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Old 12th May 2011, 16:04   #1
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Default Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!

As a kid, I loved hail storms. We all did. Collecting small ice cubes and biting them was a thrill. With hailstorm came mango showers cooling the sun soaked mother earth. Plants looked fresh and green after a good bath. Earth smelled heavenly!

We did not plan this trip. We did not have any agenda. If there was one, it was just to experience the Mango showers and smell the aroma of earth after first rains! Bangalore got its mango showers after Karaga festival. Why don’t we go for a drive through the forests just for the heck of it? Easter weekend seemed to be god sent.

Part 1 - Experiencing Mango showers in Wayanad

“Where do we go this Easter weekend” I ask Brinda, my wife.

“No Easter weekend. No holiday in USA” pat comes her reply showing utter disappointment. She works in an American Banking BPO.

“Don’t joke, the whole world is closed for Easter” I counter.

“Don’t think you are smart, US is working” comes the retort.

“So, does this mean, no Easter weekend outing?”

“Yes”

I am now resigned to spending the Easter weekend in Bangalore. Our offices were closed for Easter. At 11 on Good Friday, Brinda calls from her office

“Why don’t we go out on the weekend at least? Let us drive down on Saturday and comeback on Sunday”.

“Where to? You won’t get accommodation anywhere. It will all be full”.

“Why don’t you Call up some resorts/home stays and check out availability?”

I start calling out all the hotels/resorts/home stays in the familiar locations – Coorg, Kabini, Wayanad, Tirthahalli, and Chikkamagalur.

“No room sir” is the standard answer. I leave my number with them to call me back if there is any cancellation. I am not hopeful and resigned to fate of spending the weekend in Bangalore.

Around 3 in the afternoon, I get a call from Banasura in Wayanad

“Good afternoon sir, we have a cancellation. Do you want us to book it for you?”

“Yes” I jump out.

Wayanad is not new having been there many times. But this time it is different as we were going there without any agenda and just a drive. NICE road was washed from previous days down pour and was looking fresh and green. So was the Mysore road. The rush on the highway was less with most of them having left on Good Friday. I am driving on the most picturesque stretch near Ramanagaram and stop to capture this snap. This place has amazing hills. Aren’t these the places where Gabbar Singh was roaming in seventies?

Gabbar ka Ramgarh!

Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!-ram1.jpg

The drive is pleasant all the way. Showers have made it cooler and sprouts of grass have turned road side green. We breeze through Mysore and Nanjanagud and take deviation towards Wayanad and enter the forest.

What a treat to eyes and what an aroma! The showers have turned the forest green and we could smell the earth. We drive leisurely through the forest inhaling the fresh earthy air, stopping to see if we could find any animals.

Rejuvenation of nature after showers

Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!-wayanad-road1.jpg

Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!-wayanad-road-21.jpg

We reach Sultan Bathery and head for Banasura hill resort which is at a distance of 45 KMs. I drive on the winding roads through coffee estates surrounded by hills. After a steep hilly drive, I stop in front of the resort, awestruck!

Wow! What a location

Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!-banasura1.jpg

Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!-wayanad-peak1.jpg

The resort is at the foothills of Banasura peak, which is its USP. Check in formalities done, we head towards dining hall. It is a disappointment. I don’t see anyone in control as food is not refilled and is not tasty. We plan to go for a drive in the hills and then to Pookat lake in the evening.

We start our hill drive to Pookat after a cup of tea. The drive is enchanting. We go through roads lined up by carpet of tea bushes. The hills give a lovely backdrop.

The hills and the green carpet

Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!-wayanad-tea1.jpg

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Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!-wayanad-tea-31.jpg

Pookat is one of prettiest lakes in South India. It is pristine and haunting. The quietness of the place is only spoilt by the calls of birds. We had had one of the memorable boat rides on this lake couple of years back when we were the only couple paddling in the water. But this was not being same on this day. The lake is crowded with tourists and noise levels are high. Boating is closed as it is already 5.15 – boating allowed till 5. Not disheartened, we go for a walk on the walking trail around the lake. Suddenly the lake is getting enveloped by clouds and it starts raining. The lake looks out of the world.

Pookat – The jewel of Wayanad

Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!-pookat-11.jpg

Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!-pookat-21.jpg

Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!-pookat-31.jpg

Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!-pookat-41.jpg

Next day morning we pack up after breakfast. Again it is chaos in the dining hall. We found Banasura Hill Resort is not "value for Money". It is designed well with large cottages. But food and dining experince was bad.

