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Jan 24, 2007 02:55 PM 19838 Views
(Updated Feb 20, 2012 11:27 AM)

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Men-o-Pause: I was turning 50, in number of online reviews at my then-favourite website, I mean! I was groping around for a nice topic to write on. That is when a quick trip to Wayanad happened!

The Geography: 2 hours from Calicut (nearest airport), 2.5 hours from Kannur (nearest MSian boarding point!), 5 hours from Cochin & Bangalore - that's Wayanad for you, on GPS! Wayanad is the most unexplored but splendid example of why Kerala gets called God's Own Country! Lush green is the official colour; 0.1 mmph is the speed of life; Peace, the religion and roars and growls, the background score. For those of us who think Cochin and Kumarakom is 'Karela' here is tomorrow's hottest tourist destination in the South of India!

Wayanad indeed has much to be written about. The sights and sounds shall be a separate review, with original pictures. But, for those who just can't wait, here is a resource:

When you go to a place like Wayanad, your first concern ought to be where to stay, dine and sleep! This one is hence, to attend to that end! Take my word, the best bet at Wayanad are the 4-5 home stays dotting the place. Here is my pick - Ende Veedu, which means My Home!

Getting There: The roads to Wayanad, whichever way you take, are through hilly terrain. Nothing like Manali, but there are a few hair pins, there are the blind turns and the sudden drops. But all around is greenery, the smell of happiness and the posture of ease. You definitely won't get sick on these curves, and driving there is utter delight. The glory of the vista is spoiled by a mere narrative, so check it on the video. Suffices to say, even before you are up there, you start sitting back, singing karaoke and chilling your palms in the wind rushing past the windows. A feeling of being at one with Nature, expectant and content at once!

In the geographic centre of Wayanad is Panamaram, which literally translates to Date Palm! (You won't find a single one of those, though!). 2 km off 'date palm' is Ende Veedu.

There: The place is hidden within acres of lush greenery - painted by coffee, vanilla, pepper, coconut and mango trees. A paved driveway leads you down the estate and it is only when you are at the end of it that you see a thatched bamboo hutment raising its lovely head above the nearby green. Calmed by the unique architecture of the huts, the eyes seek more. You find a green, placid pool with ducks gracefully floating around like the gondolas of Venice (not that I have seen the latter!). The drive ends in a large foreyard, where a badminton net rustles in the strong, cool breeze. A rock garden, a machan at the boundary wall and bouquets of colourful flowers vie with each other for first glance of the visiting eye. Before you alight, the hostess of the place, Seetha Chechi, is rushing out to welcome you with a warm, large smile lining her graceful face. (A teacher by profession, she started this homestay to overcome onset of boredom due to grown up kids away from home, leaving the parents in this huge estate in the lap of nature). A huge glass of cold and freshly made juice follows, as she leads you to your choice of rooms. There are 3 excellent rooms (decorated hotel -style, within the house) and 2 bamboo huts, outside. We didn't have to think much to decide on the latter!

The Cottage: The interiors are cool, spartan and ethnic! Wooden furniture, of small sizes but big comfort, line the roomm Between the two cottages is a lobby, with a divan, a reclining chair and bamboo bolsters. An agency called Urva, of the tribals, designs and build the bamboo cottages, weaving each strand around the long reapers, over and over, to create the roof. The walls are of interlocking bricks, held together with no cement or other bonding agent!, The walls are decorated with ethinc handicrafts, again, from Wayanad's own artisans. Even the TV rests on a piece of carved coffee stump ( Cost Rs 1500!). The room has a double bed & warm blankets. The bamboo blinds roll up to reveal picturesque flora. The bathrooms are spacious, clean & well equipped, in ocean blue. The cottage, if permitted, will ensure you don't step out, but, if you do, you'll yearn to return.

Need more? Click

Once There: You are never at a loss of things to do - strolling at any time of day or night through the foliage, smelling leaves and flowers, (green water) rafting, fishing, hammock-ing, Machan-ing, chilling, reading, tree climbing or chatting with the ever ready hostess! And, if it rains, you find a new definition for Monsoon Tourism. Chuck the shirt & play football in the mud or the cemented yard with water locked in by plugged outlets! Drench yourself planting paddy in the slushy fields, jostling with your kids, or, catch crabs or fish (put them back quick if you don't eat them!) or take a bath in the world's largest shower! I met a couple there for the fourth time, from Bangalore, who told me the monsoon bit! Foreigners, Indians; men and women, all return here for repeat replays of memorable days & nights.

Most Important: Food! It is Wow! Mallu cuisine (veg/non-veg). You can specify your Spice - Ginger, Posh or ..! Food flows hot & unending, giving you a full idea of Kerala cuisine. Fish, egg & chicken coexist with chutney, sambaar, aviyal & subjis , trying to entice the rice, dosa & idli to 'do it', while they are hot! Every meal ends with a non-alcoholic beverage. Alcohol is not served! But then, take it from me, you'll never miss OM of KF at this place! You've to live it to believe it!

Sights and Sounds: No review on anything Wayanad is complete without a mention of flora & fauna! Birds wake you up with ghazals (hear video!). The ducks talk to you of better times & more laid back people. The wind rustles up tenderness in even Trance afficionados, & the bed beckons with uncommon charm, when you are tired & groggy at the end of the day. The hosts arrange for you to tour Wayanad in toto, no place being more than 1.5 hours away. State your choices (Adventure, tribal, tourist, heritage, culinary or more) in advance, and they will make sure you don't go back without experiencing Wayanad at its best. They get you guides too, for the every part. And, don't forget to pick up originalhandicrafts, for a tenth of city tags!

Cost: The solo rate is 1K, with meals, toiletries, linen and feel-good for free! I would say it's a DEAL. (m2m me for more!)

The Gyan!: If you want to enjoy the Real Kerala, Go Wayanad! And, just head to Ende Veedu. You'll never have a dull moment ever, there, & will leave feeling light in mind and rich in memories and experience!

And, don't blame me if you get addicted!

But, who cares?

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Wayanad Hotels - Wayanad