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Old 17th January 2023, 11:16   #1
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A short trip to Wayanad via bus & train

A short trip to Wayanad
Prelude:
There are many migration theories moving around the world and also in India (like Aryan migration theory) and one such migration happened from Tamilnadu to Kerala due to the invitation from Kerala kings ( from 13th Century). It seemed that my ancestors settled in Mananthavady in Wayanad like many of other families settled in Palakkad, Trivandrum etc., So our family deity (Kula Deivam) is Valliyoorkavu Bhagavathy which is few km outside Mananthavady. Searching for better prosperity my grandfather moved his family first to Dindigul and finally to Pazhani (famous for Murugan temple) in post-independence time (meaning back to where it was started). During my younger years, we never visited this place as my grandfather used to tell one needed to go to Kozhikode (Calicut) and then could only reach the place by travelling through hills in jeep and so considering the transportation facilities available in those days, we never thought of visiting the temple.
Few years ago (2017) suddenly I heard from my brother that he had visited the temple successfully (I think while waiting for his son’s +2 results). So immediately as per wife’s order we also visited the temple and from then onwards it became a yearly ritual on my son’s birthday (which falls in December or January) either by date or by star (whichever is suitable for getting train tickets). But due to Covid restrictions we could not complete the ritual in 2020 and 2021. In 2022 April we had a function at Hosur and with that we visited the temple by road (in our newly purchased Spresso) through Mysore (Chamundeeswari temple also) and Nagarahole National Park. (I could not plan to write a report as I was not a member that time and latter regretted after finding that many people post old trips also).
The Planning:
The route actually was that we had to reach Kozhikode by train and take a bus from there to reach Manandhavady which is about 100km away. In the past , we had travelled from Chennai which had 3 trains to Mangalore. One train starting at 4.30 PM and reaches Kozhikode by 4 AM which was convenient for us. Normally we don’t stay in any hotels and return back by same train catching at 8 PM. This year son’s birthday was on 13th Jan (11th Jan by date) and unlike from Chennai, there are only 2 weekly trains from Pondy to Mangalore (one on Thursdays and same train on Saturdays with a slightly different route) and so for convenience we booked ticket for 12th Jan (which was Thursday) starting at 4.45 PM. (2 AC). Since it was one day trip much planning was not required. Only thing wife wanted to enquire about retiring rooms at Kozhikode station for taking hot water bath in early morning but the online booking did not list Kozhikode in RR available station list. (I dropped an email enquiry and yet to get a reply from ccm/SR). Considering that we packed sweater for our resent trip to Munnar /Thekkady and not required to use, packed only casual dress.
The trip:
We reached Pondy station on 12th Jan by 3.30 PM. Our train was already in the platform (3) and looked like has not seen a wash for long time (but not surprised for a weekly train). Fortunately, it was ok inside the compartment. This train had one 2AC and one 3AC compartment. Train started on time and reached Kozhikode at around 5.15 AM (late by 20 minutes).
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Pondy Station
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Train Display
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Platform
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Train
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2 Charging points
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View of the compartment
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Compositable plastic Bags
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Home-made dinner of Chappathis and Ivy gourd/Coccinea( Kovaikkai)

Brief history lesson about Kozhikode:
Kozhikode is famous for something which turned the Indian history upside down. Trades were going on between Asia (China, India etc.,) and Europe from ancient time for spice and silk and pearls(pepper is essential to keep meat palatable in winter). These routes were through land or ports of Eygypt /Red Sea. Rise of Ottoman Empire in 2nd half of 15th century killed the silk route and monopoly of the Italian merchants forced Portugal and Spain to find alternate route to Asian countries especially to India and Molucca(Indonesia) for spices. In 1492, Columbus (born Italian, lived in Portugal and sponsored by Spain) reached West Indies while searching for India in west direction. The 1494, Treaty of Tordesillas (along with Treaty of Zaragoza in 1529) was signed between the monarchs of Spain and Portugal to divide the world between them into two spheres of influence. The imaginary dividing line ran down the centre of the Atlantic Ocean, leaving the Americas to Spain and West Africa and anything beyond the Cape of Good Hope to Portugal. That is why all the Central and South American countries were occupied by Spanish except Brazil (which is Portuguese) due to the reason Brazil falls to the east for the agreed line. Due to the agreement, Vasco da Gama (Portuguese) went around the African continent and reached the shores of Kozhikode in 1948 which marked the first entry sponsored by Governments which was followed by others like Dutch, French and the British to follow (because of the treaty, Spanish could not come to India fortunately). Imagine when Shakespeare was creating his boring plays, the real drama was happening in the seas with a piece of wood called ship and piece of paper called map with nothing on it as nothing was discovered at that time.


