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Old 21st November 2018, 12:59   #1
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Default Kasaragod Ė Godís own District in Godís own Country (Kerala)

Riding a motorcycle brings out the child in you. When a bunch of kids wave at you from a school bus, it is indeed because you are living their dream of riding a motorcycle. One of the most exciting moments on a motorcycle trip is this. A seven-year-old boy was running to the road shouting ĎKTM, KTMí while riding through an unknown village road to Settukunnu in Wayanad! That is a riveting moment on our road trips.

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With the increasing frequency of our rides on the BM road, ride to Hassan is now like the homecoming. Stretch between Hassan and Sakleshpur remains bad. Hotel Aashrita (Tel: 08453994105, dbl 1000 onwards) on BM road in Sakleshpur is a good option to stay. Surabhi Restaurant, which is part of the hotel is at an ideal location making the footfall of the travellers high. They dish up basic vegetarian food with some specialties from Hassan and Mangalore cuisine. Rooms are clean and tidy and the staff is helpful, hot water is available between 5 and 7 AM.

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Starting early on Saturday morning from Sakleshpur was a good idea as we could cruise through the newly laid Shiradi ghat road sans the traffic. Turn left onto Bandadka-Bangalore road at Gundya to reach Subramanya- takes a little more than an hour. Breakfasting leisurely at a local restaurant Hotel Devi Hallimane, few kilometres before Subramanya, we enjoyed the little drizzle, which lasted a mere ten minutes. The route from Gundya to Sullia is enticing taking us through the forest and tarmac of the roads are excellent. Be prepared for the bumpy ride after deviating from Sullia towards Panathur. The scenery is worth the pain, with zero tourist traffic. KSRTC - both Kerala and Karnataka - buses ply on this route, at Narkoodu the road bifurcates into two. Right deviation goes through Bandadka the other goes through Aletty- KallappallyĖ the route that we took, is easier to go to Panathur. The Bandadka route connects to a place little further from Panathur called Panathady Ė which is easier to get to Kolichal and further towards Kanhangad, but at the time of our trip, repair work was going on. Reaching Panathur was a relief from bad roads and also satiating the craving for black tea (fondly called "kattan" in Malayalam). Kolichal is 10 km from Panathur towards Kahnangad.

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Kanila Eco Homestay lives up to its name with a simplistic and eco-friendly room with basic amenities. Host Vinod has been helpful starting from booking the place (there was a problem with making payment from Airbnb app). His experience in the hospitality industry is evident in the way he takes care of every minute detail and the gentlemanly gestures. He is on his toes to make your stay comfortable and as enjoyable as possible. The property is the last house in the colony with a calm and serene stream flowing by. An ideal place to sleep listening to the sound of flowing water, while you are not gazing the stars. Chirping birds work as the natural alarm and it is the perfect place to enjoy your morning cup of tea without the newspaper - the worry about what's happening in the world. The room is adequately furnished with a kitchenette consisting of basic utensils. Lazy? Sit near the stream with your feet in the water and enjoy a free fish therapy. Active? Ask Vinod to take you to a river 30min walk away and swim against the strong current.

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Bhagamandala is 40km from Kolichal via Panathur-Karike through a treacherous road inside TalaCauvery Wildlife Sanctuary. Though the roads are pathetic, the ride is awesome. Expect no traffic until you reach Bhagamandala, a left turn takes you to Madikeri and 6km to the right takes you to the TalaCauvery temple. Recent floods have created havoc in this region, many trees are still lying partially on the road.


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Ranipuram was known as Madathumala until the 1970s, and in 2011 there was a major government funding to start eco-tourism. There are two roads to get to Ranipuram, one from Panathur Ė a steep 5 km climb and another from Panathady a gradual climb of 9km. Enter the hiking trail by buying a ticket at the counter (Rs.30 for adults, Rs 10 for parking) which is open between 9 AM and 5 PM. The beginning of the walk is through the forest and the rest is mainly in open grassland with occasional forest covers.

