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Old 15th December 2012, 13:13   #1
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Default Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days

Home base: Bangalore
Dates: Dec 7 to Dec 9, 2012
Travel mates: 11 men, all from the family…a few retired, a few wanting to and the rest still keen to make a career
Total distance covered: ~850 kms
Places visited: Himavada Gopalaswamy betta, Wayanad - Pookote lake, Lakkidi viewpoint, Banasura Sagar dam, and Kappad beach

"Man proposes, but God disposes" - Well, in our case, it was 'man' in both the phrases. But little did we know that a potential damp squib could so very well turn into a trip that we'll remember for time to come! Hurrah to Wayanad! Goes to prove that the saying "For every door that closes, another one opens" can also turn out to be equally true!

It all started in November (2012).

We - a group of cousins and uncles, most of us over the hill - had planned to make a weekend getaway in the first week of December. Amidst hot debates about where to go, someone proposed Ooty as the destination. "Ooty, in December?" was the incredulous question from all those who were to be the fellow travelers, and equally echoed by their spouses and near & dear ones. As you would know, everyone makes a break to the cool mountains during summer - but how many want to do a trip to Ooty in the cold winter month of December? Call it (in)sanity or logic, this was the precise reason that the vote was won for Ooty.

And so it was that a trip was finalized to the Nilgiris for the extended weekend starting from Dec 7 to Dec 9, 2012, with a motley crew of 11 males, all belonging to the same extended family. Among the XI, there was a lone teetotaller - and hence some of the logistics became easy to organize. This lone guy couldn't be driving 3 cars simultaneously (you know why!) and so we chose to book a Tempo Traveler (TT) for the trip. To compensate for being nice to him, we gave him the honor of being our accountant and organizer for the holiday.

With enough time to plan for the travel and stay options, we were all set to leave on the 7th Dec. And then came the order from the Supreme Court of India to the Karnataka (KA) Government to release Cauvery water to our neighboring state of Tamil Nadu (TN). I will not get into the socio-political connotations here - but this profound decision had a crippling impact on our plans. We anticipated - and rightly so - that Mandya would burn, and the other routes will still be susceptible to blockades and strikes. We became very cautious about a KA vehicle entering into TN. Frantic phone calls among ourselves on the eve of the trip meant some rapid alternate options - some suggested Kodachadri, others Chickamagalur. But for some strange reason, we decided to throw caution to the wind and were set to stick to our original plan.

This is the gang of XI for the trip (your's truly is the bulky one in the center; kneeling on the grass):
Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-img_4644.jpg

And here is a teaser summary from the trip:
Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-trip-summary.jpg

Last edited by chetan_l : 15th December 2012 at 13:14.
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Old 17th December 2012, 22:37   #2
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Default Re: Pristine lake, hills, ravines, beaches and speed boats - Bond style! All in 3 day

@tsk - thanks...will continue the compilation before taking it public...

Dec 7th:
All the travelers were to get ready and board the TT from 6 houses across Bangalore - considering the logistics, we were pleasantly surprised that the last person (yours truly) was picked up at 6:45 AM, just 15 minutes behind schedule! And this delay was because the TT arrived at the starting point quite late. Nonethelees, the fact that we got a 3 month old vehicle with pushback seats and a DVD coach (hmmm, unlike the intercity bus, the DVD is at our mercy and so is a welcome addition), we were not complaining. Not bad for a start!

There were the usual last-minute realizations - nobody had picked up music cds or DVDs, or paper plates, tumblers and tissues, waste disposal bags, swiss knives, playing cards,...you get the drift. Being the last boarder, I had to summon up these items at the last minute and I made do with what I had. Nonetheless, we were in high spirits (which was literally true a few hours down the drive) as we bade our goodbyes and left to Ooty.

