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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.