Rendezvous With Wayanad

It was Friday 11.30 AM, I was still busy with the documentation which has to be sent to my Onsite coordinator before EOD. But I know well that my EOD is going to kiss me in another 2 hours. So, I was doing things in fast-forward style in an excitement of travelling. After having a light lunch in FC2 around 12.35, I stepped into the MORE shop to purchase toothpaste and a brush. After 20 minutes of window shopping, I signed the Debit Card Swipe slip and came out of the store and rushed towards FC to get back to my cubicle.

When the clock struck 2.10 PM, all of us left the SDB and walked towards the main gate.  There was a 12 seater waiting for us outside the gate. Few of our folks told us that they will join us in the Central Station directly, so the remaining people started around 2.30 from MCity towards Central. There started the joy filled moments.

August 07, 2009 Friday 4:30 PM

All of us were sound asleep after making all types of sounds that can be created out of our vocal chords. The Tempo traveler entered the station swiftly and gave a soft jerk and the engine ceased. We had reached the station. We entered the station and tilted our vision at an angle of 45 degrees upwards to the LED Display. The train hasn’t come yet. The LED Displays overhead was showing the list trains which are categorized into arrivals and departures.

We waited for the other folks to arrive near the platform. The Mangalore Express hasn’t arrived yet. After 15 minutes of waiting and all of them have arrived, we started walking towards our coach, as the train had also arrived. It took quite some time to get settled. We didn’t notice when the train started, but we all know that, it’s gonna be an uber cool, fun filled outing with the team. The journey was full of chatting, pulling each other’s legs, dancing, singing and making sounds of all frequencies. Around 10.30 PM I got into the upper berth and was slowly getting into sleep. The train’s movement was felt all over my body.

A Quick glance on Wayanad:

District Head Quarters: Kalpetta
Area: 2132 Sq. Kms
Main language: Malayalam
Religions: Christians, Hindu, Muslims
Weather: Tropical
Climate: Max –: 35 Deg Celcius, Min –: 15 Deg Celcius
Best Season: Oct to May
Mani Food: Rice
Nature of Landscape: Hills and Valleys
Main Crops: Paddy, Tea, Pepper, Coffee, Cardamom
Nearest Airport: Karipur (Calicut)
Nearest Railway Station: Calicut

August 08, 2009 Friday 4:30 AM

Someone was waking me up. It was just 4.10 AM. All of them were rushing up and packing their bags, hair uncombed, teeth unbrushed, and still pulled by the gravity of sleep, I got down the upper berth, and looked into my mobile. It was 4.10 AM. I put on my shoes and packed my bags. The train slowed down in a station around 4.30 AM. It was Kozhikode. Later I came to know that it is also called Calicut. All of us hurriedly got down the train and came out of the station. A 21 seater mini bus was waiting for us in its flashing mix of yellow and orange color.

The day was yet to unveil its brightness. The sky was still covered with the darkness patched with grey clouds. I hazily looked into the display that was kept in the station. Nothing was decipherable from that, coz it was written in Malayalam. We all moved towards the Mini-Bus and found a place for each one of us.

The Bus had a sticker stuck to its front. LCD DVD Coach – Digital Sound Systems! I was wondering about this. The bus appeared very simple and it was a normal mini bus with the basic amenities like cushion seats, Mini Fan above your head, Side loft on both sides for keeping your bags and all that stuff. But LCD Digital thing appeared to be out of place or odd-man-out whatever you call it. I stepped into the bus and found a seat and settled myself in the aisle. I looked straight into the small box that was fitted in the front, facing us. It was the DVD which I was telling about. It was not more than a simple 15” CRT Television. I was thinking about the LCD and digital sound. The CD which we gave to the driver to be played in that DVD player was displaying “Data Out Of Sync” Error messages. We just came for the outing to keep ourselves away from the abends and error messages atleast for some time. I was not bothered about resolving the issue. I was already asleep.  After fidgeting with the Remote control which was found with the cleaner, our folks were able to play some songs in that. Every time the DVD player was switched on, it will start with the first track in that in that CD. That became the subject matter of fun in the whole journey.

