Gavi Eco-Tourism , a project of the Kerala Forest Development Corporation, has caught the attention of tourists for a while now. The project is exclusive in many respects and the majority who visited were nature lovers and adventure tourists. Over a short period of time visitors to Gavi gradually increased, especially after 'Alistair International' the world acclaimed tourism major listed it among the leading eco-tourism centres and one of the must-see places in India.
A highlight of the Gavi Eco Project is the involvement of the local populace in its activities as guides, gardeners and cooks. This provides livelihood for the locals and also helps to create awareness on the conservation of nature. Gavi, located in Pathanamthitta district offers its visitors activities like trekking, wildlife watching, outdoor camping in specially built tents and night safaris.
The road leading to Gavi is blanketed by tea plantations, which itself is a refreshing experience. En route to Gavi are places of interest like Mundakayyam, Kuttikanam, Peermedu and Vandiperiyar from where the road deviates to Gavi.
Once you reach Gavi the serene eco-lodge 'Green Mansion' awaits you like a mother to embrace you in its protective fold. From the 'Green Mansion', one can savour the spectacular view of the Gavi Lake and the adjoining forests. Besides the accommodation provided in 'Green Mansion' visitors can also try out the tree houses here and can even pitch tents in the wilderness. Here one can have outstanding trekking experiences, which are overseen by trained local people. Those who would love to be left alone can do so in the tranquil environs of Gavi or may even go canoeing in the placid waters of the lake or enjoy a breathtaking sunset. Visitors are usually provided vegetarian food and snacks, which further adds to the eco-friendly ambience of the place.
The place is rich in flora and fauna. There are hills and valleys, tropical forests, sprawling grasslands, sholas, cascading waterfalls and cardamom plantations. Endangered species including the Nilgiri Tahr and Lion-Tailed Macaque are often sighted at the outskirts of Gavi. With more than 260 species of birds including the Great Pied Hornbill, Woodpecker and Kingfishers, Gavi is literally a paradise for birdwatchers.
Some of the breathtaking viewpoints at Gavi like the Valley View offer a spectacular view of the deep ravine and forest below. From Kochu Pampa, a point near Green Mansion eco-lodge, one can track the grazing Nilgiri Tahrs.
The famous pilgrim destination, Sabarimala is a short trek from Gavi. For those interested in observing nocturnal wildlife, night safaris to Kullur, Gavi Pullumedu, Kochu Pampa and Pachakanam provide ample opportunities for wildlife viewing.
Another unique feature of Gavi is camping in the forests. One can pitch a tent in the camping site, which is a rarity in many Indian forests. As the dusk stretches into the silence of the night, one can feel the presence of wildlife in the middle of nowhere, an experience that cannot be explained in words. There are also tree top houses where one can enjoy avian life to the fullest.
Active involvement of tribals in Gavi makes it a unique venture of its kind in the country. Traditional knowledge of the forest and its way of life helps Gavi to sustain its surroundings in its original state.
Gavi is bound to cast its magical spell on every visitor and is surely a place that should not be missed in one's lifetime. Gavi is pristine, and it belongs to the wild, which is a reminder that visitors are responsible for their intentions and actions, which will have a bearing on the upkeep of Gavi for a long time to come.
Gavi Package offered by DTPC Pathanamthitta, click here
Nearest railway station: Kottayam, about 114 km
Nearest airport: Madurai Airport (Tamil Nadu), about 140 km away and Cochin International Airport, about 190 km
Latitude: 9.437208, Longitude: 77.166066