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Ladakh Diaries Part 9: Lamayuru

Lamayuru is one of the most ancient monasteries in Ladakh, the oldest surviving structure dating to the 11 th century CE. What makes this monastery particularly fascinating, is its location, amidst what is today called the “moonscape”, for the spectacular natural rock formations, which truly are “out of the world”! As per legend , there once existed a huge lake in this area, populated only by the Nagas (serpents). It was prophesized that there would be a great monastery built here. This prophecy came true when the great acharya Naropa (756-1041 CE) arrived. He emptied the lake, meditated for many years inside a cave, and built the first monastery here. The present structure is a new one, built around the cave where Acharya Naropa is said to have meditated. This legend seems to fit well with the geological formations seen in the area, which suggest this was a paleo-lake, which disappeared around 1000 years ago. Lamayuru is about 130 km from Leh , and the Indus River flows along th

Wayanad - First Impressions

Wayanad – the name comes from the words ‘Vayal Nadu’ – land of paddy fields, and that’s what I expected to see – paddy fields stretching in all directions. However, entering the district through the heart of the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, the sight that greeted me was of towering trees lining both sides of the road....





Going further, it was evident that we were truly in ‘God’s own country’ – Kerala. Palm trees lined the roads and the fields, separating the now dry fields of paddy....



And amidst these trees and fields rose rocks of all sizes and shapes, lending an unique touch to the scene....



Trees laden with fruits greeted us at every turn... 



We ogled at the clusters of bananas.....



And drooled at the sight of jackfruits....



We saw Mangosteens  for the first time...



And also Breadfruit, which we hadn’t even heard of before!



Coffee seemed to be a common plant... almost every house had a small ‘plantation’...



If I thought this was beautiful, I was in for more surprises. A few miles away, and the landscape changed. Now, instead of coffee, there was tea... acres and acres of undulating land, covered by tea plantations...



And then there were the rivers – at some places, the Kabini, elsewhere the Vythiri.... each flowing peacefully amidst lush greenery hiding the presence of people....



Wayanad is among the newest and most sparsely populated of Kerala’s districts. It is tucked away in a corner of the state, bordering the states of Karnataka and Tamilnadu. In a land known for its coastline, it has no connection whatsoever with the coast, nestling instead amidst the mountains.


And, I could have missed all this and more..... if it wasn’t for the way things happened....

I had been hearing about Wayanad for years. Everyone I knew seemed to be going there. As with all other places, I put it on my mental wishlist, and waited for the day I would be able to plan a trip there. As it turned out, the long awaited trip fell into my lap in the most unexpected manner.

Thomas Cook India offered to plan a trip for me, and since I was already going to Bangalore and Mysore, they suggested I take a short break somewhere nearby. The only question was “Where?” Coorg was the first place that came up, but I had just visited the area in March. They then suggested Wayanad, and I needed no further urging.

We had less than a week to work things out, and you can’t imagine how hectic those last few days turned out to be. My tickets were waitlisted, my arrangements for Mysore had to be changed, I had to finish all pending work at home, since I would out for more than half a month...... looking back, I find myself wondering how it all got done!

One of the biggest things I worried about was the plan Thomas Cook would draw up for me. Their Wayanad itinerary was called ‘Xplorer’ and all of you know I love exploring. However, I also have ankle problems and weight problems which don’t allow me to do a lot of walking or cycling. I am not too great with heights, and the plan involved ziplining!!!! Having no experience whatsoever with professionals planning trips for me, I was also wary of the cost. All it took was one meeting with their tour planners and things fell into place easily. They modified the plan to suit the dates I had free, the activities to suit my interests, and the cost to fit my pocket.

And that’s how this trip to Wayanad happened.

What you have seen of Wayanad is just a glimpse. In the coming weeks, let me take you along with me, as I relive my memories of exploring Wayanad.

Update: 

Here are all the posts I have written about Wayanad...

Comments

  1. I can visualize. Must have been a wonderful trip roaming around that dreamland. Bread Fruit trees are there in Mumbai too. I saw the on the Napean Sea Road. I am also new to Mangosteen. Looking at the photograph, I suspected it to be the bud of Naga Lings flower (Cannon Ball Tree).

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    1. It was truly a dreamland, PNS! and interestingly, I realised just yesterday that we had a breadfruit tree in the garden next to ours... i has just grown fruits this season and it was the first thing i noticed when i got back!

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  2. The first impressions are quite impressive. Waiting to read more stories from the Wild Wayanad!

    http://rajniranjandas.blogspot.in/2013/05/nagaon-beach-mini-goa.html

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    Replies
    1. It was truly impressive, Niranjan!!! loads more coming up!

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  3. nice post.beautiful landscape and fruits.

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  4. Mouth watering pictures and good to hear that they customized the itinerary.

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    1. Thanks Mridula!!! Thankfully, they did. I couldnt possibly have done all that cycling with the state of my ankle!

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  5. its very very refreshing... staying in the concrete jungle, these patched of greenery always make the mind fresh..

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    1. Yes, Krishna! Its always a pleasure to get away from the city. which is why we try to escape any time we get!!!!

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  6. We are planning to go to Wayanad in November. Seeing you pictures, I am getting more excited. :)

    You get breadfruit in the market near Chembur station. It's called "some" phanas in Marathi. In Malayalam, it is "kadachakka."

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    1. thats great, Bindhu! my posts come at the right time for you!! and i havent noticed breadfruit at chembur station... will look for it next time. have you tasted it?

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  7. I missed it in my trip to Kerala :( All your pictures are so highly inspiring me to be there, Anu! This has to go in my bucket list of places.

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    1. Thanks so much, Arti!! it def has to go on your bucket list... there is so much to see and experience here!

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  8. Thanks for giving glimpse of Wayanad, looking forward to know more!!!

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  9. Wonderful Photographs.... good post

    Thanks for sharing

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  10. Love post and photographs, Anu.

    I love breadfruit and a friend of mine brings a pan-fried version of it coated with salt, turmeric, chilli powder and some hing. It's delicious. :-)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Sudha! i have never tried it.. sounds yummy!

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  11. Hey anuradha.. its wonderful post.. I am reading your blog almost after 6 months.. !! How r u?? I loved your wayanad trip.. sure u had a great experience.. I am also looking for a trip in that district of Kerala...
    I love breadfruit a lot... In Kannada we call DHIVHALASINA KAAYI.. its fry is very tasty..try recipe as told by sudhagee.. its mainly prepared in coastal Karnataka.. even I prepared it when I was in Kerala..
    Now heading for your next post about wayanad.. excited to read... Dr.A

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  12. Nice.. :)
    For more on wayanad visit here
    http://pintoday.blogspot.in/2013/09/wayanad.html

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  13. Very well detailed blog. We had visited Wayanad in group from office. To do some Adventure & Activities were our main motive. Stayed in a small resort Rest In Nature - Vythiri. Very serene place. They arranged the activities we wanted to do. Wouldlove to visit Watanad again. Many more to do n see after I read this blog. Thank you.

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