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Old 6th May 2011, 18:10   #1
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Default Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss

Welcome to my first teamBHP inspired tour (plan based on TBHPbians experiences)!

The team - me, wify, our 6 month old angel and our great friend who joins us for most of our tours.
The machine - Accent GLE in pristine condition
The destinations - Munnar, Kodai and Valparai
The theme - estate bunglows, away from the crowd and steeped in nature

We left our home at Bannerghatta road, Bangalore at 2:30pm. The "tour mood" was set the moment we hit NICE road and with 10 days of touring to follow, man werent we HAPPY?!!!
The plan this time was to drive leasurely and not to travel more than 5-6 hrs at a stretch.

Hosur road was sparsely-trafficked (my 2 paisa to english)

Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss-.jpg

After 57 kms we reached McDonalds on Hosur road, stopped over at their takeaway counter, gulped in the burgers sitting in the car itself and rushed back to burn the turmac (wish all highway restaruants had this option of pickingup food without getting out of the car).
By 7:30 pm and 287 kms of great highway driving we reached our night halt - hotel Chennys, Perundurai. Was happy to know they had recorded my telebooking correctly(my tamil did work). The rooms were just OK but certainly cheap at Rs 800 for AC rooms.
The breakfast was tasty (somehow like the TN-Kerala Idlis better than namma Karnataka ones). We left Chennys by 8:00 am and was more than happy to start off our non-NH segment of the drive.
The SH roads were good to drive and had the rural charm, thouroughly enjoyed the drive thru Kangeyam and Udumalpet.

Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss-c.jpg

Stuffing up 10 days luggage in the accent was a task, but seeing this couple on the TVS luna ensured we did not complain anymore. Its amazing how this smallest motor vehicle on Indian road is exploited by our resourceful countrymen

Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss-b.jpg

Voila, here comes the first of the numerous checkposts, but no one stopped me. In our excitement to start the Ghat section drive we did not bother to stop and check either. After some 2 kms the rear-view mirror showed a spirited chase by a man in uniform, "The checkpost guy is following us on his bike" I shouted, and stopped the vehicle by the side immediately. Explained to the forest constable that I did not see his signal at the checkpost.Took a U and returned to the checkpost to make the entry in their register. They started on a detailed check of my luggage but missed what they were serching for.
I continued our journey thanking our superior packing skills.

Ghats!!!! Not as green as you would like, but still had a brown mystic attraction to it.

Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss-d.jpg
Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss-e.jpg

Some of the trees were in full colorful bloom and made us stop to savour the same
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Wifey is an elephant fan and very much looking forward to this tour when I showed her pictures of Chinnar, Munnar and Valparai. After our numerous previous elephant encouters in Muthanga and Bandipur, her expectations were also high ("a huge lonely tusker ready to chase our car" to put it in her words).But we did not come across any. The beautiful Ghat roads made up for that.
Reached Munnar at 2:00pm, met Mr Dharmaraj of KDHP (Kannan Devan Hills Plantions I guess), took directions from him and proceeded for lunch at East-end hotel. Loved the taste of fresh fish (fresher than Bangalore) which I was missing for a long time.
Stomach full, we started off on our climb up to our first estate bunglow - Chundavurrai Top Bunglow of KDHP. This place is 30 kms further up from Munnar beyond Kundale dam.
Clicked some pictures of a slightly depleted Mattupetty dam
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Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss-fb.jpg
Summer or Winter there is no place greener than Munnar. The tea-estates were looking as inviting as ever - painted/crafted mountains stretching like a green carpet.

Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss-fc.jpg

We met one of our bunglow caretakers, Raj, waiting for us at the Kundale dam. We followed him behind his bike. The roads became increasingly broken up from here, but that only added to our excitement as it was evident that we were going off the main road to hitherto undiscovered (by us) part of this beautiful hillstation. Narrow roads got narrower which meant we were even more closer to the tea plants on both sides. Went past a tea factory and some interesting curves to reach a spot where I breaked suddenly, "no asphalt ahead!" The caretaker egged me on and told the bunglow was just a few kms ahead. Now we were moving slowly on first gear with plenty of rocks and small streams challenging us. There was a drain dug up on one side which ensured that the tea leaves caressed the car on the other side. We saw our home for next 3 nights ahead on the green hill. Yes, this is what we wanted - an old British bunglow amidst serene green estates and forest with no other building in sight in all directions (except the caretakers house).

