Saturday, May 6, 2017

143) Wayanad – Serene Retreat : (17,18,19/3/2017)

Place: Wayanad – The Retreat
Distance: 800kms in total.
Directions: Bangalore > Mysore > Bandipura > Wayanad > Nagarhole > Mysore > Bangalore
Krew: Dileep (Isro) > Madhu (Dunna) > Ashok (Maamz) > Karthik (Sippy)
Bikes: Enfield (x2)                                                                          
Previous Visit: Mahadevapura.
Budget: Rs 3500/head (inclusive of everything!)

This was one of the best getaway kind of trips ever done till date.  A perfect retreat into the wilderness and greenery of Kerala clears even the cloggiest minds. Even though the waterfalls were dry and Chembra was banned temporarily the awesome homestay, people and the drinks turned the trip into one of the most memorable ones. The owners of the homestay looked after us like their own kids.

About the plan, well the funny part was all of it was planned the last minute. We agreed for a weekend road trip in the mid of the week (Wednesday).  I applied leave from Thursday to get 4 wholes days. Got my bike serviced and the place was decided to be … Coorg. Yes, we wanted to hike up the Tadiandmol peak and chill out as Madhu had got back a Jager and others from Germany. But then on Thursday evening Dilip and me changed the plan the Wayanad. Only Madhu, Ashok, & Dilip confirmed their presence for this chapter.
TIME: 23:00 (16/3/2017)

I have divided the write up of this chapter into day wise, hope you will enjoy it. Cheers!

DAY 1: - (And off we Go.. no wait and off we drift away into paradise!)
Having some night rounds I crashed. Woke up by 4AM, did a few push-ups and sit-ups, had a sip of coffee and a light round of breakfast and was all set to go. Dilip arrived at my place at about 06:45 and we asked Ashok to come directly to Madhu’s place (as we knew Modho would be the last to turn up). After having met at Madhu’s place we waited for another 1.5hr for him to step out of his house hehe:P
TIME: 08:15

RIDE 1: (Bangalore – Mysore – Kottu Stop – Bandipura – Sulthan Bathery - Wayanad)
As we set off from Bangalore we were surprised to find a bit of heavy traffic even on Friday. This faded away as we crossed RRMC. We thought of not stopping for breakfast then Madho face turned red with anger and then we pulled over for some yummy breakfast at our regular hotel.
TIME: 09:00

After the breakfast we rode more or less non-stop until Mysore with only one tea break in between. At the Mysore, we stood wondering how to proceed from there. We pulled over at the signal and turned towards Dilip’s bike to see if he would ask for directions. Once we approached him we realised he was asking for a kottu shop hehe! Okay we pulled over at a juice shop and loaded even more into our bags, bought some water and soft drinks as well and the headed out of Mysore.
TIME: 12:00


The roads between Sulthan Bathery and Mysore (Nanjungud route) had been turned into a butter smooth cruise way. So we rode looking for a place to crash all along the way. Dilip and I found a perfect tree, huge tree shading all other neighbouring ones with low branches on which one could easily sit and relax. Then as we approached the fields a person invited us knowing our intentions well :P
We asked if we could crash in for 1-2hours and he gladly obliged for some juice as well. A stream of fresh sparkly water ran right below the tree and the time just flew right past our eyes. Madho trying to get off the tree and falling straight flat on the ground had to be the pick of the events. We had great time, but then we realised we had emptied off one whole bottle. Then we decided we head out as our tummies had begun to growl and Madhu promised us good biryani for lunch.
TIME: 12:30

As we took from the crash place we entered the Bandipur forests and with a few words with the police we entered the forest premises. The temperature of the air began to dip and it turned really pleasant. Floating and drifting on the beautiful roads of forest we began to make fun of each other. Out off nowhere two elephants came onto the road. They crossed the road and stood on the other side. We were shell shocked, I have made up a general rule on elephant sightings “when you don’t expect they turn up, but not every time” hehe! We had a good glance the majestic creatures waving them tata we continued through the forest.  As the forest had begun to fade we pulled over at Hotel Muqtar near the Bathery deviation to munch down on the some very tasty biryani for lunch.
TIME: 14:30

The biryani was so yummy,  Dilip went ahead and enquired about the recipe as well. And as we proceeded dark clouds had begun to descend on our heads and as we entered the Kerala border the clouds welcomed with light showers of rain. It was actually a very nice feeling. Called up the home stay people and requested them to prepare dinner.
We reached Sulthan bathery to find the streets completely crowded we bought few more water bottles, snacks and soft drinks and continued on the narrow roads for another 20kms asking the locals for details. Finally riding in the light drizzle we reached out home stay and boy was it nice or what!
TIME: 18:00

The homestay uncle offered us tea and we sat outside and relaxed in the drizzle. After which, we inspected the rooms and spoke about the tariff and other details. We four were the only ones at the entire home stay and it was an awesome place! We also realised that Chembra peak was banned as there was forest fire a few weeks back and most of the waterfalls had turned dry. Firstly, we accepted the facts to its full core and then we decided to just chill out at the home stay if things get worse (we did love the home stay!)


