Sep 9, 2007

The Vythiri experience

Wayanad has been part of my to-see list for the past four years. As a keen lover of God's own country, I want to explore this state so much. Though I had visited the central and southern parts of Kerala, the Northern region was something I didn't get a chance to explore. A break from my first quarter and a long pending vacation from work provided the perfect chance to visit Wayanad. After the initial rounds of browsing and gathering details on best places to stay, my hubby and I finalized on Vythiri resorts. We made the bookings and also got the travel arrangements done.

The Kallada travels bus got delayed by an hour and we left Bangalore around 10:40 PM. After a six hour ride, we reached a quiet village called Vythiri around 5 AM. It was dark and spooky. The jeep that was supposed to pick us up was no where to be seen. A small tea shop owner asked us to walk a few more metres to find the jeep. We found the driver and he took us to the resort, around 4 kms from the main road, inside a dense forest region. It was a scary ride, with bad roads and distinct sounds of the jungle.

The resort doesn't have power supply and it runs mainly on diesel generators. So at that time of the hour, it was rather dark. A torch light came in handy and we were taken to the cottage allocated to us. Sleep was no where near our eyes even after a bumpy 6 hour bus journey. We were waiting for the sun to rise to take a walk around the resort. Around 6.30 AM, dark clouds and a slight drizzle greeted us. We were thrilled to see the gushing stream running inside the resort area and a hanging bridge to cross the stream to reach the restaurant. After a hot cup of tea, we roamed around for a while.

It was time for Yoga and meditation. The asanas reminded us of the Yoga classes we used to go in the mornings a year ago....Can't believe our bodies have become so stiff. After an hour's Yoga session, we felt very hungry and headed for breakfast where we were served a nice mix of both continental and Indian dishes. Since it was drizzling, we decided to remain in the resort the whole day. We played a couple of games of table tennis and carroms, also caught up on a couple of RK Narayan's books, had some very nice food and slept like logs for hours together. We also got a refreshing massage and strolled around the resort many times. It's such a quiet and peaceful place and all you get to hear is the gushing stream and the continuous voice of the insect "cricket".

The monsoon rains have been pretty heavy this time and it was continuously raining, most of the times very heavy and sometimes, a mild drizzle. As a result, we couldn't roam around Wayanad and see different places. Our activities mostly got confined to the resort premises, thanks to the heavy downpour. In between, we managed to catch up a short trip to Pookot lake and tea plantations around. The lake is very calm, surrounded by lush, green forests. We took a walk around the lake. The boating was stopped due to the rains. Also, we caught a glimpse of the famous "Chain tree". The story surrounding this chain tree is hilarious and every tour guide will take you to this tree.

Inside the resort, we spent some time observing snails and huge squirrels, popularly called as Malabar squirrels. Sept is not the right month to visit Wayanad due to South West monsoons. We heard from localites that the best time to visit Vythiri/Wayanad is from Nov to Feb. Anyway, our primary reason for this vacation was to laze around and unwind which we managed to do quite a lot.

As far as the resort is concerned, the food was very good. The service was of superior quality. The ambience of the resort amidst thick forests is definitely worth a visit. The people were friendly and helpful.

For the high price they are charging, the facilities were not upto the mark. There is no parking area. So if you are planning to drive down to the resort, your car had to be parked outside the resort in the open. The library was just a small rack of books, mostly French. If you end up spending most of the time indoors due to rains, it's better to carry some books (thankfully, we did) or any other indoor games like monopoly or scrabble to keep you occupied. For the adventurous, there are plenty of trekking options available, provided you are fully equipped to handle the leeches.

I will definitely want to visit Wayanad again to take a trip to Edakkal Caves, Kuruva Islands and Soochippara waterfalls. Maybe, during my second or third quarter break!

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