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Old 11th September 2009, 22:40   #1
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Default Bangalore – Munnar /Thekkady /Kochi in Swift D..

Route: Bangalore – Munnar – Thekkady – Kochi – Bangalore

Well!! A trip to Kerala was always there at the back of my mind for quite some time now and never got an opportunity to head towards Gods Own Country. Though I was born here and lived my first 5 years of my life in Kochi, the last time I was back in Kerala was about 10 years back when in college and had beautiful memories of my childhood and visit to Kerala. A perfect opportunity arose when one of my close friends was getting married in Kochi on September 8th. I decided to make use of this opportunity to visit some places in Kerala and then head towards Kochi for the marriage, before heading back to Bangalore. Also my wife’s birthday on the 6th of September was also a good excuse to have a small vacation. We decided to visit Munnar and Thekkady this time. Kerala in September/October is the greenest IMHO. So the plan was made for a 5 day trip. So it’s me and wifey in Swift D off to Kerala.


Preparation:

The car has done about 22000kms. My previous trip to Madurai and Kodaikanal was just after the 20000kms service. Just a week before we leave for Kerala, I receive an invitation for Free Service Camp from Mandovi Motors. The Swift D gets thoroughly pampered at Mandovi Motors on a Sunday morning. I get all the rattling fixed, oils and coolant topped up, filters cleaned and complete body wash. The car is sparkling clean now. I fill up regular diesel (Rs.1000/27lts.) from IOC at RV road the previous day. All the bags already packed with lots of rainwear and we are ready to go. Plan to leave Bangalore by 6:30AM the next morning.


Day 1 (05th September, 2009): Bangalore – Hosur – Krishnagiri – Dharmapuri – Thoppur (Exit NH7 and turn Right) – Mettur – Bhavani (Join NH47) – (Exit NH47) Perundurai – Chennimalai – Kangayam – Dharapuram – Udumalaipettai – Marayoor – Munnar

Trip Meter – 0kms to 463kms

I am up only by 7:00AM as I came from work pretty late only by 2:00AM. Just 4-5 hours of sleep and I was pretty much excited about the long drive today. After a quick bath and the entire luggage loaded into the car we leave our house in Jayanagar by 7:30AM. I make my way through the traffic that’s starting to build up at BTM layout and join the Hosur Road. We cross Electronic City junction in no time and encounter a massive traffic jam at Chandapura Junction which is caused due to a flyover construction. It takes about 20mins to get out of the traffic jam and in no time we are in Tamil Nadu. We stop at A2B at Chinnar (about 25kms from Hosur) for breakfast around 8:45AM.

Breakfast at A2B was a disappointment. The place was really crowded and I had to wait a long time in the queue. And to add to this frustration the wind blew off one of the pooris I was having. I didn’t have the courage to go back stand in the queue to buy more breakfast. I felt Spicy Spoon restaurant which is about 5kms before A2B is another good option. It’s less crowded and pretty decent breakfast. We leave A2B by 9:15AM and I let the Swift D stretch its legs on the beautiful NH 7. I keep the speed constant at 100kmph. Pay the toll at Krishnagiri (Rs.25) and head straight towards Dharmapuri. Cross Dharmapuri, pay the toll at Thoppur (Rs.48) and take the right towards Mettur around 10:30AM.

Bangalore – Munnar /Thekkady /Kochi in Swift D..-dsc08342.jpg
At A2B, Chinnar

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Towards Dharmapuri

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Beautiful NH7

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Super smooth NH7, Dharmapuri

Now it’s a 2 lane state highway towards Mettur. The road all the way till Mettur is just average with occasional broken patches and potholes. I decided not to take the Bypass towards Mettur Thermal Station and continued ahead towards Mettur Dam. Mettur Dam was just half full with water. Enter Mettur town and head towards Bhavani. Bhavani is about 49kms from Mettur. This again is on a 2 lane SH where you can cruise at 80-90kmph. We enter Bhavani town and make our way out towards NH47. The beautiful 4 lane NH47 all the way towards Perundurai is super smooth. Exit NH47 at Perundurai and take the 2 lane state highway towards Dharapuram. It’s again a 2 lane SH towards Dharapuram. Roads are pretty wide for a 2 lane SH. I maintain a speed of around 80-90kmph. After Perundurai, you join the HW from Erode at Chennimalai and continue towards Kangayam.

Bangalore – Munnar /Thekkady /Kochi in Swift D..-dsc08369.jpg
Mettur Dam

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SH towards Dharapuram

By 12:30PM we are Kangayam and decide to have an early lunch at Gayathri Veg and Non Veg restaurant just near the Kangayam Bus stand. I had stopped here earlier during my return trip to Bangalore from Kodaikanal and really liked the food here. We had vegetarian meals and spicy Chettinad Chicken just like the last time. After a heavy lunch, we leave the place by 1:00PM and make our way towards Dharapuram. At Dharapuram we take the bypass and continue ahead, and at a circle we take the right towards Udumalaipettai which is 69kms from Dharapuram.

