Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Trip to Wayanad - Day 1

Memories Again!! I should call this ‘Memories!!! Part Two’…

It was the third week of March, 2008 when we finally came up with a final plan for our psenti trip. It was, to Wayanad, The Green Paradise of Kerala. Wayanad is a picturesque mountainous plateau in Kerala. It is close to Calicut, a scenic, quiet place situated on the Western Ghats. Clean, enchanting with a lot of mystery about history and culture, this is located about 80 km from the shores of Calicut. The name Wayanad, is derived from ‘Vayal Nadu’ which means ‘The land of fields’.

We were six of us. The team consisted of Sundhu, Appu, Aishu, VimJo, Deepu and me. We booked our tickets to Calicut. We started on the planned date, the leave application being confirmed. We reached Calicut at 5:00 am in the morning. We were then clueless as to what has to be done next.
We decided to goto the bus stand and then take a bus to Sulthan Bathery which is where we planned to stay. We had booked 3 rooms in a place called Shreya’s cottage, run by Christian brothers, considering safety.

DAY 1:
We reached the spot by 8:00 am, relaxed for an hour. We were getting ready for the trip, when we met our collegemate’s mother, who stays at Wayanad. She came to our place, drafted the plan for all our 4 days, accompanied us whenever possible. She was so helpful to us. This trip would not have been possible without her. She arranged a Commander (jeep) for us, with the driver she trusted the most. We called him ‘cheta’.

Regional Agricultural Research Station (RARS):
This research station is located in Ambalavayal and a part of Kerala Agricultural University. It has a nursery which has rare species of roses and other ornamental plants.
The first day, we set out for our wild journey through the thick forest of Wayanad. We visited a nursery which had 800 varieties of roses. They were the most beautiful rose plants I ever saw.

Heritage Museum:
Our next visit was to Heritage museum at Ambalavayal,which is located 12 km from Sulthan Bathery. The prominent displays are sculptures, ancient hunting equipments like bows and arrows, atone weapons, musical instruments, bangles, ear ornaments and hunting traps. The items have been collected from all over Wayanad region. We spent about an hour at this place, and then proceeded on our way to the Meenmutty Falls.

Meenmutty Falls:
Our next venture was to go trekking to the Meenmutty Falls. It is located 12km from Meppady and 29 km from Kalpetta. One has to trek for 2 km downhill to reach this spot. The trekking is quite exhausting.

It is just not water, but a milky way, tearing apart the dense greenery of Wayanad forests. The Meenmutty waterfalls, gushing down and then flowing down in cascades further down its course is an awesome sight to watch from the Neelimala viewpoint near Vaduvanchal in Wayanad. The following picture was taken when we just started our trek downhill.

Get down, pick your backpack, put on your trekking shoes and of course keep a good camera. On the way up to the Neelimala viewpoint, one would have the company of the coffee plantations on either side and further up, small holdings of ginger and areca nut. The sides of the path leading to the view point is also dotted with small bushes of purple flower plants and also chirping sun birds and other varieties of small birds darting in and out of the bushes. These were the thick bushes through which we trekked our way downhill.

Completing the first part of the ascend, which is about half a kilometer, the trekking path gets narrower and goes down before it climbs up again. Now the vegetation on the sides change to tall, wild grass, including the lemon grass variety. The narrow path goes further up and suddenly opens up into a panoramic view, with the mountain folds of the Western Ghats on your left and a hill slope replete with grass and studded with boulders on the right.

Have a brief stop. Catch your breath. Feel the cool breeze in your hair, as it dries out the sweat. Take a look around to spot some butterflies with rare colour and size, gliding down the slopes and sometimes going behind the mist. As you remain there, your ears slowly get receptive to a rumble down the valley. If you hear it, take the narrow path going down to the left. Make your way through tall grasses leaning on to you. Move gently and watch out for slippery rocks and pits. Meandering to the left, the path would lead you to a spot, where you would find yourself standing behind a rocky spur with the rumbling noise becoming intense manifold.

Carefully make your descend down and move towards the middle of the rocky spur. It would take some time for you to believe the mesmerizing sight that is right before you. Down flows a track of white water, flanked by evergreen forests. A sight you would never forget. Get your best shots and take in its pristine beauty as much as you can. As you watch the unforgettable sight of Meenmutty waterfall, an occasional blanket of thick mist could block your sight. But, do not get upset. Wait for some time and as the mist clears out, and on occasions the sheet of mist would split open to reveal the waterfall, which is yet another delightful thing to watch.

Yes! Get Set Go!! We were ready for this scenic trekking full of life. We were six of us, Aunty and Cheta started to trek around 12:00 noon. Aunty’s younger daughter Charanya also accompanied us. She was the most impressive trekker since she was used to hillside life. Aunty was doing great with her saree still clean. There were a lot of dangerous spots on the way, which if not taken care of, will have serious consequences. I had a great time as well as a scary time to reach the falls. The falls was gorgeous and enchanting as well. Throughout our trekking experience, we could see dense hilly forests.

The unique nature of the falls is that the water falls to a depth of more than 500m in three steps. We could not go exactly very close to the falls. We were drenched completely even while we were at a distance from the falls. That was a marvelous experience. We then had to climb uphill to reach the top, which had to be done before dusk. We made our journey uphill and reached the top in about an hour’s time. We then had refreshments including fresh plantains, Kerala being famous for it and spiced butter milk. The refreshments were refreshing :P after the exciting and exhausting trekking experience. A few moments in the experience were near-death experiences which took my life out by the time I was out of fear.

We reached home around 9:00 pm in night after having dinner in a nearby restaurant. The big-sized rice that is traditional to the place was a peculiar attraction. First day was the most interesting of the four-day trip at Wayanad because of the trekking experience we had there then. This kind of trekking would not have been possible if we don’t go with friends.

That night, we were pretty tired to further discuss amongst ourselves about how the other enjoyed the day. The next morning we had to wake up early.

There are 3 other days of total fun to be expressed. They follow up this post. Hope you enjoyed this reading.

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