Wayanad - Edakkal Caves, Ambalavayal Heritage Museum, and Soochipara & Meenmutty Falls - Review



Edakkal Caves is around 10KM from Sultan Battery. The shortest route is via the single-lane road starting at the Manichira turn-off near Sultan Battery on the Kalpetta to Sultan Battery state highway. The far better option is to take the Kalpetta State Highway (212) route and take the turn-off  (at ~5KM from Sultan Battery) to the Left for Edakkal Caves/Ambalavayal at Kolagapaara Junction. It is an additional 3KM, but the newly constructed rubberized two-lane scenic road from Kolagapaara makes it very worthwhile - it is around 9KM from the turn-off to Edakkal Caves - there is a sharp v-turn up the hill after around 7KM.


There are several parking spaces near the Edakkal Caves entrance - some are paid-parking areas while others are free. It is best to drive up the steep hillock to the entrance gate and look for parking on the way down as otherwise you will end up walking the distance to the entrance gate (curio shops line the area till the entrance on either side of the road - they mostly sell Wayanad spices and such - very reasonable pricing although quality for some items such as home-made chocolates are below par).
The Edakkal Caves ticket counter is around 1KM up a steep walk-way from the entrance gate - this pathway also has several shops lining both sides selling everything from curios, spices, and drinks - honey amla (gooseberry marinated in raw honey - both from the forest) and Bamboo Rice Payasam are the popular items here. They sometimes have Jeeps taking people up to the ticket counter for a Rs 100 fee. Tickets are Rs 20 pp (camera Rs 30) and are open from 9AM to 4PM (Monday holiday). From the ticket counter, there is a short pathway followed by winding steel stairs (300-odd steps) till the cave. It takes upward of two hours for the hike and back.


There was a trek further up from the caves to a viewpoint but that is now closed to the public. The cave itself is a marvelous natural wonder. There are a couple of huge granite rocks and between them is another rock stuck in the middle, thus forming the giant cave structure (depth about 30-feet) - the site got its name from this precarious rock formation - ‘Edakkal’ literally means rock-in-between. The historical significance of the cave is the presence of several sets of petroglyphs: the youngest are believed to be over 2000-years old and may have a connection to the Indus Valley Civilization while the oldest date back to over 8000-years - the pre-historic stoneage carvings are very rare and are the only ones in South India. The site is maintained by the Wayanad District Tourist Promotion Council (DTPC) and their personnel man the site during visiting hours.

Less than 5KM from Edakkal Caves is Ambalavayal Heritage Museum (aka Wayanad Heritage Museum, Open 10AM to 5PM). 
To get there from Edakkal Caves, at the sharp V-turn to Kolagappara on the Vaduvanchal-Kolagappara Road, take a Left instead and go about 3.5KM to the Museum turn-off on the Left (Government Hospital Road). It has one of the largest collections of archealogical relics and artefacts from the neolothic period to around the 17th century AD (presented in three types: Gothrasmruthi, the Devasmruthi, and the Jeevanasmruthi). Memorial grave stones and stone age hunting equipment are the highlights.

Meenmutty Falls is ~13KM on the same road (Vaduvanchal-Kolagappara), around 3KM after the Meppadi route turn-off (SH29).
The final stretch (about a kilometer) is very bumpy and it is best to park your vehicle on the muddy pathway and hike down the rest of the way - the way back up is strenuous and no services. There is another Meenmutty Falls near Banasura Dam and that is more popular and has more services as well (tickets are Rs 50) - it also requires a good kilometer or so of hiking. The Trail and the Falls are very beautiful in both these locations. Soochipara Falls is around 16KM from Meenmutty Falls (the one near Vaduvanchal) - from Vaduvanchal-Meppadi Road (SH29), take a Left turn at Meppadi to Chooralmala/Soochipara, and it is about 3KM from the turn-off to the Right. Parking lot is 2KM from this point and there is another 1KM hike to the Falls. Tickets are Rs 50 (open 8AM to 5PM). Here again, the trek down is easy and picturesque while coming back up can be strenuous. There are several other Falls in Wayanad district and many are largely unexplored. One thing to be aware of is that the terrain is slippery and dangerous especially during the monsoon - the ones with facilities are closed during monsoons.

