Kerala is often called as God’s Own Country and proof of this lies at Wyanad. Wyanad is a collage of mist covered mountains, lush green paddy fields, exotic flora & fauna, spice plantations and colorful festivals. Banasurasagar Dam, the largest earthen dam of India, is a perfect location for a picnic to remember. Waterfall freaks can head for Kanthapara and Soochipara falls, while the scholarly types will find the prehistoric carvings at Edakkal caves intriguing. My favorite activity in Wyanad was to walk barefoot across the Kabini River at Kuruva Islands amidst 1000 acres of evergreen forests!
Banasurasagar Island is at Kuttiyamvayal, Varambetta PO in Padinharathara. It is located 4 Kms from the Banasurasagar Dam. It can be approached from National Highway 212.
Banasura Island Retreat is a great place to stay. It is located on a hillock and provides a splendid view of the Kabini River and the scenery around. Banasura Island Retreat is spread over 15 acres and cottages are built in traditional Kerala style architecture. The Nalukettu cottage has a “Nadumittam” (central courtyard), “Kolai” (verandah) and is “Chadurmugham” (4 faced). We stayed in a cottage which provided a panoramic view of the beautiful surroundings. The large sit out portion of the cottage juts out of the hill and provides a sheer drop into valley below!
You can contact Rakesh at 09447133531 for reservations.
The most exciting activity possible in Wyanad is Island hopping by foot at the Kuruva Islands! Kuruva Islands are a 950 acre protected river delta system over the Kabini. These are uninhabited by humans, but you can find scores of exotic species of flora and fauna. You can even avail a guide at the entrance. The guide is useful if you don’t have much time and want to cover as many of the island as possible without getting totally drenched!
Edakkal Cave is another interesting place to visit while at Wyanad. Interestingly, Edakkal is actually not a cave but a cleft about 96 ft. long and 22 ft. wide in the rock. Edakkal which means “stone in between”, was formed by a heavy boulder straddling a fissure in the rock. Visitors mistake it for a cave because of a large rock that fell sometime in the past and seems like a roof.
Legend has it that Lord Rama killed Ravana's sister Surpanaka in this cave! Today Edakkal has shot into prominence in Archeological circles due to prehistoric carvings on the walls of the rock.
Muthanga Wild Life Sanctuary which is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere is one of the best places for Elephant spotting. Located neat Sultan Bathery, Muthanga Sanctuary is a Project Elephant site. Some of the other wildlife found here are Sambhar, Gaur, Tiger, Sloth Bear, Civet Cats and Bisons. Muthanga is also home to many bird species like Malabar Grey Hornbill, Babbler, Cormorant, Snipes, Shrikes and Bulbul. While the vegetation is predominantly moist deciduous, Muthanga is home to several medicinal plants and herbs.
Pookote is a fresh water lake and a great picnic spot near Vythiri town. Panamaram rivulet, one of the tributaries of River Kabini, originates from Pookote Lake. The boating over the Pookote Lake is fun. A fresh water aquarium is also located here.
For shopaholics, there are handicrafts and spices to be bought around Pookote!
Soochipara waterfalls are a sight to behold. Located near Meppadi, the waterfall is 3 tiered and is 200 feet in height. You need to walk 2 kms thro dense forest to reach the water falls. The best view of the surrounding landscape is from the tree top huts located near the water falls.
The Glass Temple at Koottamunda is an interesting temple to visit. Locally known as Kannadi Shetram, the temple is dedicated to Paraswanath Swami, the third Tirthankara of Jain faith. It is believed to have been constructed 200 years ago after the flight of Jains to the Malabar region. The highlight of the temple is the set of mirrors placed in the inner side of the sanctum which reflects the image of the idols into a thousand patterns.
The best way to explore Muthanga is on the back of an elephant! You can contact the Forest Department for organising the same.
For a travelogue on the most famous Hill Station of Kerala, check Enchanting Munnar.
For my photoblog on Incredible India, please visit India Travel Pictures