Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 4th September 2014, 14:08   #1
BHPian
 
Hart-BEAT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 30
Thanked: 56 Times
Default 'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad

Hi All,

Asking a lazy fellow to document his travel experience over Team BHP requires a considerable amount of pushing. However, having benefited so much from so many inputs on team BHP, one is morally obligated to return the favour. So here it is. Let me start with a simple 'Executive Summary' that will help BHP-ians in a time crunch to get the needed info before they go on with the details.

Executive Summary:
  1. Mission Name: Operation 'Rainmaker'
  2. Objective: City of Palakkad and Munnar, and any other target of opportunity on the way
  3. Mission duration: 28th to 31st August 2014
  4. Mission Vehicle: Chevrolet BEAT LTO Diesel
  5. On board: 2
  6. Journey legs: (a) Bangalore to Palakkad: 28th Aug (b) Palakkad to Munnar: 29th Aug (c) Munnar to Bangalore: 31st Aug
  7. Leg Banaglore to Palakkad details: 413 Km (via Hosur, Krishnagiri, Salem, Bhavani, Perundurai, Avinashi, Kanjikode) Map here, Conditions: Excellent apart from 5 Kms on both side of TN Kerala border
  8. Leg Bangalore to Munnar details: 160 Km (via Pollachi, Udumalpet,Marayoor,Kannan Devan Hills) Map here, Conditions: Poor tarmac quality, numerous checkpoints, drive through wildlife sanctuaries and hills
  9. Munnar to Bangalore leg details: 528 Km (Via Bondinayakanur, Theni, Dindigul, Namakkal, Salem, Krishnagiri, Hosur) Map here Conditions: Excellent except some hill roads 15 Kms approaching Bondinayakanur
  10. Stay details: Hotel Boon Inn, Palakkad and Hotel Silver Tips, Munnar
  11. Eat details: Kapilavastu, Palakkad, Maya Bazaar, Munnar and Venu Hotel, Dindigul

Victory Pic:
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140830_123024946_hdr.jpg

DETAILS:

The Planning:

Any one having looked at the company issue holiday calendar couldn't help but drool over the month of August 2014. Two sure shot long weekends plus an opportunity for a third as well. The long weekend of 29th was selected as potential candidate for a due road trip. A slight complication also made the possibility of availing leave on 28th a reality. So 4 days in hand, and the fact that my tyres have never tread on Kerala soil. No brainer, I was heading south. While ignorance ruled individuals may overlook Kerala as a small state, it in fact is logistically quiet big. Places like Alappuzha and Kollam are quiet deep when looked at from Bangalore. One option, Munnar jumped up as the one at optimal distance; 500 Kms, neither too close nor too far.

Having selected the primary target, rules of engagement came into action. 500 Kms means two full days gone in driving: to and fro. Experience advised breaking journey somewhere after 8 hrs drive. Options: Palakkad and Dindigul, lying on west and east of Munnar respectively. Looked up Trip advisor for both these places; Palakkad won. Both primary and secondary targets were locked on.

Route selection was seriously no brainer. Driving doctrine suggests to go for the widest, cleanest and straightest road, even if it means going an extra distance. The broad, gleaming, yellow line on map indexed as AH43 is a sight for sore eyes. Guaranteed no troubles from Bangalore till Salem on the up leg and from Dindigul to Bangalore on the return leg. Read some route reports/reviews on team BHP and figured out the last mile route both for ingress and egress to both the targets.

For the duration of the mission, both the cities had a rain probability of 80%, sunrise time at approx 6:15 AM and sundown approx at 6:30 PM, pleasant temperature and humidity levels. Rain coats and Jackets were must needs. Hotels and restaurants were pre-selected using trip advisor reviews.

The EXECUTION

Day 1: 28th August, 2014

Sleep was shattered much before dawn break in a house situated near old airport road on the appointed day. The Holy Bible calls 3:00 AM in the night as 'ungodly hour', the hour of the devil. Apart from him, the other entity that lurks at this hour are the motorist trying to escape toll booth traffic radiating out of Bangalore whenever a holiday period commences. Apart from the apparent creepiness, the other thing that may get you is sleep deprivation. Experience is a good teacher, so have been allocating myself good 8 hours of sleep for the last couple of few days. Nevertheless, the same thing happened like always; sleep broke before the alarm rang. That's the excitement of a mission, something that is nowhere found on a regular day.