We finished out bath and other duties in the waiting room on platform no 4 itself and were ready by 6 AM (water was not cold at all). Reached KSRTC bus stand by auto (Rs 60/-) by 6.30 and got the bus (not crowded) immediately (Rs 130/- for single ticket) and were on the move.
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Kozhikode station Waiting room
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KSRTC bus stand, Kozhikode
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Bus inside

Since we were sitting at the rear end could not take much pictures of the road. Bus went through Thamaraserry, Adivaram, Vythri and Kalpetta. Once up the hill, it was misty and chilly (regretted wearing casual dress). Roads were ok. Some repair work was going on between Kalpetta and Mananthavady. Reached Mananthavady at about 10 AM.
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On the way
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Kalpetta Bus stand
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Kalpetta town
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Misty roads

When we got down the bus, the town looked deserted. All the shops were closed and no autos were in the stand near bus stand. Suddenly one auto appeared from nowhere which someone was about to enter. When enquired we came to know that general strike was called for that day only in that town (even Kalpetta, the Wayanad district HQ, was normal) and so minimum transportation would be available. I have heard about the sudden strike stories in Kerala but never faced one until then. (My brother had already informed that they were aware of Kerala state strike only after reaching Kozhikode in the first trip and they had to take a taxi to complete the trip). When we explained our situation to reach the temple, the passenger was kind enough to allow us to ride and so we could reach the temple by 10.30 AM. We waited for the 12 PM Puja and finished our free lunch by 12.30 (provided by the temple for which we had also donated which was one of the many donation modes available) contains(always) white parboiled rice with a mixed vegetable sambar with pickle and rice payasam. It was ok to fill our stomach.
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Temple entrance
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The temple( Melakavu)
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Other way
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Old temple( Keezhakavu)
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Kabini river

But the problems started when tried to return to the bus stand. Temple was on the Mananthavady-Panamaram shortcut road which usually have less buses. Somebody advised us to walk to bus stand (3 km) as there was no chance of getting anything(which was not a problem for me as I used to walk 6/7 kms daily). One or two empty autos were crossing us but none was willing to take a chance. But wife also agreed to walk and after a few metres one empty auto came that way who was willing to take us and dropped us at the bus stand at around 1.30 PM without any problems as the whole town was under police surveillance. One bus already just left as we reached but we had to wait up to 3.00 PM to catch the next bus and by the time heavy crowd started gathering. So, when the bus arrived there was big rush but once settled, I found some empty seats. On way the bus became full and reached Kozhikode by 6.30 PM. Since the bus was very late there was very very heavy crowd to get in so that we alighted with much difficulty. Took an auto to station but got dropped at a chips shop nearby. Purchased some Plantain( Rs 320/-/kg) and Tapioca (Kappa or Maravalli Kizhangu) chips( Rs 240/- /kg) and reached the station. Finished dinner at the station (which had few restaurants veg and non veg). Train came before the scheduled time of 8.05 PM and reached Pondy at 10.00 AM.
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Mananthavady Bus Stand
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Inside the bus
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Hairpin Bend
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While returning
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Through the refraction of the Train door glass , I could see a small sun along with big sun. I could not help it without clicking..2 suns..

Some observations:
1. First time bus travel after Covid restrictions. Buses in Kerala had not changed a bit during our travel for the past few years. No digital display or sliding windows (still shutters) and seats were uncomfortable too. But one design I liked was that the floor was fully flat with no projection above the front and rear wheels (compared to TN buses (except SETC) which keeps the passengers in those seats above the wheels totally uncomfortable).
2. Auto drivers are systematic in Kerala compared to TN and Pondy (where no system at all). Charged Rs 60/- (Station to Bus stand) and Rs 50/- (Bus stand to station) in Kozhikode. In Mananthavady Rs 100/- and Rs 80/- between Bus stand and temple (even on strike day) which I found little unbelievable after the experience here. For example We were charged Rs 200/- from our house to station (in Pondy) but from back to house were asked Rs 400- first then 300/- then 250/- but wife did not accept as she had the data already ( Rs 200/-) for which finally they accepted. All these are wife’s department as I hated to travel in autos( one of the only 2 things I hated in my entire life and other one being wearing various coloured threads in any part of the body – no offence to those like wearing )and I would rather walk instead taking one . If there is an auto- haters association, I would be the president (concerned with only TN and Pondy autos as I think in Delhi/Kolkata/Mumbai /Bangalore/Hyd they charge by meter rates.). They might be having their problems but no justification in not following a system (Kerala fuel rates are higher that TN and Pondy).
3. Temple is in such a beautiful place (Kabini river is flowing nearby) but the crowd is always less except for the yearly 10-day festival which will be in March/April(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valliyoorkkavu). There are 2 temples called Melakavu (where route activities takes place) and Keezhakavu( where the idol is believed to be self-manifested and opened only during yearly festival)); Temple Timings: 6.00 am to 12.00 noon & 5.30 pm to 8.00 pm. Though I thought less people visit the temple, there is always something newly added every year by infrastructure(by the way the priest drives an Ertiga and the counter lady drives Alto K10).
4. Kozhikode Railway Station has good waiting room facility in P1 and P4 with running water etc.,. Even in peak winter the water was not cold to make bathing easy.

