17 February 2009

Wild & green -Trip to Wayanad from Bangalore-Day1

(view of Wayanad Peaks)
Ah..i am back after the hectic schedules of traveling to Wayanad over the weekend. What a trip it was, when i look back at it now. I wonder, if the time stops by, when you get to such places, or may be the clocks move faster back at Bangalore. An awesome trip, with probably a little more time which i would have liked to have.
Anyways, here are some statistics about the trip and then i continue with the report. I am sure you like the details or hate them equally if you are looking for a 500 word coverage of the place.

Name: Wayanad. It is one of the districts of kerela and should not be confused by a town's or city's name. The towns to stay in Wayanad district are Kalipetta, Sulthan bathery(SB) and Vythari.
Distance: Kalipetta is at a distance of 270 kms from Bangalore. Sulthan bathery(SB) comes first if you are going from Mysore. from SB, kalipetta is around 24 Kms and vythiri is another 22 Kms from Kalipetta. The road from kalipetta can directly head to Calicut via Vythiri or turn towards ooty.
Travel mode: Discussed here.
Temperature: The district receives good amount of rainfall but during Jan to Feb, its quite similar to the temperatures in Bangalore. A little on the higher side while comparing the day temperatures and little more colder during the nights. The afternoons are also humid and hiking gets a little tough during the peak sun on your head.
Places to Stay: Places to stay are all spread across the small towns of Suthan bathery, Kalipetta, and vythiri. Some places to stay are:
At Kalipetta:
1, Haritagiri
2, The woodlands
3, PPS tourist home (where we stayed)
and umpteen number of lodges at these towns are available. These three hotels mentioned are in kalipetta. I don't think staying places should become a problem since the towns are quite commercial but in case you would want to be absolutely sure, you can call up and get your rooms done at these hotels. Sulthan Bathery, appeared to have even more number of hotels and lodges than anywhere else in the district.
The Story
As we boarded the AC Kerela SRTC, bound to kozikode, we never new that we were heading into such a fantastic place. The bus started at 10:30 dot, and we were quite thrilled about it. It was nearly full with couple of seats still remaining. So, i sense over a weekday, without reservations also, the seats may be available on this route. The conductor tried to pull up people on the way to fill those couple of vacant seat. the buses are just average, and no way can be compared to the Volvo services of Karnataka SRTC. The drive was good but the seating and the gushing AC, were just below average to comfort. We soon went to sleep.
Reaching the Hotel:
As Soon i woke up, the bus was making huge moves to its left and right on a road similar to racing track. I could barely see through the window and just read "Eddakal Caves 22 kms" on a side board. Sensing that we were nearing the town of kalipetta, i woke up my wife and just got ready. Soon about 4:10 in the morning, we got down at kalipetta. Unlike our previous travels across other hill stations, the place was much alive for that early morning time. There were tea shops open and people waiting for buses. The hotel, which i had booked beforehand was nearby and just took us 3-4 mins to reach there. I called up the reception and informed about our arrival. The fellow on the counter, was happy to open up a room booked for us and offered some water & clean towels. We also didn't take much time and wanted to catch up some sleep before starting up for the day. The room was good with a nice bed and Cane sofa set sitting in the room. In one corner, was a TV waiting to be tune besides a gallery which opened to the outside view of the town. The place was quite calm and inviting. We parked everything into the almirahs and soon settled for a nap.

Get, Set, Go....Day 1:
I got up with a bell on the door. The boy of the hotel was there with the newspaper and morning cup of tea. We opened up the gallery and the climate was still quite cool for 8 am of the day. We discussed about the areas around to be covered with the boy, when i noticed the tea served to us. Man, this was different from what i have noticed in other parts of India. The tea, was served in a huge glass and i could recollect the tea served at Punjab, the place where i come from. This was alike the Punjabi tea with lot of milk and tasted excellent. we were refreshed since those tea cups available in Bangalore, have never been my fill, until i take two of those. We soon finished our bath and set off to Chembra Peak. This was going to be our first spot for the day and we booked an auto rickshaw to take us around. I forgot to mention, but apart from tea, breakfast was another sixer on the very consecutive ball. We ordered for some masala dosas and appams( local delicacy for breakfast) and they were too delicious to be explained here. This food itself gave us a different high about the place.
Shahjahan was negotiating the turns and curves as we moved towards Chembra peaks. Oops, forgot to introduce, Shahjahan was the one who was booked for driving us around for the day and someone with no exposure to other language than Malayalam. A happy chap, who listens to "Sajan" film songs at-least 10 times a day and lives in kalipetta town. It had been some 10 kms since we had been driving, but i could not catch sight of any tea estates from our imagination about Wayanad, nor any peaks or mountains around yet. In few mins, it all started changing. Now there was a huge peak on the right side of the road, towering with the sun and its altitude, as if boasting. Soon, we reached Mappadi, another small town which is set in the foothills of this mountain. Here after, the drive turned magical. We got our first glimpse of those tea estates, in their ravish beauty and green covers. They formed patterns across the plantation and looked beautiful. The tops were trimmed excellently and the pathways between the crops looked liked having combed by someone. Most of the drive, saw those estates with tea plantation and huge empty patches in between. we understood that the plucking would have already been done from those areas. Still in far places, the vegetation looked even and we could seen few people working and plucking those leaves.

