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Old 16th December 2009, 08:37   #46
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Thanks people, sorry for the delayed response. A bad case of dengue along with a virus attack in my PC has kept me from completing my travelogue. But then again I decided to finish it at least for my own records lest I forget this trip.

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Originally Posted by Wolfheart View Post
Very good narration Daiuspitar! The temple part was especially good, reading it was almost like being there in person.

BTW did you guys manage to spot any leopards at Kabini? I heard that leopard sightings are very frequent there.
No Wolfheart, we didnt see any of the cats. Probably because of the season we went there in.

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Originally Posted by Majic View Post
Thanks Daiuspitar, looking forward to the remaining part of the trip, Edakkal caves information would be new, probably i would be inspired by your work to go there and Wayanad.
Thanks Majic

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Originally Posted by Wolfheart View Post
Nice narration man! I was mesmerised with the temple bit, you narrated it in such a fluid manner I actually reached there in my mind. Two Thumbs up!
JackSparrow, Wolfheart, Thank you..... Actually Wolfheart, thats great, because I was hoping people wont be put off by the details on the temple bit.

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Excellent Travelogue.
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Old 16th December 2009, 08:50   #47
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Default 11: Wayanad - Edakkal Caves - 1st Sept '09 - I

Edakkal caves in Wayanad is an example of pteroglyphs or wall etchings/carvings. The period of these wall etchings date from around 8000 BC. There is a also subsequent set of etchings that date to around 4000 BC and to around 2500 years back. While it appears that the cave complex were locally known always, western discovery is dated to 1890. In near recent times, Pazhassi Raja is rumoured to have stayed there in between his battles with the British.

The caves are a short hike up a hill. At the base of the hill
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En route to the caves
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An interesting insect we noticed along our walk up
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The view from around the top of the hill and just outside the cave complex
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The cave complex
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The 'Edakkal' of the cave complex
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Moi inside the complex
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Old 16th December 2009, 08:59   #48
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Default 11: Wayanad - Edakkal Caves - 1st Sept '09 - II

The wall etchings at first didnt make any sense to us. They just seem to have been etched with a plan in mind. This is what I mean
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But there seems to be a pattern in the scheme of things.
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Fortunately, just as we were getting irritable over not having any help on understanding any of this a young man introduced himself as an assistant to the ASI guide who was to have been there.

He pointed out the following at first, supposedly a representation of a person of influence and power. The man has both hands raised as if in warning. The etching on the left is the front and the one on the right is the back. As is obvious, the man is wearing a hairdo of some kind. Also he seems to be wearing a shield on the back.
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The front
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The back
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Supposedly people hiding besides the man but behind bushes.
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A woman with her kid, could possibly be the man's wife
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Old 16th December 2009, 09:01   #49
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I need vacation ! All the green and blue is so tempting.

The info about Edakkal is new to me. Could you also post how you booked the resort/how much it cost etc too?
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Old 16th December 2009, 09:11   #50
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Default 11: Wayanad - Edakkal Caves - 1st Sept '09 - III

A ghoulish face, seems they suspect it to be that of the tribe's priest/medicine man/shaman/witch-doctor
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Ahh, admiring the female form, not a new thing wot?
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A woman on a platform
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A bull
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This is supposedly a dog, but I dont know!
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The circle is a common theme in the older sections of the cave. What if they had taken the next step to developing a wheel back then? Things might have turned out differently.
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Now to the more recent sections, circa 500BC:
Ancient Tamil etchings
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Weapons - knife
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Old 16th December 2009, 09:18   #51
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Default 12: Wayanad - 1st Sept '09

Now just a shocker for folks in Mumbai who have to make do with "quality" MTDC resorts...

The KTDC resort in Wayanad. We stopped there for lunch on the way back from Edakkal caves. It was awesome.
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The view from within
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The most expensive rooms were 2,500 per day
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Old 16th December 2009, 12:24   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkdas View Post
I need vacation ! All the green and blue is so tempting.