With the threat of the Cauvery water issue looming like a dark cloud, we decided to cross Mandya before 9 AM, hoping that there won't be trouble that early in the morning. How wrong were we! All traffic was stopped at Maddur and diverted towards KM Doddi, Malavalli and on to T Narsipura and Nanjangud. That wasn't a bad option; however, the trip started becoming gloomier as we went into these interior parts of KA.
Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-01-enroute.jpg

The locals were very helpful and willing to check with their contacts to give us an advance notice of how things were further down our route
Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-03-enroute.jpg

There were further diversions all thru our route and we had to really take some bold calls (we continued while a few other cars turned around back!) to finally reach Malavalli a little after 10 AM.
Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-02-diversion.jpg
Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-04-enroute.jpg

We had decent breakfast at Hotel Utsav, a small eatery on the highway, before reaching Nanjangud. We were relieved when we finally made it to the Gundlupet road.
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Old 17th December 2012, 22:47   #3
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Default Re: Pristine lake, hills, ravines, beaches and speed boats - Bond style! All in 3 day

However, the joy was short-lived since on reaching Gundlupet, there was a Police blockade on the road. The cops were stopping all vehicles headed to TN, and rightfully so for the sake of our own safety. No KA vehicles were allowed to go into TN and vice-versa. This was like a disaster!

Anyway, having reached Gundlupet, we decided to head to Himavad Gopalswamy betta and return before heading elsewhere. Again, heated debates started on where we had to head. Madikeri and Chikmagalur were hot favorites, though it meant quite a bit of travel. None was prepared to just head back home. The closest winner was Bandipur - easy, logical choice. I guess I forgot to mention one point earlier. Of the XI, one person had an office commitment that he could not miss and so had booked a night bus to Ooty. We also had to ask him to change his travel. I suggested Wayanad - a few readily agreed, but others had reservations. Primarily related to food - you see, we are not used to boiled rice or coconut oil in our dishes, and some were pure vegetarians who were revolted by the smell of fish, which many believed to be omnipresent in Kerala. When you have 10 grown up adults arguing, you cannot have consensus. In such cases, the majority - or the loudest voice - wins. Thankfully, I had both of these on my side And importantly, the 11th member (who was constantly checking out bus ticket options to all the places we discussed from his office cubicle), got a ticket to Wayanad.

With that settled, we now truly embarked on the purpose of our trip - sight seeing!

Our first stop was at HG betta - a place I have wanted to go to each time I headed beyond Nanjangud, but had never done it before. What a shame!
Myth has it that the temple peak is always covered in mist and that water condenses on the roof to drop down as 'teertha'. No such luck. We reached the temple around 2 PM and there was the bright sun and surprisingly deep blue skies. Nonetheless, the rolling hills and the old temple are as serene and picturesque as you can get.

The hills are inviting enough for you to trek. But apparently, trekking is prohibited here. Entry time is restricted from 8:30 AM to 4 PM - the golden hours of photography are off-limits!

Also, importantly, you have a time limit of 90 minutes by when you have to report back to the entrance. Food is not allowed, as are plastic bags. We had to keep our food items at the entrance and retrieve it on our way back. The forest department is quite stringent in implementing these rules - which is a very welcome move. Say no to picnic-ers and litter-bugs!

Some photos, which can do no justice to the place:
Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-05-hg-hills.jpg

Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-06-hg-hills.jpg

Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-07-hg-hills.jpg

Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-08-hg-hills.jpg

Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-09-hg-hills.jpg

Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-10-hg-hills.jpg
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Old 17th December 2012, 23:14   #4
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Default Re: Pristine lake, hills, ravines, beaches and speed boats - Bond style! All in 3 day

Returning from HG betta, we reached Gundlupet a little after 3 PM. We stopped for lunch at a Udipi hotel on the highway and then left to Wayanad by 4 PM. The road till Sultan Bathery is pretty decent, though it is not laned highways. Inside Bandipur reserve, there are narrow trenches dug up on the road every few hundred meters - perhaps to keep the vehicle speed under check. These trenches do not allow vehicles to slip into 5th gear. If this helps avoid road-kill, it is a small price to pay.

The road is really bad from Sultan Bathery till Kalpetta - the surface is gone! Looks like they will be mending the roads soon - you will find jelly stones lined up on the road frequently. I hope they fix the roads soon...

