After The Rains, the luxury wildlife family resort in Kerala, is situated in the Moopinadpanchayat of Wayanad. The people of the neighboring small village of Puthukkad are mainly plantation workers, farmers & daily wage workers. It is very common to see crops of pepper, coffee, curry leafs, chili, ginger and diary in most of the households. ‘Kunjim kaka’ one of the oldest tea sellers in the area sits smiling in his small tea shop. Don’t be amused if you meet an auto rickshaw driver who speaks mediocre English or a plantation worker listening to western music. With its old welcoming charm and easy lifestyle, Puthukkad is a village where time stands still.
The community surrounding our resort in Wayanad mainly consist of “Paniya”, “Nayker”, “Kurumba” & “Moopan” tribes. They are mainly daily wagers, plantation workers or forest guards. Most of them are good singers who sing local folklore, while others play instruments like ‘thudi’, ‘ chenda’ ,’thapu’ and ‘cheeni’. These communities depend upon the forest and the seasons for their survival. The “paniya” and “kurumba” are historically the working class community while the “Nayker” and “Moopan” are traditionally hunters. Festivals are part of their lifestyle to mark various occasions where ‘thira’ (a performance where the performer is believed to be possessed by god), pooja , dance and music are performed.
The forests of Meppadi are part of the Western Ghats and form part of the Nilgiri biosphere. The tropical rainforest shares borders with the neighbouring states of Tamilnadu& Karnataka. Common trees found in the surrounding forest include Thaani, Erul, Chadachi, Venteak, Kari Maruku, ChoraChadachi, Pala, Aal, Veete, Nelli, Kundhirikam, Znjaval& Bamboo. Medicinal trees like Saracaasoca, elengi, Cassia fistula, Anarcadium & Pterocarpussantalinus are the species commonly found.
The forest range is also home to varieties of birds like black eagle, great hornbill, Indian pea fowl, asian houbara, Malabar grey hornbill & wood pecker. Mammals of the region include the Asian elephant, Blackbug, Gaur, Indian pangoin, Leopard, Nilgirilangur, Nilgiritahr, Sioth bear & the Malabar giant squirrel.
One can often see the Nilgirilangur or the Giant Malabar squirrel (incidentally, the largest squirrel in the world) while on a walk in the estates of After The Rains. If you are lucky, you can spot the quick footed dear as well as the avian friends who share the space with us.
The ‘ritu’ or seasons of the year play a very important role in the life of the forest. During ‘venal’(summer) the region normally dries up , which is recharged at the time of ‘varsham’ (monsoon). Annual rain fall ranges from 3,000 to 4,000m.m.‘Shishiram’ (winter) is the best time of the season where flowers blossom, trees are in bloom and greenery is everywhere. High velocity winds are common during the monsoon and dry winds blow in summers.