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Old 5th September 2011, 02:31   #61
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Talking Munnar...Here we come...!

Day 19

After spending a day in Velankanni and fulfilling our religious duties and obligations, we decided to move on towards our next destination, Munnar. We always do night drives whenever possible and this time also we decided to leave Velankanni after supper. We returned back to our hotel after witnessing the amazing sunset. We checked out from Seagate shortly.

We had loaded our luggage in our Chevy earlier and after a quick checkup of all the vital fluids inside Chevy, we were ready to roll. We left our hotel at 8 pm sharp. Our odo read 108, 843 kms. We decided not to tempt fate and to stay back in Trichy. We thought that driving to Munnar in one stretch from Velankanni was a not a good idea as we were very tired after experiencing the incessant and scorching heat wave in Velankanni, throughout the day. The temperature in that small town in Tamil Nadu was always hovering around the 40 degree C mark.

We quickly replenished our stock of cold mineral water and were on our way soon. As I mentioned earlier, the condition of the highway was very bad with lots of potholes and sub-standard patchworks. We decided to take it easy and quietly followed a tourist bus, which was maintaining about 60 kmph and had a peaceful drive.

By 10.20 pm, we reached the 4 laned highway leading to Trichy. Our odo read 108, 937 kms. We had travelled 94 kilometres in that wretched two laned highway from Velankanni and it had taken us an incredible 2.20 hours. Our average??? 42 kmph. Now one can imagine the kind of roads we encountered!!!

Our onward drive on the four laned highway to Trichy and Chennai was fantastic. We reached Thuvakudi at 10.50 pm covering another 43 more kilometres. Our average speed on the 4 laned highway was 86 kmph! I am a very fast driver and it was an excruciating experience driving on that two laned highway.

We had earlier seen a 4 laned highway being built all the way till Velankanni. But it was still not complete. Hopefully we will see a 4 laned highway all the way till Velankanni from Trichy in the near future!!!

We paid a toll of Rs. 36 at the Thuvakudi toll booth and drove further towards Trichy without taking any breaks. The highway was fantastic. However there was one diversion and we had to drive on the right side of the road for about 8 - 10 kilometres.

We exited the highway and reached Trichy after an excellent drive at 11 pm. Our odo read 108, 998 kms. We had covered 155 kms from Velankanni. We searched the whole of Trichy city for a good hotel and finally checked into Hotel Kanjanaa, which was very near to the central bus stand, by 12.20 am. Trichy was sweltering hot even at midnight! We quickly walked to the bus stand and had a late dinner. We finally retired for the night by 2am. We were so tired that we never knew when we slept off!

Day 20

We spent the whole day relaxing in our hotel. We had a delicious lunch and dinner from A1 Hotel, which was located inside the Central Bus Stand. The hotel had an AC room and we enjoyed our Biriyanis and Chicken Chettinadu.

Day 21 - 29 July

As always, we were game for another night drive and checked out of our hotel by 1.20 am. We had a difficult time loading our luggage in our Chevy and were finally able to leave the hotel at 1.50 am. Our odo read 109, 014 kms. I put in Diesel for Rs. 1000 from an HP pump inside the city, en route to Dindigul. Diesel was sold at Rs. 44.39 per litre. We drove carefully inside the city, as truck traffic was quite high even at that time of the night. Police patrolling was also strong, but they did not stop or bother us.

We touched the Trichy – Dindigul 4 laned highway at 2.10 am after covering 9 kilometres from the heart of the city. The highway was fantastic and we relaxed almost instantly. I maintained a steady speed of 110 kmph. NH 45 was a dream drive!!!

By 3.30 am, we reached the turn off towards Theni. We took a left turn from the highway and exited NH 45. The highway was two laned but was very well maintained. I brought down my speed to 90 kmph. We reached Batalagundu at 3.55 am. Our odo read 109, 155 kms. We had covered 141 kms from Trichy in a little over 2 hours. Kodaikanal turn off point came soon at 109, 163 kms. We were tempted to take the right turn, but we somehow resisted the temptation.

We passed through Periakulam town at 4. 20 am and finally reached Theni town at 4.40 am. Our odo read 109, 195 kms. The road became very bumpy soon and we had to drive doubly carefully.