The breeze was chill. The weather outside was not so hauntingly cold. But since the bus was picking up speed, the gush of chill air raised few of the hair strands in my body and was enabling the Goosebumps utility of the human being in me. The window glass was adjusted accordingly to let only the required amount of air that my body can with stand. My friend sitting beside me was fast asleep. I could feel the Malabar magic in me. I could see only coconut trees, thick landscapes full of trees and bushes. The sunlight was slowly trying to touch the earth. The light orange shade was gradually being applied to the sky. I didn’t know when I fell asleep. With the music being played and the bus motion in the uneven roads appeared to rock my cradle and the gushing cool breeze swiping my face, took me to the subconscious world. It was 7.30 when we reached Wayanad. The place was called Kalpetta. The board Prince Inn notified that, we had reached the Hotel.

We all waited in the reception. All of them settled in the couch which was available infront of the reception desk. I looked around the place to admire the interior decoration. The first thing I noticed was the well decorated wooden elephant placed in the entrance. Its dark brown color wooden finish was awesome. The glossy look and craftsmanship of the sculpture made it look real. The ceiling lights were dim and it was spreading a yellowish ambience all over the place. Some Malayalam newspapers were lying on the couch-level glass table which was placed in between the three Sofas. I took some courage to lift the papers and scan through the pages just for the images and advertisements. I was fully aware that I may be subjected to sure humiliation by the folks around me. But to my amusement, I saw quite a few of them who don’t know the language, taking pains to turn pages of the newspaper. I didn’t feel different.

Totally five rooms were allotted to us, with a count of 4 in each room. Since we were only 19, one of the rooms may be filled with four minus one person. I and my friend got ourselves comfortable in to one of the rooms. The room boy accompanied us till our room and left. I switched on the TV and lay flat of bed. The weather was awesome, still chill and fresh. The complex into which our hotel was situated was yet to wake up. Shops were still closed. Later one of my colleague accompanied in our room. After getting ourselves ready and some breakfast, we left the place around 9.30 and started for Edakkal Caves.

A quick glance on Edakkal Caves

An interesting trek up the Ambukuthi Hill near Ambalavayal town takes you to the world famous Neolithic Edakkal Caves which tells the pre historic heritage of Wayanad. The cave was formed in the crevice of a broken rock, thatched by another massive rock. Etchings seen in the walls of these caves have drawn the serious attention of archaeologists and the historians all over the world. It is about 10,000 years old!

August 08, 2009 Saturday 10:00 AM

The roads in between the hills were really awesome. The steep plantations were green and fresh. It really captivates your heart and it will welcome all shutter bugs to disturb their SLR Camera. The slight drizzle adds beauty to the environment. You may stop by the plantation side to click few snaps. By the time we reached the place, it was 11.00. It seemed that we had to walk a kilometer to reach the foothill of the caves. Jeep services were available for that too. But few of them were ready to walk and few of them wanted a jeep to get to the foothill. Few of them and I decided to walk and admire the nature on the way. We started walking and were busy shooting snaps of each of us. Climbing the 1KM seemed to be easy. But after a few meters I was breathing heavily and was tired. My thighs were aching. Being a software engineer, we hardly to anything physically straining. We used to warm our chairs all day and leave our cube except for coffee breaks and lunch. But this ordeal of climbing seemed to be somewhat helpful to burn our calories.

We reached an intermediate place; where we took some time to bring our heart beats to normal rate. Some of them were still climbing and some had already reached in jeep. So we waited for all of them to assemble. After that we started our journey into the caves and rocks. After some 2 hours of climbing up and climbing down, we came back to the bus around 2.00 and left for lunch. At around 5.15 PM we again started towards Jungle Safari.

A quick glance on Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary

Muthanga is a rain forest connected to two other major sanctuaries – Bandhipur National Park in Karnataka and Mudhumala Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamilnadu. Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary claims the largest number of elephants in Asia. The vegetation of the region is a hot spot of rare herbs and medicinal plants. The reserve is home to many other species like leopard, sambar, cheetal, langur etc.

