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Old 7th June 2016, 16:51   #1
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Default Bangalore to Munnar - Clockwise

Summer is coming to an end !
Holidays will be over soon!

Just when the summer vacation crowd starts to dwindle and before the monsoon starts, we decide its time to go for mountains.

Though our first love has always been beaches, still we had to cut down our summer "pilgrimage" to Goa and Keep it only near Diwali. In summer we decided to stick with Mountains. This we decided after our son ended up like Jerry during a long summer vacation in Goa.

Presently, having done Ooty just at the beginning of Summer, before the mad rush starts, we are left with Kodai and Munnar. After a thought we decided Kodai is very similar to ooty so lets go back to Munnar. Last year we did Munnar and Thekkady and the trip is chronicled here :http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...-thekkady.html (Bangalore to Munnar & Thekkady)

Though there are many routes to reach Munnar, the two most widely suggested are :-

1. Bangalore -> Hosur -> Krishangiri -> Dharmapuri -> Salem-> Erode -> Perundurai -> Kangeyam - > Dharapuram -> Udumalaipettai -> Marayoor -> Munnar

2. Bangalore -> Hosur -> Krishangiri -> Dharmapuri -> Salem-> Karur -> Dindigul -> Theni- > Bodinayakannur -> Bodimedu -> Poopara -> Munnar [Mostly NH7 and NH49

In order to have the best of both worlds its advised , by many BHPian veterans, to take one route for onward and another for return journey.

For the sake of differentiation I will call " onwards through bodi and return through Marayoor" as clockwise travel.

Ofcourse people who want to reach Thekkady / Kumily through NH7 will not deviate to the right after Theni but rather continue straight towards Cumbum.

Once the decision was made and it was Munnar, we decided to skip Thekkady this time and then it was time for arranging stays. We decided to split our stay into a "nature stay" and a "town stay". So,I booked two nights in a resort on the "Munnar - Poopara" road which would give us time to just relax and unwind in the nature and then I booked the next two nights in Munnar town which will be convenient to visit the tourist spots.

My family was already in TN for the holidays I planned to drive alone till Salem and pick them up for the onwards journey. As the resort I had chosen was near the "Malayil Kallan Guha" on the Munnar Poopara road we decided to stick with NH7-NH49 route through Dindigul - Bodi to reach the resort. And take the Marayoor route when we are coming back.

Day 1 :- To Munnar
I started by 6am on Wednesday, 25 May 2016. Even though Ganganagar where I Stay is on the opposite side of the E-City exit I managed to clear the city in 30 minutes flat and pretty soon crossed on to TN. Trvaelling on the NH7 was a breeze. As I started to feel hungry, around 11 KM after Dharmapuri exit I found an A2B. When we are driving from Bangalore towards Salem the joint comes on the other side of the road so you have to drive further and take an U turn to reach back to the A2B. While driving back through the U turn I crossed the BP petrol pump and noticed that the petrol is nearly 5 rupees cheaper than what I had paid at Shell in Bangalore. Why did I have to fill up the tank, wouldn't I have at least kept half a talk empty ! . Late ri learned that by a quirk of fate the Petrol prices were already hiked Shell Bangalore and not yet hike din Government controlled pumps so the normally 2 Rs difference appeared as 5 Rs difference at this time.

I ordered some pooris and called my family and learned they will be late coming to Salem. With around 560KM to drive for the day, losing more than an hour waiting is not feasible. Quickly we decided they will meet me in Namakkal itself . The A2B at this location is a good joint with quality and tasty food.

After a quick break I started towards Namakkal and again was able to make good speed. While crossing Salem, I realized the city really needs a new by pass or ring road. The existing bypass has simply become part of the Salem city. The multiple ramp flyover junction in Salem is quite tricky, its best to use HEREMAPS or Googlemaps to navigate here if we are not sure about the correct exit to take.

