Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Chennai- Bangalore - Wayanad - Chembra Trek

Unlike other trips, this one was planned just a day before. It all started with planning to freak out somewhere discussion . We just wanted to go somewhere just to kill time. Manju was the one who initiated the trip conversation and started suggesting some place. And then it was Aro who has his favourite lines whenever i ask about a trip - 'aaaa ... anywhere yaar'. So after googling for 2-3 days i decided that we are going to Skandagiri near bangalore. It looked like one awesome place and I was so happy that we are heading towards that.
Good that I posted about this trip in Facebook. It was Giri who informed that trekking to Skandagiri is banned from Dec 2011 after an accident there. So we had to change the plans. It was again Giri who suggested to go to wayanad for a biking trip from Bangalore.

So this was the plan.
Friday Evening 4 PM - Start from Chennai to bangalore
Saturday Morning 6 AM - Start from Bangalore to Wayanad
Sunday Evening 3 PM - Start from Wayanad to Bangalore
Monday Morning 6 AM - Start from Bangalore to Chennai

This looked like a hectic plan but I thought we can make it. Just hours before we started only, Aro got to know that we are not going to skandagiri but we are heading to Wayanad. Aro's roommate Pandey also joined us. So the plan was to go in bike - My Apache RTR 180 and Aro's FZ-S. But last minute, I thought 1400 km will burn some kg's of our ass. Considering Aro has only grams left :P So we planned to go from Chennai to Bangalore in Car and from  Bangalore to Wayanad in bike.

So as usual, Aro was late by one hour. Me, Aro and Pandey started from here in car and Manju will join us in Bangalore. Manju will be arranging one more bike for us from Bangalore for the trip. Me and Aro were driving in tandem till we reached Bangalore. And we reached Manju's Friend's house in Doomasandra at around 12:30 AM where he arranged for our stay .

We had an awesome sleep there and again we were 1 hour late to start. We started by 7. 4 people. Me, Aromal, Manjunath and Pandey. 2 Bikes. FZ-S and Avenger. It was fun to drive in the Bangalore-Mysore Highway.

On our way from Bangalore to Mysore, came the first jerk. FZ's rear tyre burst some 15 km after Mandya. Me and Manju went back some 3 km to find a puncture shop. Then we hired a tempo and took the bike to that shop.  That mechanic told that we have to go to Mandya to buy the tyres. We went and bought the tyre and for fixing and all, it took some 1.5 hours. The journey began again.

We were supposed to reach Mysore by 11 AM but because of the tyre burst, we reached there at around 1:30 PM. So our target now was to reach Wayanad before 5PM. Nobody were in a mood to have lunch. We just wanted to cross the Bandipur checkpost before 6 PM, because after that bikes are not allowed. It was drizzling and cloudy when we crossed Gundlupet where we took some clicks near the flower estate.

Some 30 minutes  after Gundlupet, we crossed the Bandipur Checkpost. Sigh of relief !! Never thought the forest roads would be that beautiful. It was the Perfect Place for a drive.

Some half hour after driving inside the forest, we reached the Kerala checkpost. First time i am stepping into Mammooty's state. And within a minute it started raining there. And I started shouting at Aro - 'You people get lot of rains and are never short of water. Why don't you give some water to the land of deprived'. From Aro's look I understood that he is not a relative of Omen Chandy.

The forests became more dense, Green became greener and trousers became lungis. I see every man smoking a cigarette and every women freshly dressed in a dull sandal coloured saree, which looked so graceful. We reached Sultan Bathery town (Wayanad district) at around 4:30 PM and had lunch there. Never a big fan of Parotta, we all decided that we just want something which can be served quickly.So we ordered Kerala Parotta. Believe me or not , it was THE BEST parotta I have ever had. Parotta, Chicken Kurma and Rava Laddu. What a combination !!

From there , we wanted to go to Enteveedu (A resort kind of homestay that we booked) near a place called Nadavayal. Aro opened his mouth for the first time to ask the route to Enteveedu. Home state you see !!
He spoke in Malayalam to a guy and asked him 'I want to go to Enteevedu'. That guy gave a weird look and started laughing. (Enteveedu in Malayalam means 'My Home' it seems). Then Aro was quick to understand atleast now and told him that the name of that place is Enteveedu. After many ups and downs and turns, we reached Enteveedu at 6 PM. Not a single straight road i saw in the last 30-40 km. We just saw a board Enteveedu but when we hopped inside the gate , it was like a private forest. We kept on going inside and there was an amazing home in the middle of that forest. We just had to say only one thing. Wow man !!

