The evergreen forested Kuruva island (Called Kuruvadweep locally) lying in one of the tributaries of Kabini river in Wayanad seems a popular picnic spot. Rightfully so.
I am not a fan of popular picnic spots but this was different. A cluster of islands that emerge or submerge with water levels, and home to a variety of birds, butterflies and orchids, you can choose to be with the crowds or find your own solitude.
Spread over 950 acres, only 65 acres are open to public access.
Paddle boats and bamboo rafts pulled by a rope are used to ferry people across with a warning that the latter are not safety certified and people use at their own risk. Right, don’t do anything about enforcing standards and absolve yourself with this warning.
My host recommended I engage a guide to take me to a tribal temple and village in the area. Very good advice.
We hiked in extreme humidity on a warm, sunny day through rice fields and forests to eventually reach the temple – very serene setting, and the simplicity of the temples is what attracts you. This is where you should meditate to connect to whoever you believe in up there.
The tribal village was a disappointment (from my point of view) – it comprised newly brick and mortar houses funded by the Government (more comfort for the residents even if it meant I don’t get souvenir photos).
The guide was a resident of this village, and introduced me to his mother. Smiles made up for language barriers.
Despite new houses, many a lifestyle remains unchanged. Women were dressed as they always have been, water is drawn from wells and farming is the main occupation. The fields were planted with rice, and ginger harvested recently was being sorted manually.
Walking along the perimeter of the public area of the island, I could hear a constant loud creaking sound. It was bamboo trees swaying in the wind.
Monkeys abound – and trying their best to emulate human actions. Saw them in romantic postures, mothers fondling babies, and friends giving a massage to one another or plucking ticks from the fur. Interestingly, if one changed his or her actions, all the others around would follow suit.
Came across water pools with lots of college girls and boys frolicking around – tempting to jump in on the hot day. Some were stuck far inside, and were forming a human chain lest they slip on rocks. Could have been smarter than that.
Would have liked to cool off myself but had miles to go.
Signs for visitors to Kuruva Island:
Ajay Jain is currently on the Great Arabian Sea Drive, starting from Delhi and following the coastline all the way from Gujarat down to Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Follow all updates on:
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