One week in Kerala. There has to be a ‘hartal’ or ‘bandh.’ During our one-week Wayanad trip, there was a ‘hartal’ in the district, to mark protest against Kasturi Rangan Report and/or Gadgil Committee Report on Western Ghats conversation policies. (More on this later.)
Since this affected our travel plans, we were a little disappointed at first. But not for long. Our resort owner Gopa suggested a walk through the forests, paddy fields, and tribal villages to get a sense of the real Wayanad. He and his friend George, resort manager Shinoj, and a local farmer Karunan chettan took us all the way up to the banks of Kabani river, which separates the mainland and the Kuruva Islands.
Our path weaved in and out through forests, vast paddy fields, and tribal settlements. Karunan chettan kept telling us interesting stories about the land, people, and animals. Of the lost glory of some families and their lands remaining uncultivated, of tribal families, of landowners building new resorts, and many stories of encounters with elephants and running for life.
After the long walk, all of us were too tired and hungry for the return walk without refueling. We decided to try our luck at a lone teashop and ended up polishing off the breakfast left overs along with some coconut buns and hot tea.
Recouping our energy, we took another route back to the resort. This time it was mostly through forests, exploring some new trails.
A good 4-hour hike. It was evening by the time we reached the resort where a sumptuous lunch awaited us.
More of the story in photos and notes below.
Wayanad, a hill district in north Kerala, shares it borders with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The district is endowed with considerable forest cover that is part of the Nilgiri biosphere. Wayanad can be accessed from Calicut/Mysore/Ooty/Kannur/Coorg.