Muthanga wildlife Sanctuary 5:15 PM

Jungle safari was exciting. The authorities of Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary told us that there will be tigers inside the jungle so we need to be safe. We waited near the entrance of the jungle. Four jeeps have been arranged and we got into it one by one. There started our journey towards the thick jungle.  When safari-ing into the jungle, we saw deers, peacocks and monkeys. But never saw a tiger. With all hopes of spotting one, we went deep into jungle. It was a muddy single pathway into which the jeep traversed into the jungle.  It was dense on both sides. The flora and fauna was quite catching and environment was cool. There was a slight drizzle at times. High trees which appeared to touch the skies populated the jungle. After covering a distance, we all got down; the stench of the elephant dropping was highly unbearable. Someone was explaining that the dropping is still green and fresh, so elephants could have passed by this way. I was inspired so much on his wisdom and wanted to thank him for enlightening us with such thought.

Sitting in the back of the jeep and the jeep riding through the tough and muddy road was exciting. The jeep was sturdy and was able to pass through any kind of road. After an hour of Safari inside the jungle, the driver told us that we are going to follow a different route to go out of the jungle. I was wondering how he remembers the entire route, which direction he was travelling atc. After an hour of jungle exploration, at around 6.20 we again started towards the hotel. We did not see the Tiger till the end ! We ordered our dinner from our room and after sometime of chitchatting and sharing our experiences and looking at the photos clicked by all the shutterbugs, we returned back to our bed and started fidgeting with the TV remote and channels. I remember it was 12.30 AM when I slept.

August 09, 2009 Sunday 7:30 AM

Someone was waking me up, it was my friend who had already got ready, and I took my toothbrush, towel and entered the bathroom to get ready quickly. The water was pricking cold. The hot water tap wasn’t helping anymore. It seems hot water will not be provided after 8.00 AM. So I took some courage to pour the chilllllllllllll water over my body. I could feel the low temperature struggling to get stabilized over my body temperature. I poured another mug of water which was made to flow from my shoulders to my toes. I was freezing and was uneasy bearing the cold water in my body. After three mugs of water, I was feeling bit comfortable and the soap foam somehow kept me warm. I came out of the bathroom and got ready in 10 minutes. After a hot breakfast and Chaya (Tea), we set out another journey to Suchipara falls.

A quick glance on Soochipara Waterfalls

The Soochipara Falls is a three-tiered waterfall located 20 km from Kalpetta in Wayanad district in Kerala. 2 Kms away from Chooralmala (near Meppady). The water flows in a narrow line through the rocks and gorge joins river Chaliyar which ends in the Arabian Sea. Tea Plantations on the hill slopes will definitely fascinate you.

The paths which lead us to the falls were steep and long, we had to walk a few distance to reach the falls. There was no jeep service available and only after walking through the way we found that the service cannot be availed. It is only walkable. After reaching the exact location, we found ourselves climbing down a mountain to reach the falls. We had to climb down huge rocks which had small way for getting down. It was fun in the water. Again the water was chill and we had a great time in the waters. Many of them were clicking themselves having the waterfall at the back drop. I’m not an exception, I too asked my fellow mate to click me with the falls at the backdrop. There was a Smile and a Click. Mission Accomplished!!!

After having a sumptuous lunch at a hotel, we started towards the Quilandi Station to catch our Mangalore Express at around 1.30 PM to return back to Chennai.  It was 4.30 by the time we reached the station. Quickly reached our platform and got settled into the seats which were put up for passengers to rest. All of us were tired out of 2 day outing. The bus journey had made all of us so tire that we couldn’t bring back the same environment that was there when we were starting from the Chennai Central Station.

August 10, 2009 Monday 5:30 AM

It was 5.30 by the time we reached Chennai. Welcome to Chennai Central. The LED Display welcomed us. After deciding who is going by train and bus, we dispersed.

I got a 32B. Reached Home at 6.30 AM Kept the bags aside and quickly changed to my shorts and Tees and hit the bed. Ii was 11.00 when I woke up! It was really an awesome team outing to Wayand!