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An abandoned stone house on top is an ideal place to spend time with nature, unfortunately, it is not functional. The hike takes about two hours to reach the top and ascend. The view from the top is stunning - overlooking the Western Ghats across Kerala and Karnataka.


To experience the real jungle and to walk on the leech-infested trail we headed to Kottancherry in a hired jeep. Kottancherry doesn't have any organised eco-tourism activities like at Ranipuram. You need to get permission from Malom forest office to trek into the forest trails. Konnakkadu is the last civilisation on this route. Interestingly there was a couple of KSRTC buses at Konnakkadu going to Kottayam and Mundakkayam. Rubber plantations, churches, and these bus services show the origin of demographics at these hilly regions, where most of the people have migrated from Kottayam. Vellarikundu, Balal, Pulingome are the nearby towns.

Our guide Kunjiraman helped us by sharing tobacco, which happens to be the best solution to avoid leech bites Ė still, we got multiple bites. He had lots of stories to share on our trail to Kurumpanmala. One of those interesting stories was about Karimbil Kunjikannan Nair who was a zamindar in this area. He managed hectares of cardamom plantations and the tribal people worked for him. Later the government reclaimed these plantations and retained as forest. Kunjiraman pointed to an old building's remains and said it was the warehouse where the cardamom was stocked. Anyhow, this erstwhile zamindar is a revered figure in this area, with a primary health center named after him at Malom.

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A strenuous one hour walk will take you to the peak through 10feet tall grass, for the last 30min. Watch your steps and follow the guide closely, there are deep pits underneath. The peak gives a magnificent 360-degree view of the western ghat mountain ranges spreading across Coorg, Kasargod and Kannur districts. Photography is strictly prohibited.

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This trail goes next to the KL-KA forest border clearly marked by a stone wall. Karnataka forest range is called Mundrot and measures 972 hectares. There is a 13km trekking trail from here to TalaCauvery through the forest. This is a major elephant corridor and KA forest officials have created watering holes for elephants, digging ponds inside the forest. You will find lots of elephant dung on this trail. It's a wonder how we humans have managed to draw borders even in the jungle, where there is no differentiation amongst the plant life or soil or even wildlife.

Contact Philip at 9495561801, popularly known as Kunjettan at Kolichal junction if you need to hire a jeep to go through the hilly roads. He is an expert with his 1997 Mahindra CL500 and a good conversationalist.

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Josegiri is one of those postcard-perfect villages. A tiny hamlet with rolling hills as the backdrop, it is an unexplored place. Josegiri is 50km away from Kolichal and is an interesting ride through some of the tiny hamlets - Malom, Chittarikal. Cherupuzha is the next major town, from where a deviation will take you to Payyanur in Kannur district. After crossing the Cherupuzha bridge, a left turn will take you to Kozhichal, Josegiri. There is another route to Josegiri from Kannur via Thaliparamba-Alakode-Udayagiri. If you are taking a bus, it is easier to get a bus from Payyanur to Josegiri.


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A 2.5 hour ride through scenic route and a good breakfast at Kozhichal brought us to Josegiri. There are very few shops at Josegiri, so either you book a resort with meals or do this as a day-trip. To get a good view of the mountain ranges surrounding the place and give those legs a good stretch, there are a few walks you can do - Thirunettikallu, Tabore Cross, Kottathalachi mala. Otherwise, there is no point in staying at Josegiri for more than one night. Temperature at night is pretty low, thanks to the higher altitude of this hilly village. Santa Maria and Misty Mount are two resorts in Josegiri. Anil is managing a farm - Pukayuni Farm (Tel:9446835631 dbl Rs 1500), very basic accommodation and food, nothing fancy. We stayed here for a night and continued to Kannur via Alakode. You will be excited if you love the twisty winding roads with good tarmac . We had to ride this way, to fix the burnt clutch plate of our bike at Kannur KTM, the nearest to Josegiri.

