Helmets – Check! Riding gloves – Check! Rain jacket – Check! Waterproof shoes – Check! Bikes fueled and ready, route map studied and approved and nature stay booked! The last weekend was all about experiencing Wayanad in monsoons and that too, on bikes. I was invited by the road trip maestros – ScoutMyTrip to ride along with OnnBikes to Wayanad. And these were not the only two companies involved. WanderTrails – a venture that offers experiential stays too, joined in to offer us that perfect tryst with nature.
I had done a detailed post on Wayanad earlier, which you can all access here. A tea county of Kerala, this continues to be a popular weekend haunt for the people across South India. Though this hill station is good any time of the year, monsoons in Wayanad are something else. The fresh greens with that mist in the air just make the place so magical. With a bunch of enthusiastic bikers and bloggers, we made our way from Bengaluru to Vythiri and what a trip it was. Besides the fun part of it, there were aspects of this trip that made me realize why one should experience Wayanad in monsoons and here are those –
The Monsoon Ride
OnnBikes had arranged for 8 bikes and joining the troop were two cars – just in case any of us wanted to faint and fall off our bikes. (Just Kidding!) . Moi – a pillion rider who could not be bothered to distinguish between the bikes. I was happy either ways, just getting onto one and enjoying the breeze blowing on my face as we rode down those highways, through the towns and the forest right up to Vythiri. This was the longest ride I have been on and I must say that I loved every moment of it, especially when there were that slight drizzle and mist blowing onto my face. Had it been my way, I would have thrown my helmet to get more of it. However, safety first as the team said, I stayed with it.
The bikes offered by OnnBikes were a mix of Classic 350s, 500s and Thunderbirds by Royal Enfield. For those, who are not aware of OnnBikes. They offer bikes for rent in a few cities of India – allowing you to explore a place at your own pace. Bikes definitely, give you a lot of flexibility in a place for the simple reason, they are easy to maneuver around and need very little parking space. OnnBikes has an easy booking process and you can drop and pick them up from locations that are convenient to you. Further on, they also, have hubs that assist you in case something goes wrong!
I was felt like a kid with a lot of adults around for everyone around me were conversing throttles and gears and epic bike rides with off-roading experiences. I was quite amused and was beginning to love what I heard of the brotherhood of bikers. Their hand signals, their formations, a head and a tail in the same, call signs – it was as if I was living a page out of the various fiction novels that I had read. And trust me! I loved it!
It was discovering this brotherhood of bikers and their stories coupled with the monsoon mist that made this ride so awesome!
The route to Wayanad in Monsoons
I had just been on a trip to Kannur in Kerala through the Nagarhole forest and Mananthavady area of Wayanad. Having seen how green it was, I expected us to take that route. However, our road trip experts – ScoutMyTrip had a different one planned for us – and one that was equally enthralling. This time, we went through the city of Mysore and the forests of Bandipur to reach Sultanbathery and Vythiri. Our return was the same except for we returned through Kanakpura to Bengaluru. Planning the route was easy for the ScoutMyTrip guys had smooth roads to choose from, quite unlike the Ladakh and Nepal trips that they had planned. All that was to be considered was the traffic situation on these roads.
Wet from the fresh monsoon rains, the whole route was so green and inviting. The stretch after Mysore was just invigorating, tempting us to stop every few kilometers to click them all. I loved the splash of color that the marigold fields along our route offered us. It was a setting straight from paradise.
Once in Bandipur, we experienced a different landscape. The chirping birds hidden in the thickets around called out while the playful butterflies chased each other around as our bikes zoomed past them. On our return, we saw a cute little Bambi deer waiting for the rest of the herd while on the other side a huge elephant paced through the clear patches of the wood. There was no way one could not have enjoyed this part of the ride to Wayanad in monsoons.
The nature camp in Wayanad
Our destination in Wayanad was a nature camp by the name Dare 5000 Nature Campz. The interesting thing about this place was that it was right in the middle of Vythiri (one of the key destinations of Wayanad) and yet, far away from the hustle bustle that accompanies the center of a town. It was a perfect pick by Wandertrails that promises experiential stays.