The info about Edakkal is new to me. Could you also post how you booked the resort/how much it cost etc too?
@jkdas, if you are planning to visit Wayanad, check out Wynberg Resorts also. It is a coffee plantation resort close to Kalpetta. They have a homestay option as well for larger groups. The plantation owner Mr.Vanchy is a very knowledgeable person and takes personal interest in ensuring that all his guests are comfortable. I had a very pleasant stay in Dec 2008. Check them out at Wynberg Resorts, Wildlife, adveturespecialists. Wayanad, Kerala, India
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Old 17th December 2009, 07:07   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkdas View Post
I need vacation ! All the green and blue is so tempting.

The info about Edakkal is new to me. Could you also post how you booked the resort/how much it cost etc too?

Tell me about it, I myself feel like I need another vacation after going through all the snaps.

Ours was a kind of last minute decision that turned out good. We got the info from the kerala tourism website
Homestay
and
Homestay

Their standard rates are 2500 per cottage per day (for 2 people) including a massive and excellent breakfast+dinner that they customise according to your requirements. The Onam sadya they had organised was fantastic. My advice, stick with the local cuisine. The rates are negotiable. We got a good deal because of the size of our group.
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Old 17th December 2009, 07:16   #54
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Default 13: Wayanad - Kuruva Island - 2nd Sept '09

Onam morning we set off for a quick visit to Kuruva Island, a riverine island in Wayanad. This was a brief trip because we had the morning to kill, there was a massive Onam sadya awaiting us as promised by the HomeStay staff and finally we had to leave Wayanad by late afternoon.

Before crossing the river
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Will the boat take all of us?
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Me
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Inside Kuruva Island
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Probably should have spent more time there. However, the Onam sadya awaited us at the home stay and priorities being what they are
we set off.
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Old 17th December 2009, 07:20   #55
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Default 14: Leaving Wayanad

We left Wayanad in the after noon. The drive down the ghats from Wayanad was interesting because of the fog all around and we
couldnt see a thing. So driving slowly it seemed like ages before we reached Calicut
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No visibility beyond the trees
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Old 17th December 2009, 07:24   #56
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Default 15: Cochin to Mangalore - 5th September '09

An interesting pookkalam at the Lotus Club in Cochin
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We left Cochin after resting for two days. The price of the extended break that we had on this trip was that the return journey would be hectic over 2 days. Not the slow winded return along the coast that I had originally looked forward to.

Kerala roads (NH17) though bad in patches are still excellent compared to what we encountered in Karnataka. We stopped for an
amazing Kerala breakfast of appam with stew and puttu + kadlai curry at a garden like road side restaurant/motel in Valappad
near Triprayar.

Ponnani was by far the worst stretch along the NH 17 in Kerala. No offence but the name of this town reminds me of a Russel
Peters joke. And I shall leave it at that.

The roads got a bit crowded with traffic from Calicut to Quilandi and that delayed us a bit. We stopped for lunch at the KTDC restaurant at Vadakkara.

Mahe has a distinct personality and the views of the sea from there are beautiful. I am marking this in memory for future visit.

Thalassery captivated me for some reason. May be it was the nature of the roads winding along side the sea with the merchant shops on either side at places with the unique brick-laid (Thalassery Chengal?) houses. Except for the vehicles, the scene along Thalassery was as if the place had stepped out from the last century. Very quaint.

Nileshwar seemed interesting with some 'Gokul' resort bang beside the highway that seemed inviting. However we had a long journey ahead and had to reach Mumbai the next day for works sake.

Kasaragod was beautiful with rolling hills and dense greenery all around.

And then we entered Karnataka. This is the pits I say. I really really regret not having had the frame of mind to capture the roads. They didnt exist. The moment we cross in to Karnataka, the roads seem to disappear. They appeared in patches. Huge craters abound. And we started crawling with the Safari and managed to pull in to Mangalore. We were beat and decided thats it for then. Now headed off for the first cyber cafe to log in to www.tripadvisor.in and find some decent hotel to put up in.

