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Gavi is an eco-tourist spot in Idukki district of Kerala. This place got into the Indian tourism map after world tourism major, Alistair International, listed in its site as one of the renowned and must-see eco-tourism centers in India. This place is blessed with natural scenic beauty, which is not touched by the mighty hands of modern-day commercialism. Hence the nature-loving tourists must make it a point to visit this place to savor its beauty whenever they come in the God's Own Country, Kerala. Moreover, a host of species of birds and animals can be spotted at different parts of the region. The place is also known to have gopher trees, which have been once mentioned in holy Bible. Incidentally, these are the only gopher trees present in India. The Malayalam film 'Ordinary' was shot in this beautiful location.
Location and Approach
Situated in Seethathode Panchayath in Ranni thaluk, Gavi is part of well-known Periyar Tiger Reserve. It is located about 28 km southwest of Vandiperiyar, 14 km from Kumily, near Thekkady. Hence the eco-tourism spot can be approached from Vandiperiyar by car. However, it is advised to hire a sturdy vehicle like the jeep to travel to Gavi, as the route is tough to negotiate. These vehicles are available on rent from either Vandiperiyar or Kumily. According to the seasoned travelers, the route to Gavi from Pathanamthitta is considered the most beautiful.
Boarding and Lodging
Before entering the place, one needs to get the pass from the counter of Kerala Forest Department. The entry fee to the location is Rs. 25 per person and Rs. 50 per vehicle. Apart from this, the people with the camera need to fish out another Rs. 25 for getting the permission from the authorities. In case of people with the video cameras, the amount is slightly on higher side, i.e., Rs. 100.
For the benefit of the visitors, there are facilities for the forest tent camping from November to April. Using this facility, people can stay in the tent to enjoy the natural surroundings. Advance booking is available with the Kerala Forest Development Corporation Ltd. to facilitate the hassle-free transport and stay for the tourists.
Flora and Fauna
Gavi is primarily known for its natural beauty and wildlife. In the outskirts of this tourist spot, one can find the species that are nearing extinction such as Nilgiri Tahr and Lion-tailed Macaque. This region also has a large number of elephants. If you are a keen bird watcher, Gavi is the place for you. With over 260 species of birds spotted, Gavi is considered as a heaven for the avid bird watchers. The bird species found across the region include Great Pied Hornbill, Woodpecker, and Kingfisher.
Gavi is also home to gopher trees. According to state forest officials, there are two gopher trees in Gavi forest area, and these are considered to be the only gopher trees available in the country. In the local dialect, the gopher tree is called as 'Nirampalli'. There is a mention of the word gopher in holy Bible as well. According to the botanists, the tree standing in the Gavi forest area has robust stem and lush foliage. Despite the assertion by the state forest officials that there are only two gopher trees in the forest, there could be the possibility of finding more of them in the deeper parts of Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala.
Gavi is a place where wilderness beacons. It is a visual delight for the lovers of nature and bird lovers. Far from the madding crowd, this place looks afresh to the visitors. The place has a number of species of birds, animals and plants to watch and enjoy. In order to take the lovers of nature to a different realm of experience, there are facilities for tent camping in the forest. Hence, do not miss the opportunity to marvel at the beauty of nature by visiting this place, if you are anywhere in Kerala.