Misty mountains to cave galleries: Around Wayanad in 7 hours

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Wayanad never disappoints travellers. Kurumbalakotta is one of the last frontiers in the verdant border district.

During rainy seasons, the last leg of the journey will have to be completed as a trek. Try to reach atop Kurumbalakotta early in the morning to enjoy it fully. Don't be surprised if you see a few campers warming themselves around bonfires, for Kurumbalakotta is truly a paradise on earth.

The cloud-kissed hills provided a safe haven for Pazhassi Raja in his campaigns against the British. From there proceed to Panamaram through Kaniyambatta to the Jain temples of antiquity.

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The two dilapidated Jain temples at Nadavayal are fast moving to oblivion. It is a shame to leave the breathtaking stone sculptures to abandon. A few kilometres away at Punjavayal has another Jain temple. Almost 80 per cent of which has crumbled. The place is a jaunt for peacocks and history buffs.

Just 5 km away, the mighty Kabani starts its torturous journey at Koodalkadavu. It is highly unlikely that there is a better place to frolic in the water in Wayanad.

The river is deeper upstream of the 150 metre barrage. If you are not a confident swimmer, jump to the shallow waters on the other side.

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Be on alert because the water world has its pitfalls and crocodiles. The small islands on the river add to the charm.

If you can off-road for a kilometre and half, you will reach Palvelicham, another gateway to the Kuruva Island. It is a worth pit stop at this modest waterfalls before continuing the journey to towards Srambi. It is a 2 km ride from Koodalkadavu. Srambi was built by the British in 1886 in the forest to benefit foresters, hunters and officers who wanted to unwind.

The old memorial has been taken over by termites. The place is the territory of elephants and tigers. So always seek permission from the Kerala Forest Department office before venturing in.

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Conclude the trip only after a visit to the Veliyambam fort inside the Pathiri Reserve Forest. The place is a treasure trove of prehistoric inscriptions. The deep forest is not an easy destination though. Elephants roam the area round the clock.

Always remember not to overstay at any of these enticing places as that could topple your entire plan. Keep moving.

Bon voyage!

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