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Old 14th December 2009, 08:10   #31
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Default Bangalore - Coorg/North Coastal Kerala/Wayanad in Swift D!!!

Day 4 (01st December, 2009): Wayanad Sightseeing (Edakkal Caves, Half Way Drive up Chembra Peak)

Trip Meter – 805kms to 886kms

We wake up to a bright sunny morning at Kalpetta by 9:00AM. The Woodlands hotel where we are staying is pretty good. The staff is very helpful. This is the first time I am visiting Kalpetta (Wayanad), and the usual chill that you have in hillstations is missing here even in this time of the year. I felt Bangalore would have been much colder. We quickly get ready and head down to the fast food restaurant for breakfast. After a good breakfast we head out to explore Wayanad by 11:00AM. Not sure where to go first we decide to visit Meenmutty Waterfalls towards Vythiri.

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Wayanad Map with major tourist destinations

Meemutty waterfall is about 29kms from Kalpetta. You travel towards Vythiri and then you have a deviation towards Meenmutty waterfall. The road all the way to Meenmutty waterfalls was is good condition taking you through vast tea estates. We ten found the deviation towards the waterfalls and it’s about 2kms of offroading from the main road. We drive slowly on the single lane narrow muddy path and reach the dead end where there is a check post setup by the forest department. Park my car at a small parking spot and go towards the checkpost. Surprised to find the minimum entry is Rs.300 to the waterfalls. For Rs.300, minimum of 1 person to a maximum of 10 people are allowed. I mean, it’s ridiculous to charge Rs.300 for just two of us to just see a waterfall. Why can’t they just have a fixed amount of Rs.30 per head? Just to make sure I am not being cheated I call my hotel and confirm the same with them. And it’s also a 2kms trek from this checkpost to the waterfalls. We meet a family who are back from the waterfalls and tell us that there is not much water at the waterfalls. We decide to dump the plan of visiting Meenmutty waterfall and go towards Edakkal Caves which is closeby.

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Driving towards Vythiri from Kalpetta.

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Signboard towards Meenmutty waterfalls on the Ooty road.

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Tea Gardens around.

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Smooth winding road with beautiful views all around.

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Offroading towards Meenmutty waterfall.

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Offroading back to the main road from Meenmutty waterfall.

We make our way back to the main road slowly and head towards Edakkal Caves. There is a deviation about 4kms from the main road towards Edakkal Caves. The road leading towards Edakkal caves is a single lane road, twisty but in good condition. By 1:00PM we are at the parking place at Edakkal caves. We find out that we will have to hire Mahindra 4x4 vehicles which will drop us at the base of the hill where the caves are. We pay Rs.80 for both of us for a 2 way trip in the 4x4 vehicle. The guy driving the vehicle skillfully drives his vehicle up a very steep road which is broken at some strecthes and sharp turns close to huge boulders while we hang on to our dear lives. He drops us at the base of the hill and tells us it’s another 20min trek from here.

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On the way towards Edakkal Caves

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On the way towards Edakkal Caves in the 4x4 vehicle.

We are like OK and slowly start climbing the steep steps carved out of rocks. We reach the ticket counter after what seemed like an eternity, purchase tickets and continue our climb. The climb upto Edakkal Caves is pretty tough and tiring. Being a weekday there was not much crowd, and I can’t imagine the chaos on a weekend because the path up the caves is very narrow, have to duck beneath some rocks and up a narrow metal stairway. It took about 40mins for us to climb all the way to the caves. We both were exhausted by the time we reached the top. I really admired my wife’s patience and perseverance during this exercise. It was allright for me climbing these steep steps as I have done quite a few trekkings and rock climbing in my college days, but my wife, this was a first and she also told me its going to be her last.

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On the climb up towards Edakkal Caves.

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View from the top

The literal meaning of the word Edakkal is “a stone in between”. There are two levels within the cave which are located in the Ambukuthi hills. It is believed that the Edakkal caves are formed by a large split in a huge rock. Once you are inside, you will to be mesmerized by the ancient stone scripts, cave drawings and the pictorial inscriptions present inside. It is believed that the carvings of the Edakkal caves belong to the Neolithic and Mesolithic age. The place is considered to be among the earliest centres of human habitations by the archaeologists. A caretaker there explained the various carvings on the wall. After taking some rest in the cool confines of the cave we started of journey back to the base of the hill.

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Carvings inside the caves.

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Inside Edakkal caves

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Carvings inside the caves.

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Carvings inside the caves.

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Inside Edakkal caves

It took us another 40mins climbing down the hill and another 5mins of ride back to the parking lot. We were exhausted and after multiple glasses of Lime juice at a shop near the parking lot I felt better to drive. My advice to people who plan to visit Edakkal caves, please make sure you wear sneakers as there is lots of climbing to do. Carry plenty of water and try visiting the place on a weekday as it’s less crowded and also climb before noon as the temperature is cooler.

Its 3:00PM now and we start our drive back to Kalpetta. On the way we stop at a small decent hotel for a quick lunch. By 4:00PM, as we are driving back to Kalpetta, we see a deviation towards Chembra Peak. We take the deviation and start driving towards Chembra Peak. The road leads into a private tea estate and after paying an entry fee and entering the vehicle details we slowly start climbing. The road is a narrow single lane and bad streches regulalry. We slowly climb gaining altitude and the temperature gets cooler. In about 30mins of driving we reach a dead end. From here the trek to the peak is another 2hrs. We just park the car and take a walk in the tea gardens. Spend about 30mins at this place and by 5:00PM we decide to head back to Kelpetta.

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Drive towards Chembra Peak.