Related Posts:

  1. Wayanad - Edakkal Caves, Ambalavayal Heritage Museum, and Soochipara & Meenmutty Falls - Review (this post)
  2. Wayanad - Lakkidi Viewpoint, Pookode Lake, & Sultan Battery Jain Temple - Review
  3. Wayanad - Muthanga Wild Life Sanctuary Safari & Chembra Peak - Review.  
  4. Wayanad - Banasura Sagar Dam, Kuruva Island, & Pazhassi Tomb - Review.

Last Updated: 08/2016.

Wayanad - Lakkidi Viewpoint, Pookode Lake, & Sultan Battery Jain Temple - Review



To get to Wayanad district from most parts of Kerala state, the only way is to cross one of several mountain passes. From Ernakulam area, the distance is only around 290KM, but it can easily take upwards of 6 hours to reach there as the traffic after Thrissur and the narrow ghat roads after Thamarassery can slow you down. But, once you get there, the natural beauty is all around. Thamarassery mountain pass (churam/choram)  has nine hair-pin bends and after that stretch is the Lakkidi View Point. There is limited parking on the valley-side of the road (one can park on the road shoulder on the other side of the road as well, but as it is a state highway, it is best avoided, if possible) - as a road-side attraction extreme care needs to be taken especially with kids.  The sweeping view of the mountain pass is definitely worth a stopover - some of the hair-pin bends are very visible on a clear day.

A few kilometers after the mountain pass is Vythiri Village, a tourist hot-spot - the hill station is known for several health resorts and spas. Pookode Lake turn-off is just before Vythiri  - there is a sign-board for the sharp-left turn-off and it is about a kilometer from that point.
The road is narrow and there is no designated parking facility - so vehicles are parked on either side of the road and so there is barely enough space to pass through for tourist buses and such. Pookode Lake (open all days from 8AM to 5PM, boating is from 9AM to 5PM) is a natural fresh water lake surrounded all-around in ever-green mountains. The lake covers over 20 acres and the maximum depth is just under 9 meteres. The shape is uneven although it is claimed that the shape resembles the map of India (needs a little imagination). Lotus & Lilies cover parts of the lake. Fresh-water fishes are abundant as well and a species (Pethia Pookodensis) of cyprinid fish is endemic to the lake. The stunning location makes it a hugely popular tourist spot and so the place can get very crowded. Maintenance is pretty good and the facility is managed by the Wayanad tourist promotion council. There is a curio-shop, small park, aquarium, magic-mirror show, etc in the facility. Entry fee is Rs 20 and the aquarium and magic mirror attractions have separate entry fees. Also, there are several options for boating on the lake - rates start at Rs 100 for a 2-person pedal boat (20-minutes) to Rs 500 for a an 8-seater row-boat (30-minutes). We took the 2KM walk around the lake. It was butterfly season when we visited and so parts of the pathway around was completely taken over by them - a very pleasant sight.

We had reservations at Pepper Grove, a KTDC property near Sultan Battery.The place can be hard to locate as sign-boards are almost invisible (apparently PWD doesn’t allow placing signboards on the road-sides anymore). There is a sign-board at the turn-off to the Right from the State Highway connecting Kalpetta to Sultan Battery (Manichira, Ambalavayal, etc. road-signs are also there). 1KM after the turn-off, take the first Left after Buddha’s Ayurvedic Spa (opposite Parsa Tower) - around 300M on that road is the entrance - it borders Manichira Pond. The rooms show their age but otherwise OK. There is a “restaurant” but you have to tell what is needed in advance.

The Sultan Bathery Jain Temple is on the right side of the State Highway after the Manichira turn-off, just before reaching Sultan Battery town - it was open during renovation when we visited. There are several Jain Temples in Wayanad district although this one is the most popular.


