Experiencing the Kerala Monsoons at Wayanad

The nonchalant rains made the drive on the private roads through the tea estates of Wayanad slightly bumpy and rough. Had it not been the wee hours of the day, the lush tea estates would have proved to be a pleasant distraction. We were in Wayanad to see ‘Splash’ – a Monsoon Carnival organized by Kerala Tourism and Wayanad Tourism Organization. This week long Monsoon Carnival includes fun and exciting rain games and sports like mud football, volley ball, off-roading jeep rallies, marathon, and more. There was so much excitement and enthusiasm in the air as the vibrant town relishes the rains.

God’s own country Kerala is known for its beauty but the monsoons enhance it manifold and one should definitely travel there to experience the lovely Kerala monsoons. The monsoon carnival gave me that opportunity, as I had visited Kerala a couple of times before, but this time and this place was a totally new experience and it won’t be too much to say I enjoyed every bit of it.

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Lush Tea Estates

Monsoon travel is not for everyone, true, but it opens up the treasure trove of beauty of a place that is otherwise hidden. Wayanad forests have been known to be inhabited for thousands of years and many regions still flaunt the rich thickets even today. And so, you can imagine how beautiful such a landscape would look when pampered by the rains. For a traveler who seeks to experience the true essence of a place, travel for a meaning with an open mind – I think, it couldn’t get any better than this, honestly.

Our stay in Wayanad was arranged at the Greenex Eco Resorts – one of the best places I have stayed at so far. A simple and polite man, Mr. Thomas, received us and drove skillfully through the bumpy roads while chatting and sharing some interesting bits of information about the place, the weather, and likes.

Stay At Greenex Resort

It was still dark when we had checked in.  But later during the day, I was so happy to see that the resort was completely set amidst the trees and coffee plantations. It took me some time to get acquainted with directions and paths amidst so many trees. All the cottages here have different themes and each had lovely names like Tulip, Petunia, and Marigold. Ours was called Orchid. There’s a treehouse for the more adventurous ones. And the best part is this place also has a dorm! With all the sprawling greens, the view from our cottage was quite refreshing.

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Our cottage – Orchid, with four rooms. We had occupied the bottom right.

Set amidst thickets of greens, the plush cottages are all solar powered – a great mix of nature, luxury and technology. The swimming pool here is a natural pool that uses bio-filters and zero chemicals. They also had an organic farm, most of the fruits and veggies that you will eat here would be straight from the farm! Isn’t that cool?

A small lake here allows you to go rafting on the traditional bamboo rafts. It is a relatively small stretch but quite a refreshing one. While you row your way, more often than not pretty swans and ducks swim past you.

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On entering our cottage I couldn’t help but notice how meticulously it was designed, and how spacious, tidy, and minimally but aesthetically decorated it was. We made ourselves some coffee and chatted with the background sound of soft, morning rain that was falling outside the window.

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After a while, as a result of the soothing environment coupled with the weariness of travel, I dozed off. At the break of dawn, suddenly I woke up to a loud knock on the window. It was really loud and we wondered why on earth would anyone knock at the window and not the door?! We pushed the curtain aside – and the doer of the action – a beautiful bird, got startled and took a flight hurriedly. We burst into laughter, wide awake now. The pretty birdie kept coming back for some time, and I did manage to get a pic. Over the three days of stay, we had more of those pretty visitors, who just made us go WOW! each time.

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The visitor who came knocking at the window 🙂

I absolutely loved staying at Greenex Farms. I like quiet places, greenery and close-to-the-nature feel. If you are like me, you’d know what I mean. From my personal experience, here’s what I’d say the pros and cons of the place are:

PROS

  • It’s absolutely safe for solo travelers. And therefore, safe for solo women travelers, as well. However, it is always one’s own responsibility to be careful and not careless enough to let the guard down.
  • Greenex is one of those very few resorts which are pet-friendly, and with all the open space to run around and the channel to swim in, rest assured the pets are gonna love the place too!
  • Cut-off from the bustling town, and surrounded by thickets, the place is absolutely peaceful. I found it great for writing. So if you practice any form of art, write, read or do yoga, you will be happy to be there.
  • The staff is polite and prompt. And the management is very helpful and friendly.
  • There are a lot of activities to do within the premises, including nature walks, birding, rafting, indoor-outdoor games, swimming, cycling, or you could just jump into the hammocks and chill.

