Sometimes its good to be landlocked with no train and airport connectivity. The beauty of Nature is preserved. Wayanad is the perfect example of such a place. Its as close to Bangalore as Ooty & Coorg but attracts less than 10% of the crowd. So if you are looking to soak in the best of un – trespassed nature nestled amidst the gorgeous western ghats – then head to Wayanad.
Wayanad is one of those holiday destinations that promise a little bit of everything – peace and tranquillity, stunning landscapes, nature and wildlife, trekking and camping adventures, history and culture, great food and excellent infrastructure.
We explored Wayanad from Tranquil Resorts (https://www.tranquilresort.com). A wonderful homestay with a great central location. Just 10 rooms in a 400 acres estate that grows Coffee /Arecanut / Exotic Fruits / Avocado and a lot more. It has the size of a resort but the warmth of a homestay. Tranquil has a history that dates back to 1896 and the current owners took over the property in 1994 and transformed it. The pedigree of the family is rich and diverse. Ajay – who runs the place is a great communicator and he can go non – stop narrating stories and anecdotes of family and guests who have visited Tranquil from all over the world. He is an amazing person full of positive energy. The passion with which they run the place would make you feel that they started this Home Stay last month – its been operational for 20 years.
Tranquil has 10 rooms – 5 garden rooms, a Tree Villa & Tree House, A Deluxe room, Luxury Suite and a 2 Bedroom Cottage. The place is warm, rustic and comfortable. The ambience is welcoming – The gardens are blooming with multitude of rare flowers and plants – all nurtured by Nisha (Ajay’s Wife), the dogs are friendly and the food is fresh, tasty and homely
We stayed at the Tree Villa – a huge room that can accommodate 4 and comes with 2 bathrooms and a large sit out. Its in the midst of the plantation surrounded with verdant greenery and great views and at 6.30 AM you can hear a zillion birds and if lucky the trumpet of an elephant. But as a family of 4 for the same price you could also take 2 Garden Rooms.
Its important that you choose the right place to stay. Waynad end to end is a 1 1/2 hr + drive , so if you pick a resort that at the edge of Waynad the drive from Bangalore is going to be very tedious. Also the Lakkadi view points at the Tip of Waynad is one of the wettest regions of the country. Tranquil is perfectly located – close to all the attractions and a 2 1/2 hr drive from Mysore.
Having decided to go to Wayanad and stay at Tranquil,
What can you do in Waynad
There is a let to do. To cover all the sights may take you a week. The first step is to find a guide – you can do a lot more with the help of an able local. Ajay had patched us to Sabu Abraham – A bird watcher / trekker / nature enthusiast and a good human being. Sabu is associated with the local District Tourism Promotion Council. He was a great asset who helped us cover a lot of ground in the time we spent there (2 Nights) – so do contact him at +91 94479 52186. You can also visit his website http://www.wayanad-naturetours.com
This place is paradise for trekkers. We climbed a steep hill called Kolagapara, a short drive from Tranquil. Took us 2 hrs – but it was intense and steep all along the way. There is also the Chembara peak which has a lake on the top. As you climb this hill the landscape changes – you see evergreen forests , grass lands and even a lake at the top. Professionals will head to Brahmagiri which is a full day affair. (70 Km from Tranquil). Close to Brahmagiri is an ancient temple Thirunelly
We visited the Kanthanpara falls. A very well maintained spotlessly clean picturesque waterfall. This was about 45 min from Tranquil. Two other beautiful waterfalls are Soochipara & Meen Mutty – both are located about about 20 Km from Tranquil.
A short 10 min drive from Tranquil gets you to Edakkal Caves. This is the only known place in India with Stone Age carvings. that date back to the Neolithic and Mesolithic ages (5000 – 6000 BC). Edakkal is said to have had links with Indus Valley – 400 signs discovered recently establish this linkage. Getting to the caves is not easy. A steep climb along a pathway for 1 Km and then 350 steps gets you to the caves. This place deserves a UNESCO World heritage tag. Its very well maintained
Opening 8.30 AM – Closing 4 PM. Closed on Mondays.
Banasura Sagar Earth Dam
Second largest Earthen dam in Asia. Located about 1 hr 15 min from Tranquil. They have scenic walking trails and a nice lake.
Gurukul Botanical Sanctuary (https://www.gbsanctuary.org/ourstory.html)
Started on a small scale 40 years back by a passionate German environmentalist – its a place where endangered species of the W Ghats are are nurtured in a natural environment. The Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary is tucked away in the far away hills of the Wayanad forests of Kerala. It sits perched on a hillock by a perennial stream that flows all the way into the Bay of Bengal.
