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Old 6th April 2013, 20:10   #1
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Default Enchanting Munnar

I am a self-confessed tea addict. Nothing can be more blissful than enjoying piping hot cup of tea in the midst of lush green mist covered tea estates listening to the chirping of the birds.

With my kid's summer holidays approaching, it was time to plan for the vacation. Our previous outings were planned better partly because they were nearer - Mysore, Coorg, Chikkamagaluru, Gokarna and also because the accommodations were arranged by relatives and friends. With beaches and plains out of bounds in summer, it had to be hill station. When I mentioned Munnar, wife's first response was "What? Hill station again?" and the kid's was "Is there water for me to play?". With a promise that I will take them to beaches during winter holidays, they agreed for Munnar. So it was Munnar from 27th till 31st March.

Destination decided, it was down to planning the routes, accommodations and places to visit. Went through reviews and TBHP travelogues. Thanks to hvkumar, sahilsharma208, Shiv_1984, ranjitp1 and others for the responses to my queries. With national parks closed for calving season and no water in waterfalls, the number of places to visit boiled down to about half a dozen.

Routes:

Onward to Munnar: Took Bangalore-Hosur-Salem-Dindigul-Theni-Bodi route. I started at 4:10 am from Bangalore and reached Munnar at 6 pm. The onward distance was 551 kms. The onward route would have been 531 kms, if not for the closed "highway" after Pooppara due to damaged bridge. I had to take towards Adimali to reach Munnar. I also lost about 30 minutes in Salem as I took wrong diversion to Namakkal. Stopped at Salem (AMS restaurant) for breakfast and Theni (Meenakshi restaurant) for lunch.

Return to Bangalore: While returning it was Udumalaipet-Dharapuram-Karur-Salem-Hosur-Bangalore route. The return distance was 499 kms. While returning, left Munnar at 10 am and reached Bangalore at 11 pm. Stopped at Dharapuram (Anjappar restaurant) for lunch.

Accommodation:

Not wishing to stay in the run-of-the-mill hotels/home stays, I found the reviews for Tea Sanctuary by Kannan Devan Hills Plantations (KDHP) interesting. Last year on the way to Coorg, we stopped by the estate run by Tata Tea co. which appeared to be nice. So when I mentioned the KDHP estate to my wife, she agreed. But being more practical than me, she came up with an alternative - two days stay in a regular hotel as we will be travelling for most part of the day and last two days in KDHP estate. I read good reviews in tripadvisor for Grand Plaza and booked the room for the first two days.

About Grand Plaza Munnar:

I liked the restaurant better than the hotel - the buffet breakfast and dinner were excellent. The hotel is located in the town, so not very good views of the nature. Parking is available in adjacent vacant site.

About the KDHP estates:

KDHP bungalows were used by the Britishers as summer resorts during pre-independence period. There are multiple bungalows located across tea estates in Munnar with each one having different names. Each bungalow has guest houses within them with common drawing and dining rooms. The bungalows located within the tea estates offer the old world charm. The British period furnitures and utilities are still in use. There have not been much alterations made to the old buildings except to add bathroom fixtures and minor changes. Care takers are assigned to every bungalow who cater to the needs of the guests. The food is prepared in the bungalow itself and is made to order. The gardens and lawns are very well maintained. It was by chance that I got to read that the "Nishabdh" film starring Amitabh Bachchan and Jiah Khan was shot in Sholamallay bungalow. As there were guest houses available, I opted for the Sholamallay bungalow for the last two days.


Tea Museum:

Visited the Tea museum located in the Munnar city. The process of tea manufacturing is show cased. A tea sales outlet is also located in the premises. The museum also has a few pre-independence period artifacts.

Let the snaps take over...

Enchanting Munnar-img_1296.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1307.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1339.jpg

The flowers of Munnar:

Enchanting Munnar-img_1247.jpg

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Enchanting Munnar-img_1251.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1253.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1255.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1261.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1263.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1266.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1272.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1273.jpg

To be continued...
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Old 6th April 2013, 20:16   #2
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Originally Posted by AltoLXI View Post
KDHP bungalows were used by the Britishers as summer resorts during pre-independence period. There are multiple bungalows located across tea estates in Munnar with each one having different names. Each bungalow has guest houses within them with common drawing and dining rooms. The bungalows located within the tea estates offer the old world charm. The British period furnitures and utilities are still in use. There have not been much alterations made to the old buildings except to add bathroom fixtures and minor changes. Care takers are assigned to every bungalow who cater to the needs of the guests. The food is prepared in the bungalow itself and is made to order. The gardens and lawns are very well maintained. It was by chance that I got to read that the "Nishabdh" film starring Amitabh Bachchan and Jiah Khan was shot in Sholamallay bungalow. As there were guest houses available, I opted for the Sholamallay bungalow for the last two days.