We decided to skip Sultan Bathery and head to Kalpetta for our stay. Kalpetta is nearer to the Vythiri hills and the places we wanted to see. It was close to 7 PM by the time we reached Kalpetta, with no confirmed accommodation! Hotel availability was a question mark ever since we re-planned. After checking out Hotel Woodlands and Chandragiri Inn, we entered into Wynd Valley Garden Resort. Being temporary bachelors, we were not after luxury accommodation - we just wanted a decent shelter which would be comfortable. The rooms at Wynd Valley were decently priced; but we decided to check-out their dormitory.

It was everything we could ask for and more - they have a 22 bedder with 3 restrooms and 2 bathrooms, with a double-height ceiling which meant ventilation would be good. The beds were decently comfortable, and there were no bed bugs or insects! The icing on the cake? The room was available at a price of Rs 300 per head per night!! Which means for Rs 3,300, eleven people could stay in a 22 bedder room with decent luxury! Woohoo - talk about stealing a deal...

Accommodation settled, we decided to pack food from Woodlands which was across the road and eat on the lawns outside our room. The hotel staff were nice enough to arrange for a bonfire - free of cost! A double thumbs-up to Wynd Valley...I have to mention their staff were pleasant mannered and took good care of us.

I was tasked with planning for sight-seeing for the next day. Checking out on google, I asked the group if they would like to try the beach. "Beach?!!" was the surprised reaction from everyone. They had come fully prepared for Ooty with warm winter clothing, full pants and sweat-shirts...who had thought of shorts and T-shirts for Ooty? But the temptation was high for the majority and the vote was won for Kappad Beach, which was about 70 km from where we were staying. The route we would do would be Pookote Lake - Lakkidi Viewpoint - Kozhikode (beach) - Kappad beach - back to Kalpetta.

And so we settled for the night - with food, and you-know-what - around the bonfire; sharing jokes & stories, being nostalgic and generally having some great time. We then headed back to the room to play some card games before the clock ticked over the midnight hour, with barely a few hours to catch some zzzzs before day 2 began.
Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-11-kalpetta.jpg

Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-12-kalpetta.jpg

Day 1:
Temple - check
Rolling hills - check
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Old 17th December 2012, 23:46   #5
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Default Re: Pristine lake, hills, ravines, beaches and speed boats - Bond style! All in 3 day

Day 2:
Having gone to sleep close to midnight on day 1, several of us got up around 5 AM the next day. The one factor that we had not considered about a dorm is that if you have heavy snorers in the group, then you will get to literally enjoy a "sound" sleep. Anyway, most of us had a very relaxed sleep and so were fresh early on day 2. The 11th member of our team landed at Kalpetta around 6:45 AM. There was a small funny incident here worth recalling - I had clearly told this guy to step off the bus in front of Hotel Woodlands and that he could walk across from there. So when he gives me a call in the morning saying that he has reached Kalpetta, I stepped out on to the highway to guide him. I was very surprised to find him reach our hotel in an auto - I thought perhaps the bus had dropped him elsewhere on the road. But the auto driver was literally rolling with laughter and jabbered away in Malayalam to me. I don't understand Malayalam and so had to count on my cousin to explain. He grinned sheepishly and said he picked up this auto right in front of the hotel! The auto guy pocketed a cool Rs 20 and started his day with a bang and a laugh...

