Story of a hilltop, beautiful views, new friends & long rides.
I came to Wayanad(on 30th Oct 2021) from Murudeshwar
Route: Murudeshwar (bus) -> Mysore (bus) -> Kalpetta, Wayanad (auto)-> Zostel.
By the time I came to Zostel, it was 12.30 pm. Before the day was hectic with scuba diving, clubbed with me eating less food like an Idiot before the day.
I slept through the afternoon and when I woke up. My first thought was — Damn, Zostel doesn’t have connectivity to food places nor any visiting places. I felt stuck and wanted to leave the next day. You need to book an Auto and find people to share that cost because it would cost up to Rs1700/day for auto.
But then travel and life give you good surprises. I found four fellow travellers, now good friends, to go around for the next 3 days.
We have a Group Name — ‘Anything is fine’
I guess all of us were okay with any choices or suggestions anyone made. Everyone would say — Anything is fine when anyone asks for anything. Which made it harder to decide things. Of course, we figured and sorted it out. Now we would laugh out loud (really) when anyone says anything is fine(again).
One person(Bency) in our group wrote down a list of things to see in Wayanad in a notebook. We marked them on a map. You can check the map with places to visit here — https://goo.gl/maps/gsGzpquahw9hZ2ADA,
But Wayand is very vast and we were only here for a few days, so below are the ones we went to.
Places we visited:
- Lakkidi Viewpoint
- Pookode Lake
- Chembra Trek
- WIMS Medical college (:P)
- Banasura Sagar Dam
The whole of Wayanad is full of greenery. But to get to any viewpoints or places to check, you would go on at least 30–40km every day. One of the things that helped was two people(Vinay, Shreyas) had their bikes and one person(Bency) had a bike on hire.
The other option is going around in an Auto for the whole day(Zostel people will arrange it for you). But you cannot savour nature on your way as much as you can do it on a bike.
Lakkadi View Point:
We drove almost 30km to reach Lakkadi Viewpoint from Zostel (We stopped at Bey Cho for brunch while going). We didn’t even feel like we are going to a viewpoint until 10 seconds before we reached there.
Because you go through the town until then and cannot see any views until then. If you are going on bikes to this, wait for your sudden surprise for a breathtaking view. You may have to wait for a few minutes if there is too much fog though.
Pookode Lake was on our way to Lakkadi viewpoint so we went to this on our way back. Expect it to be a bit crowded(wear your masks all the time). This is a small lake where you can do pedal boating. You can also go around the lake for a walk. Four of us went for the pedal boating. It was fun.
There was also a small zip line placed 1–2km on the way while coming back. We tried it, but it wasn’t too exciting. We found one at Banasura Sagar dam and apparently one of the longest in Kerala(we couldn’t try as we went near closing time).
Our 2nd day was to Chembra Trek.
Chembra Trek is just behind Zostel(2km distance). They allow only 200 people per day. The ticket counter is a few mins walk from Zostel. The earlier you go to take the tickets, the better. One person(Vinay) from our group went at 6 am in the morning to bring the tickets.
For 1–10 people batch, they have the same pricing (Rs.850). So more people, the merrier & cheaper. You will have a few checkpoints where they check for a number of people vs what is shown in the ticket. So your group should always stick together and go. You need to finish the trek in 3 hours(and before 2 pm).
The first half of the trek has high elevation and felt a bit tough, the second half is pretty good. Carry some bananas & water to eat and drink on the way.
Carry a sanitiser or salt as you may find yourself with a couple of small leeches on your foot or so. They aren’t harmful but you don’t want them on you.
Go early so you can spend time on the top of the hill for some time. You will also find a heart-shaped lake on the top.
Once you are back from Trek, you will find a couple of stalls with a lot of pineapples and carrots(marinated in salt/chilli water). Do try them with chilli sauce that chetta(anna) has. we had at least 3–5 of each of them(and went back again the next two days to have them).
Do try the Ice cream if you find it on the day you go. I tried Chocolate, Tender Coconut and Jack Fruit flavours. They tasted as good as I had in Naturals Ice Cream. The cones gave a bit of nostalgia.
Our 3rd day was to WIMS Medical College & Banasura Sagar Dam
WIMS Medical college:
Why does this take a special mention? That is because if you are going back to or through Karnataka, you need to have an RT-PCR report(showing negative not more than 72 hours old).
This college does RT-PCR tests. If you give your swab before 3 pm, you will get your report by 7.30 pm on the same day. Two of the people were leaving the next day to Karnataka so we went there first. We had our meals in the same college, it was pretty good.
Banasura Sagar Dam:
This was almost 40km from Zostel (36km from WIMS college) and it rained half the time on our way. Carry your raincoats all the time when you go out(or at least your jackets).
The Dam is magnanimous and not like a typical Dam. There was water and a few isolated lands in between. The climate around was different on all sides. We could see light on one side, while clouds on one side and black clouds on another. On one side you can see the land covered with dense trees while on the other side it’s filled with clear water.
This place is a treat to the eyes and totally worth the go.
That is all about the places we saw.
4th day Shreyas left in the morning and Bency in the afternoon. Others who stayed back chilled in the Zostel talking, napping. 5th day Vinay left (and I am leaving too). Tomorrow Aiswayra is leaving too. I guess like Bency would say(with Agatha Cristie’s book reference) — And then there were none.
This trip thing came together with the right people to go out and each person had unique experiences or stories they had to say.
Bency was our chief planner. Aiswarya was the director of storytelling. Vinay was the chief people’s person. Shreyas is was the senior traveller(in terms of no of places he visited). As per me, I think I am good to document our few days here.
This is the workplace I worked from (with great wifi & view around) while I am writing this article(clicked the space after I wrote this).
Wayanad for me is a mix of great nature, hilltop views, dense greenery, rains, fog, local food & memories.
*All pictures in this article are clicked by one of us.
**Zostel Wayanad people (Prince, Harris & Tereasa) were so helpful whenever needed and the place is fabulous. If you have 3–4 days to spend. Go to this place.
Next Location: Kochi