Wayanad trip Day 2: 21st September 2008
Continued from previous issue (which was 300th post in this blog)
Places covered: Lakkidi, Pookud Lake, Banasura dam, Kuruva island, Nagarahole Forest, Mysore Palace- Bangalore
We had a quick discussion with the hotel executive on our plans for day 2. We had to cover 4 major places today- Lakkidi, Pookud Lake, Banasura Dam and Kuruva Island. We decided to skip temples as we were not interested and had to skip those places which were full day activities like trekking spots (Chembra peak etc-We already had a mild trekking climbing Edakkal hills). Hotel executive tells us Pookud lake opens by 8 AM. So we planned to start off by 6.30 AM, visit Lakkidi, Pookud lake and return to hotel for breakfast and check out.
We left by 6.45 AM towards Lakkidi from Kalpetta. Internet literature had said Lakkidi is a nice view point and the uphill climb will include some 9 hairpin turns. When we reached Lakkidi we realized that we’re already on top and there is no more going up. If we go down we’ll reach Calicut (Kozikode-some 60 kms). We stopped to take some photos, went few kms down clearing few hairpin turns and then decided to return back. Also I hoped to see some mist/fog, which was absent but view was breathtaking nevertheless- would have been better idea to visit Lakkidi during evening- Sunset would have been a great view-missed it. By 7.15 we reached the Pookud lake, drive around for some time and reach the entrance by 7.40-we were told it opens by 9 AM and not at 8 AM as told by hotel staff. Disappointed, we decided to head back to Kalpetta and return after breakfast. Complimentary breakfast was very good-Dosas and Sambar were tasty, though there was no fruits and juices as a part of buffet breakfast.
By 9.30 we’d checked out of the hotel, moved all luggages back in the Scorpio and left Kalpetta. Had a good peddle boating at Pookud lake. There were options of row boats as well. Lake is medium sized and well maintained. Other than boating there’re provisions for children park, shopping and aquarium. Our next destination was Banasura Dam, the largest earth dam in the world. Speed boating is the main attraction here which lasts for 30 mins, taking you deep into the backwaters at a cost of Rs 250 for 4 people. Water plashing on you while the boat cruises ahead refreshes you off all your tiredness. During heavy monsoon and overflowing dam, speed boating would be suspended. We were lucky not to miss it. Other than scenic view of the dam we could see that some parks, coffee shops and other facilities were being constructed here.
Within few hours we were done with boating, resting and back in the Scorpio, licking ice creams. Next stop was Kuruva Island, but we were getting hungry. After driving for over an hour through various roads we reached Mananthavadi, one of the major towns in Wayanad. But due to Ramzan most of the hotels were closed. We drove around for some time and even bought some bananas as a business continuity plan, in case no hotel could be found for lunch. However before we could leave city limits we managed to spot a hotel that was open (courtesy tip from a localite) and rushed in. Typical Kerala style mean at just Rs 15. I thought it is limited quantity meal and left to wash my hands after emptying the plate. Soon after returning with clean hand I realized that rice is unlimited and decided to sit for one more round- filled leftover spaces inside the stomach. Our journey continued and at around 3 PM we reached Kuruva island.
Complete details about Kuruva island and how we got lost there is available in a separate post. Our Wayanad trip had come to an end with each of us drinking 2 tender coconuts each before departing from Kuruva island.
We did a mistake of taking a closer route to Mysore-via Nagarahole forest. The roads were nonexistent from the moment we entered Karnataka border and for next 20 kms it was a real bumpy ride. Just a few meters inside Karnataka border, a villager waved us to stop, I kept moving-he came near and gently taps on the bonnet of the slowly moving vehicle-maybe he wanted to tell us that the roads are bad- go back, or maybe he wanted a lift till Mysore or something else. But my instincts suggested that I shouldn’t stop and I drove ahead ignoring him. Thank god we were in a SUV-Scorpio handled this “supposed to be a road” thing very well which would have been too difficult to near impossible for ordinary cars. We spotted a heard of Baisons in the jungle at a distance. We also heard a roar, which we interpreted to be of an elephant but not sure. After crossing HD Kote we hit state highway and rest of the journey was smooth. Had dinner at Mysore (again Kamat) and headed towards Bangalore- We saw Mysore Palace all illuminated on our left- This was a bonus addition to our trip. I was driving, hence couldn’t take proper look or photos. Others too were too tired to stop and spend some more time. Soon we were on Bangalore road and reached Mandya by around 11 PM. Again a possession was going on here and few people flagged us asking us to stop. May be they wanted to ask for some contribution in the name of their god/festival (chanda)-I instinctively increased speed and zoomed past them. I was feeling too sleepy to drive, so chose to pull over and rest for 30 mins. But it was 1 AM when I woke up. By now the road was deserted and I covered remaining 100 kms in 1 hour flat, to reach Bangalore outskirts by 2 AM and reached Raveesh’s place by 2.30 after dropping off Ravi, bringing our 2 day Wayanad Escapade to a memorable and happy ending.
Places missed: Matunga wildlife Sanctuary, Meenmutty Falls, Nanjanagud, Sunset at Lakkidi, Trekking at Chembra peak
Total expense: Rs 3200 per head. (Would have been lower if a. we had 2-3 more participants, b. had rented a cheaper vehicle than Scorpio, c. had stayed at a cheaper hotel than Woodlands)
Note: As TOI has cared to respond and promised to publish a clarification, I'm putting on hold the idea of adding "TOI don't copy my image" watermark for the time being, purely as a goodwill gesture.