Kerala

Kerala, popularly known as God’s Own Country is arguably one of the best tourist destinations in India today. It is the land of exotic backwaters, beautiful hill stations, palm fringed beaches and rich flora and fauna, not forgetting the traditional houseboats and divine cuisine. No wonder, vacationers from all parts of the world flock to this South Indian beauty all through the year.
I dint want a hush-hush trip. I wanted to be there and soak Kerala within me. So we decided to dedicate one whole week of our ever busy year to our beloved abode.
Kerala sunsetWe took a flight from Mumbai to Kochi airport and headed to Munnar by car. It took us 5 hours to reach Munnar. But when we set our foot in there, all the tire was worth it. Munnar is serene, cool and peaceful. We stayed at the Edassery Eastend Hotel. The hotel has all the necessary amenities and an array of rooms to select from.

Munnar: The next day was dedicated to sightseeing, where we were whisked to the famous tea-plantations and tea factory. We couldn’t stop ourselves from buying a whole lot of variety of teas and the home grown coffee. The Echo point is worth visiting and so is the Matupetty Dam.Tea plantations
Thekkady:
  Its a 5 hours drive from Munnar. Thekkady is famous for its spice plantations, ayurvedic massages and the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. PeriyarWe experienced all of it. We made a nice boat trip in Periyar. It is a man-mad lake. The backwaters of Mullaperiyar Dam built in 19th century, form this lake which is enveloped by lush green forests. In this hour-long boat trip, tourists with all their might, try to sight the animalin their wild. We were in luck as a group of elephants had come quench their thirst.

Wayanad: After 2 nights in Thekkady, we proceeded to Wayanad which has a repertoire of being a rain-forest, studded with lush green flora and equally beautiful fauna.
Wayanad

We checked into the Green Gates hotel which is just a few minutes away from the main market area. The staff here are very friendly and ever ready to help. That night it rained heavily… literally!!GreengatesPookode is a natural fresh water lake nestling amid evergreen forests and mountain slopes. Boating facilities, children’s park, handicrafts and spices emporium and fresh water aquarium are some of the tourist attractions here.
Wayanad lake
Vythiri Resort! This was our next halt in Wayanad. We had heard aBridgell good things about this resort which compelled us to spend one whole day only to explore the resort. ‘Seeing is believing ‘stands true here. They have their own Malabar Squirrel and the sound of insects, birds and the flowing river soothes all your senses. An exquisite eco-friendly jungle getaway in  the heart of Wayanad, its in perfect harmony with nature. They have a mindblowing spread of lunch and dinner buffet… it seems like cuisine from every corner of Kerala is brought under one roof. One day was truely not enough to explore Vythiri.

Allepy: Allepy was the last leg of our trip. It is undoubtedly “the Venice of India”. A trip houseboatto Kerala is incomplete without a houseboat stay. It is the most relaxing experience for any age, size or type of people. The boats are extremely eco friendly, merging smoothly into the panorama. We had us booked on a one bedroom houseboat which was comfortably furnished with an open lounge, one bath attached bedroom and a kitchenette. It was manned by an oarsman and a cook.
The not-to-be-missed spectacle in Alleppey is, of course, the Nehru Trophy Boat RaceIt is now a major event held on the second Saturday of every August and features the gigantic snake-boats of Kerala, the chundans.

Food: 
Kerala is every food-lover’s paradise. Kerala cuisine offers a multitude of dishes, ranging from the traditional idli-sambar to seafood delicacies.
With its coconut tree loaded coastline, the cuisine of Kerala is characterized by the use of coconut, either chopped or grated and used as garnishing, coconut milk or paste is used to thicken gravies and coconut oil is used for Kerala Foodcooking. Breakfast includes the mandatory likes of idli, chutney, sambhar, dosa, puttu and appams.
The main course includes the local rice served along with sambar and ghee, kichadi, aviyal, a couple of vegetables, a sourish rasam, pappadam, pickle, raita.
A divine but humble dessert, called payasam completes the meal. Unniappam, vatalappam and palambari (fried bananas in flour) are some of the other famous sweets here.

There is so much more to Kerala… its people, places, culture and cuisine. One trip is just not enough to explore this God’s Own Country!!!

