The killer of the wayanad : A walk back ,Man and Machine trip -day 2 Mananthavady-Mandya

The killer of the Wayanad :  A walk back

Man and Machine  trip -day 2 Mananthavady-Mandya

This post is dedicated to the story The killer of the Wayanaad in the book Tiger roars written by Kenneth Anderson and Manathavady locals.

Essence of The Killer of the Wynaad
A tiger turns to man-eating in the jungle of Wynaad,Manantoddy. Anderson takes up the challenge to find it. The tiger  killed a  man  in Mananthavady town limit, then continue to take lives on Kabani riverside and Bavali forest. Anderson describes the Kheddah operation of  Kakankote and geography of wayanad in detail.  Whilst staying in a local village the tiger pulls a sleeping man out from under his hut and makes off with him into the forest. Anderson and his friend track the tiger and soon find the meager human remains in a grassland area. With no trees within shooting distance, Anderson and his friend face a terrifying night sat back to back in the long grass as they await the man-eaters return.

Day 2 Mananthavady to Mandya.
Next day Morning  on a late start,I  freshened up and  ready to go.  Akhil s  dream machine in front of me. I didn't say to him that I am going for a long trip, obviously he may not be agree and my plan will be spoiled. I told as I wanted to visit some friends, borrow me your bike,  And within 10 minutes I hit the road to Bavali.

The road till Bavali check post is too good surrounded by dense forest on both the side

I never knew that immediately after Kerala border we will be entering the Kakana Kote forests, before reading the book Tiger roars written by Kenneth Anderson. He described the geography very well and accurate. In his story Man eater from Wayanaad Manantoddy, Kakkankote and Tholpetty forest are involved.
A Kerala Bus to Bangalore passing Bavali Bridge and Checkpost of Karnataka side.

Elephant in Waynad Forest: courtesy: Jipin

Before Bavali Check post there is a constant presence of lone elephant too. We met him in several occasions. On last October, on a return journey our long family trip to Tirupathy, in two cars, we met him closely. He is not harmful but not friendly to bike riders. . He usually stays and stands like a statue in nights under teak trees near the road about the three kilometers from Bavali. Everybody knows him and generally he is quite.

 I remember,That night was particularly very eventful and everybody in our car, mostly children were excited. Reason, we just spotted a leopard, in the beams of our car and in the night just a few meters from a herd of spotted deer. We were luckily seen him as we leading and peoples in the other car didn't see him. He was on the top of a raised piece of ground and we assumed he is on hunting plan of the chitall herd. Time was 6 and already start loss of light and he may make advantage on the dark. Our children were screaming and I could not control them and load noise can be heard out of the car, even the glasses were up. Maybe we were spoiled his attempt of a leap to the deers . about 1minute... We got only a glimpse of him... I didn't stop the slow moving car, but then ran fast with a load of terrified as well as excited children, after the meeting. At Bavali, we stopped and described all to the adults in the the other car. So we didn't cared about a other spotting of the above mentioned elephant others like guar herds, and peacocks. 

So I was very positive to meet some big mammals on the way. I was thinking about incidents while as I got sightings in each time. Today too I was lucky to meet out Bavali elephant on the way. It was just 10 months ago, we met.But this time he behaved different.

He was eating fresh  leaves in dense green background, about 75 meters from road to my right side in a curve. I passed him and stooped, to take a photo of the beast in wild. But I saw he is walking towards me. I passed him slowly. He may be annoyed and not stopping anywhere. He is looking at me. I was slow but in a safe distance with clear road ahead. I could see him in the rear view mirror. His walk become a slow run and came up to the boarder of the road which about 1 meter in high. I felt heat  being developing inside my body and hairs on erect position. He just wanted to make me afraid and made a huge and  good trumpet. I fled in good speed. The autoriksha driver behind me saw all the scene. Later, in a pitstop  at Bavali  he told me that my bags and appearance may cause to lost his temper. 
Manathavady Bavali  Road
Places Mentioned in  The Killer of the Wynaad

It was near the present /old forest range office the Man eating tiger first taken a mans life. Even at this town area a Man eater worked and it amused KA.
Tiger killed a man here in Mysore road   (red cross)

He describes the weather and leaches not liked by tigers and thought impossible to come to a spot like Manantoddy. After interviewed some forest individual  he confirmed it is a tiger by pug marks.

Anderson Stayed in this Inspection bungalow during his visit at this town. now under PWD, it maintains well and neatly

Anderson Stayed in this Inspection bungalow during his visit at this town. now under PWD, it maintains well and neatly

TB, Now in abandoned state. This was functioned as DMO office till recently. 
Initially  I assumed that this old building known as Tourist Bungalow, we called it TB is used by KA. I knew that lot of Britons and high class government officials used this building. even William Logan the famous historian described about the building and Manantoddy town in his book Malabar Manual.