On return, we decide not to take Mysore – Bangalore road and instead reach Chamarajnagar from Gundlupet (29 KMs and decent road) and then NH 209. It was a sensible decision. The road is fantastic with hardly any traffic. It is also more scenic. I stop the car to click this barge on Cauvery near Shivana Samudra.

And quiet flows the Cauvery

Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!-cauveri1.jpg

We drive on through green fields when I come across this huge monolithic hill named “Muneshwarana betta”. A temple for Lord Muneshwara is atop the hill. The hill is sparkling in the afternoon sun.


Muneshwarana betta

Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!-muneshra1.jpg

We reach back home by evening after a weekend well spent amidst nature.

Part 2 - Experiencing Mango Showers in Malnad - the Drive to Tirthahalli, Heart of MALNAD

Tirthahalli is in heart of MALNAD in Western Ghats. The place is rich is nature, art, history, culture and heritage. This one of my favourite destination. I had to go for a family function last week and grabbed the opportunity to do this day trip. Mango showers had lashed Tirthahalli and its surroundings for some days in the previous week. The brown stretches of land i had seen a month ago when I was there had turned green now. We could smell the aroma of earth after first rain.

As we drove past Shivamogga and entered the picturesque 60 KMs to Tirthahalli, we were welcomed by these vistas of Malnad.

Serene Backwaters of Gajanur dam with greenery around

Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!-gajanur1.jpg

A surreal bamboos amidst greenery!

Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!-bamboo1.jpg

Egrets in Mandagadde bird Sanctuary

Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!-mgadde21.jpg

Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!-mgadde1.jpg

Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!-mgadde-31.jpg

Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!-mgadde-41.jpg

And quiet flows the Tunga

Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!-tunga1.jpg
The green road!
Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!-road-walden1.jpg

I had covered the details of Tirthahalli and surroundings in this entry when i was newbie. http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...-monsoons.html (Malnad In Monsoons)

Click on the photographs to make it large.

We enjoyed our drive chasing Mango showers in Wayanad and Malnad. Hope you do too!!
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Old 12th May 2011, 16:25   #2
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Default Re: Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!

Nice travelogue Fauji. I can feel the smell of the fresh rain here!
The weather seems to be awesome in waynad when you visited.
The resort is wonderful as you mention, could you please share details about the tariff?
The pics are fantastic too, but no pics of the beast?
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Old 12th May 2011, 18:41   #3
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Default Re: Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!

Some of the best drives are born out of impulse!
Pity that the dining experience at Banasura was bad, considering the cut-throat rates they charge. But looks like the location makes up for it - must be divine when it rains.
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Old 12th May 2011, 19:17   #4
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Default Re: Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!

Fuji, nice, sweet travelogue and some great shots with the cam. How was the 45 km road to Banasura? I thought there was a dam called Banasura dam which looked better than Pokoot in pictures.
How did you click such great snaps when the sun was beating down? The muthanga road, Munes.. betta were looking great inspite of the sun. Do you adjust the whitebalance or exposure? PM me so that this thread does not become a discussion on DSLR.

Last edited by VindyWheels : 12th May 2011 at 19:19.
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Old 12th May 2011, 19:55   #5
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Default Re: Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!

Nice trip!

Without doubt, impromptu drives are immense fun!

Pokkot lake looks so much more beautiful when it rains! Guess the grenery around makes the whole setting breathtaking.

Btw, did you happen to visit Edykal caves? I'd been to Wayanad in Dec '10 and they were then closed for renovation.

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I thought there was a dam called Banasura dam which looked better than Pokoot in pictures.
There is indeed Banasura dam; about being better than Pokkot, only monsoons can tell!
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Old 12th May 2011, 20:41   #6
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Default Re: Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!

no words!! excellent places. You are lucky. The Phookot lake is a beauty. There are lot of small and good restaurants in SB. I has real nice ghee rice from a local restaurant. I mostly don't take food from the hotels/resorts i stay. They are bad.
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Old 12th May 2011, 22:57   #7
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Default Re: Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!

The best drives are the ones born out of impulse and so is this I presume.Amazing pictures,the Banasura resort seems to be very overrated(looks like everyone in Wayanad is making a fast buck).But then again service and hospitality is not a strong point of any hotel in Kerala,so I am not surprised.

Lovely pictures.