We checked into the room and it was a lavish place for just a one night stay.  Seriously we never felt the tiredness of the drive. Then we all had dinner and it was a native keralite food and we all loved it. My favourite was the light pink warm water that they served.

We then went into the room and started planning for the next day. This is the plan. We start from there at 6:30AM and reach Chembra base at 7:30 AM (The gates for chembra peak open that time only). Then we trek to Chembra peak and reach back the base at 2 PM. From there we reach Soochipara falls at 2:30 PM. Spend half hour there and start our way to Bangalore.

As usual, we were one hour late and started by 7:30 AM. We packed our stuffs and Seetha Aunty (Enteveedu) gave a printout of the route map which we have to take . Driving is such a pleasure in pleasant cool mornings. After some half hour drive, Aro told to stop the bike and he needs to search something. It seemed like he has lost his mobile. Mobile was not found in the bag. He and Pandey again went back to Enteveedu and searched the place. But :( So this trip also Aro has lost something. Last trip to Goa it was his new Nex -5 Camera and this trip his mobile. As expected, he delivered his favourite dialogue 'I don't loose things, Things get lost. What can I do ?'. Then what. My Favourite lines 'Chalo Chalo. It's getting late' :P
We headed from there and reached Chembra base at around 9 AM. First time I was seeing a tea estate. The scene was picturesque. We took an Entry pass for the trek at the Forest office. It was 500 bucks for a maximum of 10 people. We Parked the bike in that tea estate and started trekking.

It was a normal walk till we reached the watch tower. The real trek started from there. We were informed that we can go only till the Heart lake and not to the chembra peak. The guides said it was raining in that place, so it is very slippery and it will be risky if we go there now. We started walking between the bushes and in the rocks. It was not a difficult terrain but some places were very slippery. The mountain water that we had there was cool and our tiredness was vanished in seconds. First we reached to a small lake surrounded by beautiful meadows. From there we reached to the Heart lake. 

We saw some people who were coming down from the top. We asked the guide 'How come only those people can go ?'. So he agreed that we guys can go there but have to come back in 30 minutes. We again ascended and in minutes, we were able to see clouds below us. We clicked some pictures there. The purpose of coming to this far was achieved and we started descending. We had a good view of the Heart lake from the top. We know the descent will be fast but it was slippery. The first one to fall was Manju. Then I followed him. 

I had a feeling that we were a bit late to start and we will not have time for soochipaara falls. But when we were descending, we saw a lot of people climbing only at that time. There was a good bunch of hot chicks. Now, I had a feeling that we were a bit early for the trek :P

We reached the base by around 12:30 PM and that was way early than what we expected. We headed directly for lunch to a place called Meppadi and again same parotta. But this time, it was not that great. Probably we were not that hungry. After lunch, straight to Soochipaara falls. We reached the falls at around 2 PM. It was so refreshing to see Pure white water flowing with so much force. We entered the water and it was damn slippery and pointed rocks. Manju didn't come inside water. So we made him the security to look after the bags, dress and for clicking Pics.

After walking, swimming and finally crawling, we reached and sat under the waterfall. Not Literally under !! Just one word to describe. Mindblowing !! We Purely enjoyed the time and came out in a while. We never realized the time was 3:30 PM then. Manju was already shouting 'Guys it will be late  and we have to cross the kerala checkpost by 6 PM.' After having an awesome butter milk, we headed on our way to Bangalore.

Me and Aro were zooming our way so that we can reach the kerala checkpost before 6 PM. According to my calculations, we should be there at the checkpost by 5 PM. And we were exactly at the checkpost at 5. And just before the Checkpost office , the Avenger i was driving wobbled and i shouted 'Aro, Manju .. Stop .. Stop .. Bike Punctured' :( We did not know what to do. And the police in the checkpost told I have to go back 6 km for the puncture shop. Immediately me and Manju went and reached the puncture shop in some 15 minutes. We took a jeep from there and came again to the checkpost to carry the bike. Somehow we lifted the bike and put inside the jeep. The Checkpost police told 'I will allow you to cross the checkpost if you come before 9 PM'. We thought we can easily make it. But just some 1 or 2 Km before reaching the puncture shop, there was a heavy traffic jam. People just stand head to head and wait for the other to move. And there was Battle of the states. KA vs KL. Ego. Pure Ego. 