I could almost see the Namakkal exit from the NH7 when a tempo traveler a little further ahead of me swerved a few times and tripped over on the left side. Even as I was gathering my wits and trying to understand what had happened and what I could do, a group of villagers rushed in, helped women and children out and in matter of minutes ambulances arrived and sped away with the victims. This happened very quickly and the villagers worked quite efficiently at it, where as the police stood at a short distance and kept talking on the walkie-talkie. With my limited Tamil I was able to gather that there were no fatalities. Now that the victims were on way to hospital my thoughts were back on the trip and I realized that I will be stuck behind the crashed vehicle for hours atleast. Luckily ther was a small opening in the dividers between the crash and our vehicle. The townsfolk diverted the vehicles into the opposite lane till the next entry back into the correct lane. It is important to note that while diverting the traffic some youngsters in Tamil kept advising "don't overtake, keep left".

Drove slowly for maybe 20 minutes and Voila there was Namakkal bus stand, easily reached with the help of HEREMAPS, but impossible to find a parking spot with shade. Ended up parking simply in the open while I go to fetch my family. When I returned with my wife and son I found that the car has turned into an oven. The heat was really severe. It took almost 30 minutes of AC running to bring the insides to bearable temperatures.

In the previous trip, we had spotted Thalapaktti Biriyani Restaurant in Bathlagundu, between Theni and Dindigul but decided to drive on and have lunch in Ponram. This time we had no doubt we will have lunch in Thalapakatti Hotel , which is just after Bathlagundu village when Driving towards Munnar. We decided to break here. After all the tour is not just about enjoying Munnar but enjoying "the trip itself" from Bangalore till we reach back to Bangalore. When we stopped in the restaurant we noticed that "Dindigul Velu Biriyani" have opened a joint right opposite to "Thalapakatti Biriyani Hotel". So now travelers have two options for lunch. The lunch was good, maybe a little expensive but having crossed one biriyani hotel from the list of many still pending it was onwards to Munnar again.

In Theni when you reach the railway gate you need to keep track and after exactly 3.5Km turn right into NH49 AKA Kochi Dhanushkodi Road. Its not difficult to miss the turn either. The road is quite flat till you reach Munthal and then we take a sharp left and the ghat starts. After driving for around 20KM we can stop in Bodimettu to let the car cool down and rest for some time. There are ample opportunities for photographs on the way. Still at times the road is quite narrow for one vehicle.

As I reached Poopara my HEREMAPS started telling me I have to drive back towards Thekkady and the resort was on opposite side around 2 hours away :Shocked:. Anyhow I put the phone back inside and began to drive towards Munnar on Old fashioned Manual made. Just after the Malayil Kallan Guha I spotted the deviation to the resort with a clear marking. 12 hours after I started I was at the resort at 6PM.

And Vow !!!!

What a pleasant sight. The resort is on a slope with a forest atmosphere. The booking person was very clear from the beginning that this was a forest stay and NOT a plantation stay. The setting was quite beautiful with Clouds/mist drifting around.
Bangalore to Munnar - Clockwise-mist-resort.jpg .
Apart from the regular "cottages" The resort has a tree house and an observation tower.
Bangalore to Munnar - Clockwise-cottage.jpg

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After a quick hot shower we went around exploring the resort. Spent some time in the "machaan" and then their own viewing gallery, some time on the swings and then it was dinner and go to bed.

Day 2 - Take it Easy
We took time to get up and decided to take it easy for the day. After a hearty breakfast we decided to go out and enjoy the sights on the Poopara Munnar road. The "Malayil Kallan Guha" itself is nothing more than a space between rocks, but we get a breathtaking valley view when we stop here. After spending some time we drove on to "Power house waterfalls" and discovered we will have to wait few weeks for Monsoon to start to see the water. Strange, but there was not even a trickle!

We drove back on the Munnar road to enjoy the Lockhart gap. I don't tire in saying that the Lockhart gap road is the most scenic and beautiful stretch of road I have seen.

