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Old 5th February 2016, 08:05   #1
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Default Munnar road-trip in my Punto

I had started off on more than one occasions to write a travelogue but cut short and abandoned due to various reasons.
A small but crisp one would be better to start with is what i finally thought and here its is.

The long weekend of 26th Jan was fast approaching and wifey and I had just been out of a gruelling and hectic month. We needed to pamper ourselves (as we always do) after the onslaught. What better than a drive around bangalore. Beaches being our first love, we started to explore but till friday could not conclude on anything. Apparently Goa, Gokarna, Murudeshwar, Pondi, Rameshwaram were already on the list of the impatient South Indian and South based North Indian travellers. Frantic calls to any accommodation that appeared decent on the web yielded disappointing results.

Battered and incapacitated of options, a late evening decision to visit Munnar crossed our minds. supposedly picturesque and a lot heard about it, we cajoled ourselves to believe it was going to be a good trip.

Come saturday and we were to set sail early, but as luck would have it, wifey had mild fever and a virtually inaudible voice (a perfect indication that God is with you, for many ). The start was inevitably delayed. By the time we left, plans had changed to have a night halt at Coimbatore and reach Munnar the next day. With no pre-bookings, we could afford to do that. What followed was my most leisurely drive of a long time.

Munnar road-trip in my Punto-rela.jpg

Munnar road-trip in my Punto-rele2.jpg

6.5 hrs is the longest one would ever take to reach Coimbatore town. On the way from Salem, stopped for a lunch break at Sarvana Bhavan and had to do with a pure south Indian meal, much to my dislike, which was later finished in typical middle class manner by wifey.

A true Non-Veggie in the making, he said "Papa, this fish is nice, I want to eat"

Munnar road-trip in my Punto-fish.jpg


The expression says it all:
Munnar road-trip in my Punto-expres.jpg


Just before we drove out of Sarvana Bhavan, what happened was a stark personification of "khaya piya kuch nahi, glass toda baarah aana". The front bumper had come off hanging on the right. I somehow tucked it back and simply drove off. Almost 2 Kms beyond, I could hear a loud flutter from the injury area caused by the wheel well cover eroded by the friction from the tyres. One of my unusual travel tool in the form of a kitchen knife came to the rescue. I cannot forget the expression of the Luna guy who saw me cutting off portions from my car and nonchalantly placing it on the side of the road.

What I witnessed after that was the dilemma that many of the differently abled feel daily. Ask a Tamilian for something in Hindi and get a response in Tamil. Neither understanding each other. Sign language is the only thing that works. Finally I cracked the code and felt rather foolish.

All I needed to say was CAR REPAIR. Voila, he indicates to the other side of the road and the only other thing i understand is "building". Modus operandi: Look for a building on the other side of the road and expect to find a mechanic. Indeed, the info was helpful and a quick work on the dangling bumper, we were off again.

The damage
Munnar road-trip in my Punto-damage.jpg


Quick repair:
Munnar road-trip in my Punto-repair.jpg

In Coimbatore, we were encountered with a small shocker called "Dermacon" which meant most hotels were packed to capacity. A quick look into Goibibo and Oyo helped us get a decent room near the station at a meagre 999 bucks and breakfast was complimentary. Having set wifey and kid in the lavish room (I am serious), i ventured out to look around for points of interest only to return and find wifey and kid enjoying their dinner and already destined to doze off. The day was called off.


Now, that's what a relaxed drive means
Munnar road-trip in my Punto-relaxed-drive.jpg

The starved duo
Munnar road-trip in my Punto-hungry.jpg


The next morning started with a light breakfast and a quick check-out. Fortunately we were staying at that end of the city that led us out of it quickly. We crossed Pollachi in a breeze and just as we were to reach Udumalpet, the kid got all excited at the numerous windmills that line the road. And then, the lady Navigator "Google wali aunty" tried to act helpful and led us to a bypass for Udumalpet town. [In hindsight, all I can say is. AVOID IT]. Nonetheless, by taking it we were almost right below one of the windmills. Son had a great time asking all the curious questions and posing with it. Hence no complaints.

The suggested route:
Munnar road-trip in my Punto-route.jpg

The actual road
Munnar road-trip in my Punto-road1.jpg

Munnar road-trip in my Punto-road-2.jpg

Udumalpet - Munnar stretch via Chinnar wildlife sanctuary, though picturesque sporadically, was predominantly is bad shape and the misery compounded by mad jeep drivers. However, I must say I was delighted by the view. This was much better that the Wayanad or Ooty regions. Multiple stops for quick photo shoots, a near miss colliding with a state transport bus, and achy arms later we were suddenly in Munnar.