But Andersons description about the Brits fort and its own cemetery is in favour of the IB.The Latin church and its centuries old cemetery situates  just opposite to the first building know as Inspection bungalow- IB and it situates a hillside on the same hill , known as Hospital Hill.

This 1960 photo taken at a point just in front of IB. Most of the buildings in the back ground is still exists there in same shape. Look at the quality of the roads. All are mud/gravel roads, meant for transportation for bullock carts or this type of ambulance. Assumed that people in this picture, are not belongs from tribal community, but relatively high profile Christian family in that time. Photo took in front of present village office /Panchayath office. 

This  photo taken at a point just in front of IB, as of today at same location.
Mananthavady District hospital complex, 
KA mentioned Mananthavady Travelers bungalow in his story, He stayed here. He assisted the woodcutter to admit in the hospital, which is now functioned as District hospital, is situated within 500 meters. Even in Malabar Manual, this area and building described as an important place.

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary

Mananthavady to Bavali- The route described by KA is now a state highway and runs mostly through forest. Though development and agricultural activities flourish in this area, the greenery and density of forest never lost. North Wayanad reserve forest in Wayanad Wildlife Santuary.Begur range, Tholpetty range and Mananthavady range consists of Animals of all kind flourishing in Wayanad, Nagerhole, and Bandipur belt. Thanks to the forest departments all all three states in this area. But still there is widespread pseudo-fear of proposed Tiger reserve and conflict with animals is not uncommon. 

Root cause of the opposition to Gadgil report is related with land Mafia. The common and farmers fears Tiger project will bring less demand of their land which is relatively in high prices. 

The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, situated between Bavali and Tholpetty, is popularly known as Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary. Muthanga is located at around 16 km from Sulthan Bathery, while Tholpetty is situated north of Wayanad, near Thirunelli. It is the second largest wildlife sanctuary in the state which covers an extensive area and is close to the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in the state of Karnataka. 

strikingly scenic,this sanctuary  is known for its sub-tropical savannahs, picturesque hill stations, sprawling spice plantations, luxuriant forests and rich cultural traditions. A holistic confluence of wilderness, history and culture, Wayanad is located on the southern tip of the magnificent Deccan plateau. Landscapes as diverse as savannahs, wooded hills and evergreen forests, all rolled into one place – Wayanad. The district also has a history as interesting as its landscape. It is believed that human life existed here from as early as 4000 BC.

Lets look in detail  of the places refered in KA  Story The killer of the Waynaad with relation to maps. Read the story if you have a copy. I have taken some parts of the story here to encourage your reading. Click the pic for large images.

First page  of the story

Kabani river at Byrakppe. Perikalloor of  Kerala  can be seen at the other bank.
Byrakuppe/DB Kuppe town
First victim taken from this point.
IB in post office junction
Villagers in Kerala Karnataka Border
Position of Kakan kote/ Bavali  forest and interstate border 
The village  at  further bank of Kabini, Chekadi
approximate position of bamboo cutters hamlet in red circle.
The two roads to Mysore. The red is closed after 6 pm, while blue is the one  open 24 hrs and only exit in night
Position of the  incident occurred. 10 miles, as per Google earth.
Possible camp site. There in no other hamlets nearby

Keddah operation,of 1960s. Photos Courtesy to Ms. Lakshmi Sharath.  A detailed  description given at the  end  of  post 

Waynad Santuary receives heavy rainfall from the last week of May till September. Around 1/3rd of the entire sanctuary is covered with trees, I went through mostly teak plantation  but there are  plantation like  eucalyptus, silver oak,  and .rosewood. 

The sanctuary is inhabited by different animal species, such as elephants, deer, big cats, monkeys, sambar, Malabar squirrel, panther, langurs, bonnet macaques, bison and bear, among others. 

Bavali is a small village which demarks Kerala Karnataka border on Bavali River. 

I observed in my entire trip nobody checked in me in any check posts. Bavali Check posts also no exception, and I am in Kanrataka. 

I diverted my route to visit DB kuppe, or Bairakuppa. Kabani River here bordering to Perikkallor of Kerala. Dense forest start again and I progressed very slowly. I wished to sight some animal. Only before a week ago we, 3 bike riders, sighted the old tiger within 30 meters from road in the same route. 

