Bags packed, I headed to Kochi station to catch the train to Calicut. From there, my driver was to take me further north into the lesser-explored part of Kerala. When people think of Kerala, it’s understandably about its backwaters, but very few people know about or have ever visited its best-kept secret, Wayanad. As I set on the road from Calicut, it was not long before the silhouette of mountains appeared in the distance. As we got closer they were soon brought to life, the mountains sparkled like giant emeralds. The winding roads were dotted with churches and bright green mosques, people grinning as we drove by. The roads were in quite bad condition since the monsoon had been particularly prolonged this year, so repair vehicles were out trying to put them right.
Why have so few people been here? That was the question that struck me as we drove deeper into the mountain. The vegetation was lush green, made up of coconut palms, banana trees and other plantations. Very soon, I came across a line of macaques (monkeys) scratching with puzzlement as we drove past. There was excitement when I spotted some long-tailed langur monkeys (golden face and black body) jumping between trees in the distance. By the time I switched my camera on, they had gone!
The light was dimming and as we drove on, we passed the hustle and bustle of small villages. Eventually we arrived at our destination – Asia’s largest Earth resort – a hotel built completely out of mud! I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the driveway was very impressive and the reddish glow of the building looked very inviting. The lobby area was huge which was completely open to one side and faced huge mountains. I was intrigued to see what the bedrooms were like and as soon as the door opened I was taken aback by the sheer size and comfort of the room... there was a huge king-size bed, flatscreen TV, lounge chairs and table. Given that this hotel was in the middle of a nature lover’s paradise, amazingly there was not a bug in the room.
After eating some simple but delicious Indian food, I decided to call it a night.