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Old 14th November 2008, 23:45   #1
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Thumbs up Magical Wayanad

Fast Facts:

Date: 25, 26, 27 28 October 2008
Car: Hyundai Santro LP, 2003
Who: Me, Wife and Child.
Route: Bangalore-mysore-Nanjangud-Gundlupet-SultanBathery-Kalpetta-Mananthavady-Thirunelly
Total Distance: 893 Km
Stay: The woodlands, Kalpetta.

For a change, this trip was planned well in advance and to the last detail. But it looks like a twist was inevitable. We were all set for the much anticipated wayanad trip during the Diwali long week-end, extending that for one more day. My in-laws in calicut calls in on friday to inform, the skies have opened up like never before, and calicut had a record rainfall for a 24hr period, and parts of the city is under water. It should almost be similar in wayanad too, so consider post-poning or cancelling. I had a few numbers of the hotels in wayanad, so decided to check with them about the rains. They said its raining, but nothing like land-slides or road blocks. All of our activities are planned ourdoors, and rain can spoil the fun entirely. The hotel we booked is no-resort, so nothing much for indoors. Also, moving around with a 5 yr old toddler in rain is no good. I was on for the trip 50% in view of the driving on hills/forest during rain, but your companion's irritation can be contageous and spoil the show. Friday ended with 50-50 of go/no-go status and Wife also got busy at at work in view of 2 days off. There was no news of her till 10 pm in the night. I went to sleep early, very much unusual for a friday night.

I woke up in the night, and looked at the clock: 4 AM. In an instant the 50-50 was changed to 100-0 for a GO. Shook my wife up, and told her, lets go to wayanad ! She took some time to come to senses and we started packing our bags. Took a quick shower, got our little one ready, had a quick review of car and papers and we hit the road at 7 AM. Touched the mysore road, via richmond circle, KR market flyover, and filled up the tank at the first indianoil pertrol pump on mysore road. Mysore road was crowded at that time, with company vehicles and holiday goers from bangalore. We stopped at Kamat Lokaruchi for breakfast. The place was too crowded with tourists going out from Bangalore. We found it even difficult to park. It took us around 1 hr to finish the b/f and resume travelling.

In mysore as suggested by some in t-bhp, we did'nt take any of the two bypasses, and went straight in. Took a left in front of the palace, and without any confusion got onto the Nanjangud road. The initial few km from Mysore to Nanjangud is strictly two-lane and with lots of potholes. Once you pass Nanjangud, the road becomes quite good. Light rain started at this point, and I was feeling little disappointed about the impending heavy rains when we approach kerala. But the rain just kept to a light drizzle. I took the first major right turn, after gundlupet, and confirmed the route by asking some people on the road.Stopped at the roadside shop for a tea, just before the Bandipur WLS starts. Met some guys coming from the opposite direction, from bathery, and they confirmed that the rains are not much. Once we enter the forest section, roads've become amazingly well. The traffic was significantly reduced after the turn to calicut at gundlupet. Whenever we stopped by someone to ask the route they would start telling the route to ooty. Apparently lots of people were travelling to ooty. We went very slow, just in case we could spot some wild life. We could'nt spot any except deers seen running at the distance, and some monkeys, all through the section. To my big releif, no rains !!

We stopped at the Muthanga WLS entrance, and enquired about the safari. We were told that due to rain, the safari covers only very short distance, and also it being lunch time by then, we dumped the idea of safari and left.

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We reached kalpetta by 2.15, and checked into the room. The room was a good one, with decent facilities, but no luxuries to boast about. We freshened up and went downstairs for lunch. True to the many comments in T-bhp, the food at the woodlands was good. Met some others who stay at other hotels, and they come to woodlands for food. Quite understandable. We left for pookot lake after our lunch. On the calicut route, 15-16 km from woodlands, we need to take a right turn to reach pookot lake. Many thanks to that BHP-ian who rightly posted the photo of the turn. There is no sign board indicating the direction to the lake and I could recognise the turn instantly. Crowd was very less because of the news of the rains, but luckily for us, on that day the rains stayed away. Its an amazing place to be, and our little one really enjoyed the pedal-boating. We took a round in the boat, and also took a round, outside the lake as well.

Road while going to pookot lake

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At the lake:

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Did some shopping at the handicrafts shop at the lake, and tasted the Amla (Nellikka in malayalam) soaked in honey. Rain started just at that time, and we had to drop the idea to go upto Lakkidi valley view point. I did'nt want to drive on unfamiliar roads with darkness and rains setting in. It was 6pm by that time, and we turned back to our hotel. Back in the hotel room we ordered some tea and relaxed watching the TV for sometime. We had an early dinner that day, and went sleep early as well, to start things early the next day so as to utilize daytime to the maximum.