Did away with the ablutions, revising all the Navigation (nav) points in my head. You are excited and you are scared. Having read and even witnessed all that *hit that goes on an Indian highway. No precaution is too much. Successful mission execution relied on this.

The clock struck 4, the compound is still asleep. The shutter of the lift reeked open in a dimly lit basement, the abode of hundreds of vehicles, each hiding to itself its own story. A short walk and a familiar silhouette of a vehicle appears in the dark. Cleaned barely five hours ago, its metal gleams in the dim CFL light. From its viewpoint, it started as routine: a short walk checking all the tyres, leaking fluids and opening the rolled ORVM's. However, differing from routine, the hatch got opened first, loading the luggage and supplies. Locked, loaded and strapped, a thought given hoping for the best and the engine cranked into life. Operation 'Rainmaker' was a Go.

With air conditioning off, and a straight level road, a Beat Diesel does 80 Kmph at 2000 engine RPMs on fifth gear. Ideal performance benchmarking stats as I heard the engine humming gently half an hour later headed to Hosur. We cleared the toll gates without any hassle, in fact even getting smiles from an otherwise bored and sleepy toll gate operator. Not even an hour has passed when we reached HP station at Shoolagiri. No need to refuel, as driving doctrine dictates filling up a night ago. However, the tempting cup of coffee that they serve in the adjoining McDonalds 24X7 outlet was surely one hell of a deterrent to overlook. So braked and filled up on that magical liquid that makes bring backs life to sleepy eyes. 20 minutes and the engine was again humming at 2000 rpms. It must be around 5:45 when horizon turned a shade lighter. Another 30 minutes and dawn breaks. By then, BEAT has crossed Krishnagiri and has turned towards Dharmapuri leaving the road headed towards Chennai.

The lighted horizon
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140828_055335469.jpg

Dawn breaks over Krishnagiri
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140828_055617645.jpg

Road to Salem
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00586.jpg

To disappoint the wannabe 'Chuck Norris of steering wheel', nothing much happened on the way to Salem. The only exceptions was incredulous use of water drums as a lane divider near Dharamapuri. Has any forethought been given for how a gentle nudge by a 16 tonner truck will convert them to a flying projectile with a name and VIN number of a hapless motorist written on it? God bless.

A lane divided
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00594.jpg

Cloudy mornings
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00602.jpg

Hills Before Salem
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00612.jpg

Sun; at last
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00619.jpg

Salem was crossed and approach continued towards Coimbatore (bypass that is)

Road to Coimbatore
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00638.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00643.jpg

Ganapati on wheels
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00652.jpg

A far flung locality of Coimbatore is the small settlement of Avinashi. From this point, need to leave the highway and take the bypass. An unfinished flyover (pictured below) is a marking for this point. Unlike the photo, you are supposed to be on the left side of the flyover to head to take the bypass and head towards Palakkad. Navigation error lead to the photo being taken from the right.

Bridge from nowhere, to nowhere; guide to Palakkad
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00656.jpg

Immediately after this nav point, toll booths shall greet you for using the Bypass. Approx 31 bucks, from start to Palakkad. Keep this receipt handy as it will be checked 4-5 times in the next one hour. Pedals away from metal, this is a 2 Lane road.

Coimbatore bypass a.k.a NH47
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00657.jpg

First of the many showers of the trip
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00661.jpg

Mystic mountains towards Kerala Border; a preview of things to come!
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00667.jpg

Approaching Kerala border near Walayar lake, the good road disappears and lanes of truck getting themselves checked begins. Major choke point and really bad roads at least for 5 Km before the border. Swallowed the nuisance thinking about the sights that await us.

One of the check points of TN Kerala border near Walayar
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00691.jpg

Kerala: First glimpse of God's own country
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00695.jpg

The highway cleared after crossing the border. Palakkad isn't very far from here. Clock was pushing around 11:30 AM. Navigation guided me over to Hotel Boon Inn. It was situated in the city centre and is rally a very nice hotel for a quick stay. Forgot to take snaps of exterior and the rooms; but you can see their website, they are telling the truth.

