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Old 17th October 2008, 15:06   #1
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Default Visit to God's own Country - Kerala

Myself and my wife had been to "God's own Country" (Kerala) in Mar 08. It was a fantastic trip and I enjoyed the nature at the fullest. As usual, I researched on net about the places that are famous in Kerala. We zeroed down on a triangular journey. The places we shortlisted:

Cochin : Of course mainly because of it is one of the oldest ports in India and because it is well connected to Mumbai.

Munnar : Heard about Munnar from my friend about its beautiful tea plantations and hills.

Alleppy : No guess, for its ultimate backwaters and untouched beach.

So once we decided on the places, I started looking for hotel bookings, cab booking and air tickets. I took care of the air tickets as 50% cash back (On base fare) was available on my credit card. So I booked Air India flight which goes to Cohin at 11 from Mumbai. To return back to MumbaiI went ahead with GoAir. For hotel and cab booking I went ahead with "TraveMartIndia" as recommended by my friend. So with 3 start hotels and all time available private cab they gave me a quotation of 26K. As I already researched on accomodation and cab fare, I thought its a good deal. So finally did all the bookings through TravelMart and air tickets I took care of (10K return tickets). With everything planned, we started on 12th Mar 08.

Day 1: Mumbai - Cochin
Air India flight was at 11 so we reached the airport at 9:30 am. I thought at least flights take of on time but to my surprise, the flight took of at 12:30. Finally my wifey's cribbing stopped not because of we boarded the flight but coz she had fallen alseep with last statement being "Dont stare at the air hostess Abhi". So our visit to God's own country started a bit late. It took us 2 hrs to reach Cochin. Cochin airport is a nice small airport with big LCDs on display. It is better than Pune airport. It was 2:30 - 2:45 and it was damn humid. To my surprise, the driver of the cab that TravelMart booked was already waiting for us outside the airport. We sat in the car and the first thing he did was to connect me to one person who took care of our bookings in Kerala. He f\greeted me and explained me the overall plan. It was the exact one which I explained to TravelMart. After the call we dierctly went to the hotel Sealord. Its a good hotel with prompt room service. It is in front of the lake in Cochin. In the evening we had been to a floating hotel in that lake and had a cup of tea. Then we went to the mall adjucent to the lake and had burger. This concluded our day-1.

Folloing are images from day - 1 as:

1. Our Air India flight
2. On cloude 9
3. Cochin airport

Continued...
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Old 17th October 2008, 15:15   #2
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Interesting!
I can smell a good travelogue ahead. Fill it up with some good narration and wonderful pictures as you've done in this first post.
Keep it up! Keep it up!

Ps. Please take care of proper punctuations and grammar. Will make the reading a big pleasure. Thanks.
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Old 17th October 2008, 15:32   #3
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Hi!

1 quick thing -

It looks like you have switched your mobile on inside the aircraft to take that cloud picture.

If you indeed have, I hope it was in flight mode, or else you have done a very dangerous and illegal thing.
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Old 17th October 2008, 15:43   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Kapasi View Post
Hi!

1 quick thing -

It looks like you have switched your mobile on inside the aircraft to take that cloud picture.

If you indeed have, I hope it was in flight mode, or else you have done a very dangerous and illegal thing.
It was my digicam. I switched off my mobile while on flight. I asked the attendant before taking the snap . I am converting the images to lower resolution so that I can upload them quickly thats why the quality is degraded a bit.
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Old 17th October 2008, 15:52   #5
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Day 2 : Cochin - Munnar

So we started to Munnar on the very next day at 8 in the morning. Its 160-180KM from Cochin and the road goes through the Kannan Devan hills. So after dealing with the heavy traffic we finally got out of Cochin at 8:30-8:45. One thing I want to highlight is, Kerala has fantastic roads. I did not come across a single pothole in Cochin - Munnar stretch. On the way to Munnar we came across a big Ghat (Winding roads) which is laid across Kannan Devan hills. I usually get motion sickness on such roads if I am not driving but this road is so fantastic that I never felt like nausea. We stopped at a big waterfall which is called "Vellara" as far my memory serves me. In the last strech of about 5 KM from Munnar, we were traveling along the huge tea plantations. I had seen tea plantation before when I had been to Ooty but my wifey seen it for the first time. We did not go close to the plantation as recommended to me by my Mallu friend because of Litchi. So finally at 1’o clock we reached our hotel called “Hotel Retreat” and after few customs of checking in, we went for having lunch.

