Saturday, August 25, 2012

Indian To-Do List: A very short blog this!

Ok, so this one's gonna be pretty short. It is all about a 100 things that you probably must do, especially if you're an Indian to be even able to remotely appreciate what India is all about. Its not my list, its a list I've flicked from the wall post (yeah, facebook) of a close friend. So here it goes:

Its pretty comprehensive in all aspects and covers major regions, states, cultures and every other features associated with it. Read through, plan, execute and get enlightened! ;)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wayanad with friends: An encore

Its been ages since I blogged. One main reason, I got a chance to go home. Back to India! Boy did that feel good from the moment I booked my tickets. As soon as I booked them, next step, wanderlust in India. This time it was going to be with some of my besties, not the usual lonewolf trip logs. Oh wait, has the concept of lonewolf taken a battering in my posts? Maybe yes. Anyways, destination Wayanad it was to be. You guys might have seen a previous post in which I describe a trip to Wayanad. Well, it did look like god's own country had taken me in as its own and made me come back. Away from the usual theme of the blog, this time its a succinct description of the whole experiences than just about the travel and lesser known facts.

June 8-11, all of the weekend, dedicated to a reunion after 9 months. Unlike last time, the route was Chennai-Calicut and then Wayanad. A different home-stay too; Wayanad Blooms it was. Mangalore Mail took us from Madras (yes, no matter what, it'll always be Madras to me and not Chennai) to Calicut. From there we took a cab to Wayanad Blooms. A major lot of the 16 hour journey from Madras to Calicut was covered by UNO and "vetti mokkais". Its never the same away from close friends, wherever you live. Things never feel the same without them around. You can always be the mental and childish you around them and no one will give a penny about it. You love being around them, and vice-versa. 

The cab journey passed in no time too, aided by breathtaking landscapes and just catching up with each other. No matter how many whatsapp messages you send, its never like a face to face chat. We reached WB at around 3pm. Arrival was 3pm thanks to a visit to the Soochipara Waterfalls. What a beauty that falls is. No matter how many times I visit it, I simply love being there. Unlike last time, it was not gushing like crazy and that allowed us to jump from rock to rock and reach close to the base of the falls. It was a truly wonderful experience.
Soochipara Waterfalls, Wayanad

A quick freshen up and it was time for grub. The menu was simple, but super delicious and homely. As famished as we were, we gobbled it all up and it was time to scout around the place. Its a picturesque setting. A stream flows nearby and there's a lot of green cover all around. Myriad sounds and sights of birds, a small animal shelter and if lucky a couple of reptiles along with the place itself resting in the pristine lap of nature make the place ideal for a short holiday and relaxation. I am sure that even the most stressed out minds will find solace here, or any of the homestays that are away from the main hustle and bustle of Kalpeta, or the main commercial hub in Wayanad district. WB also offers holistic ayurveda massages and all ayurvedic stuff, charged extra of course.
Your friends at Wayanad Blooms

So, well fed and rested, it was time for some badminton. Initially we thought of playing a couple of games and then retiring to the comfort of our rooms. But, 2 hours became 3 and we were bathed in sweat. Back to rooms, refresh and head out to eat. Again, a simple but delicious meal. Restless souls we were, it was table tennis and carroms this time. Repeat a bath in sweat. Go back to room, relax and refresh. More UNO and vetti mokkai. Bliss it was, no, seriously we wished the break to go longer than planned. We needed a bit of sleep at least and that compelled us to crash for a couple of hours at least. It was a long day ahead was it not?

Next day, head to Edakkal caves. This time I was better prepared with a tripod for a long exposure shot to capture the ancient cave art. But more than the photography opportunities, and I repeat myself, it was the quality time I got to spend with pals that made it super awesome. Lots of pictures here. It was not too sunny, a bit of cloud cover, and probably ideal light for a noob like me to get some decent enough pictures.
Cave Art at Edakkal Caves, Wayanad

After the fun at Edakkal, we headed to Banasura Sagar Dam, impounding the Kabini River. This dam is 21km away from Kalpeta and is the largest earthern dam in India. Legends say that the Asura king Banasura, (the son of King Mahabali, who is believed to visit Kerala during every Onam festival) undertook a severe penance on the top of these hills and thus it was named after him. The surrounding areas of Banasura Sagar dam are ideal for trekking and probably an amateur trekker's delight. I would surely like to come back here and explore the trails sometime.
Backdrop of the Banasura Sagar Dam, Wayanad

We headed to our final destination of this trip, the Pookote Lake. Interestingly, the Kabini River originates from Pookote Lake. Pookote lake has tons of Blue Lily Flowers in the lake. They make great subjects for macro photography. Tourists can rent pedal boats for themselves to explore the lake. The charges are INR 50 for a 20 min ride. Make sure you have decent calf muscles to survive the 20 mins. The roots of the lillies do impede your progress and make pedalling more strenuous. 
Pookote Lake, Wayanad

After Pookote lake, it was time to head to Calicut and back home. It was a very reluctant parting to be honest. 2-3 days of togetherness and bonding does make you sad at the end of the trip. But again, we look forward to much more trips like this. In the next trips we'll have Vasisht too. I am so looking forward to his first trip with all of us. Arch, Deva, SRG and Vini, this trip would not have been possible without you guys. As always, it was super memorable, and like I said, looking forward to many more trips. Oh yeah, did I mention this blog entry is dedicated to you guys?