India, Kerala

Getaway from Bangalore -Bandipur and Wayanad

After an exchange of several hundreds of messages on our WhatsApp group, it was decided that the destination for our weekend trip was Wayanad. As we were 6 of us, we rented out a Scorpio from  Zoom car and set out from Bangalore on Saturday, at 3 O’clock in the morning. We stopped at a Cafe Coffee Day just before Bandipur get refreshed at around 5:30 AM.

We reached Bandipur by 6 AM. The road to reach the national park opens at 8:15 AM and there was a long queue of vehicles waiting. We slept off in the car waiting for the Gates to open.

About Bandipur: Bandipur is one of the most well managed National Parks in India. Together with Mudumalai Wild Life Sanctuary, Tamilnadu and the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala and the Nagarhole national park Karnataka, this makes the India’s biggest Biosphere reserve known as Nilgiri Biosphere reserve.

We opted for Van Safari in Bandipur hoping to see some tigers. The price per person is 300 INR and takes 45 minutes. Sadly enough, we only found few deer, buffaloes and few elephants during the safari.We captured some amazing shots of the sunrise.

The baby elephants at Bandipur
The deers
The Van Safari
Sunrise Scenes
Random Capture

After this, We had our brunch at a restaurant in Ooty Road at around 12:30 and then we left for Wayanad.It was actually a 3-hour ride. As luck would have it, one wrong turn and we ended up on top of a hill in Ooty :P. The weather was cool and pleasant. We were welcomed by the tea estates when we entered Kerala, God’s own countryFinally, we reached our hotel apartment in Kalpetta( Wayanad cliff hotel apartments) at around 2:30 PM. After freshening up, we left for our first destination- Edakkal Caves.

About Edekkal Caves: Timings: 8:30 AM- 4 PM

Entry fee: Indians INR 20, Foreigners: INR 40

Edakkal means a stone in between. The place is not actually a cave, but a boulder wedged between two others. Edakkal is the only place with stone age carving in South India that back to as old as 7000 years. The carvings belonging to Neolithic and Mesolithic Age include ancient stone scripts, ancient weaponry figures, symbols, figures of various animals and human beings etc.

The writings at Edakkal Caves
Some incomprehensible writing

We had to trek 4000 Feet up a mountain to reach the Caves. We were not aware that the caves were on the top of the mountain. The trek never seemed to end. It was one hell of a trek to reach the mountain caves and then get back. Although we saw the neolithic carvings and the view from the top of the mountain was beautiful, I personally felt that the trek was not worth it. Instead, we could have visited the waterfalls or an island that was situated nearby.

By the time we reached back, it was already 7 PM. We explored around the city a bit and then went in search of dinner. We were famished by that time. We did not find a vegetarian restaurant in Kalpetta. (We have vegetarian friends). We had to have our dinner at a non-vegetarian restaurant. We reached our room at around 9:30 PM and called it a day. We had planned to visit the Idukki falls, but we were too tired for it.

Pro tip: Most of the shops close before 8 PM here and many of them do not accept cards (Well, that was before demonetization. 🙂 I do not know the current situation).But it is always advisable to keep some cash handy.

Our second day in Wayanad started with the breakfast at our hotel apartment. We left for our trek to Chembra peak at 7 AM.

About Chembra Peak:

Trek timing: 7 AM to 2 PM.

Entrance: On the spot permissions from the forest department.Costs 750 for a group of 10. Trek guide charges are also included in this. However, we can tip the guide if we are happy with the services.

Total ascent of the trek: approx 4000 ft.

The height of the Chembra peak: 6900 ft above sea level.

The Chembra peak is the highest peak in Wayanad. The forest department doesn’t allow for trekking till the peak but one can trek till the heart lake. The trek is really tedious (considered 6/10 on the rate of difficulty level) and it took us three hours by foot to reach the heart lake. We saw several people returning without going to the Heart Lake as the last leg of the trek is very steep and requires a lot of stamina. Several stops and one pack of glucose later (that was for me, the rest of the group was fine), we made it to the top. The view from the top was breathtaking. The fresh and clean air was very refreshing. We stayed there for an hour and took some snaps and were back to the base.

The view on the way to Chembra Peak
The Greenery was a treat to us city folks
The Trail. We had a local guide who showed us the way
The view, half the way through the trek. The Greens and the blues are Love.
View from the base!
The Chembra Peak
Yes, the place is a plastic Free Zone!
The view from one of the Resting Points.
A tiny pond before we reach the heart lake. We named it the lung lake!LOL
The Heart Lake
Us at one of the photo points
On our way back
The trail

We had our lunch at a local restaurant there and got back to our room. We had to get back to Bangalore the very same day.

Since many places had to be reached by trek and we had only two days to explore the place, we missed out few places. Here is a list of places which we are planning on covering on our next trip.If you are staying in Wayanad for three- four days; these places can be included in the itinerary.

– Banasura dam

– Soochipara falls

– Kuruvadweepa

– Meenamutty falls

– Wayanad Heritage museum.

So that is it. A group of friends and a car is all that is needed to go for an adventure. We are definitely going to Wayanad again to enjoy the lush greenery and have fun.

17 thoughts on “Getaway from Bangalore -Bandipur and Wayanad

  1. I loved the lung lake! As someone who studied archaeology, you had me fascinated with the Mesolithic and Neolithic caves, although I take on board what you say about the length of the trek to reach them. For a weekend getaway, you managed to do so many interesting things; that’s brilliant.

  2. I haven’t been to India, looks like such a beautiful part of the world. Love seeing all your photos. The park sounds like a worthwhile adventure and good to know that some of the hikes are ones you need to be prepared for.

  3. The writings on the cave walls were amazing! I love foreign scripts so, seeing your photo made me so excited about it. Not to mention that I adore everything Indian – from chana masala to black tea. 🙂

  4. Wow. I’ve never heard of Bandipur park before, and now it’s on my list. I would love to see the animals, but really it’s the ancient writing that calls to me. Gorgeous.

  5. It’s good to know that this is one of the well managed parks in India, I have been to a few and some have been superbly managed and others not very much so. I love the landscapes too, really beautiful, even if one doesn’t see any wildlife, the trip is worthwhile! Good to know about that queue for entry.

  6. I never expected to see something like this in India. I find the caves fascinating – always love to visit them and see how they are different depending on the culture of the locals. Animals are my things, so this would be the part that would most attract me.

  7. Great article! I am fascinated by history so I would head to Edakkal to check out the stone carving as my first stop. The trek looks a bit hectic, but I am sure that the views on the way up were very rewarding. The scenery looks spectacular.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *