Wednesday, February 14, 2007

God's Own Country - Waynad

Having planned this trip in December 2006 itself it had built a lot of excitement in us. Finally when the big day came half of the guys dropped off. That left 5 of us Addi, Ankur, Huez (me), Imtiaz, Varun made up the gang. We had done a lot of things apart from bike riding this trip. Seriously...a lot!

Okay this is yet another motorcycle trip of ours managed by the baddy of hiwayREBELS, Addi. We started from our office by 6:15pm on Friday 12th Jan 2007, took the bypass from Kanakapura road to Mysore road. A little on the route we took: Bangalore - Mysore - Nanjangud - Gundlupet - Sulthan Bathery. The distance was close to 300km. Our dinner was in a dhaba on the highway just before Mysore. The food was good but it came to our table an hour after ordering. Probably the food came from Bangalore! We reached Gundlupet that night and slept in a cozy lodge there.

Early morning on Saturday we rode through the mist in the Bandipur forest. The whole scene was very beautiful as the sun came out. It was too cold that our ungloved hands almost froze that it felt nothing. Sign boards here and there warned not to stop in the forest in fear of herds of elephants roaming across the roads. In spite of the warning we stopped for a quick photo session. We stopped at the Kerala border check post finding some deers roaming on the road side. I couldn't believe we missed to take pictures of the deers! There was a roadside eatery somewhere in the Muthanga forest where we had puttu and chai, Kerala style. Addi and myself test rode Imti's cruiser, I loved the riding posture and the feeling it gave.

We checked in chakalakal lodge in Sulthan Bathery, freshen up, had appam for breakfast and went for sight seeing. Saturday's agenda was to visit Edakkal Caves, Waynad heritage museum and Meenmutty falls. Edakkal caves and the museum was like a peek into the history of Wayanad, saw hand carvings on rocks in the caves, the tools they used in the olden days
(don't remember the numbers).

Meenmutty falls is the next target. This falls is tucked into a valley about 7.5km from the road. About 4km of the distance we rode on bikes through dirt tracks as we enjoyed the forest and tea/coffee plantations on the steep sides of the hill. The route was very bumpy but beautiful scenery around is worth it all. We reached a point bike cannot go and the trek down to the falls starts here. Few guys coming back warned us not to venture as the falls is unreachable and the trek is painful through dusty slopes. In spite of that we went down. And yes the slopes were indeed steep and dusty, slips here and there. We are almost there but we need to jump down a huge distance to reach the falls! After few trials and errors the though guys Addi and Varun went to the falls. The rest of us took rest in the shades. Meenmutty falls was a mission unaccomplished for some of us.

We rode through the ghat sections with plantations everywhere till dusk, went back to our camp. That night we had a pleasant moonlight walk in the neighborhood talking about lot of things, especially Varun with his insights on constellations. We also designed next generation motorcycles with redundant pairs of engines with different characteristics and two handle bars ect. A real crazy idea it was! And lots of other interesting stuff was discussed too.

Sunday is the big trek day, the day to conquer the untamed Chembra peak. This peak is 6900 feet high, standing taller than Karnataka's tallest Mulayangiri peak. After a good breakfast and packing snacks we road towards the base of the hill. Again the ghat sections were beautiful
with coffee/tea and pepper plantations all over. The whole trek till the peak is 3.5km through three steep hills. There is a track of foot path most of the time and it doesn't require a guide. The trek really made me realize I need to start my exercises again. A stops here and there, while we gazed at the splendors all around. Gulping lot of water we continued climbing the hills. Our Varun had some funny incidents with the nature here...can't write them here. Contact Varun!

Reaching the peak finally was like "what a relief!" The whole surroundings were beautiful. Had a good chat as we enjoyed the beautiful sight. We had our snacks, finished all the water we had, took some photos and climbed down the peak. Boy... the climb down is also killing.
It's easy on the lungs but puts a lot of pressure on the knees. After the trek we visited the soochipura falls for a bath. Now comes my favorite part, riding the ghat section. It was really a beautiful ghat section full of curvy roads, some are S type, and some are like a coil! The road was super windy all the way from the falls till Meppady. I loved each curve of it! We rode through the section at foot peg scraping speeds till we reached Meppady.

We reached our favorite restaurant The Green's at Kalpetta. Everyone like the food here. We ate like hell that night. Any place we visit in waynad is scattered and we have to travel about 30km through ghat sections to each place. So a lot of bike riding was a part of every day in this trip. We rode almost 300km like this in wayanad itself. We loved it!

Monday arrived, the black day of the trip as we have to return to Bangalore that night. Our list had phantom rock, Pookot Lake, Banasura Sagar Dam and a ride through a 12km ultimate ghat section from Lakidi towards Kozhikode. The speed boat ride in the Banasura Sagar dam was my first time! Time to go back to Bangalore, the part we hate. Anyway there is always the next trip that keeps us sustaining till then!

We had very less time before sun goes down. We decided to cross the forest in daylight so that we get to see the forest in day light again and also avoid any encounters with mad elephants. Here is where I hit a damn speed breaker that wasn't much visible at speeds around 80km/h and my chain guard came off. We fixed the situation ourselves and continued the ride. We rode overall 900km this trip in which a pretty good length was on ghat sections. I am confused now on which is my best trip, Agumbe or Waynad. We reached Bangalore that night realizing that Wayanad is really Gods' own country.

For photos click here.

huez -the biker
The hiwayREBELS Motorcycling Club


  1. hi

    any idea how are the roads now, (April'07).

    Planning to do the same trip. Except i'll come back to mysore for the night.

  2. Hi Sam,

    The roads were in good shape in Feb. Roads should be in good shape even now as theres not much rain after that.

    If u plan to return by night through Bandipur forest take case as elephants roam along the road in the dark. Watch out for lone tuskers!

    Happy riding!