Woke up at 6 am and planned to start off by 8 am after breakfast. The hotel offers buffet breakfast as part of the deal, and that was good enough. Breakfast offered a variety of choices, idly, dosa, appam, bread, omlet, etc. A small glitch happened after this: I started the car, and while engine is running, just went out to clean my wind-shield. After getting out I gently pushed to close the door, as we usually do, and can you guess what happened? My car has a central locking, and while the engine is running and doors are closed, it will automatically lock all the doors !We were left outside the car with all doors locked and engine running. I regrettfully remembered the thread on 'Essentials of long distance driving" in which someone mentioning the need to have a duplicate keys to be kept with someone else, outside the car. Cool, I thought, here is the live example. I asked the hotel guys for help, and luckily they brought one guy, who inserted a scale through the gap in the beeding, and that door unlocked with a jerk. He saved my day ! We started off by 9 am.

The first target was Lakkidi valley view point, which is 2 km further from the turn for pookot lake.

Roads leading to the point:
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You'll see an arch marking the starting/ending of the wayanad district and the point is just after that. Boy, that is some view not to be missed. We can see the entire valley downwards, and the road from calicut climbing up the the Thamarassery churam. We could see a thick balnket of fog inching from far below towards us, and within a few mnutes the entire place was covered with fog. The view of the fog en-gulfing the entire place was indeed a breath-taking one. The visibility was fallen to a few feet in this fog, and people started to leave the place as it was point-less to stand there in thick fog. I had a feeling that the fog should clear just like the way it came and decided to wait for some time, to see the wonderful sight of the valley once again. The fog cleared in around 15-20 mins of time and we enjoyed the view, much more clearer now.

Valley views:

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To be continued....
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Old 15th November 2008, 01:04   #2
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At the valley view:
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Saw this while coming back from the valley view point:

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The next destination was soochippara falls. I selected this because as per the reviews, it offers a good drive through the tea plantations, comparatively easier for a family to reach and not much of a detour. We need to take a right at a place called chundale (while coming from calicut to kalpetta) and travel 20+ km on the ooty route to a place called Meppadi. At meppadi, there is a right turn which you need to take and drive through some 3-4 km, amidst the tea plantations. You can follow the sign borads to certain extent, but ask to confirm.

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Once you reach the falls, you need to park the car, walk through a rugged stone path for around 20 mins, and then a series of narrow stone steps to reach the bottom of the falls. Even though difficult, I felt it is definitely possible to drive up to the start of the steps. But it is really good to walk that much distance.

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All of us decended right down to the base of the fall and enjoyed our time there. The final approach to the fall is throgh a narrow stony path thorugh the jungle. It is a light trekking and will really pep you up. There is no real danger at this place unless you are really crazy, and that may be reason it is favoured by families. There was some mention about water rafting here, but I could'nt get how it is done on such rocky place. We spent around 30-40 in the water, then climbed back, did some shopping at the stalls near the car park, and left. It was 2.30 when we got back to the meppadi town and could'nt wait to reach kalpetta for lunch. We went into the fist hotel we saw at this town and had a luch that we like to forget.

For Banasura sagar dam, you need to reach back Chundale and while going towards calicut take a right turn. Its around 25 km from here. I guess this is not the official route to the Dam as we did'nt come across any sign boards all the way. But you have nothing much to loose your way, and can always ask for directions at a junction or diversion. The route is a real good one, to drive thorugh, and just before reaching the dam we stopped at a place to take some pictures. This was obviously the most beautiful scenary we came across the whole trip. The fading sun of the evening, hills of varying sizes on the horizen, and the little islands within the lake formed by the Dam will have a mesmerising effect.

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Once you reach the entrance of the Dam, you need to park the car, and walk around 10-15 mins to reach the Dam site. Only then, we realized that there is boating at this place and unfortunately it was closed for the day. We could see the last trip roaming around the lake and was sad that we missed it. We also realized that we could've hired a jeep (for R.50) to reach upto the boat jetty. It was quite dark when we returned from Banasura Dam, and we wound up the rather hectic but fun-filled day.