We continued our drive through the small towns bordering the highway and reached Bodinaikannur at 5 am sharp. Our odo was at 109, 212 kms. We had travelled 198 kms from Trichy.

We reached the Tamil Nadu Forest check post at 5. 10 am after travelling 8 kilometres from the town. I entered all my details in a register there. The inspector was very well mannered and did not trouble us over any trivial issue. He also did not insist on seeing any of my vehicle’s documents or my license.

We started our climb on the Bodi ghat at 5.13 am. Bodi was by far the scariest ghat that I had travelled through! During my backpacking trip to Ooty, Kodai and Munnar in 1996, I had travelled from Pooppara to Theni in a Tempo Traveller. I had a petrifying time in that tempo and had enjoyed the scary ride to the fullest. The driver of the tempo had given me a seat right near him and I was given the wildest ride of my life!!!

I had told my fiancee (my wife now) about the dangerous Bodi ghat after I returned from that trip. She had been waiting for a chance to experience that ghat ever since!!!

Bodi ghat road was in a good condition 90% of the way. There were some huge potholes where we least expected. There were about 17 hairpin curves en route. We gained altitude very fast, as the climb was rapid. We enjoyed the drive tremendously. Thankfully there was absolutely no traffic from the other side and we enjoyed a serene drive through the ghats. No words can explain the beauty of Bodi and it has to be experienced personally!!!

We entered Kerala State later and reached the Munnar Forest check post at 5. 50 am. Our odo read 109, 240 kms. The ghat road lasted just 20 kilometres, but we had gained hundreds of feet in altitude quickly. The gradient is not gradual or smooth like that of Kodai. In some places the climb is very steep and near vertical!!!

The forest department official of Kerala did not even bother getting out of his cabin and let us go. There was also an excise check post right after the forest check post. The inspector, who was in charge there, came and asked us our destination and checked our car from the outside.

We were on our way soon. We came across a TNSRTC bus driven without headlights. I had honked at the turn, but the driver of the bus did not slow down even a bit and I had a hard time pulling out of his way. He was driving the bus really rash and I felt pity for the passengers inside the bus.

We reached Pooppara at 6.15 am.

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-1-pooppara_first_entry-.jpg

Our odo read 109, 252 kms. We had covered 238 kilometres from Trichy. We decided to take a break at Pooppara. I parked my Chevy a bit away from the town and we decided to have tea and freshen up.

I walked around the town capturing some beautiful scenes!

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-2-pooppara_way_to_munnar.jpg

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-3-pooppara_way_to_adimali-.jpg

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-4-pooppara_biriyani_stall-.jpg

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An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-8-pooppara_bus_to_munnar-.jpg

We were unlucky, as no hotel had opened its shutters at that hour. We decided to leave the town and restarted our drive to Munnar. The road was very well maintained and the natural beauty around us took our breath away!!!

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-9-pooppara_route_to_munnar-.jpg

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-10-pooppara_route_to_munnar-.jpg

We came across a beautiful lake shortly after leaving Pooppara. The sight was magnificent and we were breathless after witnessing the beauty of one of God’s finest creations!!!

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-11-pooppara_wonderful_scenery-.jpg

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-12-pooppara_wonderful_lake-.jpg

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We restarted our drive after soaking in the beauty of the lake. The highway was very narrow but the natural beauty kept us awestruck!

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-15-pooppara_highway_to_munnar-.jpg

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-16-pooppara_valley_down_below-.jpg

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-17-pooppara_mist_covered_mountains-.jpg

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-18-pooppara_small_tea_estate_and_house-.jpg

Last edited by Chevy_lover : 5th September 2011 at 02:34.
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Old 5th September 2011, 02:43   #62
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Default Re: A place to rest! Finally....!

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Originally Posted by Chevy_lover View Post
@Rajeev, which is your preferred pump?
My foremost one is BPCL and preferred if it is a COCO.
Once filled from there I get good mileage and better engine performance. An IOCL one near where I work is the worst, though it has improved a wee bit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevy_lover View Post
We reached Pooppara at 6.15 am. we decided to have tea and freshen up.
We were unlucky, as no hotel had opened its shutters at that hour.
This is Kerala now a days. Sleeps late into the day. Perhaps, because of the bevco binge eating late into the night. It was frustrating that tea is unavailable even in the highways. Gone are the days where one used to see a lot of small tea stalls trotting the side of roads and the taste of good tea at dawn.

