Day – 2
Before writing anything about the thrilling adventures of second day, I would like to dedicate this post to our Lord of the Tours, “Thampuran” who has been and am sure will be our never ending motivation for one and all of our adventurous and thrilling journeys. Our Dearest ‘Thampu’, wish you all the success for all your future endeavours!!!
Interestingly and surprisingly for me, the second day of our journey started at 5.30 in the morning. Though our major destination, The Kuruva Island, was a flop, first day was full of fun. We called a local tour guide that night and asked for entrance timings and distance for two three destinations for the second day. Our plan was either to cover the ‘Muthanga Forest’ or to visit the ‘Chembra Lake’. He said for both these destinations, we have to reach there by 8 in the morning and that is the reason why we had to wake up at 5.30.
The morning was misty. It was almost 8, when every one got ready. As usual, after a long discussion we finally decided to go to the ‘Chembra Lake’. Nobody went there before. The only thing I knew about it was an attachment of a heart shaped lake in our tour plan email. The name of the image in the attachment was ‘Heart Lake at Chembra Peak’. Chembra Peak, hmmm so the lake should be at some height. I thought may be this will also be like our other adventurous trekking where we all sit in a Jeep and the driver will drive through the rocks and take us there. ‘All the adventure for the Jeep driver !!!’
The Chembra Peak is located near the town of ‘Meppadi’. We reached Meppady town at around 9 – 9.30. We had breakfast from one of the hotels there. Though only Dosa was available in that hotel, every one had a pretty heavy breakfast. The environment was still misty, but the Sun started showing up. Soon after we started from the hotel the van turned into an estate entrance. It was a Tea Plantation. We went through the estate road for a few kilometres. Then we made a stop at the forest office. From there we had to acquire permission and pass for trekking. There they had the usual procedures like checking for plastic materials, bottles and of course pass for camera. They also provided a guide for our team. The pass is Rs.500 per 10 persons team. Trekking with out a guide is not allowed. The entrance is allowed only between 7 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon.
Almost 2 more kilometres in the Van and we reached a parking spot. We got down there. Some one told to take water bottles, but why!! we just had breakfast and none of us are thirsty, why do we have to carry the weight of the bottle… ok so no bottles. We walked almost a kilometre through the estate road. By that time, the Sun was getting its strength and we started to feel the heat.
The guide and some others in our team walked in front. I had the camera and I was taking pictures of the Tea estate, so I was way behind them.
The lonely Path….!
After some time, we reached a watch tower. There everyone else who went in front were waiting for us. The guide said we can only go together from there. And some one told me that from there on we have to climb up the Chembra Hill and some where in the top only we can see the Heart Shaped Lake. Ok so this time there is no Jeep adventure. Thank God, at least we will have some fun.
A view from the Watch Tower. Ohh… we can see almost whole of the Wayanad from here. Good, so we are at some height.
From the watch tower, we crossed a small wooden gate and entered into a narrow walk way. The path seems to be through some forest. Most importantly, we were climbing a mountain and the path looked very steep to me and for most of the others… But the funny thing was, the guide told us that the real steep is only after 300 metres and we had only covered around 200 metres, great!!!!
See our Van there!!! Good, we have climbed up this much, but fully exhausted and not a drop of water to drink. I decided stop climbing after seeing the Heart Lake. So I set my target to Heart Lake.
The watch tower, from where I thought we were at a high altitude!!!
Our Van as a small dot in the distance!!
We entered an almost open side of the hill. The Sun was at its full form and there was no sign of mist. The only thing we could see was the never ending side of the Hill. I was totally exhausted and wanted at least a drop of water very badly. After a turn, I saw the the mud in the path was wet. God, Is there a stream? As I climbed up I could hear the sound of water flowing through rocks. My steps became quicker and quicker. I could hear the sound coming closer, but noting was in sight. Finally we found it. There was a stream of water. The guide told us to drink enough water from there as it was the only water source on that way.
The Life Saver!!!!
After a number of turns, we were able to see the end of the hill. I really wished the heart lake was there at that peak. I rushed to see what was there. I climbed up there and saw a lake, half dried and muddy. It was no way near to the shape of a heart. Is that it, is this the Heart Lake? May be it was dried up in heat.
But the truth was, It was only a pond. Elephants and other animals like dear and all used to visit there to get water in the summer season.
Then only I noticed a long path in front and my friends were already on their way to the next peak.
Entrance to the Elephant Pond.
After climbing a little more, the Real Chembra peak became visible to us. You can see small white dots in the right side middle of this pic, who are my friends heading towards the Heart Lake.
The Chambra Peak (Malayalam: ചെമ്പ്ര കൊടുമുടി) is the highest peak in Wayanad. It is around 2000 metres (6,900 ft) above msl. It is part of the Western Ghats. The major tourist attraction of Chembra is the Heart Shaped lake at half way to the peak. The guide told us that the lake is never dried up.
The ‘Heart Lake’, finally!!! Most of us stopped climbing at the lake, but a few decided to push on to the Peak. I also joined them planning to get a few more good snaps of the lake and to stop climbing, when ever I feel enough.
The Chembra Hill is folded into different steps. This is a shot taken at the first fold from the lake.
After each step, the view became more and more beautiful.
I took the picture of the lake from different height and when you see it here like this, you may feel it as repetition, but I am quite sure that most you who are reading this can only see this in the pictures and not in reality. I really took a great effort to climb up there and took these photos, coz this is once in a life time experience.
The sky is too close!!!!
Oops!!! That is too high…
The way back!!!
Going down was faster compared to the up hill journey, but was really painful. We reached our Van by around 4.30. Needless to say, on the way back, we had water from our life saving stream. All were exhausted like anything. We had food from the same hotel from where we had break fast at the Meppady town. After food, we started our journey back to our regular normal life, after two days of fun and thrill!!!
Our tour Team!!!