Had a quick lunch (traditional fish and rice) in the hotel itself. Check in and lunch took time till 1:00 Pm. Couldn't wait for taking out the first attractions of the day: Palakkad fort. Google made some errors identifying the fort enterance, so had to improvise. It is an old fort dating back to Tipu Sultan which now also houses a Jail. Discovered the Jail part when saw some handcuffed convicts escorted by cops! Nevertheless, its worth your time considering that it is in the middle of the city. I also boasts of a beautiful garden which opens to public in morning and evening:

Palakkad Fort
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00782.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00729.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00732.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00760.jpg

After spending around one hour here, headed towards Malampuzha dam. It is away from the city, is a dam belonging to irrigation department and has a beautiful park built right next to it. Think of much less crowded Brindavan Gardens of Mysore. Leaving the city, caught the first glimpse of rural Kerala and its untarnished beauty, accentuated by the rain and its greenery.

Road to Malampuzha
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00789.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00796.jpg

On the way to Malampuzha, we had to cough up some 10-20 bucks as toll for entering some forested area. Apart from that there is 25 rupees enterance fee to the park and 15 bucks for parking.

Malampuzha Dam
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140828_152232602_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140828_153021654_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140828_154543274_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140828_154813495_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140828_161831342.jpg

We strolled the Malampuzha park and dam at our own leisure. It would have been around 3:30 PM when we decided to pull out. Malampuzha and fort were primary targets for the day in the city, and both have been taken out. Knowing that 3 hours are still left before sunset, attention was turned to the secondary ones: Dhoni falls and Lakshminarayana Perumal temple (Old Kalapathy Temple). Navigation started the advance towards Dhoni Hill Nav point, figuring out a short cut using maps. It took around 30 minutes from Malampuzha to reach the base point of Dhoni hills. A quick word with forest department staff confirmed that the hill has been closed for the day; it opens only between 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM. So all that got captured was the distant glimpse of Dhoni Hill and its starting base point (where forest department sells tickets):

Dhoni Hills
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00804.jpg

Dhoni Hills Base point (forest department jeep in background)
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00802.jpg

Turning back towards the city, we took out the Old Kalapathy temple as well. Trip advisor has many good things to stay about it, so it was on the list. No pics of it though; as a mark of personal respect. Came back to the hotel room by 6:30 PM. After resting briefly, headed to have dinner at Kapilavastu hotel. pure veg, decent, delicious; that sums it. Was hoping to gulp upon some traditional Keral food, but dinner menu card had only typical north and south India dishes. Didn't mind though. The Dum Aloos, Paneer, Veg Biryani, rotis.....lots of them considering I have driven around 450 Kms the whole day. Came back to hotel and lights out by 9:30 PM. Day 1 accomplished; all objectives met. Kerala rocks!!

In the next episode: The longest 150 Kms of my life, Check point...check point everywhere, first glimpse of Munnar and why God stays in Kerala.....stay tuned until then.

Last edited by Hart-BEAT : 15th September 2014 at 11:11.
Hart-BEAT is offline   (9) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 15th September 2014, 15:47   #2
BHPian
 
Hart-BEAT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 30
Thanked: 56 Times
Post Re: 'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad

DAY 2

Munnar Day! Woke up at 8:00 AM and ran straight to binge on our complimentary breakfast (quoting Joey Tribbiani from Friends "Here's where I win all my money back!"). Relaxation prevailed, as Munnar was only around 150 Km from here. Route to be taken was via Pollachi and Udumalpet (see maps in executive summary section). With a humble 50 Kmph average speed, Munnar appeared only 3 hours away. Worry was whether we will arrive before the check in time of our hotel at Munnar! Little we knew that these 150 Kms will prove to be a tough, nasty adversary; scenic yet grueling.

Post check out, the exit from Palakkad placed us on the approach to Pollachi. We once again crossed back into Tamil Nadu and roads seemed to be inviting; 2 lane but good. Attained and held speeds of around 70-80 without much trouble. This went on till Udumalpet, giving a false impression that we are on schedule and can afford frequent stopping and snapping, though I agree that the sights were worth the appreciation. Once we crossed Udumalpet, we entered wild life sanctuary zone. Highway disappeared replaced by a barely 1.5 lane road marked with frequent potholes and had scaling (rising falling texture) almost through its entire length. The other ‘mandatory’ nuisance encountered was the checkpoints (forest, police, excise, RTO etc.). A set of these four will greet you on each side of TN Kerala border, as you cross back into Kerala from TN. Each one would like you to get down from you vehicle, fill up your details and then haggle for a small tip (perhaps for the excruciating labor involved in raising a barrier gate). All of this took a serious toll on advancing speed and it took a good 6 hours to finally reach Munnar only by 3:00 PM. The only good thing was that we took out the Lakkam waterfalls on the approach route to Munnar (saw it a from a distance though)