The reviews for Hotel Deepa Comfort seemed encouraging. And it was no let down. The rooms were very clean and very good service from the staff. Defintely recommended. With a breakfast thrown in, the price for a nights stay came to around 2600.
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Old 17th December 2009, 07:35   #57
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Default 16: Mangalore to Margao - 6th September '09

The experience next day within Karnataka was not much different. The NH17 appeared and disappeared all the way to Maravanthe. It was the worst up to Udupi and for some more. After that the NH17 was far better.

This is at Trasi. The sea on one side, the Sowparnarika close by on the other side. We noticed an interesting resort called Turtle Bay Beach Resort. Any info from anyone on this?
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We lunched at Murudeshwar. The place was definitely not our scene with a very touristy kitschy temple right on the beach. Even the proportions of the temple appeared all wrong to us, against all classical notions. Anyway, each one to his own. People are happy and the locals are happy.

We reached Gokarna around 4 pm contemplating whether to make this our halt for the day. So we detoured in. Drove through the town, taking in the sights. We also went towards Om beach and Kudle beach and spotted the SwaSwara resort (seems expensive, anybody been there?).

My wife liked Gokarna but feels this should be a separate trip. Moreover we realise we aint gonna make it Mumbai today. What with the excellent quality of the NH17 in Karnataka. So I call and inform work I will be reaching a day later and blame it on pathetic roads after the equally dismal monsoon.

We proceed and decide to either reach Goa or stop at Karwar. After Gokarna, the roads are bad for a bit and then things improve. The scenery changes as we approach Karwar. Karwar seems like an interesting place. I want to do Gokarna and Karwar later at some point. Just after Karwar
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Again its interesting to see how the scenery and nature of development changes across short distances itself as we enter Goa. Everything seems more packed closer and greener too.

We reach Margao and check in to some hotel called Woodlands or some such. Alright, decent service and rooms.
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Old 17th December 2009, 07:42   #58
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Default 17: Margao - Belgaum - Mumbai - 7th September '09

We are informed that the NH17 would take longer from Margao. Better to reach Belgaum and catch the NH4. By now with the time delays, bad roads on the NH17 as opposed to excellent NH4, I am easily gullible. BIG MISTAKE.

We catch the NH4A via Ponda. Amongst the most scenic routes, especially while you climb the ghats through Mollem National Park. Vegetation is thick and green; soil is deep red (that should have clued us in to what happened next). At the top of the ghats we cross in to Karnataka. And then its a big time repeat of the Kasaragod-Mangalore stretch all over. I suppose there's a lot of illegal mining or excessive mining around here. We saw numerous (over)loaded trucks all along, several with broken axles, punctured tyres. Fortunately the Safari carried the day.

We reached Belgaum late and decided to make it to Kolhapur for lunch. I had identified this decent highway restaurant around the Shiroli turnoff. Unfortunately it turns out that Kolhapur/Miraj/Ichalkaranji are all on a strike because of some issue on Ganpati immersion. Seems there was some issue with local people not being allowed to portray Shivaji killing Afzal Khan.

Anyways, our only option for lunch then was to head back to the McDonalds at Kolhapur. Not my preferred choice, but OK. After that, its a comfortable drive to Mumbai in around 4.5 hours.

The Safari caked in red mud after reaching my building.
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And that's the end of the travelogue.

One key thing to remember for future trips is for me to capture shots of the route along the way. (May be even of the at the time pothole filled NH17) Some thing I didnt do this time around for I was too busy enjoying the drive.
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Old 17th December 2009, 16:22   #59
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Excellent travelogue and I thoroughly enjoyed it,especially the photos. Have been following it for quite some time now. Safari looks rugged with all the red mud as a blanket.
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Old 17th December 2009, 21:35   #60
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Very good photos and good travalogue. Wayanad is one of the beautiful scenic place in Kerala. Good show!
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