It took  some 1 hour from there to reach the puncture shop. In the meantime, the jeep driver was scaring us. His words 'Nobody crosses this checkpost in bike after 6 PM. You guys must be crazy. Elephants go wild after 6 PM and they even attack Jeeps and Lorries. It is better you guys go back and stay in wayanad and return the next day. But if at all you want to go, then just catch some lorry and keep going slowly behind that'. The Lorries can cross the checkpost till 9 PM and after that they are also not allowed. 

It was 7:45 PM we reached the puncture shop. Those mechanics found it very tough to remove the tyre itself. I thought it was not possible for us to cross the checkpost considering it is risky too. But here is the problem. Me, Aro and Manju are working in the same project. Whatever happens, atleast one person should be working among us on a weekday. The mechanic showed me the tube and it was torn. He informed he can't put a patch on the tube and the tube has to be replaced. And we have to go back 50 km to buy a tube. It was already 8 and on a sunday. There was no point in going back and buying now. I told the mechanic to keep the bike with him and we will come and take it the next day. We decided to go back to wayanad. But the mechanic told 'You can't keep the bike here. Please take it'. I had no idea what to do. He asked me 'Can I do One thing. I have a hero honda bike tube but that will not fit the Avenger's tyre. But I will adjust and give it to you. It is upto you to decide now'. I told him 'Ok fine. Do it fast'. Still we were in a dilemma whether to go ahead or go back. Bike was ready at 8:30. It will take atleast 30 minutes to reach the checkpost now, considering the tyre's condition. We were positive that somehow we can reach the checkpost by 9 and from there catch a lorry and just  follow that. Just one fear. If something happens to bike in the middle of the forest, then we are gone. But we decided to move ahead.

The Jeep wala was a nice guy and he immediately called one of his friend who is a lorry driver crossing the forest in a while.He informed us 'My friend has a lorry and he is waiting for you guys after the checkpost. You guys start now and catch the lorry before 9. Then put your bikes in the lorry and cross the forest and get down in Gundlupet. I have informed him. What you guys say'. Though I never believe anybody just like that, We liked the idea of travelling in a lorry at night for crossing the forest. We accepted and moved ahead. We saw the lorry in some 15 minutes. It was a tough time loading the bikes in the lorry but some nice drunkards came and helped us. 

It took some 1 or 2 hours for the lorry to reach Gundlupet. Whenever the lorry is about to cross a Checkpost, the cleaner used to shout 'Guys .. Guys .. Down .. Down ..' As if we were smuggling some sandalwoods or Marijuana. The lorry stopped near a hotel in Gundlupet. We unloaded the bikes there and stepped into the Hotel. And again parotta. This time we were damn hungry. So obviously it was good. It was 11 PM and we started from Gundlupet.It was drizzling and some flies were hitting the eyes. But we had no other option but to drive. After some 3 hours, I was driving like I had a cocaine effect. I can't open my eyes properly but still can't close. I was damn sleepy. Then I told Manju, 'for sure I can't drive now, better you drive'. So finally we reached Bangalore at around 4 AM in the morning. We decided to have a good sleep and get up relaxed and drive home.

We started from bangalore at around 10 AM. Checked into Krishna Inn near Krishnagiri for breakfast. Had hot pongal and vada and a filter coffee. Life was good the south Indian way :) But we had no money to Pay and they didn't accept card. I told Aro and Pandey 'I will go and get the money from ATM. You guys wait here'. Aro's Response 'I have heard this dialogue in many movies'.

Then heading fast straight to home, we thought the car deserved atleast one pic. We stopped outside the Madras war Cemetry in Nandambakkam and clicked one pic and by 5 PM we were home. 

< Chennai - Bangalore - Mysore - Gundlupet - Wayanad > 1350 KM.

Now back to the artificial life !!


  1. Awesome, hope i would had been with you to enjoy the 2 puncture's 3 paritha meal and 1 lorry drive.njoy Raghav


  2. Bandipur resort National Park a Project Tiger Reserve, one of 30 such reserves across India for Project Tiger, a scheme launched in 1973 by the Government of India, to save the tiger and its habitat. The major attraction of Wildlife Safari in Bandipur National Park is its wildlife expeditions. Br hills resort Wildlife Sanctuary has deciduous, evergreen and grassland vegetation is safe haven for a variety of wildlife. Commonly sighted animals are gaurs, spotted deer; wildboar and elephants in Wildlife Safari .

  3. Glad to know that Dear.....hope you had a great holiday at bandipur resorts .... if you have any special experience of on kgudi resort or B R Hills to share with us , that would be nice and helpful to others :)