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Old 8th October 2008, 23:41   #1
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Default Yet another travelogue on Munnar

Yet another travelogue on Munnar. I logged in to post my first travelogue at TBHP site, only to see mjothi’s beautiful piece lying there already. Nevertheless going ahead and taking care not to post similar photos.

First of all, I’d like to thank Team BHP for the wealth of information shared, so that my trip was planned to perfection. The only problem was that Munnar was pretty hot (we were there from 9/28 – 10/1), to the extent that we used to stay back in our cottage between 1PM and 4PM. Only on the last day was I able to see some clouds hugging the tall mountains. This was my 3rd visit to Munnar and was pretty disappointed. The best part was that the whole place was lush green and we counted over 50 small and medium sized water falls all around.

We (self, wife and two sons) had planned a standard 4D/3N vacation with an option of extending by a day. We stayed at High Range Club (HRC), the local planter’s club that was started in 1905 and still retains the old world charm. They are little more formal and have a few rules, but one can definitely enjoy the stay. BTW, HRC is open to all and you need not necessarily have to be a member of this club or their affiliates – they have a concept of temporary membership to make this happen. It’s a beautiful place, just about 2.5kms from the center of the town. Photos at the end of the write-up.

We took the standard route of BHPians – B’lore-Krishangiri-Thoppur-Mettur-Bhawani-Perundurai-Dharapuram-Udumalpet-Munnar (460kms). We went to Mysore on the way back and took Munnar-Udumalpet-Palladam-Somanur-Annur-Sathy-Chamarajanagara-Mysore (350kms). Took a break in Udumalpet while going to Munnar. Stayed at Annamalai hotel, which looks only good from the outside.

In and around Udumalpet region you cannot miss the giant wind mills in different heights.

Yet another travelogue on Munnar-img_0029.jpg

I started my journey from Udumalpet with a good cache of Rs.10 notes that are required to be paid at numerous check posts, as warned by the BHPians. My experience was similar, just that on the Tamilnadu side they asked Rs.20 and nothing on the Kerala side.


Soon, we were climbing the hills on the narrow but good roads

Yet another travelogue on Munnar-img_0046.jpg

On to your left, deep inside the valley you can see the majestic falls (Karimutti falls, not sure of the spelling). The TN forest department organizes a trek to this falls.

Yet another travelogue on Munnar-img_0037.jpg
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The next stop was the touristy Lukkum Falls.

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The next day, we went to Matupetty dam, that was almost overflowing.

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We had a thrilling ride on the speed boat at the dam site. The guy that drives the speed boat also became our videographer

Yet another travelogue on Munnar-img_0154.jpg

Disappointed to see that the Indo-Swiss Cattle farm about a mile from Matupetty dam is no more open for tourists.

The next spot was a serene place called Echo point, made unbearable by tourists screaming and shouting to hear back their own voice

Yet another travelogue on Munnar-img_0165.jpg

We then moved on to Kundale dam, supposedly the first arch dam in Asia

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They have these nice Kashmiri boats, but allow only 2 “heads” – irrespective of their size or weight. Couldn't persuade the guy to take my entire family in a single boat, though the 2 kids would have added only about 50kgs extra

Yet another travelogue on Munnar-img_0217.jpg

We continued our journey upto TopStation

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Someone told me TopStation is the last point in Kerala and Tamilnadu starts immediately after that. Could be true as you would suddenly be on the road full of potholes from the smoothest possible road.

Yet another travelogue on Munnar-img_0242.jpg
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One could see the plains of Tamilnadu as the hills progressively become smaller and smaller.

Yet another travelogue on Munnar-img_0234.jpg

To be continued ... (Rajamalai and its Nilgiri Thars, and some pics of High Range Club)
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Old 9th October 2008, 07:51   #2
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Hai, thats a nice one. You entered thorough Udumalapet, I exited through it
The experience of speed boat is really different. And you had video. So,any plans to upload some pieces here?
I remember checking the HRC, but no availability. You right, I saw their site mentioning about the dress codes and other stuffs. Very different from other resorts I guess.
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Old 9th October 2008, 09:04   #3
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Part two is here ...

Rajamalai is the home of endangered Nilgiri Tahrs. From Munnar you need to drive down about 12kms on the Udumalpet road to reach the base of Rajamalai. Private vehicles are not allowed from this point onwards and you need to take the tourist departmentís mini buses. No eatables are allowed as they fear tourists might feed the tahrs and creating problems for the endangered species (ofcourse this has not stopped the forest dept from opening their own store atop Rajamalai, where you can get eatables!).

This is the view from the place where the mini bus drops you off
Yet another travelogue on Munnar-img_0286.jpg

It was fairly hot and we started looking out for the Tahrs and the first one appeared
Yet another travelogue on Munnar-img_0287.jpg

Then some more
Yet another travelogue on Munnar-img_0288.jpg

You need to trek about a km or so and keep looking for the tahrs
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Ö and you can spot them
Yet another travelogue on Munnar-img_0307.jpg

Ö they can come too close
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Ö take a more closer look
Yet another travelogue on Munnar-img_0324.jpg

After Rajamalai we wanted to explore Athukad falls
Yet another travelogue on Munnar-img_0335.jpg

Itís a pity that you canít go anywhere closer to the water falls seen above, but only after it has descended quite a bit. This is where you can go
Yet another travelogue on Munnar-img_0347.jpg
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The parking space is provided after crossing this narrow Bridge
Yet another travelogue on Munnar-img_0353.jpg

There is a Mallu tea shop wherever you go! Nice place to sip tea while watching the falls. Notice the innovative way the coconut shells and plastic bottles are being used as pots to grow small plants
Yet another travelogue on Munnar-img_0362.jpg

Finally, I was happy to see some clouds over Munnar hills.
Yet another travelogue on Munnar-img_0337.jpg

To be continued (some snaps from HRC)
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Old 9th October 2008, 09:12   #4
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The road after Top Station goes to Kodaikanal, which is 65 kms away. It becomes a dirt track - have driven on it 20 years ago in my bike. But nowadays that road is closed because lots of ganja (poppy) cultivation goes on there. The road comes out at Berijam lake near Kodai.

Used to be one of the best drives in this region, going through thick jungles. Pity it is closed now.

Also from Top Station, you can go to some villages in and around.
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Old 9th October 2008, 10:14   #5
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Oh, what am I going to do, I also went to Munnar and stayed at the HRC and my travelogue is yet to come
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Old 9th October 2008, 10:29   #6
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Seems many t-bhpians was there during last week. Great.

Myself, mdmahesh, ajmat, prasad14... Guess this list if going to grow in secs.
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Old 9th October 2008, 10:45   #7
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Munnar seems to be in demand nowadays.

Nice pictures. What camera do you use? It seems like a Sony cybershot.
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Old 9th October 2008, 12:50   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
The road after Top Station goes to Kodaikanal, which is 65 kms away.
Once after checking out nothing interesting at the berijam lake, we took a walk on the road which leads to the other side at around 13.00 hrs. The warning sign board failed to get our attention - " Visitors not allowed beyond this point".

That was a wonderful road with highly grown trees densely populated on either side. After we went through few kms, it was getting dark with heavy rains 'n' no one in sight. We could realize that our voices can be heard for atleast 1/2 a kms and we continued walking for the next 2 hours before we decided to walk back as there are no trace of any villages.

It took 3 hours for the return trip only to hear the shocking news that our Van was sent back and we have to stay back there itself or walk back (around 15 kms) risking ourselves to BISON attacks. Luckily somehow we managed to bring back the van and could feel the risk involved when we saw huge 12-15 bisons on the road while checking out.

That's the most beautiful nature I have ever seen in my life. Not sure whether thats the road which leads to munnar
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Old 9th October 2008, 13:07   #9
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Time to have a TBHP meet in Munnar, me thinks.

Hopefully one that isnt as eventful as CSI Kuttikanam.
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Old 9th October 2008, 13:26   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surprise View Post





That was a wonderful road with highly grown trees densely populated on either side. After we went through few kms, it was getting dark with heavy rains 'n' no one in sight. We could realize that our voices can be heard for atleast 1/2 a kms and we continued walking for the next 2 hours before we decided to walk back as there are no trace of any villages.

It took 3 hours for the return trip only to hear the shocking news that our Van was sent back and we have to stay back there itself or walk back (around 15 kms) risking ourselves to BISON attacks. Luckily somehow we managed to bring back the van and could feel the risk involved when we saw huge 12-15 bisons on the road while checking out.