The Sanctuary is a patch of 50 acres of forests land of which some 40 acres are left largely alone for natural succession. About 5 acres is meticulously tended and doubles as a showcase for visitors to visit, explore, interrogate and comprehend. The Gurukula tends its forests on the principles of restoration ecology with careful, conscious human interference. Form the mosses, liverworts, ferns, orchids, lichens to the massive angiosperms, each one is documented, catalogued, tended and known by nature, place, origin, age and stage. You can schedule a trip here by calling them up.
Distance from Tranquil – 1 Hr 45 Min (Near Brahmagiri Trek)
The Muthanga wildlife sanctuary is located 25 Km from Tranquil. Booking is first come basis for a jeep ride and you have a good chance of spotting Elephants / Deers / Peacocks…. . Of the 3 sanctuaries in this area ( Bandipur / Muthanga / Kabini – Your chances of spotting wildlife is best in Kabini). Morning sessions start at 7 AM and evening at 3 PM. Weekend can be very crowded
Lakkidi View Point
Lakkidi is one of the highest locations in Wayanad, Vythiri is the nearest town. Three km from Lakkidi is Pookot Lake, a natural freshwater lake spread across 15 acres. It is one of the rarest reservoirs of water in Wayanad. Surrounded by meadows and hills, it is a favourite picnic spot. Lakkidi’s annual rainfall averages from 600cm to 650cm.
There are a few other places worth visiting – Jain Temple at Sultan Batheri, Lav Kush Temple etc. Locals say that a must visit is the Glass temple of Koottamunda situated about 20 km from Kalpetta. It is a famous Jain temple, on the slopes of Vellarimala. It is dedicated to the third Thirthankara of the Jains, Parswanatha Swami. The exquisite beauty of the temple owes a lot to its construction. There are icons of Parswanatha Swami and Padmavathi Devi in the sanctum of the temple. Mirrors are placed in the inner walls of the temple and you can see numerous beautiful patterns of the reflections of these idols in these mirrors.
A few points about Waynad
- The word Wayanad comes from ” Vayal” – Paddy Fields and Nadu – “Land”
- Wayanad is landlocked – shares borders with Karnataka & Tamil Nadu.
- The altitude varies from 700 – 2100M. But the drive is not hairpin drive.
- Given this altitude the weather is pleasant all year around – max temp is 32 degrees. lowest temperature in Dec – Jan is 10 – 12 degree. Rainy seasons can be very wet.
- Given the range of altitude you will find a wide variety of flora and fauna – from deciduous trees to evergreen forests, pine trees and meadows
- The place is well maintained and spotlessly clean. The roads are great – no potholes. the town of Sultan Bathery was picture perfect with neatly painted shops, flower pots on the pathways and not an ounce of garbage.
- The town of Sulthan Bathery was formerly called Ganapathyvattam. During the invasion of Malabar by Tipu this town was used by his army as the storeroom or battery for his ammunition. Thus the town came to be known as Sultan’s Battery which later became Sultan Bathery.
- The total size of Wayanad is only 2132 Sq Km (Thats smaller than Bangalore) of which 900 Sq Km is under forest cover
- Dont be worried with the demographics of Wayanad – its not like Mirzapur or Meerut, its clean, efficient and beautiful.
- Bangalore – Thotada Mane 144 Km (Restaurant break at Srirangapatna)
- Bangalore – Mysore 159 Km
- Bangalore – Tranquil Resorts 279 Km
- Distances can be deceptive – a drive from Bangalore to Wayanad with a stopover can be a tiring 6 – 7 hrs. The Bangalore – Mysore stretch slows you down. Recommend a stopover at Mysore for the night, then you can reach Waynad the next day by 11 AM after a relaxed breakfast at Mysore
- Once you leave Mysore there is no good restaurant / restroom break. So if you are driving non stop do a stop over near Mysore.
- I would recommend this lovely place called Thotada Mane, its a few km off the highway. A very nice homely place where they serve fresh Veg food in a nice green ambience amidst fields. Clean restrooms. Make note of the timings – they are normally open from 8.30 – 3.30 and closed on Mondays.
A Few points about Tranquil
- Network connection is great – your 4G works very well, rooms have TV.
- Room rates are inclusive of Breakfast & Dinner.
- Bird watching and walking around the Plantation – Budget for 2 hrs
- The garden rooms are located in the main building adjacent to the owners house. These rooms face the garden and share a common verandah. Rooms come with two speerate twin beds. The bathrooms are very spacious
- Tranquil serves Beer – but other liquor you need to get from local stores. Remember you can’t carry liquor from Karnataka to Kerala. The Govt stores have a premium counter with no Q
- Get your emission test, carry your Car documents – the Cops may trouble you at the border
- Waynad is the place to buy spices – great quality at excellent prices. So visit a wholesaler and stock up on Pepper / Cashews / Turmeric / Kokum / Coffee etc