Last edited by rajeev k : 5th September 2011 at 03:08.
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Old 5th September 2011, 10:02   #63
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Default Re: An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!

Nice narration with brilliant photographs, Chevy_lover. Your favourite is biryani as is evident from this photograph.
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I think the sign board of the shop reads: 'Sabina Store, Pooppara - Biriyani Kada - Bakery & Cool Bar', IIRC.
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Old 5th September 2011, 14:45   #64
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Exclamation Re: An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!

Thanks a ton for the translation, Ravi Bhai. Really appreciate it! And you are perfectly right!

You guessed it right. Biriyani is indeed our favourite dish. Be it Chettinadu, Dum, Tikka, Hyderabadi, Kozhikodu, Rajasthani, Mughalai, Trivandrum, Marathi, Kolhapuri or Kashmiri style! We just love it!

After driving the whole night, we were famished. And seeing a closed 'Biriyani Kada' was a cruel twist of fate!

@Rajeev, you are right. We were also surprised to see that no tea shops were open in Pooppara, where tea is made! If this was the case in Pooppara, then I can imagine how it will be in other towns!
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Old 5th September 2011, 15:30   #65
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Default Re: An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!

The lake is very nice indeed! In fact any water body in the lap of greenery,
adds to the beauty ten folds!
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Old 5th September 2011, 15:51   #66
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Thumbs up Drive to Munnar...!

We continued our drive towards Munnar. We were totally at a loss for words when we saw the lush green tea estates around us .

I can never describe what we experienced through words. Let my pics speak for me!

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-1-highway_to_-munnar.jpg

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-3-highway_to_-munnar.jpg

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An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-9-highway_to_-munnar.jpg

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-10-highway_to_-munnar.jpg

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An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-13-highway_to_-munnar.jpg

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-14-highway_to_-munnar.jpg

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-15-highway_to_-munnar.jpg
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Old 5th September 2011, 16:56   #67
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Thumbs up Chinnakanal Waterfalls and onwards...

We reached Chinnakanal waterfalls after a short drive through the lush green tea estates. The waterfall was in full flow. We thoroughly enjoyed the superb view.

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-1-chinnakanal_waterfalls.jpg

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-2-chinnakanal_waterfalls.jpg

Chevy was only too happy to pose for me!

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-2-chevy-munnar.jpg

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-3-chevy-munnar.jpg

Handheld shot!

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-3-chinnakanal_waterfalls.jpg

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-4-chinnakanal_waterfalls.jpg

View of the waterfalls from far away!

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-8-chinnakanal_waterfalls_view_from_far.jpg

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-9-chinnakanal_waterfalls.jpg

View of the tea estates!

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-6-green_tea_estates.jpg

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-7-way_to_munnar.jpg

Stunning view! The best so far…!


An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-10-beautiful_vista.jpg

A panoramic view of the hills.

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-15-pano_munnar.jpg

Highway to Munnar. I suspect that there was a landslide here!

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-11-way_to_munnar.jpg

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-12-road_is_in_terrible_condition.jpg

KSRTC Bus to Adimali via Pooppara.

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-13-bus_to_pooppara.jpg

The highway became super smooth here!

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-14-road_to_munnar.jpg
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Old 5th September 2011, 21:40   #68
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Default Re: An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!

Chevy Lover - This is an excellent travellogue. I too was at Munnar about 3 months back. Hats off for driving throught the night.

I personally found driving at night a pain, due to blinding headlights and absence of sign boards. how did you over come these callenges ? Are you a seasoned driver on this route ?
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Old 6th September 2011, 00:39   #69
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Default Re: An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!

chevy_lover wonderful pics. I am new here in teambhp just got access to replying to threads.

Wanted to comment on the photos of St.Josephs church. In the photos it looked as if a gold border was given to the outside of the church. In reality I know its not there but it would have been nice if they had given that a thought.
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Old 6th September 2011, 14:34   #70
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Exclamation Re: An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!

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chevy_lover wonderful pics. I am new here in teambhp just got access to replying to threads.