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Chundavurrai Top Bunglow looked perfect - architecture, interiors, surroundings....those firangs who built this some 90 yrs back would have surely had a great time.

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It was past 5:00 in the evening and the atmosphere was cloudy with the evening sun just settling down behind the mountains. The views from the bunglow were great, I was completely lost in this spectacle while wifey was checking out the bunglow.

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The bunglow had two large bedrooms, one very large living room, dining hall and kitchen. The bathroom was as as big as the kitchen in our Bangalore apartment! There was a fire place in the bedroom and living room, our care taker litup the living room one while we slipped into the cosy sofas.

Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss-ka.jpg

We were already in good spirits(especially after getting past the checkpost) and the great chicken from Mr Pappachan (the main caretaker) completed a great evening. The home-cooked dinner was delicious. Wifey after a quick kitchen visit told us how they were grinding the masalas on granite slabs (ammikkallu) instead of a mixer. This makes it tastier it seems.

I got up at around 6:30am and ventured out with my camera. The sun paints the earth beautifully during dawn and dusk and I didnt want to miss it in this paradise!

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After a great breakfast we went for a walk behind the bunglow. There are some stretched of forests too. Wifey was eager to see if any tuskers are around. Mr Pappachan told us that elephants do come, but rarely. It was too sunny by now.

Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss-o.jpg

We returned to the bunglow after a brief walk and went out to visit Mattupetty dam.

Will post the balance soon

Last edited by VindyWheels : 7th May 2011 at 16:33.
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Old 7th May 2011, 21:00   #2
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Default Re: Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss

Hi, mods forgot to thank for the great assembly line feature.
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Old 8th May 2011, 09:33   #3
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Default Re: Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss

The place indeed looks surreal. Can you share more details? Is it just one bungalow or they have more? Are the rooms shared by other families too or one needs to rent the who bungalow? What were the rates?

Last edited by ampere : 8th May 2011 at 09:59.
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Old 8th May 2011, 09:56   #4
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Default Re: Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss

Ampereji, I think they have 8 bunglows spread across different estates in Munnar. This one is Chundavurrai estate. In this estate there are 2 bunglows, this is called the top bunglow and is better and farther away. There are 2 bedrooms only, so we had the whole bunglow for ourselves. theteasanctury.com is their website. Their reponse for online queries are good.

Rgds

VW

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Originally Posted by ampere View Post
The place indeed looks surreal. Can you share more details? Is it just one bungalow or they have more? Are the rooms shared by other families too or one needs to rent the who bungalow? What was the rates?
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Old 8th May 2011, 20:44   #5
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Default Re: Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss

Am sure its going to be another fabulous travelogue on Munnar/Kodai. Thanks for it, VW.

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Originally Posted by VindyWheels View Post
Ampereji, I think they have 8 bunglows spread across different estates in Munnar. This one is Chundavurrai estate. In this estate there are 2 bunglows, this is called the top bunglow and is better and farther away. There are 2 bedrooms only, so we had the whole bunglow for ourselves. theteasanctury.com is their website. Their reponse for online queries are good.
That's a useful information that they are allowing everyone to stay in their bungalows. I thought these are exclusive rented out to Tata employees only. Seems to me that these home-stays are not meant for commercial purposes.

