Place: Wayanad, Kerela
Speciality: Hill station, Coffee estates
Distance: ~250 Kms from Bangalore
Connectivity : Wayanad is well connected by bus from Mysore, Bangalore, Kozikode, Kannur.
Best time to visit: Summer is most busy season. But I prefer monsoon. So if rain is a spoilsport for you, Summer or Winter is the time to be there.
Places of Interest: Bandipur National Park (70Kms from Wayanad), Ram Temple at Sultan Bathery, Banasura Dam, Manmooty falls, Suchipara falls, Pookote lake, Chembra peak, Edakkal caves, Kuruva Island & few other temples & wild life sanctuaries.
Place of stay: We stayed at “Wayanad Blooms”, around 30-35 Kms from Sultan bathery. One of the best places I have stayed, although after paying some cost. Since we were Six, we took a Cottage costing Rs 5000 per day (off-season). It is highly recommended for honeymooners & family. It is not recommeded for bachelor’s group like us, since the place is too good for us ;-).
Rating of Wayanad Bloom: 10/10. Excellent food, service just awesome. The caretakers n all staff are highly motivated, a lesson for me from this trip.
For more detials : http://www.wayanadblooms.com/
Our Trip (30-31st July,2011): Bangalore-Mysore- Bandipur- Sultan Bathery – Wayanad- Mysore- Bangalore. Trip meter: ~750 KMs
6 people: Me, Avijit, Nihar, Smruti, Surya, Srikant in (7+1) Innova.
1) Safari in Bandipur N.P.: Timing: 6:30AM-9:00AM. Rs 300 per person for 45 minutes safari in forest department bus. Personal vehicles are not allowed for safari. Sighting of animal is matter of luck & better to go with least expectation to enjoy. We were able to spot wild elephants, wild boars, herds of dears, peacock, Bison. Besides that, Bandipur Forest reception has excellent garden to relax & chill out. Parking facility & jungle lodges for overnight stay are also available. Few rules: Donot make noise, respect other creatures, donot litter, any form of fire even matches can prove fatal to jungle. It’s up-to us to save one of the last remaining jungles of India. (must for first timers)
Breakfast in Gundulpet. This is the only budget restaurant near Bandipur (10KMs). Rating: 6/10. The place got some awesome view of surrounding hills & jungle. The place got rooms for staying as well.
2) Eddakal Caves (must visit): More than 2000 years old caves were once inhabited by early man. Way to cave is steep 500 steps through jungle & monsoon fed waterfall. Although Kerela tourism department has provided good infrastructure of support railings, but still can be tough for amateur climber (n Bangalore techies). But place is worth the steep climb. Guides at top, describe about place for a small tip of Rs 10-20.
3) Banasura Dam (must visit): The picturesque dam facing the largest peak of region, Chembra peak is must visit place. Again KTDC has done good job in terms of providing some infrastructure like parking, stairs to reach dam & sheds to save from Sun n rain. Boat ride (Rs 70 per person for half an hour, 5 max per boat) is must to soak in beauty of the place. A park beside the dam, is good place to relax n chill out. There are some resorts facing dam & are worth checking out. Entry ticket is Rs 15 per person & parking Rs 20.
4) Suchipara Waterfalls : 100 ft odd high waterfall is accessible by close to 500 steps. In dry season, bath is allowed. Again KTDC has done excellent job in providing infrastructure & security. May not excite people, who have seen too many waterfalls 😉
5) Meenmooty waterfalls: The view point for water fall is 1 km steep trek from main road. We couldnot see the waterfall, as it was full mist with just 5 meter visitbility.
6) Pookote lake: As usual, a hill station is incomplete without a lake. Pookote lake fullfills the gap for Wayanad. Famous for boating & picnic.
7) Kuruva Island: River island in Kabini is accessible only in dry season. Although we didn’t visit the place, we had heard good about the place from locals.
Other things one can try: Hotel Dwarka in Sultan Bathery. Although the place smells a bit (but I guess that’s the best restaurant available in Sultan bathery), but provide some good food. Kadai Paneer was awesone full of paneer & herbals & serve very very hot. Although bar section of restaurant is bad in ambience, so avoid it.
Words of Praise n thanks:
Kerela tourism has definitely done good work in providing basic tourism infrastructure. This was my second visit (1st in 2007) to Wayanad & I can observe the positive change. Now it’s up-to all of us to co-operate by following rules & not litter.
My old blog on Wayanad: https://omus.wordpress.com/2008/09/11/test/