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Old 27th May 2011, 15:13   #1
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Post Bangalore-Munnar-Bangalore in 4 days

I'm writing a travelogue after several years and my first one for Team-BHP...
It's mid-May and just about 3 weeks to go for school to reopen so my daughter keeps reminding us to take her some place outside Bangalore. I plan my time away from work for the week of May 23-28 but obviously don't have the luxury of being away from Bangalore whole of that week since we have school related stuff to do like uniforms, fees, etc (all to be completed that week). So I start planning a road trip to Munnar, beginning with finding accomodation in a resort/hotel. Most resorts/hotels are packed during this time - being the last week before most schools reopen. Then comes an unexpected news of a strike/hartal in Kerala to protest the recent petrol price hike :( Now I start thinking if we need to alter our plan and so the new plan is made - travel to Coimbatore on Friday and then to Munnar from there on Saturday. I finally get a good deal at Clouds Valley Munnar so that's where we are heading. Thanks to folks@Team-BHP, I have all my route information ready !

Day 1 - Friday May 20 (Bangalore - Coimbatore)
Trip meter set to zero, we (my wife, daughter and I) leave home at 5:45 am, take the Old Airport Road towards Marathahalli and then take the Varthur Road towards Sarjapur, Attibele. I guess, it will be better to articulate this in a tabular format so it helps others get a summary and ignore the story.

Route Taken: Bangalore -> Hosur -> Krishnagiri -> Dharmapuri -> Salem (all on NH 7) -> Avinashi -> Coimbatore (all on NH 47)

Time Trip Meter Description
5:45 am 0 Km Start from Home (HAL III stage)
6:24 am 36 Km Reach Karnataka border, pay Rs.20 toll at Attibele
6:45 am 73 Km Stop for breakfast at A2B, Shoolagiri
7:30 am 73 Km Start from A2B
7:46 am -- Pay Rs.25 toll at Krishnagiri
8:25 am -- Pay Rs.66 toll at Thoppur
8:54 am -- Pay Rs.53 toll at Omalur
9:29 am -- Pay Rs.41 toll at Salem
9:35 am -- Tanked up at Bharat Petroleum, Salem - petrol
costs Rs.67 per litre a cool Rs.4 less than Bangalore !
Turn right towards NH 47 towards Coimbatore
10:09 am 300 Km Pay Rs.37 toll at Kumarapalayam
10:20 am 313 Km 4 laning on NH 47 ends (58 Km to Coimbatore)
11:45 am 371 Km Reach Hotel Srri Aswini Deluxe, Ramnagar,
Gandhipuram, Coimbatore (Temperature around 32 C)

We get some rest after lunch and spend the evening doing some local visits, light shopping and dinner.

Day 2 - Saturday May 21 (Coimbatore - Munnar)
We checkout of the hotel and are ready to start our journey to Munnar at 6:30 am ! We have a cup of coffee at Hotel Annapoorna, Lakshmi Complex, Cross-Cut Road, Gandhipuram and then head towards Pollachi.

Route Taken: Coimbatore -> Pollachi -> Udumalaipet (all on NH 209) -> Chinnar -> Marayoor -> Munnar (all on NH 49)

Time Trip Meter Description
7 am 390 Km Start from Gandhipuram, Coimbatore
7:15 am 395 Km Reach Ukkadam, Pay Rs.8 toll, turn left towards
Pollachi
7:45 am 434 Km Reach Pollachi
8:15 am 463 Km Reach Udumalaipet, stop for breakfast at Hotel
Amrutha
8:45 am 463 Km Start from Udumalaipet, take right towards Munnar
(via Chinnar)
11:30 am 553 Km Reach Clouds Valley, Munnar

