- Sauvik Biswas / autobot: 54UV1K - https://sauvikbiswas.com -

A weekend Wayanad trip – in pictures

Planning a sightseeing trip in Wayanad

Kerala government has done a lot to promote tourism in their state. The district of Wayanad is exception. The infrastructure, especially the roads, are pretty nicely laid out so that to and fro commutes are not an issue. There is a catch though. Kalpetta and Sulthan Bathery are two towns located at the heart of Wayanad. Most tourist spots are located far away in a hub and spoke fashion at distances between 40-50 km from these towns. We ended up traveling around 400 km (+ 600 km from and to Bangalore) just to cover all the major spots. That did not include the waterfalls as the streams had dried up due to lack of rains.

Kerala has done a lot to promote tourism and earn revenue in the process. Almost all spots have info boards like this. [1]

Kerala has done a lot to promote tourism and earn revenue in the process. Almost all spots have info boards like this.

Sulthan Battery, the place were we halted for the night, shut down by 8.30. [2]

Sulthan Bathery, the place were we halted for the night, shut down by 8.30.

The extent to which a tourist friendly ecosystem has been developed is evident when one comes across multitude of shops selling souvenirs and local specialties. For example, the geologically and anthropologically important spot, Edakkal Caves, require a kilometre of uphill trek to reach the caverns where neolithic people took shelter. District Tourism Development Council has also employed people to explain the significance and history of the engravings on the walls.

Edakkal Cave can be only reached via a mild trek. This is the last motorable point. [3]

Edakkal Cave can be only reached via a mild trek. This is the last motorable point.

A man had set up a makeshift shop of drawing live portraits. You could get your side view done for 200 rupees. [4]

A man had set up a makeshift shop of drawing live portraits. You could get your side view done for 200 rupees.

A lot of localites sell locally made goods near tourist attractions. These dolls made of coconut shells were pretty amusing. [5]

A lot of localites sell locally made goods near tourist attractions. These dolls made of coconut shells were pretty amusing.

Edakkal caves consists of two cavities. This one is at a lower altitude. [6]

Edakkal caves consists of two cavities. This one is at a lower altitude.

The view of the settlements from the entrance of upper Edakkal caves. [7]

The view of the settlements from the entrance of upper Edakkal caves.

The road to the caves is rocky but is not very tiring. [8]

The road to the caves is rocky but is not very tiring.

The upper cave has a lot of engravings. These engravings are not from the same era. This is a tribal chief from 6000 BC. [9]

The upper cave has a lot of engravings. These engravings are not from the same era. This is a tribal chief from 6000 BC.

Dinesh, an employee of District Tourism Development Council, explained us the engravings. [10]

Dinesh, an employee of District Tourism Development Council, explained us the engravings.

The cave is technically not a cave but a shelter formed by a few hanging rocks between two separate hills. This is the gap between them. [11]

The cave is technically not a cave but a shelter formed by a few hanging rocks between two separate hills. This is the gap between them.

Large and small water bodies, that could be of any potential interest to a visitor, have been made tourist friendly. Easy commute, direction markers and facilities inside the bounded zones have contributed to the success of tourism.

Banasurasagar Dam is the second largest earthen dam in Asia. [12]

Banasurasagar Dam is the second largest earthen dam in Asia.

A nice species of flowers that did not have a label in the dam's nursery. [13]

A nice species of flowers that did not have a label in the dam’s nursery.

Kuruva Island had a raft to transport tourists to the island. [14]

Kuruva Island had a raft to transport tourists to the island.

People pull the raft using stationary ropes running from the mainland to the island. [15]

People pull the raft using stationary ropes running from the mainland to Kuruva island.

People enjoying a bath in the muddy waters in Kuruva island. There is no flow due to lack of rains. [16]

People enjoying a bath in the muddy waters in Kuruva island. There is no flow due to lack of rains.

Pookot Lake was one place which can be enjoyed better in colder climate. [17]

Pookot Lake was one place which can be enjoyed better in colder climate.

The temple ruins

Right at the heart of Sulthan Bathery is a ruined Jain temple that has been taken over by the Archeological Survey of India. Our driver, Manjunath, mentioned that there were many such Jain temples scattered around in Wayanad – most of them in dilapidated condition.

A  Jain temple in Sulthan Bathery was taken over by ASI for maintenance [18]

A Jain temple in Sulthan Bathery was taken over by ASI for maintenance

The corridor of the Jain temple [19]

The corridor of the Jain temple

An exception was a small Hindu temple at Thirunelly. Although the temple itself was in ruins, regular prayer sessions and a proactive effort in reconstructing the ruined segments of the temple kept it from becoming a part of ancient archaeology.

Thirunelly temple [20]

Thirunelly temple

Ancient aqueduct has been modernised. [21]

Ancient aquaduct has been modernised.

An idol outside Thirunelly temple. [22]

An idol outside Thirunelly temple.

The lamps in Thirunelly temple are lit everyday. [23]

The lamps in Thirunelly temple are lit everyday.

An engraving of a symbolic devotee prostrating infront of Vishnu. [24]

An engraving of a symbolic devotee prostrating infront of Vishnu.

A few observations

Wayanad was hot. It was hotter than Bangalore. For a place that classifies itself as a hill station, the temperature was not what I had expected. I could make out that the people were used to colder climates. All restaurants offered warm water, a practice usually followed in colder places. Also, the hotel offered us blankets, which were of no use. Maybe it’s a sign of the gradual change in weather that has been occurring in the Indian subcontinent (Global warming?).

A lot of trees had dried up and died. Many bamboo groves had similar fate [25]

A lot of trees had dried up and died. Many bamboo groves had similar fate

Dead mushrooms have become a part of the bark. [26]

Dead mushrooms have become a part of the bark.

Tea and coffee plantations were visible on the slopes. Most of the tea plantations belonged to Harrisons Malayalam Company. The coffee plantations did not have boards on them.

Most of the tea estates nearby were owned by Harrisons Malayalam Ltd. [27]

Most of the tea estates nearby were owned by Harrisons Malayalam Ltd.

We had tea made from tea powder at the first tea stall in Kozhikode district on the border of Wayanard district. I had never had tea made from tea powder (not leaves or ctc) before. It tasted unusual and nice.

This is the first tea stall after crossing Wayanad District border into Kozhikode. [28]

This is the first tea stall after crossing Wayanad District border into Kozhikode.

The tea shop used some type of tea dust - much like coffee - and did not strain it. It tasted different and good. [29]

The tea shop used some type of tea dust – much like coffee – and did not strain it. It tasted different and good.

There were a lot of monkeys in Wayanad. These are smaller than the ones we have back in Bengal. They were used to the tourists and did not bother them – nor were they bothered by our presence.

Wayanad is filled with monkeys. Here's one enjoying a slide. [30]

Wayanad is filled with monkeys. Here’s one enjoying a slide.

Banasurasagar dam has a small park attached to it. It had lot of such swings for an adult's recreation. [31]

The monkeys might think the same about their primate brethren.

Day 1: A leisurely stroll in Kochi [32]
Differential pricing of Cream Cracker in India [33]