Darkness had fallen by the time we were in Mananthawady. As we passed the road to Kattikulam, the village was getting ready to sleep. Night-time visitors (read wildlife) would have been getting ready for their night-out. We reached the electric-fenced resort and instantly got charmed by the wilderness around. There couldn’t have been a better choice of stay than Pugmarks Jungle Resort as we explored Mananthawady and the surrounding attractions.
Templatised resorts rarely tempt us. There were plenty of them to choose when we were planning our Wayanad trip. But we wanted a place that is more grounded and closer to nature. South Wayanad has some of the premium resorts but they were out of our budget. And South Wayanad is also the crowded of the lot.
We had a long-pending invitation from one of our friends (an online friendship built around the common interest of travel and adventure) who owns a small resort in North Wayanad. It perfectly fitted the bill. Mananthavady in North Wayanad is relatively untouched and is at the confluence of the forests from three states—Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu and also part of the Nilgiri Biosphere.
Pugmarks Jungle Lodge in Kattikulam village is a nice quaint place, adjacent to the Tholpetty wildlife sanctuary. Flanked by paddy fields and plantain farms on one side and a reserve forest on the other side, Pugmarks is the perfect place to wake up to the chirping birds, bask in the sunlight seeping through the canopy, and smell the piping hot tea (or coffee!).
Spread across 10 acres of land, Pugmarks has a few cottages and a couple of tented accommodation. Some cottages come with a fireplace. A nice dining hall where food prepared at neighbour Karunan chettan’s house is served steaming hot. We don’t remember having such tasty and homely food in any of our travels.
Pugmarks is perhaps the best base camp for exploring Wild Wayanad. The Western Ghats and the rainforests are at its enchanting best in this part of Wayanad. Tholpetty WLS, Brahmagiri WLS (Karnataka), Nagerhole National Park (Karnataka), and Pakshipathalam Trek (birdlife) to name a few. The road to Thirunelli is a safe haven for elephants, especially after the sun sets. The lodge itself is near the Begur forest range.
If all one wants is to chill out, then you can just be in the lodge without doing anything. Or take some efforts and enjoy some adventure activities like flying fox or archery. Or just lie down and do star gazing.
Pugmarks Jungle Lodge is in Kattikulam, on the road connecting Kattikulam and the famous Kuruva Islands. Kattikulam is about 12 kms from Mananthavady town. Easily accessible from Mysore/Bangalore and Coorg.