Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Visit to God's Own Country Kerala - Wayanad

Chembra Peak, Wayanad, Kerala

A longish weekend owing to Eid-ul-Fitr and Ganesh Puja. I only had to take one day off to make it a five day weekend. Perfect for a getaway from the hustle and bustle of corporate life. Wayanad, in God's Own Country Kerala, was the chosen destination.

Wayanad, Kerala

True to style, we tried booking bus tickets at the last minute. It was just past the peak of the monsoons, but still not a recommended time for visiting Kerala. The state is known to get more than its fair share of rainfall. So we were quite optimistic of getting tickets. However, all the travel agents we visited had the same answer, "No tickets to Wayanad, sir!" Somewhat discouraged we were on our way back when I had a brainwave. I called up another friend to check if any tickets were available online. My friend was at work, but reported back in a few minutes that tickets were available in some private travels which we asked him to book.

The travel fixed, we had to come up with the itinerary for sightseeing. Wayanad as such, is a whole district and the attracions are scattered all around. Kalpetta, the district headquarters, was in the bus route. So we decided to set up our camp in Kalpetta. Once, the journey started, I realized we were yet to make any hotel reservations. The bus was expected to reach Kalpetta in the wee hours of morning when finding a hotel will be difficult. So another SOS call to more friends to get some info on local hotels from internet and send me the contact numbers by SMS.

A beautiful view, will convince you why its known as God's own Country...

We disembarked from the bus at Kapetta around 5 am and were welcomed by a light but persistent drizzle. I started dialling numbers from the list sent across by my friend. None seemed to have any rooms available. We managed to flag a passing auto and convince the gentleman to take us on a hotel hunt. After visiting almost all major hotels in the area, there was just one hotel left on our list. The auto dropped us outside the hotel and left. I will say one thing for the service here, the auto-wallas are pretty decent. They don't charge anything more than the fare value. This was very surprising to us, being used to the ways of auto-wallas back in Bangalore. Unfortunately for us, this particular hotel opened at 7 am while it was still 6 am. We whiled away the time watching the rain which had now worsened. It didn't seem to be a good indication for the trip. Whoever heard of treks and hikes with the rain pouring down. There seemed to be a temporary lull in the rain and I stepped out in search of a cup of coffee. After walking some distance and getting some directions, interacting with folks in a language I could neither speak nor understand, I managed to find a chai-walla who had his small shop under a makeshift waterproof roof. I managed to get under the roof and enjoyed my first coffee of the day.

Back at the hotel, we were in for another disappointment. There were rooms available but needed prior reservation. Trying to think out alternatives, I remembered the JustDial service launched in India a few years back. Deciding to give it a try, I dialled the helpline number and requested for hotel numbers in the area. The gentleman, at the other end of the line, had my name wrong, but did sent across a long list of hotel numbers along with their addresses. Looking through, I started crossing out all that we had already checked. And found one that we hadn't enquired yet. I guess, this was the start of our good fortune.

Soochipara Falls

We found rooms in the hotel and checked in. After breakfast, we went down to reception and the friendly staff provided us with an itinerary and arranged a Jeep, complete with driver, for our sightseeing. The Jeep proved really indispensible as most of the roads in and around this place seems to be in dire need of repair. And the driver was very knowledgeable about the routes. We finalized on all the places we wanted to cover over a period of two days, after which we planned on travelling back to Bangalore.

Tea Garden, Wayanad

As it turned out, the trip was a real success and will be memorable for several reasons. The scenic beauty of Wayanad is incomparable. It reminds you why this place, cradled in the lap of the Western Ghats, is known as the God's Own Country. There are majestic mountain peaks, placid lakes, awe imspiring waterfalls, lush tea gardens, coffee plantations and lovely forests. Some of these are wildlife sanctuaries where one can go on a safari while a few are totally wild and no visitors are permitted. There is also a very popular bird santuary for people interested in the feathered kind. It's also a trekker's paradise. The trek to Chembra Peak, the highest and most difficult in the area, is quite popular and promises a fantastic panoramic view of the surrounding countryside. Then there are prehistoric rock carvings and cave paintings in Edakkal Caves. Wayanad has it all!! Will be posting some more pictures of this beautiful place in another post.