Here are some snaps of the resort:
Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-13-kalpetta.jpg
Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-14-kalpetta.jpg

The rest of the gang got ready and we left from the resort at 8:30 AM on day 2. We stopped at a Udipi hotel which was within a couple of hundred meters from our resort and had decent dosas & idli-vadas in the morning. After breakfast, we left at about 9 AM and headed straight to Pookote lake - about 30 minutes away. Having reached Pookote around 9:30, we were amongst the first tourists for the day. The lake perimeter does not look impressive from outside, but once you cross beyond the ticket counter and souveneir shops towards the lake, the serenity of the lake embraces you. The air was fresh, the vegetation around the lake thick and the water looked pristine.
Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-15-pookote.jpg

We saw a group of people paddling on a water raft - no white water rapids here, but still the thought of rowing a raft yourself is very inviting! However, we were a goup of 11 and only 8 people could go on a raft. Hence we decided to go by the regular row boats with a boatman doing the rowing. A round trip around the lake costs you Rs 250 for a boat - which can take up to 7 passengers. We picked tickets for 2 boats and had a pleasant outing on the lake.
Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-16-pookote.jpg

Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-18-pookote.jpg

Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-19-pookote.jpg

Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-17-pookote.jpg
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Old 22nd December 2012, 12:52   #6
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Default Re: Pristine lake, hills, ravines, beaches and speed boats - Bond style! All in 3 day

I could converse with the boatman in Tamil and he turned out to be a guide during the ride. Learnt that this lake is a fresh water lake fed by springs and is also the birth place of the river Kabini - Wikipedia collaborates this. Apparently, the forest department has stopped any construction activities within 500m of the lake and do stringent pollution checks; I noticed there was no motor boat on the lake. Despite the place being a prominent tourist attraction - we saw 2 bus loads of people entering as we were exiting - the lake and the surrounding forests are maintained pretty well. There is a 1.5km footpath all around the lake which the joggers and walkers can use; getting a nice view of the lake as they jog and breathing in the fresh air as they do so.

Our boatman told us that the lake is naturally shaped like the India map! We were surprised but when he took us around the edges of the lake, he was calling out the 'states' we were in and we could believe him. However, google maps prove that this is a just one of the 'tourism myths' - but why let a mere fact get in the way of a good story?
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Enjoy the boatman and his oration while you take in the scenic backdrops of the Vythiri hills beyond the lake.
For serenity and a peaceful start to the day, I would rate this place as a must-see in Wayanad
Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-17-pookote.jpg

Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-19-pookote.jpg

From Pookote lake, we decided to head to Lakkidi view point in the Vythiri hills and from thereon, head to Kappad beach. After a short drive, we reach the viewpoint. There is no dedicated parking lot and you have to park by the side of the road - the parking bay can accommodate a few buses and cars. We found a spot to park our TT and got down to view some amazing vistas. The hills are thick in vegetation and the ravines are quite deep. You get to see several mountains of the range arranged in layers. Unfortunately, we had reached the point when the sun was well up in the sky - and with the view pointing eastwards, one cannot get a good photo exposure without using graduated filters (I realized I had kept them in the hotel room!). We enjoyed the views and spent a few minutes taking in the scenery.

Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-20-lakkidi.jpg

Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-21-lakkidi.jpg

Next on the agenda was Kappad beach. We inquired with the locals and they mentioned that you can drive down to Kozhikode and from there it would be a 10 km drive on the sea coast to Kappad beach. That sounded good and so on we set towards Kozhikode (KK).

A couple of hours on the road and we were in KK. It is a pretty decent sized town/city and you could find the usual hustle-bustle of city life - so different from life in the mountains! We headed straight to the beach - it was a little after 1 PM when we set foot on the hot sands. WIth humidity being high, we were a sweaty lot - barring a few of us, no one else had their beachwear with them!
Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-23-kk.jpg

There's nothing great to write home about on the KK beach. The beach was quite clean though crowded even at 1 PM. We set our eyes on a beach-side food vendor who was concocting some unusual treats. Can you imagine crushed ice with sugar syrup, pineapple pieces and 'bengal gram'? Or ice with mango pieces and some berry juice, spiced with green chillies? The permutations and combinations he was concocting was quite exciting to the taste buds, health-concerns be damned...
Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-22-kk.jpg

Even as we enjoyed the offerings, the one thing that struck was the price - everything was within 10 or 15 rupees. We raided the shop and I am sure the shop-keeper lost count of who-had-how-many-plates-of-what. Everything done, he said the total was just Rs 170/-
Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-25-kk.jpg

Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-wayanad-24-kk.jpg
We felt like cheats paying him Rs 170/- for all that we had eaten - and we were snug in a devilish way for having gotten away with it. And it was only after we boarded the TT that we realized two of us had paid him his Rs 170/-!!
Now, who was the cheat and who had the last laugh?
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Old 22nd December 2012, 12:57   #7
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Default Re: Pristine lake, hills, ravines, beaches and speed boats - Bond style! All in 3 day

We headed straight to Kappad beach from KK - and the next ~3 hours were the lowest point of our trip. The drive was all along the coast alright - but with it came the dreaded stench of dried fish which hung in the air almost all thru the drive to Kappad. A couple of the vegetarians came close to puking. Thankfully, the trip got over inside of 40 minutes (it was 19km from KK and not 10, as someone had told us) and the stench disappeared as we entered Kappad beach.

The next big mistake we had made was that we did not plan for lunch adequately. We should have realized that eating options will be limited in Kappad and should have had our food in KK. Anyways, we landed at Kappad in sweltering heat, with sweaty bodies, mind already numb with the stench and with hunger pangs that made us quite irritable. We spotted an up-market resort on the beach and were happy to note that they had a 'multi-cuisine' restaurant! But to our darned luck, some group had booked the resort in full and so the restaurant was off-limits to outsiders for the day!

That was a real let-down. There weren't too many alternatives - we did find a bar on the beach right beside the resort. Unfortunately, they were only serving non-veg snacks, which was again fried in coconut oil - no one took the plunge, while several decided to stick with a 'liquid' diet at that place.

However, a few of us were getting restless and so we again went back to the resort and pleaded with their management to serve us some food. Good souls that they were, they opened the restaurant for us at 4 pm with the only options of sandwiches and pakoras (again fried in cc-oil). Anyway, we had something to eat - and so we ordered our sandwiches, which took 30 mins to reach our tables. Finally, we had our fill and then walked over to the beach close to 5 PM.
Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-img_4536.jpg

We spent the next 90 minutes in the beach - beachwear be damned! No one had even brought a change of clothes - but that did not stop the Bangaloreans from frolicking on the beach...Kappad did make up for our afternoon in turmoil (and anyway Kappad had nothing to do with our plight in the afternoon - it was our lack of planning).
Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-img_4547.jpg

If you are on a longer trip beyond Wayanad towards the coast, Kappad is a good option as the beach is not very crowded like the city beaches. Plus with some rock formations on the shore and with some shade available under clusters of trees, Kappad can be picturesque against the setting sun.
Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-img_4595-1.jpg

Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-img_4606-1.jpg

Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-img_4608-1.jpg

Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-img_4632.jpg

Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-img_4633-1.jpg
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Old 22nd December 2012, 12:59   #8
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Default Re: Pristine lake, hills, ravines, beaches and speed boats - Bond style! All in 3 day

While our clothes were wet and we had sand on our bodies, we were totally relaxed and refreshed on the journey back to our resort in Kalpetta. It was a two hour drive and we watched a movie on the trip back. We were a tired but satisfied lot, and our spirits were high after the beach sojourn. But it wasn't until the TT climbed the heights of the Vythiri range did the wet clothes became chilly and folks got miserable again. From a sweat-filled afternoon to a shivering night drive - all in the space of a few kilometers - such was our trip to Wayanad.

On reaching the resort, we repeated the routine of day 1: food packed from Hotel Woodlands, dinner around the bonfire, regaling stories, making merry, until our tiredness took us back to our beds after a day well spent. The plan for next day was chalked out: head to Banasura Sagar dam in the moring; if time permits visit one or two more places. And then, back to home-sweet-home...

Day 2:
Lake - check
Mountains and valleys - check
Beach - check

Day 3:
Day 3 was to be the last day of our short trip, and the day began slowly. While a few were up by 5 am, the rest took their time waking up. So, it was not until close to 9 AM that we left the resort to have our breakfast at the Udipi hotel. Post a good breakfast of dosas and appams, we headed out to Banasura Sagar dam.