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Originally Posted by VindyWheels View Post
our first estate bunglow - Chundavurrai Top Bunglow of KDHP. This place is 30 kms further up from Munnar beyond Kundale dam.
Instead of going through Munnar, there seems to be a least used route from Marayoor to Kundale through Kandaloor skipping Munnar. Are there any details about this section?
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Old 8th May 2011, 21:13   #6
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Default Re: Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss

I looked at the site you mentioned. It does not talk about any estate bungalows being available. Perhaps one needs to contact them and check.
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Old 8th May 2011, 22:16   #7
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Default Re: Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss

Hi,

@Ampere, the mail ID is tourism.munnar@kdhptea.co.in You can also call Mr Dharmaraj at 04865 230141, 09446775300. This is being run on commercial scale but not publicised much I guess. I got the lead after searching around the net for estate bunglows. Had almost given up when I came across an entry in tripadvisor about some other KDHP bunglow, that lead me to kdhp website and from there to teasanctury.


@Ramanan, thank you, I will post the balance soon. Did not know about the other route, sounds interesting. Will give a try next time around.


VW
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Old 9th May 2011, 11:33   #8
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Default Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss

Majority of our 2 full days in Munnar were spent lazing around the bunglow and some drives - to top station and munnar town. We gave a miss to boating at the depleted Mattupetty dam (post-monsoons is the best time there). Kundale dam looked better (picutre below) but there were only pedal boats at Kunadale (they have Shikaras but had no staff for rowing).

Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss-q.jpg

April-May is not a good time to visit the popular crowded spots, so we never ventured out to photo-point, echo point or Mattupetty dam. The drives were great as usual and the occassional rains added to the fun. Wifey, and surprisingly our 6 month old daughter were very happy doing the elephant ride.
After three fabulous nights at Chundavurrai top bunglow we bid goodbye to Pappachan and Raj. Our next destination was Kodai and I was looking forward to the drive thru Chinnakanal. We had done around 700kms by now and Kodai was 185 kms away.

The distant view of the green-top Club Mahindra building looked mystic at the foot of the cloudy mountains

Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss-s.jpg

The rain clouds burst above us by the time we reached Ana-irangal dam. Visibility diminished suddenly, car was slowed down and wiper blades went hammer and tongs. With all the time in the world we just enjoyed the surreal settings. The drive above the dam was straight out of a Santosh Shivan movie. Even after the rain subsided, the road looked beautiful with leaves scattered all around and tall trees looking green and fresh after the rain bath.

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The weather changed very soon and by the time we started our climb down from the pretty Munnar hills there was no sign of rain. The view of the ghat roads winding down the hills looked great. It was my first time on this route.

Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss-y.jpg
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Old 9th May 2011, 15:05   #9
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Default Re: Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss

Quote:
The distant view of the green-top Club Mahindra building looked mystic at the foot of the cloudy mountains
So thats Club Mahindra eh ? Saw the same when i was driving up last week. Though it was Camp Noel
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Old 9th May 2011, 15:15   #10
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Default Re: Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss

Hey Vindywheels,

Thanks for the beautiful pics and a nice travelogue. The Estate bungalow looks fantastic and the place is surreal. The pic of the road after the rain is fantastic.
Can you share the details of the how much was the room rent per night?
Not using the email id and phone number info since, not planning a trip soon. Would just like to have a idea about the price. If you can just share that here or through PM, that would be great.

Keep posting. Subscribed to this thread.
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Old 9th May 2011, 16:32   #11
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Default Re: Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss

Hi Manchau,

Thank You. No PM facility as I joined TBHP recently.

I'm pasting the details from their mail.
"The tariff for a double room per night with breakfast and all taxes
would be Rs.4000/- and for the extra person we will charge Rs.1000/- per
night and we will provide extra mattress with breakfast. Lunch/dinner would be chargeable at the rate of Rs.250/- per meal, per person"

Rgds

VW

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fordmanchau View Post
Hey Vindywheels,

Thanks for the beautiful pics and a nice travelogue. The Estate bungalow looks fantastic and the place is surreal. The pic of the road after the rain is fantastic.
Can you share the details of the how much was the room rent per night?
Not using the email id and phone number info since, not planning a trip soon. Would just like to have a idea about the price. If you can just share that here or through PM, that would be great.

