We woke up at 6:15 am and surprised ourselves. After a really hectic Day1 – who wud have thot we wud manage to wake up so early?? It was a clear, bright morning. The drive to Muthanga Wild Life Sanctuary was serene and scenic. The sunlight making its way through the greenery was so beautiful tht this snap does no justice to the actual view. However, we felt we had to take a snap 🙂
When we finally reached Muthanga Wild Life Sanctuary, we were the only ones arnd – it was after all a Monday. The Arien purchased the tickets. While we waited for the jeep to come, we had tea n biscuits at a local Chai stall. We finally started on the safari at 8 am! We were not really hoping to catch sight of any animals. The safari is essentially a waste of time. If you drive arnd, you are more likely to catch sight of animals than when you go on a safari. Tht has been our experience. However, it was not a total waste. We saw tamed elephants, spotted deer, langurs, a peacock, an unknown bird and the common monkey. We have seen them aplenty at Bandipur and so it was not such a beeg deal. However, the safari was expensive – they charged 500/- for a four wheel drive vehicle (a small jeep) and we cud share it with the other folks. However, considering there was no one arnd it was way too expensive to see spotted deer, tamed elephants, and the unknown bird. Bandipur was far far better. Seeing spotted deer on a safari does not really count – says the Arien. I agree with him as I felt cheated!
After the safari which seemed like a collosal waste of time – we thanked the driver and the guide and decided to get back to the hotel. It was while we were leaving the Muthanga Wild Life Sanctuary tht I spotted the elusive malabar squirrel. We had almost reached the car when we noticed paw marks of a small animal all over the car and while we were searching for the monkey, I spotted the malabar squirrel. Its actually a pretty beeg squirrel. I am not sure how I did not spot it ytdy. Anyway, spotting the squirrel kept the Arien in good spirits. It was almost as if – he was the artist and she (assuming it was a she) was the muse. I stood arnd, getting bored. We have snaps of the squirrel nibbling on sm nuts, a shot of its loong bushy tail, and lotsa snaps of the squirrel with its face turned away 😀
We returned to the hotel at 10 am for a Buffet Breakfast. Both of us were famished but the options in the buffet were hardly impressive: Set Dosa type – Coin Dosa, Poori made of Maida, sambhar, chutney, and lightly toasted bread slices with jam n butter. Dozed for an hour and the Arien screamed tht we will lose the day by lazing like this. Tht got me out in a mo but there was no hot water!! Reminded me of our mudumalai visit where we waited forever for hot water. Hmmm.. Anyway, they turned on the geyser and we managed to have a quick bath in lukewarm water. The Arien cribbed forever!
We decided to do the local round today and it was already 12! First on the list was Edakkal Caves. This was a totally unexpected visit. There was a jeep drive upto the base of the hill and we had to climb up a few metres to view the caves. Both of us were actually thinking of walking up but it was too warm and we managed to find a family of four who agreed to join us in the jeep. Another couple joined us as we left. It was only when we reached the base of the hill, tht we realized tht it was a steep climb! It is scary proposition for folks who are not fit. However, the locals climb n down with such ease that you are tempted to give it a shot. The family of four opted out of the climb. The other couple were ahead of us. The steps were narrow and were not meant for more than a single person and unfortunately it was a two-way 😦 It was precarious at various places n I was not too sure if I wud be able to climb down. The caves were kinda unimpressive and moss-covered which made it worse 😦 Inside the cave and very close to the inscriptions, there was a slit from which you could see the Phantom Rock. The Arien was busy taking snaps while I settled down to rest my aching legs. The climbing down was scarier and thanks to the Arien, I made it in one piece. He was impatient and almost dragged me down. 😀 Inspite of that, it took us 2 hrs to complete the climb.
The next stop was supposed to be Meenmutty falls. However, it was on another track. We decided to drop the plan to visit Meenmutty falls and visited the bathery instead. Lunch time had come n gone. Thank God – we had had a heavy breakfast. After almost losing our way, we found tht it a small temple near a ladies hostel. The Batherri was originally a Jain temple that was converted into a Batherri by Tippu Sultan. An aged clerk was talking in malayalam ’bout the temple. The garden was well-maintained and while I walked arnd – the Arien took sm good shots of the Batherri. The clerk mentioned tht Jains fled Wayanad b’cos Tippu usurped their temple to place his armaments. Tippu Sultan had purchased ammunition from the French and had hidden it in the Jain Temple after moving their deity. The Jains were angered and left the district. Surprisingly, this was the first batherri that was not within sight of a water body.
After our visit to Batherri, we decided to check out Chethalayam Falls. A slight drizzle started. We were 1 km away frm the falls wen a guy told us tht we had to ask for permission b4 we headed tht way. We obtained permission but we were told tht it was not really a worthwhile visit. After listening to his comments, the Arien decided to drop the idea. We drove back to the hotel. We were famished beyond compare. We ordered for snax – Onion Pakoda, Finger Chips, and Fish Fry specifically for the Arien. We were so hungry tht we gobbled it all up pretty quickly – it was 6 pm.
We were very tired – I think it was climbing the Edakkal Caves. We decided to relax in the room. The Arien was keen on watching IPL and so I decided to write down the day-to-day accounts. We had a relaxed dinner tht we ordered up and we were down n out by 9 pm. Tht was a first!