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Old 19th January 2016, 08:42   #1
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Default Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!

Day 1 (Dec 25th, 2015)

As is our annual ritual, we normally take 2 weeks vacation during December to cool our heels, lie back and rejuvenate so we can bounce back with renewed energy to keep us going for a brand new year. This year was no different, we invariably plan for a trip to North India as it can accomplish dual purpose of meeting family besides giving us abundance choice of holiday locations

However, a couple of official trips to Delhi just before vacation timeframe made us strike it off our list and we decide to try "God's Own Country" as we have never been there ever. Well, I am not counting a couple of office trips to Cochin nearly a decade ago to attend Boat Shows but, that was the only connection that I ever had with Kerala. Well, we normally visit some nice restaurant maybe 2-3 times a year to enjoy one of my favorite KL dish [i]"Karimeen Pollichattu"

We initially thought of flying down to cochin and cover a couple of mainstay locations around. But, I personally dislike flying and would like to drive if possible and starting doing some math in head.

My rough calculation told me that this trip won't be more than 3500kms so it was a unanimous choice that it will be a road-trip in our new car-"Blue Bombardier" ( http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-d...ow-tarmac.html)

But, greediness got into us and we wanted to cram a lot of things into this trip and since we decided this about a week from actual trip, had a round of discussions with some friends and especially our friendly mod (Ampere) who helped me chalk out a trip itenary which ensured we covered all types of Terrain-Wild Life Sanctuary, Mountains/Hills, Back-waters and Beach

So our final itenary looked like this :

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-kerala-trip_destination-map.jpg

Wild Life Sanctuary

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-wild-life-sanctuary.jpg

Hills (All pictures below shot via. iPhone 6+)

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-hills.jpg

Back-waters

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-backwater-1.jpg

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-backwaters-2.jpg

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-backwaters-3.jpg

Beach

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-beach.jpg

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-varkala-3.jpg

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-varkala-2.jpg

Now we have covered almost everything that needs to be seen in Kerala. Haven't we?

Disclaimer : Pictures you see in this travelogue is a mix of DSLR pictures and iPhone 6+ ( Both of us have same phone). I don't think you would be hard-pressed to tell which is which (almost 40%-50% are iPhone pics). But, I was pleasantly surprised with iPhone 6+ camera capabilities. Honestly, feel no need to carry a DSLR camera at all

Last edited by mobike008 : 22nd January 2016 at 07:06.
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Old 19th January 2016, 08:48   #2
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Default Re: Ford Aspire Visits Kerala : Traverses via. Wildlife Sanctuary, Mountains, Back-Waters and Beach

Day 1 (Dec 25th, 2015)...Contd

As the first and last couple of sections of our trip were the big drives, we decided to leave at 5:00am towards Bangalore. A last minute day trip to Bangalore on official work marred the plan to some extent as I got back home from Bangalore at 11:00pm and funnily, had to start driving again towards Bangalore within 6 hours.

I couldn't muster up the courage to get up that early so got up slightly late and were ready to head out at 6:30am

Luggage carried with us was light and not stuffed like usually ;this was primarily after several warnings

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-img_6297.jpg

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-img_6300.jpg

We readied this for the trip with latest and best Bollywood along with my favorite classic rock so we are entertained on-the-road

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-fullsizerender.jpg

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-fullsizerender1.jpg

We took the ORR from our new home and started driving towards Bangalore highway and I pointed out to better-half the "Drive In" restaurant that we used to frequent a lot when iam riding my motorcycle-she wanted to stop there for breakfast so we stopped and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and spent some time chatting with one of my biking friend who too was having breakfast there and was also driving to Bangalore in the new model XC90 (Brilliant SUV)

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-img_6301.jpg

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-img_6302.jpg

First Pit-Stop planned was Salem and it was a very enjoyable and eventless drive towards Bangalore and after a few calls at Devenhalli to Ampere, we took the detour from there towards Salem and drove through some scenic 2-lane roads before connecting to Krishnagiri where as many of you know is a fantastic hilly 4-lane drive that can help you munch miles with ease.