Chinnar
Munnar road-trip in my Punto-chinnar.jpg

Ensure you are not behind one of these
Munnar road-trip in my Punto-chinnar-bus.jpg


First glimpses of the beauty
Munnar road-trip in my Punto-first.jpg

Munnar road-trip in my Punto-spring.jpg


Pit stop
Munnar road-trip in my Punto-pit-stop.jpg


It was a typical hill station, albeit HOT, town. Having been to other hill stations in the South only during winters of monsoons, this was a bit of a dampener. With our son sleeping peacefully in the rear seat we decided to check the OYO room options available before we book them. The trick involved is using the google maps to locate the place and simply go there. Had a look at a couple of these before finalizing on booking Fort Munnar. (http://www.fortmunnar.com) This place was around 20 kms away from Munnar town but absolutely worth the drive. Once we reached we cracked another deal for an upgrade to a suite room at a measly amount. The place was quite, clean and had a beautiful view of the Anayirankal Dam. A small walk around the place and we called it a day. Though we treated ourselves to some relaxing massage in the evening.


Fort Munnar:

Munnar road-trip in my Punto-fm1.jpg

Munnar road-trip in my Punto-fm2.jpg

Munnar road-trip in my Punto-fm3.jpg

Munnar road-trip in my Punto-fm4.jpg

Munnar road-trip in my Punto-fm5.jpg

Munnar road-trip in my Punto-fm-khana.jpg


25th Jan was when all the activity was supposed to happen. Tea Garden, Dam visit, waterfalls (better called springs) and Munnar town was on the agenda. Dam being the closest, we went there first. Our son, being the water loving boy, like his parents, simply refused to leave the place for hours. What we were treated to in exchange, was live presentations on “Jack and Jill went up the hill” and the story of the drowning ant rescued on a leaf by the good pigeon.

Munnar road-trip in my Punto-lake.jpg

Munnar road-trip in my Punto-lake-2.jpg

Munnar road-trip in my Punto-water.jpg

By the time we left, we were almost nearing lunch time and the other parties were not interested in anything other than food. Had a decent lunch at Munnar Tea County which caused the lazy streak to set in instantly. How we wished there was hammock somewhere and we could simply laze looking at the beautiful hills. We resigned to the leisure of our room where the rest of the day was spent with my son in the bath tub. The calmness and serenity of the place was mesmerizing enough to allow us to enjoy a campfire sitout and a leisurely dinner.

Munnar road-trip in my Punto-bonfire.jpg

Munnar road-trip in my Punto-bonfire-2.jpg

Patriotism was in the air the next day, it being the Republic day. An ex Army-man hoisted the flag in the hotel grounds and we were treated with customary laddoos before we started our drive back to Bangalore. The road until Theni was narrow but widened up to be amply double laned from then on. What followed upto the foothills was mind boggling views that no camera can capture, it just stays etched in your mind till eternity.

Scampering back to reach home was the motto after that and we managed to complete the drive back in just around 9 hrs without any spirited driving. At the end of it all, what we learnt was that though the entire Western Ghats looks similar,m there is a certain distinctness to Munnar which I haven't seen anywhere else. The label of Kerala as “God's own Country” is just the perfect way to showcase it to the world.

Last edited by Travelator : 9th March 2016 at 21:16.
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Old 10th March 2016, 08:40   #2
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Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 10th March 2016, 11:27   #3
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Default Re: Munnar road-trip in my Punto

Munnar never ceases to amaze one. One of few evergreen places to visit. Monsoon is a different time, while winter is a different one. Which ever be the season, its beautiful.
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Old 10th March 2016, 12:23   #4
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Default Re: Munnar road-trip in my Punto

Dear Mayank

Thats a super travelogue.

Munnar was also under consideration when we were deciding on our road trip. Eventually, Hampi was confirmed.

I am sure Munnar would look extremely picturesque in the monsoons.
The roads, though seem suitable for a SUV!!

Hope the Punto bumper is repaired now. Do share the pics of the repaired bumper.
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Old 10th March 2016, 12:41   #5
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Default Re: Munnar road-trip in my Punto

Quote:
Originally Posted by Travelator View Post
I had started off on more than one occasions to write a travelogue but cut short and abandoned due to various reasons.
A small but crisp one would be better to start with is what i finally thought and here its is.
.
@Travelator. Nice write up mate. Hope the bumper is back in shape now.

One quick query - is that your kids legs on the dashboard in one of the pictures?

Request you to belt up your kid in a car seat on the rear on either sides( not in the middle) preferably behind the driver's seat.

Kids on the front seat is an absolute recipe for disaster. In case of an unfortunate event or sudden braking kids will be flunged in the air and may hit the windshield. If sitting on someone's lap may get crushed under the weight of the adult.

Do think about this and consider putting your kid in a car seat for your future trips.

Kids should ideally use car seat till they are 8 years old or a particualr height( I forgot the numbers now).

We have been using car seat since my kid was born. She is a little above four now and we have been able to make her understand the reasons for using car seat through videos on youtube. Now she belts up on her own irrespective of whether we are on a road trip or just weekend outings. She is not allowed to sit in the front even if she is unwell or cries. Airbags can result in a broken neck or even death in some situations.

