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Old 13th July 2013, 20:35   #46
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Default Re: Civved : Wayanad

Day 01
22nd December 2012
Bangalore - Nugu - Kabini -Taraka - Manathavady - Sultan Battery

We reached Nagarahole Tiger Reserve boundary by 11:15AM. We were not allowed anymore to drive straight through, instead we have to take a road skirting through the reserve periphery.

Dead End?
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We have to take the left road

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We spoke to the Security about the route conditions, he smiled at me!
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The timings of the Safari
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So many resorts nearby!
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Thanked the security and we moved on

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Beautiful!

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Old 13th July 2013, 20:54   #47
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Default Re: Civved : Wayanad

Day 01
22nd December 2012
Bangalore - Nugu - Kabini -Taraka - Manathavady - Sultan Battery

The moment we took the deviation, I understood why the security smiled at me. The road was non existent, it was a at the most a pile of rubble on a dusty humpy stretch! Anyways, it also is a part of the fun we were enjoying

Soon we reached another check post!
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Some important words for travelers
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I had to enter the details at the check post
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It's the Udboor Forest Check post
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I saw this KSRTC guy zooming on the non existent road!!
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When a KSRTC guy comes the rule is to stay away for your life!

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He kicked up a lot of dust
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But the sky was clear!

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Old 13th July 2013, 21:21   #48
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Default Re: Civved : Wayanad

Day 01
22nd December 2012
Bangalore - Nugu - Kabini -Taraka - Manathavady - Sultan Battery

By 12:30 we reached Kattikulam a border town in Wayanad. I was driving in search of the deviation towards Thirunelly temple when I heard a shrieking sound from my wife S T O P P P P P ...

I was scared and jammed the brakes hard unaware of what just happened. Once the car was completely still I looked at her and asked what was it all about? All I could see was a hotel behind me and a guy holding a placard saying Hotel and Stop in red.

Was she so hungry to scream at me at the sight of a hotel? I could not imagine that, this could be something else. So with curious eyes I looked at her.

Wifey : He almost hit your car!
Me : who?
Wifey : The guy with that STOP board
Me : What ?
Wifey : He just ran with that board and stuck it out and it missed the car by inches. Where were you looking at?
Me : Sorry, seriously?
Wifey : Yes, he was determined enough to touch the car!
Me : What!
Wifey : He just jumped out just like that!
Me : Thank God, nothing happened.
Wifey : Anyways, his mission was successful. We stopped, let us check out if we get lunch.
Me : Ok, makes sense. I can also ask for directions

We parked the car and went to the hotel. The guy gave me a cheeky smile, and I gave him a stare, a hard one at that!

We ordered lunch. The food was served very fast, but the worst we have had in all our trips to Kerala by any standards! Its called some Michael or so. You will not miss it. I saw that guy jumping out whenever he sees a passing vehicle. My advice - avoid the place!

Waiting for lunch
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They have a small pond too
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By 13:30 we finished lunch and got the directions to our next points.


The route so far
Civved : Wayanad-dam-circuit.jpg

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Old 14th July 2013, 09:20   #49
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Default Re: Civved : Wayanad

comprehensive travelogues and the pics added to the beauty. Loved the pic of the KSRTC Express kicking up a storm
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Old 14th July 2013, 12:51   #50
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Default Re: Civved : Wayanad

Day 01
22nd December 2012
Bangalore - Nugu - Kabini -Taraka - Manathavady - Sultan Battery

We went in search of the forest department at Thirunelly to enquire about Pakshipathalam trek.

We reached the IB and dormitory at Thirunelly
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It was around 7.5 KM of medium trek one way
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The guide told me it will take a full day to complete the trek. He was of the opinion that if we start by 07:00AM from IB we should be able to reach back before 5PM with normal trekking speeds with ample breaks in between. I was little nervous about Jr. PPG, and the guide calmed me down by saying she would do just fine, and probably would only need some help near the caves. He also told me it doesn't feel so great to go this time as the place is all dry and looks barren. He suggested me if there is a possibility that I can come back after monsoons are settled and before winter, it'd be a nice feel. I thanked him and said I'll think over and let him know. He was ready for the next days as he promised, if we so decide.