Keep posting. Subscribed to this thread.
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Old 9th May 2011, 16:55   #12
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Default Re: Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss

VindyWheels: Very nice pictures. Good write up as well.
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Old 9th May 2011, 18:25   #13
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Default Re: Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss

Nice pictures VW ! Once visited, any day you talk about munnar, it relishes the memory with happiness ever in life....

The cottage looks too good.

-Ravi
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Old 9th May 2011, 20:23   #14
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Default Re: Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss

Excellent travelogue VindyWheels! And spiced up with some great pictures too. Looking forward to the upcoming installments
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Old 9th May 2011, 21:57   #15
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Default Re: Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss

The Munnar-Kodai journey took more time than I thought. There was heavy traffic some 10kms before Kodai and driving after 6:00pm was not as pleasurable as before. Kodai is a small town and was evidently bursting at its seams with holiday crowd coming in in large nos though it was a weekday. I was wondering where all these people would be put up!
This part of our tour is the only "non-bunglow" section as we had booked for 2 nights at Villa Retreat. The room was a little cramped (probably the Muannr British bunglow had reset our expectations) but tastefully done.

The garden (pic below), though small, is a nice place to have a cup of tea.

Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss-ya.jpg

The next day morning was spent around the lake. Was too crowded, but we enjoyed the cycling, especially the long one allowing two people to pedal together.
Walked around all the shops so that wifey could do window shopping to her heart's content.

Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss-z.jpg

After lunch it started drizzling a bit. We took rest for some time at Villa retreat and then ventured out by 4:00pm on our exploration spree. We went around a few routes around the lake and found some nice houses. They were not resorts or homestays, looked like holiday homes of the well-healed in TN.
The best drive of the whole tour was the next one. We took the route towards Berijam lake, went past Pillar rock and pine forests without halting (was far too crowded). We came across the Berijam checkpost which was closed by now. The gaurd there was counting the day's loot and told as we can't go in. We decided to continue our exlporation and drove ahead on the other route ahead.
The rain gods started to work their magic again. A slight drizzle in the evening made the whole place heavenly. There were hardly any vehicles on this beautiful route, and we did not know where we were going (the perfect recipe for thrill) We came a across a few bisons too! And after a few lovely curves came a majestic pine forest. We finally found the moment we wanted - sun almost called-it-a-day, complete silence, no-one in sight, tall pine trees which stood on a brown color carpet of dried leaves. Nature at its best!

Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss-za.jpg
Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss-zb.jpg
Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss-zc.jpg

Whatever disappointment we had of the crowded Kodai vanished now. But wish we had ventured out in this route a little bit earlier, as we had to turn back when it became too dark. I was later told that this route takes one to the next checkpost of Berijam lake from where the famous Munnar route (jungle route which is closed) begins. The day ended with some tasty momos from a Tibetan restaurant.

We bid goodbye to Kodai the next day morning at 7:30 am and started off on our most anticipated leg - Valparai (I heard of this place only a couple of months back, thanks to tbhp). The trip meter was at 932 kms now.

The Kodai-Palani route had less traffic and was a interesting drive. After Udumalpet, the road was narrow but fantastic. Rural, rustic and charming, running thru paddy feilds and windmill feilds too

Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss-ze.jpg

We soon started our next climb up to the third hill station. There were 40 hairpins and the view of the dam in the valley was great.

Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss-zg.jpg
Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss-zf.jpg

Soon we were again engulfed by tea estates! After the 2 day break at mist filled Kodai, the sunny green tea estates reminded us of Munnar. But hey these estates looked different! Wifey insisted that the tea plant itself is different. These guys seemed to be more "disciplined" with the plants standing in perfect lines. It was later confirmed by our next host that the tea plants were indeed different from that of Munnar (owing to the slightly warmer temp I guess)

Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss-zgab.jpg

A few kms before Valparai town, we came across this fella merrily sitting on the road. Said hi to him and proceeded on the sublime drive thru the greens.

Bangalore Munnar Kodaikanal Valparai - 10 days of bliss-zgac.jpg

Our first destination was a british bunglow of Woodbriar group - Monica estate bunglow.
More on that in my next post.
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