Sunday, 26 June 2016

Nagarhole with a hint of Wayanad

"Could you check the french window once again... I'm sure I locked it. Still, 3-4 days right. Need to be sure", I was telling Soma at around 5 AM in the morning of that Thursday. 

  Ya you guessed it right. We were headed out... well, somewhere. No plan, nothing. The driver was simple, "Damn! We neeeeeed one break now". Yups, we needed one badly. Eat, sleep, <code> and repeat was too much to take anymore. We just had to go out breath some fresh air.

  Ultimately, about 2 hours on the road and somewhere in the middle of Mysore Road, we fixed on Nagarhole. Why? Well, 2 reasons mainly. One, it's close, Two, we've been to Ooty very recently (so that's a no no for now) and Three, we've got known homestay what is very peaceful. Okay, so that was three... whatever, you get the idea.

  Has super awesome breakfast on Mysore road. Don't remember which Kamat, but the one that's before the McDonald's (not the attached one). Soon after we were crossing "King's Santuary", which is just yards away from the main gate of Nagarhole. We didn't stay there of course. IT'S TOO DAMN FAR FROM THE JUNGLE.

  Now we're inside. Yeeees! Good 'ol Nagarhole. Nothing beats Nagarhole. It's like, we find peace here. And not sure why, whenever we visit this jungle, the forest seems to get happier and comes back greeting us. No, really, I'm serious. You can feel it actually. The wind starts changing direction, the deer come close to your car and keep a smooth pace, a really big family of elephants with their young slowly and silently cross the road. All these things started to happen. 
   Ahhhh! Peace at last!

  So we slowly drove through the jungle cleansing our lungs and recharging our eyes. They say, see more green to make your eyes better. Ya... So true. 

  Reached the main office. So, before we talk about our interaction with the officials, you better know the goal. It's simple, to stay inside the jungle at government cottages. The ideal procedure is to book it from Mysore office (ya not Nagarhole, but Mysore) and then come with the bill and check in. But we tried to test our luck. If we had failed, our good old friend's home stay is there anyway.

  The officials in the forest office are typical grumpy folks. They don't talk much. And when they do, the usual answer is "NO". They did the same to us and handed us with a leaflet so that we can call Mysore office to check. An answering machine does better job I guess. Anyway. So we called up Mysore office. Oh wait, we had to get out of the jungle to get a tower; inside there's no mobile tower. So we went out, called up Mysore, and one gentleman told us that just go back to the office and tell them to call Mysore office from the office phone, and if there is availability, we can arrange.

  Isn't that wonderful. Those sloth like prehistoric mammals sitting in the forest office couldn't tell us this in the first time? Damn...

  Anyway, so we went back, and guess what, they are really prehistoric, the answer still was "NO". Well, the reason was different this time. More like " at this time, most folks in Mysore office must be having lunch, so cannot call and disturb them ". Ya right. Like you're calling the president of India.

  "Sit down, chill... Check out the herd of deer... feel the breeze", Soma told me as I was getting really fumed. Anyway, I did cool down. Relaxed. And then onto Mr. Narendra Pattu's homestay.

  His homestay is just a couple of Kilometers from the Kerala side gate of Nagarhole. Checked in. Some old hug and tea. Then quickly got refreshed and went out to drive to Iruppu falls.

  It was late afternoon and we knew that the gate of the falls would be closed anyway. But our target was not the falls, but just the drive. So we drove, stopped at some places on the road, took pictures and kept moving. When we were there, the gates were indeed closed. So took some snaps there; selfies, groupies etc. And then some local life. Then headed back.

  At night, we decided to extend the tour. We thought that we're close to Wayanad and we've never been there. Why don't we just check it out tomorrow and then return to Bangalore the day after. Just so you're clear, the idea was to spend the next day fully in Wayanad and come back to the homestay in the evening.

  Next Day Morning

  We left the homestay at around 6:30 AM. Already packed some cakes the previous night. So no early breakfast. It took us about 1.5 hours to reach Wayanad center. And we really didn't know what all to see. No plan remember. So we started seeing those markers that talk about travel destinations and tallied those google. So, top 3 were:
  1) Chembra Peak
  2) Edakkal Caves
  3) Pookot Lake

  Why top 3? Because it's a recharge trip and not a drain out one. Haha.