We stopped here to take photos at the tea gardens and were told to "buy tea" to enter tea gardens. Instead we decided to directly drive to the Harrison Malayalam Tea factory [Lockhart tea factory]. Thought his factory is not as crowded as the Tata controller "kanan Dewan factory" in the town, this is quite different. Inside we learnt that this is one of the few Tea factories which still produce tea in the "orthodox method" instead of the more prevalent CTC or " Crush, Tear, and Curl" method which most other tea factories follow. Well, we were impressed by what was said about the "traditional method" of tea producing where only the leaves and buds are used but not the stem and ended up buying a good quantity of Tea. After a brief trip to Munnar town for lunch in Rapsy restaurant to eat Spanish Omelet and Chuchuka we turned back.

As we had already purchased the Tea in Harrison Malayalam Factory [Lockhart] Factory we decided to enter the GAP area to take some snaps. Some of them can be seen below :-

Bangalore to Munnar - Clockwise-gap-gap-1.jpg

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After spending ample time in the gardens we decided now it was time for the son to enjoy the time now and headed back to the resort. And boy, he had a good time swinging, playing etc. Spending time in the hammock also completed a long standing dream of my boy. Here below are some snaps.

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Day 3 To Munnar town and cochin Road sight seeing

Again, after a leisurely breakfast we went around the resort. My son decided to play basketball and after one round down the slopes to fetch the ball I requested him to go easy.... on me !!! Bangalore to Munnar - Clockwise-basketball.jpg

It was back to swinging, hammock exploring .. Pretty soon it was time to check out from resort and move into Munnar town. Reaching Munnar was not so easy with the customary traffic jam just as we were entering the town. After settling my family in the Hotel room it was time for me for Friday Prayers. Then after a quick lunch on Cochin road we decided to explore the sights on this side.

The main attractions on this side are :
Blossom Park 03 KM
Pothmedu Sun set view 04 KM
Athukad Water falls 06 KM
Dreamland Spice park - 14 KM.

As I usually do, we started from the furthest, that is "Dream land Spice Park", situated in Chitrapuram - Anachal area. however what was expected to be the best part of the trip turned out to ne total flop as it started raining very heavily. I still managed to drive till the Park but the kind gentle man at the ticket counter explained it will not be worth a visit as most of the activities are outdoors and we wont be able to do anything as its raining.

Just to enjoy the scenery we decided to drive on till Power house and then turned back.
Bangalore to Munnar - Clockwise-chitr-road.jpg

Below are photographs showing Chitrapuram in mist and in clear skies. Its amazing to see how people are working hard to fill this part with " View" rooms. I am afraid soon the scenic land will be replaced with another round of concrete Jungle.
Here are some snaps of the Chitrapuram valley as the heavy mist starts to clear
Bangalore to Munnar - Clockwise-chitrapuram-1.jpg

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The evening we decided to complete our shopping. Brought some more tea and Spices from Abbas and company and then spending some time in the Hotel garden went to sleep.

Day 4 Munnar Fulltoos Sightseeing
The top station road or the Mattupett road is the one where maximum tourist attraction are located.

Floriculture garden 03 KM
Photo Point 04 KM
Mattupetty Dam 12 KM
Film shooting Point 13 KM
Elephant Crossing 14 KM
Echo Point 20 KM
Kundala Dam 26 KM
Top station 36 KM

As a habit we decided to start from the last point , that is Top station. The part of Top station is not part of Kerala but rather TN. As it is a private property a nominal ticket has to be purchased before goind all the way down. Yes, for the view point we climb "down". From our previous visit we had seen that the walk from the Parking to the viewing point is not easy. But the visitors can stop at the 1st point and still have a good view.
Bangalore to Munnar - Clockwise-1s-point.jpg

Or you can decide to to just be on the top, and still enjoy the view while having the double yolk egg omelets or the wild bird omelet with honey lime soda.
Bangalore to Munnar - Clockwise-eggs.jpg

As it started to rain heavily we could spend much time in Top station , but rather went to Kunadala for the boating. And surprise ! We drove on to Kundala and found that the dam was completely empty. There was only a small trickle running at the bottom of the lake.

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This was rather surprising because at this time last time the Lake was almost full, as can be seen from a photo of our last year.

