Wayanad: A Slice of Kerala state of India

We are now in Uravu, popularly known as Bamboo Village, in Mundupara. Our host is a social entrepreneur and journalist Suneesh CD. We are staying in his lovely home close to supari, banana, rubber, and coconut plantations, and of course bamboo forests. Morning birds greet us with their sweet chirps. There is one bird that makes a sound as if it is blowing kisses. We name it Kiss bird.Breakfast is a simple affair of Aalu sabzi and Appams, along with chicken curry to spice up the things. All meals are accompanied with warm water infused with a particular tea bark, called pathimugam, to improve digestion. After the breakfast, we start on our day tour on an auto. The auto-driver is called George and he stays nearby. We will be paying him Rs. 8 per kilometer for our day + waiting. We did not know then that this auto will drive us through the most spectacular landscapes and the toughest terrains to ensure that we are able to see all that we want to see through the day.Our first target is Banasura Sagar Dam. It is located at around 40 kilometers from our homestay. The route to the dam is scenic and roads are more or less even and well-paved. We stop at a couple of places to click photographs.The Banasura Sagar Dam is the second largest earth dam and its water reservoir is spectacular with several islands big and small jutting out of its surface. The Tourism Authority offers speed and pontoon boat rides. A speedboat ride costs Rs 500 per boat and can seat 5 people. We are able to find another couple to share the ride with us and thoroughly enjoy the 15 minutes cruising through the otherwise still waters of the reservoir.Our next target is Pookode Lake. This is where we have snacks of onion and cauliflower pakodas with chai and coffee. After the snacks, we take a long walk along the banks of the lake and en route see countless butterflies, some huge spiders snacking on the butterflies and a handful of birds. The water on the sides has several purple lilies that add to the beauty of the sea. There is crowd but there is no noise. It is unbelievable. Our last stop is the Soojipara waterfalls. George drops us about 2 kms from the falls and the terrain ahead was tricky. The walk was all downhill and at the end were some treacherous steps that were really tiring to climb down. I was worried about the return journey. There was substantial water in the waterfall, but we can imagine how big it would be in the monsoons.Several people were bathing in the waters. We were once again not prepared for it. We just enjoyed the scene around and then started back. It was a truly uphill trek. But we enjoyed it better than our walk downhill. It was Suneesh's niece's birthday, so we bought a couple of knick knacks for her from the near the ticket counters. We were slightly hungry now and had maggi and bread omelette with some tea. We will soon share our chai experience as well soon. Then we started back and stopped for a while to walk in the tea plantations. It was surreal. Cool breeze was blowing and bulbuls singing in all directions.We were back at 6 and were tired but happy. We thanked George. The total had come out around 1200 Rs and we felt that it was quite reasonable. We had spent enough time at all the places and still managed to reach back in time. We were welcomed back to a sumptuous dinner of biryani with raita. At the end we congratulated ourselves on a day well planned and timed.

Unmistakably the best way to explore Kerala is to start at the northern tropical forests that are lush green and untouched. Once our flight booking to Bangalore was done, we made arrangements for a car to take us to Wayanad in north Kerala. Flash-forward to two weeks later, we were negotiating the hairpin bends on the windy Kerala roads, we made our way to the Vythiri Resort in the Wayanad district. It began to rain as we ducked into our spacious rooms in the early part of the day.

After the rain settled, we climbed down the wooden stairway, past the bridge that had a fast flowing stream below and strolled  to the pool. What better way to start the holiday than a trip to the pool, where we could enjoy the pleasant weather and relax on a pool stool, mocktail in hand. We then grabbed some breakfast. Breakfast was just as delicious topped off with appam and stew. The receptionist escorted us to our Yoga session which was set along a stream. The restaurant had the usual buffet fare and we were served up fresh coconut water to compliment the food.

As the day grew on us, we climbed the 6,900 feet Chembra Peak and hearing the calls of the Hornbill and the scurrying of the Giant Squirrel. Back at the resort, the stream had calmed and we were at the liberty to play in the water and got completely soaked in the mini waterfall behind us!

The resort had a cycling path and we took it on ourselves to explore the outdoors. On our way back, we booked a cab at the reception and travelled to the Chain Tree and drove down to the forests below. Without a doubt, the trip to the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary was the most fascinating part of the trip as there were several elephant sightings. We were lucky to take photos of spotted deer, bison, Malabar squirrels and leopards. I would also definitely recommend a visit to the 300 feet Soochipara Waterfalls . You are simply taken away by its gushing waters and its mystical beauty grows on you.

As night approached, we were invited to a Kerala-styled Kathakali dance and were amazed at Kalaripayattu martial arts performance. Wayanad is home to many indigenous tribes that are among the forests and several plantations. They are hospitable and have a lot of walk-ins. We were able to spend time getting to know about their habits and traits from our tour guide.

Wayanad is simply magical and it’s calming presence and spectacular greenery make it truly God’s own country. For that much needed break to unwind, Wayanad is definitely the place to be for an experience that will last you a lifetime. This is just the tip of Kerala Tourism, it’s a state that has a lot to offer and will keep you coming back for more.

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