Exploring Western Ghats : Part 9 : Kalpetta Wayanad

Exploring Western Ghats : Part 9 : Kalpetta Wayanad
Kalpetta, Wayanad / May 16 – May 20
After a fun weekend full of some really nice drives and staying closer to nature, it was time to move closer to towns in search of the mighty 3G. We decided to stay in Kalpetta as we weren’t sure of connectivity elsewhere.

Route Recap :

Hyderabad – Chennai – Kodaikanal – Marayoor Munnar – Kochi – Vagamon – Thekkady – Munnar – Palakkad – Kalpetta (Wayanad) – Masinagudi – Ooty – Ananthpur (AP) – Hyderabad.

For previous part, click here 

May 16, 2016
It was an election day so we anticipated that most public places will be closed to promote voting and drove straight to our home-stay. On the way, we noticed that many voters were carrying saplings. Later we raised this with our home-stay owner and he told that Wayanad district collector has come up with this out of the world brilliant idea of giving away free saplings to all voters who are voting for first time or above the age of 75. Why god don’t send more people like him/her to this planet??

Our stay for the week. We almost owned this place for the duration as we were alone most of the time.

May 17, 2016
We decided to go to the famous Edakkal Caves. Drove straight to the location right after lunch. Turns out we were late to the party. They had changed the timings to prevent any accidents due to bad daylight in the evening.

New schedule for Edakkal Caves

After this flop plan, we decided to drive to Wayanad Museum. It’s not a regular sized museum. More like row-house but they have some interesting artefacts on display. Since it doesn’t take much of your time, you might as well visit it (9:00 AM – 5:30 PM).

Range of containers for storage and catching fish

Poor lady. That guy was probably a noob and the arrow backfired chopping lady’s head off.

Multipurpose container. Can be used as a weapon in emergency.

Next, we visited the Karapuzha Dam. It turned out to be really nice place for an evening walk if weather permits. Not much crowd, cool breeze and vast panoramic views for your eyes.

Karapuzha Dam. The walking track is still a work in progress.

May 18, 2016
We finally gathered courage to go for the Chembra Peak trek to see the famous Heart Lake. You can take your vehicle all the way to the point where you start your trek. There will be Jeep drivers on the way who’ll warn you about real bad road ahead. They will try to trick you into hiring the Jeep to avoid any damages to your car. They are partially right. If you are the proud owner of a car with low ground clearance, love your car like real bad and are 4-5 people, you might as well consider the Jeep option. Your car underside will register scratches and noise will not be pleasant.

Remember that our ride for this trip was Honda City 2009 model which is world famous all over India for it’s bad ground clearance. For the onward journey, we were 2+1 (including guide) and I managed to pass the road with only teeny tiny scraping noises. But on return journey, we were 2+2 (guide + we gave lift to another forest personal whose only other option was to walk a KM all alone). Boy, I never scraped my car like that Those forest people were kind of worried about all the noise but me and wife were all smiles. This was the new limit we had pushed our vehicle to. We just love it when machines take abuse and still serve their humanly owners. Also, note that the car has registered 1,10,000 KMs on the odo. We get worried only when we go over a speed breaker and there is no scraping noise.

For reference, people with Swift, Ecosport, i20 had taken their cars to the last point.

A section of road to Chembra Peak. It gets worse once you pass the forest check post where you obtain a ticket for trekking and also pick your guide up.

Trekking fee is 790/- per group (750/- trek + 40/- Camera). You can go for a regular visit which is cheaper but I guess you are allowed only till a certain point (not too sure though). With 790/-, you get a dedicated guide who will be with till you return and get back into your car. The trek length is ~3KM and it gets real tough and steep at times. Not a problem for young adults but I’ll not recommend this for elders no matter what. It took us 1.5 hours to go up as wife wasn’t able to keep up (we are in late 20s). Getting down was easier but still took ~45 minutes.

Keep in mind the famous quote before you decide to go on this trek.

“Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.” – Ed Viesturs

Now, lets see what the real deal is.

On way to the trek start point


Educating is the first step

At half-way point. They call it first peak. Note that you are not allowed to go all the way to the top.


View of Chembra Peak from highest trekkable point.

Downward view from the same point

The Guide

The Heart Lake


First Peak view from the second peak

It was evident that we weren’t going to get back in time to start my work. So, I took a leave from office. BTW did I mention that we had excellent Idea 4G at the top with download speeds of 10 Mbps? You just wish you got that kinda speed at your home in your megacity

May 19, 2016
May 19 was election results day and there were a zillion crazy people on the roads. Regular laws were not applicable. We decided to stay at home. We went out only for lunch and dinner. We almost got stuck in a few hours long traffic jam while trying to take the regular route for lunch. Managed to take a U turn in time.

May 20, 2016
After losing two days to election and another to changed schedule, we started early for Kuruwadweep. It’s an island within a river and is accessible by a boat. Not much to do on the island as such. People usually take a bath in a stream where water looks really dirty. Avoid on weekends as there will be many times more people than this island can really handle. It gets crowded even on weekdays.

The Bamboo Boat. Carries ~50 people I guess

The Sailor at Kuruva Island, Kalpetta

The sailor. They steer the boat using ropes and they park it like a boss with superb accuracy. I can’t even park my car properly with power steering, reverse camera and what not.

The slippery stones. You can sit on them and kill time or take a dip in the water. You think you have choices but you really don’t.

It’s not as bad as I have described it but we are not happy when we encounter exploitation of nature. We’d rather not go there and contribute the the overall load.

For next part, stay tuned.

Leave a Reply