An old British estate house set atop a hill, surrounded by huge trees and tea plantations and dotted by a gushing waterfall – what could have been a better way to experience Wayanad in monsoons. Having reached here after dark, we parked our vehicles at an allotted parking that was attached to the owner’s house. From here started an off-road journey with a steep incline to reach the main camp. All we could see were huge stones and silence of the night was broken by the upbeat sound of enthusiastic crickets and the melodious sound of water gushing past.
The estate house had very basic but spacious rooms. I really could not care much because we spend most of our time soaking up the estate than really staying within the rooms. If it weren’t dark I would have started exploring the same night but my venture had to wait up until the next morning to do that.
Refreshing early morning treks
Come dawn – the first one possibly to wake up earlier than the crows there, would have been me. Armed with my weapon of choice to shoot the best of Wayanad in monsoons, I stepped out to the little bridge at our stay. And while I took in the smell of the damp green surroundings while spotting a bird or two flitting around. Soon, I was joined by Vineet and Shrinidhi and the three of us, made our way down to the parking where our vehicles awaited us.
The 6- 7 km stretch was filled with little surprises as we spotted the colorful insects out for a morning stroll . Against that wet natural background, I could not but admire the stunning colors that the creepy crawlies appeared in. Even the tiny ants looked different here. From snails to leeches, we caught them all. Or rather they caught us too!
A lovely waterfall stream around us allowing us to capture it at various vantage points before it became a full fledged one. We caught it on our way down but the rest of the bloggers were luckier when they caught it at the source atop the property. They managed a trek up to it fresh as a daisy but came back bloodied as if they were in a battle. Guess why – they walked into a Leech party! 😉 Some caveats of a fresh monsoon.
Despite the leech attack, I could see the exhilaration on their faces of having found the most refreshing and secret waterfalls right at that Wandertrail stay. Me – I missed it but I did something else instead.
Driving around to chase waterfalls
I missed the secret waterfall as we trekked down to our parking in the morning to whisk the car away to another waterfall – the Thusharagiri falls. Vineet, Shrinidhi and I drove around in the rains to reach this place along the road that led to Kozhikode. The drive was an exhilarating one for me – I was driving on the ghats in the rains. After 2 trips with ScoutMyTrip, this was a bonus. Vineet actually sat on the navigator’s seat and let me loose on the wheel. Hallelujah!
The Thusharagiri waterfalls was quite a place with 4 waterfalls at different levels. Sadly owing to the rains, we could only visit the first one – Erratumukku Waterfalls. The other three – Mazhavil, Thumbithullumpara and Thanni Grandma falls were out of bounds as the way up was really slippery. That one waterfall was enough for me to enjoy as we waded through the same to sit on the wet rocks and dangle our legs into the water while we watched the wood and twigs float away with the gushing stream.
Somewhere around there, we also, bumped into the hollow tree from the books of Enid Blyton. I almost expected to see fairies, pixies, and brownies as I peeped within – maybe even a small fairy shop in the corner. Well, who said you can’t? You just need eyes for it.
Some evening banter after a sunset
A little wet from our outing, we reached Dare Nature Camp again to meet the rest of the battle worn troops. A warm shower and Umang from the Wandertrails team took us to yet another vantage point within the property. The Sunset point where even the most imperfect sunsets seemed magical. This is where the monsoon magic of Wayanad cast a golden glow – almost like a spotlight in the horizon. With a few pictures clicked we returned to play a few games and bond with each other before dinner.
With that, I end my reasons for why experiencing Wayanad in the monsoons is an enthralling experience. From the ride to my companions to the stunning stay and the beautiful route that took us there and back. Every bit enhanced by the rains. Every bit made more memorable than ever! Wouldn’t you now want to experience Wayanad in Monsoons?
- Please ensure you are well geared with your rain coat and boots for this season
- If you are riding or driving, take adequate precautions to ensure that you ride / drive safely. Helmets and Seat belts are non-compromisable
- Do not stop in the forest area when you are driving to Wayanad.
- Be aware of the leeches in this season. Carry some salt as a precaution and after your hike, please ensure you check your clothes for any of the lurking pests.
- It is a little chilly in monsoons in Wayanad. Carry a light sweater or jacket for the evenings.