As I had not done enough of location scouting before reaching Wayanad, I knew very little about Banasura besides the fact that it was an earthen dam. And after having seen a few dams before, I was skeptical on what lay in store for us. Oh yes, the locals tell you about the speedboats, but then they also tell you about a whole lot of other places which turn out to be duds on reaching. So, my expectation was low...little did I, or others in the group, figure out that this would be the biggest highlight of our trip!
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Old 22nd December 2012, 13:16   #9
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Default Re: Pristine lake, hills, ravines, beaches and speed boats - Bond style! All in 3 day

We had to travel about 20 odd kms to reach the dam; on reaching, we spotted a few buses and cars already parked - this only meant we would have a crowd up ahead at the dam. You have to climb steep sets of stairs from the parking lot to reach the top of the dam. There is an option to travel by Jeep if you pay Rs 100; but we were ok with doing the long walk and the climb by foot.
Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-banasura-01.jpg

Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-banasura-02.jpg
The Banasura Sagar dam is Asia's second largest earthen dam, which is built on one of the tributaries of the Kabini river. It is part of a canal project which supports irrigation and supplies drinking water to this region, besides powering the Kakkayam Hydel power plant. For a tourist visiting Banasura, the best part of this project is the reservoir, which stretches out from the dam onto the distant horizon, and is bounded by beautiful mountains thick with vegetation and carpeted with the shola grasslands. This place is as beautiful as a water-body can ever be!

Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-banasura-04.jpg
Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-banasura-03.jpg
Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-banasura-05.jpg
Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-banasura-09.jpg
Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-banasura-13.jpg

The Banasura dam and reservoir, on it's own, is more than worth a visit. The pristine blue waters, the distant mountains, the submerged islands, the forests crowning the hills,...oh, its so mesmerizing! The beauty of nature at its best can keep you enchanted, longing to sit under a tree, taking in the vistas...
until the roar of the speed boats cuts through the air followed by shrill cries of woo-hoos from passengers who seem to be hanging on to dear life as their boats cut thru the waves, leaving behind an angry white foam that lingers on before mother nature cools them down and absorbs them onto her bosom...

One look at the speed boats, and we had the youngest ones in our pack almost break into a run towards the boat-tickets counter before the tourist crowd could get ahead! Speed-boats, here we come...
Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-banasura-11.jpg
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Old 22nd December 2012, 13:21   #10
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Default Re: Pristine lake, hills, ravines, beaches and speed boats - Bond style! All in 3 day

The speedboats cost Rs 500 for a 15 minute ride, and can carry 5 passengers on a single trip. We were 11 - so we chose to go in 3 speed boats. As luck would have it, 3 of the 4 boats in operation came in to the twin jetty simultaneously. That gave us an opportunity to roar into the waters one behind the other.

The next 15 minutes were pure fun! It was an exhilerating ride with the boatmen trying to weave across each other, or more precisely, on the waves left behind by the other boat. The boats have Yamaha and Suzuki outboard engines, controlled car-style by the boatman. The speed is sure to set your pulses racing and the zig-zag winding gives you thrills that can't be replicated in simulation machines at your local mall. I bet each - in his own mind's eye - will have pictured himself as Bond (but minus the babes!); and given half a chance, we wanted to swap places with the driver! We enjoyed this so much that as soon as the ride was over, we again dashed off to the ticket counters for a second trip! For this part alone, our trip was worth its' money many times over...

Note: If you are going on a speed boat, always choose the one that leaves the dock the last. You see, the earlier boats would have left some waves in their wake, and if your boat is behind these, you can get to cut across the waves to get some thrills.
Another suggestion: Even if you are just 4 members, I recommend you hire two boats...the real fun lies in two boats trying to outdo each other on the waves...
Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-banasura-07.jpg

Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-banasura-08.jpg

Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-banasura-10.jpg

Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 days-banasura-12.jpg

It was noon by the time we returned back to the parking lot. We had not checked out of our hotel and hence we had to return to Kalpetta soon (we had bought a little extra time beyond the noon checkout period). And so we gave a couple of possible detours a miss and headed straight back to the resort. After packing in the wet clothes, we left the resort around 1:30 PM and decided to have lunch at Sultan Bathery. On reaching Bathery, we dined as two groups - the vegetarians going to an Udipi restaurant (what else?), while the non-vegs headed to a non-veg highway restaurant.

