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Romancing the rain
Tucked away at an altitude of 700-2,100 metres above sea level in a particularly beautiful corner of Kerala is Wayanad, it comes alive during the monsoons. In early June, I packed my bags and headed off to Wayanad to enjoy one of the better kept secrets of Kerala.
For a truly out-of-this-world experience, you too could, like me, stay in one of the dizzy tree houses at Vythiri Resort— a romantic hideaway cocooned in the lap of the rainforests of Wayanad. You will be on a new high. Literally. These tree houses are perched 22 metres above ground and can be accessed by an indigenous crane-lift that works by a counter weight of water. These luxurious tree houses (with a bath-attached bedroom) are built out of locally available material by the tribals of Wayanad.
The following morning, I drove down the Chundale-Udagamandalam road towards a hillock known as Neelimala that lies near the town of Vaduvanchal. An easy climb took me atop Neelimala. No sooner was I there than I began to hear the roar of the Meenmutty Falls, one of Kerala’s highest waterfalls. The sight of the waterfalls cascading from nearly 304 metres was exceedingly breathtaking.
On my way back, I came across the Chembra Peak, which at 2,100 meters above sea level, happens to be the loftiest in Wayanad. The rains had enhanced the already exceptional beauty of the Chembra Peak. The south-west monsoon typically sets in here in early June and lasts till late September.
A place in Wayanad called Lakkidi, about five kilometres from the town of Vythiri, receives the highest rainfall in the country after Cherrapunji. Splash, the highly acclaimed monsoon carnival, is held in Wayanad every year in July. An array of adventure activities such as river rafting, mountain biking, mud football and crab catching and zorbing are held in Wayanad as part of Splash. The latter has caught the attention of discerning tourists from across the globe. It has also won accolades for being the most innovative tourism product in the country.
There was another good reason to visit Wayanad during the monsoons—ayurveda. The Malayalam month of Karkidakam which falls during the monsoons (in the months of July and August) is considered to be the most ideal period for undergoing ayurvedic therapy. Before long, I had slipped into an ayurvedic rejuvenation therapy called pizhichil at an ayurveda centre in Wayanad. Lukewarm herbal oils were dropped all over my body in a rhythmic way for about 90 minutes. It recharged all my batteries.
I rounded off my trip to Wayanad with a bout of boating at Pookot, one of the largest freshwater lakes in Kerala, which is nestled among the wooded hills near the town of Vythiri.
If you thought that the south-west monsoon brings life across Kerala to a standstill, chances are that you haven’t been to Wayanad. There’s nothing quite like heading to Wayanad during the monsoons.