Ride safe and hope you consider this option.
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Old 10th March 2016, 13:06   #6
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Default Re: Munnar road-trip in my Punto

Quote:
Originally Posted by Travelator View Post
..
Scampering back to reach home was the motto after that and we managed to complete the drive back in just around 9 hrs without any spirited driving. At the end of it all, what we learnt was that though the entire Western Ghats looks similar,m there is a certain distinctness to Munnar which I haven't seen anywhere else. The label of Kerala as “God's own Country” is just the perfect way to showcase it to the world.
Hello Travelator,

Nice narration. Short and sweet.

What was the tariff for the hotel?
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Old 10th March 2016, 13:18   #7
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Originally Posted by nibedk View Post

One quick query - is that your kids legs on the dashboard in one of the pictures?
Thanks for the concern and advice. Never thought my wifey's legs would appear that small in pictures . Anyways my kid is the hyper adventurous and safety freak type and the only place he accepts to sit is on his mum's lap or in th back seat with someone there to ensure he is safe.
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Old 10th March 2016, 13:40   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travelator View Post
The front bumper had come off hanging on the right. I somehow tucked it back and simply drove off.
The damage
Attachment 1484160
That's a nasty hole in the bumper. Is this repaired?
The pics of Munnar look good, haven't been there yet but have planned in coming October/November holidays. How many days did you stay at Munnar? How many kms covered, how much mileage did Punto return?
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Old 10th March 2016, 14:11   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travelator View Post
Thanks for the concern and advice. Never thought my wifey's legs would appear that small in pictures . Anyways my kid is the hyper adventurous and safety freak type and the only place he accepts to sit is on his mum's lap or in th back seat with someone there to ensure he is safe.
@ Travelator. Most kids are hyper active at that age. They will do everything they can so that they are not tied up. But we adults tend to underestimate kids. They are far more adaptable than we think them to be. Few days on the car seat and they start accepting the same. They will create a big scene the first time you try that. Ignore and they will accept and adapt pretty quickly. And sitting in the lap isn't the best option especially when doing highways as the speeds will be more and chances of sudden braking due to the unruly traffic is more.
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Old 10th March 2016, 14:25   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skdking View Post
Hello Travelator,

Nice narration. Short and sweet.

What was the tariff for the hotel?
Booked through Goibibo and landed the deal at 2800/day + 1000 for the upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnabchak View Post
Dear Mayank

Thats a super travelogue.

Munnar was also under consideration when we were deciding on our road trip. Eventually, Hampi was confirmed.

I am sure Munnar would look extremely picturesque in the monsoons.
The roads, though seem suitable for a SUV!!

Hope the Punto bumper is repaired now. Do share the pics of the repaired bumper.
For the short trip as yours, it would have been very hectic covering Munnar. Nonetheless, as said earlier, trips find a way to recur, hope you visit there soon. it would indeed be mesmerizing during the monsoons.

The SUV part is something that I have been taking up with my "Home Ministry" for precisely these road conditions. The urge of driving on the roads less taken is so very impelling.
The bumper has been done up well by a local workshop at a minimalistic fraction of what the service centre. Will post pic soon.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
The pics of Munnar look good, haven't been there yet but have planned in coming October/November holidays. How many days did you stay at Munnar? How many kms covered, how much mileage did Punto return?
We were there for 2 days which I feel is sufficient to have a spin around all places to visit, unless you have ultimate relaxation on mind.
Total running for the trip was 1100 odd KMs with an avg of 16.7 as per tripmeter
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Old 10th March 2016, 16:07   #11
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I have a strong feeling after reading your post that you went there not as a tourist/traveller but as a vacation-er and I totally agree that it is a pure bliss. We went there in 03/2013 and even though it was not the season to chrish the beauty, we enjoyed a lot. We stayed at Ayur Country. A very nice place I must stay.

A much deserving break from all the hustle and bustle of Bangalore. I feel a weekend trip to Munnar is an overkill as you spend most of the time on the road considering it takes ~9 hours.

On the other side, a little more detail about how your Car behaved would have made it more tempting.

Cheers
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Old 14th March 2016, 18:18   #12
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A nice and crisp travelogue there, Travelator. And the initial lines about writing a travelogue, sum up my intentions to write a post after every trip and the inevitable inability to complete the travelogue, each and every time.

Incidentally, I was in Munnar for a couple of days over the long weekend of Jan 14, 15, 16, and extended another couple of days to make it a real long one. I stayed at Ayur County, [same as Shiv_1984] and it is a nice place indeed with lovely view of the hills and tea estates. I prefer non crowded places to vacation, and I tend to rest more than look around much. The sheer number of buses towards tourist attractions on the narrow roads have put me off many a times. But this time, I had my parents with me [their first time], and wanted to check out a few places i had visited before. Unfortunately, I got stuck in jams through the day and the day ended up being another stress filled "Bangalore" day.

I did however deviate to Kodaikanal on my return leg, spending a day there before departing to Bangalore on the 5th day. My to and fro was done via the Bangalore - Dindigul - Batlagundu - Theni road, to avoid the Chinar road.
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Old 20th September 2017, 12:46   #13
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I plan to drive to Munnar from Coimbatore. How are the present road conditions from Udumalpet to Munnar ? Will it take 5 hours from Coimbatore ?
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