After spending 3hrs at the friendly KTM service center at Kannur, we got the burnt clutch plates replaced and continued to Kasargod. We didn't want to stay near Bekal Fort, as in this trip we didn't want to do anything familiar. Chembirika beach is not one of those crowded beaches. The landscape is unique with moss-filled rocks. Listening to the sound of waves crashing on the stones, one can enjoy the sunset sitting on the bigger rocks. Chandragiri Fort is not as popular as the Bekal, nonetheless, it offers a spectacular view of the sea and also the harbour where fishing boats are parked. Bekal beach is around 20km from here.

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We stayed at yet another AirBnB homestay -Devanganam - near Chandragiri river. Vinod's parents at this home are eager to meet new guests and they provide breakfast. Good enough for a couple of nights, if you don't want to stay at a hotel in Kasargod.

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Our return route was through Cherkala-Mulleria-Jalsoor-Subramanya. On this route, you will cross Kerala-Karnataka border couple of times. Criss-crossing the border without any check post, you will be riding through thick forests and hilly roads. Adoor temple is on this route and is in a serene location, which makes the detour of few kilometers worth the while. Roads are mostly good unlike the Sullia-Panathur stretch. Expect lots of traffic on weekends when you are near Kukke. Don't forget to stop at Doddathota to sip excellent coffee from Kamat restaurant, next to the Doddathota Post Office. Kukke temple was very crowded as usual. Staying at Hotel Dwara was pleasant (Tel: +91 9663921878, +91 8762492702, dbl Rs 1005 through GoIbibo). All good things come to an end. We were ready to complete our last and 10th day of the trip, riding back to Bangalore, after breakfast and superb black coffee at Ossor. Our routes are not always the shortest and practical. It might be insanely longer but close to heart.
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Old 22nd November 2018, 09:29   #2
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Default Re: Kasaragod Ė Godís own District in Godís own Country (Kerala)

Well written travelogue! Kasaragod is one district I've never visited, and was planning to ride there soon, probably early next year.

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Originally Posted by Romins View Post
When a bunch of kids wave at you from a school bus, it is indeed because you are living their dream of riding a motorcycle. One of the most exciting moments on a motorcycle trip is this.
Totally agree! Moments like these can never be experienced on four wheels, unless of course if we have the finances to afford a Lamborghini.

Ride safe.

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Old 22nd November 2018, 11:37   #3
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Default Re: Kasaragod Ė Godís own District in Godís own Country (Kerala)

Nice Travelogue. I had been to Kanhangad back in May 2017. The link is hereby enclosed

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...kanhangad.html (Enchanting & enlightening trip to Kanhangad)
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Old 22nd November 2018, 12:45   #4
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Default Re: Kasaragod Ė Godís own District in Godís own Country (Kerala)

Our primary motivation was this movie.



Being Diwali week, we knew most of the popular destinations will be crowded in November first week. These places in Kerala are gaining popularity through social media. I was surprised to see that there was a QR Code to scan to know about the history of Ranipuram in front of a KTDC managed resort.

To read more about this - SMiLE to give a fillip to Malabar tourism

North Malabar is still begging for exploration. It has to be DIY to begin with. Kasargod is one district in Kerala which was not affected by recent floods in Kerala. Hope that status remains the same forever. Eco-friendly tourism is more than necessary in KL-KA bordering Western Ghats. Rampant construction and deforestation will not help anyone -either the tourists or industry.

Last edited by Romins : 22nd November 2018 at 12:49. Reason: grammar
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Old 22nd November 2018, 13:43   #5
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Default Re: Kasaragod Ė Godís own District in Godís own Country (Kerala)

My home district! and well written Romins. Those who are heading to Kasargod for Bekal in particular, I would also strongly suggest taking a ride through those Hill stations as well. They are non-touristy, lots of good places and really refreshing. My native is near the hills and my family own a CL500MDI, man! there is nothing like driving through those curvy roads on a misty morning.

Here is a quick map with directions. You have plenty of possibilities to connect in and out based on where you are heading to or from.
Kasaragod Ė Godís own District in Godís own Country (Kerala)-20181122-09_05_52kasaragod-google-maps.png
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Old 22nd November 2018, 19:59   #6
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Default Re: Kasaragod Ė Godís own District in Godís own Country (Kerala)

Thank you for sharing. With the kind of interest you raised with few pics, I think we deserve more. Please do share more pics if you have.

