Our second day began with an early morning visit to Wayanad Wild Life Sanctuary. Muthanga Range of the sanctuary is around 30 km from Meenangadi. We decided to do the Jeep Safari in the morning since the chance of spotting animals is more. Jeep safaris are open from 7 am – 10 am (40 vehicles) and 3 pm – 5 pm (20 vehicles) and are charged INR 500 per jeep (maximum 4 people can comfortably seated).
Jeeps ready for the safari
Entry to the sanctuary is charged at INR 150 per person. A forest guard accompanies us in the Mahindra Jeep and acts as our guide in spotting animals. We were greeted with a large elephant which was being trained.
Then we sighted spotted deers, another deer with big antlers (not sure about the kind of deer), giant malabar squirrels, wild elephants, freshly imprinted tiger pug marks, giant mountain spiders.
Deer with big antlers
We were told that a herd of elephants chased a jeep an hour back or so. The entire safari takes up around an hour covering 5 – 6 km inside the forest.
Route inside the forest during jeep safari
Highway passing through the forest
Spotting the animals is entirely based on our luck. A museum is available in the sanctuary which houses photos of the flora and fauna which were taken at the Muthanga Range.
We headed back to our home-stay, had our breakfast and proceeded to Soochipara Waterfalls. The road journey to the falls itself is quite interesting. We left the coffee plantations and entered tea plantations and I must say, tea plantations look great than their coffee counterparts.
It took around an hour to reach the falls. Entry is restricted between 9 am – 5 pm and entry fee is INR 20 per person and camera fee of INR 20. To reach the falls, we walked downhill around 1.5 km. It was a steady downhill which made the return journey a bit tedious. I was literally out of breath while climbing up and was helped many a times with a little shove during the climb. But the view of western ghats on the way to the falls make the climb worth while.
The falls had a decent amount of water and many foreign tourists were happily taking bath and sun bathing. We took customary photos, tried our hand at long exposure photography and returned.
Our last destination for the day was Karapuzha Dam, which is near the town of Kalpetta. This is also a big earthen dam and built on a tributary of River Kabini. It lacks the boating facility of Banasura Sagar Dam, but hey, Karapuzha is totally free of charge to visit – hence no complaints.:-)
A walk down the few steps at the farther end of the bank leads us to the shutters/flood gates of the dam.
Flood gates of the dam
I remember how we made a dashing run down the flight of steps and laughed like little children at the end. Places associated with nature always brings out the child in us.
Those steps 🙂
I digress. The sun was about to set down, playing hide and seek with clouds and the water was glittering with sun light.
The dam was beautiful in a golden light
Another sunset shot
The guard started whistling for everybody to depart and we took our cue and called it a day.
You can read about the final part of our trip here (to be updated)