Bavali thus given wonderful experience and can feel the mist and cold of Waynad. Would say my readers a tip. Cross the forest at 6 PM. If you coming from Mysore you may stay and a have a tea at a village named Karapura here just before the check post. It will close at 6pm but a bus at 6.15 also Permeable. It involves risk but u may find lots of sightings. One or other reasons we always crosses the forest at this time. If you coming from Kerala side, Bavali is also a good point to take a rest. Do not stay more time after you crossed the bridge.Karnataka side of Bavali is famous for cheap liquors and attractive to people even from Mananthavady.

Just traveling for 15 to 16 Kms from Bavali, near a junction as we take a right turn towards Mysore we enter the thick forests, adjacent to Karnakataka border.
I passed through small villages Byrankuppe and machur , Gundathur then came Kakana kote and then Karapurawhere kabini jungle logde belongs. 

At Bavali they say 7 streams join at one place into Kabini, we came to know about that at Balle (20 to 25 kms after Bavali Check post). Right from the Karnataka Kerala border the Rajiv Ghandi National Reserve forest area begins. It’s a part of Nagarahole reserve forest area of which this one is called Kakana Kote reserve forest area.

The road from here is too good and the dense forest beauty makes you forget all this and at one point I felt that it’s good that road is bad, so only we could go slow and enjoy the nature than just cruising fast through the forest area. On the way I captured some scenic spots, a group of people collecting wood & working out to remove a lorry struck in mud and at Balle  some photographs of the tamed elephants.

I was wondering if I could find some wild life in that forest area. I know that during rainy season we generally don’t see the wild life on the road side because there will be lot of food and water available to the animals deep inside the forest.
But luck was there with me, I could spot Sambar deers, Fawn deers, wild Boar, Peacock and a huge family of birds  On the way I could also spot some fresh dung of elephants that gave us an indication that elephants would have passed that way either y’day evening or early morning. But sooner we got glimpses of elephants grazing on wild.

I have given elaborate description on my recent sightings. Because I never met any other wild animals in my entire trip in Kanrataka and Tamil Nadu forests. I will explain other things only. But I felt the presence of animals in some occasions. Wait for that. 

Kabini and Khedda

Kennath Anderson discribed in Tiger Roars he often visits and known to Kakan kote forest and keddahs. As  a Native of Wayanad, I know there were elephant captives areas in forest. Lot of stories about animals, poachers and sandalwood smugglers were in air at my childhood. I remembered one of the famous hero  was called Rocket Balan and he  drives his jeep like a rocket to escape from officials. After so many years,in my college time,  met him and travelled in his jeep. And from him, I heard  about the khedda operations mainly in Karnataka area.  Now I got an opportunity to  study  the practice in detail. lets go for it.

History and art have shown evidences of this practice from Chandragupta Maurya’s period in the records of the Greek Ambassador, Megasthenes. He writes about how female elephants were used as decoys to lure male elephants into enclosures or deep trenches.

The Mysore Khedda, however, enjoyed royal patronage, and had the attraction of a river drive as well. “About 36 kheddas were done in the Kakanakote forest and the river drive was started by a Briton, GP Sanderson, in honour of the visit of the Duke of Russia in the 19th century,” according to the Naturalist. The Kheddas, which lasted for an entire century, ended in 1970s. Today, the Khedda site,, is submerged under water after the construction of the Kabini dam. 

Keddah site of Kakana kote. Now  submerged in  water after the construction of Kabini dam

Kakanakote Keddah

Capturing a herd of wild elephants was no easy task. After the first successful elephant capturing operation, the forests of Kakanakote became synonymous with the kheddas. 

The elephant capturing party consisted of human beaters, mahouts, guards, helpers and domesticated elephants called kumkis. Once a large herd of elephants was identified for capture, the hunting party surrounded the herd giving them no route for escape. A relatively large fenced enclosure of about 6-8 miles in circumference was erected encompassing the herd. The area was well equipped with cover, fodder and water to make it easy to confine the elephants. When the elephants tried to stray, large fires, shouts, drums and shots were used to scare the elephants and hold them back in the fenced area. The construction of a khedda commenced soon after the elephants were surrounded. The size of the enclosure was about 20-50 yards in diameter and about 12 feet in height. The fortification was strongly backed by sloping supports and binders. The location selected for the construction of the khedda was such that it was hidden behind the cover of the undergrowth and was generally on one of the elephants’ chief runs. The gate was made strong and had iron spikes embedded on it. To guide the elephants into entering the stockade two lines of strong palisades flanked the path of entry. Human beaters drove the petrified elephants into the funnel-shaped path and closed in from behind.

