Kerala: A Quick Guide to Vythiri

Kerala: A Quick Guide to Vythiri
Advertisement

Pack your bags for beautiful Wayanad

Sugata Srinivasaraju
February 27 , 2017
08 Min Read

There are very few places that can offer a holistic experience, combining wilderness with responsible eco-tourism and the comforts of a modern holiday, and the Wayanad District is one of them. Legends, imbued in stories and often coloured with history, can be found in every corner — at local chai shops and historical monuments and sometimes told by trekking guides around the campfire. All these offerings come alongside the sumptuous Malabar cuisine, served in nearly all restaurants.

At the offset, Vythiri may seem like any other little town tucked in the valleys of the Western Ghats. The town will welcome you with its thatched and slanting-roofed houses, perhaps drench you in the all-too- common rainfall and soothe you with its pleasant weather. But its untouched natural wealth holds within its folds ideal conditions for a quiet retreat and restful time-off. The district is known for being the least populated in Kerala, which becomes extremely trangible in the quietude of the hills around Vythiri, where footfalls sound loud against the backdrop of impending silence.

Pathway to the Rain Country Resorts
Advertisement

Things to See & Do         

Soochippara and Kanthanpara Falls

The 28-km drive along serpentine roads that meander through tea plantations and picturesque settings will take you from Vythiri to the end of the motorable road near Soochippara. Hereafter, a 1.5-km walk will bring you to the waterfall which is also known as the Sentinel Waterfalls. Soochippara presents an attractive sight, three-tiered and well-hidden by the dense forest. The waterfall cascades down from a height of 200m to the main pool. As this area tends to be slippery, especially during the rains, wear shoes with a good grip.

Adjacent to Soochippara, on the rocky side, are the Kanthanpara Falls. Smaller and slightly quieter than Soochippara, about 30m high, they make for an ideal picnic spot. To avoid exhaustion from a steep climb on the way back, try amlas (gooseberries) marinated in a special salty syrup offered in the makeshift shops along the route; they will rejuvenate you instantly. Entry ₹50 Parking Two-wheelers ₹20; Cars ₹100; Heavy Vehicles ₹150

Meenmutty Falls

Meenmutty is about 32km from Vythiri, off the Ooty Road. The trail to this waterfall is far less exhausting than the Soochippara path. These three-tiered falls are 300m high. Though otherwise serene and safe, this place can be dangerous during the monsoons because of the unpredictable flooding that occurs here. Another 2km upstream from the Meenmutty falls are the Kombaikani Waterfalls, where there is a forest rest house.

Lakkidi

Lakkidi, one of the highest points of the Wayanad District, at almost 3,000ft above sea level, is known as the ‘Gateway of Wayanad’ because of its location at the crest of the Thamarassery Ghat Pass. Most tourists stop by here for the gorgeous views and incredible photography. An interesting local sight is the Chain Tree, a giant ficus tree bound to the ground by chains. It is said that an adivasi youth was killed by a British engineer here and his soul haunted the place in a vengeful rage, until a priest chained his spirit to this very tree. The story is, in some ways, an elaborate metaphor of British dominion, hints of which can still be seen all over Kerala almost 70 years after independence.

Pookode Lake

Pookode Lake lies on the way back to Vythiri from Lakkidi, around 3km from the valley view area. A motorable road off the main road leads to the entrance of the lake, which is sometimes crowded with hundreds of holidaying families. Most tourists stick to the picnic area, which also offers boating and kayaking. You can visit the aquarium in the lake complex as well. Entry Adults ₹20 Children ₹10 Timings 9.00am—6.00pm Boating charges Pedal Boat ₹100 for two people; ₹200 for five people.

Karalad Lake

Located about 16km from Kalpetta, the Karalad Lake offers restful silence. The 7-acre lake is not as well known to tourists and picnic-goers, although it boasts of a recreational park with facilities for angling and boating. Banasura Dam lies 3km further from the Karalad Lake. Timings 9.00am—5.00pm Boating charges ₹100—400

Hikers making their way to Chembra Peak

Chembra Peak

This peak, at 2,100m above the sea level, is the tallest in the area. While locals claim that one needs four hours to reach the summit from the base camp, for the uninitiated city-bred climber, it could take longer, especially as the climb is often steep and slippery. For this reason, travellers are advised to start early. About two-thirds of the way up lies a beautiful, clear lake, shaped quite distinctively like a heart. This offers a brief respite, temporarily erasing the exhaustion of the climb. The District Tourism Promotion Council organises guided treks to the peak, as well as wildlife treks around the region, for groups of up to 10 people. It is also possible to hire a guide from the DTPC office and trek to the peak on your own, as long as you have a permit from the Forest Department at Meppadi (₹750 for up to 10 people). Private companies such as the Wayanad Trekkers (wayanadtrekkers.com) also conduct treks to Chembra.