Road to Pollachi
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00813.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00815.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00821.jpg

Welcome Back to Tamilnadu!!
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00833.jpg

Where Windmills Bloom!!
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00870.jpg

Pollachi Town
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00875.jpg

Road to Udumalpet
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00880.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00886.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_113138559_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_113309749_hdr.jpg

Enter the Jungle
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_113611325_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_113847124.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_114024091.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_114148707_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_115157362_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_120608857_hdr.jpg

Approaching Munnar
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_124114947_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_131844029.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_131858643_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_132145396_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_132804377_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_133324477_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_133400598_hdr.jpg


Entering Munnar, sense of gloom prevailed in the cabin as almost the entire day has been lost in transit. Silver Tips, our hotel at Munnar did try to cheer me up though. It is a movie theme based hotel, with each room themed around a classic movie, selected from a wide range of world cinema (ours was The Last Emperor). Nice hotel and room in overall. Post check in, we ran to the Maya Bazaar restaurant of the hotel to get a quick bite as it was almost closing time for them. Clock stuck nearly 4:00 PM by the time we were ready to move again.

At this critical juncture, the Google maps app betrayed me big time. Since forever, I always prepare a detailed attraction and route maps of the area I am visiting. Once saved, you can mail yourself the link and upon clicking it, in Google maps app version 6, the whole thing used to open up beautifully. It used to be like an open world video game, with the map showing various objectives and the GPS marking your current position. It was really cool and there were no trips where I was forced to stop and ask for directions to an attraction. Damn the fact that my new mobile came along version 7, and it really made egg bhurji out of this nifty feature. It no longer supported opening previously saved maps. I tried using Google maps engine app to compensate for it, which worked fine when I was testing it in Bangalore. However, once we entered Munnar, it too stopped to function. So basically, on 29th August, I have got barely 3 hours of sunlight, was exhausted from the apparent meager 150 Kms and was absolutely without any reference to any target on the map. Speak of driving blind in totally unfamiliar city. I had the worst eating experience over ironically good food at the Mayabaazar restaurant over lunch as I sweated on the hapless situation caused by Google maps . Thankfully, my habit of staring at maps (and trip advisor) came to my rescue, for that I was able to identify some particular features on the map and locate four targets that still can be taken out before dusk falls. They were CSI church, Blossom Hydel park, Pothamedu viewpoint and Attukal waterfall (all four on a north-south axis w.r.t city of Munnar)

The first attraction of the day was CSI church. Located in the main city, it’s a really old and a beautiful little church. It is situated at a high ground (read small hill) needing around 100 meters of driving/walking to it once you cross the security cabin located at road level. I chose to leave the car at the road level and climbed to it. It gives you a cozy, homely, inviting feeling. There was no crowd at the church, which is a good thing. Although not a Christian, it was so peaceful that I sat there for a while and prayed, thanking god and counting my blessings. Visiting churches is becoming a routine now; Goa, Pondicherry, Ooty and now at Munnar.

CSI Church
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_161611212.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_161848172_hdr.jpg

Second stop of the day was Blossom Hydel park. I guess they named it because of a really small dam that it is built adjacent to this park. It is located around 3 Km from Munnar city center and is adjacent to the highway (SH49). From the outside, it isn’t much impressive. Once on the inside, its beauty unfolds. Vast expanse of green grass covers with many trees, flower beds and plant nursery. Few kid rides like swing are also there. There was also a Gazebo surrounded by lotus pond which can be reached by a small bridge. Spent around an hour wandering around and clicking snaps before moving onto next target, Pothamedu view point.

Blossom Hydel Park
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00938.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_164840985_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_165325366_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_170654988_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_172038122_hdr.jpg
Hart-BEAT is offline   (6) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 15th September 2014, 16:32   #3
BHPian
 
Hart-BEAT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 30
Thanked: 56 Times
Default Re: 'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad

Pothamedu viewpoint is another 1.5 Km from Blossom park. One needs to cross a narrow bridge (one vehicle wide) to reach the start of a hilly road which leads to Windermere Estate. The road quality is OK. Despite of much hype, Pothamedu doesn’t have any observation platform or fixed structure. It is just on the side of a slightly broad section of road where one can park and peep in the valley. Advised time is around 30 minutes (even that is too much). I have peeked into enough valleys while driving from Palakkad, so wasn’t much interested.