Wanted to comment on the photos of St.Josephs church. In the photos it looked as if a gold border was given to the outside of the church. In reality I know its not there but it would have been nice if they had given that a thought.
Welcome to Team Bhp, Rem. I am happy that your first post is in my travelogue! I am sure you'll enjoy every moment you spend with this wonderful community!

The golden glow on the church's walls was because of the sunset. I agree with you. It would have been wonderful if the walls had a golden border!

Quote:
Originally Posted by scopriobharath View Post
Chevy Lover - This is an excellent travellogue. I too was at Munnar about 3 months back. Hats off for driving throught the night.

I personally found driving at night a pain, due to blinding headlights and absence of sign boards. how did you over come these challenges ? Are you a seasoned driver on this route ?
Thanks for the appreciation, Bharath. Driving through the night has become a habit for us. We prefer avoiding day driving if possible.

I agree that the blinding headlights is a big problem. But we are used to it. The absence of signboards is also an issue. We choose to do a night drive on particular routes only if we are familiar with the road. That was the first time I drove to Munnar!

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The lake is very nice indeed! In fact any water body in the lap of greenery, adds to the beauty ten folds!
I agree Ampere. The greenery around the lake was awesome!
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Old 6th September 2011, 15:20   #71
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Default Re: An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!

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Originally Posted by Chevy_lover View Post
Welcome to Team Bhp, Rem. I am happy that your first post is in my travelogue! I am sure you'll enjoy every moment you spend with this wonderful community!

The golden glow on the church's walls was because of the sunset. I agree with you. It would have been wonderful if the walls had a golden border!
I am sure I will enjoy my stay here, I have been reading the threads in teambhp for donkeys years finally took the plunge and registered, being a car lover I could not resist any more.

By the way which camera do you use.
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Old 6th September 2011, 16:17   #72
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Thumbs up Drive to mesmerizing Munnar cotinues!

Our drive to Munnar continued through the lush green tea estates after Chinnakanal. There were stretches where visibility was reduced to 10 –15 feet because of thick fog.

It was an exhilarating experience driving through the twisty roads, absolutely alone ! We had seen just one KSRTC bus passing by.

The time was just past 7.30 am. We were happy that we could cover most of the ghat section before traffic from the other side started! We were accompanied by rain right from the time we started our drive from Pooppara.

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-1-view_from_the_highway.jpg

As close to heaven as it can possible get!!!

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-2-as_close_to_heaven_as_it_gets.jpg

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-3-beautiful_road.jpg

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-4-valley_is_completely_covered_by_mist.jpg

My official photographer!

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-5-my_official_photographer.jpg

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-6-road_made_through_solid_rock.jpg

This was one of the scariest parts of the drive! One of the narrowest roads I have ever driven on ! On top of that, heavy fog descended on us as soon as we started the ascent!!!

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-7-one_of_scariest_roads_i_have_driven_on.jpg

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An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-16-a_tea_estate_worker.jpg

A bus is all that is needed to cause an accident! It covers the whole of the narrow road!!! By the way, nice painting on the bus!

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-13-so_difficult_to_pass_by_a_bus.jpg

An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!-14-road_is_completely_occupied.jpg
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Old 6th September 2011, 17:27   #73
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Default Re: An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!

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I am sure I will enjoy my stay here, I have been reading the threads in teambhp for donkeys years finally took the plunge and registered, being a car lover I could not resist any more.

By the way which camera do you use.
Great that you're finally a part of the Team BHP family!

I use a Sony A200. I am still a beginner!!!
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Old 6th September 2011, 19:05   #74
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Default Re: An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!

Chevy_lover,

Superb travelogue as usual. We had gone to Munnar for Honeymoon. Seeing the snaps reminded me and my wife the memories. Convey our thanks to your wife for clicking excellent snaps.
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Old 6th September 2011, 20:29   #75
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Default Re: An Incredible Roadtrip to Trivandrum, Velankanni and Mesmerizing Munnar!

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Chevy_lover,

Superb travelogue as usual. We had gone to Munnar for Honeymoon. Seeing the snaps reminded me and my wife the memories. Convey our thanks to your wife for clicking excellent snaps.
Thanks Venki.Bala. Munnar is fantastic during the rains!

More pics coming up!
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