When nearing Uduamalaipet you can see several windmills of Suzlon Energy. The hotel where we stopped for breakfast in Udumalaipet was on the highway and just 2 Km after this hotel is the sign for Munnar (right turn). After we took the right turn and hit a junction in a residential area, there was a little bit of confusion since a ROB is being constructed and there is a deviation via the Government College so keep looking for Munnar signboards or ask people if you're confused
There is a checkpost when leaving Udumalaipet, just where the forest area begins, about 15 Km before Chinnar. Here you need to get out of the vehicle and sign the register (they note down driver's name, vehicle owner's name and vehicle number). On reaching Chinnar, there are 3 check posts in a span of 100-150 metres and at each of these you need to sign the register ! 2 of them are Kerala forest department check posts and one of them Tamil Nadu forest department. At one of the Kerala check posts, the guard on duty was smoking a beedi and looked just like a villain-policeman straight out of a Malayalam movie. When I was signing the register he said curtly "30 Rupees" - I don't know if this was a bribe or a fee but after stopping at so many checkposts I did not have the strength to even question him so I just gave Rs.30 and headed out ! Roads all the way including the forest area are in good condition. The last check post is at Marayoor where you need to sign again !
The drive through the tea estates after Marayoor is very scenic and presents infinite photo opportunities. You can feel the air becoming cooler as you drive higher. There was a big traffic snarl at Eravikulam park with vehicles parked hap-hazardly and people were waiting in a long queue for tickets.
On reaching Munnar town, there is a big junction near the KDHP House. There is a narrow bridge on the left that connects the roads to Madurai/Theni, Nallathanni and the road for all other sightseeing places like Matupetty Dam, Echo Point, Top Station, etc. To the right is the road towards Adimaly/Kochi. There was a huge traffic jam at this junction and no one seemed to know where Clouds Valley was located so we ended up taking the narrow bridge and going to the left in the opposite direction. Luckily there was a petrol bunk on the other side and we stopped to ask patiently for directions and then headed back after making a U-turn to the road towards Adimaly. Just 2-3 Km away near the KSRTC depot is Clouds Valley. Just opposite the hotel is Munnar Stadium (it's just a large ground with football goal-posts and a building housing the Kerala Sports Council !).
The hotel was very nice and after checking in we headed out for lunch to SN Sujatha Inn where we were told we can get good North & South Indian Veg food. The evening was spent taking a stroll in Munnar town with some light shopping at KDHP house for tea and Strawberry Preserves. We had dinner at the hotel - a decent buffet spread. The traffic and crowd we saw at Munnar made us decide to use the services of a Taxi the next day for sightseeing and keep Eravikulam park as an optional place to see (we'd seen this on our earlier trip).

Day 3 - Sunday May 22 (Munnar Sightseeing)
After breakfast at the hotel, we headed out in the Taxi at 8:50 am. The taxi driver was a very good person and doubled up as a good guide. Our first stop was Mattupetty Dam (there was a huge crowd already and several vehicles). There was an unorganised queue for entrance tickets and just as I reached the counter, the taxi driver asked us to simply follow him. We walked down towards the water and there again there was another queue to buy the boating tickets. Our driver took care of getting the tickets (after I filled out a form with the details of all of us taking the boat ride). After a good speed boat ride for about 15 minutes, we headed out towards Echo point. We stopped on the way at several places for photographs. Next stop was Echo Point and here again I found that a mini makeshift market was setup with plastic sheets serving as the roof. You walk right through this market to reach Echo Point near the water. I then realised that the Government tourism department had built tiled steps from the road leading to the Echo Point and the vendors had then set up shop right around these steps ! After Echo Point we headed towards Top Station and on the way we saw forest department folks pruning/cutting down branches/trees growing closer to the road's edges. On reaching Top Station we see another traffic jam ! We get out of the car and start walking towards the view point. Once we reach the top it starts raining and we don't have umbrellas ! After about 30 minutes, the rain turns down to a trickle and we head back to the car. On the way back we stop quickly at Kundala Dam, we don't take the pains for another boat ride (again huge queue here and everyone seems to love speed boats !). On the way back there is a intermittent rain it and makes the drive even better We stop at the flower garden run by the Horticulture department. Once inside we are admiring the plants and flowers and suddenly the raingods pound again ! We then head towards Munnar town for lunch at Saravana Bhavan. Definitely not what it was when we visited last in 2002, this place is much more stylish with marble flooring, etc. But there is a long wait for tables (token system) and after 15 minutes we find a table. Food is simple South Indian Sambar, Rasam, etc stuff and is very tasty. After this we go the Tata Tea Museum for a wonderful live experience of seeing how tea is prepared using the CTC process. We then watch a video about Kanan Devan Tea, have a cup of tea there and head back to the hotel. Dinner again at the Clouds Valley hotel's restaurant is good (a larger buffet spread on Sunday).

Day 4 - Monday May 23 (Munnar - Bangalore)
We have breakfast at the hotel and check out at 8:45 am and ready to start our long journey to Bangalore (I wasn't sure how tired this drive would make me so my backup plan was to stopover in Salem if required).

Route Taken: Munnar -> Poopara -> Bodi metu -> Bodi (all on NH 49) -> Theni -> Periakulam -> Bathlakundu (all on NH 45) -> Dindigul -> Karur -> Namakkal -> Salem -> Dharmapuri -> Krishnagiri -> Hosur -> Bangalore (all on NH 7)

