Pookot Lake – Vythiri – Banasura Dam

Pookot LakeDay 4

Started pretty late – arnd 11 on a perfectly nice day. Our excuse for starting late was the non-availability of hot water at the Hotel. Before we started on our tourist rounds – we decided to have breakfast at Woodlands in Kalpetta.  I insisted on Dosa and a good strong cuppa chai b4 we visited any toursit spot. I had had enuf of Kerala Parota, Ceylon ParotaCoin Dosa, and Poori.  This particular holiday – our lunch plans went so awry that we were never sure when we wud have lunch n so it was better to have a good breakfast. This time I was assured tht we wud have lunch on time n so I was glad. Hahahaha 😀 So much for the assurance.. read on.

Our first visit was to the Pookot Lake. The purple lotus blooms on the lake are a beautiful sight Purple Lotusfrm far. The Arien decided that we must go boating in a pedal boat so we cud take sm amazing shots of the lovely lotuses. You recall we now are in possession of a borrowed SLR which means that the Arien is forever taking pictures. It was a warm day totally unlike the other days and in ten minutes we were perspiring so much tht we actually had to head bk 😦 We did take some pics that looked good. The Arien was completely tired – I guess the rock climbing involved with Soochipura falls had totally drained him. I was worried that we may cancel all plans b’cos he looked very tired and so I moved to the Fresh-water aquarium.  This served as a good distraction as it was cooler. Soon, the Arien was engrossed in taking snaps of the numerous species of fish, having totally forgotten tht he was tired. And guess wht!! Yess.. we saw the most expensive fish yet again. However, this one was a lot smaller. I walked arnd while the Arien took zillion snaps. The Arien decided to have the local ice-cream that looked very much like Qwality Walls Feast. Only it wasn’t!! 😀 It had peanuts n was actually bitter. The Arien offered to share his ice-cream with me after his first bite which clearly told me tht he did not like it at all. The Arien struggled for a few more minutes before he finally threw it away, mostly uneaten. We purchased half a kilo of Wayanad’s Tea and moved on to the next spot.

Lakkidi View pointOur next visit was to see the famous chain tree but we missed it and kept going till we reached the Thamarassery Ghat Pass which was also known as the Lakkidi view-point. This is the route that takes you to Kozhikode. The view was breathtakingly beautiful and there was a lovely mist that made most of the view invisible, at times. You may recall this was a sunny day n a lil warm – However, it was cool up here.  The mist tantalized you by alternately showing you sm of the trees that were completely entwined and then hiding it all frm you with a sudden movement.  We wondered if this was the chain tree. I asked the ppl who were standing arnd. However, tho’ most of them were eager to help, they did not understand our question at all.

I believed that the trees that were entwined was actually a single tree and this was the Chain Treeelusive chain tree. Well, going by my earlier goof wrt Phantom Rock, I wondered if I was even vaguely right.  We had not planned on travelling to Kozhikode and so we took a few pics frm the view point and decided to hunt for the chain tree and so turned bk. We almost missed the chain tree, the second time. It was a fairly large tree with a some chains hanging from it and a lock. There was also a small temple near the root and I was completely unimpressed and shocked. I could not believe my eyes. This was the chain tree??? The Arien had a hearty laugh. I was not able to see the humour in the situation. Legend has it that a young tribal guided a british engineer through the difficult mountain terrain into Wayanad. Eager to take credit for discovering a new path to Wayanad, the engineer killed the tribal. The ghost of the tribal was supposed to cause most of the accidents in this route until a priest chained the spirit to the tree, now known as the chain tree. Well, I dunno wht I was expecting but this sure was not it. We took a snap, naam ke vaasthe and moved on. It was past lunch time – we were not hungry – but it was too late to visit Vythiri resorts and so we dropped the entire idea and decided to visit Banasura Dam, instead.

Banasura DamThe Banasura dam is the largest earth dam in India. We opted for a jeep drive across the dam and it was a quick drive. However, the beauty of the scenery was something else. We opted out of the boat ride n instead stared at the amazing surrounding hills that are on all sides except one. I was pretty impressed by the cleanliness all arnd. No plastic bottles, paper strewn – n also not as many ppl arnd. The government of Kerela has been involved in the development of the place by constructing a small park with a number of swings for kids to play and also for adults to sit on.  The place was so peaceful that we were tempted to sit there for a while – which we did. There was a nice breeze and it was very relaxing. Soon it was time to leave and we got on to the jeep. We wondered if it wud b ok to take one snap of the dam when we were mid-way but the driver was rude and told us he will not stop. We were too tired to walk the rest of the way n so we left it at tht. It was 5:45 when we left Banasura dam and we were yet to have lunch, as usual. We had snacked a bit and so we were not very hungry. We dropped Meenmutty Falls frm our Itinery. Ppl told us tht there wud b very less water and Soochipura Falls wud b better. Having been there earlier, we decided to happily close Day 4 on tht note. We were checking out of Sultan Batherry tomorrow and so a good ZZZZZ was in order.

Karapuzha Dam – Chembara Peak – Soochipura Falls

Day 3

When we woke up, the Arien commented “For once, we shd go on a holiday where we jes relax.” I almost fell off the bed 😀 He believes in waking up early, getting ready and having an activity filled day. On the other hand, I am the queen of laziness. I believe in waking up late, getting ready in a relaxed manner which wud mean we can get going only at 12 pm or 2 pm on a holiday. B’cos tht gets the Arien in a bad temper, I attempt to get ready faster which means we can leave an hour later than wht we planned 😀 Knowing this history, I am sure you can understand why I almost fell off the bed at tht stmt.

K Dam SceneryFirst activity of the day was to visit the Karapuzha or Karapura Dam. It was a discoloured and totally unimpressive dam and we were pretty badly disillusioned. However, the view was simply spectacular. We tried shooting the scenery from various angles, with the two cameras and then stopped to jes stare. It was a warm day and so we did not feel like sitting n staring but if it had been a lazy evening – I am sure we wud have spent the entire evening there. While making enuf noise to scare anybdy headed in our direction, we interrupted an old couple who were cootchie-cooing at the base. They got up and left in a huff to go n sit arnd a small tree. We did not spend more than half an hour at Karapuzha dam.

TeaLeaves CollectionThe next stop was Chembara peak. We followed the road less travelled which was full of potholes and a steep incline. We reached Meppadi at 11:15. The plan was to visit the Chembara peak. Chembara peak is known as a Trekker’s Paradise and so I was tempted to try it. However, the Arien disagreed as the timing was skewed. A trek up Chembara peak was likely to take half a day and we reached the Vana Samrkshana Samithi only arnd 12. The drive to Chembara was supposed to be fantastic. Actually, it was like the Ghat section(the Mudumalai – Ooty stretch – only narrower) and the road almost liked a one-way. I was a lil worried as the Arien tends to drive a lil recklessly arnd these areas. However, watching the tea plantations and the ladies who pick the tea leaves kept me distracted. It was awesome.

Chembara Peak Watch TowerWhen we reached the summit, we were told tht a grp of trekkers had jes left. We walked to the watch tower that was arnd 2 km away. After a dizzing climb, walking for 2km seemed a drag but the goal was always within sight and so we walked n walked n walked. When we reached the watch tower, we were stopped by a Security who insisted on accompanying us. I guess, he thot we may use his watch tower for cootchi-cooing. I was so embarrassed, I insisted we get going. The Arien can b pretty stubborn. He insisted on shooting snaps n paid no heed to my comments. We walked back to the car. Both of us were a lil tired. I was actually glad I had not insisted tht we trek 😦

Our next stop for the day was Soochipura Falls also known as Sentinel Falls. Falls seemed a good way to relax after a Soochipura Fallsparticularly tiring day. We were in for a surprise. I am not sure if it was a surprise. When we reached Soochipura falls, it was going to b 2 pm. We were hungry but the Arien felt tht we wud not like to play in the water after a meal n so we decided to have fun n then have lunch. First shock was tht – to reach the falls we had to walk almost 2 km. Second, it seemed like a cobbled walkway and was supposed to b easy-going but turned out tht after 1.5 kms, akin to walking down Edakkal caves. It was pretty tiring. I decided not to climb down the rock formation to play in the water.  The Arien was not sure if he shd go into the water by himself leaving me all alone but I insisted. After an hour of watching the Arien, I felt it was time to venture down. The Arien helped me climb down the slippery rock that literally had ledges for foot-rests but no man-made steps for me to place my foot.  I did not step under the falls like a lot of other foolhardy folks, including the Arien. I stayed at a place frm where I cud get my legs wet while I cud keep my eyes out for arbid ppl. There were quite a few men folk staring n tht made me feel awfully self-conscious. We left at 4:30. It was a steep climb and I was dead tired n xtremely hungry by the time we made our way out of Soochipura Falls. The Arien remembered tht he had not had lunch. We wondered if it was fair to call it lunch considering the time – it was 5 pm. We had lunch (snack) at Kalpetta and considering tht we both have a sweet tooth, after lunch aka snack, we visited a bakery, Walnut Cakes at Kalpetta. I decided to stay in the car and the Arien got us sm yummy delights: Almond Rock and Chocolate Muffin. Both were absolutely delicious and we decided we shd stop there the next tm we are in Kalpetta. And then we got moving to SBY (Sultan Batherri).

We stopped for tea at a small Chai Stall. The chai was ok but very very hot. Bang opposite the chai stall was a huge Malabar Gold outlet. I teased the Arien tht it was time he got me sm gold gifts. He agreed but since we were only kidding, we did not go into the outlet. We opted to have dinner in the room and watched IPL (Royal Challengers Vs Delhi Daredevils). We did not stay up to see the end of the match n so I have no clue who won. By the time, the I Innings was complete, the Arien was snoring away n I was unable to keep my eyes open. It was as usual an interesting and hectic Day3. Tomorrow we planned to go to Vythiri, Lakkidi and the Pookot Lake. Zzzzzzz.