Long overdue vacation, planned to Kerala. With all the flying shenanigans we reached Cochin. Our port of entry into Gods own country. Must say it is not the exact image of Kerala one expects. None the less it was just entry. At this point I would like to introduce Mr. Shibu our driver and guide of the trip. (Kerala dew drops). We got picked at a perfect time and headed straight towards Munnar, not knowing what lies ahead.
Suddenly, after a point the climate turns pleasant due to the ascend in altitude, It is noticeable and very similar to the calm you feel while entering temples. The scenery slowly starts to change. Beautiful waterfalls along the road, spice plantations and pleasant greenery all along.
|One of the waterfalls on the way|
On recommendation of Shibu we went to a spice plantation called Greenfield spices and herbal garden. We did come out the place a little more knowledgeable after seeing the trees and plants where the spices grow. Each such plantation is attached with a shop selling organic spices. Wife being the best judge of the same, agreed that some spices seemed different from the usual supermarket stuff. So packed some along.
Post this point is where the drama slowly unfolded!! The tea plantations started. Naturally forming rows, the plantation looks absolutely stunning on the mountain slopes. Sprinkle a few trees and a few sloping roof structures in this landscape and you are teleported in a world of dreams. Post climbing a few meters in altitude clouds come into the picture! Now the drama turns into Broadway show. More about it once we wake up the next morning.
|The beautiful Munnar scenery unfolding|
|The VIEW from the room|
When the eyes opened next morning, simply stunned! Picked my camera, ran to the terrace, and saw the theater unfold. The clouds covering and uncovering the mountains in possible the most beautiful view ever. Again something I penned at that point
Kuch is tarah thama woh lamha,
Dil ne pukara jannat hai yahan,
Khada raha dekhte hue woh manzar,
Vadiyon ne dhund ka banaya parda,
Kabhi yahan pahad chupa toh kabhi wahan,
Suraj ki kiron se is khel ko mila ek manch.
Mukh se nikal hi gaya
Hamenastu Hamenastu Hamenastu
|If this is not Heaven, what is?|
The photograph doesn’t justify what the eyes saw!! I would absolutely recommend this particular hotel with the valley view only for anybody who comes to visit Munnar.
Moving ahead in the day we visited the Chinnar wildlife sanctuary. My opinion would be to not visit the place. The only thing you see are Nilgiri goats and trust me it is not worth waiting in that queue for half n hr!! I would skip it, especially because it does not even offer views very different from other places in the town. Next on out itinerary, Mattupetty dam. Beautiful place. Good for some decent clicks and for the boating enthusiasts. Further ahead is the echo point, where there is an echo, so if it excites you, go ahead and visit it.
|The ‘Attraction’ of Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary – The Nilgiri Goats|
We had planned a total of two days in Munnar, but in all honesty there is nothing much to do outside. You need a book/companion / activity in your resort to support the view, especially since alcohol has been banned in Kerala. Out hotel gave us indoor games, books and a campfire. So we managed to pull through.
The only disclaimer I would put on taking a hotel so far from the town is that there is absolutely nothing around. If the food disappoints you ( we were quite satisfied) or you need a walk there is nothing. The roads are also dark and empty discouraging you from venturing out. So that should just be taken care.
Next stop on the itinerary Thekkady. The idea was to visit the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, the land of the tigers. However, it turned out to be a little bit disappointing
In the Misty Mountains, overall Indian (South and North) was without complaints. The chinese was horrible. Better be warned against that. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner here and apart from the chinese diasater, we were satisfied. In the market, there is a Sarvana Bhavan serving cheap and authentic Kerala dishes which is a must try and recommended. One interesting thing we found was, pineapples being served with red chillies and salt. Interesting combination which surprisingly works well.