The demand for flowers record a steep rise in Kerala during the Onam season. The forthcoming Onam season is not going to be different. Much of the flowers come to Kerala from the neighbouring states, most notably from Karnataka. Gundlupet and the adjoining villages in Karnataka are getting ready to meet the high demand for flowers. The vegetable farmers in these villages switch to flower farming during this period.
Gundlupet in Karnataka is adjacent to Wayanad in Kerala. From Sultan Bathery in Wayanad, the road to Gundlupet takes one through the misty canopy of coffee and tea plantations. The scenery is truly stimulating. The road is well signposted by the forest department. It is difficult to tell between the forest and the human habitats here. The road winds through Muthanga which is renowned for the wildlife sanctuary there. A lot of wildlife like deer, Sambar, peacocks and monkeys watch over the visitors and passers-by. A healthy bison or a majestic tusker or even a wildcat could be sighted if in luck.
As Muthanga trails behind, the signboard pointing to Karnataka and to the Bandipur Tiger Reserve welcome the visitors. The greenery, often lost to forest fires seek rebirth here. If the visitors so wish, they can visit the Safari Camp of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve which is some 13 km from Gundlupet on the Gundlupet-Ooty Road. The forest department here arranges Safari vehicles for a trip inside the forest.
Once through with the uniform greenery of the forests of Wayanad, Muthanga and Bandipur, the visitors can head to Maddur where more variety of colours await them. There are large expanses of sunflower and marigold farms here. A lot of people stop over by these farms to take photographs. They happily tip the farm guards with fifty or hundred rupee notes for allowing them to take photos and selfies with the flowers.
The scenery off the highway is also quite exciting. The country roads offer many pleasing sights, among them, Gopalaswamy Betta at 2000 feet above sea level is one of the most charming. Private vehicles are allowed only till the check post at the base. To go across the mountain pass, one can take the Karnataka State Road Transport buses.
Many people visit Gopalaswamy Betta just to enjoy the chill breeze atop the barren hill near the temple. This is also a vantage point to get a spectacular bird’s eye view of the colourful carpet of flower farms afar.
Travellers should note that between 9pm and 6am, entry may not be allowed in the forest area of Bandipur. Even during the daytime, the visitors should refrain from getting off their vehicles. Feeding of wild animals is also prohibited.
Gundlupet is 341km from Kochi and 69 km from Sultan Bathery. From Mysore, it is 60 km and from Ooty, it is 67 km.