To be continued....
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Old 15th November 2008, 01:34   #3
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Thirunelly temple was the next on the Agenda. We planned to start early and reach there before the temple closes, but it was 9.30am by the time we hit the road. My in-laws joined us at the hotel. Thirunelly temple is 62 Km from Kalpetta, via Panamaram, Mananthavady and Kattikulam. There is a small (and only) stretch of raod b/w Kalpetta and panamaram which I found to be in bad condition. After you pass the Kattikulam town, there is a left turn marked Thirunelly and Tholpetty, and the straight road goes to Mysore, via HD Kote. There were some discussions on some other thread of this road being closed for traffic, but I have seen a KA SRTC bus with a board Mysore (via HD Kote). The reserved forest range starts immediately after you take that left. The temple is 13 km from this point. After 8-9 km there is again a diversion in which we need to take left for Thirunelly and the staraight one goes to Tholpetty. The trip went event-less, while we were constantly on the look out for some wild life. In fact I was happy not to see any wild life, especially a herd of tuskers ! The elephants in Thirunelly are said to be more ill-tempered as the truck drivers deliberately poke them in the nights. We reached Thirunelly just in time, before the temple closes at 12 noon. The temple is located on a picturesque surroundings with the Brahmagiri mountain range all around it. The temple has a certain medeival aura around it, and looks as if the ruins are untouched.

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After the darshan, we went to see the papanasini stream a little downwards.

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The temple and the surroundings is an ideal location to simply wander around listening to the nature's sounds, or sit by the shade of a tree, probably with a book in hand. We did the former for sometime and went back to the temple premises for lunch. We went into a hotel right in front of the temple (Hotel Vishnupadam) which also had a decent toilet. The food was ok, which was typical rural kerala food, on plantain leaf. We left Thirunelly by 2.30 pm, our idea was to hit the Kuruva island on our way back to Mvady. We came back to the point where we took left for Thirunelly, and proceeded towards the mysore route, for around 1 km or so. From there, there is a right turn, which is a real jungle road, in extremely bad condition for a stretch of 2-3 km. After that the road gets better, and we need to travel further around 7-8 km. There is a left again to reach the island, the straight one leading to the mananthavady-Kalpetta road. Unfortunaltely, due to heavy rains, the flow of water was furious and all the boat services towards the island was stopped. We hanged around there for some time and left the place within half an hour.

We reached back the Mananthavady-Mysore road, and returned to Mananthavady via Kattikulam and Panamaram. We visited the Pazhassi tomb, which looked rather deserted.

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There was also plans to visit the Pazhassi tourist resort, but somehow we did'nt feel like doing it. On our return to Kalpetta, we stopped at Valliyoorkavu temple, which is set in a small and serene atmosphere, over looking a paddy field. It reminded me of the rural scenes in typical malayalam movies. Reached back Kalpetta by 8pm.

The next day was a reserve day for us, and the options we had were the Edakkal caves in Sultan Bathery, and/or the safari in Muthanga. We ruled out both the options, as we neither had the energy to do the climbing required for the caves, nor we were sure about the use of the safari. Instead, Bangalore was calling, and we wanted to have some time at home before the chore begins the next day. Did a non-stop drive from Kalpetta to Mysore (3 hrs) had lunch at Kamat Maduvan just before the city, and did the next leg non-stop from Mysore to Bangalore (2.45 hrs). One small incident worth mentioning during this trip. I was cruising at 100+ on Bngalore mysore highway, somewhere before Mandya. A maruti 800 zoomed past me, as if I were walking on the road. I was impressed, and decided to give a test to my santro (LP, 2003). Luckily for me the road was wide and clear. I decided to give that guy a chase and I really had to push my santro upto 140kmph to overtake him, and I had to turn off my AC. I was'nt sure whether I could go beyond it, since I was on a knife-edge during that time and I had bring it back immediately after over-taking, because of other traffic. A busy junction arrived next and he could'nt over take me for some time. After that I did'nt bother to go beyond 100+, he overtook me easily and there was no sign of him, since then. I'm really impressed with that M800, since till then I could'nt beleive that 800s could generate such power and go at speeds of 140+. Good show !

Finally, the route map of my travel through wayanad, in the order in which we passed through:

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Many thanks to all the T-BHPians who cared to read this, and many more to those who helped with their suggestions and feedback. Team BHP had always been a great motivator and information source.

Cheers !
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Old 15th November 2008, 07:37   #4
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Indeed its magical. Rains and Greens - Thats kerala's beauty.
Seeing wayanad through your photos makes me plan a rain trip to there soon

Keep them coming
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Old 15th November 2008, 09:20   #5
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tempting photos. thanks for sharing. i speak of doing wayanad trip atleast twice a week. wife is sick of hearing that lol.
m800 can do 140 with a bit of effort. but not advisable even on santro with stock tyres.
waiting for more pics if any..
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Old 15th November 2008, 09:32   #6
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varier chetto nice triplog there. I love the pix you shot enroute Banasura Dam from Chundale .