Pothamedu View Point
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_174658744_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_181149914_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_175250799_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_175302672.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_175421004_hdr.jpg

Had to drive back to the highway SH49 to reach the last attraction of the day; Attukal waterfalls. Joining the highway after climbing down from Pothamedu viewpoint road, one needs to drive 2.5 Kms before reaching Tata Tea Packaging center.city. The trail from this turn is motorable but barely wide enough to accommodate two vehicles crossing. After a certain point, only cars and SUVs can continue on the trail. On the way, one will cross Devonshire greens and Aranyaka Resorts. The trail crosses through thick forests and even clouds descend on the trail as fog. In fact the trail is no less an attraction then the waterfall. However, driving on this trail is advised only during day time. The waterfall lies at the end of the trail; a bridge (motorable; but only one vehicle can pass at a time) crosses the stream that is created by the waterfall, which is very near to the bridge. One may either stop before the bridge of else cross over to the other side, where exists a small flat piece of land to park. A forest guard station along with a small tea/coffee shop is also located near the falls but one needs to climb to higher grounds to reach them. The closeness to gushing fall and the surrounding beauty makes its worth ones time.

Attukal waterfall trail and the waterfall
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_182339609_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_182610664_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_182925229.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_183352718.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140829_183813221_hdr.jpg

The sky had turned dark by the time I pulled out of the Attukal waterfall. Drove the 10 kms distance to Munnar in dark, something I didn’t really wanted to do on a hilly road. Nevertheless, returned to silver tips by 7:30 PM. It has drizzled the entire day, and while our raincoats have kept us dry, our shoes were really a mess. I left mine near the room’s threshold as I really liked the room’s décor and had no intention of messing it up. A nice hot shower, some more delicious food at Maya Bazaar, loitering around the hotel’s lobby (you must check their website; there was a lot to and see and shoot at the hotel itself) and my first day in Munnar was over. Considering that more than 4 targets have been taken out, and we have really enjoyed while doing so, I think day was salvaged. Munnar rocks!! Damn you Google maps!!
Hart-BEAT is offline   (6) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd September 2014, 10:16   #4
BHPian
 
Hart-BEAT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 30
Thanked: 56 Times
Post Re: 'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad

Day 3

As per the plan, this was supposed to be a relaxation day. However, day two’s goof up with transit left a lot that was needed to be covered. Today’s planned targets included attraction to the east of Munnar (Photo point, Mettupaty dam, Echo Point, Kundala Dam and finally top station) on SH18, to the south of Munnar (Rose garden, Valara and Cheeyapara waterfalls) and if possible Punarjani traditional village. From the very beginning, it looked too ambitious. So I was willing to drop Cheeyapara and may be even Valara waterfalls, as they were far from the city. Post breakfast, I headed to a small fuel bunk to get diesel as we were really low on fuel. Purchased only half a tank of diesel as I wasn’t too sure about fuel quality. Crossed Mount Carmel church on the way which made an appearance in the movie ‘Life of Pi’. However couldn’t stop there as was not able to locate parking. Navigation pointed me towards Munnar-Top Station road. It was a great road to drive on and didn’t have any potholes or poor tarmac all through the way. Despite of being a hill road, you can still maintain speeds up to 50. This made coverage must faster and after leaving at 10:00 AM, we have covered the entire eastern leg and were back at our hotel by 3:15 PM. Gorged on delicious food once again at Mayabazaar and was able to turn around by 4:15 PM.

Road to Mettupaty Dam
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140830_161730959.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140830_100157953_hdr.jpg

Mettupaty Dam
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140830_102315597_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140830_102349179_hdr.jpg

Echo Point
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-dsc00995.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140830_111030806_hdr.jpg

Road to Kundala Dam
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140830_100222806_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140830_100459136_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140830_104917918.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140830_113922937_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140830_114001195_hdr.jpg

Kundala Dam
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140830_115141900_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140830_115221177.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140830_115545860_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140830_121348442_hdr.jpg

Road to Top Station
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140830_123030007_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140830_123100798_hdr.jpg

Top Station

'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140830_124952105_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140830_125000062_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140830_132650415_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140830_132946394_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140830_133033648_hdr.jpg