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Views around during the drive towards Chembra Peak.

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Narrow single lane road during the climb up.

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Tea gardens around where the road ends towards Chebra Peak.

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View around where the road ends towards Chebra Peak.

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Chembra Peak.

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Chembra Peak.

Make our way back down the hill and we are at Kalpetta by 6:00PM. Back to the hotel we relax for sometime watching TV and by 7:30PM we head out to explore the town walking. We shop around for some spices. By 9:00PM we are back at the hotel and have an early dinner and after a tiring day I am off to sleep early by 10:30PM.

Tomorrow we head back to Bangalore. One thing I have realised if visiting tourist places at Wayanad. Be prepared to walk. Most of the tourist places one has to walk a minimum of 1-3kms one way.

Continued....
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Old 14th December 2009, 11:02   #32
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hey DD, very nice narration and information. pretty good pictures. thoroughly enjoyed reading your log in the morning, thanks for keeping it great. post more pictures.
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Old 14th December 2009, 12:11   #33
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Hey DD nice pictures and wonderful narration to go along with it. Looking forward to your return trip details and conclusion.
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Old 15th December 2009, 06:27   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srikanthpotluri View Post
hey DD, very nice narration and information. pretty good pictures. thoroughly enjoyed reading your log in the morning, thanks for keeping it great. post more pictures.
Thanks srikanth. Glad you enjoyed reading the log.

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Hey DD nice pictures and wonderful narration to go along with it. Looking forward to your return trip details and conclusion.
Thanks majic. Last day of the travelogue coming up soon!!!!
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Old 16th December 2009, 14:51   #35
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Hey DD, Nice snaps man. The complete narration was simple and informative.
Meanwhile what are those red marks in the snap which reads the way upto the caves?
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Old 17th December 2009, 06:29   #36
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Default Bangalore - Coorg/North Coastal Kerala/Wayanad in Swift D!!!

Day 5 (02nd December, 2009): Kalpetta – Sulthan Battheri – Gundlupet – Mysore –Bangalore

Trip Meter – 886kms to 1197kms

After a tiring day yesterday, slept like a log. I woke up by 9:00AM on the last day of our roadtrip. Get ready and have breakfast and leave the hotel by 11:00AM. We plan to checkout of the hotel by 1:00PM but before that we wanted to visit Pookot Lake which is on the way towards Calicut. We make our way towards Vythiri and then to Pookot Lake which is about 13kms from Kalpetta.

Pookot Lake is a natural fresh water lake surrounded by evergreen forests and rolling hills. A children’s park, a handicrafts and spices emporium and a fresh water aquarium are the other tourist facilities here. Being a weekday the place was not crowded at all and you don’t have to walk much from the parking place unlike other places at Wayanad. We hired a 2 seater pedal boat and were given life jackets. I guess a good step towards safety after the recent tragedy at Thekkady. About an hour spent at Pookot Lake we head back to the hotel.

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Pookot Lake

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Boating at Pookot Lake

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Pookot Lake

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Pookot Lake

Pack the bags and have the bags kept ready in the room. We decide to have an early lunch by 1:00PM at the restaurant in the hotel. After a tasty lunch we check out of the hotel by 2:00PM and head back towards Bangalore. We head towards Sulthan Battheri which is about 25kms from Kalpetta. The road is in good condition. After Sulthan Battheri, its forest all the way about 15kms before Gundlupet. We drove through the forest at a steady speed of 50kmph but did not spot any wildlife.

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Tea gardens during the drive out of Kalpetta

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Oops...

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Towards Gundlupet

Reached Gundlupet, and took the left turn towards Mysore. The road till Mysore is in good condition except for a few bad patches after Nanjangud and before Mysore. We are at Mysore by 5:30PM and takes time driving through the city because of traffic. By 6:00PM we are cruising at the Bangalore – Mysore highway. Stop at a dhaba after Channapatana around 8:00PM for an early dinner. And by 9:30PM we reached our home in Jayanagar.

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Glimpse of Mysore Palace

Another relaxing holiday except for some climbing/walking at Wayanad. The car performed very well and returned a good mileage of 21+kmpl with about 60% AC usage. No other road trips planned as of now. But might be Goa or Ooty sometime in February 2010.

The End.
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Old 17th December 2009, 06:34   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REMU View Post
Hey DD, Nice snaps man. The complete narration was simple and informative.
Meanwhile what are those red marks in the snap which reads the way upto the caves?
Thank Remu. Is it the red marks on the rocks "On the way towards Edakkal Caves"? I think its a natural color of the rock due to a layer formed.. Not sure. Help me out guys!!!
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Old 17th December 2009, 09:10   #38
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So finally another journey has come to an end, Ooty again? I suggest Goa and with your narrative it would be as good as visiting there.
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Old 17th December 2009, 09:41   #39
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Wonderful narration and great pictures. Looks like this is loads of fun and keep it flowing.
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Old 22nd December 2009, 02:49   #40
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So finally another journey has come to an end, Ooty again? I suggest Goa and with your narrative it would be as good as visiting there.
Thank you majic for closely following the thread till the end. Laluks travelogue has tempted me to visit Ooty again. Will have to wait till Feb and see. A long Goa vacation or a short Ooty one.

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Wonderful narration and great pictures. Looks like this is loads of fun and keep it flowing.
Thank you murali..
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Old 22nd December 2009, 10:02   #41
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LaluKS travelogue is always tempting, you are also on the same lines!
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Old 22nd December 2009, 18:34   #42
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Laluks travelogue has tempted me to visit Ooty again. A long Goa vacation or a short Ooty one.

I am very very happy that you are driving
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