Scenic Wayanad — the vacation begins!

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We started our journey by road to Wayanad from Bangalore. We were going to a small homestay,Treasure Trove, our first destination.  The trip itinerary and booking was done by Shivya and Sifty from India Untravelled courtesy the Indiblogger contest that I’d won recently. We had done this route earlier and knew the route quite well. On Mysore Road, we passed Ramanagram (the same place where the movie Sholay was shot) to Mandya, Maddur, Srirangapatna and finally Mysore. We stopped for breakfast at Kamat’s in Mandya. I love their idlis steamed wrapped in plantain leaves lending a unique taste to the idlis. We also tucked into some piping hot rava dosas and strong filter coffee. Yummy! Sid liked the steaming hot idlis. They also helpfully gave some hot water for him.

Satiated we continued on the journey. The roads had relatively sparse traffic, as it was still early morning. Mysore was quiet as well. We went right in front of the Mysore Palace that was decked up for Dasshera celebration. Stopping on the way for some coconut water, we went via Nanjungud and Gundlupet through Bandipur forest. As we come out of the forest, Bandipur becomes Muthunga and we crossed the State border into Kerala. We stopped here at a small restaurant called Rasana where we got a taste of some authentic Kerala food. The food was strictly okayish, easy on the pocket served by hospitable folks. The person was even speaking to us in Hindi which is relatively uncommon in Kerala. The loos were very clean. Sid was doing better. He was still getting fever but with medication it was under control. This was our last stop. As we came out of the forest, we moved toward Sultan Bathery, the first town on this route. A few kilometers further close to the Meenangadi town was Treasure Trove. We managed to reach by 2 pm with all the halts. Driving through scenic Kerala is always a pleasure. The place is beautiful and food for the soul with its lush greenery. Bandipur forest is always a delight to drive through with scanty traffic and thick foliage. We have never encountered any wild life here except for a few monkeys.

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With the genial Reena, owner of Treasure Trove!

At Treasure Trove, we were welcomed by Reena who owns the homestay with her husband and runs its very efficiently. She immediately took us to our cottage which was one of the two she has on her property. She offered us water, tea and coffee. This cottage was built on stilts and could be accessed by a quaint bridge made of bamboo. The cottage itself is eco-friendly, sparse and neat. It only has one table fan which I am wondering may not be sufficient during the hot and humid Kerala summers. The best part about it was the lovely sitout that opens right into the plantation. You get the feeling of being seated on top of coffee and pepper plants. They have a large plantation spread over 25 acres and grow pepper, coffee, rubber, jackfruit, arecanut, coconut etc. The plantations are neatly maintained and we took several walks through them. The weather does grow humid and uncomfortably warm during the day. And it rained at night amid the cacophony of crickets.

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Pepper plants

 

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Arecanut trees

As we were tired, we rested till evening. Then we met up with Reena’s husband, Sunil, a warm person with an easy smile. He was the same person whom I had spoken to over the phone. In the evening Reena served her homemade food which as requested by us was authentic Kerala food and spicy. Her chicken curry was really tasty and we took second and third helpings. She had also made a veg curry with coconut as base. She served these with rotis and rice. The fat grains of rice in Kerala need some getting used to though. Her food was the highlight of the trip. She makes simple, homecooked food which is really delicious. We also got to taste her fantastic fish curry, puttu and kadla curry (gram), appams and kappa stew (tapioca stew) and of course the strong watery coffee made with coffee beans sourced from her plantation.

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The bamboo bridge to the cottage
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The lovely sitout

We were in no mood for hiking or sightseeing as Sid was still not fully fit. Hence we preferred to take it easy just going closeby and walking around in the plantation and reading. For those interested, there is a dam and Edakkal caves all pretty close within 10-15 kms. that can be seen. We, however, avoid running from one sightseeing point to another these days.

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Coffee plantation

The weather is as deceptive as it is in Bangalore. From a warm, balmy afternoon, it became a reasonably cool evening and night. Amid the noises of crickets, we slept early. One thing amazing is the number of hours one can sleep in such locations. I find myself drifting off to sleep easily and for long hours.

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Treasure Trove

Our two nights were up and we decided to start to our next destination, Oyster Opera, in Kasargod right on the coast after breakfast the next morning.  Though the distance was less than 200 kms., it took almost 5 hours to reach our destination close to the backwaters. This is because we had to cover most of it on the winding Kerala ghat roads. The journey was scenic everywhere. The greenery that you see in Kerala is astounding. The hills, the plains are all carpeted in green. As far as the eye can see, one is comforted with the sight of pretty coconut palms, tea gardens, coffee and rubber plantations and thick vegetation. We got our sneak peek into rural Kerala. The roads are well maintained but narrow. There are sweeping plantations and rivers swollen after a good monsoon. It was also lovely to see children going off to school hiking on these mountain roads. My husband wrote a fun post on the things he loved in Kerala with some lovely observations.

You may want to read the previous post on how the trip began on a wrong foot. The next post will be about a true jewel named Oyster Opera.

61 thoughts on “Scenic Wayanad — the vacation begins!

  1. Idli at Kamat’s yumm…
    I have never stayed at home stay Rachna. Encouraged after your lovely experience.
    Oyster Opera sounds exotic.. Never heard of the place.

