Why Not Wayanad

                                                Why not Wayanad!

Wayanad, in Kerala, is an ideal weekend getaway from Bangalore. It is beautiful, quiet and as yet, relatively less ravaged  by commercial tourism. Derived from the Malayalam words Wayal (paddy) and Nadu (land), Wayanad quite literally means land of the paddy fields. But Wayanad also has rolling green mountains and vast stretches of tea, coffee and pepper plantations amidst coconut and banana groves, exotic birds, rare species of flora and fauna and much more. There are caves to be explored, heritage museums that document the history of Wayanad,  century old temples and a rich tribal culture that is interesting even to the layman.
 The drive from Bangalore to Wayanad through Mysore, the Bandipur National Park or the Muthunga Game Sanctuary and the drive from Kozhikode to Wayanad are two of the more scenic drives in the South. In fact, the Wayanad experience starts with this drive. Once there, you have the option of just sitting back and enjoying the peace and tranquillity or set the adrenaline pumping with treks up the Western Ghats.
If you are not adventurous, then start with the Pookot Lake, a serene and scenic freshwater lake with boating facilities. You can also drive up nine hairpin bends through lush beautiful forests to Lakkidi, the highest point of Wayanad at 700 metres above sea level and get a breathtaking view of the valley. Try out the Edakkal caves which have pre historic etchings on their walls. Local legend has it that the caves were formed from the arrows shot by Lav and Kush, the sons of Lord Rama. Banasura dam, 21 kilometres away from the centre of Wayanad, is the largest earthen dam in the country and a place of unparalleled beauty. An excursion over two days at the dam is a most soothing balm for the tired and overworked mind!
 For the adventurous tourist there are a host of treks leading to many idyllic spots hidden deep in the hills. The most challenging one is to the Chembara peak, the highest peak in Wayanad. This trek which takes almost an entire day is not for the uninitiated or the novice trekker! But once up there, trekkers swear that the view from the top is well worth the effort. Some of them even stay on top of the peak for a few days in the tents and guides provided by the Tourist promotion Council of Wayanad. Kuruwa Dweep or Kuruwa Island has 950 acres of virgin forests along the tributaries of the Kabini, full of rare birds, orchids and herbs. Again this is not for the faint hearted as you may find a few friendly leeches sticking to you as you walk through the forest. Check with your travel desk as there are many more picturesque treks but be sure to go with a guide as it is easy to lose your way!
 Wayanad has some very innovative staying options. In keeping with the tenets of eco- tourism, some resorts offer a totally rustic experience, even going to the extent of avoiding the use of electricity. The resort near the Banasura Dam claims to be totally eco friendly, having been constructed from natural stone and mud bricks. The Hermitage at Edakkal Caves offers tree houses, cottages perched on the edge of cliffs and rocks and cottages with pre historic etchings replicated in them and all of them have state of art conveniences and facilities. Plantation owners offer homestays with meals thrown in, right in the middle of their plantations. Peaceful and beautiful, but a little removed from civilisation, this may not be very exciting proposition to families with children! Finally of course, there are also normal hotels in the centre of the district! Food may pose a bit of a problem for the vegetarian and it is best to opt for the meal options provided at your place of stay.  Tourist infra-structure in Wyanad may seem a tad limited. But truly, this is a small price to pay for the pristine beauty and solitude of the place. Wayanad is an ideal place to spend a short or long weekend. Catch it before the crowds discover and descend on it!
Fact File:
Getting there: By air or rail up to Mysore or Kozhikode and then by road.
                       Closest rail station and airport: Kozhikode
Distance:        140 kilometres from Mysore on NH 212
                       75 kilometres from Kozhikode.
                       260 kilometres from Bangalore.
Routes from Bangalore:
Route A : Bangalore - Mysore - Hunsur- Nagarhole - Kutta - Mananthavadi (Wayanad)
Route B: Bangalore - Mysore – Nanjangud - Gundulpet - Sulthan Bathery ( Wayanad)
Useful websites: www.wayanad.com, www.resortsinwayanad.com, www.wayanad.net



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