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Old 9th September 2013, 12:14   #1
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Default As the mist rolled in: Some fleeting moments @ Wayanad

There is something about a road trip which has always made me glee in anticipation. An inveterate petrolhead and an unconventional tourist who is always looking to sniff out offbeat sights, I welcome the freedom that a driving holiday affords me. Like any conscientious traveler, I do my due diligence by poring over travel sites and sketching out route maps in intricate detail, but revel in those charming little places which are not star draws. Bangaloreans are spoilt for choice when it comes to weekend getaways as the surrounding ghats offer enough rugged landscape, replete with waterfalls, lakes and minor hills for you to get your weekend travel fix. This Independence day weekend we were almost set to explore the glory of the bygone days by visiting Hampi, the capital of the erstwhile Vijaynagar kingdom. However a quick change of plans ensued as we were chickened out by the prospect of arduous hikes that Hampi would demand with an infant in tow. Quick scan of available options and Wayanad with her promise of winding ghat roads and lush tea gardens beckoned. Frantic calls to snag a place to stay, given that the weekend was upon us and fellow pilgrims would be ahead in the reservation game, bore fruit and the kind voice of Mr Rajagopal, the owner of Glenora homestay, agreed to host us.


We were off in the early hours of Independence day and keen to avoid the free for all sidestreet masquerading as a highway that Mysore road really is, I chose Kanakpura road and was rewarded with a route sans humps, lined with massive banyans with their branches extending over the road to form canopies. This route has a character that motorways with their steel crash guards and spanking new eateries on them lack. You feel like an automaton on one of those; frozen into your drivers seat with your right foot half sunk on the throttle while the left one twiddles its toes. No quick pump-the-brakes-dab-the-throttle maneuvering which puts a smile to your face every time needed here. Give me that seat of the pants action anyday I say!


We had chosen the longer route through Bandipur forest and then through a bit of Tamil Nadu before entering Kerala in a desperate bid for a ‘wild’ encounter. As it happened, all we saw were some monkeys and a lot of speed humps. I expected some dense vegetation but the trees were spaced out and one could see a fair distance into the forest. The road through the forest wouldn’t be out of place in a posh suburb (and would put most roads in Bangalore to shame!) It was a touch too sterile for my liking, after all, whats a drive through the woods without feeling spooky! The road went lunar on us after leaving the forest and the craters threatened to devour my Alto. Once we entered Kerala serenity descended upon us; there were lush tea gardens on either side of the winding roads with the tea plants inching up from the soil at an angle. The air was cool and light rain shimmered down at the whim of the wispy rain clouds. The drive had taken a couple of hours more than it should have as we stopped often and lingered, gawking at the soothing swathe of green. The places looked sleepy and the people unhurried, small children in school uniforms merrily skipped along. I was secure in the belief that there are some children growing up still with wide spaces to run around and soothing, unsullied air to breathe in.


We drove into the homestay after noon and I was soon unsure where to park my car on the wide, open concrete patch at the end of which the cottages stood. Weaned on impossibly narrow alleys, my driving instincts fail to make sense of what to do with open spaces when they are encountered. The property overlooks a plantation on a downhill slope with a breathtaking view of the valley draped with tea gardens. The concrete patch – which is used to dry coffee beans from the plantation – separates the plantation from the cottages and a two storied structure with the kitchen and dining area on top. The dining area is situated in a covered terrace offering a sweeping vista of the valley. Sipped here, my morning cuppa would taste extra sweet while gazing out, not looking at anything in particular as the mist rolled down from the valley. The weather here really changes at the blink of an eye as it could be dark with ominous rain clouds looming in the horizon to suddenly having them part, letting the sun peep in and bathing the valley in bright sunshine.


Wayanad gives you enough options to populate a two day itinerary and we kicked ours off with a visit to the Edakkal caves. The grueling climb up the stone steps takes you inside the cavernous bowels of the caves and you realize that the attraction here goes beyond a mere geophysical phenomenon; man had dwelled in these caves since prehistoric times, leaving their legacy in the form of etchings on the wall inside. Though paling in comparison to the marvels of Ajanta, these still held my attention as I tried interpreting what the etched iconography meant. The questions number more than the answers provided to such enigmas.


The Sentinel waterfalls gush angrily down the rocks with a thunderous roar. She does not reveal herself easily, demanding a trek through rugged terrain. You could be disappointed if you packed your swimming gear; no gentle pools with water lapping at the edges here, the current is strong and you have to be content with photoops with the falls providing a majestic backdrop.


If the tantalizing prospect of spotting a big cat is your thing, you can make a quick beeline for the Muthanga wildlife sanctuary and hire a jeep to explore the depths of the forest. Odds are, you would have to be content with a few deer and nonplussed bisons, their meal interrupted by the clatter of the jeep’s engine. You could get to take snaps of ‘pugmarks’ left by the elusive big cat, though how party after parties of tourists see these around the same place is a mystery best left unsolved


Thus our trip to the verdant green comes to an end, our weary souls soothed by the misty greens. Mr Rajagopal’s regal hospitality was an icing on a cake made lavish by the gorgeous beauty of Wayanad. We left with a promise to come back for more.

Now for some pictures

A dam on the way which caught our attention

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The cottage which was our home for three nights

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If you ever fancied writing poetry but couldnt, give it a shot here!

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The entry is forbidding, jealously guarding the treasure inside

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At the little known museum, springs a surprise or two with its glorious exhibits

As the mist rolled in: Some fleeting moments @ Wayanad-dsc01478.jpg

Playing hide and seek at Muthanga

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The big kahuna

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Some tuskers

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On cloud nine at the lookout point, only a kilometre away from Glenora

As the mist rolled in: Some fleeting moments @ Wayanad-dsc01498.jpg

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Banasura Sagar dam, a hidden gem if you are willing to make the drive

As the mist rolled in: Some fleeting moments @ Wayanad-dsc01512.jpg

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With our gracious host

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As the mist rolled in: Some fleeting moments @ Wayanad-dsc01528.jpg
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Old 9th September 2013, 21:31   #2
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Default re: As the mist rolled in: Some fleeting moments @ Wayanad

Thanks for the Nice Travelogue, hothatch. Good photos.

Details of the route taken will be helpful for people from far away, like us.

Your Homestay seems to be very nice location. Can you share any further details like contact No.s, Tariff etc.?

- Sai
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Old 10th September 2013, 12:33   #3
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Default Re: As the mist rolled in: Some fleeting moments @ Wayanad

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vihari View Post
Thanks for the Nice Travelogue, hothatch. Good photos.

Details of the route taken will be helpful for people from far away, like us.

Your Homestay seems to be very nice location. Can you share any further details like contact No.s, Tariff etc.?

- Sai
Thanks for your kind words. http://www.glenorahomestay.com/ is the link to the homestay site and all relevant information is available here. You may call Mr Rajagopal for details

regards
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Old 10th September 2013, 14:06   #4
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Default Re: As the mist rolled in: Some fleeting moments @ Wayanad

Entertaining read this was! I think this must be one of the very few resorts facing the South east side of hills. May be you can see the sunrise on this side
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