OT:I forgot to mention,thanks for that lovely tip of yours for the Benne dosa at Town Canteen in C'magalur,it was heavenly,thanks for that!
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Old 13th May 2011, 00:09   #8
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Default Re: Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!

Thirthahalli is heaven. By coincidence or whatever, of the 2 dozen odd trips that I've done in the last year atleast 10 were through/to Thirthahalli.

But when it rains heavily, it beats the air out of you - can get scary. Hebri, Agumbe, Hulikal, Thirthahalli can all have scary rains.

Re part1 - NH 212 is still fresh in memory from last year's trip - hope things don't change for years to come!
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Old 13th May 2011, 11:28   #9
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Default Re: Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fauji View Post
I had covered the details of Tirthahalli and surroundings in this entry when i was newbie. http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...-monsoons.html (Malnad In Monsoons)
Click on the photographs to make it large.
We enjoyed our drive chasing Mango showers in Wayanad and Malnad. Hope you do too!!
Great travelogue Fauji bhai! I have a lot of questions for you

Amazing pics, what camera equipement did you use?
What itinerary would you recommend to people who stay too far away from Wayanad to drive there?
Could we fly to Kochi and then rent a car from there?
Also, is it possible to rent a car without a driver?
I would also appreciate if you can recommend some other interesting places/ drives in the area so that we can make the most of the week or so we intend to be there.
We would like to visit when it is raining; but not too heavy. When in the year do you recommend we should travel?
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Old 13th May 2011, 11:40   #10
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Originally Posted by selfdrive View Post
What itinerary would you recommend to people who stay too far away from Wayanad to drive there?
Could we fly to Kochi and then rent a car from there?
Also, is it possible to rent a car without a driver?
I would also appreciate if you can recommend some other interesting places/ drives in the area so that we can make the most of the week or so we intend to be there.
We would like to visit when it is raining; but not too heavy. When in the year do you recommend we should travel?
The best time to visit Wayanad is during the rains or immediately after the rains,when the whole place is lush green and the rivers would all be running full.Either during early September or end June would be good.July-Aug are heavy rain months in Kerala.

The Pookote lake would also be full and the clouds would almost be kissing the ground.

Best way to reach Wayanad from Pune,would be to fly to Kozhikode(Calicut) from Mumbai and then hire a car from there.Kozhikode to Wayanad is a 2-3hour drive and you get to negotiate the famous Thamarasserry Ghat section of the Western Ghats

Kochi to Wayanad is going to be a real long and tiring drive as the roads in Kerala do not let you speed upto more than 60-70kph thanks to the dense traffic and dense population.You would not find an inch of empty space in Kerala.

If you would like to rent a car without driver,AFAIk it wouldnt be possible to do that,if that is what you would like to do then ideally you should fly to Bangalore and hire a self drive car from Bangalore(plent available-Hertz,Car Club,Avis etc)and then drive to Wayanad.It is a 5 hour drive to Kalpetta.
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Old 13th May 2011, 11:49   #11
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Default Re: Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!

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Originally Posted by ranjitp1 View Post
If you would like to rent a car without driver,AFAIk it wouldnt be possible to do that,if that is what you would like to do then ideally you should fly to Bangalore and hire a self drive car from Bangalore(plent available-Hertz,Car Club,Avis etc)and then drive to Wayanad.It is a 5 hour drive to Kalpetta.
Thanks ranjitp1; if I fly to Calicut from Mumbai, I will have to add the drive to Mumbai airport (4 hours that I really detest!). I think I would be better off flying to Bangalore and renting a car from there.
Any recommendations on other places around? can I combine this with a visit to Coorg too if I go in September?

Sorry Faujibhai for hijacking your travelogue, no more questions I promise!
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Old 13th May 2011, 12:03   #12
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Default Re: Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!

Sorry Fauji,last reply from me as wellYou could do Bangalore-Ooty-Wayanad(via gudalur,batheri)-Coorg-Bangalore.All these places would be amazing around September.
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Old 13th May 2011, 12:09   #13
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Default Re: Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!