The cost is 1000Rs for 10 members. We have to carry our food if required as it is almost a full day trek, and both ways nearly 15KMs.

There was a watch tower and we decided to check it out

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It was fun up there
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Sr. PPG decides to check it out too

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We then took directions of Thirunelly temple and drove on


We reached the parking lot of the temple by 14:30 hours

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The stairs to the temple complex
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It's quite an old temple
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The temple was closed in the afternoon
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This note surprised me!
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So much so for a 100% literate God's Own Country Alas the truth is, education alone does not bring awareness!!


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Old 14th July 2013, 13:31   #51
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Default Re: Civved : Wayanad

Day 01
22nd December 2012
Bangalore - Nugu - Kabini -Taraka - Manathavady - Sultan Battery

Thirunelly Temple
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Quote:
Thirunelli Temple (also Tirunelli) is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu on the side of Brahmagiri hill in Kerala. The temple is at an altitude of about 900m in north Wayanad in a valley surrounded by mountains and beautiful forests. It is 32 km away from Manathavady

No proper records of the exact dates of establishment of temple exist, though it is beyond dispute that Thirunelli was once an important town and pilgrim center in the middle of inaccessible jungle valley surrounded on four sides by mountains. There exists documentary proof that Thirunelli at the time of Tamil Chera king Bhaskara Ravi Varma I (962–1019 CE) was an important town and pilgrim center in south India. In the dense jungles surrounding temple, the ruins of two ancient villages can be found. Excavations at the time of paving roads[when?] have yielded period coins from the 9th and 10th centuries. Noted historian V. R. Parameswaran Pillai in his book Thirunelli Documents clearly states that this temple was once an integral part of the early history of North Kerala.

The name Thirunelli derives from the nelli, the Tamil/Malayalam word for Indian gooseberry of the Amla tree. Veda vyasa wrote the 18 existing Puranas. The Matsya Purana, Skanda Purana, Narasimha Purana, Padma Purana, and many other Puranas and Hindu texts mention the beautiful Vishnu temple as being built by Lord Brahma, located in the picturesque Sahya valley, deep in the middle of forest of unmatchable beauty, and in these texts, it is referred to as "Sahyamalaka Kshetra." According to tradition, Lord Brahma was traveling round the Earth upon the Hamsa, when he became attracted by the beauty of the area now known as Brahmagiri Hill. Descending on that spot, Brahma noticed an idol set in an Amla tree. Brahma recognized the idol as Lord Vishnu Himself and the place as Vaikuntha (Vishnuloka) itself. With the help of the Devas, Brahma installed the idol and called it Sahyamalak Kshetra. At Brahma’s request Vishnu promised that the waters of the area would wash away all sins. (Thus, the spring and river near the temple is called Papanasini: “washes away all sins”).

Even today the head priest of the temple leaves a portion of the worship materials in the belief that Lord Brahma Himself will come and perform pooja rites deep in the holy hours of morning.
More details about the temple can be read here

Panchatheertham
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Quote:
Panchatheertham is the holy temple pond. One notable feature of the temple is the lack of a temple well. Hence water is transported from a perennial mountain stream deep in the valley by impressive stone aqueducts right into the priests' room. Thirunelli is famous as the destination to perform last rites of the deceased at the rock close to Papanasini stream.
We went to the spring and river near the temple called Papanasini (“washes away all sins”)
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Old 14th July 2013, 13:48   #52
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Default Re: Civved : Wayanad

Day 01
22nd December 2012
Bangalore - Nugu - Kabini -Taraka - Manathavady - Sultan Battery

Gundika Shiava Temple

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Hey, this custom I saw in the Himalayas too!!
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North and South meets
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Papanashini

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Crystal Clear water
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Quote:
At Brahma’s request Vishnu promised that the waters of the area would wash away all sins. (Thus, the spring and river near the temple is called Papanasini: “washes away all sins”). Emanating from the heart of Brahmagiri flowing through roots, leaves and flowers of ancient trees and medicinal herbs, Papanasini is a holy mountain stream accessible around 1 km northwest of the temple premises. One dip in the cold Papanasini waters in reputed to wash away all sins committed in a lifetime. It is further believed that Papanasini is the confluence of the rivers Ganges and Saraswathy.
Quote:
The famous incarnation of Lord Vishnu Parasurama is reputed to have visited Thirunelli and performed last rites at the death of his father sage Jamadagni. He also took immersion in the Papanasini to wipe away sins committed in killing Kshatriyas.

