On 23rd Dec, after office we left for my hometown, Malappuram which is 150 kms into our intended route. Since I was expecting only a 5 Hr journey from home and my check-in time was at noon I decided to start late so we had a good sleep and started our journey by 8 a.m. Though I was familiar with some of the roads around, I decided to follow my google maps which I had a print out; but that gave a good reason for my wife to laugh at me for a few weeks. I don't know how google predicts the route but in my case it took me in a 16 kms road instead of 12kms. I don’t know how many more kms I had run in the entire journey because of google. Anyway even after that we followed the google maps and then come the next shocker from google. It took us through some route even the locals were not aware of. We followed some country roads instead of the nearby NH available. And these country roads were pathetic for most of the route but little did I knew, this was just starting of a long stretch of bad roads in my trip. So after about 20 kms of google invented road we joined into the highway at Puduppadi. For most of the part, roads in Wayanad are good and so we had a nice journey till Kattikulam. In between we had a short break at Pookote Lake. From Kattikulam, we entered into the forests and a few kms into the forest just before reaching Kutta we saw a herd of elephants only a few meters away from the road. I kept the car idle for few minutes and observed them. From a past experience I was aware that we may get company from other side too so I was constantly anticipating some sound around us and after some time the look on the face of the leader also scared me a bit. So we quietly left the place.
The happiness of wildlife sight was short lived, a few kms before Kutta, literally there was no road and it gave me a tough time maneuvering through that supposed to be road. Though condition got a little better after few kms it wasn’t that good for another 30+ kms. After that, the road till Madikeri was better; but narrow with enough pot holes to keep me active. In between we had an average lunch at Gonikkopal. Finally by 4 in the evening we reached Madikeri, after 8 hrs compared to the expected 5.
After reaching Madikeri, we headed to our hotel, Mayurya Valley View. We had booked the hotel according to some the reviews we saw so were keen to know the condition of hotel. The hotel was newly renovated and looked good from outside and the location was magnificent.
The check in was an easy process and we got room allotted in the new block. They were just finishing off the work on the new block for the x'mas season and we got a newly furnished and freshly appointed room. When we opened the window curtains we were in for a surprise. The valley view from hotel was splendid. Situated very close to Raja’s seat, this definitely was one of the hotels with best valley view in Madikeri. If u plan to stay there try to get a room on the upper floors, it will provide an even better view. Tired from the long travel, we took a shower and some rest and got ready to explore Madikeri. First, we proceeded to Raja's seat. It was hardly 5 minutes walk from the hotel. We spent some time munching some masala snacks at the benches overlooking the valley. It’s so refreshing to sit and talk lazy in such a beautiful weather. We waited there to see the musical fountain, it was an average show with some heavy music and for all rhythms the water jets were similar. But it had some good lighting and overall it was average. After that, we went back and had some hot soup from the restaurant. It's great to have a good hot soup in a cold weather. After soup we went for some night drive, nothing much happened except we had our dinner from some restaurant. But our hotel restaurant was better. Then we came back to hotel and went to sleep......
We slept leisurely till past 9 in the morning and as both of us had been there before we were not in any hurry to go for the sightseeing. In fact, we hadn't even thought about going to any place at all so we decided to take a walk and have a coffee. After breakfast, since we didn't have reservation for that day, we checked out from the hotel by 11. Then we were thinking of what to do next and where to go. Since the road was very bad we thought of an alternate route for return trip and decided to go back via Mysore. Then for the day, we decided to go to Talakaveri and Dubare forest for some river rafting and to have night stay in Mysore. Dubare was en route to Mysore but Talakaveri was 30 kms in the opposite direction. So now we got concerned about time and straight away started off to Talacauvry. Baring first few kms from Madikeri the road to Talacauvery was manageable. On our way up we saw a small house with a board saying 'homely coorg food' and immediately decided to have food from there on our way back. Apart that we went straight to Talacauvery, saw a small pond which is said as the starting point of Cauvery river and after that we decide to take a trudge and go to top. It wasn't as easy as we thought, especially under hot noon sun. Finally we managed to get on top of it and it had some magnificent views.
We were ravenous after the hike and had some snacks and baji’s from the nearby teashops before heading to “homely” coorg food. It was a small home turned eatery with a table in veranda for guests. We were eager to try the original coorg homely food but when it arrived we were disappointed, neither of us liked it much. The host provided us with some leftovers of breakfast and a thin diluted chicken curry with some side dish and rice. Only thing which we liked was good thick curd provided. And it cost 100 per plate. After that we headed straight to Kushalnagar in search of river rafting.
Contradictory to road to Talacauvery, barring only a few kms ahead of Kushalnagar, the road was wretched. But the good news is; construction is undergoing in this route and we can expect a fantastic highway in few years. We didn't recognize turn to Dubare forest and went to Kushalnagar. There we had some coffee and got a detailed route from a hotel. We had to travel back a few kms and take a turn to go to Dubare. When we reached there we were let down to know it was an off season for white river rafting and the peak season is June through august. i.e. the rainy seasons. So we had to satisfy with a not so adventurous rafting. But even that turned out to be a heavy task for us. Our boatman was a nice guy and he did most of the rowing and took some snaps for us.
After a short rowing of few kms we were dropped off at the elephant training centre to see elephant feeding. I was not much interested in it; I like to see them in forests. The elephant camp was in an island and we had to cross a river to get back to mainland. There was a boat taking visitors to and forth and it had a long queue and there was an alternate pathway crossing over rocks so we took the rocks and walked. Few others were also taking this path and looked easy to cross but the rocks were very slippery and I had fell down twice in river. Luckily my camera was with my wife and she managed to cross without falling even once. So we crossed the river without much physical damage and had some hot coffee and snacks from the nearby cafeteria. Now we were tired and close to finish off the day. We headed to Mysore to look for hotel and night’s stay. On way just before reaching Mysore we had dinner from a dhaba, I don’t remember its name but the food was fabulous. It was the best food we had on our entire trip. The tandoori kabab was so delicious that we ordered one more plate before finishing off the dinner. We had a heavy dinner and couldn’t take more and proceeded to Mysore. I was expecting a lot of accommodation options in Mysore. But since it was a long weekend, all hotels were fully booked. I was running from one hotel to another checking for room and saw a few more groups doing the same. From one hotel I heard one of their partners had a vacant room, but they were asking a huge price and since I didn’t had any other option I took that room. But when I reached there I was shaken; for a mediocre room, which on any other day can cost around 500; I had to shell out 2000+taxes. The only good thing about the room was the location. It was in middle of the city. So we had to live with that and went to sleep.
Next day, we didn’t want to do anything and headed straight back to home. We woke up by 9 am, got ready and went around the Mysore palace and left the place by 11 a.m. We had a real bad experience from a petrol pump in Mysore. I asked them to fill diesel for Rs.500. One guy was filling the tank and then another one came to us and gave a map of Mysore and distracted our attention; in mean time the other guy filled diesel for Rs.20 and then suddenly our guy said it’s 500 not 200. Suddenly the other guy reset the meter and filled diesel for 300. Since we didn’t have any proof and didn’t want to pick up a fight, we left the place. Everyone please beware of such frauds in future. After that the journey back home was eventless and good. We passed through Gudallur and Nilambur. We took a short break in the Gudallur forest and another for lunch. After all these we reached home at Malappuram by 4.p.m. And that was the end of a 3 day tour.
What I liked: Climate and magnificent valley views
What I didn't like: Roads leading to Madikeri
Hotel:Mayura Valley View
Food: Mayura Valley view had a good restaurant.