Monday, 29 October 2012

Wayanad: In the lap of nature : Part 2

Wayanad: In the lap of nature: Part2
To read Part-1, Please click here
Day 2: Today we set off with another list of places in Wayanad. First up was the Kanthanpara waterfalls. This was even better than the other one we visited the previous day. We went to the top of the falls and sat on the rocks to enjoy the falls. The water was really cool and soothing. The main thing was that, it was early morning and there was no crowd at all which gave us complete privacy. We then went to the base of the falls and was really refreshing.
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After a while at the falls we started towards the next point that was Chembra. We could only drive till a certain distance beyond which we have to trek for which we require a permit from the forest department. The trek is very popular among the youth and we have a heart shaped lake at the summit of Chembra Peak.
The driver Senthil was very friendly and guided us all through the drive to Chembra. At the point where we parked our vehicle we could walk close to the tea plantations and we had a watch tower as well where we had a panoramic view of the entire district. Senthil told us that to visit the entire Wayanad stretch we require at least 1 week.
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As we were already short of time we then quickly moved on to Edakkal caves, our next point. Edakkal caves is located close to the ancient trade route from Mysore to Malabar coast. It is not an actual cave but a rift as a result of split between two giant rocks. The main attraction at Edakkal caves is the carvings and paintings by pre-historic civilization which date back to 5000 BC. This is known to be a big discovery in the history of Indian Archaeology. To reach the caves, we have to park our vehicle at the parking lot, then we have to go to the base of the rocky cave by a jeep as the route is rocky which suits only jeeps. Then further we have to climb our way to the top to visit the caves. The caves is visited by a number of people and is worth its popularity. Some movies have also been shot at these caves.
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After visiting the caves, we decided to have our lunch at Sulthan Bathery. The driver dropped us to the Sulthan Bathery bus depot from where we went to Mysore. From Mysore we got a bus to Bangalore.
So that concluded a memorable weekend.
How to reach: Easily approachable by road and rail. Take the SH17 Bangalore-Mysore highway. From Mysore take NH 212 till Gundlupet and turn right towards Kalpetta.
All buses towards Calicut halt at Kalpetta and Sulthan Bathery. Buses are available from Bangalore and Mysore.

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Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Wayanad: In the lap of nature – Part 1

Wayanad: In the lap of nature – Part 1 

To read Part 2, Please click here

Overview: Weekend was approaching and we made a quick plan to visit Wayanad. As it was already Thursday and we were planning to reach there on Saturday, we could not book any resorts as well. All the buses were also full so no reservations. So either we had to postpone the trip or we had to make it more adventurous. We chose the latter option.
We went to the Mysore road Satellite bus station in Bangalore hoping to get some seat in any bus. A KSRTC Rajahamsa bus was about to leave to Calicut which was full. The conductor also told that all the Karnataka KSRTC buses were full. We went to the Kerala KSRTC enquiry and were told that there is an ordinary bus at 11:30pm. We decided to take that bus. The moment the bus came to the platform, there was a chaos around and everyone was pushing each other to get into the bus. Both me and my wife managed to get seated together fortunately. The seats were also not very comfortable. No back rest and the seats were at right angle. So somehow we managed to get some little sleep.
The bus started at around 12am. We were supposed to get down at Kalpetta which is the district headquarters.

Day 1: We reached Kalpetta at around 5am and found that there is no proper bus terminus. There was a major bus terminus at Sulthan Bathery which we had already crossed. We searched for some hotels and fortunately got a decent hotel to stay in. We checked in to the hotel and relaxed for a while. We booked a cab for the day to roam around.
We started at around 9am from our hotel and the first place in our list was the Banasurasagar Dam. We went to the dam and it was a huge reservoir and we hired a paddle boat for some fun. It was really nice to be in the middle of the lake with hills in the background. We were boating for around 30 mins and then came out to proceed for the next place.

Banasurasagar Dam Banasurasagar DamBanasurasagar Dam  Banasurasagar Dam Banasurasagar Dam
The next was the Pookot Lake. It is a large freshwater lake with green mountains in the background. Its very popular among tourists in Wayanad as was evident. There was an aquarium and green house inside the lake premises. The aquarium had a rich collection of various breeds of fish. After visiting the aquarium we decided to have a stroll along the lake. We went into the forest for some distance and then returned back.

