VILLAGE LIFE IN WAYANAD
Located on the southern tip of the magnificent Deccan plateau, Wayanad is a bio-diverse region spread across 2,132 square kilometres nestled in the Western Ghats. The forests that blanket this region shelter some of the oldest tribes still unravished by civilisation. Wayanad is famed for its sub-tropical savannahs, picturesque hill stations, sprawling spice plantations, luxuriant forests and rich cultural traditions.
PACKAGE 1 – A DAY AT CHETYALATHOOR
THE LAND OF BAMBOOS: At the Bamboo Craft Centre, Sakthivel will take you through the age-old processes used to create these famous bamboo products. Don’t forget to buy one or two that catch your fancy.
CRECHE: The Anganvadi (Crèche) provides primary education to the local children. It is also the nodal centre for the implementation of various schemes of the Government for the development of women and children.
APPU MASH’S HOME: Appu Mash’s house, built in an old world style, is where you get to explore the village lifestyle. Visit Appu Mash’s farmyard and adjacent bee farm. Also take a look at the ancient tools and weapons, used by the tribals for cultivation, on display
SREEDHARAN’S HOUSE: This is where we stop for lunch – a sumptuous meal of boiled rice and traditional delights served on a plantain leaf. Most of the ingredients have been sourced directly from Sreedharan’s farm. The non-vegetarian items include fish and chicken fry. Remember to pick a few fresh and locally produced vegetables and groceries before you head to the next stopover.
THE VILLAGE SCHOOL: This is the only school in the village. The garden here, made and maintained by the students, is a sight to behold. Interact with the teacher and the students for a good time.
CATTLE AND PLAUGH: The field gives you a first-hand view of the traditional mode of farming using the cattle and a plough. Also remember to try your hand at wielding the plough.
PACKAGE 2 A DAY AT NELLARACHAL
THE THUDI: Vellan’s house is located almost 20 km from Kalpetta. One of the very few tribal artisans who make the Thudi, Vellan will introduce you to this tribal instrument used by the Paniyan tribes of Wayanad. Try your hand at playing the Thudi and also take a look at the other handicrafts displayed here
FRAGRANCE OF THE EUCALYPTUS: Discover what makes the fragrance of the eucalyptus so special. The processing centre will give you a glimpse of the various stages involved in making the eucalyptus oil. Get to know its medicinal properties first-hand from the tribals and make sure you buy a vial or two.
URAVU MAMBOO CRAFT VILLAGE: Uravu – an NGO Craft Centre – is where you will get to discover the age-old processes used to create fascinating bamboo products. Remember to buy the one that catches your fancy before you head home
CRECHE: This stop welcomes you to the Anganvadi (Crèche) which provides primary education to the local children. Interact with the mothers and their kids and experience the simple charm of an Anganvadi.
THE PLANTATION: The plantation showcases a variety of spices. From common ones like coffee, tea and cardamom to rare ones found on the hills of Wayanad, make sure you see, smell and taste every one of them and grab a handful as keepsake.
GOVINDAN’S HOUSE: History says that Wayanad served as a battleground for many years to the British, Tipu Sultan and Pazhassi Raja. It is believed that the Kurichians, the warrior tribes, were the soldiers of King Pazhassi Raja in the guerilla warfare against the British. At this stopover, Govindan, a member of the Kuruma tribe, will take you through his collection of different tools and weapons used during those days. Learn to wield a bow or watch in awe as Govindan’s skilled hands make one.
PACKAGE 3 A DAY AT CHERUVAYAL
BAMBOO CRAFTS: At Krishnan’s home you can watch first-hand the age-old processes used in bamboo crafting. You can learn some of the tricks of the trade from Krishnan on how to make the famous Kotta (round basket) or the Vatty (small basket). Buy a few bamboo products to take back with you.
CHERUVAYAL RAMAN’S FARM: In the midst of lush green foliage and paddy fields, Cheruvayal Raman lives in a simple, thatched mud house. Listen carefully as Raman explains the process of organically farming 38 varieties of indigenous rice seeds. He takes special care to preserve these rice seeds separately. Also take a look at the traditional equipment he uses. Learn all about organic rice farming and discover up-close the life of a farmer. You can now proceed to Raman’s house for lunch. A sumptuous meal comprising traditional Wayanadan rice and a choice of savoury dishes on a plantain leaf await you here. After this treat for your taste buds, you can head over to the next stop.
POTTERY: Chami and his family will further nurture your artistic skills by showing you how to mould wet clay into beautiful shapes. The engaging technique of making pottery might seem simple at the hands of experts like Chami for whom this is a traditional business. Take home a few valuable tips and artefacts before bidding farewell to the potters of Cheruvayal.
VALLIYOORANKAVU TEMPLE: This part of your journey brings you to the most important temple in Wayanad. It is said that slave trade was practiced here during the medieval times. This temple, dedicated to the Mother Goddess, is an important place of worship for the tribal communities in Wayanad and is closely connected to their way of life.
POLY HOUSE WARMING: Degol Thomas who practises hi-tech poly house farming will give you an overview of this alternative method of farming. Take a short tour of the farm to know about the interesting steps involved. The method which uses water and land optimally, thereby reducing dependency on rainfall, is relatively new in the agricultural field and is slowly gaining foothold in rural India.
JAIN TEMPLE: The Jain Temple at Punchavayal will offer you a glimpse into the region’s glorious past. The temple stands as a testimony to the Jain influence on Kerala’s culture and is the most important among a series of ruins spread across the state of Kerala. The temple’s beautifully carved pillars, exquisite architectural style and interesting history make it a place worth visiting.