Nearing Udumalaipettai, we encounter towering windmills. The entire stretch between Dharapuram to Udumalaipettai has hundreds of windmills. We stopped at one of the windmills close to the highway to take a closer look at it. The huge blades rotating were an amazing sight to watch. The windmill might be at least 15 storeys high. After spending about 15mins at the windmill, we make our way into Udumalaipettai town. A little confusing to find the way towards Marayoor, we ask for directions and head towards Marayoor by crossing the BG railway line and head towards Amaravathi.

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Huge windmills at Udumalaipettai

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Huge windmills at Udumalaipettai

We enter the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary check post around 2:40PM. The drive inside the forest is on a well paved single lane road. The forest was mostly dry with towering fog filled hills ahead. We maintained a speed of 40-50kmph inside the forest and were looking out for any wild animals. We did not come across any animals and then we started the climb up the hills after signing an entry book at one of the check posts.

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2 Lane road towards Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

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Single lane road inside Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

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A lake inside Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

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Towering Munnar hills ahead

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Starting the climb up

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Roads towards Munnar inside Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

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Can see the fog filled hills ahead

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Stopped at one of the checkposts inside the forest

The surrounding gradually changes from dry to green. I can see small streams and the roads slightly wet with rains. Once we are at the other side of the hills the surroundings is completely wet. We stop at a point where we can see Thuvanam Waterfalls in the distance. All this time there is a steady drizzle. We continue our way towards Munnar and encounter numerous waterfalls all around us. There are like 10-15 waterfalls and green carpet of tea gardens around us. I read on the Internet that these hills are called the Kannan Devan hills owned by the TATA group for their tea brand. TATAs indeed own a small part of heaven on earth. Every turn we take opens up new scenery and we are stopping every 10mins for photographs. The roads are narrow but well paved with occasional potholes all the way up the hills and as we near Munnar the roads have rain water running across. After stopping every 10-15mins taking snaps we finally reach Munnar town by around 5:00PM.

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It starts raining

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Thuvanam Waterfalls in the distance

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Thuvanam Waterfalls

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Watersfalls everywhere

Bangalore – Munnar /Thekkady /Kochi in Swift D..-dsc08475.jpg
Green tea gardens

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Green tea gardens

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Swift D at one of the beautiful places we stopped

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Tea gardens

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Waterfalls beside the road

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Surrounded by hills with numerous waterfalls

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Road through the hills

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One of the many waterfalls beside the road

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One of the many waterfalls beside the road

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Almost nearing Munnar

We take rooms at Highrange Inn just opposite to Misha Holiday Home on the Munnar-Cochin road. We get good rooms at the top floor with an OK view of the hills. Rooms at Rs.750 after 50% discount. We check-in by 5:20PM into the cozy room with rains lashing hard outside at Munnar. My car parked outside was getting pressure washed with the heavy rains. We decided not to visit any places today and just relax listening to the rains outside as it was already getting dark. The road from our hotel to Munnar town center was in a bad state. There had been a recent landslide and entire stretch was riddled with potholes.

Around 8:30PM, we decided to have dinner at Hotel Annapoorna just opposite to our hotel which is a standard North Indian Vegetarian restaurant. I was desperately looking forward for Kerala Beef dry fry and Kerala Parottas, but my wife being a veggie she was a little skeptical with restaurants serving both Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian food. So have to wait for another day for this Kerala dish. After dinner we head towards Munnar City center for some shopping and are back to the room by 10:30PM. I am a little tired with all the driving for the day and wait till midnight to wish my wife Happy Birthday and then doze off.