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-img_6304.jpg

Yours truly somewhere on the Bangalore highway

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Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-img_6322.jpg

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3104.jpg

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3107.jpg

We reached Salem at 5:00pm after covering roughly 800kms with included the stops for breakfast and other lunch by the road-side ( actually that was our breakfast--marzorine (a famous outlet in pune) style sandwiches made at home). After topping up the diesel (had fueled once on Bangalore highway) and checked nitrogen before we checked into the hotel.


Spent a restful evening in Salem exploring the city on foot and enjoying a lovely dinner at "Anjappar" which was a stone throw away from our hotel

Last edited by mobike008 : 22nd January 2016 at 10:46.
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Old 19th January 2016, 19:59   #3
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Default Re: Ford Aspire Visits Kerala : Traverses via. Wildlife Sanctuary, Mountains, Back-Waters and Beach

Day 2 (Dec 26th, 2015)

We got up early as we had to leave for Pollachi. We were on the road by 9am after completing a sumptuous breakfast at Sarvana Bhavan at Salem. If I remember correctly, we took U-turns a few times to get to Saravana Bhavan as it was bang on a cross road with very difficult approach to enter the restaurant and kept missing and had to drive further down to come back again to get into the shoulder lane that leads to the hotel. Anyways, the breakfast was so good (it reminded me of chutney's as they too have different chutneys as part of the dish) and we topped it off with some excellent filter coffee

Post this heavy breakfast, driving to Pollachi seemed like a herculean effort..Haha!

Well presented and loved those copper glasses

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-img_6379.jpg

This was excellent. Most rejuvenating thing on this planet

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-img_6382.jpg

Drive to Pollachi which was ~ 150kms was uneventful as the roads were nice 4-lane and traffic conditions weren't that bad and we reached Pollachi by 12.30pm. Yet again, had a lot of difficulty finding our hotel ( Pollachi Club) amidst beautiful bungalows spread across most of Pollachi. I must confess albeit a little sheepishly that I never heard of "Pollachi" ever in my life

I was pleasantly surprised by this small town, its simply beautiful. Nice, clean and green with lush trees around and beautiful houses around

When we finally reached our hotel, we saw a few lovely vintage cars parked in the lot and got to know from the reception that there was a vintage rally going to be held at that club next day (Sunday-Dec 27).

I happened to meet the owner of these beautiful cars and he saw my car with Team-BHP sticker and came over to introduce himself and we got chatting and he mentioned that he is the organizer of the vintage car rally and showed me his beautiful black 750cc Yamaha motorcycle, according to him this is the only such bike in India.

Apart from these 3 lovely cars you see, he owns another 5 such cars and hails from Kerala. He offered me his number and asked me to call him if I need any info/help during my tour of Kerala. Awesome guy and was lovely meeting him ( He can be seen in one of the pictures)

Yamaha 750cc

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3136.jpg

Beautiful vintage cars

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3137.jpg

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3140.jpg

Owner posing proudly with his collection

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3145.jpg

Due to the heavy breakfast, we decided to skip the lunch and just munched on some snacks and got ready to cover a couple of nice locations in and around Pollachi. We were strongly recommended to visit Thirumoorthy Hills that had a huge lake and a small dam as well. It was a good 20kms drive from the hotel

Enroute to Thirumoorthy Hills. Glorious views

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3146.jpg

A few pictures at Thirumoorthy Hills and Dam. We spent roughly about 1.5 hours at this place

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3170.jpg

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3181.jpg

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Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3233.jpg

Last edited by mobike008 : 22nd January 2016 at 07:12.
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Old 19th January 2016, 20:05   #4
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Default Re: Ford Aspire Visits Kerala : Traverses via. Wildlife Sanctuary, Mountains, Back-Waters and Beach

Day 2 (Dec 26th, 2015).....Contd

It was already 4:00pm here and we were in two minds if we should be driving to Aliyar Dam as it was on other side of the city and nearly 45kms away. But, since it came highly recommended so we decided not to miss it and I had keep a strong pace to the car to reach Aliyar Dam by 5:00pm. We spent a good couple of hours walking through the gorgeous garden that leads to steep climb up to the dam where you get to see the water on the other side. As it was late in evening, we were lucky to witness some amazing sunset from the top

We wrapped up this evening with an awesome filter coffee being sold at one of the outlets outside the Aliyar Dam/Garden entrance

Woah! Look at those steep stairs. Huff, Puff !!!

