Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A trip to God's own Country

Posted by Varun | Tuesday, October 7, 2008 | Category: , , , |

Mahatma Gandhi's birthday and Ramzan (Eid) gave us (me and my parents) an opportunity to visit Kerala's Wayanad District last week. The district headquarters, 'Kalpetta' is around 280 km from Bangalore. The route we followed was Bangalore - Mysore - Nanjangud - Gundlupet - Bandipur National Forest - Sultan Bathery - Kalpetta. There are few other routes as well but this one is the best of the lot. The condition of roads in this route are better than the other routes.

The best part of the trip was the drive and I am glad that I got to do the major chunk (Around 750 km) of it. We drove through the straight four lane highways, dense forests and through the curves and bends of the Western Ghats. If one loves driving or is a car enthusiast one must drive on these roads. I managed to test the upper limits of the Santro's to its limits. Not sure which screw or nut of the Santro has gone loose now :D

Day 1 -

We left our house at 7:30 am. It took us around fifteen minutes to dodge the Bangalore traffic and hit the highway. But once we hit it there was no stopping the Schumacher in me. This was when I was able to clock 140 km. It was a flat out drive till Srirangapatnam, our first pit stop. We had planned to visit the Nimishamba temple there. The temple is on the banks of river Cauvery and Goddess Nimishamba is known to grant one's wishes instantly. Don't miss visiting this temple if you are planning a trip to Bangalore or Mysore. The next stopover was Mysore for breakfast. We had yummy Dosa and chutney at the very famous 'Mylari Hotel'. On our way to Kalpetta, we cross Bandipur National Forest. We were very lucky to spot a parade of elephants enjoying themselves in a water hole. Here is a picture of the same.

Pic: Elephants enjoying a dip.

We reached our destination at around lunch time. We had booked Hotel Haritagiri two days prior to our departure. The hotel was recommended by most of the Kerala tourism websites and one of my cousins. It boasts of an Ayurveda village too. The service in the hotel is excellent. Very few people understand English/Hindi but we managed to get what we wanted. I even got a full body massage done :).

I am now going to post the pictures of the place we visited with a brief description rather than trying to explain everything in words. I will let the pictures speak for themselves :)

Pookot or Pookod Lake - Is a pristine fresh water lake enclosed by hills and has a walkway which goes around it. One can go paddle boating here but it was closed by the time we entered.

Distance from Kalpetta: 14 km
Entry Fee: Rs. 10
Paddle Boat: Rs 30 for 20 min

Pic: Pristine and placid lake

Pic : My mom and I on the walkway

Day 2 -

Banasura Sagar Dam - It is India's largest and Asia's second largest Earth Dam. There's a speed boat (a fast motor boat) that takes one around the dam. The trek from the entrance to the dam is quite long and tiring. One can hire a jeep to cover this distance.

Distance from Kalpetta: 24 km
Entry fee: Rs. 10
Jeep: Rs 50 for a round trip. (Max 10 ppl)
Speed Boat: 250 for a 20 min trip (Max 5 ppl)
View from the boat: Priceless :)

Pic: The Dam and its

Pic: Ye Hassen Vadiyan, Ye khula Aasman

Kuruva Island- 950 acres of evergreen forest on the tributaries of east following river Kabini. The island is uninhabited. Rare species of birds, orchids and herbs can be found here. The road leading to this island is in quite a bad shape.

Distance from Kalpetta : 40 km
No Entry fees
Boat: Rs. 20 per head (Required to cross the river. One can swim across too.)

Pic: Mom and Dad

Pic: Land across the river is Kuruva Island

Day 3 -

Soochippara Falls -
The road leading to this waterfall is amazing. Tea estates adorn both sides of the road. The trek to the waterfall is exhilarating as well as exhausting. One can get down the mountains quite easily but the slope is quite steep and the climb back up is very tiring. I did not want my parents to get down with me. My mom agreed to it but my dad didn't. He was extremely pleased when we finally got to the waterfall.

