Here is my Travelouge, of Waynad in Oct 2009. Day1: Left Blore 6:10 AM, reach mysore 8:15 AM had breakfast in some hotel there. Headed to Wayanad from there. Roads where good almost entire way. After Mysore it was only 2 lane road. It was raining but that did not slow us down. Total distance to Wayanad would be around 290 kms.Upon reaching the border of Kerala (Wayanad) you will start seeing good greenary, and bamboo plantations. Stop there take some pics. We had to pay kerala tax since we were in tourist vehicle.
I stayed at Royal Palm residency. it was okay place, I think it was a bit expensive, rates are as mentioned on their website. Not sure if there are cheaper or better options.The owner of hotel was very friendly and willing to help, he was flexible with us. We had taken 3 BR apt as we were 8 people.
After lunch we headed to Soochipara falls, from the parking lot there was Mahindra jeep that took us inside. Its very cheap they only charge rs 50 for entire jeep, to and fro. (1KM) since it was raining heavily the falls was excellent, water force stunned us , we could not go inside the falls as there was the threat of leeches. Leeches bit 5 out of 8 people in our group, they come from anywhere , you realize only when blood start coming out.
After that we went to Chembra peak, this place closes at 6 PM. we could not climb up. We just went to the base, saw some scenery and came back. Since it was raining the was a falls on chembra peak base, which was very good and nice breathtaking view from that falls. Again Leeches was problem here due to rain.
We could not goto Pookot lake so we went back to Kalpetta and retired for the day.
Started off with Pookot lake , it was excellent, the place was calm and relaxing the lake is surrounded by green mountains and there is a trail which goes all around the lake. This 2KM relaxing trail will rejuvinate you. We also took boat inside the lake.
Did some shopping of handicrafts at store near Pookot and headed for Lakkidi view point. Due to cloudy conditions we could not get good view there. But since it is very close to Pookot lake its worth the visit.
it was lunch time but we decided to goto Banasura Sagar Dam , that place was excellent, we took speed boat, which took us inside for a huge round. The view was great both from inside the boat and from the Dam. Again Mahindra jeep was there from Parking lot to Dam
At around 3 PM we had lunch at local restaurant at Banasura.
We headed for Thirunelly temple, but to our disappointment they would not allow other religion people to the temple. Entire 90 mins ride from Dam to Temple seemed waste for us. We thought we would get good view from there. We dont know if this place is worth gooing for sightseeing. I could have skipped this place and went to Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctury. However since the car passed from Wayanad wildlife sanctury we good good view of Jungle.
We headed to Kalpetta and retired for day.
Day 3. Eddakkal caves, one of the best places in my opinion in Wayanad. You have to climb up 200 - 300 meters but its worth it as you get to see good greenary along the way. Just before the enterance of the cave the panoramic view is simply breath taking. I like this place a lot. The trek was easy, my mother could also do it, but it was very crowded and often people in both directions would block each other.
Did some shopping at the base of the eddakkal caves and then we went to lunch to sultan bathery at jubilee restaurant. here i had one of the best butter chickens of my life. The food was good here.
We headed to Kutta as we had planned for Nagarhole for next day. We went to Mananthavadi and then to Kutta.
We stayed at Chilligeri [Chilligere] Estate homestay , but it was not as good as we had expected. First it is 6 KMs from Kutta town. The distances posted on the website are incorrect, and it is very hard to find the place. The food was horrible, the host were good. The place was not well maintained, floors were dusty, one of our rooms did not have light, they arranged for night lamp. HOt water is brought in by servant in bucket.
For Rs 1000 per person, I guess I deserved a much better place. I suggest members to checkout some other homestays. Not sure who has posted about chilligere in this forums. It appears to me that host themselves are recommending the forums to get business.