Quote:
For Banasura sagar dam, you need to reach back Chundale and while going towards calicut take a right turn. Its around 25 km from here. I guess this is not the official route to the Dam as we did'nt come across any sign boards all the way
Official route : Kalpetta -- Pinangode --Kaavumunnam--Chennalode--Padinjarathara .

I think you should have taken the Kalpetta -- Pinangode --Kaavumunnam -- Thariode route to reach Banasura dam(this isnt the official route). Reason being you could driven thru one of the most exotic route in Wayanad.

I say this is because my grandad was settled in Thariode.During our vacations we had nothing else to do for good 6 weeks other than trouble our jeep driver and make him take us places.
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Old 15th November 2008, 10:27   #7
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VRVarier, Neat travelogue, beautiful pictures. thanks for sharing the route, experience, and those breathtaking photos. Nice to know the car just zipped along.
All the best on your future trips.
Being in Kerala I haven't made a trip to Wayanad, but must now!
regards
Joe
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Old 18th November 2008, 08:43   #8
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excellent writeup and great photos... reminds me of my college days in rec-calicut and makes me want to go there again!!
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Old 18th November 2008, 14:28   #9
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Nice writeup and wonderful pics...Pics made me thinking of visiting this place in near future.
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Old 18th November 2008, 22:28   #10
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Nice travelogue; could almost smell and feel the place around me.

Another reference material for people planning a trip to Wayanad.
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Old 19th November 2008, 12:37   #11
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Well written and in detail! Thanks for the custom made map; it surely will give some pointers.
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Old 19th November 2008, 12:59   #12
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@vrvarier, Amazing travelogue. Wayanad calling, Wayanad calling..

It amazes me how you people remember the exact details of events happened during the drive. Do you / someone note these down during the drive itself? I've done many long journeys including a recent trip through Wayanad. But i can't remember the "details" to write a trip log like this.

My detailed trip log would read like this.

We left home early morning. Reached Mysore after a long drive. Had breakfast from some hotel. Then we followed the car in front which took us to Gundulpet road. We reached Sultan Bathery by lunch time. Then it was a long drive to Perinthalmanna through some nice roads.


Last edited by Torqy : 19th November 2008 at 13:02.
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Old 20th November 2008, 13:44   #13
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Very good travelogue, no ambiguities as seen in other travelogues. Pictures perfectly choosen and posted , descriptions based on them are also fine.
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Old 21st November 2008, 12:36   #14
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Hi Folks,
Thanks for all the comments. While writing a Travelogue in detail, you get a chance to re-do the trip all over again.
Torqy: No, no note-takers during the trip, all from memory. You should be more surprised to see other travelogues posted here. Mine, I beleive, is a modest one.
rjstyles: You hail from wayanad? great to know. I was born and lived in Alleppey for the first 26 years of my life and got to know from others that it is a great tourist destination, when I came to Bangalore. People literally kicked my back, when I asked them "what to see in alleppey?". As the old saying goes: Familiarity breeds contempt.
regards,
VV.
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Old 21st November 2008, 13:22   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vrvarier View Post
Hi Folks,
rjstyles: You hail from wayanad? great to know. I was born and lived in Alleppey for the first 26 years of my life and got to know from others that it is a great tourist destination, when I came to Bangalore. People literally kicked my back, when I asked them "what to see in alleppey?". As the old saying goes: Familiarity breeds contempt.
regards,
VV.
Aah yes my dadz from Wayanad, I have been born and brought up in Bangy. However I have spent most of my school and college vacations in Wayanad and hence know the place pretty well.
Right now its like a yearly affair though my parents make a trip once in 2 months and stay back for 10-15 days.

I have gone thru this,
Quote:
I was born and lived in Alleppey for the first 26 years of my life and got to know from others that it is a great tourist destination, when I came to Bangalore. People literally kicked my back, when I asked them "what to see in alleppey?". As the old saying goes: Familiarity breeds contempt.
everytime my colleagues and friends come back and tell me dude Wayanad is heaven. I am like whats so enchanting there, having been there so often and nothing ever seemed to catch my eye.

But then its always a relief from the concrete jungle that we live in.

Last edited by rjstyles69 : 21st November 2008 at 13:28.
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