Place to perform the last rites

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Some information of do's and dont's
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It was time for us to return
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After spending a nice one hour near the temple premises we moved on

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Old 14th July 2013, 14:05   #53
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Default Re: Civved : Wayanad

Day 01
22nd December 2012
Bangalore - Nugu - Kabini -Taraka - Manathavady - Sultan Battery

Elephants have right of way
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We reached Tholpetty Wild Life Sanctuary
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The Ticket rates

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There was a huge crowd due to Christmas Holidays
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I spoke to a jeep driver. He says better not to go for a Safari this season, if you want to see animals. With this noise he says even monkeys won't be visible at all! I agreed with him. He then tells me if I can make it by 06:30 there, and take the first Safari some hope exists, but that too with a rider if there are not much crowds, and going by his past experience it will be crowded. So that makes our Wild Life Sanctuary plans for this visit down the drain. Thanked him for the advise and moved on. He makes Rs200 for a safari for his jeep alone.

Driving back into Wayanad
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We followed this guy till Mananthavady
-there was no choice, you cant overtake a bus in Kerala
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Old 14th July 2013, 14:19   #54
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Default Re: Civved : Wayanad

Day 01
22nd December 2012
Bangalore - Nugu - Kabini -Taraka - Manathavady - Sultan Battery

We visited the tomb of Pazhassi Raja
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The opening times
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We just reached there by 17:15 hours. The Museum was closed but the place was open to get inside.

This is where Pazhassi Raja was buried
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The Tomb
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You can read the history of Pazhassi Raja here

A 360 degree panorama can be seen here

Jr. PPG

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By 17:30 hours we started our journey to Sultan Battery.

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Old 14th July 2013, 14:39   #55
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Default Re: Civved : Wayanad

Day 01
22nd December 2012
Bangalore - Nugu - Kabini -Taraka - Manathavady - Sultan Battery

After leaving Mananthavady we drove on towards Sultan Battery. The first thing you notice will be the impatient jeep drivers and private buses driving like maniacs. The autos and two wheelers add to the mess. And to that the narrow roads leads to traffic jams. It was a harrowing experience to have driven from Manathavady to Sultan Battery at that time. Some how hate the traffic in Kerala, its indeed a messy affair!!

Finally reached the place we were booked in by 20:00 hours. Quickly got the rooms and settled ourselves.

Since we had a 8 day plan in Wayanad, and it was mostly a sight seeing trip we were booked at Hotel Isaac's near Sulthan Bathery Bus Stand. They have two properties Regency and Resort, with Resort being the oldest property and quite value for money rates at Rs 900 change for a three bed room accommodation per night. They have a bar, and almost all of Sultan Bathery would be there all the time, and sometimes with family you might feel embarrassed. But once you are inside the hotel, there is absolutely no issues. Isaac's other property Regency is also VFM and a bit away from the bar. They provide you double rooms with breakfast included at some 1500 per night. We did not take that since we did not want to be tied down with breakfast to the hotel. We needed the flexibility to start early and have breakfast on the way.

Most of the resorts had exorbitant pricing and I never can justify those costs even with all creature comforts in Wayanad, and that too for the season. With that price point, I might be holidaying else where for sure.

But when I returned back again in February, I took a splurge and booked Edakkal Hermitage, which kind of concluded my feelings. The place was quite boring and incompetent for the price point!


The route taken on Day 01
Civved : Wayanad-route-map-day-01.jpg

We ordered dinner to our room and by 22:00 hours dinner was over and we retired for the day.

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Old 15th July 2013, 13:14   #56
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Default Re: Civved : Wayanad

We keep frequenting Wayanad since my cousin lives in Mananthavadi. But, looking at your travelogue, I realize how little of Wayanad we have seen so far.