Bangalore to Munnar - Clockwise-kundala1.jpg
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We still spent some time here. This is a small valley surrounded by mountains and looks very beautiful. We purchased small things and waited for the rain to pass and then proceeded to Echo point. This is the busiest area in this route and usually jam-packed with vehicles. Also we can find a lot many shops and small hotels catering to many tourists who stop here for a combination of Lunch, Shopping and Boating.

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After a round of boating, Kerala style Lunch and buying some cashews we decided to skip Matupetty and go directly to Floriculture Garden.

This is a rather nice place to see. Small but having many varieties of flowers. Its welcome distraction after having overdosed on Tea gardens.

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After coming back to the hotel we decided to visit a Kalari program. The ticket is 200/- and its bang in the center of the town. Its quite interesting and many people combine Kalaripayattu with Kathakali which starts one after the other.

Bangalore to Munnar - Clockwise-kalari.jpg

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So after dinner here comes to end a very busy day. We go back to hotel, spend some time in the garden and go to sleep.

Day 5 Back to Bangalore and reality

The breakfast was late and heavy. It was taking time to put things back into the bags. No, were not in a mood for packing, only putting things in bags.

It was almost 11am before we started. And then just after 15 minutes were stuck in a massive traffic jam near Eravikulam gate. After few more traffic jams we arrived at Nayamakad Waterfall by noon.

Visiting the falls needs a nominal ticket and around half a kilometer of climbing. Though the water was very cold we spent more than an hour her. The main reason being this is the first falls we saw with sufficient water to actually look like a falls.

Bangalore to Munnar - Clockwise-p_20160529_133049.jpg

Starting at 1.30 we drove through the forests and reached Marayoor by 3PM. Then afterwards it was a boring uneventful travel through Udumalpettai, Dharapuram, Kangayam, Perundurai, NH47 till Salem flyover and then onwards into NH7 till we reached entered Bangalore just around 11. After some quick bites in Fanoos we reached home by midnight.

The details of the trip :-
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Last edited by Bakash4u : 16th June 2016 at 11:42. Reason: Blog underwork
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Old 17th June 2016, 08:54   #2
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!

Last edited by GTO : 17th June 2016 at 08:55. Reason: Bump
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Old 17th June 2016, 09:18   #3
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Default Re: Bangalore to Munnar - Clockwise

Originally Posted by Bakash4u View Post
Then afterwards it was a boring uneventful travel through Udumalpettai, Dharapuram, Kangayam, Perundurai, NH47 till Salem flyover and then onwards into NH7 till we reached entered Bangalore just around 11. After some quick bites in Fanoos we reached home by midnight.
Instead of Dharapuram-Kangeyam-Perundurai, you can now do Udumalpet-Palladam-Avinashi. Thats much faster for almost the same distance. You get access to 4-lane much earlier and hence can cover the distance faster.
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Old 17th June 2016, 10:07   #4
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Default Re: Bangalore to Munnar - Clockwise

Thanks ampere.
I checked to see that its indeed better. And it also looks like bypassing Tiruppur.
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Old 17th June 2016, 10:16   #5
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Default Re: Bangalore to Munnar - Clockwise

Nice travelogue and great pictures, thanks for sharing

Originally Posted by Bakash4u View Post
I checked to see that its indeed better. And it also looks like bypassing Tiruppur.
Yes, you can bypass Tiruppur completely on this route.
As @ampere says, the Avinashi bypass-Mangalam-Palladam route works beautifully if going to Udumalaipet or Pollachi and beyond.

**After the NH47 road widening was completed, Tiruppur now has many entry/exit options from NH47 side but traffic can get messy once inside Tiruppur
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Old 17th June 2016, 10:21   #6
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Default Re: Bangalore to Munnar - Clockwise

Thanks NPV.

Originally Posted by NPV View Post
Tiruppur now has many entry/exit options from NH47 side but traffic can get messy once inside Tiruppur
This is what I was afriad of. Still it looks better on "google"
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