We ordered Punjabi as we did not find any authentic Keralite food on the menu. But as we were skeptical about Punjabi food in Kerala, we ordered rice and daal tadka to be on safer side. No wonder the food quality was not up to the mark but still tolerable. Then we had rest for couple of hours and went out for local sight seeing.

We went to the “View point” which was 10 mins from our hotel. On our way we found a fantastic farm house belonging to the famous jeweler in Cochin (Courtesy our driver). The view point really offers fantastic panorama. I was amazed by the contrast created by the sunlight through clouds. To my surprise, it was a cloudy weather on that day even being 12th of March. After wrapping up our session at the View point we went to a garden called “Blossom Park”. It was adjacent to our hotel. To be honest I was least interested as I was used to visit gardens in Pune and find them pathetic. It was my wifey who insisted of visiting it as we did not have anything to do. I will always be thankful to her for forcing me to visit the garden. It was a fabulous experience. I fell in love with the ambience in the garden. It was lush green and the climate was just amazing. You can feel it in the pics below.

View point and Blossom Garden concluded our day 2. It was raining heavily at night in Munnar and we enjoyed watching a Mallu/Tamil movie with that ‘Matrix’ like stunts by the hero. You guys enjoy the pics.

1. Vellara waterfall
2. Random pic while on way to Munnar
3. Tea plantations near Munnar
4. View point
5. View point – Climate changed in 10 min flat from sunny to cloudy
6. Blossom garden entrance – One of my favourites
7. Blossom park small waterfall
8. Our hotel – Royal Retreat
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Old 17th October 2008, 15:55   #6
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Nice snaps there neon wheels..keep it coming!!!!!
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Old 17th October 2008, 16:02   #7
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Nice pics.keep them coming.
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Old 17th October 2008, 16:20   #8
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Ha, one more Munnar. great star buddy. Nice pictures too.
Btw, i was staying just 500mts from Royal Retreat (in greenview, opp. to the KRSTC bus depot).
Seems you had fun. Ok, I am stopping here to see more of the pictures. Continue my friend.
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Old 17th October 2008, 16:39   #9
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Day 3 – Munnar

It was a bright sunny day after a heavy rainfall last night. Today on our list we had Munnar dam, Echo point, some lake ( not able to recollect the name) and tea factory.

It was nice drive from Munnar to echo point. I felt like stopping every 5 mins and taking snaps. First halt was at Munnar damn. It is huge and so picturesque. The water so calm that I could catch the reflection of the sky as it is. You can see that in the pic. It was an amazing sight to look at. We had a cup of tea and enjoyed the beauty. People here talk hindi as it is on the border of Kerala and Tamilnadu. I was surprised to see them communicate in hindi. One thing I did not like is that they were looking out for a chance to loot the foreigners with extra ordinary cost of ordinary things. Probably this must be happening everywhere.

Then we went to the “Echo point”. You can hear your echo for almost 7 times. It is because this area is surrounded by hills. Again this was a wonderful sight to be at. Water was calm and took few photos which belong to the reflection category of pics. We bought few items at the echo point with a spree of bargains. My wifey is good at it . At times I wonder if I am one of the bargain items of her. So as a tradition, we bought everything of everybody at home. After spending almost couple of thousands, my wifey kindly gifted me a 7/- wooden pen (Bargained from 20/- a single piece).

Then we left to the lake I was talking about. I forgot its name. We took a “Shikara” ride and felt like fulfilling our dream of riding in a shikara in Daal Lake in Kashmir. It’s huge and according to the boatman (Shikaraman) it looks like India’s map if seen from above. I guess this chap must have had made up this story to impress patriotic people like us. I tried google maps on this region when came back to make sure if this lake really looks like India’s map but was not able to locate the lake itself forget about cross checking its shape stupid

Then finally came the “Tea factory” visit. It is an old factory in the heart of Munnar and a typical tourist attraction. Govt is making good money by putting entrance fee rather than selling tea manufactured here. One elderly fellow explained us the process of preparing the tea. This factory is a museum cum manufacturing unit. My wifey happily spent 750/- for tea she rarely prepares now. I successfully dumped the stock to my friend’s snacks center in Pune.