Day 4: Started off at 5:30 AM to take 6 AM safari at Nagarhole. We saw some deers on the way to park. We were the first to enter the Nagarhole park. Due to sunrise being after 6 , they were not prepared for 6 Am safari. We had to wait there till 6:45 AM before the driver came. We started at 7 AM for an hour long utterly disapointing safari. We only saw deers , deers and more deers. saw couple of peacocks without feathers. No Elephants, no wild dogs, no boars, nothing. I dont think there are any tigers here, since we saw people from Kabini coming in an open jeep.
The driver said its luck, but i think the safari should have been arranged in such a way that they should take you to the place where you would see some animals. The jungle is huge, and not seeing a single elephant was disappointing.
We then headed back to homestay for equally disappointing breakfast made from left over rice from previous night and coffee with 1/10 of milk and 90% hot water.
However Irrupu falls compensated for the bad day, the road was horrible, but since it was only 3 Kms it was not that bad. You have to walk from parking lot to the falls , around 800 meters, takes 20 mins , we saw some good views on the way and finally saw the huge Iruppu falls, the water was cold but we could not resist going inside. We enjoyed here for some time and then headed back at around Noon.
We also went to Ranganatittu Bird sanctury as we had time. We took 30 mins boat ride, saw 3-4 species of birds, crocodiles. This is a good stop over , i recommend this. However the best time to visit is March, when you would see 20 species of birds, that is what they claim.
The park is newly built and looks very good. We headed back home after a good satisfying overall trip.
What we could have done better:
1. Skip Nagarhole and goto Tholpetty. We met a family who said they saw many animals at Tholpetty and Nagarhole was disappointing.
2. Planned the trip so we could have covered couple of more places.
3. Spent more time at pokoot lake.
Enjoy the Wayanad trip.
EDIT June 2014 :
Few more places to visit in Wayanad
Neelimala View Point - 1.5 KM trek
Around 14 Kms from Edakkal Caves , this place provides a distant view to meenmutty falls. This view point has got more attention and visitors after Meenmutti waterfall got closed. Neelimala View Point gives panaromic 360 degree view of wayand, meenmutty waterfall and if the fog is absent then u can also see Soochipara waterfalls.. When u visit Edakkal you can plan to visit this place . One has to take a trek of 1.5 Km to 2 KM up the hill to reach the top. You will be asked to hire a guide since the place is bit scary. You can easily get a jeep and guide for 400 rupees. However if you dont take jeep and decide to walk you can enjoy every bit of it. Ideal time to visit : Between 11 Am to 3 Pm ( Place will be foggy during early morning and evening). Its and excellent place in wayanad and must visit if you can, and is strictly advised for people who are unable to climb the Chembra Peak. Park your car on main road and then take jeep or walk. In some ways this place is a hidden jewel and slowly catching up.
Banasura Sagar Dam -
The Banasura Sagar Dam is located 21 km from Kalpetta, in Wayanad District of Kerala in the Western Ghats. It is the largest earthen dam in India and the second largest in Asia and an ideal starting point for hikes into the surrounding scenic mountains. It is an important tourist attraction.Banasura Sagar Dam is at the foot of the Banasura Hill. http://www.banasura.com/banasura-sagar-dam. Timings for Boating is 9 AM to 5 PM.
The panoramic view is best during rainy season. Small islands can be seen in the dam reservoir during monsoon and that with the green mountain range in the backdrop, is simply spectacular!. There is a ‘Nature park’ with lots of traditional tree swings which make us want to become a child again. Stalls for refreshments can be found here.
If the sight of Bamboo raft crossing the river and reaching a jungle excites you , think again before you visit this place. The pictures look good but its dirty and overcrowded. The Kuruva islands are a group of three islands located in the middle of one of the tributaries of the east-flowing river Kabani. This 950-acre tract of uninhabited land is rich in flora and fauna. This island is isolated but an array of uncommon species of birds; herbs and orchids are the monarchs of Kuruva Island. The 3 minute boat ride to enter the small island is interesting. Once you enter, all you can do is to walk between the trees. No water. No food. This place can give you average experience , but definitely can be avoided. Only if you have time you can try this out.