Wayanad – The Second Day

MorningDay 2

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 ūüôāTamed elephant

When we finally reached Muthanga Wild Life Sanctuary, we were the only ones arnd Рit 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, Spotted Deerlangurs, 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 Рthey 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 Рsays the Arien. I agree with him as I felt cheated!

Malabar SquirrelAfter 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 ūüėÄ

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 РCoin 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 totallyEdakkal Inscriptions 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 ūüė¶ 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 ūüė¶ 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. ūüėÄ Inspite of that, it took us 2 hrs to complete the climb.

Batherry - Jain TempleThe 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 РOnion Pakoda, Finger Chips, and Fish Fry specifically for the Arien. We were so hungry tht we gobbled it all up pretty quickly Рit was 6 pm.

We were very tired РI 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!

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Wayanad – A planned Getaway

Finally, a planned holiday.¬† A week plus two weekends – Yippeee!!! After bugging the Arien forever, we got started on the planning smtm late april and came up Zilch. We had a fantastic option of Ladakh and Leh but we opted out. Yercaud option – managed to get overbooked and we were cancelled out. I was very sure we were going to spend the holidays at home ūüė¶ Finally, we decided to go to Wayanad. The Arien planned the routes and took care of the booking. I took printouts of the places to visit and we left on sunday.

Day 1

We started at 5:50 am armed with a borrowed SLR. The Arien has been wanting to buy an SLR forever and suddenly everyone we know seems to have one.¬† This trip he wanted to get the feel of an SLR so he can plan his next buy arnd it. I was, as usual, very worried ’bout taking a very expensive item on a trip, especially wen it did not belong to us.¬† Of course, the Arien was least bothered. The Arien kept his temper tantrum and lecture in check inspite of the delay I caused – this cud b b’cos of the SLR accompanying us – praise the Lord!! I also decided not to get irritated when we stopped for Petrol and cash on the way.

Kamat Lokaruchi flowersBefore we knew it, we were on Mysore road, and¬†I suddenly heard this loud Vrroom… and saw that a number of bikers were¬†driving past, sm in super bikes, sm in¬†the regular bikes,¬†sm togged¬†up in wht I call¬†spykids outfits and¬†the others in leather jackets¬†ūüėÄ The¬†Arien clearly wished he was with them¬†going on sm lone biker dudes kinda stuff – he had tht look on his face – but it looked like so much fun¬†that I smiled. There were a lot of ppl on the road surprisingly, considering it was sunday and soon we lost sight¬†of the bikers. With all the hulaboo, we actually reached Kamat Lokaruchi earlier than planned at 7:15 am. There were quite a few empty tables that had both of us staring. We left half an hour later after a gud breakfast and after the Arien had taken¬†a few snaps.¬†I forgot to take the Kinley bottle back with me and felt guilty for a while.CCD

It was a looong, good drive but I was suddenly a lil nervy at the speed and so I¬†bugged the Arien to go a lil slow.¬†I was glad wen we took a¬†Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) break at 10:45 am near Gundlupet. Their Choco-latte was pretty good unlike Barista‘s choco milk shake.¬†The Arien did not like his coffee thingie. We had been driving for¬†5 straight hours¬†and¬†we still had another 1 hour to go. The break at CCD came at the right time.

We reached Sultan Batherri arnd lunch time (12:30). I also came to know that Wayanad was the name of the district.¬† You cannot point to sm place n say “Thats Wayanad”. You cud stay at either Kalpetta, Sultan Batherri, Manathavaddy or Vythiri. We were planning to stay at Sultan Batherri which seemed like a central location¬†to us.