Day 3 was mainly roaming around in Munnar for local sight seeing. Munnar is a beautiful place and I will surely visit it again. This concluded our Munnar visit. Next day we started to Allepey. You guys enjoy the pics.

1. On our way to Munnar dam
2. Munnar damn - Look at the calm water and reflection of the sky.
3. Echo point – Another from reflection series. One of my favorites
4. Lake – Sorry but I forgot its name. Pristine silence
5. Crocodile tree – Near by the lake
6. Pristine silence point – Never felt so much relaxed
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Old 17th October 2008, 17:15   #10
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Hi Abhi, you surely had a nice time at Kerala!

A well-written travelogue with beautiful pics!
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Old 17th October 2008, 17:31   #11
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Quote:
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Hi Abhi, you surely had a nice time at Kerala!

A well-written travelogue with beautiful pics!
Thanks finney. I wish I could have taken my Palio there
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Old 17th October 2008, 17:35   #12
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Day 4 : Munnar - Allepey

We traveled most of the time on Day 4. We started at 9 from Allepey and visited “Spice garden” on our way to Allepey. I seen spice plants for the first time in my entie life. I usually see them in my curry or subji. The highlight of this garden was “Vanilla tree”.

Not much to write for this day. We reached allepey at 3 and it was raining like anything. We opted to be in the hotel (Booked a room in Arcadia regency). It is a nice hotel and not too expensive. The room was neat and cozy. We had a cloths washing drama on that evening. Had much better food than Munnar and watched Chiranjivi action packed movie. I saw lord Shiva opening his 3rd eye in that movie too . Following are couple of pics.

1. Coffee tree
2. Vanilla tree
3. Arcadia regency - At entrance my confused wifey
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Old 17th October 2008, 18:05   #13
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Day 5 – Allepey

We went to the Alleppey beach in the morning while on our way to a houseboat in nearby backwaters. Alleppey has got a beautiful beach. It was very clean and less crowded. There was nobody selling coconut water, ice cream etc as I am used to spotting in Mumbai. I spotted the first beggar in my journey here on this beach. Kerala is virtually beggar free. At least I did not encounter much. Another thing about Kerala is, people here are so friendly and polite. Usually we come across drunken guys, beggars or a group of people taunting couples/gals but I did not come across any such incidences in Kerala.

We spent nice 2 hours on the beach enjoying the ambience. We wanted to have coconut water and finally settled on Sprite. Wifey was busy collecting sea shells and I was on a spree of clicking snaps.

At 11:30, we left for the houseboat. It was a first time experience for both of us on being a boat for the entire 20 hours. I was a bit skeptical about the idea of spending night on houseboat because of mosquitoes. So finally after 20 mins we arrived at the houseboat. The houseboat has 3 persons on board. Out of 3 guys, one was chef, one assistant and one boatman. The chef cum attendant greeted us on the houseboat. It was a lovely houseboat sporting 26 inch LCD TV with Tata sky connection and a home theatre system. I was surprised to see such an equipped boat. We were the first customers of that houseboat so it was damn clean and neat.

We had lunch at 2’o clock and for the first time I ate authentic Keralite food. It was delicious and of course dominated by rice. The chef cum attendant was surprised to see how less we eat. Then we were about to go to the local market but to our disappointment it started raining heavily and he told us that he can not take us to the local market as they would not be able to maneuver the narrow channel in such heavy rain. I was thoroughly disappointed as I wanted to sit in the small boat which takes you to the market or should I say floating market. It was a wonderful experience roaming around in backwaters. We saw few houses and then small boats belonging to them as we own cars here. It was good to see a change. After roaming for about 4 hours, we came back from where we started in the morning. After having dinner we called it a day. Few pics for you:


1. Yours truly
2. Dancing wave
3. Alleppey beach
4. Another random pic at the beach
5. Power of 3S: Sky – Sea - Sand
6. A random pic at the beach
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Old 17th October 2008, 18:10   #14
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thanks man for the thread, me too planning a trip to my native KERALA in Dec
but mine would be by Road Pune to Kerala on my Royal Enfield Thunderbird
will try some pics as soon as possible
KEEP ENJOYING
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Old 17th October 2008, 18:18   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avi.k View Post
thanks man for the thread, me too planning a trip to my native KERALA in Dec
but mine would be by Road Pune to Kerala on my Royal Enfield Thunderbird
will try some pics as soon as possible
KEEP ENJOYING
God. That will take you 1-2 weeks right?
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