After the elephants were impounded into the khedda, mahouts on kumkis entered the scene. It is said that the wild elephants often calmed down at the sight of their domesticated counterparts. The mahouts used this to their advantage and surrounded the wild elephants. The helper seated at the back used an iron rod to the prod the elephant that would eventually lift its wounded leg and fall trap to the noose in the hand of the rope-tier. Using the same procedure the other three legs and neck of the elephant were lassoed and the wild elephant would eventually succumb to the wounds and pain.
The Kakanakote Kheddas were also famous for the river-drive operations in which wild elephants were driven across the river Kabini into a stockade. It is said that Sanderson designed the river-drive in honor of the Grand Duke of Russia during his visit in 1891. This crude method of capturing wild elephants was a spectacle for the visitors and a matter of immense pride for the officers in charge. Hordes of spectators seated in special galleries for visitors were witness to the event.

Kabini River Lodge

Today, the happy hunting grounds of the royalty attract tourists in large numbers. The Rajiv Gandhi National Park (formerly Nagarahole National Park) abounds with wildlife. The century old Maharaja Bungalow and Viceroy Bungalow in Kharapura are a part the Kabini River Lodge, the first resort of the Jungle Lodges and Resorts, a government of Karnataka undertaking. 

If you boat cruising on the River Kabini, u may see herds of elephants and alone tuskers walking majestically on its banks. I gazed at the old black and white photographs hanging on the walls of the Maharaja Bungalow, formerly the hunting lodge of the Maharaja of Mysore. This is the closest I can get to this piece of history dangling across the jungles of the Mysore State.

Then passed  Balle elephant camp.I have nothing more to see there. The camp is one of its kind training camps to re-train these elephants. Elephants are freee to go wild  and most of the travellers are exited to see a wild elephant.They come out during the feeding time. The little fella in the picture takes pleasure in running after the feeders as they carry food from the store.

Newly constructed deviated road on left leading to Kakankote. This is to avoid Core area of the forest.

Khedda Operation 

Surrounded by the pristine forests of the Kakanakote range, Kabini has its own heritage tag, as it was once the hunting ground of the Mysore Maharaja.

Photo from last khedda, drummers drove all the wild elephants into the water as the domestic elephants surrounded them. They were subsequently driven into an enclosure, and were caught

From kankanakote forest
If you think about the fate of those innocent creatures, you may you may have tears in my eyes as I do. Imagine,the drummers drove all the wild elephants into the water as the domestic elephants surrounded them. They were subsequently driven into an enclosure, and were caught using ropes. It was distressing to hear the cries of the elephants that fell into the pits. Today, the Khedda site, interestingly, is submerged under water after the construction of the Kabini dam. The elephants now enjoy a clear path to travel from the Nagarhole forest to the Bandipur stretch. Their only intruders are ‘shutterbugs’ like us who will simply not let them be.

Roping Operation - Kabini Khedda.
This is a photograph taken during the last Khedda in Kabini. It shows the roping operation wherein trained elephants with mahouts would enter the stockade and separate the captured elephants and rope them.This was an extremely dangerous task and used to be carried out with extreme brutality. As you can see the roped wild animal has a large wound on its trunk.
A view from Kakanakote

All old  Photos: Courtesy to Ms. Lakshmi Sharath

 I passed two more villages. road is newly tarred and smooth. No other vehicles in vicinity.I could ride fast  in this planes. but i continued  slowly to taste every aspect of  beauty of that  day. It is a big relax  I got from  the  cool air.

Once we reached close to HD kote hand post area, I saw a sudden change in geography  plateau. Leave back all the dense forest and embrace the plain agricultural land. This place is very close to Jungle lodges on the Kabini Banks. It does not mean that forest is over from this place, but the density of trees comes down drastically as the land is vegetated.

I wanted to go through Mysore city to take a look at mt Yezdi bike which is  given for restoration.
I couldn't find the  shop owner and I continued to  sreerangapatnam and then to Mandya.


Wanted to see a Kannada movie. But show already started.
Winding this episode  when in Mandya, a big town. i wanted to go up to Malavally, but the condition of road turned me back. after going about 2 km  i thought I returned  to Mandya  I took too long to locate a suitable place to reside.Later Thanked for this decision as there were lean possibility to find a lodge the in Malavally.

Links to other blogposts related to Kennath Anderson stories:

The Man-eater-of-crescent-mountains


  1. Wonderful travelogue.You have taken us through some of the best areas that nature and wild life co-exhist in the Kerala Karnataka border areas around Wynad.Keep up this good work.

  2. Very nice story, thanks for all the details. In my captive elephants database I have a small number of elephants with origin from Kakanakote forest, bur in reality it must be hundreds.


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