Quote:
Originally Posted by figo_united View Post
Nice travelogue Fauji. I can feel the smell of the fresh rain here!
The weather seems to be awesome in waynad when you visited.
The resort is wonderful as you mention, could you please share details about the tariff?
The pics are fantastic too, but no pics of the beast?
Thanks Figo. Yes, the weather was fantastic. It has rained on the previous day and again started raining in the evening. The location and design of the resort is very good. I will post some pics soon.Two rooms in the main block - which they say is built out of mud - has excellent view of the hills. They could have done better as these rooms do not have balcony to sit and enjoy the hils and have to be satisfied to see through fixed french windows which is sad.
We paid Rs 6.5 K per cottage which is not in the main block inclusive of BF and Dinner. Food was a big let down. The staff are just clueless and don't even know the topography or interesting places of the area. Trekking to the peak is possible but was stopped by forest department during summer. I understood from Mr Praveen, the new manager - who seems to be enthusiastic - that monsoon treks are very popular. There is a small water fall and a pool at a distance of one and half KM from the resort. We could not go as it was raining. If they can improve food, it will be a good place.We could not spot any beasts except for deer. We were hoping but were not lucky the way we were in BR Hills. (see my travelogue on BR Hills http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...lady-luck.html (A road trip in a Jiffy and Lady luck!))

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Some of the best drives are born out of impulse!
Pity that the dining experience at Banasura was bad, considering the cut-throat rates they charge. But looks like the location makes up for it - must be divine when it rains.
Yes sir. You bet. The location is awesome which to some extent compensates for bad food. The other two places which are located in awesome surroundings are Jungle Retreat in Masinagudi and Kurumba village in Coonoor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VindyWheels View Post
Fuji, nice, sweet travelogue and some great shots with the cam. How was the 45 km road to Banasura? I thought there was a dam called Banasura dam which looked better than Pokoot in pictures.
How did you click such great snaps when the sun was beating down? The muthanga road, Munes.. betta were looking great inspite of the sun. Do you adjust the whitebalance or exposure? PM me so that this thread does not become a discussion on DSLR.
Thanks VindyWheels. The 45 KMs drive was good. The road was narrow but hardly any traffic and condition was good. It goes through coffee estates with amazing bungalows. Boy, Wayanad seems to be richest district looking at these palatial new baungalows
We drove very close to dam. In fact we went in the evening to the dam and but was closed by 6 PM. This dam and Kuruva dweep are the two places i have not seen in Wayanad. We could see beautiful backwaters of the dam and so must be lovely. But, it can not beat Pookat lake whose setting is amidst forest and it is not a huge lake. You have thousands of lotuses blooming in the waters there. You should go when no one is there like early in the morning and preferably on weekdays. It will be mesmerising. Being long week end it was massively crowded.

I will PM you the secrets of good snaps!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
Nice trip!

Without doubt, impromptu drives are immense fun!

Pokkot lake looks so much more beautiful when it rains! Guess the grenery around makes the whole setting breathtaking.

Btw, did you happen to visit Edykal caves? I'd been to Wayanad in Dec '10 and they were then closed for renovation.



There is indeed Banasura dam; about being better than Pokkot, only monsoons can tell!
Thanks Libran. We have seen most of the places - including Edakkal - in Wayanad except for Banasura dam and Kuruva dweep. We did not go to Edakkal caves. Since we had another friend who was coming to Wayanad for the first time, we had to take him to Pookat lake. Kuruv Dweep was closed as the inflow in the river was high.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kutlee View Post
no words!! excellent places. You are lucky. The Phookot lake is a beauty. There are lot of small and good restaurants in SB. I has real nice ghee rice from a local restaurant. I mostly don't take food from the hotels/resorts i stay. They are bad.
Thanks Kutlee. Unfortunately, there are not many good restaurants in Kalpetta if you are a veggie. More over, Banasura hill resort seems to be away from civilisation and you are forced to eat there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ranjitp1 View Post
The best drives are the ones born out of impulse and so is this I presume.Amazing pictures,the Banasura resort seems to be very overrated(looks like everyone in Wayanad is making a fast buck).But then again service and hospitality is not a strong point of any hotel in Kerala,so I am not surprised.

Lovely pictures.

OT:I forgot to mention,thanks for that lovely tip of yours for the Benne dosa at Town Canteen in C'magalur,it was heavenly,thanks for that!
Thanks Ranjit. Yes it is overrated and hence not a value for money. Nice to hear that you enjoyed the Dosa in Town canteen. We should now plan a drive to CKM for eating dosa as roads are excellent!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by airguitar View Post
Thirthahalli is heaven. By coincidence or whatever, of the 2 dozen odd trips that I've done in the last year atleast 10 were through/to Thirthahalli.