That's the most beautiful nature I have ever seen in my life. Not sure whether thats the road which leads to munnar

Surprise, I went back to my hand-written log books of that trip on July 11, 1988, when I rode my TVS Suzuki bike from Kanjirapalli to Coimbatore via Munnar and on the road to Kodai via Berijam Lake. Exact distance from Top Station to Kodai is 60 kms, and Berijam Lake comes 25 kms before Kodai. In those days, there were no check posts, and there was hardly any road, it was a little better than a rock-strewn jungle path which was wide enough in places to let a car through (I believe this was the Popular Rally route too). Lots of bamboo/ eucalyptus grew in that area, and there are no villages en route,m only workers cutting down these trees during the day in the TN side - these bamboos/ eucalyptus used to go to South India Viscose plant in Bhavani Sagar, near Mettupalayam-Sathyamangalam.

From Berijam Lake, there are 2 roads other than the road you normally take from Kodai - via Golf Course, Green Valley View, Pillar Rocks, Foulk's Filling (the real original Suicide Point). From Berijam Lake, you can turn back and come back to Kodai via a different route. The other one is the road to Munnar, which is the one you appear to have taken. Dangerous walk, the place has lots of bison, although I was told by the locals in Munnar that this Top Station-Berijam route has no elephants.

The "Original" Suicide Point in Kodaikanal - Foulk's Filling:

http://images.kodakgallery.com/photo...2803_0_ALB.jpg
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Old 9th October 2008, 13:31   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Exact distance from Top Station to Kodai is 60 kms, and Berijam Lake comes 25 kms before Kodai.
Kumaara - is Munnar-Top Station 22 kms? I ask because we recorded 82 kms from Munnar to Kodai during our wild ride through that route about 18 years ago when we were chased by Bison.
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Old 9th October 2008, 13:39   #12
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No, Top Station is 35 kms from Munnar town, and the road for the last 25 kms was a mess - dirt track - when I did my bike trip in 1988. Yes, the road beyond Top Station is quite dangerous, locals warned me, and advised me to go to Kodai via the conventional Bodi Medu route - advice which I naturally disregarded! It was a lovely drive except that I fell off somewhere on the way (I was riding solo) on the stony path, and had to take a X-ray of my chest after reaching Coimbatore (luckily, no ribs broken!).

Steeroid, you were very lucky with the bison that day, as I was, I speeded up to reach Kodai before it was too dark - left Top Station at 315 pm and reached Kodai at 615 pm.
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Old 9th October 2008, 13:44   #13
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Steeroid, you were very lucky with the bison that day, as I was, I speeded up to reach Kodai before it was too dark - left Top Station at 315 pm and reached Kodai at 615 pm.
Not me - it was a couple of others who were charged (mock charge, else they wouldnt be in this world today).

We took all of 6+ hours (I dont have logs, I remember 6-8 hours) to get across - there were no roads and the path was full of rocks. The bikes were battered and bruised. However we did (against better advice and common sense) stop every now and then for the guys to chill out and 'absorb' the mountain air. I remember a couple of them were even hunting for 'Magic Mushroom'. Very very dangerous and we are lucky nothing untoward happened - we were young and very very reckless. Personally, I wouldnt want to do it again (or even allow my son to!).
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Old 9th October 2008, 13:53   #14
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I went through that Top Station-Berijam lake-Kodi section without stopping, it was an eerie experience, very scary. And when I fell down the bike on those nasty stones (like you described your ride), I was too scared to even latch back the headlamp, which sprung open in the impact.

The famous Kurinji Flower, which blooms once every 12 years in the Kodai-Munnar Hills. I am told you can see those flowers in bloom on the Top Station-Berijam lake route. (Not my photo, from the kurinji.in web-site)

http://kurinji.in/images/flowers.jpg
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Old 9th October 2008, 13:54   #15
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Looks like there is an unknown "Munnar visit contest" going on in team-bhp cheers:

There is no end to enjoy mother nature however its done or described ! Whenever I hear about 'thick forest' or 'bisons' I recall Veerappan's face. I can still recall my travel from Kerala to Bangalore (mid 1994 as a Bangalore Christite student). The bus stopped for dinner somewhere near Sathyamangalam. Many people didnt have the guts to come out of the bus to have dinner, telling each other "Veerappan is around here, he might come and shoot everyone" etc. Anyway, gone are those days of terror and fear for life !

Nicely captured photos here Prasad . Although I am not a professional photographer, but an addict to cameras since childhood, I can find some of them well framed. Keep them pouring cats and dogs.

Last edited by shajufx : 9th October 2008 at 13:56.
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