Vythiri Resort, Wayanad, Kerala

It was our Keralite friend who literally sold Vythiri to us. It was also the first time when we heard about Kerala’s hidden treasure, Wayanad, the tropical rain-forest. The guy painted the entire picture in such a way that we not only had Wayanad on our Kerala itinerary, but we also booked us for 2 nights at Vythiri.
Vythiri Logo

Vythiri is an exquisite, ecofriendly jungle resort situated in the heart of Wayanad. Its in the interiors, 3 kms from the main road. We had the resort vehicle pick us up and it was a bumpy ride in the erstwhile Mahindra jeep. I wholeheartedly enjoyed it.

Blanketed by the lush green rain forest, the resort is in perfect harmony with nature. Once you are in there, nature is all you have at your luxury. Sounds of flowing streams, fluttering of leaves and chirping of birds was I all that I heard for those 2 days. Its like, the ringtones of your cellphones are forbidden here in this realm of nature.

Rapture explodes, the moment you enter.
The reception oozes an old world charm with the tiled roof and seating made out of ruggedly cut log of wood.
Reception
There’s a small wooden bridge which leads to the reception area. The natural pool under the bridge is home to hundreds of colourful Koi fish.
Reception Way
Accommodation: They have 5 categories of rooms – Tree House, Honeymoon Villa, Pool Villa, Vythiri Haven and Vythiri Habitat. We’d booked the Habitat Room. There are only 4 rooms in this category.
HabitatRoom3
The room is spacious with an exclusive balcony which opens to the view of the stream flowing below. Pale warm colours with wooden flooring and interiors blend well with the natural surroundings. Can anything be more blissful than standing in the balcony, wreathed in the cool jungle breeze, listening to the humble songs of the stream and spotting varieties of those beautiful birds you’ve never seen before. Could I be any luckier!
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Dining: The buffet is an expansive scrumptious spread served in earthen pots. The resort kitchen whips up a host of local culinary specialties, many of which are unseen and unheard. There are variety of pickles and salads. Payasam is a must in every buffet. Its the food to feed your soul!
Buffet1
Dining area is massive. Look at the lush green surroundings! You literally eat out of the hands of nature, don’t you!
Dining
Activities:
I remember talking to the receptionist, asking her about the sightseeing in Wayanad. To which she humbly replied, “Mam, our resort is so vast that you’ll need an entire day just to explore the resort. The second day you can do the sight-seeing”.

She did mean what she said. The resort has a host of activities to do and explore. We spent one whole day just to explore the resort and then relaxed in the evening to soak it all in.

Walking up and down the long suspended rope bridge is an adventure in itself 🙂
SuspendedPool
There are an array of other options as well. You can start your mornings with timed Yoga sessions. Saunter around snapping as many birds as you can or laze by the stream and get mesmerized by its frothy white waters. If you are in luck, you may even find a Nilgiri Langoor. Feeding monkeys is strictly prohibited here.
Visit the nearby waterfall or take a leisure walk around spotting the famous and the resort’s very own Malabar Squirrel. This is a must-have shot and the coy lady does oblige by posing, although hidden amongst the greens. You need a real good lens to snap her.
Malabar Squirrel
They have an hour long informative session in the evening at 6. This is a slide presentation which takes you through the area’s flora and fauna, the traditions, culture and festivities of the place.
The resort also arranges a guided trek to the tropical rain-forests in the surrounding area.

All done and explored? Just sit at the natural pool area and watch the rain-drops hitting and disappearing in the pool water.
Sitout
Amenities: The resort is well-equipped with spa, health club, ayurveda centre, swimming pool, games room, kids park, multi-cuisine restaurant and coffee shop.

There’s also the souvenir shop from which we bought T-shirts and some curios.
Sovenier shop
Lastly, a special mention of the sturdy jeep that ferried us. These jeeps have been the thing of the past…long forgotten. Posting the pic here. Nostalgia!
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I wholeheartedly thank our dear friend for introducing us to Vythiri. The ambience, hospitality, room, amenities, food… every single moment at the resort was worth every penny paid for.
The entire experience was fascinating! A must-visit for everyone visiting Wayanad 🙂