To be continued...
Somewhere between the years 1975-77, when my father was the Assistant Manager of Periavurrai Estate, James Finlay & Co or Tata Finlays as it was called then, we lived in the Sholamallay Bungalow for a bit. I have fond memories of it, especially the big tree near the bungalow entrance...

Life in the Tea Plantations up to the late 1990's was great, especially for someone like me, as the son of the big-boss-man or 'PeriyaDurai' as Dad was until he retired...
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Old 6th April 2013, 20:34   #3
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Default Re: Enchanting Munnar

Another Munnar Travelogue. The place is really enchanting and mesmerizing. This monsoon, will ride there instead of driving.

Bring the travelogue on.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 6th April 2013, 20:42   #4
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Awaiting the tea drinking part.

Nowadays I am starved of good old fashioned (British?) tea, prepared by adding tea leaves (preferably Darjeeling) and not that ridiculous tea powder to a pot of boiling water and removed from the fire immediately afterwards for the flavour and the colour to be 'imbibed' by the water. Add sugar and milk to your preference.

Shankar, now we understand the raison d'etre of your nawabi tastes = chip of the old block!

Drive safe in your respective Alto and Yeti
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Old 6th April 2013, 20:46   #5
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Awaiting the tea drinking part.

Nowadays I am starved of good old fashioned (British?) tea, prepared by adding tea leaves (preferably Darjeeling) and not that ridiculous tea powder to a pot of boiling water and removed from the fire immediately afterwards for the flavour and the colour to be 'imbibed' by the water. Add sugar and milk to your preference.

Shankar, now we understand the raison d'etre of your nawabi tastes = chip of the old block!

Drive safe in your respective Alto and Yeti
Why Nawabi old chap? Make that Nabobi or Brown-Sahib style instead! And Heck, Yes, it is true enough of me and mine...
Jokes aside.
A spot of nice Darjeeling Leaf or English Breakfast or High Grown Orthodox or Broken Orange Pekoe from Munnar or The Nilgiris is well worth having brewed for 3-4 min in a China teapot and sipped from delicate china cups... The taste is just incredible...

Last edited by shankar.balan : 6th April 2013 at 20:49.
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Old 6th April 2013, 21:54   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
Somewhere between the years 1975-77, when my father was the Assistant Manager of Periavurrai Estate, James Finlay & Co or Tata Finlays as it was called then, we lived in the Sholamallay Bungalow for a bit. I have fond memories of it, especially the big tree near the bungalow entrance...

Life in the Tea Plantations up to the late 1990's was great, especially for someone like me, as the son of the big-boss-man or 'PeriyaDurai' as Dad was until he retired...
The snap of the tree in front of the Bungalow.

Enchanting Munnar-img_1350.jpg
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Old 6th April 2013, 22:30   #7
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The snap of the tree in front of the Bungalow.
Its not changed much really right upto those white stones around it... Are those steps still there which lead down the hill next to the tree? The bungalow's garage was to the right of the tree as we see it in your pic and so were the old cow sheds etc...my Mum had 3-4 cows at that time...and of course our big Alsatian Simba who was like my blood brother and protector...
My dad got his Amby car painted Dark Green in the garage. A painter came home and did it by hand. We used Krilo paint as I remember it...
Am so happy to get a small part of my childhood back through that pic!
Thanks for sharing!

I last visited that place in 2005 when my friend was the top Manager of the estate and lived up in the big bungalow on top of the diagonally opposite hill above the factory...
Good to relive my old memories...I was barely 4, 5 or 6 years old at the time...

Last edited by shankar.balan : 6th April 2013 at 22:40.
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Old 7th April 2013, 11:20   #8
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Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
Its not changed much really right upto those white stones around it... Are those steps still there which lead down the hill next to the tree? The bungalow's garage was to the right of the tree as we see it in your pic and so were the old cow sheds etc...my Mum had 3-4 cows at that time...and of course our big Alsatian Simba who was like my blood brother and protector...
My dad got his Amby car painted Dark Green in the garage. A painter came home and did it by hand. We used Krilo paint as I remember it...
Am so happy to get a small part of my childhood back through that pic!
Thanks for sharing!