The southern leg was a disappointment from the beginning. While the roads were great and the scenery beautiful, the first attraction of this route turned out to be a dud; the fabled Rose Garden. Some reviewers on Trip advisor has showered there generous accolades, and I mistook it as another park or something. While approaching it, first of all, Google screwed up again and I drove pass it only to come back after 4-5 Kms. Then after somehow locating it, I was surprised to note that the so called Rose Gardens was in reality a guy’s house with a small nursery of plants. I didn’t believe Google maps at first when it displayed that I am standing in front of that place; it was that easy to miss. Frustrated by my discovery, I didn’t even bothered to explore it (or even take a picture), but pulled out the car back on the highway. By this point, I think we reached our limits of hunger for exploration. I was personally getting sick and tired of rains pouring over our heads for the last three days. Initially it was nice and romantic, but come on, three straight days of constant drizzle and hardly any sun? Being done with it, I decided to call it quit and head back to hotel for day 3. Even Punarjani village was also skipped. Retired early in the night after having a light dinner. Good Night Munnar!

Last edited by Hart-BEAT : 23rd September 2014 at 12:18.
Hart-BEAT is offline   (7) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd September 2014, 13:19   #5
BHPian
 
Hart-BEAT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 30
Thanked: 56 Times
Default Re: 'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad

Day 4

Bangalore day!! BOOOOOOOOOOO!! No offence Bangalore, it’s just that the vacation is over and nobody likes to go back, especially if they had a good vacation. Nevertheless, alas, whatever. Woke up by 7:30 thanks to early retirement the previous night and informed the hotel to prepare the bills while I came back from the morning breakfast buffet (the last chance to win back ones money). We checked out by 9:15 AM after a slight delay in settling the bills owing to the credit card machine. On the way back, I have planned to take out Power House waterfall. We saw it fall from the car itself. The road is really inviting till the town of Pooppara. After this, the road quality starts gradually deteriorating and finally completely disappears on certain sections. In fact, the roads from Pooppara to the town of Bodinayakanur are a humbling experience for any car or driver. It is way tougher than the 30 hairpin bends of Ooty as there the road surface was excellent. The curves, blind corners, constant drizzle and add to that these narrow and pathetic roads. To some respite, the activity of road patching was ongoing at certain spots, but that brought along with it the trouble in form of all the trucks dumping the road building material blocking the narrow stretch completely. In contrast to the stark picture of the road, the scenery of the route was a photographer’s delight and loads of it was captured by us. We finally cleared the hills around 5 Kms before Bodinayakanur and were greeted by a real eye numbing, perfectly flat and smooth 2 lane which carried us all the way via Bodinayakanur, Theni, Periyakulam, Batlagundu, and finally Dindigul. The road quality fluctuated while crossing these towns, but was manageable nevertheless.

Road emerging from Munnar (SH49)
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140831_094247433.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140831_094255486.jpg

Poopara Town
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140831_102139723_hdr.jpg

Route scenery
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140831_104500461_hdr.jpg

Deteriorating Roads after Poopara
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140831_110251874.jpg

....which eventually disappears completely!
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140831_110757755.jpg

Land slide alley
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140831_110953308.jpg

Road improves approaching Bodinayakanur and Base of Hill
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140831_111651320.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140831_112141911.jpg

Some more route scenery
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140831_112641372_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140831_112748774_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140831_112945154_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140831_115231543.jpg

Flat, plain road at last.....towards Bondinayakanur
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140831_115851891.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140831_130248575.jpg

I had planned lunch at Dindigul and we reached there just at lunch time; about 1:30 PM. Zeroed on to Venu Hotel for its famed Biryani. Once having found it, I was in a shocker seeing the number of people thronging the place. There were railway stations that are less crowded than this restaurant. People were packed in every nook and corner imaginable. Seeing the crowd, I dropped the idea of eating there itself there but chose to get my lunch parceled instead. I pulled out from Dindigul by around 2:15 PM and from that point onwards, it was the beautiful AH43 once again. I searched for a place at the highway for to halt and have our lunch parcel, and finally located a huge Indian Oil COCO pump on the other side of the highway. Since driving doctrine is a huge fan of COCO pumps, decided to refuel both the humans and the machine. Fully tanked up on diesel and had a nice camping style lunch within the car before moving out by 3:00 PM.

