Waking up the views of fog draped Muthunga forest range right from my balcony, with the gentle raindrops pattering on the window pane adding lives into me, strolling beside the sprawling lush green paddy fields of Wayanad, the offbeat trails of Paniya tribe, the night safaris to hover on the jungle music and spot those reflecting eyes, gave chills in my spines on spotting a wild tusker, the Kerala sadhya to savour the ethnic cuisine, the freshly brewed coffee with banana chips. That's a brief story on experiential stay at Sterling Wayanad. Excited how the journey went ? Read on!!
Sterling Holidays need no introduction. It is one of the best experiential holiday companies of India. With the evolving travel trend of 2018, the travelers seek for offbeat experiences and bizarre discoveries. Sterling holidays - the leading experiential holiday company has got this trend adapted ensuring the exceptional vacations to cherish a lifetime.
Sterling Wayanad Kerala
Sterling Wayanad is their new jungle destination nestled in the Muthunga wildlife sanctuary, few kilometers from Sultan battery. The highlight of this jungle destination is it is an abode of wildlife and sightings of wild tuskers and leopards are evident. Apart from the wildlife, a walkthrough to the tribal village of Wayanad is an add-on. So, a perfect destination for the nature lover, wildlife seekers, solo travelers. For leisure, it’s a great getaway for families and friends to disconnect from the world to rejoice in the lap of nature. Well this time, when I decided to explore Wayanad, I proactively chose Sterling Wayanad. Because, with Sterling, it is not just a stay at the resort but as a traveler, I was keen on finding out the offbeat experiences Sterling promises in every destination.
It was the Monsoon! Definitely, the weather was lovely with minimal beams of the sun. The journey started at 6:20 am from Bengaluru routing via Mysore. Outbounding the Bengaluru outskirts, I stopped for the breakfast at Midway Mysore - The Idli vada with a hot cup of coffee ignited my day. Hopping back to the journey and driving through Mysore, Begur and finally, it was a touchdown to the countryside Karnataka of Gundlupete. The creamy clouds, the infinite view of paddy fields, the sunflower proudly facing the sun, beautiful marigolds shining up the fields and this is the beauty why I feel life is colorful outside city. The best part of the journey appended when I entered the Bandipur tiger reserve. The monsoon had added hues to the forest already. The green forest is a treat to watch and I sat on my window seat closely looking for animal sighting. The deer and peacocks were the only luck.
[caption id="attachment_7029" align="aligncenter" width="1189"] The bliss of a monsoon ride in the Bandipur tiger reserve :)[/caption]
Arriving at Sterling Wayanad
Kerala is truly a gorgeous state and it gets more beautiful with the monsoon rains. It is multitude state enclosing itself what a traveler would entice from hill stations, waterfalls, backwaters, houseboats and more. It is aptly called God's own country. Crossing the Kerala and Karnataka border, we were just 30mins away from Sterling Wayanad. Driving through the Muthunga forest was even more thriller, glimpses of the thick green forest through my fogged up windows. I finally arrived at Sterling Wayanad, no wonder the resort looked majestic and ample greenery around. With my eyes still stuck to the wooden interiors of the courtyard, which gave the ethnic feel of Kerala, the Kerala ladies with the neatly draped white/gold saree greeted with bright smiles. The sandal tilak and aromatic cardamom garlands immersed me in the aura of Kerala tradition. I said to myself "Welcome to Kerala, Indeed it is the God's own country".
[caption id="attachment_7028" align="aligncenter" width="4898"] The first look of Sterling Wayanad resort[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_7030" align="aligncenter" width="1189"] The elegant reception area with Theyyam anklets[/caption]
Accommodation at Sterling Wayanad
The moment I entered into the reception, sipping on the lemon tea, I turned all around to the interesting nooks each looking prettier than other. The Theyyam anklets, the spiral staircase, cozy seatings and wall paintings, indoor plants and the background music, all soothing. Sterling Wayanad comprises of 60+ rooms which fall under Classic, Premiere & Privilege category suiting the guest requirement. I would say it is a blend of luxury, comfort and a great service.
A simple check-in process escorted me to the classic room. The moment I stepped into the room, I instantly fell in love with its timeless theme, spaciousness, beautiful interiors, cozy king-sized bed, full-fledged bathrooms and a welcome tray of tarts and fruits. I went forward to slide the balcony door, the small garden with two chairs and the lake view from the balcony was elegantly beautiful. I wish I could stay here forever sipping on hot coffee and enjoying the views of nature.
[caption id="attachment_7032" align="aligncenter" width="1189"] Look how fancy was my room <3[/caption]
The beautiful resort of Sterling Wayanad
I was excited to have a look around the whole property, I freshened up quickly and stepped out to explore more. The beautiful lake with lotus, surrounded by hut structures gave a rustic look. Walking further I loved the standalone cottages with beautiful creepers at the entrance made me smile. The Activity room housed a number of indoor games from foosball, TT to a pile of board games. The Discovery mascot of Sterling - Raja Rex painted on the walls looked creative.
[caption id="attachment_7040" align="aligncenter" width="1295"] As I walked on the green trails[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_7034" align="aligncenter" width="1254"] besides the lotus lake and huts[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_7035" align="aligncenter" width="1254"] beautiful cottages and adoring creepers[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_7060" align="aligncenter" width="1295"] and the mesmerising views[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_7058" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Meet Raja Rex - The Discovery Mascot[/caption]
I further walked to reach the spacious multicuisine restaurant serving a wide range of dishes especially the exotic Kerala cuisine. Steps away from here, I found the vast swimming pool tempting to dive, they also have aqua aerobics & aqua zorbing organized in the pool. An open bar adjacent to the swimming pool has a raw and rustic feel. Above this is the ubuthi spa for Sweden massage to revive and rejuvenate. I completely fell in love with this amazing property as it enclosed everything that’s needed on a vacation. Perfect!!
[caption id="attachment_7048" align="aligncenter" width="1189"] Rustic Multi cuisine restaurant[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_7037" align="aligncenter" width="1254"] The pool to dive in[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_7036" align="aligncenter" width="1254"] The spa to rejuvenate[/caption]
Experiences at Sterling Wayanad
After the sumptuous lunch, I decided to walk to the tribal village. A small forest trail of 2km with thick greenery around, the light drizzles adding charm to the weather and I walked effortlessly to reach the tribal village. It's a small settlement of few tribal families who belong to the Paniya tribe of Wayanad. Here, I met Karpi, she was 85 years but had an ageless smile with a shining long nose pin. She spoke a language which comprised of Kannada & Tamil dialects. I would like to write another post on this tribe. After exchanging smiles with her, I bid bye to her. I walked beside the sprawling paddy fields, an amazing view to cherish even now. The sun was setting behind the areca palms and the day was dooming. I headed back to the resort and had a great sleep.
[caption id="attachment_7056" align="aligncenter" width="1189"] Paddy fields, weaver ants and coffee plantations[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_7055" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] The moments at Paniya Tribal village[/caption]
The early sun hues lit up my balcony and I woke to another beautiful day at Sterling Wayanad. The monsoon rains fogged up the window panes, totally creating a cozy start for the day. I freshened up quick and stepped out. After a few minutes roam in the resort, one of the service boys on a high voice to tell me that they were an elephant around. I was astounded at what he telling me. I double checked if he is not misleading and started running in the direction he pointed. He said no need to run, the tusker will stay there only. I smiled yet did not stop running to the spot. For me, this would be the first time to spot an elephant in the wild, So was really excited.
[caption id="attachment_7043" align="aligncenter" width="1591"] The nature trails of Wayanad[/caption]
I was stunned to look at the giant elephant in the wild just behind the trench. I looked closely on the huge ivory tusks, almost the height of its trunk, it was the Great Indian Tusker, not just an ordinary elephant. OMG! Look at it, man! He was all slightly brown denoting he is from wild. He stood majestically with calm eyes, wafting his huge ears, chopping the tall grass at one shot with his trunk and munching in style. Felt like I was watching the Discovery channel live :D He stood there for long having his morning breakfast not harming anyone. I realized that it's true that animals are harmless until you harm/enrage them. This moment was very special, spotting any wild animal is pure luck! And yes, I was indeed lucky that day :)
[caption id="attachment_7046" align="aligncenter" width="908"] First sighting of an elephant in the wild[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_7044" align="aligncenter" width="1096"] Ohh! Wait ... Look at the giant tusks. It's the Great Indian Tusker not an ordinary elephant[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_7047" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] The eyes of the wild into the wild[/caption]
The same night, the Night Safari was planned by Sterling Wayanad. This was the first time I got a chance for Night Safari. I wondered how different it would be. Spotting wild animals in the day itself is so difficult and what can I really see in the dark night :| We wrapped up in the safari jeep and started driving in the Muthunga forest. In 5 mins, we spotted a huge herd of deer, their reflecting eyes and spots shined in the night. We then spotted many herds of deer grazing on the roadside just in order to stay safe from the night prey. We drove for one hour and I concentrated on the road with eyes wide open. The driver took another narrow route to help me spot them. To my astonishment, I spotted a wild elephant far distance, I just got a glimpse of its silhouette walking into the forest. That was stunning! I wanted to take another glimpse, but it was gone in the wild, yet I was happy to spot it once. The Night Safari really gave me an amazing experience to spot those reflecting eyes in the dark.
Activities at Sterling Wayanad
Throughout the day, besides Sterling offbeat experiences, it composes of a collection of resort activities. The activities I tried were Pottery, Zipline, Archery, and Paintball. It was enjoyable and totally loved the fun. The Zipline of 200+ meters was my favorite, was really adrenaline pumping and got a glimpse of the entire property. The Pottery is a must try, spinning the molded the earthen clay to something meaningful needs patience! Never mind, I was bad at it :| The Archery and Paintball (not among people) were shooting sports which I played pretty well. BullsEye you know :P Apart from the above, there are other activities like aqua zorbing, glass painting, free go, and paper art. Check what suits you and hop on to enjoy the game.
[caption id="attachment_7054" align="aligncenter" width="1116"] Recreation[/caption]
Food at Sterling Wayanad
The best part of the Sterling Wayanad is the cuisine they serve. Excellent! Thanks to Chef Satish for curating lip-smacking Kerala recipes. Be it the breakfast, lunch, dinner I loved what's there on the menu. I got a chance to have the sumptuous meal of Kerala sadhya. From the banana chips to the end rasam, every dish of Kerala cuisine on the plantain leaf was perfectly delicious. The Kerala breakfast included Appam, Idiyappam and Puttu made my day. The ambiance at Barbeque dinner was lovely just complementing the grilled barbeques served hot and tasty.
[caption id="attachment_7052" align="aligncenter" width="1189"] Traditional Kerala sadhya[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_7051" align="aligncenter" width="1179"] The Kerala themed breakfast[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_7053" align="aligncenter" width="1028"] Barbeque dinner and Kothu parata[/caption]
Besides, the sumptuous meal, the high tea served in the cafe with the cocoa and coffee theme is no less than a decorum. Enjoying the various cakes, pastries, cookies and delicious Chembrcoffee, boasting to be the first plantation of coffee in Kerala found in Chembra peak, Wayanad. The best part I felt about Sterling is that food served will be prominently the local cuisine and helping the travelers to know the culture and food habits of the destination.
[caption id="attachment_7049" align="aligncenter" width="1189"] High tea ambiance - Cocoa and Coffee themed[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_7050" align="aligncenter" width="1179"] The compliments at tea[/caption]
Sightseeing around Sterling Wayanad
I also wanted to explore the tourist attractions of Wayanad. The resort arranged for a visit to the Sultan Battery Jain temple and Assumption Forane church.
Sultan Battery Jain temple dated back to 13th century houses Jain Tirthankara. The ruler Tipu Sultan used the temple in the 18th century to store his ammunition and warfare safely in this temple, safe from British. Thus the name Sultan Bathery. The temple has huge rock pillars around, can be interesting to a history buff. Now, there is nothing in the temple, all you find the bats flattering their wings.
[caption id="attachment_7042" align="aligncenter" width="3264"] Sultan Bathery Jain temple[/caption]
Assumption Forane church is an ancient Catholic church with beautiful architecture. The church was spacious with high ceiling, the huge five winged fan, glass paintings and beautiful models of Christianity to adore. The utmost silence in the church is appreciating and the best part I love about all churches.
[caption id="attachment_7045" align="aligncenter" width="1406"] The Assumption Forane church[/caption]
The Last word
Choosing Sterling Wayanad for the offbeat experiences in Wayanad was right. The resort is excellent with ideal jungle location, various accommodation, great service and really affordable prices for the experiences. The offbeat discoveries of Tribal village, the night safari, and wild tusker are something special I found here. The activities at the resort are interesting from creative pottery to adventurous zip line. The food is extremely delicious with themed Kerala cuisine. No second thoughts other than Sterling Holidays for a perfect holiday bundled with experiences.
[caption id="attachment_7059" align="aligncenter" width="1254"] Serene moments[/caption]