Post a heavy lunch that took up the better part of an hour, we also did some shopping to appease folks back home. With that done, we realized we did not have the energy to continue any further sight-seeing; also, we were still unsure of how Mandya was faring and so we decided to return to Bangalore via the same route that we had taken a couple of days back. So, from Sultan Bathery, we went on to Gundlupet, Nanjangud, T. Narasipura, Malavalli, Maddur and on to Bangalore.

It was well after 9 PM by the time we reached our homes - me being the closest to Mysore Road, I got dropped off first, while the rest of the gang continued on to their homes. And that brought our 3 day sojourn on a trip that was totally unplanned, but turned out to be one helluva tour! Hats off to Wayanad...I am now itching to make another trip, and this time, I will be nice to my family and take them along

Day 3:
Dam & Reservoir: Check
Speed boats: Check
Total KMs: >850
Trip Summary: We started our journey 3 days earlier with the intent being to reach Ooty and have a lazy 3 day outing. Then the chaos and concerns caused due to the Cauvery water row threatened to cut short our trip - or at best, reduce it to a drab, compromised event...

Little did we know that these 3 days will be spent with such aplomb, witnessing nature's beauty at its best while also enjoying man's intervention which - thankfully - only added to the fun without taking away much from mother nature.

At the end of the trip, the total cost per person all inclusive was a paltry Rs 3,500 per head!

Wayanad - thank you!
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Old 24th December 2012, 11:54   #11
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Default Re: Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 day

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 24th December 2012, 21:05   #12
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Default Re: Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 day

Beautiful snaps Chethan. Short, crisp and fantastic TL.

As you said, it has all the ingredients; amazing landscapes, evening sunsets, beautiful water bodies and I must add equally
laid back bones to support the journey.

Its these short nice travels which we always cherish! Also whats your camera gear and what is your post processing flow?
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Old 24th December 2012, 21:51   #13
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Default Re: Pristine lake, hills, ravines, beaches and speed boats - Bond style! All in 3 day

A nice TL with good details and spellbinding narration. Loved the little twists and tales from the journey.

Your look in this pic says all about the food on the beach....

Quote:
Originally Posted by chetan_l View Post
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Old 24th December 2012, 23:44   #14
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Default Re: Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 day

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Beautiful snaps Chethan. Short, crisp and fantastic TL.

As you said, it has all the ingredients; amazing landscapes, evening sunsets, beautiful water bodies and I must add equally
laid back bones to support the journey.

Its these short nice travels which we always cherish! Also whats your camera gear and what is your post processing flow?
Thank you @ampere...yes, the lazy bones did have an active 3 days though

I use a Canon 1000D with standard kit lens 18 - 55mm (non IS), a Sigma 10 - 20mm F4 - 5.6, a Canon 50mm F1.8 prime and a Sigma 55 - 200 F5.6 [Not used anywhere above]. For post processing, I depend on PS5. Normally i shoot in Raw to allow enough control in PP - this time, by some cursed luck, I set the picture quality as JPEG and did not change it!
Some of the images have too much of PP which I could have avoided if I had shot Raw...


Quote:
Originally Posted by TaureanBull View Post
A nice TL with good details and spellbinding narration. Loved the little twists and tales from the journey.

Your look in this pic says all about the food on the beach....
You can say that again, partner! Thank you...

Last edited by chetan_l : 24th December 2012 at 23:45. Reason: Added thank you note
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Old 25th December 2012, 00:29   #15
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Default Re: Pristine lakes, hills, ravines, beaches and speedboats - Bond style! All in 3 day

Some brilliant pics there Chetan. Brought back some memories of Gopalaswamy betta which used to be allowed for trekking back then.
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