Reaching Chembra Peak

(View of Chembra Peak)

The way from here, was a snake tail laid into the mountain. We soon, reached a check post which had few people manning the gates. I presume that they do nothing except closing and opening those gates to the entrance. As we moved hereafter, the road was lone and beautiful. it was a place where no homes were there. Only folks living up here must be either in the bungalows of the tea estate managers or the other related labor force for these estates. Through out the drive, it felt as if we owned this place and were on a round of it. The hills looked magnificently blue and little mist was visible across the valley in some parts towards the top. the pine shaped trees grew amidst these plantations and gave even more dramatic touch it them. Another 3-4 kms of riding up, we reached a check post and a office for buying the tickets. We choose to go to the top up to the View point. There was another option of trekking up to the peak ,which we refrained from. Ideally, we thought that trekking would be a great idea to go in a group rather than two of us. The tickets costs peanuts through out the district for any place you enter, a nominal 10 Rs per person with 25 Rs for the camera. It was same here.
What a View!!!
As we reached the top, the view was mind blowing. On one end, at our back was this huge chembra peak with those hues of blue and whites, glowing sun which was little hotter now than what it was when we started and ravishing tea plantations on our front. A road was inviting us to explore this place and we soon got out the cameras and started moving. we were amazed by the tranquility of this place . It was just two of us, across the kms of view now, and the only other sound was, of the wind blowing past us. It was amazingly soothing and nice setting for someone on "valentine's day" too. We walked through the tea estates and enjoyed the nature around. Another noticeable aspect of wayanad, is the birds population. A mecca for bird photography since i could sight more than 100 birds through our trip of two days. We kept walking and the road started to unwind into its turns leading to the view point, a lone building at the very end of the mountain, with a white roof visible from distance.
The view point has been maintained by the kerela tea estate and a decent place to rest around and enjoy the scenery. the place gives you a birds eye view of the whole valley. "ashish", a local guy, working with the tea estates was deputed to this view point and was hanging around when we reached. The backdrop of chembra peak looked magnanimous and we enjoyed this place for some 30-40 mins before heading back to where shahjahan, the auto-driver was waiting to take us further.

(A tea estate with those trees..a dramatic place with a view of one of the peaks)

Towards next destination:
As now we started the descent, the memory of view point was still fresh in mind. We stopped couple of places to get down and click shots. there were huge plantations of coffee in between which were flowering. we got to know that the coffee plantation is exposed to artificial rains to bloom the flowers, and it was first time we smelt them. Initially i did not believe that these amazingly pleasant smelling flowers could be coffee. To see is to believe.
Sujiparra WaterFalls:
Soon, we came down to the mapadi town and continued towards the sujiparra Waterfalls. The place is around 12 Kms from mappadi and another roller coaster ride. As we reached the top of this hill, we saw some shops and vehicles, pointing that we were there. Shahjahan, told us that from here we would have to go on the foot for a walk of around 1.5 Kms to reach the waterfall. Amazingly, across the district, in any of teh place where you have a steep inclined walk, the govt. jeeps are running to take people to and fro they charge nominally (15-20 Rs up & down) and would take 5 mins which other wise would need lot of energy and 30 mins of climb. We still choose to walk down. The sun was getting harsh now from the cool of the morning, and we started towards teh waterfall. The walk was extremely steep at places and after some 700 mtrs, it was all steps. the place was amidst huge forest covering and now we could hear sound of water gushing down. The place was a little crowded in the pathways with lot of people going and coming from the waterfall.
Another 15-20 mins with carefully negotiating those steps, we were in front of soochipara falls. the falls is amidst huge rocks and looks like a trekking spot. The fall was front a good 200 meters of height but not huge in proportion of water. lot of people, were enjoying under the fall and we spent some quality time across the fall in water. The descent to reach teh falls and trek at chembra peak was tiring and Sun was on its peak now. We spent another 40-50 mins at the falls and then started back to the parking. on the way, the jeeps kept making rounds after round with people, which offered an easy solution. But still, i felt that walking gave us the real taste and sense of these places. We could also enjoy by stopping by the Pepper and coffee plantations on the way.
What next:
It was around 2:30 as we starting from sujiparra falls. Pokkat lake was the next destination, but seeing the sun and temperature, it didnt appear to be a good idea for boating. we were informed by many localites including Shahjahan that pookate lake has boating and nothing much to it. We planned to get back to our hotel, since the idea didn't look enticing.

Please read the next leg of this trip here.


  1. Anonymous12:24 PM

    Nice pictures . After seeing the pictures even i am thinking of going to this place .
    It's a great writeup . I felt for some time that i was there only .

  2. Wonderful. And I love the images. Super!

  3. We missed Chembra Peak during our trip

  4. We missed Chembra Peak during our trip

  5. Om,
    Thanks for visiting and appreciating the pic.

    Mr. Muragan and srinidhi,
    Pleased to see you dropped by.

  6. Anonymous11:19 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. Anonymous11:30 AM

    I liked the way u explained everything...from temperature to transportation to various places...U have great Photgraphic skills boss..

    Warm Regards,

  8. Roopa1:45 PM

    1)Can u please tell me what r the hotels near by Wayanad? (something in the range Rs. 800-1000 ).
    2) what are the most important places that we should never miss while at Wayanad?
    3) Can it be covered in 2 days (a weekend)?

  9. Hi Saurabh,

    Im from wayanad and loved ur blog abt the place. These days i miss it so much as Im out the country. http://www.hotelsinwayanad.com/ will give a list of hotels and homestays.


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