Wayanad Forest trail
Places - Treks

The ‘Hartal’ Hike in Wayanad

One week in Kerala. There has to be a ‘hartal’ or ‘bandh.’ During our one-week Wayanad trip, there was a ‘hartal’ in the district, to mark protest against Kasturi Rangan Report and/or Gadgil Committee Report on Western Ghats conversation policies. (More on this later.)

Since this affected our travel plans, we were a little disappointed at first. But not for long. Our resort owner Gopa suggested a walk through the forests, paddy fields, and tribal villages to get a sense of the real Wayanad. He and his friend George, resort manager Shinoj, and a local farmer Karunan chettan took us all the way up to the banks of Kabani river, which separates the mainland and the Kuruva Islands.

Wayanad Forest trail
Hiking along the forest trail

Our path weaved in and out through forests, vast paddy fields, and tribal settlements. Karunan chettan kept telling us interesting stories about the land, people, and animals. Of the lost glory of some families and their lands remaining uncultivated, of tribal families, of landowners building new resorts, and many stories of encounters with elephants and running for life.

After the long walk, all of us were too tired and hungry for the return walk without refueling. We decided to try our luck at a lone teashop and ended up polishing off the breakfast left overs along with some coconut buns and hot tea.

Recouping our energy, we took another route back to the resort. This time it was mostly through forests, exploring some new trails.

A good 4-hour hike. It was evening by the time we reached the resort where a sumptuous lunch awaited us.

More of the story in photos and notes below.

Wayanad Forest Trails
The walk through the paddy fields on slushy embankments reminded us of our childhood days when we walked to school like this every day
Wayanad hikes
New resorts keep popping up in every nook and corner of Wayanad. This newly constructed resort is expected to be inaugurated by mid-November 2013
Wayanad trails, tribal village
The head of the tribal village we visited
Wayanad trails
A small family temple of a ‘Chetty’ family. This idol is in memory of one of their ancestors who killed a tiger
Wayanad Kuruva Islands
The Kabini river. On the other side of the river is the Kuruva Islands
Wayanad Forest trails
Deep trenches are created around farms and human settlements to keep elephants at bay.
Wayanad forest trail
A special bow with two strings. Instead of arrows, perfectly round stones made by a special mud are used to scare away wild animals
Wayanad forest trails
Walking along the trench. We lost our way a bit, but quickly managed to get back on the trail.
Wayanad Kabani
Stopping for a bite at the lone tea shop near Kabani river
Wayanad Forest trail
The forest trail continues. On our return route
Wayanad tribal forest trail
A local ‘see-saw’ made out of bamboo on a tree stump as the pivot. Made by tribal children for playing
Wayanad forest tribal trails
Mallikarjun could not resist the temptation of swinging like Tarzan as we walked by
Wayanad forest trail
Karunan chettan helping us getting some wild Indian gooseberries
Wayanad Pugmarks Jungle Lodge
Finally, the amazing Kerala home food at Pugmarks Jungle Lodge

Wayanad, a hill district in north Kerala, shares it borders with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The district is endowed with considerable forest cover that is part of the Nilgiri biosphere. Wayanad can be accessed from Calicut/Mysore/Ooty/Kannur/Coorg.


10 Comments on “The ‘Hartal’ Hike in Wayanad

  1. It was very nice.I want to go to wayanad.I loved the place.I want to see more photos.:). Can you please take me next time.PLEEEEEAAAAAASSSSSEEEE?

    1. Thanks, Niranjan. 🙂

      (‘Celebrare hartal’, we feel, is a term that bespeaks the pathetic situation of the state. There is a hartal called for at the drop of a hat. And because people do not object but ‘celebrate it’ there is no end to this charade! Of late, there are some movements against this antisocial activity. So there is some hope!)

  2. looks like the hartal gave you a better time than you expected!!! we walked a bit in that area too. thats near where we saw the python. but we didnt really go for a hike.

    1. Yes, we had a nice time, Anu. We remembered about your ‘python post’ toward the end of our trip. Anyways, it would not have been there. 🙂

  3. nice beginning for a travelogue on Wayanad…This (hitherto)unknown destination is in transition to the ‘favored destination status’..Hope, this lovely lass can retain its vibrance for some more time. It is one of the last patches left in Kerala, where one can leave recharged with some extra pegs of oxygen…!

    1. Thanks, Gopa. We too hope that the favored destination status does not destroy the place. 🙂

  4. It makes me really proud to read about my native district where I was born and brought up. Glad to note that wynad is getting noticed more and more as a tourist destination. Thanks for this great effort. Waiting to see more and more photos and news and views on wynad esp my mananthavady. Good going.

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