CLOUDFRONTS TRAVELOGUE

“Of the gladdest moments in human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the fetters of Habit, the leaden weight of Routine, the cloak of many Cares, and the slavery of Home, man feels once more happy.”

— Richard Francis Burton

Way-to-Anand: A travel tale to Wayanad, Kerala

Traveller: Lajawab Lanalisa

In September 2016, I took a week’s break from work, and our crazy city, to travel to an offbeat hill station, high up in the mountains, in Kerala. Nature always rejuvenates me, and this time I wanted to be immersed in nature with no traces of city life and the strain of always being connected through technology. I found a unique eco-friendly home stay “Annapara” located in Vythiri, in Wayanad district in Kerala.

A 2.5 hour scenic drive from Calicut airport, ends with a 14-km mountain pass called “Thamarassery Churam” or “Wayanad Churam” with nine hairpin bends, offering great views of the serpentine roads and the picturesque plains below. A hair-raising, but thrilling entry into paradise!

Our homestay was surrounded by beautiful rolling hills and valleys, as far as the eye could see, tea and coffee plantations, and a direct view of the majestic Chembra Peak, the highest peak in Wayanad. With just 5 rooms in the cottage-style property, an infinity pool, hammocks, a large open dining area, a badminton court, an open amphitheatre, bonfire site and plenty of good books to read, the homestay turned out to be a very cozy place in the most beautiful settings. Not having conventional electricity, this place allows you to completely enjoy the natural surroundings and reset oneself to a more natural rhythm – early to bed, early risings, and meals at the proper hours; all of which are a struggle in city life.

It was bliss to wake up to the delightful chirping of a varied species of birds, instead of the regular alarm on my smart phone. My days were filled with long walks in the coffee plantations, visits to waterfalls in the lush forest, observing different species of butterflies and birds, short treks to spot wild elephants and sambar deer, leisurely meals and many a times just lying in a hammock, reading a book and enjoying the great weather and the breath-taking views. One of the most memorable days was the 4 hour difficult trek I made to Chembra peak, where I was greeted on top with a magnificent view and the heart-shaped lake, which Chembra peak is also known for.

September is a good time to visit this Wayanad as the rains are subsiding; the weather is misty, cool and very pleasant. October to November and February to March are good months too, with temperatures dipping really low in December and January.

This vacation for me was tranquility, peaceful, bliss-filled, soaked in nature and I returned back to Mumbai, refreshed, rejuvenated and ready for everything ahead of me. Wayanad was truly my Way-to-Anand.

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