Time Trip Meter Description
8:45 am 558 Km Start from Clouds Valley, Munnar
9:45 am 592 Km Reach Poopara
10 am 602 Km Reach Bodi metu, ghat section begins (17 hair pin
bends)
10:30 am 622 Km Ghat section ends
10:50 am 643 Km Reach Theni (Bharat Petroleum next to Meenakshi
Bhavan)
11:25 am 686 Km Reach Bathlakundu
12 pm 715 Km Reach Dindigul, turn left at NH 7 junction towards Karur
12:30 pm 758 Km Reach Velanchettiyur, pay Rs.60 toll
1 pm 798 Km Reach Karur, stop at Hotel Annapoorna for lunch
1:45 pm 798 Km Start from Hotel Annapoorna
2 pm -- Reach Rasampalayam, pay Rs.32 toll
2:40 pm 887 Km Reach Salem, turn left towards Dharmapuri/Bangalore
3 pm -- Reach Omalur, pay Rs.53 toll
3 pm 943 Km Stop at A2B for coffee, tank up at Bharat Petroleum
3:30 pm 943 Km Start from A2B
4:40 pm -- Reach Krishnagiri, Pay Rs.25 toll
5:30 pm 1064 Km Reach Karnataka border, pay Rs.20 toll at Attibele
6:30 pm 1100 Km Reach Home !
The drive from Munnar towards Poopara via Chinnakanal was awesome and again through tea estates, stopped at few places for photographs. At few places the road is very narrow or has potholes and you need to watch out for bigger vehicles coming in the opposite direction. At Poopara there is a bridge and you need to turn left towards Bodi/Theni (9 Km) - here the road is newly asphalted and was like a carpet. The lane markings, signs, etc are missing (hope it's going to be done soon). At Bodi metu there are 2 check posts, one each for Kerala and Tamil Nadu forest departments but you don't have to stop here, simply drive through. Then the ghat section with 17 hair pin bends begins (to come down to the plains in Bodi). This road again is scenic and weather here is much brighter and warmer compared to Munnar-Poopara. I could see the temperature display in the car go from 23 C in Munnar to 26 C in Poopara and 31 C in Bodi metu. As we came down to Theni it was 39 C ! (of course these are coutesy Maruti Suzuki and may be off by a degree or two). I cannot remember any stretch that was bad after Poopara. At Bathlakundu I saw the road to Kodai on the left (had taken this during our 2009 trip to Kodaikanal). As you can see, there are few stretches where we covered around 90km in a hour - thanks to very low traffic and superb road conditions (I'm not a rash driver). Even the Marathahalli - HAL stretch had low traffic (Monday evening blues ?)
Here are some of the pictures....hope I haven't bored you with the story of the journey...
Attached Thumbnails
Bangalore-Munnar-Bangalore in 4 days-1.-windmill-near-udumalaipet.jpg  

Bangalore-Munnar-Bangalore in 4 days-2.tea-estate-marayoormunnar-route.jpg  

Bangalore-Munnar-Bangalore in 4 days-3.tea-estates-everywhere.jpg  

Bangalore-Munnar-Bangalore in 4 days-5.-munnar-stadium.jpg  

Bangalore-Munnar-Bangalore in 4 days-6.mattupetty-dam-1.jpg  

Bangalore-Munnar-Bangalore in 4 days-7.mattupetty-dam-2.jpg  

Bangalore-Munnar-Bangalore in 4 days-8.boating-mattupetty-dam.jpg  

Bangalore-Munnar-Bangalore in 4 days-9.echo-point.jpg  

Bangalore-Munnar-Bangalore in 4 days-10.forest-departments-tree-pruning.jpg  

Bangalore-Munnar-Bangalore in 4 days-11.-top-station-view-point.jpg  

Bangalore-Munnar-Bangalore in 4 days-12.-flower-garden.jpg  

Bangalore-Munnar-Bangalore in 4 days-13.inside-tata-team-museum.jpg  

Bangalore-Munnar-Bangalore in 4 days-14.vw-touareg-clouds-valley-hotel-parking-lot.jpg  

Bangalore-Munnar-Bangalore in 4 days-15.tea-estates-munnarpoopara-route.jpg  

Attached Images
 

Last edited by GTO : 29th May 2011 at 01:18. Reason: No more than 2 smilies per post please
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Old 28th May 2011, 10:56   #2
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Default Re: Bangalore-Munnar-Bangalore in 4 days

Dear NPV,

This is one detailed and descriptive T-Log. Its a 'ball by ball' decription like the good old days with the Radio cricket commentary where the commentator made you "see" the action by his running commentary.
Great T-Log
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Old 28th May 2011, 18:19   #3
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Default Re: Bangalore-Munnar-Bangalore in 4 days

@Judemayne - thanks.