Distance from Kalpetta: 23 km
No Entry Fees
Jeep: Rs. 100 for a round trip (From the entrance to the stairs.)

Pic: Picturesque Tea Estate

Pic : Soochippara Water Fall

Pic: Thrilled Dad

There are lots of other places we skipped either due to the distance or lack of interest . I'll list them out here so that it can help the people reading this post.

- Edakkal Caves: Neolithic Caves
- Chembra Peak - 1200 metre mountain climb
- Lakkidi - A chain of Trees
- Muthanga Wild Life Sanctuary - 45 km from Kalpetta
- Pakshipathalam - 17 km Trek
- Neelimala View Point - Supposed to be good
- Sentinel Rock Waterfalls - Not very good
- Tholpetty wild life Sanctuary - 70 km from Kapetta

Wayanad is not a hill station. The weather here is more or less same as every place. It becomes cool at nights. One or two pairs of jeans, t-shirts and a comfortable pair of shoes should do the trick. Food used to be a problem in Kerala when I had visited it four years back but it is no longer a problem. We now get all kinds of food sans coconut oil too.

Like every good things come to an end, so did our trip. The trip to God's own Country was exciting, rejuvenating and truly a trip to remember. The pristine glittering waters, the drive, the picturesque tea estates, the time spent with my parents are some of the things that will be etched in my mind forever.

Currently have 12 comments:

  1. Aha! So u r back :)

    Such trips surely rejunuvates one :) and the pics are awesome. I yearn to see such greenery....sigh!!!!!

  2. Oh, what a lovely place. I made a trip from Trivandrum to Cochin once and Wayanad was included in the plan but after I reached Cochin I cut short my trip and left Kerala for B'lore. The food was too much to bear. They cook everything in Coconut oil. And I am not used to that. Any place is as good or bad as it's food. Kerala is beautiful but how long can you eat that coconut-oily food if you are not habituated to eat food cooked in that.

    May years later, I made short trip to Wayanad and back waters of Aleppe.

  3. i have been to kerala and i loved it!! :)

    Enjoyed going there again with your snaps

  4. Your blog helped me to know about everything in detail...thanks!!

  5. Hi Varun,

    Please make time to visit Shri Nimishamba Devi Temple in Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Bangalore. The temple is open all day between 6:00AM to 8:15PM.

    You can call the temple no - 09341259083 for more details.

  6. Hi Smita
    Yeah!! Missed me kya? :)

    There is greenery all around Karnataka, Kerala and even Tamil Nadu. If you yearn for it so much you should plan a trip down south.

    Great place to read your books... socho socho :)

    Hi Oxy
    Yes. It is indeed a lovely place. Coconut-oily food is too much to bear. I was happy that we did not have to deal with it this time around. I have seen Cochin and Trivandrum. Back waters of Alleppey is pending though. Kerala's coast is as beautiful as its mountains and forest ranges.

  7. Hi Sakhi
    Welcome to my Digital Diary! I am glad you were able to revisit Kerala through the snaps :)

    Hi Chaiti
    You are always welcome!! :) We'll plan such a trip when you are in India next.

  8. Hi Mekhala

    Welcome to my Digital Diary. Thanks a lot for those details. I'll surely try and visit the Nimishamba temple in Rajarajeshwari Nagar as soon as possible. One of my aunts who live there is a frequent visitor of that temple.

  9. Though I am a Keralite, I have never been to any exotic places of Kerala. The pictures look so wonderful and your dad, he sure has enjoyed the trip !!!

  10. Hi Vimal
    I had somehow assumed that you were a tamilian :). Do visit these places when you find some time.

    Both mom and dad enjoyed the trip.

  11. @ varun: a beautiful place it seems.. glad u had a nice time.. :) going on trips is always gud fun! esp wid a digi cam to take hundreds of pics.. :D

    n u actually thot vimmuuu was a tamilian? lololol :D

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