How about a holiday at the Neyyar dam this summer?
With the vacations drawing to a close soon, it's time we packed our bags and got going. Neyyar Dam will a great place to stop over, not only for the varied sights it offers but also for the fact that this is the only place in Kerala where one can see uncaged lions. The dam is an ideal one-day tour destination and offers a wide range of attractions that include a garden, the Lion Safari Park, the Crocodile Park, the Deer Park and the dam premises.
The Lion's Park is a 10-acre fenced island that is surrounded by the Neyyar Dam on all sides. This site can be accessed only through a boat ride. A fenced vehicle awaits the visitors on arrival. Thereafter the safari takes you through the park where the lions are roaming free and visitors transported in a caged bus. Three lionesses reside in this park.
Boat Safari- Available to the Lion Safari, Crocodile Park and the Deer Park. Will cost Rs. 250 per head.
Bus Safari- A 45-minute bus safari inside the Lion's park will cost Rs. 100 per head.
Boat Jumbo Safari- Three-hour speed boat ride to Kaappukadu Elephant Training Center. Cost per head Rs.500.
Bus Jumbo Safari- This Rs. 230 worth package will take the visitors to the Deer Park, Crocodile Park and the Kaappukadu Centre in a bus. It is a two-hour ride.
Boat Jumbo- Wild Safari – This is a special package by the Forest Department. The trip takes visitors to Uttaram Kayam, situated 12 kilometers inside the Neyyar Dam. The package, including the boating and trekking charges for four will cost Rs. 5000 for four hours.
The tickets are available at the information counter. The boat jetty is located in the catchment area of the dam itself. From the Lion's Park, the next boat ride will take you to the Agasthya Crocodile Park, previously known after Steve Irvin Park. The caged crocodiles await visitors here.
The next stop is the Deer Park which can be accessed through a five-minute trek up from the crocodile park. There are around 160 spotted deer in this natural enclosure. One can also spot the sneaking monkeys who come to steal the food supplied to the deer.
Apart from these, there is also an aquarium, a children's park and gardens on the dam premises maintained by the Irrigation Department and a stroll in these would be a great idea.
The information centre at the dam has details of all the attractions of this place. Options such as visitor's packages, protection oriented packages and trekking packages are available. Boating tickets are available from 9 am to 4 pm.
The trekking package to Kombai and further on to Meenmutty will be an experience in itself. Boats take the trekkers to Kombai from where the 6-km- long trek to Meenmutty begins. The treks may need advance booking. The site is open from eight in the morning to six in the evening. A trekking team of five people will have to shell out Rs. 3500 while every additional trekker will be charged Rs. 700. Trekkers can also choose to stay in these locations overnight. A stay for five at Meenmutty will cost Rs. 5250 while a stay at Kombai will come for Rs. 4750.
HOW TO GET THERE
Neyyar Dam is located 31 km away from Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station. A one-hour bus ride will take you to the destination. KSRTC runs chain services from Thampanoor to Neyyar. These buses go up till the gates of the dam.
(Translated by Jyothisha V J)