Some of these pics strongly tug at heart for a 'Mallu' and I suddenly feel missing so much.
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Old 23rd November 2018, 14:06   #7
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Originally Posted by swiftnfurious View Post
Please do share more pics if you have.
Some of these pics strongly tug at heart for a 'Mallu' and I suddenly feel missing so much.
Here we go..


Namma KSRTC speeding on the road between Gundya and Subramanya.

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Kanila Homestay. Built with locally available materials and reused wood. Eco-friendly with character. Location : AKG Nagar, Kolichal, Kasargod.
Vinod and family belong to Tulu Tribe. Their dialect is called Tulu as well, this is no way related to the Tulu spoken at Mangalore. "Kanila" in their language means "bamboo shoot"

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There were a bunch of friendly dogs and brood of hens. This guy was marking his attendance every morning.

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The stream in front of Kanila Homestay after a light drizzle.

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Misty morning on the way to Ranipuram.

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The starting part of Ranipuram Peak trail.

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The second half of the one hour walk to Ranipuram Peak.

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A bridge on the way to Bhagamandala. Bhoruka Power Corporation Limited has an hydro-electric project on this river at Karike.

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One of the many bridges inside TalaCauvery WLS.

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Sunrise at Josegiri.

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Sunset at Chemibrika beach.

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Moss gathered stones at Chemirika beach. A couple from Karyavattom, Thiruvananthapuram were spending many hours to photograph and collect different forms of life. They are doing R&D with fisheries department. They found many rare species of prawns and shells here and very excited about what they were doing.

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Fishermen going out to the sea at dusk. I think they return by early morning.

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Old 23rd November 2018, 14:27   #8
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Default Re: Kasaragod Ė Godís own District in Godís own Country (Kerala)

Thanks for sharing. The northern most yet, I have reached in Kerala, is Bekal. It is great to see there are more hidden gems and more laid back places to explore in Kasaragod.

If the tourism department takes a bit more interest and improves facilities and accessibility, the beaches and hill stations would get some more footfall. Of course over development and chaos is always a risk.

Great snaps and thanks for sharing, do post more photos including that of your rides, if you have them.

Cheerio!
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Old 23rd November 2018, 18:11   #9
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Default Re: Kasaragod Ė Godís own District in Godís own Country (Kerala)

A travelogue from a less explored part of Kerala. Your style of writing is unique. Short crisp sentences. Loved it. Snaps are also beautiful
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Old 23rd November 2018, 21:30   #10
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Default Re: Kasaragod Ė Godís own District in Godís own Country (Kerala)

Though a few, the photographs are great! And, Kasaragod district, of course, has much to offer. Most tourists to Kerala miss them grossly, as they concentrate on Alleppey and Munnar and so on.

Ranipuram alone is an excellent hill "station" in itself though we do not have many hotels etc. Home stay is the way.

From Kanhangad, I saw a Namma KSRTC to Mysore via Paanathoor and Bagamandala last year when I was driving through. May be same route...? But I don't know if it would touch Sullya and Gundya.
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Old 24th November 2018, 08:34   #11
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Default Re: Kasaragod Ė Godís own District in Godís own Country (Kerala)

I have been upto mangalore but could not make to Kasargod & Bekal.
I shall be coming to Kochi in jan/feb next year. Your travelogue inspired me to cover them definitely.
Thanks Romins.
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Old 26th November 2018, 12:32   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vipin Kumar View Post
From Kanhangad, I saw a Namma KSRTC to Mysore via Paanathoor and Bagamandala last year when I was driving through. May be same route...? But I don't know if it would touch Sullya and Gundya.
This bus will not go to Sullia. It goes through Panathur-Karike-Bhagamandala-Madikeri or TalaCauvery. One of the most scenic forest routes in Western Ghats.

GMaps link
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Old 25th December 2018, 09:56   #13
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@Romins - nice travelogue & must say you’ve good skills at photography too, my friend! There’s nothing in this world like riding a maniac bike like a Duke series on a twisty curves through the mountains
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