The International Writers
Walk on the Wild Side
Marianne de Nazareth at
needed a break and the brochures of Vythiri resort in Wyanad district
of North Kerala beckoned inexorably. Set on 30 acres of land the
jungle retreat is an escape in to the lush forests of Kerala.
So catching a comfortable Volvo bus from the city, the trip is
a comfortable overnight ride. "Get off at the Vythiri police
station," Roy Chacko the marketing manager of Vythiri resorts
had instructed us,. "then our jeep will collect you and bring
you to the resort."
It was still dawns half light when we arrived at the police station and
a jeep aptly named "Thrill" collected us as promised. Bouncing
around on the stony winding track leading to the resort, the headlights
picked out rows of coffee bushes and pepper vines. These were the western
ghats we were climbing into and Vythiri at 2500 feet remains unspoilt
and unchanged. Being the gateway to the Wyanad district Vythiri is second
only to Cherapunjee in its recorded rainfall and thats why its streams
never run dry.
From our rustic looking cottage we could see a crystal clear stream. Infact
when we arrived that was the only sound in the resort- of the water gushing
over the boulders in the bed of the stream. When the sun rose the view
was breathless, unspoilt, panoramic nature. The hills rising up in the
distance were thickly forested and the lower reaches covered with pepper,
coffee and tea estates. The mist wrapped lush forests held a variety of
flora and fauna and we were told that the occasional leopard, deer, elephant,
wild boar and monkeys put in an appearance.
Just outside the resort is a beautiful little waterfall enclosed with
tall shoulders of wild cardamom. The waters rush over the edge in a frothing
foaming mass making an awesome sight. Only true nature lovers can enjoy
the pleasures of Vythiri. Take off your socks and shoes and paddle in
the icy cold waters of the stream. The scented tree cover overhead and
the silence of the place is protectively enveloping and soothing all at
The cottages are simply furnished with basic necessities. No TV, no fridge,
but hot water is available for showers and each cottage is large and airy
and overlooks the babbling brook. A beautifully clean swimming pool which
thankfully is not the typical funny shaped resort pool, is open to those
who would like to work off the excesses of the restaurant.
fun part of Vythiri is the spectacularly long rope bridge stretching
over the stream that swayed alarmingly as we crossed to go to the
restaurant or the pool. However try walking in step then the sway
is even and heart stoppingly a great experience!
Birds flitted everywhere along with jewel coloured butterflies and
dragonflies among the greenery. We breathed in great lungs full
of air which had the crisp ferny scent of the hills.
One morning after a breakfast of appam and stew the young and very clued
in resort manager Roy Chacko asked if we had heard the Malabar whistling
thrush. Hen he recounted the hilarious incident of a young groom who was
very annoyed thinking someone was whistling at his new bride and only
backed off when he was shown the bird by the manager!
In the night a big bonfire was lit while we sat around under the bright
stars eating dinner. Apparently lots of legends abound and one was of
the chain tree. Apparently the Brits were always on the look
out for hill stations. Once an Englishman heard about the area he got
hold of a local to show him the route over the hills. Then he chained
the hapless soul to a tree and poured molten gold down his throat to silence
him forever. So the ghost of the man haunts the tree till a local priest
chained the tree and silenced it forever. "These are the kind of
stories our visitors enjoy and I tell them around five times everyday,"
says Roy wryly.
Today the resort also offers ayurvedic spa treatments only with prior
Getting there: From Bangalore take the overnight bus and the jeep from
the resort will meet you once reservations are made.
kannayath road, mamangalam,
ph: 0484 4055250
fax: 0484- 4055253
© Marianne de Nazareth March 2007
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