Wayanad Diaries: Pepper Green Village Resort
We had visited Wayanad in mid-January this year (2014). Our first foray to Kerala – a dream destination of mine for a long, long time. Although this trip to Kerala did not involve the backwaters, Wayanad was still a memorable journey.
We had only one agenda for Wayanad, and that was to relax. No running about sightseeing, just plain lazying around. If you have read about my past trips, you would know by now that we are budget travellers who love secluded places, away from the milling crowds. We might have to drive that much further down the path, but we will do that to beat the thronging tourists.
With that view in mind, we zeroed in on a place called Pepper Green Village, located along the banks of the Kabini River. The tariffs were reasonable and within our budget. I read the reviews on TripAdvisor and they were quite a mixed bag. Which was good because I, inadvertently, become suspicious if a place gets too many good reviews. I took the complaints about the resort lightly since we are absolutely non-fussy travellers and it takes very little to please us.
We reached the resort (resort? not exactly) without much hassle, guided by the hotel person. The route that we took from Bangalore was Bangalore-Mysore highway via Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary and Bavalli. The approach road to Pepper Green Village was not fully paved but decent and at the time of our visit, it was undergoing betterment. Maybe it is a paved road by now.
The resort was neat and well maintained with bright potted flowers and orchids dotting the property. We had booked ourselves into the wooden cottages with quaint names of herbs, facing the paddy fields, and the view turned out to be really superb. The season being still in the clutches of ‘winter’, the paddy fields were not lush green, the crops having already been harvested. But it looked beautiful even in its starkness.
The rooms, to be honest, were a bit cramped and we mostly kept our doors open since not too many people were staying there. There was no AC in the cottages and a fan tried to cool down the interiors. We had to close the door in the evening owing to insects but by then the weather had cooled down by several notches. Besides our cottages, there were also rooms built on raised platforms, though the actual tree houses were at a separate property.
We realized then that Pepper Green Village was actually two properties, divided by the road running through the resort land. One side had the cottages adjacent to paddy fields and the other was located near the Kabini river. We were told that the river was the same one that flowed around the Kuruva Dweep islands, one of the star attractions of Wayanad. Don’t expect too much though, the Kabini is more of a rivulet than a roaring river.
Since we had reached the resort at an odd time, too late for breakfast and too early for lunch, we were starving by the time it was actual lunch time. We ordered a typical Keralite vegetarian spread at the restaurant and thankfully we did not have to wait too long. The food was sumptuous. It was absolutely delicious, homely and nutritious, too. However, one down side of being in an almost empty resort was to actually get people listen to you. Besides, our Airtel connections had very limited coverage there. We had to make several trips to and from the restaurant to remind them of water bottles or to enquire if the food was ready.
We did go sightseeing, after all, but that is for another post. Meanwhile, we mostly remained true to our agenda and lazed around royally. We roamed around the paddy fields, balancing ourselves on the narrow stretch of land separating the fields, and relieved our childhood memories. The husband wanted our son to play in the mud-fields, the way we had done when we were kids, but the fields were quite dry then. We sat down on those narrow embankments, swapping stories while village belles went by carrying pots of water and village lads stepped out to fish in the nearby river.
Talking of fishing, we tried our hand at it, too. The resort will lend you fishing poles, plain bamboo sticks and not fancy affairs, mind you, but it was really fun. I don’t even remember the last time I had sat fishing, maybe at my grandparents’ house, in their backyard ponds eons ago. A person from the resort guided us to a part of the river where we cast our baits and waited with immense hope for a bite. We waited and waited and waited. Hundreds of tadpoles came rushing to take off our ‘atta’ baits and we had to replenish the atta from to time. Finally the fish did come but they refused to rise to the bait. They were smart fellows who just nibbled at our lure and did not swallow it, per se.
And to add insult to the injury, a stork billed kingfisher came and sat on a tree opposite us. As we stood struggling to get even a single fish, the kingfisher swooped down at one go and carried off a huge fish in front of our eyes. It then proceeded to thrash the silvery fish on the bough, unmindful of our jealous eyes, and made a nice meal out of it. After that episode, we pulled in our fishing poles and called it a day.
Our evenings were again spent chatting nineteen to a dozen, perched on the verandah, while darkness cast its spell slowly on the paddy fields in front of us. The person who had accompanied us to the fishing expedition had told us of leopards and elephants frequenting the fields and we had no doubt about it. I remember joking about seeing a leopard move about stealthily in the shadows or a huge elephant emerging suddenly out of the darkness. I had no idea about what was to come. That, I will keep for my next post.
We spent 2 days and 2 nights at Pepper Green Village. It was a calm experience and we did what we wanted to do. The food was good, though maybe you should stick only to Kerala cuisine, and the breakfast spread can definitely be improved upon. The tree houses did not seem too appealing to me and maybe next time I will opt for the cottages on stilts, if they are larger than the cottages on ground. The service needs to be upgraded a bit in terms of waiters’ response.
Overall, we liked our stay in Pepper Green Village, more for the ambience it provided than anything else. If you would like to surround yourselves with paddy fields or a slim river running by, without too many expectations regarding luxury and service, this is a place you might like to stay while in Wayanad. It is located some way off the places of interest, like the Pookot lake or the dams, but it very close to the beautiful Kuruva Dweep islands and the Tholpetty wildlife sanctuary. So there, now you know what we might have visited on our first trip to Wayanad.
Stay tuned for more on Wayanad Diaries!