  Went straight to Chembra Peak. After you reach the ticket counter, you get two options:
  1) Trek to the top, for which you have to hire a guide and it would cost you Rs. 800 plus the entry fee for individuals. And in case you bit the killing Sun at noon, you get to see a heart shaped lake on the way. And of course, you come back.

  2) Just visit the trek starting point. Only entry fee is needed. I think somewhere around Rs. 30 per person. Don't recall exactly. But it ain't much. You don't need a guide for this one. There's a watch tower at the end of this short trek and you can relax a bit and come back.

  Again, recharge trip, so option 2 for us. :)

  From the ticket counter, till the parking, it's about 2 kilometer. Then you walk about 1 kilometer. We did too. It was really hot. But we relaxed our way to the watch tower. Something funny happened on our trek back. Some young kids (college goers I guess), were coming onward when we were going back. The funny thing is that they were having sweaters and woolen caps on in that blazing heat. Then we laughed lightly (well in our mind of course), but later we realized the fact. In that scorching heat, they lost their mind... ya that's the idea. They were probably expecting some cold place, and found boiling heat. So they went crazy and kept the sweaters, jackets and what not on. Makes sense.

  We saw may flowers and nice tea garden on the way. Here are some snaps.

  Next destinations were the cave and the lake. And guess what, when we reached, both of them were closed on that day. But no problem. We headed for some restaurant for lunch. Found one. And we took Malabari Biriyani. And it was damn good. Well, you cannot call that Biriyani. But it's a really good meat and rice preparation, with dry fruits etc. 

  No more places to see. It might just sound short, but it was good actually. In most of our trips we cover much more. But the idea was strictly not to stress ourselves. So, when we missed two of the destinations, we never looked for two replacement ones. Just relaxed.

  Back to homestay. The great thing about Mr. Pattu is that his homely nature. He and his family loves to talk to people. And we enjoy talking to them likewise. Took dinner at around 8:30 PM, awesome coorgi cuisine. Then off to bed at 9.

  Next day, we left early, at around 6:30 AM again. Wanted to make sure that we enjoy the 20 KM long drive within Nagarhole to get as much fresh air as we can. You might have noticed that we didn't do any jungle safari etc. Because we had done many safaries in this jungle. And the beauty of Nagarhole is that you get to see more wildlife while driving your own car that taking a safari.

   On the way back, we took lunch at a restaurant opposite to Coorg Cafe on Madikeri Mysore road. Coorg Cafe was filled up. So had to choose this one. This one was fine, but the service was like super duper slow. Post Dosa and Coffee, we headed straight for home.

    Bangalore traffic killed most of the fun on the way back. 

   A bunch of new pink lily bloomed in our balcony. We were enjoying the evening tea at the balcony, when my mobile popped up a notification. Office mail box, Sprint Planning on Monday. God, back to zombie mode. 

    Now enjoy the pics:
Elephant with young one

From the trekking start point at chembra peak

Folks walking down from the Chembra Peak (we took this from the start of the trekking point)

Flower on the way to chembra peak

Flower on the way to chembra peak

Starting path to chembra peak

Flower on the way to chembra peak

One young fellow was posing as his friend was taking his pic

Phoodkote lake

Next to lake. Relaxing over some icecream.

One gigantic mushroom at Nagarhole

Jungle Road

Iruppu falls entry

Soma Posing

Jungle road

Posing in front of Chembra peak

On the way to Chembra peak

A big family of elephants crossing the road.

How close we were

My turn on posing

On the way to iruppu falls

Mandir at irruppu falls

On the way to Wayanad

Soma Posing

Can you spot the deer?

Day end at Iruppu falls. Kids are playing around.

Some fun time.

Interesting post office name

On the way to Wayanad

Flowers on the way to Iruppu Falls

Fruit from the flower above

Mango all the way.

Towards Wayanad

Sculpture in front of a church

On the way to Wayanad

Wayanad City Center

Somewhere on the road

Somewhere on the road.

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