Well. Here I am back to the drawing board. This time around, I hope to last longer on the blogging scene. With that intention, this is my first post on my travels (again!). Chronologically speaking, the first time I ever traveled without immediate family was to Sri Lanka, and Madikeri in Kodagu (a.k.a Coorg). Madikeri is the headquarters of the district of Coorg and is also known as the town of Mercara.
This post, however, is not about Madikeri neither about Sri Lanka. It’s about a small quaint village nestled in the district of Wayanad, Kerala. Wayanad is a hill station district in the higher slopes of Nilagiri Biosphere on the southern fringe of the Deccan Plateau. Within this idyllic spot, is a small taluk / village in Wayanad, where the streams bustle with activity and the air is full of tranquility.
I’m talking of Vythiri. It evokes all you can dream of in a rustic jungle spot, what with overhanging arches of trees, and birdsong. It seemed to me, I was in a mystic world where the only sounds were, the rustles of leaves and the soothing sound of water running merrily down the mountainside.
We traveled to Wayanad in July 2011 during the rainy season. A tip for budget travelers: This is the off-season in Kerala where the rains lash out and thunderstorms brew, so hotel occupancy rates are down and you can get good deals (keep an eye out on Groupon.co.in as well). Our travel itinerary read as follows: Bangalore – Calicut – Wayanad -Vythiri and back. You could drive down from Bangalore via Mysore to Wayanad and then reach Vythiri as well. That is a distance of 291-295 km and would be approx. 6 hrs. Of course if you are traveling with a family and children, then it may take longer. We didn’t want to risk the roads in the monsoon season of Kerala, known to be temperamental at best, hence the longer route.
Our destination: Vythiri resort in Vythiri, Wayanad. You couldn’t ask for a better place to hang your coat and dry your shoes! (You get the drift). The resort comes highly recommended and is also the winner of the International Quality Crown Award (I can’t attest to the validity of the award; though I did read about the RCI Gold Crown Awards, see here).
In 2011, a 2 night and 3 day stay was priced at 16 k for a cottage, for 2 adults. This was for the honeymoon package. The prices will differ on the basis of the rooms, packages etc. Do confirm on their website –http://www.vythiriresort.com/ though. As I said, it was completely worth the money and would I do it again? In a heartbeat!
Now, I know the honeymoon experience always leaves one enthralled, but Vythiri resort is beautiful not just for your personal memories but as a place you would always want to visit again and again. The staff is warm, friendly and takes care of all your needs. I was down with a stomach bug and threw up after one of the meals, and they took care of my diet needs without being asked to. Just like family would. Now that’s deserving of an award. You can see below a panoramic shot of the restaurant and eating area as it was in 2011.
So we’ve covered how to get there and where to stay there, but, what do we do there? Well the resort organizes tours and treks. If you’re like us, you could hire a taxi via the resort to take you around to the spots you want to, for shopping and sight-seeing. Our first stop was Pookode Lake for a boating ride and a quiet stroll around the lake. After which we went, shopped for souvenirs (husband’s idea – not mine 🙂 ) and headed back to the resort to explore the resort surroundings better. Our package also had an Ayurvedic spa massage so we were pretty keen on doing that as well. Trust me, this resort, was the best we could have booked into. (And no, they aren’t paying me for saying so!)
Soojipara Waterfalls is another beautiful tourist spot that we went to the next day and we found locals diving and bathing there. It was an awe-inspiring sight. All that water gushing from the mountains, in all its might and glory, made me feel humbler, and closer to God. You can read more about local tourist spots here and here.
Of course, since we were in God’s own country, and it was the rainy season, the weather lived up to its name…It wept on the hillside and the trees danced with the rain winds. That brought an end to our sight-seeing, but we weren’t complaining. We took off to the rec. center within the resort, played a game of carrom and chess and wound down the day by strolling through the small boutique and shop situated within the resort. (That was me, hubby just went and checked his emails!) By the way wi-fii connectivity and net is zero within any of the rooms except for a single computer located in the office area of the resort. This was in 2011, things may have changed in the meanwhile, again I suggest one checks with the resort.
The next day was saying your good-byes to a wonderful short time which we will always remember for the rest of our lives.
Handy tips when traveling here:
Carry enough INR since banks and exchanges would be scarce.
I would suggest no card policy, do check for traveler checks/ note acceptance.
Carry enough mosquito repellent for when you step outside. Also bottled water advisable only.
Eat as you would eat on any foreign trip; wisely and sensibly. Carry enough antacid and definitely a couple of paracetamol wouldn’t be amiss.
Let me know if you can add to this list, look forward to hearing from everyone out there,