Browsed by
Category: Kerala

Getaway from Bangalore -Bandipur and Wayanad

Getaway from Bangalore -Bandipur and Wayanad

After an exchange of several hundreds of messages on our WhatsApp group, it was decided that the destination for our weekend trip was Wayanad. As we were 6 of us, we rented out a Scorpio from  Zoom car and set out from Bangalore on Saturday, at 3 O’clock in the morning. We stopped at a Cafe Coffee Day just before Bandipur get refreshed at around 5:30 AM.

We reached Bandipur by 6 AM. The road to reach the national park opens at 8:15 AM and there was a long queue of vehicles waiting. We slept off in the car waiting for the Gates to open.

About Bandipur: Bandipur is one of the most well managed National Parks in India. Together with Mudumalai Wild Life Sanctuary, Tamilnadu and the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala and the Nagarhole national park Karnataka, this makes the India’s biggest Biosphere reserve known as Nilgiri Biosphere reserve.

We opted for Van Safari in Bandipur hoping to see some tigers. The price per person is 300 INR and takes 45 minutes. Sadly enough, we only found few deer, buffaloes and few elephants during the safari.We captured some amazing shots of the sunrise.

The baby elephants at Bandipur
The deers
The Van Safari
Sunrise Scenes
Random Capture

After this, We had our brunch at a restaurant in Ooty Road at around 12:30 and then we left for Wayanad.It was actually a 3-hour ride. As luck would have it, one wrong turn and we ended up on top of a hill in Ooty :P. The weather was cool and pleasant. We were welcomed by the tea estates when we entered Kerala, God’s own countryFinally, we reached our hotel apartment in Kalpetta( Wayanad cliff hotel apartments) at around 2:30 PM. After freshening up, we left for our first destination- Edakkal Caves.

About Edekkal Caves: Timings: 8:30 AM- 4 PM

Entry fee: Indians INR 20, Foreigners: INR 40

Edakkal means a stone in between. The place is not actually a cave, but a boulder wedged between two others. Edakkal is the only place with stone age carving in South India that back to as old as 7000 years. The carvings belonging to Neolithic and Mesolithic Age include ancient stone scripts, ancient weaponry figures, symbols, figures of various animals and human beings etc.

The writings at Edakkal Caves
Some incomprehensible writing

We had to trek 4000 Feet up a mountain to reach the Caves. We were not aware that the caves were on the top of the mountain. The trek never seemed to end. It was one hell of a trek to reach the mountain caves and then get back. Although we saw the neolithic carvings and the view from the top of the mountain was beautiful, I personally felt that the trek was not worth it. Instead, we could have visited the waterfalls or an island that was situated nearby.

By the time we reached back, it was already 7 PM. We explored around the city a bit and then went in search of dinner. We were famished by that time. We did not find a vegetarian restaurant in Kalpetta. (We have vegetarian friends). We had to have our dinner at a non-vegetarian restaurant. We reached our room at around 9:30 PM and called it a day. We had planned to visit the Idukki falls, but we were too tired for it.

Pro tip: Most of the shops close before 8 PM here and many of them do not accept cards (Well, that was before demonetization. 🙂 I do not know the current situation).But it is always advisable to keep some cash handy.

Our second day in Wayanad started with the breakfast at our hotel apartment. We left for our trek to Chembra peak at 7 AM.

About Chembra Peak:

Trek timing: 7 AM to 2 PM.

Entrance: On the spot permissions from the forest department.Costs 750 for a group of 10. Trek guide charges are also included in this. However, we can tip the guide if we are happy with the services.

Total ascent of the trek: approx 4000 ft.

The height of the Chembra peak: 6900 ft above sea level.

The Chembra peak is the highest peak in Wayanad. The forest department doesn’t allow for trekking till the peak but one can trek till the heart lake. The trek is really tedious (considered 6/10 on the rate of difficulty level) and it took us three hours by foot to reach the heart lake. We saw several people returning without going to the Heart Lake as the last leg of the trek is very steep and requires a lot of stamina. Several stops and one pack of glucose later (that was for me, the rest of the group was fine), we made it to the top. The view from the top was breathtaking. The fresh and clean air was very refreshing. We stayed there for an hour and took some snaps and were back to the base.