We freshened up as it had been a long day and sat in the balcony overlooking the plantation as the sun went down. Once the sun went down and after everybody had freshened up into the night clothing’s we got out the bottles and chose 2 full for the night.
From around 8PM until 2AM the session went on along with the light drizzle. The fish dry and all the other starters were so well prepared we were taken aback to get such a good place for reasonable price. We spoke about all kinds of shit! Work, College, Problems, Theories, what not! It was a great, great time (only thing is, I remember only half :P) we had our dinner which had turned cold and then crashed for some peaceful sleep!
TIME: 02:00

DAY2: (The Unexpected ways are always happy ways!)
And the first to wake up award goes to? No prizes for that… haha. Woke up at about 05:00 and was sitting like a zombie. Ashok was the next to get up and we sat for some morning rounds awaiting others to rise. After few rounds we went out to balcony to find tea awaiting us. We sat on the swing sipping on tea and speaking about various shit. After which we went down and started playing badminton just like 15years back hehe. They were all good games and as usual we made up our own rules, this way it was more fun and interesting as well (like 15years back again!)
After a few hours Dilip and Madho woke up to join us as well. Then the owners invited us in for some yummy Appam and Upma. After having the breakfast we freshened up and decided to explore places. We decided to cover only Edkkal Caves and Kanthanpara waterfalls and conclude with sunset at Neelimala viewpoint.

We rode out 10-15kms back towards Sulthan Bathery to reach Eddakkal caves. The walk from the starting point to the start the shops was itself tiring (after all the sessions) but we had to keep walking uphill amidst various shops for another hour or so to reach the actual caves. Drenched in sweat, amidst crowd, fish not my cup of tea. But the caves had brilliant carvings. Eddkkal are the only caves in entire India with pre-historic man made carvings. The symbols explained a lot of things of how the men had already had some system in place. It took us about 2h to cover the entire place.
TIME: 13:00

As the sun was blazing, we had some lassi and decided we would visit Phantom rock next. But unfortunately the place was closed and as we turned back we spotted a beautiful water place hiding itself very nicely amidst a quarry. We turned towards each other and there was no doubt we’re jumping into the waters.
We jumped into the waters and it was a really nice place, not too deep or shallow. Dilip and Ashok swam all around the place. The strange thing about this place was certain regions had hot waters and certain had cold.  After about 45-60mins of resting in water we got out of the water and the sun was enough to dry ourselves up.
TIME: 14:30


After having got out of the waters we stopped for some lunch at the Alambalavayal. We scrapped Neelimala and headed directly towards kanthanpura waterfalls. We pulled over for a long time at a soccer academy. It was like dilip’s dream land :P
We head Kanathanpura & Soochipura had dried up. So we decided to head back the home (yes, not home stay, it had already turned home!) We called up the uncle and asked him where the drinks shops are near-by. As we rode back the Chembra peak looked mighty menacing. It was both a wonderful and hurting sight to see the peak shrouded in what seemed like her own smoke or the mist from clouds. I stood there watching her without a blink.

Finally we reached our home stay, freshened up and then the heavy games began. We played our hearts out and the aunt and uncle kept feeding us snacks and tea all through the games. I have never seen such nice care-takers hehe!


After tiring ourselves down to the last ounce of energy we decided to have bath and freshen up. Once we came down we helped our uncle to set up the camp fire and we had enough wood to keep it going for 3-4hours. We saved the good'ol monk for day two and it was a good decision. Placing the chairs and a table around the camp fire we began to drift away it observing the fire dance alongside the wind. Awesome fish fry, omlets, and chicken dishes kept coming and we down munching non-stop. (by the way had made one fat cat my good friend it was happily sitting beside us munching down on the fish and omlets, meow!)
We put in all our efforts to keep the fire going all through the night, but once we realised it was getting late for the uncle and aunt who we took all the dinner and headed up to our chamber to munch down. After munching down on the dinner we decided to crash for some well-deserved sleep.
TIME:  23:30

