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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Kuruva Island, Wayanad Trip

Wayanad - This trip vs. last trip

A trip to Kuruva Islands in Wayanad, Kerala has been on our list for quite some time this year as it got postponed a couple of times after scheduling. We had also visited Wayanad area previously once, in May 2008. This is our second trip to Wayanad.

During the previous time, we went to the Lakkidi area that is near Vythiri. Lakkidi is at the southern end of Wayanad. But Kuruva Islands, where we went this time, is at the northern end of Wayanad. Basically, Kuruva Island is about 50 KM north of Lakkidi area .

At Lakkidi last time, we stayed at a very nice resort called Stream Valley Cottages. That was a great experience and we visited many places like Pookote lake, Lakkidi view point, Chembra peak, Soojipara water falls, Edakkal caves, etc. Drive during that road trip route was also very scenic from Mysore via Nanjangud, Gundlupet, Bandipur wildlife sanctuary, Sultan Bathery and Kalpeta. We undertook that trip much before I started this blog, so I do not have a travelogue of that trip on my blog. However, I had earlier posted a thrilling experience that we had at that time, here.

About this trip...

This time, we had booked at this small resort called Pepper Green Village / PGV resorts which we found on the internet and booked in advance. PGV is at the northern end of Wayanad, just across the Kuruva Islands separated by a small stream of Kabini river. It is located at a small village called Palvelicham, and it is just ~30 KM inside Kerala from the Karnataka border town of Kutta. We drove from Bangalore via Mysore and Hunsur.

The shortest route from Mysore to PGV is the 98 KM route through State Highway 33 that passes through towns like Hampapura, Madapura etc., and goes adjoining Kabini river and Nagarhole forests. However, several stretches of that road is said to be very bad. The better route is 125 KM long from Mysore via Hunsur and Kutta that goes like this: Mysore – Hunsur – Kutta – Tholpetty – Kattikulam – Palvelicham – Pepper green village. So we took that route via Hunsur and Kutta shown in this map here.

I did my standard preparations for my road trip. Checked fuel, air, lube, etc. Took note of some of the Maruti service center details at Mysore and Hunsur, just in case it becomes necessary. My car's next service was due another 2000 KM away, so I felt this ~650 KM total trip should not have any issue. We halted at Hotel Dasaprakash Gandhi Square, Mysore on Friday night and then proceeded from Mysore on Saturday morning.

It was totally a 3 nights and 3.5 days trip, though we stayed at the resort only for 2 nights and 2 days. We visited Kuruva Islands (a.k.a. Kuruvadweep), Thirunelli Temple, and Iruppu water falls during this trip.

Here is how the trip panned out...

Trip summary

Day-1 - 09/Nov/12, Fri.
     * 3:00 PM - Departure from Bangalore towards Mysore.
     * 4:45 PM - Stop at Hotel Kamat near Channapatna for snacks.
     *7:15 PM - Reached Hotel Dasaprakash Gandhi Square, Mysore.

Day-2 - 10/Nov/12, Sat.
     * 9:30 AM - Departure from Mysore towards Wayanad.
     * 10:30 AM - Passed through Hunsur.
     * 11:15 AM - Entered Nagarhole forest check-post.
     * 12:00 PM - Reached Nagarhole safari point. Restrooms.
     * 12:30 PM - Exited Nagarhole forest check-post.
     * 12:45 PM - Passed outer Kutta and took left turn.
     * 1:00 PM - Crossed Wayanad wildlife sanctuary safari point, Tholpetty range.

     * 1:10 PM - Fuel top-up after Tholpetty.
     * 2:00 PM - Reached Pepper Green Village and ordered lunch.
     * 3:15 PM - Had lunch. Relax. Resort walk. Kabini river view. Paddy field view.
      * 5:30 PM - Evening snacks. Leisure walk within the resort.
     * 8:30 PM - Dinner.