BTW, one thing I was trying to figure out was how to add captions to the pictures when uploading them ? I did not see a way to do this when I wrote the tlog and uploaded pics :(
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Old 28th May 2011, 20:33   #4
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Default Re: Bangalore-Munnar-Bangalore in 4 days

Great travelogue NPV. The details are well noted down including the hotels.
Could you share the tariff for a A/C room at the hotels you stayed ?
Looks like you also prefer to drive during the day like me.
I have been contemplating on PUNE-->BANGALORE-->MUNNAR-->BANGALORE-->PUNE trip since a long time. This travelogue re-ignites my desire to do this trip.
And such a beautiful place deserves more pics.
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Old 29th May 2011, 10:55   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F150 View Post
Great travelogue NPV. The details are well noted down including the hotels.
Could you share the tariff for a A/C room at the hotels you stayed ?
Looks like you also prefer to drive during the day like me.
I have been contemplating on PUNE-->BANGALORE-->MUNNAR-->BANGALORE-->PUNE trip since a long time. This travelogue re-ignites my desire to do this trip.
And such a beautiful place deserves more pics.
We stayed at Clouds Valley in Munnar - Clouds valley Munnar
I paid Rs.3500 per night for the Valley View room (it did not have a/c though). I guess their off-season (june-sep) rates will be lower during the monsoon.

I always do my long drives during the day - starting early and generally not driving beyond 7pm.
True, such a beatiful place deserves more pics but I also believe pics cannot capture the beauty of seeing the place with your own eyes.
I have several more pics, just selected a few of them to cover the things I explained about in the tlog
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Old 29th May 2011, 13:19   #6
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Default Re: Bangalore-Munnar-Bangalore in 4 days

Quote:
Originally Posted by NPV View Post
BTW, one thing I was trying to figure out was how to add captions to the pictures when uploading them ? I did not see a way to do this when I wrote the tlog and uploaded pics :(
That, and more, explained in this announcement : How to upload pictures to Team-BHP (Uploading photographs directly to Team-BHP)
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Old 30th May 2011, 00:06   #7
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Default Re: Bangalore-Munnar-Bangalore in 4 days

Thanx for those pics mate, they reminded me of my honeymoon trip about 3 years ago. I certainly agree with those scenic photo spots we go thru cos I remember my wifey making me pull aside for a snap every 2 kms or so and I obliged willingly as it was my HM trip . Sad that those traffic snarls at Eravikulam National park still persists. We did visit all those places you mentioned + a drive to thekkady.
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Old 30th May 2011, 10:41   #8
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Hi NPV,

Thanks for sharing your Munnar experience. This beautiful place is on my list for a long time but I am unable to take the time out. Hopefully will try to go here this year. The pics look really good, especially the ones capturing the lush greenery of this place. Thanks again for sharing and waiting for more pics if possible.
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Old 30th May 2011, 11:10   #9
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Hi, nice Tlog. We had been there last month and the water level in Mattupetty looks slightly better. How was the road from Coimbatore to Udumalpet? We had taken the diversion from Perundurai to Udumalpet. Ya, the worst part about travelling in April-May is the crowd. You could have considered Kundale dam instead of Mattupetty, which was peaceful and had more water this time. The road from Munnar via Chinnakal is one of the best drives, especially in wet conditions. Rather than the tourist spots you stopped over, I am sure you enjoyed the drive more.
The drive down from Munnar hills is also great. It was a fantastic plan to climb up from one side and down thru the other.

Rgds
VW

Last edited by VindyWheels : 30th May 2011 at 11:12.
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Old 30th May 2011, 11:41   #10
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Nice TL, would be doing similar trip sometime soon with Thakeddy included in the Itinerary. Could you share the hotel numbers and the link to the hotel you stayed, looks cool on the photographs.
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Old 30th May 2011, 11:55   #11
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Nice write up NPV and lovely pics to along with it, am planning a similar trip soon, maybe after the monsoons let up a bit. Why don't you share a few more pictures ?
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Old 30th May 2011, 17:03   #12
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Quote:
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Nice TL, would be doing similar trip sometime soon with Thakeddy included in the Itinerary. Could you share the hotel numbers and the link to the hotel you stayed, looks cool on the photographs.
Link is there in my earlier post...here it is again.
We stayed at Clouds Valley in Munnar - Clouds valley Munnar
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Old 30th May 2011, 17:56   #13
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Folks, some more pics...

A Tea Estate
Bangalore-Munnar-Bangalore in 4 days-tea-estate.jpg

Another Tea Estate
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Factory
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Flower Garden
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Tea Everywhere
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Bees Love this tree
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Mattupetty-1
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Manicured Estates-2
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More Tea
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Foliage at Top Station View Point
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Hills of Tea
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KSRTC Depot, Munnar Stadium, NH49 to Adimaly
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Top Station View
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Tree at Top Station View Point
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Tree in Tea Estate-1
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Tree in Tea Estate-2
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Old 31st May 2011, 10:57   #14
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Default Re: Bangalore-Munnar-Bangalore in 4 days

Hi NPV, thanks for reviving the memories of my Munnar trip in Dec'10. Nice photographs, and i think my 3 day stay did not do justice and am planning to do another outing.
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Old 31st May 2011, 11:17   #15
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Just revived my memories of my honeymoon way back in 2006 Jan.

Thanks for your wonderful written post and the photographs.
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