DAY3: The Return!
Initially the plan was to leave the home stay by max.8AM. But as we woke up we realised our bodies had taken a big time beating owing to the badminton we had played after ages. Our backs, feet, legs all in deep pain, we weren’t able to even get up. But as usual Ashok & I were the first to rise. Then Ashok told me most of the night Dilip was jumping around all over the bed and people as there were insects. I was the only one who had gone deep into slumber. (This is something that even shocked me!) Anyway, we both went outside for some tea and decided to get ready one after another. Once everybody were ready we had some tasty Puttu and Idly’s for breakfast and decided to vacate the place. We thanked the aunty and uncle for their warm hospitality and promised them a return post-monsoon only for the home stay and Chembra Peak. Finally the uncle also took a group pic of us before we departed Wayanad. We weren’t sure whether our bodies could hold good for next 400kms.
TIME: 09:30

This lake is about 30kms from Wayanad pretty close to Chembra peak as well. But as we rode through the tea estates we felt like riding in a sea of green, simply beautiful. As we cruised on happily, we sang merrily to find few happy cops waiting for us.  We pulled over and trust me they were atleast decent and asked us to produce all the documents. We produced a few, others we paid the fine and left. It was simple and clean.
As we reached pookode lake parked our bikes and had to walk around 300meters to reach the lake. It was a Sunday, so the crowd was of no surprise. It was another commercial place which offered boating, pedicure etc., We sat in front of the lake forgetting others and admired the beauty for a 30mins or so and decided to carry on.
TIME: 10:45

Banasura Sagara Dam was again 30-40kms from Pookode Lake. The ride to this mighty reservoir was a smooth one through greenery again. Banasura is the largest earth dam in India. We spotted a huge snake and other domestic animals all along the way. As we reached approached the dam, we could see the huge water body from kilometres away. Even though it was evident that it was not at its full potential it looked majestic. We parked our bikes and bought some mangoes and walked about 500meters to reach the base of the stairway which would then lead to the bund. Getting on top of the bund the view was amazing! There was speed boating, horse riding etc, basically yes another commercial place. We decided carry on, for we had decided to have a kottu stop on the way back as well.
TIME: 12:30

We knew Gonikoppal was about 120kms away and it was through Wayanad Forest. All I could think was the egg biryani I had belted few months back when we had returned from Mahe & Kannur. But as we rode on I was surprised to keep finding town after town. But then all off a sudden we found ourselves entering the jungle region. This made us pumped up and we began searching for animals (remb the elephant rule?) But the roads were narrow with a lot of speed breakers and the clearance between the trees and the roads was less. I was just thinking to myself “wait a second.” then there was a huge signboard with a nice fat tiger smiling at us “Welcome to Nagarhole Tiger Reserve, Please drive slow “. Ashok & me started wondering, with the amount of the speed breakers, narrow clearance and the smile on the tiger’s face… we looked at each other and said “we’re in deep deep shit aren’t we?”


The roads were pretty scary to ride on but I wondered how bikes are allowed as I had heard bikes had been banned from Nagarhole region. But then we saw a sign board which read “Mysore – 70kms”. Then we realised we had ended up in the wrong forest but what the hell, mysore was close. As we rode on the forest glimpses pleased us all throughout the journey and then came the bigger bummer. We were expecting Mysore to be around 25kms after riding quite a while. But we were forced to take a deviation into the bunch of villages amidst the forests itself, now I looked at Ashok again “Machaaaa.. tiger only put that board there ra.. wicked smile it had I told you :P”. After riding for some 30-40mins we found another board which read “Mysore 75kms” we looked at Madhu and started shouting and yelling at him, he looked at us as though we were mad. Then finally we pulled over as we needed breaks big time.

25-20kms from Mysore we pulled overat a very nice dhaba for some well-deserved food and kottu. We spent about an hour munching nicely on the lunch and finally we left the dhaba afloat. As we approached Mysore, the sun began his way down back to the horizon and the Chamundi in between us both made the scene spectacular.
TIME: 18:30


Alright, once the sun and being a Sunday (traffic) the rules were clear in case we miss out on each other. Next stop at Maddur Tifany’s and wait until next bike arrives. Checked Dilip’s bike lights (was necessary :P) and we took off. But we rode pretty much behind. And I kept speaking non-stop to keep madhu awake :P. Finally we pulled over at the Tifany’s for some light tea. And then when asked about the next stop, we decided it would be best to stop at NICE road deviation itself. And as we took off, bunch of enfields zoomed right past us, some off-roading and shit. We looked at each other and sighed in dismay. Kids totally these clubs had turned into. That aura around the clubs that existed had turned into a tainted sphere of shit! We smiled at each other and shook our heads and continued to further to reach the NICE road deviation. Dilip and I took the NICE road and other two took the Jnana Bharathi route to reach our homes respectively.
TIME: 21:45

All I can say,  Hell Yeah \m/! What a nice vacation it turned out be! just the thing I needed. A re-union of friends, kottu, good food, home like stay, super cool people, awesome greenery. ”
Until next time, Cia \m/



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