I last visited that place in 2005 when my friend was the top Manager of the estate and lived up in the big bungalow on top of the diagonally opposite hill above the factory...
Good to relive my old memories...I was barely 4, 5 or 6 years old at the time...
Yes, there are steps leading down the hill. They lead down to a couple of houses below where the bungalow's caretakers reside.

It does a world of good to a young kid's soul connecting with nature during formative years. I took my kid to Munnar primarily because of this reason. He enjoyed the speed boating but was not very interested walking around in the estates.

When we were kids, we stayed in our grandfather's farmhouse and grew up with nature - tending cows, dogs and hares. Current generation kids do not appreciate nature as much as they worship the TV.

Enchanting Munnar-img_1363.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1346.jpg
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Old 7th April 2013, 11:52   #9
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Yes, there are steps leading down the hill. They lead down to a couple of houses below where the bungalow's caretakers reside.

It does a world of good to a young kid's soul connecting with nature during formative years. I took my kid to Munnar primarily because of this reason. He enjoyed the speed boating but was not very interested walking around in the estates.

When we were kids, we stayed in our grandfather's farmhouse and grew up with nature - tending cows, dogs and hares. Current generation kids do not appreciate nature as much as they worship the TV.
You said it. Mother nature has so much to offer us.
Learn to be still and be one with natural surroundings, even for just half an hour or an hour, when on holiday. What a difference it makes to one's life!
Thanks for sharing the pics. I will show them to my parents when next they visit.
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Old 7th April 2013, 12:14   #10
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Originally Posted by AltoLXI View Post
It does a world of good to a young kid's soul connecting with nature during formative years.
Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
Mother nature has so much to offer us.
Learn to be still and be one with natural surroundings,
........ Good to relive my old memories...I was barely 4, 5 or 6 years old at the time...
This thread and your posts again kicked up nostalgic memories in me. My school days at Munnar and my return to that enchanting place after decades on which I have a thread here.
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Old 7th April 2013, 12:51   #11
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Some of the snaps in and around the bungalow:

Enchanting Munnar-img_1326.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1328.jpg
The fireplace in the bedroom

Enchanting Munnar-img_1329.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1330.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1336.jpg
The Drawing room

Enchanting Munnar-img_1337.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1338.jpg
The fireplace in the drawing room

Enchanting Munnar-img_1340.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1341.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1344.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1349.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1366.jpg
The hearth used for cooking

Enchanting Munnar-img_1430.jpg
The stream in the estate
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Old 7th April 2013, 21:46   #12
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A few snaps from the tea museum located in the Munnar town.

Enchanting Munnar-img_1368.jpg

The tea making process...

Enchanting Munnar-img_1372.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1373.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1374.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1375.jpg

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Enchanting Munnar-img_1377.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1378.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1379.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1380.jpg

Artifacts from the bygone era...

Enchanting Munnar-img_1383.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1387.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1388.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1389.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1391.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1393.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1394.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1395.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1397.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1398.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1400.jpg

Enchanting Munnar-img_1401.jpg
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Old 8th April 2013, 08:39   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
A spot of nice Darjeeling Leaf or English Breakfast or High Grown Orthodox or Broken Orange Pekoe from Munnar or The Nilgiris is well worth having brewed for 3-4 min in a China teapot and sipped from delicate china cups... The taste is just incredible...
This made my day. I can smell the tea right here right now! The hills truly are mesmerizing. Thanks @alto for putting this up and Shankar for making the tea!

Every time you read about Nilgiris or Munnar, the freshness and rustle of the leaves are back!
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Old 9th April 2013, 00:57   #14
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Hi,

Great pics! Was the bungalow secluded? Where is it located?

How did you chose this bungalow over others of KDHP?

I had stayed in another of their bungalows in 2010.

Cheers

Vindy
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Old 9th April 2013, 08:40   #15
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Hi,

Great pics! Was the bungalow secluded? Where is it located?

How did you chose this bungalow over others of KDHP?

I had stayed in another of their bungalows in 2010.

Cheers

Vindy
Thanks Vindy.

The Bungalow is not secluded. There was another family from Bangalore as well. The caretaker's family stays in the bungalow's outhouse all day long. The cook stays in the bungalow during night.

The bungalow is located 3 kms from Munnar town on Udumalaipet route.

I called up and checked the availability. I was told that guest houses in Sholamallay and Parvati were available. Their website http://www.theteasanctuary.com/ mentions many more bungalows.

Which one did you stay in?
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