KOCHI: Think Wayanad and a flurry of images pop up, namely Banasura Sagar Dam, Soochipara Falls and Idakkal Caves. But, Namaste Wayanad wants you to go beyond those cliched images. It wants you to experience an untamed terrain where nature is in its full glory. “Wayanad is more than these locations. It can be an overwhelming experience,” says Vishnu Narayan of Namaste Wayanad, a startup aimed at promoting Wayanad tourism.
Formed by six friends a few months ago, Namaste Wayanad promises you the “real Wayanad. With a prelude that they only cater to people who are “mad about travel”, Vishnu talks about their venture. “When we started Namaste Wayanad six months ago, our aim was to help people explore the real Wayanad, which is more than the names you see on a tourist brochure. In fact, many people who live here are unaware of spots like Kurumbalakotta, which can give Meeshapulimala a run for its money. That’s how we stumbled on the idea of Namaste Wayanad,” says Vishnu.
But, it wouldn’t be a cosy trip to take. The team says they expect only travel junkies with a stomach for adventure. “For a start, our camping site is situated at 4628 ft above sea level at a place called 900 Kandi. It is situated amidst a forest. So, if you are not a regular backpacker, it might be too much for you,” says Vishnu.
The camping site offers an eco-friendly experience, with everything from the food to energy needs meeting the green criteria. “The cottages are eco-friendly and so is the food we serve. It is all cultivated locally and organic. The electricity is produced via turbines and solar panels. This is part of the travel experience,” says Vishnu.
The visitors are then taken to trek through the 25-acre forest. People who seek more can opt for off-roading, jungle walks, river rafting or fishing at the Attamala reserve forest area. The two-day package includes all meals and internal transportation and costs Rs 3,500 per person. The package also includes camping, barbeque and cave house visits.
It looks appealing as Namaste Wayanad has already got a good clientele. Vishnu is excited to tell that bookings are looking up since the last one month. “We are getting calls from Bengaluru, Telangana and Kochi. Popular actor Kicha Sudeep saw the video we posted on Facebook and called us. He was thrilled to bits and promised to visit soon. We have 2-3 groups visiting every week,” says the entrepreneur.
Though the team has invested a lot for the project, they aren’t very profit-oriented. “We see this as a livelihood for us. We don’t eye a huge profit. The joy is in helping people explore the beauty of Wayanad,” says Vishnu.The venture has Vishnu Ashok, Mohammed Niyaz, Afsal Kolapparamban, Ajmal Askar and Ameer as partners.