Wayanad in Early Summer

Wayanad is in the north of Kerala and is known for being a beautiful hill station, wonderful lakes, waterfalls, caves, forests and temples.
We planned a trip to Wayanad on a 3 day weekend.

 1. Bangalore to Mysore (Stay in a budget hotel overnight)
 2. Mysore to Gundlupet ( Take a right turn on the highway towards Kozhikode (NH 212)
 3. Gundlupet to Sultan Bathery (Continue on NH 212)
 4. Sultan Bathery to Kalpetta (Continue on NH 212)

Hotel /Resort : Planet Green ( "http://planetgreenresorts.com/")

We got excellent reviews about the resort from some friends and the reviews on Tripadvisor(http://www.tripadvisor.in/Hotel_Review-g503698-d1232777-Reviews-Planet_Green_Plantation_Resort-Wayanad_Kerala.html) were also very encouraging. The resort is located just about 3 km from Kalpetta town. One has to leave NH 212 and drive on the Meppady road from Kalpetta Ayappa temple Junction. There is a small road that branches out from the right about 1 km from the junction. One has to take this road and then follow directions given by the resort staff.
( They will provide with a detailed map after the booking is made)

DAY 1:

On Friday morning we had a hearty breakfast in hotel Siddharth in Mysore and started for Wayanad. The drive through Bandipur and Muthanga forest was scenic and wonderful. But Sultan Bathery was real hot and we hoped that the resort will provide us some relief. After a little confusion we were on the Meppady road and took the narrow lane towards the resort. The last 200 m to the resort is a mud road with loose rocks and one needs to be careful while driving here.

Once we reached the resort we were provided a nice refreshing drink and we settled down in our rooms. Although it was pretty hot outside but the resort was in a nice place overlooking Chembra Peak with a nice cool breeze to soothe tired travelers. We sat on the balcony for a long time watching the tea gardens and a clear majestic Chembra peak. Our lunch was already prepared and we took a quick bath and headed for lunch.

We had a hearty Kerala style meal,and cooked in Sunflower oil ( Most of us were a bit worried about use of Coconut or Palm oil in cooking). the best part is that the resort prepares food , including non-vegetarian dishes as per request. We wanted to have some fried fish and prawns at night and that was arranged.

After a nice lunch and a lazy afternoon in the balcony we decided to make a small trip to the tea garden. It was a huge tea estate and here are some snaps to show the beauty of the place. There is a nice play area for children and small water stream nearby where one can relax and chill out.

After a nice cup of coffee in the evening we just chatted, watched TV and gazed at the stars on the mountain from the balcony. Around 9 PM after dinner we thought we'll walk around a bit , but we got an eerie chill in the air and decided to stay indoors. A bit of an adventure mind would have loved to go out at this time towards the parking lot and the empty roads. I thought the tea garden at night would also be excellent , but a lot of snake holes and a few snake skins that we came across was hardly encouraging to venture out at night.

This part of the Western ghats is quite silent at night and although there are a few shrill calls of different insects , its mostly silent and even very little of the cicada noise too.

The rooms of the resort were excellent and they provided extra beds and pillows which were pretty good. All of us signout out for the night , dead tired after a long day.

DAY 2:

Saturday morning was the most wonderful and pleasant time of the whole trip. It was calm, moist and the whole Chembra peak and the tea gardens were covered in mist. As we lazily sipped on tea and got fresh we saw the tea gardens in the morning light it was wonderful view to watch.

The breakfast arranged by the resort was excellent and they made custom tea/coffee , omlettes etc on request. We had an excellent breakfast and the hotel management provided us the directions of sightseeing places nearby. We headed out to Kalpetta town and from there went to these places.

1> Karalad Lake - This is a wonderful lake with flowers all over the lake. Its quite a serene spot and one can also walk around a bit. Its one of the less commercialized places.
Camera fees - Rs 10
Boating charges - Approx Rs 200 for a full boat
Parking is free and quite a few cars can be parked.

There is a nice garden with beautiful flowers , shady trees in this place. Although the lake may be too hot for boating but nice to chill out in the late afternoon or morning. Its a pretty small lake by size.

