-Asmita Srivastava (continued)
A friend of my cousin pointed out at the rubber trees and lemon grass as he enlightened us with their medicinal properties. On the other side were vast expanses of tea plantations through which we meandered to reach the starting point of our trek.
At a height of 2100- meters, the towering Chembra Peak is located near Meppadi in the southern part of Wayanad. It is the tallest of peaks in the region and climbing it tested everyone’s physical stamina. It was an exhilarating experience, as each stage in the climb threw new challenges at us. As one ascends the peak, the whole of Wayanad unfolds and the view is simply breath taking! Going up and coming down the peak took us a total of 5 hours. We were expecting the climb down to be easier and faster but Oh my god! Never underestimate mother nature. It will keep surprising you and leave you in awe.
Best time to start the trek is early morning as the crowd is less which makes it easier to climb the summit. By the time we started on our way back, it was afternoon and a new batch of trekkers were on their way up. This made the narrow trekking trails overcrowded and difficult for people to make way for the others. All this hard work was to have a sight of a heart shaped lake on the way to the peak, which is said to have never dried up. It is one of the topmost attractions of Chembra. A little researching later, helped me know that the heart shaped lake had a local name: ‘Hridhayathadakam’. Chembra Peak is worth visiting all year around except in the rainy season, as the trails can get quite slippery during monsoons.
After reaching the lake, the guide there informed us that the summit had been closed for the day because of some activity. Two of my cousin’s friends were disappointed with this news but I was relieved! Big time! Getting to the lake was a Hercules’s task for someone like me who was trekking for the first time and trekking for another kilometre was out of question. We sat there for some time, talking in the splendid panoramic view with fresh, warm breeze hitting our faces. I closed my eyes for a couple of seconds. I had never felt so close to myself before. This was the getaway I was looking for.
Banasura Sagar Dam
The dam at Banasura Sagar is reckoned as the largest earth dam in India. The dam is located in the southwestern part of Wayanad district and is close to the Karalad Lake. As our driver dropped us at the entrance of the dam, he, in a matter of fact tone, told us that a set of islands were formed when the reservoir submerged the surrounding areas. The dam was constructed to support the Kakkayam Hydroelectric power project to meet the water demands for irrigation and drinking process. It is located around 21 kilometre away from Kalpetta, the headquarters of the Wayanad District Administration.
By the time we reached the dam, little time was left for the sunset and hence, boating facilities for the day had closed. We went to a small nature park at the other end of the dam and got ourselves lemon juice to sit back and enjoy the enchanting view of the sun hiding behind the Banasura hills which were overlooking the reservoir. It was surreal and romantic, to say the least The park had tree swings that brought the child out in every adult.
Singing old Hindi songs with our Kishore Kumar die-hard fan driver, we zoomed in through the Bandipur forests, exclaiming at the elephants and baby monkeys, we spotted on our way back. We took a stopover at Kalpetta as I wanted to buy the Wayanad special herbal massage oil for my parents. This was my way of taking with me a little of the place I had been to, apart from the priceless memories and memorable experiences.