Earth Sublime

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Experience the many splendoured beauty of Wynad.

Wynad is nestled in the Western Ghats and is located in the northeast tip of Kerala, bordering both Tamilnadu (Nilgiris district) and Karnataka (Chamarajnagar district).
And like the rest of the state, Wynad is beautifully green and more so when the monsoon arrives here, beginning June. It is wet, wet everywhere but nobody minds because this is when the underfed river and other water bodies like lakes and streams spring to life, the air is thick with mist and the entire place is swathed in greenery so much so that it acts like a balm for jaded souls.
Any which way you turn, Wynad presents sights of alluring beauty that are met with gasps of delight. The Pookote lake, a natural fresh water lake is a popular spot in Wynad and everybody heads there. Unlike Ootacummand or Kodaikanal, there are no crowds thronging here. The lake itself is a pretty sight with pedal boats bobbing nearby and it seems as if it is cutoff from the rest of the world. On the edges, it is framed by thick, green vegetation with wooded hills in the background for company. We go for a ride in the pedal boats with the rain pelting down. Being monsoon time, all of us have come armed with raincoats and umbrellas. It is an enjoyable experience and pedaling furiously we try to bump into each other’s boats. A place close to this has the locals selling some interesting handicrafts. A necklace made from bamboo brings out their simple but beautiful workmanship. There is also a fresh water aquarium and a children’s park nearby.
The vegetation around Wynad is of the tropical rainforest variety and there are different shades of green to be enjoyed right from the banana orchards and the tea estates to the different trees and shrubs. Another place of interest here is the Chembra peak which is the tallest peak in Wynad, with an altitude of 2100m. It is a great place to go trekking. Our guide leads the way and we follow. All around us, there are tea estates. The path is wet, slippery and very green and it continues to rain. We persevere and finally make it almost close to the Chembra peak. It is after all an arduous climb and our ragged breathing tells us to stop though the fitter lot has managed to scale the Chembra peak. There is they tell us a small lake on the top of the peak. From where we are, it is almost like a walk in the clouds with mists blowing over the cliff tops and the rain pelting down in full force.
The next place of interest in Wynad is the Tirunelli temple, situated 64 kms away and also known as south Kashi. The location of the temple is seen to be believed. It seems as if the temple is built high up in the mountains (the Brahmagiri hills loom large in the background). A couple of steep steps lead to the temple. Built in the classical Kerala style architecture, the temple is visually appealing more so because of its splendid location. The rain has not abated a bit and a few wisps of clouds are seen blowing here and there. With musical accompaniments in tow, the temple priests go round the temple a number of times. It is a holy sight, a beautiful sight! From the temple, one can walk a few feet below and see the Papanasini river running downhill. It is believed that those who take a dip in the river will have all their sins cleansed.

1. How to get there: Wynad is located to the north-east of Kerala. The best way to get to Wynad is to first travel down to Mysore, which is about 495 kms from Chennai. From Mysore, Wynad is easily accessible.
2. Place to eat/stay: Hotels are to be found in plenty here. Hotel Harithagiri offers decent food, lodging and boarding.
3. Distance from Chennai: Around 600 kms.


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