A picture is worth a thousand words and my Facebook photo album by the same name narrates the story of our trip. Independence Day this year gave us an opportunity to sneak out of our mundane lives and daily chores to visit Kerala – popularly known as God’s own country.At around 7AM we were out on the road driving towards our destination. This was our second road trip since we bought our car and the first long one. So, we were carrying loads of snacks, medicines and other essentials to be prepared all along. We were out-bound to Wayanad and this was supposed to be a 6 hours’ drive. The plan was to spend 2 nights and 3 days at Wayanad which is point B in the map.
Within no time, we were cruising on the Bangalore-Mysore Highway. The weather was in our favor and luckily enough we did not get stuck in any traffic jams. We stopped to have breakfast and tea just after Mysore and then took the NH 212 that goes to Ooty. The good thing about the entire stretch was that each city is known for a little something and the roadways have beautifully called this out.
All along the journey, I was keeping track of kilometers covered, cities crossed and time taken. I totally enjoyed this role during the trip. It was an interesting task and with a map in hand, it was as if I am the one responsible for the route taken. 🙂
Citing facts, NH 212 stretches for a total distance of 250kms and connects Karnataka and Kerala. It is a very well maintained national highway and I don’t remember even a 10m bad patch. This highway passes through the dense forest of the Western Ghats of India. We crossed Bandipur National Park and then closer to Kerala, it was the Muthunga Wildlife Sanctuary. Both these forests were dense and green and all around we could hear birds. We also spotted elephants, wild dogs and monkeys. The quietness that prevails in a forest is different and one of its own kind.
As soon as we entered Kerala, we knew that a memorable trip is on the cards. Greenery, beautiful landscapes and even entire farming stretch of flowers made the drive beautiful.
We reached Wayanad after the noon and realized that the homestay we chose was a good pick. It was once a Cadbury Estate and hence had a lot of coffee and cocoa planation. There were around 12 private cottages in the entire estate and once in the cottage you would feel as if you are all alone staying in the woods.
There were monkeys in this estate and it really felt as if we are camping. During our evening, we saw Pookote lake (lake surrounded by small hills) and came back to the homestay. As the night fell, we could hear crickets and it was very quiet. Being used to staying in a city like Bangalore, the silence for a good couple of hours was sort of uncomfortable.
All around, there were tea plantations and they added to the beauty of the state. These tea plantations are mostly owned by people in West Bengal and maintained by the locals. These were lush green estates and had enough room to walk in between for visitors like us.
We realized that when in Kerala, we should explore more than just Wayanad. On the same NH 212, around 80kms is the coastal city of Kozhikode(Calicut – B to C on the map above). The roads as usual were awesome. We encountered 9 hair pins curves in this road and though the drive was difficult, it was the most beautiful I had ever seen.
This is the city where European explorer Vasco-da-Gama landed in the 15th century opening a trade route being Europe and Malabar. The exact place where he landed is known as Kappad beach and this beach is free from the hustle bustle of the city of Calicut. This place was calm and serene. We spent double of the time we planned on this beach and totally fell in love with the sea 🙂
The last day, we visited three more places in Wayanad and the star attraction of the day were the Edakkal caves.T he name “Edakkal” literally means “a stone in between”, and this describes how the cave was formed by a heavy piece of rock straddling a fissure in the rock some 5000 years back due to an earthquake .
The security guard in the caves was kind enough to take us through the history and help us understand the significance of the scripts engraved there. Personally for me, the opportunity to visit a place like this rare and special as the neo-lithic carvings was a big thing. Though I must call out that the trek was some 400 steps cut out of the hill and was really exhausting. If I have to do that again, I would prefer to take a helicopter 🙂
We started on our journey back to Bangalore at around 4PM with those voices in our hearts saying