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3244.jpg

Beautiful Gardens at the Base of Aliyar Dam. You need cross this garden and take the stairs to reach the Dam view point

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Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3254.jpg

Whatta a view !!!

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3270.jpg

Large, Serene Lake with Boating facilities

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3272.jpg

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Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3288.jpg

Excellent views all around

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3291.jpg

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3305.jpg

Going down these stairs was such a relief

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3311.jpg

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3317.jpg

Last edited by mobike008 : 22nd January 2016 at 07:09.
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Old 19th January 2016, 20:21   #5
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Default Re: Ford Aspire Visits Kerala : Traverses via. Wildlife Sanctuary, Mountains, Back-Waters and Beach

Day 3 (Dec 27th, 2015)

After an eventful evening, we enjoyed a nice dinner at the club and decided that we should take a small detour from our next pit-stop (Munnar) to famous Parambikulam Tiger Reserve (PTR) which was about 60kms on opposite side of direction of Munnar. We got up early (5:00am) and checked out at 6:00am and drove straight to PTR. The roads were not so good especially after entering the ghats and reserve the road becomes really bad and we had to gingerly find our way into the reserve after making several halts to buy tickets and making entry of the car etc.

Interestingly, PTR has two safaris and one is inside TN state and other is in KL state. Both were part of the Tiger Reserve.

We decided to opt for the KL side of the safari which we reached around 8:00am and were told that last safari tickets were just sold and we have to wait till 11:00am for next set. I had to cajole the forest officer saying we are driving all the way from Hyderabad and heading towards Munnar to make his heart melt and he (Keralite) was speaking in impeccable English and was very helpful and somehow squeezed us into the last bus that was to depart in 15 minutes

We drove hurriedly after paying for tickets and reached a point where we need to park the car and hop onto a bus. We hopped in to find another couple too apart from a bunch of unruly TN gents who were drunk at that time of the day (SHOCKED).....Thankfully, they were happily drunk and were singing songs and not creating any trouble for any of us. We spent a couple of hours driving through the reserve and couldn't spot any tigers but, spotted a few deer's, peacock, jungle fowl and wild monkeys.

It was a bit disappointing as we were hoping to spot the big cat. Anyways, didn't matter much as the beautiful crisp morning air in the jungle more than made up for it

Entry point to KL-side of the Safari at Parambikulam Tiger Reserve

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3341.jpg

Bus that took us for an almost 3-hour tour inside the reserve with several stops including one for breakfast

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3347.jpg

Spotted a few deers

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3356.jpg

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Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3365.jpg

A peacock

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Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3378.jpg

Enjoyed some amazing views inside the reserve. Weather was slightly chilly which made the trip even more amazing

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3391.jpg

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3397.jpg

There is a large lake inside the reserve where we spent some time sinking in the sight
Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3400.jpg

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3406.jpg

Beautiful roses in the small garden near the breakfast place

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3430.jpg

Strokes?

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3431.jpg

Last edited by mobike008 : 21st January 2016 at 07:32.
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Old 19th January 2016, 22:36   #6
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Default Re: Ford Aspire Visits Kerala : Traverses via. Wildlife Sanctuary, Mountains, Back-Waters and Beach

Day 3 (Dec 27th, 2015) contd...

After completing the safari at Parambikulam Tiger Reserve, we geared up for a long drive from PTR to Munnar which was roughly 200+ kms away and we knew that we might not reach before dusk. We drove through one of the best roads that i ever driven in my life; beautiful tarmac road with S-type of bends every 300-400 meters for nearly 50+kms with dense foliage on both sides of the road was simply best that I have driven and this tested the Aspire handling potential to its limit

We bumped into a Cruze on that road being driven rather aggressively and for nearly entire stretch of 50+kms we were on its tail and I could see him flabbergasted at the way the Aspire was picking up speed and keeping up with him on every corner of those S-bends. It was phenomenal and I thoroughly enjoyed the Aspire's power, torque and its handling capabilities on this particular stretch.

We got on to the ghats that will take us to Munnar and believe you me; we drove again for 50+ kms on ghats section with such dense fog that visibility was absolutely zero and we had to almost guess work in terms of road turns and oncoming traffic. It was a bit scary as well as rewarding in terms of the adventure we overall felt about the drive

While driving on the ghats, we stopped innumerable times to soak in the beauty that surrounded us. It was simply mesmerizing and we stepped out of the car and enjoyed the cold, foggy weather with beautiful sights all over

After crossing the ghats, we finally reached out hotel around 6-6:30pm in the evening

This post has some pictures of the drive from Pollachi to Munnar. ENJOY !!!

Tell me! Can any view be better than this one

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3486.jpg

Tea Plantations all around

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3488.jpg

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3491.jpg

So much green ; it practically hurts your eyes

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3501.jpg

Never encountered such dense fog ever in my life. Sheer fun and adventure to drive ~ 50kms in this condition on Ghats

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3503.jpg

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3506.jpg

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3520.jpg

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Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3560.jpg

Finally reached our destination after multiple stops on the Ghats. Whew!

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3566.jpg

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3569.jpg

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3574.jpg

Last edited by mobike008 : 21st January 2016 at 07:36.
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Old 20th January 2016, 08:37   #7
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Default Re: Ford Aspire Visits Kerala : Traverses via. Wildlife Sanctuary, Mountains, Back-Waters and Beach

Day 4 (Dec 28th, 2015)

We got up leisurely and had a sumptuous breakfast viewing the lovely mountains surrounding our hotel. Then we decided that we will just spend time driving around and visit a couple of important view points

We visited the beautiful Attukad Waterfalls at Pallavasal in Idukki district. The place was a feast for the eyes and also ideal for long treks. The place was surrounded by tea plantations all over and was such a beautiful view. After spending some time at Attukad waterfalls, we left for Hydel park that was on the way but were disappointed. There was actually nothing to see except that it's a very old Hydel power station and has a large garden within its vicinity with lots of flowers

Next pit-stop was lunch and after asking a few people which is the best place in munnar town, got a response that Surya Soma restaurant was good.

We opted for a thali but, their rice was so puffed up that we completed it with lot of difficulty and then decided to head to the end point of Munnar or rather the highest point--TOP STATION

The drive was mesmerizing again due to fog and so much of greenery around. Top station was magical. We spent 3+ hours there enjoying the beauty. Fog was engulfing the tea plantations and would come and go within a few minutes. It was simply magical.

Came back to Munnar town after the sunset and bought truckloads (>10K) of spices from Krishna Spices ( most lively store with maximum customers-that's how we picked this store from the several lined up in Munnar town)
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Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3683.jpg  

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Old 20th January 2016, 08:46   #8
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Default Re: Ford Aspire Visits Kerala : Traverses via. Wildlife Sanctuary, Mountains, Back-Waters and Beach

Day 4 (Dec 28th, 2015)....Contd

This post contains the surreal experience we enjoyed at TOP STATION. I would recommend everyone visiting Munnar to visit Top Station without fail

I was almost skipping it since it was a long drive (nearly 40kms from Munnar town) but, better half was adamant that we should visit and thanks to her, we had the best time in Munnar here.
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Last edited by mobike008 : 20th January 2016 at 08:50.
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Old 20th January 2016, 09:06   #9
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Default Re: Ford Aspire Visits Kerala : Traverses via. Wildlife Sanctuary, Mountains, Back-Waters and Beach

Day 5 (Dec 29, 2015)

Since our pit-stop at Munnar was for 3 nights, we had the luxury to get up late and enjoy the breakfast during which we would decide how to spend the day. We planned to check out the "Mattupetty Dam" and enjoy some boating there. But, since boating can be enjoyed either early morning or late evening, we thought of spending some time at the famous "Kannan Devan Tea Museum".

For folks who aren't aware (just like me, I never heard of brand Kannan Devan which is owned now by Tata's) it's a very popular tea company and they have main stake in terms of land and tea production in entire Munnar area. It was a nice couple of hours spent at the Tea Museum where we enjoyed knowing the tea process and a long big lecture by an old gentleman of the goodness of "Green Tea" and how if we don't drink it all our organs will fail...

After this visit, we headed to Mattupetty Dam which was enroute TOPSLIP and taken aback to see a very long queue of people waiting to enjoy the boating. Price was darn steep(Rs.600) for a 15 minutes speed boat ride but, our boat driver was nice and he took us for a much longer spin of the lake and we spent around 30 minutes in the speed boat and it was extremely refreshing to see the large lake surrounded by trees and hills. Extremely Beautiful area !!!

Headed back to Munnar town and walked around the town and called of the night after enjoying a delicious south-indian meal at Sarvana Bhavan. Honestly speaking, we should have discovered this restaurant before. Restaurants in Munnar town are pathetic and Saravana Bhavan is your best bet. The meal here was very delicious and possibly the best meal in entire Munnar visit.

All over munnar you find these tall bamboo/pine trees casting a dark shadow on the roads

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc3806.jpg

Beautiful...eh?

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Roads that make you want to drive on and on and on.....

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Honey Bees Nest. Even this was a tourist spot as many were stopping and gaping at it..LOL

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Mattupetty Dam site. Where we came for Boating

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Extremely beautiful lake. Reminded me of Naini Lake in Nainital, UK

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Last edited by mobike008 : 21st January 2016 at 07:48.
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Old 20th January 2016, 09:47   #10
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Default Re: Ford Aspire Visits Kerala : Traverses via. Wildlife Sanctuary, Mountains, Back-Waters and Beach

Day 5 (Dec 29, 2015)....Contd

This post gives you an insight into the Kannan Devan Tea Museum where the visit to the museum starts with a 30 mins video of how tea production started in that hilly area. Pretty interesting documentary it was narrated by some Indian with a lovely baritone

This place was choc o bloc even though it was situated little off the main road but, that didn't deter tourists from visiting this place. There were 2 massive groups from guess where? Gujarat; accompanied by guides etc. They love to travel. I say !!!

Apt. Isn't it?

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Demonstration of how tea is processed

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Factory premises

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Stuffed heads

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An excellent and simple meal at Saravana Bhavan, Munnar. Enjoyed the meal on a green leaf

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Last edited by mobike008 : 22nd January 2016 at 10:56.
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Old 20th January 2016, 20:38   #11
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Default Re: Ford Aspire Visits Kerala : Traverses via. Wildlife Sanctuary, Mountains, Back-Waters and Beach

Day 6 ( Dec 30th'2015)

It was time to bid adieu to Munnar. Wifey loved the place so much that she was almost reluctant to go to next destination but, typical travellers we had to move to next destination as we had our hotel bookings and other things in place. She was even contemplating and trying to suggest that we should push the next destination hotel booking by a day and spend another day in Munnar amidst the fog/cold of the hilly mountains.

Alas, that was not possible since it was peak season and despite we trying it didn't really work out. With a heavy heart we decided to pack our stuff and got ready to leave early morning for the next destination which was the back-waters-KUMARAKOM

We liked the dinner so much at Sarvana that we decided to have breakfast there before heading towards kumarakom. We reached Kumarakom at 1:00pm and were helped in checking in by the hotel owner in a very nice way and we enjoyed an amazing Kerala lunch at their in-house restuarant with glorious views of the backwaters right next to the place we were staying. We had backwaters view right in front of our room balcony!!!

After a bit of a tiring journey due to the change in temperature as we were back in plains where the weather was humid and slightly warm. We blissfully rested for a couple of hours in the cool AC room. Got up at 4:30pm by the call from the hotel owner that the boat has arrived to take us for a back-water cruise. Just imagine, you order for the boat and he comes right at your hotel doorstep to pick you up and take you for a couple of hours of cruise.

We paid around INR 1200/- for a 2 hour cruise in the back-waters that consisted of covering the super large Vembanad Lake and also the canals that ran deep through the insides of the lake.

It was a lovely experience !!!

Hotel Room Balcony overlooking the back-waters

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In-house meal watching the boats pass-by

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Fish Pollichattu (Tongue twister name-hope got it correct)

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This was shocking. Look at the size of rice. We skipped it and stuck to appams

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Fantastic experience of cruising on the back-waters

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Hotel Resort

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Lovely private homes on the banks of the back-waters

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Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-_dsc4123.jpg

Last edited by mobike008 : 21st January 2016 at 07:58.
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Old 20th January 2016, 20:44   #12
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Default Re: Ford Aspire Visits Kerala : Traverses via. Wildlife Sanctuary, Mountains, Back-Waters and Beach

Day 7 ( Dec 31st'2015)

Next day as usual during most of this trip, we got up leisurely and spent early morning lazing around over coffee and enjoying the boats travelling in front of our room. Based on our previous night confirmation, we were served breakfast at 9:30am and it was some awesome hot Idiappams with Egg curry, it was served in the balcony and we thoroughly enjoyed it enjoying the views in front of us.

We requested the hotel owner to book us a Kerala Massage at a nearby resort and we were promptly picked up at 11:00am by the resort folks in a Maruti Ritz and were ferried to their resort for a lovely 1.5 hour body massage that costed us a bomb. However, it was worth every penny as it was very relaxing and ensured we were completely relaxed. After the massage, we asked them to drop us to a nearby resort overlooking the back-waters for a lovely lunch by the lake.

We lied back on the comfortable lounges laid out by the lake and were served some authentic Kerala cuisine of Parotta, Fish Curry, Fish Fry etc. One of the best lunches in Kerala.

After a relaxed 2 hour lunch, we headed straight back to hotel where our boat cruise was waiting, we again took a 2-hour boat cruise which ensured we enjoyed the sunsets and got back on mainland around 7:00pm.

It was the new years eve : we spent it quietly after a real real long time in a relaxed way and far from the maddening crowd

Honestly speaking there is nothing much to do in Kumarakom and if you ever decide to visit to this place, think of just spending your time between only 2 places. One is your hotel room/property and other place is in a boat cruising down the back-waters

Interesting Trivia of Vembanand Lake :

It's the longest lake in India
It's 96.5 kms long and 14kms wide
It covers most part of Kerala. Basically it follows you wherever you go in Kerala
It's just 36 feet deep


Breakfast served in hotel--Idi Appams and Egg curry

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That's me relaxing on the cruise boat

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Absolutely glorious views of the sunset

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Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-img_6828.jpg

A late KL cuisine lunch. Slurp!

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All pictures shot via. iPhone 6+. We just couldn't resist snapping away. There was a dramatic change in colors in the sky over a course of 30 minutes. It had to be captured

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This is a lovely super small stretch of 2kms from main road to reach the hotel which is situated on back-waters

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-img_6951.jpg

Last edited by mobike008 : 22nd January 2016 at 06:18.
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Old 21st January 2016, 09:17   #13
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Default Re: Ford Aspire Visits Kerala : Traverses via. Wildlife Sanctuary, Mountains, Back-Waters and Beach

Day 8 ( Jan 1st, 2016)

After a restful and very different New Year's Eve, we were ready to hit the next destination which was further down in the state of Kerala-It's known as "Varkala"

Enjoyed a lovely breakfast in the morning at our hotel and packed up and started driving around 9:00am. This clearly was the most horrible stretch of drive of this entire trip. The road tarmac was not a problem but, it was a single road with such dense traffic that for almost entire 150+ kms, I couldn't cross 80kmph and was mostly at 50kmph due to simply zero possibilities of overtaking. It was a sea of vehicles coming from in front and also behind us.

It took us little over 3 hours to reach Varkala to our resort which we found after multiple searches as even google gave up on us was leading us to wrong place despite keying in the hotel address. After sometime we realized why, perhaps due to the hotel being on a cliff, it wasn't mapped accurately . All the popular hotels in Varkala are situated on the cliff facing the sea and we had to park the car on main road in the hotel's separate property and walk down with one suitcase (since we were there only for a night) through some by-lanes and we were muttering where did we book the hotel etc. But, when we came out on to the cliff, my angst disappeared immediately

The view was breathtaking, pretty little shacks lined up on the cliff facing the ocean with the sun gleaming down on water making it look silvery/gold. Superb!

We quickly checked in to the cottage and then freshened up and walked across the cliff to take in the sights and new environs as we have been stumbling across different terrain every few days of our trip

We settled down in the shack owned by our hotel ( concept is hotel rooms are at back and shacks are in front facing the cliff/sea) and enjoyed some lovely mocktails and a decent continental lunch.As is with coastal/beach places, Varkala is no different. It felt almost like summer, we then headed back to our room and rest for around 1.5 hours in the cool AC before stepping out at 4:30pm and climbed down the stairs that take you to the gorgeous beach below

We spent a good 2.5-3 hours on the beach enjoying the sunset. It was a revelation that Varkala is visited by so many foreigners. I would say it would put Goa to shame. The sheer number of foreigners was a bit overwhelming as we were looking a minority there

Our resort in Varkala. It was right on the cliff facing the sea

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Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-img_6966.jpg

Our hotel's restaurant. Breathtaking view !!!

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Narrow walk-way which is extremely lively and laden with restaurants and knick knack stores. It become really lively at night

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Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-img_7021.jpg

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Old 21st January 2016, 09:22   #14
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Default Re: Ford Aspire Visits Kerala : Traverses via. Wildlife Sanctuary, Mountains, Back-Waters and Beach

Day 8 ( Jan 1st, 2016)...Contd

Well, after a nice time on the beach, we headed back on cliff around 7:00pm and were pleasantly surprised to see the small walking stretch on top completely transformed

It was now more lively, bright lights. Each shack had lot and lots of fishes displayed to attract customers ( Biggest I saw was a swordfish almost 6ft long)

We spent time ogling at those sea creatures before settling down in a shack that we liked most and spent a leisurely evening enjoying the cool sea-breeze and some good north indian dinner( were tired by then of Kerala cuisine of primarily Parotta/Appams and fish fry/curry) and thankfully was made brilliantly

Surreal atmosphere as the sunset over those cliffs

Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-img_7035.jpg

Some views of place on top of the cliff during night

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Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-img_7040.jpg

Crabs, Mussels, Prawns...whatever you want...caught fresh and served on table

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Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-img_7046.jpg

Swordfish. It was massive !!!

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Ford Aspire visits Kerala : Traverses via a wildlife sanctuary, mountains, backwaters and a beach!-img_7050.jpg

Day 9 (Jan 2nd, 2016)

We left Varkala early. Around 8:00am and drove for 700kms to reach Bangalore in the evening and spent a lovely evening shopping and enjoying the hustle bustle of Bangalore city

Day 10 (Jan 3rd, 2016)

We met a cousin who had recently relocated from Delhi to Bangalore for lunch at Koshy's and after a lovely lunch, we headed off towards Hyderabad after packing a couple of club sandwiches for our lunch on the highway

We reached home in Hyderabad around 8:30pm and that marked the end to a fabulous and memorable 10-day road-trip to the beautiful state which is rightly known as "God's Own Country"

Last edited by mobike008 : 22nd January 2016 at 07:54.
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Old 22nd January 2016, 08:59   #15
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Default Re: Ford Aspire Visits Kerala : Traverses via. Wildlife Sanctuary, Mountains, Back-Waters and Beach

Note : Thread moved from Assembly Line to Travelogues section

This is a brief story about my road-trip to Kerala during the Christmas & New Year holidays of 2015....Hope you'll enjoy it !!!
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