Venu Hotel @ Dindigul
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140831_134838163_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140831_134222023_hdr.jpg

The Beautiful AH43
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140831_142252249_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140831_142628711_hdr.jpg

Meals...on wheels!!
Name:  IMG_20140831_144257615_HDR.jpg
Views: 7611
Size:  177.7 KB

Last Shower of the trip (somewhere before Salem)
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140831_164850280.jpg

Jam before and after Salem
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140831_172136716_hdr.jpg
'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad-img_20140831_180024934_hdr.jpg

The only weird driving experience of the trip was encountered after the lunch. The steering was becoming very hard when trying to steer towards left, but was lighter than normal when steering towards right. Initially I suspected that the wheel alignment was shot owing to the bad roads after Pooppara. Then, by chance I took notice of all the trees next to the highway; they were lurching in a mind-boggling way as wind rocked them vigorously. We were caught in some intense cross wind on that section of highway. After some nerve wrecking half an hour drive through such cross wind gusts, we finally emerged through them and the steering behavior became normal once again. If cross winds can have this much impact on a car such as Beat having a small surface area, one can only imagine there impact upon an airplane approaching to land on a runway, and the herculean amount of efforts on part of the pilots to keep it on a straight path. Apart from these wind gusts, rest of the drive was uneventful. We got stuck in some major traffic jams, first at Salem and then before Krishnagiri toll booth. It was expected as the holiday season was getting over and everybody will be heading back towards Bangalore. We somehow managed to cross all of them and reached home by 09:00 PM. Overall, the jams took a terrible toll on the average speed and travel time, considering we have left Munnar at 09:15 in the morning.

Conclusion:

Any trip can be planned for any number of days considering the destination and travel habits of the travelers; whether they are trying to explore or simply relax. For Munnar and Palakkad, we had only four days, which may not be considered as too much considering two cities. I agree that for some the pace of the trip might appear to be hectic. However, it is a matter of personal preference and frankly it gives me a high when every ‘target’ from the map has been taken out. We live a life of so many limitations; time, holidays, budget, commitments. Who knows when one may get a chance to come back to the same place, and even if they do, nothing can match the thrill one gets when they explore a new place for the first time. Munnar was an amazingly beautiful place, and in my humble opinion, it beats every other hill station I have ever been too. It indeed gives an immense pleasure that such a place which I have never experienced before finally is locked in my mind forever in form of some amazing memories.

Last edited by Hart-BEAT : 23rd September 2014 at 13:47.
Hart-BEAT is offline   (7) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd September 2014, 18:44   #6
Senior - BHPian
 
n_aditya's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Namma Bengaluru
Posts: 5,206
Thanked: 2,742 Times
Default Re: 'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad

Note from Support - Moving thread to the Travelogues section. Thanks for sharing.
n_aditya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th September 2014, 15:14   #7
BHPian
 
Ddrive's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Chennai
Posts: 250
Thanked: 458 Times
Default Re: 'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad

A very good read. Eloquent write-up tinted with lots of humour.
Though Munnar could be done anytime around the year, imho.. you did it at the right time.
Ddrive is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th September 2014, 15:59   #8
GTO
Team-BHP Support
 
GTO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Bombay
Posts: 47,709
Thanked: 89,162 Times
Default Re: 'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad

Lovely travelogue, thanks for sharing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hart-BEAT View Post
Asking a lazy fellow to document his travel experience over Team BHP requires a considerable amount of pushing. However, having benefited so much from so many inputs on team BHP, one is morally obligated to return the favour.
You just brought a wide smile to my face. to the attitude.

Anyone who has benefited from Team-BHP should definitely chip in with their contribution that'll help other BHPians. We live to share.

Knowledge that isn't shared is useless.
GTO is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 24th September 2014, 17:56   #9
Newbie
 
Sathish uk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 20
Thanked: 23 Times
Default Re: 'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad

Some beautiful pics that you have posted. Love the green paddy fields and the drive in the mountains. We did the same trip in May 2014. Enjoyed the ride. It would have recharged your batteries to get back to your regular office routine. It is so important to distress, so drive like these will do wonders on you.
Sathish uk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th September 2014, 23:52   #10
BHPian
 
venkyhere's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: hump city
Posts: 345
Thanked: 293 Times
Default Re: 'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad

nice travelogue - short and crisp.
I particularly liked the way you 'take out' tourist spots - walking around with a bazooka ?
Imagine the effect such cross-winds would have on the slab-sides of a bus (a lorry would be less affected as it will be heavily loaded)
venkyhere is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th September 2014, 14:32   #11
Senior - BHPian
 
mallumowgli's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Palakkad/Coimbatore
Posts: 1,101
Thanked: 704 Times
Default Re: 'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad

Finally Palakkad proper gets a place in travelogue section!!
Lovely travelogue. Engaging way or writing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hart-BEAT View Post
A far flung locality of Coimbatore is the small settlement of Avinashi. From this point, need to leave the highway and take the bypass. An unfinished flyover (pictured below) is a marking for this point. Unlike the photo, you are supposed to be on the left side of the flyover to head to take the bypass and head towards Palakkad. Navigation error lead to the photo being taken from the right.
This is Neelambur - not Avinashi.

Quote:
On the way to Malampuzha, we had to cough up some 10-20 bucks as toll for entering some forested area. Apart from that there is 25 rupees enterance fee to the park and 15 bucks for parking.
Surprised!!Where was this? As far as I know (and I stay in Palakkad and take this road almost every weekend) there is no forest or tolls!
mallumowgli is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 25th September 2014, 15:14   #12
BHPian
 
Hart-BEAT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 30
Thanked: 56 Times
Default Re: 'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad

Dear Mallumowgli,

Thanks for your comments. I wonder whether you remember this but you once wrote upon one of my travelogues to Rameswaram and I remembered you from there (credit to your very interesting display name!). Great to see you again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mallumowgli View Post

This is Neelambur - not Avinashi.

Surprised!!Where was this? As far as I know (and I stay in Palakkad and take this road almost every weekend) there is no forest or tolls!
Sorry for confusing Neelambur for Avinashi; both were navigation points in my head and I guess I mixed them up while writing. After taking a second look at the map, you are right. I will correct the same on the travelogue as well.

Regarding the toll to Malampuzha, Awww SHUCKS..... I think the guy took me for a ride. There was a mortar- brick gate in the middle of the road where this guy was standing. Even gave me a receipt for toll and also a silly pamphlet for some nearby hotel. Should have taken the hint there itself.

Dude, I seriously envy you that you stay at Palakkad and visit Malampuzha every week end. Your city is very beautiful. Cheers!
Hart-BEAT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th September 2014, 15:44   #13
Senior - BHPian
 
mallumowgli's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Palakkad/Coimbatore
Posts: 1,101
Thanked: 704 Times
Default Re: 'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hart-BEAT View Post
Dear Mallumowgli,

I wonder whether you remember this but you once wrote upon one of my travelogues to Rameswaram and I remembered you from there (credit to your very interesting display name!). Great to see you again.
Yes! Now I remember

Quote:
Regarding the toll to Malampuzha, Awww SHUCKS..... I think the guy took me for a ride. There was a mortar- brick gate in the middle of the road where this guy was standing. Even gave me a receipt for toll and also a silly pamphlet for some nearby hotel. Should have taken the hint there itself.
Still not able to place this!! Anyways, forget it

Quote:
Dude, I seriously envy you that you stay at Palakkad and visit Malampuzha every week end. Your city is very beautiful. Cheers!
Palakkad is a lovely place - now my adopted home town. Moved here about 5 years back and have totally fallen in love with this small town!!
mallumowgli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th September 2014, 20:14   #14
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Pune
Posts: 39
Thanked: 18 Times
Default Re: 'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad

@Hart-BEAT, great travelogue, duly complemented by nice photos.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
We live to share.

Knowledge that isn't shared is useless.
GTO, simple but great and loaded words.
subirdas is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 25th September 2014, 21:46   #15
BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Sydney, AU
Posts: 844
Thanked: 587 Times
Default Re: 'BEAT'-ing the Drizzle at Munnar and Palakkad

Great travelogue, especially the photographs. By the way the rope in Malapuzha is still operational?
MaxTorque is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Beat It...no, not the Michael Jackson way! (Chevrolet Beat) superutp Test-Drives & Initial Ownership Reports 42 21st February 2013 12:06
Getting drenched in Munnar (Bangalore to Munnar and Kannur) longdriveblusky Travelogues 12 20th November 2012 15:44
Suggestions / opinions for ICE'ing up the BEAT anupamsinha In-Car Entertainment 0 14th April 2010 14:31
Bangalore - Mysore - Pattambi - Palakkad and back vsbabu Travelogues 5 6th October 2008 03:02


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 03:57.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks