Mysore to Wayanad
We started the day with a visit to a government silk factory in Mysore. That surely was an educative eye opener. If we were to buy silk now I wouldn’t dare to bargain anymore. Thank goodness we made our purchases before we found out how much is involved before a silk item finds its way into a store.
They use machines for most of the work, but imagine: they used to do all this incredible work manually before the age of machinery and computers. Unbelievable.
The noise of the machines was deafening but hardly any of the workers wore ear protection! Photography was not permitted but I found a YouTube video that shows the exact place we visited as well as the whole process from cocoon to sari.
Outside the factory we spotted a sandalwood tree. The trees are protected and cutting them is strictly forbidden. We were told that most cheap carvings sold by street vendors as sandalwood carvings are definitely not sandalwood!
Off to Wayanad. First a 4-lane highway, later 2 lanes where cars overtook each other between cars in opposite directions. Sounds weird but that’s how it was! Vinod was a very conscientious driver who didn’t take crazy chances.
After a coffee break we turned onto a narrow country road. I compared it with a narrow Dutch dike road. After a while we came upon the check post of the National Park (Rajiv Gandhi National Park/Nagarahole). We drove through it at the Karnataka side, then crossed the state border into Kerala (Tholpetty Range in the Wayanad wildlife sanctuary). And that is where we had our jeep safari. Somewhere we also crossed into Tamil Nadu. The wildlife sanctuary is endlessly large.
We also passed some areas where coffee was grown and we saw coffee cherries being dried in the sun.
To get back to the jeep safari: after more than an hour of being jolted around on a hard seat on an extremely bumpy track my tailbone was so sore and I am sure that none of my organs were still located where nature meant them to be, but it was fun. We shared the jeep with a nice young Dutch couple (he was Dutch, she Italian, living in Holland). We saw lots of deer, monkeys, mainly langurs, a sambar dear, peacocks, wild boar, but no elephants.
It was a hot day, definitely above 30 and we were very, very dusty.
When driving towards our Jungle Retreat after our safari adventure Vinod all of a sudden slammed on the brakes. An elephant!! No one in his right mind drives by an elephant so close to the road. They are aggressive, fast and very strong! All cars took a wait and see approach. After a while the elephant decided to meander back into the bush and the first car ventured through at high speed. Others followed. We met the car with the Dutch couple and high-five’d to share our unexpected wild elephant viewing.
About 20 minutes later we arrived at our Jungle Retreat.
What a paradise. 10 Acres of wilderness. Some cabins, protected from elephants and tigers by electric fences.
Paths were made towards the unspoiled, uninhabited portion of the property. A viewing tower had been constructed to watch wildlife. We could see where elephants ventured at night. Huge footprints! They only come out at night, when they don’t hear humans anymore. That night there was also a tiger who most likely killed a deer. Next morning there was not a deer in sight, very unusual, as we were told, and probably due to the kill.
I sat on our patio early in the morning. Saw the morning mist lift slowly. I was surrounded by nature sounds, from frogs to birds to monkeys. Nothing can be left on the patio as the langurs will be fast upon it and take it with them. They are cavorting in the trees surrounding our room but also keeping a watchful eye on us.
Too bad we are leaving already. It so so gorgeous, so peaceful, so beautiful here.
Next stop Ooty (Udhagamandalam) and Coonoor