So, gear up for the drill and the race that booking a ticket for the boat ride on the Periyar Lake entails! We decided on a boat ride at dawn as the option of the 4-5 other time slots during the day that were available. The drill began with the discovery that the hotels can't book/ procure tickets for guests as directed by KTDC. One has to arrive in person an hour ahead of the scheduled time, stand in queue for the supposed verification and ticket procurement! and it does isn't as simple and civilized as it sounds, might I warn you:)
The lake is inside the Tiger Reserve and requires an entrance ticket to begin with, so that becomes the first spot in the queue. The counter opens at 6am and the gates allow visitors in the forest reserve starting 6:30am. Once in, begins the completely "needless" car chase through the lovely winding forest road towards a drop point beyond which cars are not allowed. From that point, folks actually begin to run/walk briskly towards the boat ride ticket counter. One is handed forms to fill out ones contact details and then waits till the official manning the counter has fed in the info from the form into a computer, after verbal verification! Once done, then a walk to the boat brings one to the pleasant discovery, (ironic for those who run and rush in my opinion) of the seats being allocated by number and the seating thus being reserved in a manner of speaking. The beauty and the calm of the forest and the early hour is harshly shattered by this chase and drill that the process has induced. To add to it, the impatience of the folks visiting, makes it worse! Oh BTW, the Periyar Lake is lovely and the boat ride can be pleasurable if one is lucky to not have high pitched co travelers! Phew!
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