Day-3 - 11/Nov/12, Sun.
     * 8:45 AM - Breakfast.
     * 10:00 AM - Started towards Thirunelli Temple.
     * 11:00 AM - Thirunelli Temple.
     * 11:30 AM - Short stop at local shop for a fragrant wall-hang vetiver kathakali face.
     * 11:30 AM - Started from Thirunelli Temple towards the resort.
     * 12:30 PM - Stop stop at local garden nursery to buy plants.
     * 1:10 PM - Reached the resort, after couple of more stops for photo shoots.
     * 1:30 PM - Lunch.
     * 2:30 PM - Started towards Kuruva / Kuruvadweep island.
     * 2:40 PM - Reached Kuruva island bamboo raft ferry point.
     * 4:30 PM - Returned back from Kuruvadweep to car park main land.
     * 4:32 PM - Quick 10 min. stop to take a look at the Valmeekam Clay Art Gallery & Museum.
     * 4:50 PM - Reached the resort.
     * 5:30 PM - Evening snacks.
     * 5:45 PM - 20 min. walk in the village road around the resort, on the other side of the paddy field.
     * 8:30 PM - Dinner

Day-4 - 12/Nov/12, Mon.
     * 8:45 AM - Breakfast.
     * 9:15 AM - Check-out and departure.
     * 9:25 AM - Short stop at local grocery shop to buy Kerala Red Rice.
     * 9:45 AM - Short stop at a shop in Kattikulam to buy some Nendran Bananas and local Papads.
     * 10:45 AM - Reached Iruppu falls parking point.
     * 11:00 AM - Reached Iruppu falls after climbing up the short distance.
     * 11:40 AM - Back at the parking point. Purchased Bamboo Rice, Vanilla, Banana chips, etc.
     * 11:50 AM - Started from Iruppu falls towards Bangalore.
     * 12:30 PM - Stopped at Nagarhole safari point for lunch and restrooms for 25 min.
     * 1:30 PM - Exited at the other end of Nagarhole checkpost area.
     * 1:55 PM - Passed through Hunsur. 5 min. stop for tender coconuts.
     * 2:55 PM - Passed via Ranganthittu Birds Sanctuary.
     * 3:05 PM - Passed via Srirangapatna.
     * 3:40 PM - Passed via Mandya.
     * 3:50 PM - Short stop at Maddur Tiffanys for Maddur Vada and Coffee.
     * 5:20 PM - Climbed on to NICE road at Kengeri.
     * 6:05 PM - Reached Bommanahalli Bangalore.

Trip details

Here are more details on each segment of this trip with photos.

Onward drive

+ Bommanahalli - Bannerghattta Road - NICE Road - Mysore have good roads as usual.
+ Night halt at Hotel Dasaprakash Mysore was again memorable. See more details later below.
+ From Mysore on day-2 we passed through a lot of agri farms, villages, then forests, and then ghats.
+ We took pictures of a lot of farming activity including ploughing, harvest, processing, etc.
+ Drive through Nagarhole was calm and scenic on a single track road.
+ We had glimpse of some deers a few times, elephant dung at a few places, and one wild boar.
+ Roads were reasonably good through out, from Hunsur to Kutta via Nagarhole.
+ But it was fantastic once we entered Kerala border on the other side of Kutta.
+ Near Tholpetty area, people in a couple of cars were looking in to the woods, sighting elephants.

– We could not see any elephants, though.

Here are some pictures.

Hotel Dasaprakash, Gandhi Square, Mysore

+ Stay at Hotel Dasaprakash Gandhi Square in Mysore was classic and nostalgic.
+ I had been to this hotel several times before, first 1987 from my college, and later many official trips.
+ The place has a great ambiance, very nice twin room, and good food.
+ Akshaya, the vegetarian restaurant serves authentic Mysore style food that anyone will enjoy.
+ It is a very old place, well maintained and very good value for money. A simple and nice hotel.

Here are some photos.