29 comments:

  1. Fantastic photos! My only complaint is the waterfall. I know that it's typical for photographers to make the water appear "soft". However, I'd prefer to see the waterfall much as it would appear to the naked eye. Just enough softness to give it motion, but not so much to make it look like dry ice evaporating down the side of a cliff. That's just my personal preference though.

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  2. Absolutely wonderful photos. I have only been to Kerala once, but I was almost too young to remember much other than the cobra that reared its head as our jeep sped past. But I do remember Kodaikanal very well (where I attended boarding school), and your photos remind me so much of that place.
    Great job!

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  3. Remo, I love your photos! I cannot wait to explore India and your posts inspire me to get there sooner rather than later. Thanks so much for sharing. :)

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  4. Beautiful photographs, but pls "Save for Web" the pics in PS, coz it takes time to load.

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  5. @Fractalman93
    Thanks for your valuable feedback. I agree with your comment on the waterfall. The shot looks a bit overexposed. Actually, I was a bit rushed into the shot due to the continuous rain (didn't have any waterproof gear). Also the rains had increased the amount of water in the fall. As a result, the fall itself had quite a bit of whiteness and my slow shutter speed just ended up making it appear a bit washed out.

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  6. @Drachma
    Kodai is a beautiful place with lots of lovely scenic drives and views. Actually, Kodai is among my favourite hill stations. This was my first visit to Wayanad and I absolutely loved the trip. You should visit Kerala sometime; there are lots of beautiful tourist attractions in the state.

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  7. @Vee
    Thanks for the compliment. You will find a wide variety of places to explore once you are in India, there's a lot of diversity (geographical as well as cultural).

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  8. @Gautam
    I took your advice. I usually upload smaller versions. But somehow ended up uploading the orginal size pictures in this post. Now corrected it. Thanks for pointing it out.

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  9. This a beautiful blog, that i'd love to write a review on. :)
    I've always been interested in photography and cameras.
    Lovely

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  10. I've always wanted to do photography blog but first I need a camera!
    This is a lovely blog, I love the pictures. Seeing the world through a different lens is quite different I admit.

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  11. I even wrote a review for your blog because I really loved it:

    http://anjali-corner.blogspot.com/2011/10/blog-review-tryst-with-shutter-bugs.html?showComment=1318125571307#c1191692118244170382

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  12. lovely pics :)...happy that you could visit Kerala again!...The pics reminds me the fact...home calling!!..really nostalgic

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  13. Spectacular pix! THanks for the comment test on my blog. Were you looking through Blogger help forums? Just curious how how found me and my commenting problem. Thanks!

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  14. Thank you Linda for stopping by. Yes, I came across your post in the help forum.

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  15. Sounds like quite an adventure! And those are some gorgeous shots... everything seems quite lucious! Tail end of the rainy season indeed... :o)

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  16. Such a great information and I've been looking for this..

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  17. Nice to know the information here was useful to you.

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  18. wayanad is a personal favourite of mine too :)

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    Replies
    1. I too loved the place. Would love to go back sometime to catch up on stuff I missed during this visit.

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  19. I appreciate the write and the real insight of the writer on the subject. well done free movie online

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  20. Replies
    1. Wayanad is a lovely place. Thanks for stopping by.

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  21. Lovely Kerala. I only know the back water, traveling.

    A little souvenir : on the back water canal, I was knitting. Arrinvig to edge, a boy teanager, see me. He din't know what I was doing and this strange to him. Suddenly he touch my knitting very quickly. I smile to him. Of course in the south no need to knit warm jumper. But in Delhi I have seen ladies knitting on lunch time, sitting on the floor, outside.

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Tryst with the Shutter Bug by Ramakant Pradhan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.