The view on the way to Chembra Peak
The Greenery was a treat to us city folks
The Trail. We had a local guide who showed us the way
The view, half the way through the trek. The Greens and the blues are Love.
View from the base!
The Chembra Peak
Yes, the place is a plastic Free Zone!
The view from one of the Resting Points.
A tiny pond before we reach the heart lake. We named it the lung lake!LOL
The Heart Lake
Us at one of the photo points
On our way back
The trail

We had our lunch at a local restaurant there and got back to our room. We had to get back to Bangalore the very same day.

Since many places had to be reached by trek and we had only two days to explore the place, we missed out few places. Here is a list of places which we are planning on covering on our next trip.If you are staying in Wayanad for three- four days; these places can be included in the itinerary.

– Banasura dam

– Soochipara falls

– Kuruvadweepa

– Meenamutty falls

– Wayanad Heritage museum.

So that is it. A group of friends and a car is all that is needed to go for an adventure. We are definitely going to Wayanad again to enjoy the lush greenery and have fun.

Bekal -A visit to my native land

Bekal -A visit to my native land

Bekal is a small village situated in the northernmost district of Kerala, Kasargod. This place happens to be my native too. We visit here to attend the functions at our family temple every year. Bekal is famous for the Bekal fort, which is the largest fort in Kerala. There is also a famous Shiva temple on the way to the fort.

Getting here: One can visit Bekal by train or by road. The train Mangalore–Coimbatore passenger departs from Mangalore Central at 7:35 AM. The journey is of 45-50 minutes. But we usually travel by our car. It is around 75 KM ride from Mangalore city.

We started at around 7 AM from Mangalore by our car. The NH66 road is in excellent condition now.Our first stop was the Anantapur Lake Temple. This temple is built in the middle of the lake in Ananthapura Village. Legend has it that the cave near the temple is connected to the Ananta Padmanabha temple of Thiruvananthapuram. Unfortunately, I had not clicked any pictures of the temple during my visit there ( as our phones were switched off)

Anantha Padmanabha Temple, Kerala Source:Wiki

The temple is also famous for the vegetarian crocodile, Babiya who is said to be the guardian of the temple. The temple has a really amazing architecture. After visiting this temple, we reach Thirkannadu in Bekal. This is a famous temple of the region and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is situated right in front of the beach. After visiting this temple, we left for our ancestral home in Bekal for lunch.

Thryambakeshwara Temple Source:Wiki

Pro tip: If you are a vegetarian or do not prefer food with coconut oil, it is better to carry your own food. As most of the restaurants serve beef here and use coconut oil for all the dishes.

After a sumptuous lunch prepared by my granny and a bit of rest, we went on to visit the famous Fort.

Timings: 8:30 Am -5:30 PM

Entrance: INR 5 and INR 25 for the camera and INR 20 for car parking

There is a Mukhyaprana temple ( Hanuman temple) at the entrance to the fort and an ancient mosque nearby which are a proof to the religious harmony that prevailed in the land. The fort was built by Shivappa Nayak of Ikkeri dynasty and later captured by the Hyder Ali, the ruler of Mysore in the year 1763.

The fort was very well maintained and the gardens were in full bloom too. My most favorite part of the fort was the one end jutting to the sea. One can feel the sea waves splashing at your place from the point. Also, it was one of the best sunset view points that I have seen. Also, the famous song “Tu hi re” from the movie Bombay was shot here, in this fort.

The main structure and the well-maintained gardens
The View from the top is awesome!
One more
The View
The stairs to the underground storage space
The exterior walls of the fort
My favorite place !!

Later we decided to visit the Bekal beach, which is adjacent to the fort. There are rides and a park for the kids. We spent around 15 minutes there as it was very crowded.

We left for Mangalore at around 5 PM and reached home by 7 PM.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin