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Old 4th June 2015, 12:14   #1
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Default Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady

Warm Hello BHPians and greetings to Guest readers.

I have planned and executed many trips based on travelogues of you all. Now I feel its time for me to give back something. And I have tried to write my own experience on a trip to Munnar and Thekkady. Though there have been many blogs on Munnar and Thekkady I write again for two reasons:-
The Blogs are a little older so this may give latest information.
There has been no traveler blog for Bangalore to Munnar in a small car.

Trip route:-
Though there are many alternatives to reach Munnar ad Thekkady, after reading many inputs I decided to go in this route:
Onwards :- Office -> Hosur -> Krishangiri -> Dharmapuri -> Salem-> Erode -> Perundurai -> Kangeyam - > Dharapuram -> Udumalaipettai -> Marayoor -> Munnar

Munnar -> Thekkady

Return :- Thekkday -> Dindigul -> Salem - Bangalore [to make it on the very smooth the NH7]


Day 1: Towards Munnar
After reading many blogs of fellow travellers, the travel plan is now concrete and finally it was the day to start my own drive. On D-Day I came to office early to finish important tasks and be free to start by afternoon. As planned I was free by afternoon and the wife and son joined me after lunch. To save time we had planned that my family will join me near Lal bagh which is quite near to my office. This was done to prevent the few hours and effort that will go into going back home and picking them up from home. In any case the entire luggage was inside the car and the family just needed to come with the last minute needs.

We want to hit Munnar in the morning to be fresh and enjoy the mountains. So the plan is to drive as far as possible and then take the day off.

We started from near Lal bagh at 2.30PM. The traffic was quite medium [maybe due to lunch time] and it was not difficult to drive the couple of KMS towards Madiwala and then the E-city elevated express way. The road was again with medium traffic and it was neither office start hours nor neither end hours.

From hosur to Krishangiri the road is quite well and it’s easy for even a small car to hit 120KM. But be careful, the downward slope may tempt the driver to drive faster. Know how much the car and you together can cruise at optimum speed.

Through Krishanagiri and Dharmapuri upto Omalur there is no case of confusion or need for a detailed road directions. Just keep on the main road and you go nearer to Munnar.

Once you reach Omalur keep following the sign board which says Erode / Coimbatore. After you enter the Salem bypass [which is no longer a bypass and quite heavy with traffic] keep on the left side of the road and look out for a flyover. This flyover is actually a junction of flyovers and unless you are on left and take the left looping upward ramp you may end up in Chennai !!!!

After you climb on the left ramp and take the arc on the left side then you are on the Coimbatore highway. Traffic upto a few KMs after Salem is dense and then it slowly thins out. There are few “Lorry Owners Association” IOC petrol pumps on the way from Salem to Erode. Be sure to stop and one of those and re top up the fuel because:-
1.These people[LOA] accept credit cards
2.Further near Munnar there are fewer petrol pumps.

Like me, If you are starting in afternoon from Bangalore then take the first break after Salem. This will give you more time on the highway during the day light and you will cover 40% of the distance when you are fresh.

After Salem keep driving on the Coimbatore highway till you reach the Bhawani bridge. At the end of Bhavani bridge note the Odo reading. EXACTLY 17KM after you exit this bridge you will come near an IOC petrol pump. Slow down the car to as low as possible. Do not forget its getting darker now, so don’t hesitate to slow to dead slow speed for the few hundred metres from the IOC bunk , no problem if you crawl for few minutes. Look out for a small direction board on left which says “Perundurai”. Take the left and enter service road. DO NOT MISS THIS TURN.

The road from here on is a state highway. The few KM stretch till Perundurai is not so good. Once you cross Perundurai be sure to take the Kangeyam road. The “HEREMAPS” app in my phone tried to take me to Avinashi/Tiruppur but I did not listen to it !!! Road from Perundurai to Kangeyam is 2 Lane but very smooth. even thought he road was smooth with less traffic I slowed down to 60-70KM. Even though traffic was very less there are villages on either side of the road. Kangeyam to Dharapram and Dharapuram to Udumalaipettai is again 2 lane state road but very nice.

Here you have to make a choice. In order to hit Munnar ranges in the morning you need to halt now in either Dharapuram to Udumalaipettai. You can stop either of the two towns depending on how tired or not tired you are. There are no major differences in staying in either as it’s just add/remove 30 minutes on the travel the next day.
Sakthi Lodge in Dharpuram and Annamalais in Udumalaipettai are two good options.

I decided stayed in Dharapuram and had a really tasty dinner in “banana leaf” restaurant right next to Dharapuram bus stand. The food is very tastas and cheap. They make a very tasty Shawarma which is my son’s all-time favorite food.

Its now time for a hot shower and then its nap time.

Day 2: Climbing up to Munnar
Even though I had decided to sleep late, I woke up early in the morning, maybe it was the excitement. I took another shower to loosen the body and then woke the family. In few minutes we were in the car and on the road. I had informed the Lodge that I will make all payments during check in itself as I will be leaving early next day.

After entering Dharapuram and then 0.5 KM after bus stand you need to take the right to be on the way to Udumalaipettai. The deviation is quite clear and just be sure that at the “intersection of big roads” you take the right. As my son kept looking at the many windmills we were soon in Udumalaipettai. The whole stretch from Dharapuram to Udumalaipettai is full of widmills.

To be honest, I don’t know whether I made a mistake or it’s just that way; but I lost 30 mins entering Udumalaipettai and then to be on road to Marayoor. If you know Tamil, be sure to keep asking people for road to Marayoor. It is not easy. Marayoor stretch is also 2 way but the road condition is not very good. There are many pot holes.

The chinar forests are thick. Except for herds of Elephants, well behind trees, we did not see much wild life.
Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady-elephant.png


The Ghats section begins 15Km after Udumalaipettai. Be careful as the road is quite narrow and the jeeps from Kerala hurtle down around corners at high speeds. As you near Marayoor there is an IOC petrol pump with some shops and washroom facility.

There are few check points where you need to get down and write the vehicle details as well as passenger details. They ask money after taking the details. I doled out 20 RS at each post. However just before I entered Chinar the forest official not only refused the money but also gave valuable information on route and photo opps. Be sure to keep all windows closed in the check posts. There are many monkeys who enter the car scare people and try to take food items. They also take all things shiny. Later on I realized that the money is asked only in TN check posts and no one asks money in Kerala.

Marayoor to Munnar is quite scenic. Its mountains, followed by sandal wood forest and then barren rain shadow regions and slowly tea garden start to appear.
Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady-marayoor.png

Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady-marayoor1.png

Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady-marayoor2.png

Drive leisurely. Remember, for the first timers, you are hitting the Tea estates for the first time. Be careful where you stop and take photos. But also don’t miss a photo opp. Kanan Devan hills, as they are known are indeed very beautiful. The Tea plants have a surprisingly long life and the Tea plant you are seeing maybe actually the ones which the British planted. If the top portions of the tree is not frequently cut for the Tea leaves then it will as well grow like a normal tree.

As you enter Munnar you will see a mosque on the right side of the road. In fact this is the ONLY mosque in Munnar.

Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady-mosque.png

Just after the mosque you will see a bridge. Stop the car here and walk 0.5Km further on where you will find a variety of restaurants for breakfast. Do not enter the town and try to search for parking space, it’s difficult to get a parking in Holiday season and it’s not easy to reverse the vehicle so you will have to drive till the end of town and again come back near the bridge to park the vehicle.

See Below :- Summary of reaching Munnar
Summary of reaching Munnar.docx

Day 2 [contd]: In Munnar

After breakfast we went to the hotel, checked in, took another hot water shower and after few minutes rest we are ready to explore Munnar. To be honest all of us just wanted to go out of hotel.

In Munnar all tourist places are outside of the town. However, there are basically four roads out of Munnar and all tourist places are in either one of these roads.

This day we decided to take the top station/Mattupetty road. On this road we have :-

Matupetty Side Locations Distance
Rose Garden 03 KM
Photo Point 04 KM
Mattupeety Dam 12 KM
Film shooting Point 13 KM
Elephant Crossing 14 KM
Echo Point 20 KM
Kundala Dam 26 KM
Top station 36 KM


All these attraction are on the same road. I decided to drive till the the last point – Top station, see it first and then work towards the city. The logic is that even I miss some places on this day, I will visit them the next day and in that case I will have to drive lesser.

The road to top station is very scenic and much more scenic as well as better than the one we use to enter Munnar [kannan hills]. As you exit Munnar, after a couple of KMs you can see the newer "Munnar colony" on the left.
Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady-munnar-colony.jpg

Drive slowly, enjoy the scenes. Soak in the dew laden fresh air. The distance is 37KM but keep atleast an hour for the drive. More if you plan to stop for photos. Top station is a very famous Munnar travel destintion but the location itself is in Tamilnadu. The last few KM of road inside TN is very bad. Top station is a private property belonging to an owner from Theni. You need to pay for entrance as well as camera. Strangely you need to climb DOWN to reach the viewing gallery. This is also the place where the British built the ropeway to transport goods and produce from the Cumbum plains.

Point to remember is that you need to park the vehicle , walk a little and take steep and uneven stairs to reach the viewing gallery. I noticed few older people who has managed to climb down to the gallery but were struggling to go back.

There is an ”intermediate “ point, called as “1st point” [see image below] on the way down. Ask here the older people whether they want to continue or wait for our return.
Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady-intermediate-point.png

The "view" from the viewing point is good. You can see all the way down to the Cumbum valley. On a clear day and with powerful binoculars you can see quite a few points.
Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady-dsc00137.jpg
Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady-view-top-station.jpg

Wild bird eggs, double Yolk eggs as well as regular eggs are in plenty here. Eat the egg sandwich and try the passion fruit available in the many shops.
Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady-2.png

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Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady-3.jpg

After spending time in top station start back towards Munnar. The next location you get is the Kundala lake and boating point. Take the pedal boat here as the speed boat in Mattupetty is quite expensive. . You need to actually drive over the dam to reach the other side from where you can take a boat or simply spend sometime in the tranquillity. This place is quite beautiful and as you cross the small road on the dam you can suddenly feel the dip in temperature.

Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady-kundala-lake.png

This location is very beautiful with the lake in between lush green tall trees. This is something Akin to Ooty but much more calm and beautiful

Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady-kundala-lake1.png

Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady-kundala-lake2.png

Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady-kundala-lake3.png

Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady-kundala-lake4.png

Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady-kundala-lake6.png

Just as we are in the center of the lake slowly rotating the boat to enjoy the beauty all around, it started raining heavily.

Though we pedaled as fast as we could we were completely drenched by the time we alighted. Luckily the wife had kept extra pair of clothes and shoes for my son and for me.

We decided to skip the Photo point and the Shooting point as they were heavily crowded and drove directly to Mattupetty dam. After spending some time, eating hot pakodas and Tea we decided to go back to town to also explore the town.

We went back to Rapsy for the dinner. shoushuka [algerian / Tunisian - see image below] and Spanish tomato were really good. After the sumptuous dinner and then a walk around the town Centre we called it a day.

Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady-shoushuka.jpg

3: Munnar

I had made strong plans to sleep late and even requested my family not to wake me till I get up myself. Unfortunately I got up well before them right around 6am and in turn had to take care not to wake them. We left by 9 and decided to explore the Coimbatore road / Marayoor road this time.

The important location in this side are

Marayoor Side Locations Distance
TATA Tea Garden 02 KM
Nyamakad Waterfalls 08 KM
Araimedu [second highest south India peak] 12 KM
Rajamalai /Eravikulam National park 13 KM
Lakkom waterfalls 26 KM

When driving to Munnar from Marayoor, if you are driving during the day, then you can stop for an hour and see the Lakkam falls on the way up. The falls is private property and quite near to the road. However in my eagerness to reach Munnar I skipped this on the way up and could not make time to go back.


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If you decide to visit the Eravikulam National park at Rajamalai. Then you better leave early in the morning. You need to stand in aque and buy a ticket and then travel by the park bus and then again walk as much as you can. The endangered Nilgiri Tahr is a goat and is present only in this location.

In the tight schedule I could not make more time so decided to skip Eravikulam.

We first drove the few KM to the Floriculture garden on Top station road, which we could not cover the previous day. The garden has good variety of flowers.
Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady-flori.png

Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady-flori1.png

In Govt shop inside the premises you can buy Sandal wood from Marayoor forests at 20 rs/ gram. Its amazing to see how carefully the wood is weighed and sold as we see in Jewellery shops. You can buy sandal wood in many Munnar shops but you need to be bale to judge the quality. However in this type of govt shops the quality is guaranteed.

After this we drove back to Munnar and after crossing the town we traveled to Tea factory. In hindsight, skipping Eravikulam was a good decision as this would be our last day in Munnar.

In the tea factory they show you a film on the history of Munnar and tea estates. You see, the history of the tea estates here and the story of Munnar itself is tightly interlinked. You can see the demo factory. Its not completely functional but only used to demonstrate the tea making process. A factory person here gave a lecture with gave me more knowledge about Tea that what we knew or would be able to find. Children can play video games here while you shop at the exclusive shops.

Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady-tatatea.png

After tea factory we went to shopping. A lesson learnt too late – buy tea and chocolates in Munnar and buy spices in Thekkady/Kumily. Soon it was afternoon and Friday namaaz time for us. We went to the Mosque at the entrance of Munnar. This is the only mosque in Munnar. As its locate over a hill its very lovely to look at Munnar. This mosque also has facility for women to pray.

After prayers it was Lunch in Rapsy. A word of advice, Rapsy has many Arabian and Maghreb dishes. Be sure to check the menu thoroughly before ordering. In our case many restaurants were getting renovated, so we had not many options. The very heavy after noon rain started and stopped as we had lunch. It seems Munnar has afternoon showers at many times. So plan is such a way that you are near to shelter from 2PM to 5PM.

I have to accept here that Unfortunately I had underestimated the tourist spots in Munnar and the time it takes to visit them

There are two more routes you need to explore:-

Cochin route :-

Cochin Side Locations Distance
Blossom Park 03 KM
Pothmedu Sun set view 04 KM
Athukad Water falls 06 KM

Due to lack of time we visited only the blossom park. But rain had made all the park slush and we just had a limited tour.

It was getting late afternoon and we decided to move towards Thekkady. As I mentioned I realized a little late than 2 days in Munnar and 2 in Thekkday is not the ideal of a plan. To have a good tour plan 2 N 3D in Munnar and then 1N and 1D in Thekkady.

For those who have not planned Thekkday it would be still great if you drive atleast till Poopara. The drive from Munnar to Thekkady is one of the most beautiful sights. As can be seen from below photos, Lockheart gap is too good.
Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady-lock-hart-gap-views-1.jpg

Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady-lock-hart-gap-views-3.jpg
Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady-lock-hart-gap-views-2.jpg

Day 4: Thekkady

this is the day we will visit the unique Periyar reserve. This artificial lake is formed due to a dam and this is the only reserve in India where you observe the wildlife on a boat

We wake up at 5.30 am and then quick shower and then 3-4 KM towards the gate of the periyar tiger reserve. . You need to go early in the morning to stand in the que in the gate of the reserve. In my case, ours was the first car just next to the gate. We need to pay 75 Rs/car and then 33Rs/person to enter the Park. As the gate opened at 6am and I slowly followed the forest jeep I searched unsuccessfully if I could find a wildlife. The jeep stops after few KM and as I went to park the car I saw many people jumping and running towards the boat ticket counter.

Remember that the ticket entry to park is different than standing in the que for the Periyar boating. which means you need to first put your car in the que on the periyar reserve gate entry and then after buying the entry ticket you need to drive inside and stand in another que to buy boat ticket.

After the ill fated accident of the boat, now its very much organized. All details of the boaters are taken, Seat numbers in boat are allotted, life jacket is a must.

The boat timings are as attached.
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The charge is 225 Rs/adult. By a stroke of luck we got the upper deck ticket. But unfortunately did not see any wildlife. Using my powerful binocular I was able to spot few wildhogs but nothing more..

After boating there is not much you can do in Thekkady. In case you have planned for a night stay then you can go to elephant bath, ride or Arts shows.

But its the boating that's the major attraction so you can also plan in such a way that you reach kumily in night, then do the boating in the morning and then start towards Munnar or Dindigul / Bangalore. However one thing you can do here plenty is shop for Spices. Its cheap and good quality.

Day 5: Returning to Bangalore .. and reality !!!

It was a good few days. I cant believe we have come to the end of the trip.
We started at 8 am and slowly descended towards cumbum. This route is ghat section medium wide. We stopped to see a waterfalls of the periyar river. We did not get the name of the falls but it was right across the river.
Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady-periyar.png

The decent was slow and as we wanted to enjoy the last few tea estates.. after cumbum there is a pot hole filled stretch till Theni. And from Theni to Dindigul it’s a smooth state highway. I stopped my vehicle at a petrol pump which was displaying “VISA” and filled up the petrol.

In Dindigul you have a choice of not one but three famous biriyanis.

The very famous Thalapakattu biriyani, the venu Biriyani and the Ponram biriyani hotel.

We wanted to eat Thalapakattu biriyani. The hotel is on the roam from theni to dindigul just few KM before you join the NH7. But then after an exchange with a local went to Ponram. Disappointed !!!! we should have stick to the original plan : Dindigul is identified by thalapakattu.

But Ponram is quite near the highway and convenient. Once you hit Dindigul its super smooth and you can reach Bangalore on an average 5-6 hours depending on the machine. the route details are attached.
See the attachement "thekkady to Bangalore".
Thekkady to Bangalore.docx

It was raining heavily in most part of the return journey. So the only thing I did when returning was sit "taut" and keep looking ahead till we reached home... And Reality !!

We missed Munnar for many days and planning to go back again soon !!
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Old 4th June 2015, 12:15   #2
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 5th June 2015, 09:36   #3
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Very Detailed and informative travelogue. Thank you so much for sharing these!!
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Old 5th June 2015, 12:33   #4
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Excellent travellogue.

Fortunately, we did drive to munnar from Chennai 2 weeks back and your observations are spot on.

We took the theni route to munnar and returned via udumalaipettai. As you said TamilNadu forest officials in various check post demand money while the officials manning the Kerala checkpost do not demand in turn they try to assist in traffic and road conditions. But an interesting observation the guys in both TN and Kerala check post are from TN.

During our trip, the afternoons and evenings were raining. You must be lucky for clear skies.

Also, You must be lucky to spot Jumbo's in Chinnar. We could spot none, except for a group of monkeys.

You should have tried Venu Biriyani in Dindigul town. That's the best, much better than Thalappakattu and Ponram. Dindigul is my hometown and have tasted all biriyanis (Noting comes close to my mom's and grandmothers biriyani Though).

The roads mostly are good and devoid of any pot holes. But, the few kms of bad roads have taken a toll on my car. The notorious engine mount (Honda Civic) in my car gave way and had to replace on return.

Did really enjoy the trip though. Keep driving.
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Old 5th June 2015, 13:15   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bakash4u View Post
I had made strong plans to sleep late and even requested my family not to wake me till I get up myself. Unfortunately I got up well before them right around 6am and in turn had to take care not to wake them.
Try getting up early, when you have to rush to office one early morning!

Munnar is a beautiful place to be enjoyed with 3 nights minimum. On the way you can also stay in Perundurai for the night and do Avianashi-Palladam-Udumalpettai the next day.

All in all a beautiful log!
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Old 5th June 2015, 14:44   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by varunanb View Post
Excellent travellogue.

You should have tried Venu Biriyani in Dindigul town. That's the best, much better than Thalappakattu and Ponram. Dindigul is my hometown and have tasted all biriyanis (Noting comes close to my mom's and grandmothers biriyani Though).

Did really enjoy the trip though. Keep driving.
Yes Bro !!
Very strongly agree.
Mother's biriyani was simply "biriyani" all others come second spot onwards.

Hope wife doesn't read this

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Thread moved from the Assembly Line to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks GTO and BHP for giving an opportunity for my writeup.
I hope it helps fellow travellers

Quote:
Originally Posted by varunanb View Post
Excellent travellogue.

But an interesting observation the guys in both TN and Kerala check post are from TN.

.
Ohhh !!! I did not know this. This is really surprising.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Try getting up early, when you have to rush to office one early morning!

Munnar is a beautiful place to be enjoyed with 3 nights minimum. On the way you can also stay in Perundurai for the night and do Avianashi-Palladam-Udumalpettai the next day.

All in all a beautiful log!
Thanks amp for the information.
Nice one there : about getting up to office.

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 5th June 2015 at 14:53. Reason: Back to back posts merged. Please edit your post within the 30 minute edit window to add/edit your posts.
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Old 5th June 2015, 18:33   #7
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Super!!Very Detailed Travelogue and giving accurate information. Thanks.

I'm planning to Munnar in August, but was wondering if it will be raining. What do you think?
When did you go? Also do you recommend any specific accommodation?
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Old 5th June 2015, 19:39   #8
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I'm planning to Munnar in August, but was wondering if it will be raining. What do you think?
It wont be raining. It would be pouring! You may end up right into the deluge of monsoon. As per me the ideal time would be late November or early December.
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Old 5th June 2015, 19:49   #9
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It wont be raining. It would be pouring! You may end up right into the deluge of monsoon. As per me the ideal time would be late November or early December.
I agree.
The locals at top station told me they will not be able to see even a few feet in June /July. They suggested month from October are better but I think November would be good.

On the other hand I met few bengalies who told they always come in off season when the rush is less- you get super accomadations at cut rates and there would be many streams and waterfalls coming to life all around.

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Old 5th June 2015, 19:54   #10
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^^ In my opinion, best time to visit Munnar is just before Diwali. Rains would have stopped, its all green around and the tourist season is yet to start.
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Old 6th June 2015, 22:09   #11
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It wont be raining. It would be pouring!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bakash4u View Post
I agree.
The locals at top station told me they will not be able to see even a few feet in June /July. They suggested month from October are better but I think November would be good.
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Originally Posted by mpksuhas View Post
^^ In my opinion, best time to visit Munnar is just before Diwali. Rains would have stopped, its all green around and the tourist season is yet to start.
hmmm ok, Thanks Guys, Have to work out then, Lot of trips planned during year end.
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Old 7th June 2015, 07:35   #12
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^^ In my opinion, best time to visit Munnar is just before Diwali. Rains would have stopped, its all green around and the tourist season is yet to start.

Hello Suhas.
How will be the temp around this time?
I am just eager to get back again !!!
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Old 7th June 2015, 09:17   #13
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Default Re: Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady

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Originally Posted by Bakash4u View Post
Hello Suhas.
How will be the temp around this time!
Monsoon has started in Kerala, hence temperature will be in 20 Celsius range.

By November it will come down to 12-15 Celsius range.
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Old 7th June 2015, 17:19   #14
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Default Re: Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady

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Originally Posted by mpksuhas View Post
Monsoon has started in Kerala, hence temperature will be in 20 Celsius range.

By November it will come down to 12-15 Celsius range.
thanks.
Ok I have to keep in mind. November will be colder during nights and maybe foggy during drives.
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