    • The Kamat’s on Mysore Road is always a highlight of any road trip we take. The idlis, wada, dosas and coffee, make me salivate. I first stayed in a homestay in Chikmagalur. It was a fabulous experience. Even my dad loved it. Then last year, at Coorg again. And now in Kerala. I am completely hooked. It is a great opportunity to meet fabulous folks and be inspired by them and their zest for life. Oyster Opera was superb.

  2. I think I want to buy one of those cottages and rent it out like that lady and cook yummy food….ahh sounds so heavenly, doesn’t it? But it might cost a million, no? Beautiful pics…I love that greenery…Isn’t Gurdev trying to grow some o the spices at home now? 🙂 And the kerala rice is a big pain to eat..

    • It is Gurdev’s dream to buy a farm or a plantation and live there. Yes, it is very expensive for sure. I would totally dig living like this. Gurdev bought some pepper plants from the nursery. Currently he is growing a lot of veggies but no spices. Yes, the only thing I disliked was Kerala rice.

  3. The cottage looks rather nice! Did they have spice shops there as well? My bro-in-law and his family made a trip to Thekkady and Munnar last week and those places looked equallly serene as well. I guess post monsoon is a good time to visit Kerala.

    • I realized that I forgot to put up the pic of the cottage. Will update the post. Yes, the plantation setting and cottage was lovely. The owner’s house is built very close so that you can reach them easily. Munnar and Thekkady are on our itinerary too. Kerala is heavenly but it can get very humid in the summer and monsoon months.

  4. Alok Vats says:

    Awesome Rachna, it almost reminded me my home which was at the border of Bhutan and was almost similar to the scenes which you shared here 🙂

  5. First you made me hungry, then you made me yearn for Mysore and finally left me nostalgic 🙂
    Kerala is definitely a heavenly place. Whenever I am at a spice garden I just close my other senses and take a deep breathe. It is so heavenly the fresh air with the smell of spices….

    • Awww So happy to take you through all those emotions. Yes, the heady smell of spices is amazing. We picked the pepper off the vine and tasted it. It was heavenly. Kerala was fabulous.

  6. Lovely !! We too visited Wayanad in July and it was beautiful in rainy season. Kerala hositality at Chateu Woods was unforgettable. Enjoy your trip!!

  7. Your post is brought it all alive for me Rachna 🙂 Reena and Sunil are truly warm people and I loved the bamboo cottage with the lovely sit out !

  8. I think home stays can be such a fantastic experience. And Kerala is truly mindblowingly beautiful. I am glad you could still go on the vacation despite Sid being unwell.

  9. Been yearning to go to Wayanad for a long time now! Your description of the place and pics have tempted me even more. Noting down Treasure Trove as a probable option of stay when we do get around to planning a trip.Thanks Rachna for the lovely post 🙂

    • Thanks, Deeps. 🙂 They are wonderfully attentive to all the needs and it helped a lot with a sick child. It actually feels like you are staying with a family friend. Her husband, Suni, while bidding us goodbye asked us to come visit them again. God bless them. I also loved it that Reena manages the show on her own. I am sure you will like it here, Deepti.

  10. Yumm…the idlis at Kamat on Mysore Road – even though I’m not a big fan of idlis, they are quite exquisite. A very interesting travelogue ; I’ve been to Wayanad a few times when younger and always found it to be a very peaceful place

    • Where have you been? On vacation? Oh yes, Kamat’s idlis are just spectacular. Yes Wayanad is lovely; Kerala is pretty and these hosts were just fantastic.

  11. The place looks lovely and relaxing, just perfect for an easy-going vacation. Your travelogue really helps the reader get a feel for the wonderful experience you had there. Looking forward to the next installment. Great pictures too!

  12. A beautiful place, yummy food, great hospitality gives a perfect holiday experience and glad that you had all these at Wayanad. It’s on our Must Travel List too. Great pictures, Rachna!

  13. Having stayed in Kerala and visited many places there, I can understand when you say ‘scenic’. I love just staring out of the window and watching the shades of green, dominated by the coconut trees. And this place you stayed looks great. How different is this from the normal resorts?

    • This place was lovely. It is very different from normal resorts. It feels like visiting a home of someone you know. You mingle with their family, eat what they cook and have fun conversations with them and the other guests. It is especially nice if you are exploring a new place to get to know things from a local. Also the amenities in the cottage were just like those in a resort. But you won’t have things like swimming pool and a huge buffet. Homestays are more personal.

  14. I stayed at the Vythri resort and gorged on their amazing spread during meals. The Malabar region is distinctly different from the rest of Kerala – hilly, the soil is reddish and the rainforests are so dense!

    I’d love to do a home-stay – it sounds like a welcome change from the usual resorts and hotels.

  15. Sunil says:

    It was a great feeling reading the comments and replies. Rachana and her lovely family were one of the best guests we had at our place. Due to my work commitments i couldn’t really spent quality time with them. Mr. Gurdev is an ardent natural lover and very friendly. Thanks for all the comments and we hope to meet some of you there…

  16. You had a lovely green holiday I see. 🙂 That’s my route home 😉 we never get tired of it. 🙂
    Wayanad is supposed to be cool from most of Kerals because it is on the Western Ghats, but its been getting hotter and hotter. 🙁

    There’s nothing quite like a stay at a homestay, right?

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