On the way to Pookot Lake Pookot Lake Pookot Lake Pookot Lake Pookot LakePookot Lake Pookot Lake  Pookot Lake
The next place was the Lakkidi view point. Before that was an interesting Ficus tree which is chained. There is an interesting story behind this. Legend says that there was an tribal person who guided a British Engineer to this place. To take the full credit of this discovery, the Britisher killed the tribal person and it is believed that since then his ghost haunts the entire place. To get rid of this ghost, a priest chained it to this tree and since then this tree has remained chained and hence the name Chain Tree.
Then further down we went to the Lakkidi view point which was really fantastic. We could see huge mountains on all sides and the curved roads could be seen at a distance. It was terrific and one can spend hours together admiring the beauty of nature. We then took a break for lunch near Lakkidi.

Chain TreeLakkidi Lakkidi   Lakkidi
Post lunch we proceeded towards Soochippara waterfalls and the route was through a number of tea estates. It was really beautiful to drive through the tea plantations. We reached Soochippara falls parking lot at around 2:30 and had to trek for around a kilometre to reach to the base of the falls. As we were trekking through the woods we could hear the sound of the waterfalls and soon we could see the falls in full flow. Even though it was not the peak rainy season for the falls, it looked really beautiful with plenty of water. We went close to the falls and played for a while.
This was the last place for the day and we decided to head back to the hotel in Kalpetta. On the way we stopped for a while to enjoy a walk into the tea plantations. It was really great to walk inside the plantations with rich green colour surrounding us. We could see greenery in all directions and was really enjoyable.

 Soochippara falls Soochippara falls Soochippara falls Soochippara fallsSoochippara falls 

Continued in next part, Please click here

How to reach: Easily approachable by road and rail. Take the SH17 Bangalore-Mysore highway. From Mysore take NH 212 till Gundlupet and turn right towards Kalpetta.
All buses towards Calicut halt at Kalpetta and Sulthan Bathery. Buses are available from Bangalore and Mysore.



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Friday, 5 October 2012

Kundgol & Unkal, Hubli: From the Chalukya Trail

Kundgol & Unkal, Hubli: From the Chalukya Trail 

This Post is a part of the Chalukya Trail. Please Click here to read the main post
Overview: After visiting Bankapura, our next place was Kundgol which is in Dharwad district. We reached Kundgol in the evening by around 4:30pm. Kundgol is popular for the Shambhulinga temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple was fortunately open and we had a view of the lord as well. The temple was built in the 11th century by the Chalukyas. This temple has been recently renovated and some colouring has been done and iron bars have been put along the temple area.
Shambhulinga temple, Kundgol Shambhulinga temple, Kundgol Shambhulinga temple, KundgolShambhulinga temple, Kundgol Kundgol-Hubli road
From Kundgol, we proceeded towards the final place for the day, the Chandramouleshwara temple in Unkal, Hubli. There is no proper approach road to this temple, so we parked our car at the entrance of the street and went to the temple. The temple is built on a high platform and is probably built out of sandstone, is lined with intricate carvings on the walls and pillars. The temple was built overlooking the Unkal lake, but due to enroachments, many houses have been built around the temple blocking the view of the lake. According to the inscriptions found here, this temple was built around 10th century by the Chalukyas. After visiting this temple, we spent some time watching the sunset at the Unkal lake and then proceeded towards Dharwad for the night halt.
Chandramouleshwar temple, Unkal Chandramouleshwar temple, Unkal Chandramouleshwar temple, Unkal Chandramouleshwar temple, UnkalChandramouleshwar temple, Unkal  Chandramouleshwar temple, Unkal Chandramouleshwar temple, UnkalChandramouleshwar temple, Unkal  Sunset@Unkal Lake, HubliSunset@Unkal Lake, Hubli
How to reach:  Bus: From Bangalore, there are direct buses to Hubli.
Car/Bike: From Davangere, head on NH4 towards Hubli. To go to Kundgol, go to Hubli and travel south for around 10 kms.
Food/Accommodation: Lot of Hotels and restaurants are available at Hubli and Dharwad for food and accommodation.