Pepper Green Village Resort

+ Nice small resort with 6 different type of cottages mostly of bamboo hut type.
+ We had a regular brick cottage but facing the Kabini river on one side and paddy fields on the other.
+ Lot of plants and trees - Pepper, Jack fruit, Orange, Chiku, etc.
+ They have a volley ball court, club house with indoor games etc.
+ A few living beings around - Fish, Ducks, Dogs, Birds, Rat, etc.
+ Quite a few insects - Butterflies, Ants, Snails, Dragonflies, Wild Spiders, Centipedes, etc.
+ The staffs were quite helpful.

– The food here was a disaster. They could not even make Biryani as a Biryani.
– Their catering was just minimal. We could not get Kerala style food; not even red rice.
– We also could not get Puttu-Kadala, Pathiri, Kerala Paratha, etc. We just got Idiappam-Stew once.
–  The Kabini river claimed is just looking like a canal so, nothing very exciting.
– The overall resort as a whole is just a small one, so it was not something exciting or great.
– Insects at night were a menace, but when we stay close to nature they are bound to be around.
–  On the 1st night, a severe power / low-voltage problem kept us almost in dark for many hours.
– A rat gave us company on the 2nd night. It was thrilling fun to hear his rumbles / tumbles all night.

Here are some photos.

Thirunelli Temple

+ We went to the ancient Thirunelli Temple on day-3 morning.
+ It is on a hillock surrounded by forest greenery, at about 27 KM north-west of PGV.
+ It is a small but very old temple of the 9th / 10th centuries.
+ The drive was scenic with hill views and greenery along the winding roads up and down.
+ We passed through signs of Elephant Corridors being setup in this area.
+ We even saw a group of local people looking up on the slopes with panic - They said Elephants!

– We could not see the elephants.
– We saw two small cat kittens left lurching on the roadside out of nowhere. Their mom not around.

Here are some pictures.

+ We went to Kuruva Island on day-3 afternoon.
+ Uninhabited group of islands, about 950 acres, spread with a lot of river streams and dense flora.
+ Kabini river in this area is only like a canal, just about 200-300 ft. wide. 
+ To cross over, they have a plan bamboo raft moved by the boatmen pulling the overhead ropes.  

+ The tourism department has maintained the fun quotient by this arrangement. It is interesting.
+ The boatman allowed me to pose as though I was pulling the ropes and took picture for me.
+ Once on the island you keep walking along the the path guided by railings.
+ You see a lot of trees, the river stream along side, and several small islets across the stream.
+ After you walk a KM or so you reach a junction of some water streams where you can get in water.
+ They allow 3 hours for you to return. It is a nice place to spend time if you have come prepared.

– We had come late in the afternoon and so we could not spend more time.
– Sadly, they do not issue the safety life-jackets; they just lie idle on the sidelines.

Here are some pictures. 

Iruppu Falls

+ On the way back to Bangalore on day-4, we took the 10 KM detour from Kutta to Iruppu Falls.
+ Tucked away from the main road by about 4 KM, the last 0.5 KM needs to be walked up the steps.
+ Blue colored butterflies named common banded peacock are seen in abundance near the water falls.
+ The hanging bridge to cross-over across the water stream is another attraction here.
+ Waterfalls can be reached walking through boulders that need to be waded through carefully.
+ It is a very scenic waterfalls where one can spend more than an hour easily amidst the hills.

Here are some pictures.

Return route

A few pictures during the return trip.

Note: You can click on any picture to launch the picture-browser where you can use left arrow keys. And then press ESC key to come back to this blog page.


The round trip distance we covered was 685 KM.

Here are our ratings on a scale of 5, 1 being low and 5 being high.
  • Hotel Dasaprakash, Gandhi Square, Mysore -- 4/5
  • Pepper Green Village, Palvelicham, Kuruva Island, Wayanad -- 3.5/5
  • Thirunelli Temple, Brahmagiri Hill -- 4/5
  • Kuruva Isands, Wayanad -- 4/5
  • Iruppu Falls, Kodagu district, Karnataka -- 5/5
  • Overall trip drive from Bangalore via Mysore, Hunsur, Nagarhole, and back -- 5/5
You can see my tripadvisor page here.

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