Kerala, “The God’s own Country” is not only know for its pristine beaches and mesmerizing backwaters, but is also blessed with one of the most fertile and dense tropical forests. Wayanad is a rural district in Kerala and is surrounded by lush green forests and areas of high altitude. The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is home to animals including Asiatic elephants, tigers, leopards and egrets. It is situated at around 300 Kilometers from Bangalore and is one of the ideal weekend destinations for people residing in Bangalore.
Long weekends are one to look forward as one gets to unwind from the urban madness and pack the bags for a quick trip. The first thing that I look forward in a new year calendar is for holidays which fall on Thursday, Friday, Monday and Tuesday. I mark them and start planning based on the number of days available. Last year, during one such long weekend, we planned to visit Wayanad. This being our first visit to Wayanad, we were pretty excited as we had heard a lot about the natural beauty of this place.
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Plan and Route taken
The plan was to start early on Friday morning and reach Mysore by around 9AM. Plan was to take a quick tour of the Mysore Zoo (mainly for my daughter) and then head to Wayand through Gudlupete. We wanted to reach Wayand no later than 4:00 PM as was wanted to give the little one sometime to settle in the resort before winding the day
Route: Bangalore -> Ramanagara -> Channapatna -> Madduru -> Mysore -> Nanjanagudu -> Gundlupete -> Wayanad
The day before the drive, went through the usual ritual that I follow before any drive – tank up, go through the basic checks (brakes, engine oil, power steering oil, wind screen fluid, air pressure etc.). My 2 year old daughter has become an integral part of our road trips and in-fact has started loving them. A significant part of our planning these days goes in packing stuff which would keep her engaged during the drive. We double, triple check the checklist so as to ensure that we do not miss out any essentials of the baby. We woke up early and managed to get the engines revved up at 6:00 AM – an accomplishment indeed with the little one 🙂 …
We quickly drove through the NICE road and were cruising on Mysore highway by 6:30 AM. The early start meant that we skipped all the traffic that one would find at 8 AM on Mysore road during long weekends.
Tip: If you are planning a road trip around Bangalore during long weekend, ensure that you leave the city as early as possible. If you leave anytime later than 6 AM, you are bound to find heavy traffic on toll gates and highways. It feels as though the entire city is evacuating. Learnt it the hard way on couple of trip, when I spent a good one hour in tolls.
We were making good time and managed to breeze through Mandya. We usually stop at Right O for breakfast, but considering that our little one was fast asleep in her seat, we decided to continue our drive. We were able to reach the Mysore outer ring road at around 9:00 AM. The outer ring road is a beautiful stretch of 4 lane road with hardly any traffic.
We spent couple of hours at the Mysore Zoo and had a quick light lunch before continuing our journey to Wayand. It was around 12 PM when we resumed our drive towards Wayanad.
The last time we drove to Ooty, the road conditions were not that great. The road became a 2 lane highway after we crossed Mysore all the way up to Ooty. My friends who had done the drive recently did mention that the road conditions have improved significantly. We were pleasantly surprised to see a newly laid beautiful 4 lane road greet us from Mysore all the way up to Nanjanagudu. I had factored a drive time of around 4 hours from Mysore to Wayand but as the road conditions were much better, ended up reaching Wayanad in 3 hours 🙂
The photo that I took couple of years back when this road was a 2 lane highway. Did miss those big trees forming a canopy over the road. The 4 lane does make the drive easy, but has robbed us of a scenic drive 😦
After crossing Nanjanagudu, the road became a 2 lane highway. Even though the road was 2 lane, it was pretty wide and overtaking was a breeze (It was practically a 3 lane, where one does not need to slow down when someone was overtaking). Again, we were fortunate that the road was newly laid and in excellent condition.
As you reach Gudlupete, keep a watch for an intersection where you need to take a right to go to Wayand. The road heading straight (at the intersection) is the one that you need to take if you are visiting Bandipur/ Masinagudi / Ooty.
Google co-ordinates for this right turn ( in case you are using your GPS) : 11.8046143, 76.6881645
Wayand is a further 75 kilometers from this junction and this road will take you through the Bandipur national park. The drive through the forest is very scenic (especially if you are driving during monsoons). The roads are pretty narrow and the run off area is a bit steep, hence I would recommend you to keep a check on the speed.
Tip: The Karnataka stretch of this road had few invisible speed breakers 😦 . I ended up flying over one of them – thankfully my Ford was able to take the impact graciously. The last thing you want is to have a broken axle or suspension in a forest. The mantra to follow here is “Drive slowly and keep your eyes on the road” – the scenery around you will tempt you to take your eyes off the road.
Once we crossed the border and entered Kerala, these speed breakers disappeared and we had a smooth drive to Wayand. We stopped at Sultan Bathery (which is around 20 kilometers from Wayanad) for some snacks and hot cup of tea. We had our reservations at “The Windflower, Vythiri” which is around an hours’ drive from Sultan Bathery. It was 4:00 PM when we rolled into the resort and the gush of fresh air and greenery all around was just mesmerizing 🙂
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