Last edited by kvsneela : 17th January 2023 at 11:19.
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Old 21st January 2023, 10:02   #2
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Re: A short trip to Wayanad via bus & train

Thanks for reminding me of the beauty of Wayanad! Though in Kerala, I have stopped travelling to the North of the state in the last couple of decades. I used to work at AIR Kozhikode and have toured Wayanad in office transport on occasion. BTW, Kozhikode has been famous for a long time for the autos who take only the metered charge. In the '80s and '90s, they would even return the coin change (paise)! But yes, generally, Kerala autos are far fairer than TN (Chennai, at least). Lived 13 years in Chennai and avoided them like the plague.

One little thing - there's one serious typo: Vasco da Gama came in 1498 - not 1948.
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Old 21st January 2023, 12:57   #3
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Re: A short trip to Wayanad via bus & train

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pennant1970 View Post
Thanks for reminding me of the beauty of Wayanad! Though in Kerala, I have stopped travelling to the North of the state in the last couple of decades. I used to work at AIR Kozhikode and have toured Wayanad in office transport on occasion. BTW, Kozhikode has been famous for a long time for the autos who take only the metered charge. In the '80s and '90s, they would even return the coin change (paise)! But yes, generally, Kerala autos are far fairer than TN (Chennai, at least). Lived 13 years in Chennai and avoided them like the plague.

One little thing - there's one serious typo: Vasco da Gama came in 1498 - not 1948.
Thanks for indicating the typo. ..It was 1498..
By the way AIR means All India Radio..My wife worked in AIR Ranchi, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bangalore,Chennai.. Now TV Station in Pondy..

Last edited by kvsneela : 21st January 2023 at 13:20.
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Old 21st January 2023, 13:18   #4
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Re: A short trip to Wayanad via bus & train

Quote:
Originally Posted by kvsneela View Post
Thanks for indicating the typo. ..It was 1498..
By the way AIR you mean. All India Radio ~
Yes, All India Radio. I was a Transmission Executive, in 1994. Quit when I got a job in the Customs Department. Quit that too, later - I have lived a bit!
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Old 21st January 2023, 22:43   #5
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Re: A short trip to Wayanad via bus & train

I was at Manathavady the same time that you were there. The hartal/bandh was against the inaction of the forest dept on tracing a tiger that had killed a villager the previous day. It was a sudden decision taken by the UDF and BJP and we came to know of this only the previous evening. Fortunately for us we were well stocked in the estate or we would have started that day as nothing opened.
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Old 22nd January 2023, 21:00   #6
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Re: A short trip to Wayanad via bus & train

Takes me back to 1994 when I used to meet my planter friend who was based in Cherambadi. Had to spend the night at Vythiri on my way from Cochin. The natural beauty is still fresh in my mind. Thanks for sharing and making me nostalgic.
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Old 22nd January 2023, 21:25   #7
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Re: A short trip to Wayanad via bus & train

It's heartening to see one mention their Kula Daivam. Many Hindus have forgotten their Devas and Devis and do not know them at all!
I did not visit even once in my life, but something led me to go to our Kula Devi temple last year and I swear to do it every year henceforth.
I was in Wayanad in 2019 before the lockdown. Beautiful place except for the Commies
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Old 23rd January 2023, 08:27   #8
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Re: A short trip to Wayanad via bus & train

Your log reminded me of our childhood times, when holiday was only Bus and trains. We had this long vacation and the long train journeys (New Delhi to South via TN/GT/KL/KA Express Trains).

And I must say when in a train you just want to eat every thing which is being sold!

Nice log indeed !
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