Did you use a travel guide or something to dig out all these places? Where did you gather the driving directions? Or, you just went around by asking people?

I agree on your opinion about driving in Kerala. It's little hard. The moment you are behind somebody and show your intentions to overtake the car in front of us, you will see that the car speeds up all of a sudden. He will do his best to not give side. I keep seeing this all through my trips. Not sure whether this is just my observation.

I always wonder why people overtake and come on your lane quite frequently. The point mentioned above could be the reason. You've to do something very adventurous to overtake in Kerala :-)

Regards
Rex
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Old 15th July 2013, 13:56   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rex_varghese View Post
We keep frequenting Wayanad since my cousin lives in Mananthavadi. But, looking at your travelogue, I realize how little of Wayanad we have seen so far.

Did you use a travel guide or something to dig out all these places? Where did you gather the driving directions? Or, you just went around by asking people?

I agree on your opinion about driving in Kerala. It's little hard. The moment you are behind somebody and show your intentions to overtake the car in front of us, you will see that the car speeds up all of a sudden. He will do his best to not give side. I keep seeing this all through my trips. Not sure whether this is just my observation.

I always wonder why people overtake and come on your lane quite frequently. The point mentioned above could be the reason. You've to do something very adventurous to overtake in Kerala :-)

Regards
Rex

I keep reading the travelogues available, then research the websites for the location if any, and then make a list of points of interests. Then check the approachability and if its worth the trouble etc by reading the notes available online. A basic orientation of the points are obtained from Google maps, though the real routing is done dynamically on the ground. Any hard to find locations we check with locals, or the hotel where we stay before getting off for the drive.

Completely agree with your observation. I feel helpless the moment I am driving in Kerala. I just keep following a decently drove vehicle than trying to overtake it, it avoids quite a few issues
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Old 17th July 2013, 20:32   #58
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Day 02
23rd December 2012
Sultan Battery - Nilambur - Kakkadumpoyil - Adivaram - Kalpetta - Sultan Battery

The plan for the day was to take the two ghat roads of Wayanad - Nadugani Churam to go down and Thamarassery Churam to come up just in time to catch the sunset at Lakkidi. Midway visit Kozhippara falls in Vellarimala near Nilambur and get some good lunch at Nilambur. The plan was simple but involved two ghats and an unknown route to Vellarimala covering around 200 Kilometers.

Civved : Wayanad-googlemap20130717_200836.jpg

Sultan Battery - Nilambur around 80KMs
Nilambur - Kakkadumpoyil around 26Kms
Kakkadumpoil - Kozhippara Falls around 6KMs
Kakkadumpoil - Thiruvambady around 14KMs
Thiruvambady - Adivaram around 18KMs
Adivaram - Sultan Battery around 50KMs

Civved : Wayanad-googlemap20130717_200925.jpg


We started after breakfast around 10:00AM and reached back by 20:00 hours. Was quite a drive.

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Old 17th July 2013, 20:46   #59
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Day 02
23rd December 2012
Sultan Battery - Nilambur - Kakkadumpoyil - Adivaram - Kalpetta - Sultan Battery

Had a relaxed sleep and woke up leisurely. Ordered some breakfast to the room.

Bread toast with scrambled egg
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Some Dosas too
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By around 10:00AM after the simple breakfast affair we started our loop drive via the ghat roads just for fun.

Immediately after Sultan Battery you start seeing tea estates.

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We stopped by to take a look, how tea is grown on the plains!
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The road ahead looked quite beautiful
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Soon we reached a new Church at Thaloor
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The church would be open in another week
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We took a look at the church

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We moved on.

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Old 17th July 2013, 20:58   #60
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Day 02
23rd December 2012
Sultan Battery - Nilambur - Kakkadumpoyil - Adivaram - Kalpetta - Sultan Battery

Soon we exited the towns and started the descend.

We stopped at a beautiful location to view the valley
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The winding roads were inviting
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Wifey settles down enjoying the views

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The valley with tea estates looked beautiful
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Time for me to relax for a while

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We drove through Nadugani Churam
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The drive was quite unimpressive
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We stopped by for a few clicks

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The ghats did not impress us in any ways, and the sheer number of vehicles plying added to it.

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