Related Posts:

  1. Wayanad - Edakkal Caves, Ambalavayal Heritage Museum, and Soochipara & Meenmutty Falls - Review
  2. Wayanad - Lakkidi Viewpoint, Pookode Lake, & Sultan Battery Jain Temple - Review (this post)
  3. Wayanad - Muthanga Wild Life Sanctuary Safari & Chembra Peak - Review.  
  4. Wayanad - Banasura Sagar Dam, Kuruva Island, & Pazhassi Tomb - Review.

Last Updated: 08/2016.

Tracking Carl Icahn's Holdings - Q1 2015 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights Carl Icahn's moves this quarter. Please check-out our SeekingAlpha column for an analysis of the moves:




 To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of following the best hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy .

Tracking David Tepper's Appaloosa Management Portfolio - Q1 2015 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights David Tepper's Appaloosa Management Portfolio moves this quarter. Please check-out our SeekingAlpha column for an analysis of the moves:




 To know more about Tepper's distress investing style, check out Distress Investing: Principles and Technique.

To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy.

Tracking Ken Fisher's Fisher Asset Management Portfolio - Q1 2015 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights Ken Fisher's Fisher Asset Management Portfolio moves this quarter. Please check-out our SeekingAlpha column for an analysis of the moves:




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Tracking Irving Kahn's Kahn Brothers Group Portfolio - Q1 2015 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights Irving Kahn's Kahn Brothers Group 13F US long portfolio moves this quarter. Please check-out our SeekingAlpha column for an analysis of the moves:








 Irving Kahn was a disciple of Benjamin Graham and is the author of "Benjamin Graham The Father of Financial Analysis". He was one of the closest followers of the original teachings of Benjamin Graham.

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Tracking Donald Yacktman's Yacktman Asset Management Portfolio - Q1 2015 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights Donald Yacktman's moves this quarter. Please check-out our SeekingAlpha column for an analysis of the moves:




 To know more about Yacktman's bottom-up value investing philosophy, check-out the book "Value Investing: From Graham to Buffett and Beyond".

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Tracking Dan Loeb's Third Point Portfolio - Q1 2015 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights the changes to Dan Loeb's Third Point Portfolio this quarter. Please check-out our SeekingAlpha column for an analysis of the moves:




  To know more about Dan Loeb's Third Point, check-out his letters to shareholders at their site. His activist investing style that is epitomized by scathing letters to CEOs is covered in "Chapter 7: The Poison Pen: Dan Loeb, Third Point" in the book "The Alpha Masters: Unlocking the genius of the world's top hedge funds".

To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy.

Tracking Tweedy Browne Portfolio - Q1 2015 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights the changes to Tweedy Browne's portfolio this quarter.  Please check-out our SeekingAlpha column for an analysis of the moves:




 To learn more about Tweedy Browne and its legendary investor Christopher H. Browne's (1946-2009) investing philosophy, check-out his book "The Little Book of Value Investing".

To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy.

Tracking Ole Andreas Halvorsen's Viking Global Portfolio - Q1 2015 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights the changes to Ole Andreas Halvorsen's Viking Global Portfolio this quarter.   Please check-out our SeekingAlpha column for an analysis of the moves:




 Viking Global was established in 1999 and Ole Andreas Halvorsen is considered one of the most successful among the "tiger cubs" and he currently manages over $25B. To know more about Julian Robertson and his legendary Tiger Management, check out Julian Robertson: A Tiger in the Land of Bulls and Bears.

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Tracking Jeffrey Ubben's ValueAct Holdings - Q1 2015 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights changes to Jeffrey Ubben's ValueAct Capital US long stock portfolio this quarter. Please check-out our SeekingAlpha column for an analysis of the moves:




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Tracking Robert Karr's Joho Capital Portfolio - Q1 2015 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights changes to Robert Karr's Joho Capital portfolio this quarter. Please check-out our SeekingAlpha column for an analysis of the moves:




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Tracking Nelson Peltz's Trian Fund Holdings Portfolio - Q1 2015 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights Nelson Peltz's moves this quarter. Please check-out our SeekingAlpha column for an analysis of the moves:



 To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy.

