Words: AMIT GAIKWAD
Roll down the windows and feel the crisp, cool air run across your face. The stunning visuals on the way from Calicut Airport are just a teaser of what the hill station of Wayanad in Kerala has in store for you. Perched 2,100m above sea level, Wayanad is home to some of the most stunning waterfalls, hills, lakes and wildlife sanctuaries in the state. Make the 61-room Sterling Wayanad resort your perfect base for discovery.
If you are travelling with kids, they’ll be thrilled with the number of activities planned and designed just for them. And you’ll find plenty to do with all that child-free time in hand: Relax, unwind and spend a little time trying your hand at activities such as pottery, ziplining, archery and birdwatching. Set out on foot to explore your surroundings. Learn a thing or two about herbs in the new herbal garden, or take on the challenge of spotting different kinds of birds and butterflies that have found a happy home on the lush property. Or just catch up on reading by the poolside while your other half indulges in the much-deserved ayurvedic and spa treatments available onsite. Come together, refreshed and content after all your activities, at the all-day dining restaurant, Machan, to treat yourself to some local and international delicacies.
Don’t let all the comfort and luxury confine you; kick-start your morning by heading out on a bird-watching trail, just a few kilometres away from the property. Keep your eyes peeled as your guide helps you identify rare species of birds just by the colours of their feathers and by sound. This hour-long trip makes for a great family outing. Post breakfast, set out exploring the neighbouring village. The two-hour tribal village trail takes you through green paddy fields, past wells and, if you’re lucky, into the homes of these tribal residents.
Next on your list should be a visit to the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary. Barely 15km from the resort in the stunning Muthanga Forest, this sanctuary is home to a wide variety of birds and animals. The two-hour safari in an open jeep is great for spotting elephant, gaur, deer, fox and tiger deep in the jungle.
After the much-awaited jungle safari, make a short trip to Banasura Sagar Dam. Here you can skim the waters in a motorboat. If you are in no mood for adventure, just pick a spot overlooking the calming waters and enjoy the stunning view; you could easily spend an hour or two admiring the sheer beauty of this place.
End your day with a visit to the Jain Temple at Sultan Bathery. Now a protected monument under the care of the Archaeological Survey of India, it is believed that this site was Tipu Sultan’s administrative hub and an ammunition base for his invading army. Take your time and explore this simple yet impressive structure that continues to remain the pride of Wayanad.
At the end of these adventures, return to the cocoon that is the Sterling Wayanad. Because, though there’s much on offer in Wayanad, it’s also wonderful to come back to a place that feels like home.