Where to Stay

There are a number of places that you can choose in and around Vythiri, depending on the size of your wallet. At the top-end is the Vythiri Resort (Tel: 04936-255366-67, Cell: 09447055367, 09287221130; Tariff: ₹15,000—30,000). It has a natural swimming pool and a hanging bridge. The resort even has its own trekking routes. Make sure you book your accommodation here well in advance.

The Windflower Resort & Spa

(Cell: 09895221166, 08129823661; Tariff: ₹23,160—34,030 for 3D/ 2N) lies in the Annapoorna Estate. They have a restaurant, a swimming pool and a spa. Jungle Park Resorts (Cell: 09847447447; Tariff: ₹6,500, tree house ₹12,500, with meals) in Finster Hills offers Ayurvedic treatments, hammocks, trekking, birdwatching, elephant safaris, horse rides and sightseeing tours. Ente Veedu (Tel: 04935-320494, 220008; Tariff: ₹2,500—4,000) is a homestay located near the geographical heart of Wayanad in Panamaram, 15km north of Kalpetta. The Colonial-style home is set in coffee and pepper plantations and paddy fields. Ente Veedu, meaning ‘my home’ in Malayalam, takes pride in offering home-style Malabar hospitality. There are four rooms in the main house, plus a bamboo hut which has two bedrooms and an open sitting room. Meals are made from farm fresh ingredients. A small kitchenette is at hand for those who want to cook for themselves. Ayurvedic massage and a nature tour through vanilla, pepper, coffee and cardamom plantations are also arranged.

In Lakkidi, the beautiful Rain Country Resorts (Tel: 0495-2511997-99, Cell: 09946487771/72/ 74; Tariff: ₹4,500—7,500) has a natural pool in its front garden, perfect for lazy swims. Set amidst hills, this hotel incorporates the beauty of its setting into its design. The eight comfy cottages have elegantly appointed bathrooms lit with natural light. Apart from lots of indoor and outdoor games, they also arrange fishing expeditions and sightseeing around Lower Wayanad. Lakkidi Village Resort (Tel: 216565, Cell: 09447881133, 09497441133; Tariff: ₹5,400—12,000), near Veterinary College, is a luxury option with all modcons. The cottages of Stream Valley Cottages (Tel: 04936-255860, Cell: 094471-83436; Tariff: ₹5,000—7,500) are very inviting. The Kerala-style cottages are built on stilts and have thatched bamboo roofs. Each has its own little garden. Kerala meals are served from the central kitchen, and guests can also do their own cooking in well-equipped kitchenettes. Vythiri Greens (Tel: 255111, Cell: 09544827771/ 72; Tariff: ₹4,750—5,500) has a lovely location amidst verdant grounds.

Nearby, Kalpetta also has some excellent hotels. Verdure Wayanad (Tel: 04936-202079; Tariff: ₹3,250—4,500) is a resort with nine rooms on offer. Green Gates (Tel: 04936-202001-04, Cell: 09447640559; Tariff: ₹3,500—6,750, with two meals) offers rooms and a treehouse, swimming pool, spa, and more. Hotel Haritagiri (Tel: 203145-48; Tariff: ₹1,700—4,500), 2km from Green Gates, is where you will find a beer parlour and a restaurant, besides accommodation. The hotel has 27 rooms and six cottages and also offers a swimming pool. Ayurvedic treatments, Internet and sightseeing tours of Wayanad are other facilities here. Next in line would be The Woodlands (Tel: 202547, 203677; Tariff: ₹1,124—3,600), which is a good option with 33 rooms, restaurants, Ayurvedic massage and a travel desk. Hotel Affas (Tel: 205185, Cell: 09447234024; Tariff: ₹1,000—1,500) offers 33 rooms and a restaurant, near Kalpetta’s bus stand.

Where to Eat

Most hotels and resorts in and around Vythiri offer multi-cuisine fare. A highly recommended restaurant here is Coffee Grove, located on the way to Pookode Lake, which offers freshly prepared Indian food. Rain Country and Vythiri Resort are well known for their authentic and delicious Malabar cuisine. Wayanad Gate has good ambience and offers south Indian, north Indian, Chinese and Continental fare.

Kalpetta has more options. 1980’s A Nostalgic Restaurant has good ambience and mouth-watering Kerala cuisine. Hotel Pankaj and Haritagiri offer Malabar cuisine. The latter also offers Mughlai, north Indian and Chinese food. They are also the only bars here which offer a family ambience. The Woodland’s restaurant offers a wide range of cuisines and dishes. For a quick bite near the bus station, stop by Kalpetta Restaurant; they offer excellent and authentic Kerala food.


Related Articles

Advertisement*
Advertisement*

Here to there

Explore Directions(Routes) and more...
to Go

Our Other Editions

Outlook’ is India’s most vibrant weekly news magazine with critically and globally acclaimed print and digital editions. Now in its 23rd year...

Explore All
  • Check out our Magazine of the month
  • Offbeat destinations
  • In-depth storytelling
  • Stunning pictures
  • Subscribe