Gushing gurgling water slopping into clear as crystal pools. Blue lagoon, step aside. Set out on a leisurely stroll through the Pug Dandi to your right, walk through coffee and cardamom plantations, cross a small brook and then enter the thick forest. Clamber down to the gushing water below. Hurdle no. 1 : A muddy stretch of elephant playground. Take a small detour and then walk upstream till you come across the lagoon. Water falling into 2 jungle pools in a thicket of protective trees. Worth every step.
LAGOONDistance 1/2 km. Time 10 mins. Level : Easy
WATERFALLDistance 3 kms. Time 30 - 45 mins. Level : Medium
More adventure, more streams, more wildlife sightings expected but an awesome reward. Take the same Pug Dandi, cross the stream and continue down the same path. Soon, you cross another stream and 1 km down, you will come to a junction where another two streams meet. Cross this wilderness junction and tiptoe up the road through the old cardamom plantation, because if you are quiet enough you can see more wildlife than just birds and butterflies. Now, you come across a ‘Y’ . Take the path to your right. Further down, wish the road and your security blanket goodbye, and continue straight on the plantation path in front of you. Yet another wild stream. As you plod on, the sound of gushing water becomes evident. You hurry on and then stop and gasp. At the sheer beauty of this natural waterfall pouring 90 feet down the hillside. Walk into the curtain of water, and drink up. On the way back, take the left path back through thick shola and rainforest. A shorter route to the bungalow, though often populated by a family of elephants that does not welcome uninvited guests.
CHECKPOSTDistance 3 km Time 120 mins. Level : Hard
Not for the faint-hearted or the faint-legged. But the view is worth dying for… (hopefully not literally). Cross the wooden bridge near the bungalow, continue up the road through the cardamom plantations till you reach a clearing. Take a left ‘U’ turn and climb through some thick rainforest. You meet the friendly stream which will be your guide thereon. Follow it till its source, and then take a sharp right. By now you will be on all fours holding onto anything that can pull you up, including our guide. It’s even more disquieting when you come across other four-legged denizens, who seem much more confident than you. After the forest boundary line, it’s another steep climb to the checkpost. Elephants use the same route when they feel like a view. And the view is magnificent ! You can see all of Wayanad from here, hill after rolling hill, and the comfortable bungalow you’ve left behind is a dot of red in the palette of green. It’s tough to tear yourself away from such peace and such beauty . But survivors who still wish to go home, may follow the boundary line to the gate of the estate and follow the long road home. Praise yourself for having reached heaven and come back.
What can we say about this man, to whom the forest seemingly speaks to all the time? Shaji loves the forest, a love that is palpable when he speaks of her in tender tones. He can hear the soft breath of the animals here, just as clearly as we can hear the gurgling of the flowing streams. When he takes you on a trek through these sacred grounds, you feel the same awe that he feels despite walking here since he was a little boy. His in depth knowledge of the animals, plants & trees makes for some interesting learning. At the end of the day, when you sit around a crackling fire or under a balmy summer sky, Shaji makes for a perfect storyteller with his various encounters with the forest and her inhabitants.