CONS

  • It’s thickly covered with trees, like a mini forest. You may, therefore, find insects, bugs, crawling but isn’t that obvious if you are looking for an eco-friendly place?
  • Some cottages have weak connectivity (only for certain providers) inside the cottage – like I had an Airtel connection which was weak inside the cottage but worked just fine around the other places. I also had a Jio connection that worked fine both indoors and outdoors.
  • Food is simple, clean, good, and mostly organic. I am a little selective about my food choices but all I need is clean and hygienic veg food. If you are too picky or too foodie, you may find it quite simple.
  • The natural pool is designed in a step-well kind of structure, and the central part is quite deep (I guess about 7-8 feet). So non-swimmers (like me) cannot utilize it well without inflatable tubes or swim rings. Goes without saying, make sure little kids don’t jump in the pool without an adult supervision. There’s a separate kiddie pool for them.

You can find more about Greenex Farms here.

Exploring Wayanad’s Beauty

We met the resort owner – Mr. Poyyal, an ex-Merchant Navy Officer at breakfast. He is a very friendly person who made us feel comfortable with his warm hospitality and sharp-wits. He spoke to us at length about his life on the sea, his amazing travel stories, about the resort, his ideas and vision for it, over a sumptuous breakfast.

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After a while, it stopped drizzling and sunshine sparkled over the fresh, green, rain-washed leaves. We set out to explore Wayanad. The first stop was at Pookode Lake. Nestled amidst the slopes of hills and green forests, it is the natural freshwater lake in the region. There’s an aquarium in its premises, which I didn’t visit but I’m sure those with interest, will find it worth visiting. Boating facility is also available in the lake.

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Pookode Lake

Given that the region is filled with lush tea estates, it is obviously a heaven for tea-lovers. I am not a chai person, but I don’t mind it occasionally. My sister, on the other hand, is a hardcore tea-lover and so, was naturally happy to visit the tea factory. The entire process of tea making was explained and demonstrated here, which was quite interesting and a good-to-know stuff for me.

Fun And Adventure

Ever since my arrival in Wayanad, I was lured by the sight of Chembra Peak engulfed in mist and clouds. I had made up my mind to hike up there, as soon the visit was planned. But unfortunately, one of the guides informed me that the trail was closed for trekking since the forest fire in the region last year.

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Finally got a glimpse of the Chembra Peak

Apart from trekking, Wayanad has many options for adventure sports. It was also here that I tried my first zip-line activity. At 300 meter, the zip line at Pozuthana is known to be the longest in Wayanad. Slicing through the cool air, over the verdant tea estates, suspended with the safety harness attached to the zip-line rope – I must say it was fun. The activity by arranged by Muddyboots.

While speaking to the Manager, I learned that they conduct a lot of adventure activities all around Kerala and even in the Aravallis, that includes trekking, camping, wilderness expeditions, birding, biking, zip lining, and more. I found them very professional and passionate about what they do. I think I would try my hand at another adventure activity with them sometime.

There’s so much more you can do while in Wayanad. I was short on time but there are so many other places that you can visit when you do plan a visit to Wayanad. Edakkal Caves – ancient caves with carvings from Stone Age, Soojipara Waterfalls – that is especially beautiful in the monsoon, ATV/Quad Biking, rafting, off-roading, cycling, trekking, camping, wildlife safari at wildlife sanctuaries, boating and much more.

I feel there’s so much I missed out on, and with that, I think I will go back soon to experience the trek, the wildlife, and so much more. And you?

Please watch a short video montage I have made in an attempt to capture this experience.  

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