Tracking Wallace Weitz's Weitz Investment Managent Holdings - Q1 2015 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights Wallace Weitz's moves this quarter. Please check-out our SeekingAlpha column for an analysis of the moves:









To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of cloning hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy.

Tracking David Abrams' Abrams Capital Management Portfolio - Q1 2015 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights David Abrams' moves this quarter. Please check-out our SeekingAlpha column for an analysis of the moves:






To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of following the best hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy

Tracking Alex Roepers' Atlantic Investment Management Portfolio - Q1 2015 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights Alex Roepers' moves this quarter. Please check-out our SeekingAlpha column for an analysis of the moves:



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Kinder Morgan: the $100M warrant buyback approval is bullish




·         Kinder Morgan board of directors just approved a $100M warrant repurchase program.
·         Management is signaling confidence that the common would trade above $42.79 when warrants expire.
·         The total return at that price-level is projected at ~20%, a decent outcome.

On June 12, 2015, Kinder Morgan filed a regulatory 8K report disclosing board approval for a $100M warrant repurchase program. This is a notable about-turn as in the Q4 2014 earnings call on January 22, 2015, Richard Kinder said the following in reply to an analyst question about whether the company is considering stock or warrant buybacks in the open market:

No, that’s not in our present plans. Again, what we have said is that we’re going to concentrate on this tremendous dividend growth story that we’ve got and be very careful about maintaining our investment grade rating by keeping -- by paying close attention to and keeping that debt to EBITDA in the range that we have talked about over the last six months.


These warrants were issued in May 2012 as part of the El Paso acquisition. At the time, 505M warrants (5-year term, Exercise Price $40) were issued and they were valued at $863M ($1.71 per warrant). As of Q1 2015, the outstanding warrant count is at 289M shares: ~43% reduction primarily through periodic repurchases. The repurchase activity over that timeframe follows:





*** The warrants remaining do not tally because of conversion of certain preferred shares and exercise activity.
*** $98M, $465M, and $157M worth of warrants were repurchased in 2014, 2013, and 2012 respectively.
*** In addition, repurchase activity included the following in the common during the timeframe: $94M and $172M worth of class P shares in 2014 and 2013 respectively.

The cost of the warrants to the business would be zero, if the stock trades below $40 (assuming no adjustment to the exercise price) at expiry. Otherwise, the cost would be the price-premium above $40 per share multiplied by the warrants outstanding. For example, if at expiry there are 250M warrants outstanding and the stock trades at $45, the cost of the warrants to the business would be $1.25B. The present value of that future cost will be $1.13B at a 5% interest rate. If management confidence level is high for the stock to trade above $45 at expiry, it would then make sense to repurchase the warrants, as long as the cost is below $1.13B or $4.54 per warrant outstanding.

Below is a look at implied management confidence level for the stock price at expiry based on the average price paid per warrant on the buybacks so far:



The confidence level has been in the $41.50 to $45 price-range throughout. Currently, the warrants are trading at $3.08 and assuming management follows through and buys back at ~$3 average-price, the confidence level for the share price at expiry is $42.79. That is a modest ~8.7% increase from the current price. Adding the $4.50 in dividends projected will bring the total return to ~20.2%.

KMI is a relatively stable dividend growth stock with a high initial dividend yield of ~5% and expected return of at-least ~10% per year for the next two years. As such, it is a good fit for income portions of diversified investment portfolios.


Tracking Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio - Q1 2015 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights Warren Buffett's moves this quarter. Please check-out our SeekingAlpha column for an analysis of the moves:



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Tracking Seth Klarman's Baupost Group Holdings - Q1 2015 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights Seth Klarman's moves this quarter. Please check-out our SeekingAlpha column for an analysis of the moves:




 To learn more about how to profit from a strategy of following the best hedge fund picks, check out our book Profiting from Hedge Funds: Winning Strategies for the Little Guy .  

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