Kerala Any day
These are a series of humorous blog posts by Fabia about her recent travels with her mum (Soraya) to Kerala. Fabia and Soraya also run the most wonderful AirBnb in Bombay
There was one place in India I’d heard so much about,
Everyone kept telling me, you’ll love it no doubt,
“You’ve got to visit India down south!”
After lots of compliments and praise,
my mum and I finally decided the days.
We just didn’t know how to go about it all,
and then our friends told us about India Someday.
They told us “just give them a call,”
and in no time we were already on our way…
First stop: Kozhikode – Wayanad
Drive from Calicut Airport to Dhanagiri Homestay
After a short flight over the Konkan coast, from bustling Mumbai city, we were suddenly touching down in the land of coconuts. It felt like we had reached a tropical island somewhere in Brazil until we stepped out of the airport to see all the mallu men in their spotless white lungis with their pearly teeth gleaming at us. There was our driver, George, he was looking at us curiously and wondering whether we were his awaited guests and there we were hoping to be approached. So Mum decided to call his number which was sent to her immediately on landing, and ‘jing jing jing’ went his cell phone and so it was confirmed, he would be spending the next few hours driving this mother-daughter duo through George’s own country!
We stopped to grab some lunch before setting off on the beautiful journey to the Dhanagiri home stay, in the Vythiri district of Wayanad. We were recommended a restaurant on the way called the White House but we were too hungry so we tucked in to some biryani at a local little joint not far from the airport; it wasn’t great though so I’d recommend waiting till you get to the White House if you’re not really starving. You’ll pass a few villages where you can admire the fascinating twisty Malayalam letters on all the shops and signboards and the fruit and vegetable stores with the biggest green bananas on display. I was intrigued to watch the Muslim Malayali men wearing white prayer caps, shirts, and lungis and women in saris and headscarves – something I’ve never seen before! India is so diverse and that is truly what you will love. By the side of the road, wrinkle-faced monkeys kept us amused and endless hills in the background left us speechless.
You will also see along this road, massive palace-like houses with royal balconies and Chinese roofs, all owned and built by half the Keralite population which has left the country to work in the Middle East and sent the money home. If someone hasn’t already made a documentary on this, someone should. Each residence is competing with the other across the street, so well maintained and yet looking empty.
Dhangiri Homestay and things to do in and around Wayanad
If you want to have a yummy tea or coffee on the way, make sure you ask your driver to stop at the Coffee Grove café, it doesn’t have a view but it is a nice and clean little place for a good cuppa chai! To get to Dhanagiri Homestay, you’ll have to go off the beaten track a bit and up to Mr. Anand’s property where you’ll be greeted by this very hospitable host – “What a guy, dude!” as we say. You’ll be guided to your cottage which is on a slight hillock, amidst the charming pepper groves and elegant betel nut trees. Waking up here is blissful, each cottage has a porch where you can sit in the clouds and I personally loved hearing the Muslim call to prayer far off in the distance between all the greenery. Anand gives his guests a lot of his time; don’t hesitate to ask him to take you for a walk to the highest point of his plantations to gaze at the valleys below and even on his exclusive ‘hidden destinations’ tours.
We only had one full day there, and we planned to go to the Edakkal caves and the Soochipara waterfalls. To be honest, the Edakkal caves are typically for local Indian tourists, so the walk up is flooded with school children who will ask you what your name is and then giggle a lot, shops that sell random things like gollywog wigs, cock-eyed monkeys carved into coconuts, and believe it or not, something called chocolate tea! Few shops sell bamboo rice, which is worth trying; we bought some and Anand’s excellent chef cooked it for us at dinner. Bamboo rice can be collected only once in 40 years so it is definitely something special and interesting for people who like to try new foods. The caves have a few ancient drawings on the boulders, which you might like if you haven’t seen these already in other countries. On the other hand, we loved the drive down to the Soochipara waterfall and highly recommend going there. A beautiful village road leads you to the quiet cliffs where you can enjoy sitting by the water–so peaceful if you’ve just flown in from a busy city. We watched some local boys showing off their rock climbing skills, diving jumps, and thick black curly hair.
More Posts from Fabia from their Kerala trip
- Next Stop Fort Kochi
- On the way to Munnar
- Thekkady @ Indhirivam