2> Banasura Sagar Dam - This is a pretty commercialized place with a huge parking lot.
Entry Fees - Rs 15 per head
Jeep Ride - Rs 180 per jeep . Alternatively one can just pay the entry fees and take a 1 kilometre walk to the top of the dam. It would be a wasy walk if weather is good.
Not sure if private cars are allowed inside , because road is tarred and excellent for private cars to go inside.
Camera Fees - Rs 20 per camera

NOTE: These charges are different for video cameras , but today even with Mobile phones having advanced cameras and video facility I feel this is something useless. Camera fees should be infact done away with.

Banasura Sagar dam offers a nice speed boat service. Charges are extra. However since it was pretty hot in the morning we decided to skip the boat ride. It looked like it would be interesting to do it during cloudy days.

There is a park near the dam and nice place for children to play around. The Jeep picks up passengers who want to return.
When we returned from the dam we were already hungry for lunch and Kalpetta seemed to be the best place neary for lunch. We drove fast to return to Kalpetta and had a wonderful lunch at Hotel Woodlands. This is another hotel with pretty decent food and ambience.

3> Phooket Lake - We then had a short ride to Phooket Lake. But it was really a busy day and we waited till 5 PM in the queue to get a chance of boating. But with boating being 30 minutes per boat and a huge lake to roam around it seemed we were out of time.
Entry Fees - Rs 15 per head
Camera Fees - Rs 30 per head
There is a nice park inside for children to play and restaurants and cafes selling colas , ice creams and what not. There are a couple of nice traditional shops inside the lake boundaries selling some nice stuff. These things are also available in some shops outside enroute the lake.

We spent a leisurely afternoon , till the crowd reduced and we had to leave.

Back to the resort it was again a nice cup of coffee and chat on the balcony with friends till dinner. Today we had nice fish fried.

DAY 3: It was our last day and we hoped to get up early, but lazy as always we got up late and after a wonderful breakfast decided to check out and head for the waterfalls.
Following the Meppady Road we reached Meppady town around which the other sightseeing places are seens
1> Soochipara Waterfalls  - Its a hike about a couple of kilometres downhill to the waterfalls.
2> Kanthapara Waterfalls - This is the easiest one to approach by foot. Although one must be a skilled driver to reach the last few kilo metres from the main road. But road is nice , just narrow and the inclide is steep.
The waterfalls was nothing much to see at this time of the year , especially with lots of guys in chaddis ( briefs) playing in the waters - whatever available.

3> Meemmurthy Waterfalls -This is again a small trek to the waterfalls.

We decided to skip the rest of the sightseeing places as it was really getting hot. We stopped by for lunch at Hotel Price in Sultan Bathery. It was not very exceptional , just sort of okay to have something because Mysore was a long way off.

Soon after lunch we headed for Muthanga forest and relaxed a bit when the cover of the bamboo forest provided some shade and solace to us. We drove slowly till Gundlupet and after that tried to accelerate a bit towards Mysore. But I am a slow driver and we reached Mysore late in the afternoon.

We stopped for tea on the Mysore Bangalore highway and soon it was time to return to Bangalore. I bunked myself in the rear seat of my car and dozed off.
It was the end of the trip.

A Few Things to Note:-
1> Planet Green was an exceptionally good resort. Right from staying arrangements , food arrangements, guiding us about sightseeing places, the behavior of the resort staff and management etc. Highly recommended for people looking for a peaceful place to stay.
There is phone connectivity, facilities like towels,toiletries etc are provided by the resort or if you want anything you've forgotten you can pay them and they'll fetch it from the local market.

Vegetarian food is excellent. They also cook non-vegetarian dishes , specifically fish items etc on request( payable separately- but charges are pretty reasonable) .

The approach road is a bit tricky especially cars with low ground clearance.

2> Wayanad is not exactly a very cool place for sightseeing in summer unless you plan to stay in some cool resort like Planet Green. Especially the popular places like Phooket Lake, Banasura Sagar dam , the waterfalls are best visited when there is less crowd, maybe during the rainy season.

3> The best hotel to have food is Hotel Woodlands in Kalpetta if you are sensitive to coconut oil. Other there would be many other options.

4> Roads are excellent from Bangalore to Wayanad. Apart from the gross sized road bumpers on the Bangalore Mysore road , the rest of it is nice and pleasant. Lots of eateries ,cafes etc on the way except in the stretch from Gundlupet to Sultan Bathery ( forest areas)

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