But when it rains heavily, it beats the air out of you - can get scary. Hebri, Agumbe, Hulikal, Thirthahalli can all have scary rains.

Re part1 - NH 212 is still fresh in memory from last year's trip - hope things don't change for years to come!
Yes sir. You are 100% correct. Anyway, you are again going through Tirthahalli. Enjoy your time there.
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Old 13th May 2011, 12:21   #14
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Default Re: Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!

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Originally Posted by selfdrive View Post
Great travelogue Fauji bhai! I have a lot of questions for you

Amazing pics, what camera equipement did you use?
What itinerary would you recommend to people who stay too far away from Wayanad to drive there?
Could we fly to Kochi and then rent a car from there?
Also, is it possible to rent a car without a driver?
I would also appreciate if you can recommend some other interesting places/ drives in the area so that we can make the most of the week or so we intend to be there.
We would like to visit when it is raining; but not too heavy. When in the year do you recommend we should travel?
We just bought Nikon DSLR 3100. This was the first experiment with the camera. Still to get zoom lenses. That's why you can see the pictures of Egrets in Mandagadde are small!!

Wayanad requires three days minimum. Since you are coming from Pune here are couple of options. No need to go to Kochi. Nearest airport is Calicut.

a) Club Wayanad with Coorg and Nagarahole. Spend three dyas in Wayanad and two days in coorg and a day in nagarahole. Drive down to bangalore to catch flight to Pune
b) Club Wayanad with Ooty. Spend three dasy in Wayanad and two days in ooty. Catch flight from Bangalore.
c) Club Wayanad with Calicut wich has beautiful beach where you can spend a day and catch flight from there to Pune.

Wayand is equidistant from Coorg and Ooty. Hence clubbing with anyone of them makes sense. You can rent a car at Calicut itself. I am afraid you will get Self drive cars in Calicut. If you are lookig at Self driven car, the fly down to Bangalore and start your trip.

June to August are heavy monsoon time in Wayanad and i don't recommend as you will not be able to see many places as they may be closed - like edakkal caves. End of august will be good as rains would have come down and everything will be green!!
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Old 13th May 2011, 13:31   #15
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Default Re: Fauji’s Drivologues – Chasing Mango showers in WAYANAD and MALNAD!

Plan a) would be the best as the objectve seems to be a great drive. The starting point should be Bangalore for self-driven car I guess. Except Kuruva island rest of Wayand will become leech infested after few weeks of rain. Kuruva may be inaccessible if the rain is heavy. Its better you plan your trip in Dec.
For me the best part of Wayanad remains Kuruva island if its not too crowded. Its amazing wake up listening to the river and birds, wade thru the waters and cross numerous streams, sink yourself in the gushing Kabini river and watch wild boars cross the river.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fauji View Post
We just bought Nikon DSLR 3100. This was the first experiment with the camera. Still to get zoom lenses. That's why you can see the pictures of Egrets in Mandagadde are small!!

Wayanad requires three days minimum. Since you are coming from Pune here are couple of options. No need to go to Kochi. Nearest airport is Calicut.

a) Club Wayanad with Coorg and Nagarahole. Spend three dyas in Wayanad and two days in coorg and a day in nagarahole. Drive down to bangalore to catch flight to Pune
b) Club Wayanad with Ooty. Spend three dasy in Wayanad and two days in ooty. Catch flight from Bangalore.
c) Club Wayanad with Calicut wich has beautiful beach where you can spend a day and catch flight from there to Pune.

Wayand is equidistant from Coorg and Ooty. Hence clubbing with anyone of them makes sense. You can rent a car at Calicut itself. I am afraid you will get Self drive cars in Calicut. If you are lookig at Self driven car, the fly down to Bangalore and start your trip.

June to August are heavy monsoon time in Wayanad and i don't recommend as you will not be able to see many places as they may be closed - like edakkal caves. End of august will be good as rains would have come down and everything will be green!!
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Fauji's Drivologues - Fascinating Fortnight in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh Fauji Travelogues 128 13th March 2013 20:48
Fauji's Drivologues - Mesmerised in Malnad again! -Amidst Misty meadows of Sakleshpur Fauji Travelogues 33 21st July 2012 16:36
Fauji's Drivologues - Unwinding in wonderful Wayanad over the weekend! Fauji Travelogues 34 20th January 2012 08:53


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