-Asmita Srivastava

After a lot of effort by the auto wala  and the endless wait in the thick Bangalore traffic, I gasped for breath as I struggled with my little suitcase to reach my cousin’s apartment. The auto uncle had left me at the nearby mall and blatantly requested me to rate him a 5 star on a popular cab service providing app. If struggling in the traffic and carrying my suitcase was not enough, on reaching the apartment, I get to know that the lift was experiencing some malfunctions. I dashed for the stairs, dragging my suitcase while a little voice in my head said, “just a little more”. As soon as I reached my cousin’s flat, I slumped into her bed.

Wayanad“Get up. It’s going to be a new year”, a familiar voice tried waking me up. My cousin and her friends (with whom I was to go on a trip to Wayanad the next day) had bought a small cake and soft drinks for a mini celebration at home. After we rang in the new year, all of us settled with our snacks to watch a Hindi movie,  Dil Chahta hai, dedicated to the camaraderie of three childhood friends. The movie seemed quite ironic to me for the setting in which I found myself. I had agreed to go on a trip with five other people of which, one was my cousin sister and the rest, I was meeting for the first time that night.

Early, the next morning, we boarded a Tavera which would take us to the little district in Kerala. The ride to our holiday destination wasn’t very eventful except for a stopover where we had thatte idli  and piping hot coffee.  The early morning sunlight hit my face and provided the much needed warmth. I felt so close to nature.

Just to fill you in on where I was headed, Wayanad is a small district in God’s own country, Kerala. The name Wayanad comes from Vayal Nadu, meaning the land of paddy fields. It is a picturesque region, cozily wrapped between the mountains of the Western Ghats on the Eastern side of North Kerala and the states of Tamil Nadu and meenmuthyKarnataka. Situated at a height between 700 meters and 2100 meters above the sea level, the district was carved out from the then Kozhikode and Kannur districts. Much of its area is under forest. Though many consider it to be backward because of the high number of tribal inhabitants, this district is perhaps one of the biggest foreign exchange earners of the state, with its production of cash crops like pepper, cardamom, coffee, tea, spices and other condiments.

trackingMeenmutty waterfalls

Our first sightseeing spot was the Meenmutty waterfalls from where, apparently, visuals for the highly acclaimed movie,  Baahubali, were taken. Or at least, this is what our Hindi movie enthusiast driver told us. The spectacular  Meenmutty falls can be reached through a 2-kilometer trekking route from the main road. The three-tiered waterfall is the largest of waterfalls in the district of  Wayanad. The icy cold water froze my face for seconds as I splashed it on my face playfully.

The way out was more adventurous than reaching it. We had to climb huge boulders with the help of a thick rope to reach the exit. This was, in a way, my first brush with trekking. Who knew, what more was in store for me the next day.

(to be continued…)