DSC_7894While we were going towards Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary – we see 3 elephants.¬†There are 2 older elephants and 1 child – it cud be a family.¬†One of them was throwing mud on his head – I was not too sure if tht was for fun or if it was angry. We scrambled for our cameras but the Arien was quicker. The elephants moved back when we stopped and it looked like they jes wanted to cross the road.¬†I was a lil Grr… b’cos I was unable to take snaps. The Arien was thrilled beyond compare as he got some pretty good shots.DSC_7900

Apart from the thrillingly close snap – thnx to the SLR zoom – we moved ahead and took another snap of them crossing the road. Looks like we were in their way! Am I glad that we moved – else we wud have been moved. Lots of vehicles came to a sudden halt with a sudden screech as the giants decided to cross the road. It was a lovely sight. I felt it was a good sign. I still recall our last attempt to take a snap of elephants – it was laate evening and it wud require spl skills to identify the elephants in the snaps ūüėÄ

Pretty thrilled with the sightings – we headed towards Sultan Batherry. The first thing we did was have an early lunch and then slept for an hour.¬†The Arien must have been pretty tired b’cos he actually did not want to go anywhere. For the first time, I was raring to go ūüėÄ I insisted that we go to the Muthanga Wild Life Sanctuary.¬†We made haste and reached there to see¬†a huge crowd standing outside the sanctuary. We were the last in the line. There was no way we would¬†go and suddenly it started drizzling. The idea of going on a safari¬†in an open jeep¬†while it was raining was suddenly awful. I convinced the Arien that we could do this the next day and then the Arien spotted the Malabar Squirrel.¬†I knew¬†that the Arien wud shoot a zillion snaps of the poor squirrel (which I cud not spot) – thanks to the SLR – and we wud be delayed. I managed to convince him that if it was so easy to spot – we wud def spot it tomorrow as well. (Fingers crossed!!)

DSCF2288I decided not to waste the daylight hours and insisted we shd visit sm other place. We drove up to view the artifacts in the Wayanad Heritage Museum at Ambalavalam. It was open. A lady graciously offered to be our guide but she spoke only malayalam. I played the role of a translator to the poor Arien who spent most of the time blinking ūüôā Nothing impressive or fantastic. The visit was over in 15 mts and the slow drizzle that had threatened our Safari – had disappeared wen we came out! We decided to visit Phantom Rock. The best part was that the directions were aplenty and ppl were only to happy to assist. The trick was to pronounce the name of the place jes like a malayalee wud. The Arien got tht hopelessly wrong and we had quite a few laughs. I don’t know what I expected out of Phantom Rock – I guess I expected a head thatrubber resembled the masked hero of comics – Phantom:¬† The ghost who walks or something like that. What we saw completely depressed me. It was a quarry with a huge rock formation. It did not look like anything so why was it called¬†phantom rock??

We were planning to turn around when smne from another car told us that we had to go further up. We climbed the rock formation – both of us were out of breath when the car when past us – so we cud have driven up!!! Anyway, the walk was invigorating – we saw rubber collection from trees tht we wud have missed if we had driven up. All the trees had this container. It was a cute sight!

We reached the summit and were not too sure what we were looking for. The whole place flattens out and we saw quite a few ppl. Two families were busy taking pics. One guy wearing a cowboy hat made sm singularly depressing comments “Wow!!! Fantastic – This is a view”. I almost broke out into giggles. Meanwhile, the Arien DSCF2295was busy shooting so many pics – I was worried tht we may not have the amazing SLR clarity for the¬†rest of the trip. ¬†The view was indeed fantastic.

There was another huge rock formation that looked like a giant eagle. In fact it looked like one of those old wine bottles! I refused to believe tht tht was the Phantom Rock. And then we saw all the ppl taking snaps of themselves with the rock formation as the background. But, tht cud be eagle rock for all I knew.¬†I managed to look at something entirely different and decided tht that was the phantom rock ūüôā¬†We were told later that wht we were stared at and discarded was the Phantom Rock. (So much for¬†our guesses!!).

We wondered if we should check out Edakkal Caves. It was not too far away. We drove half the distance when we were informed by a board tht we were allowed to view the caves until 4:30 pm. It was nearing 7 pm. We decided to call it a day. For the first time in all our vacations so far, the Arien wanted to rest while the lazy piscean (myself) wanted to go out and do something – anything. That was a fantastic change for this vacation.

After a quick dinner, we went back to our room to be greeted by thunder and lightening! It rained n rained n rained. We fell asleep before it stopped. A hectic start for our vacation ūüôā