Wayanad, Kerala

30th December 2006 - 1st January 2007
This was my second trip to Wayanad. A year ago, I had trekked to Chembra peak. This time, I planned to visit the other places with my wife. The destination was Kalpetta, headquarters of Wayanad district. The nearest route from Bangalore is through the towns of Mysore, Gundlupet and Sulthan Battheri. The road passes through Bandipur and Muthanga wildlife sanctuary.

We reached Kalpetta at 12 noon and checked-in at Hotel Woodlands. Then, we saw the “dark” side of God’s own country. Saddam Hussain was hanged in some part of the world and the communists in Kerala went crazy. A strike was called immediately and all shops were closed. That was bad and we were confined to the hotel rooms.

Socchipara falls:
This falls is 23 kms from Kalpetta via Meppadi. One has to walk for 2 kms to reach the waterfalls from the parking place. There are nice steps and the path is well paved.
We took a detour and found the second level of the falls.
Kanthanpara falls:
We came back to Meppadi and proceeded towards towards Kanthanpara falls. This falls is about 12 kms from Meppadi. The falls was about 30ft high.
Sunrise valley:
After Kanthanpara falls, we proceeded towards Meenmutty falls and on the way we found a deviation for Sunrise valley. Though this place was not in out itinerary, we decided to visit to see the views. We had to walk for a km to reach this spot. The view was fantastic with nice valley and we could also see the Meenmutty falls.

Meenmutty falls:
We then proceeded towards Meenmutty falls. We reached a place where the signboard showed 3.9 kms to Meenmutty falls. This distance is to be covered by foot. We were thinking whether to go or not, when the locals told that the car can go further 2 kms, but only on first or second gear. It was tough for my Zen, but could manage without much difficulty. The trek starts from a coffee estate. We took a guide as there were chances of missing in the forest. The trail goes continuously down and it was similar to the last stretch of Dabbe falls trek. It was really tough. Well, I had not done any treks in the last 6 months and that added to the difficulty. It took around 45 minutes to reach the falls. The falls was in full flow.
We were dead tired when we came back to the base point and it required three glass of butter milk to come back to normal.
Edakkal caves:
We reached Edakkal caves late and it was closed. But we finished our lunch (at 4:30PM !!) there.
We then decided to call it a day and went back to hotel.

Chain tree:
The New Year morning started with the visit to the Thamarrasery ghat. At the start, of the ghat was chain tree. The story about this tree is interesting. As the tale goes an Adivasi youth was instrumental in guiding a British Engineer through the difficult mountain terrain into Wayanad. Eager to take credit for the discovery, the engineer conveniently killed his guide, whose soul, according to the legend, constantly haunted subsequent travellers. It is further beleived that a preist chained the troublesome spirit into this tree.

Pookot lake:
A small lake near Vythri.

Banasura Sagar Dam:

This is the largest earth dam in Asia. It is around 22 kms from Kalpetta. The lake is surrounded by mountains and forests.

It was around 12 noon and we decided to return back to Bangalore. On the way back, passing through Bandipur forest, I was thinking about the future of these relatively well maintained forests. The recent tribal bill passed gives rights to own the forest land for the tribals. I don’t know how many tribals will benefit but there will be huge rush of poachers and politicians to these forests.

Route: Bangalore -> Mysore -> Nanjanagud -> Gundlupet -> Sulthan Battheri -> Kalpetta

Bangalore – Mysore: 140 kms
Mysore – Nanjanagud: 22 kms
Nanjanagud – Gundlupet: 36 kms
Gundlupet – Sulthan Battheri: 56 kms

Sulthan Battheri – Kalpetta: 24 kms

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