Continued....
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Old 11th September 2009, 22:50   #2
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DD, quite like these trips you keep making at regular intervals. Nice captures from your camera, as well.
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Old 11th September 2009, 23:19   #3
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have fun dreamdiesel!!! I am from around Thekkady. Wish i were there thus making an excuse to meet a bhpian in flesh!! well some other time, i guess!!
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Old 12th September 2009, 00:53   #4
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DD,
Yet an another in detailed pictorial Travelogue from you , As usual awesome pics. By the way which Camera you use . Waiting for rest of the Travelogue.
-- Ravi.Potla
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Old 12th September 2009, 09:46   #5
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lovely trip , i like the regularity of your trips... and the photos leave me wanting for more so , DD give us moreeeee
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Old 12th September 2009, 10:39   #6
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Woww...!! I hope that you really enjoyed your trip to Kerala,The God's Own Country .I really liked your travelogue and the pictures...Great pictures brother,which camera are you using..? By the way I would like to see more pictures of your trip
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Old 12th September 2009, 10:40   #7
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Fantastic pics. Makes me wanna jump from the seat and go there.
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Old 12th September 2009, 10:55   #8
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flying puri was hilarious. nice trip there. enjoy. so it looks like a total of 10 hours.
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Old 12th September 2009, 11:00   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benbsb29 View Post
DD, quite like these trips you keep making at regular intervals. Nice captures from your camera, as well.
Thank you Ben. Me and my wife love travelling and we make sure it happens atleast once every three months. Great way to de-stress...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bumblebee86 View Post
have fun dreamdiesel!!! I am from around Thekkady. Wish i were there thus making an excuse to meet a bhpian in flesh!! well some other time, i guess!!
Thank you Bumblebee. I envy you!!! Thekkady (Idukki district) is such a beautiful place to live.. I just loved it. Next time I am there will make a point to meet a fellow BHPian from Thekkady.

Quote:
Originally Posted by potlaravi View Post
DD,
Yet an another in detailed pictorial Travelogue from you , As usual awesome pics. By the way which Camera you use . Waiting for rest of the Travelogue.
-- Ravi.Potla
Thank you Ravi. Its a 3 year old basic Sony P&S camera. I am planning to upgrade to a DSLR shortly. Awaiting approval from my wife..

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellstar View Post
lovely trip , i like the regularity of your trips... and the photos leave me wanting for more so , DD give us moreeeee
Thank you hellstar..

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashwinsid View Post
Fantastic pics. Makes me wanna jump from the seat and go there.
Thanks aswin!!
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Old 12th September 2009, 11:11   #10
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Default Nice snaps

A couple of years ago I have visited Munnar in my 118NE. I have taken few snaps of a peak in Munnar. I cannot recall the name of it. Enclosed the pictures. Great place compared to Ooty.
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Old 12th September 2009, 12:32   #11
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Hi DreamDiesel Awesome travelogue with awesome pics. After watching these snaps cant wait to take the car out and head out to these dreamland. Maybe Insha Allah will go after Ramzan. Awaiting more pics.
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Old 12th September 2009, 13:47   #12
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Fantastic Travelogue as usual DD. Keep 'em rolling.

Waiting for the next part.
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Old 12th September 2009, 14:05   #13
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Great pics DD. Looks like you are feasting us only of waterfalls.. Just kidding.
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Old 12th September 2009, 15:06   #14
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Default Bangalore – Munnar /Thekkady /Kochi in Swift D..

I really had a good night’s sleep. The rains were continuously lashing the entire night and it was a drizzle when I woke up by 9:00AM. It’s my wife’s birthday today and what a place to be to celebrate your loved ones birthday. The view outside the room with mist covered hills and wet surroundings make me lazy to get ready. We both finally get ready and leave our room only by 10:30AM.

We make our way towards Munnar town center and decide to have breakfast at Hotel Sarvana Bhavan. Breakfast was just good and we could not find any other better restaurants for breakfast at Munnar. After breakfast we buy some spices from a store nearby and decide to buy more spices once we are at Thekkady as I heard it’s the center of Spices Trading in Kerala. By 11:15AM we make our way towards Mattupetty by crossing the bridge over a river next to an IOC fuel station and turn left (right takes you to Devikulam/Thekkady).

The drive towards Mattupetty is on a very well paved 2 lane road. The drive on these roads was one of the best drives I did. There was a slight drizzle all the time, well made roads and roads of curves taking you through breathtaking scenery at every curve. The Swift D cornered these curves as if on tracks and I just loved pushing the car at every turn. Mattupetty is about 12kms from Munnar town and there is a Dam and a Dairy Farm here. One has to drive over Mattupetty Dam if going towards Top Station. I was raining pretty heavy and due to narrow roads for parking I did not stop at the Dam. Just took some pictures of the dam and continued my drive towards Top Station. Idukki Tourist department provides boating facilities at the dam and due to rains boating was closed today. I have heard from friends of mine who have been to this place for boating that the speed boat rides are pretty good at the dam.

Bangalore – Munnar /Thekkady /Kochi in Swift D..-dsc08528.jpg
Towards Mattupetty on a rainy morning

Bangalore – Munnar /Thekkady /Kochi in Swift D..-dsc08531.jpg
Hill around on the way towards Mattupetty

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Tea Gardens

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Tea Gardens

Bangalore – Munnar /Thekkady /Kochi in Swift D..-dsc08545.jpg
Beautiful winding roads in the rain

Bangalore – Munnar /Thekkady /Kochi in Swift D..-dsc08661.jpg
Mattupetty Dam

We continue our drive towards Top Station and stop at Echo Point which is about 17kms from Munnar Town. Park the car and we walk down to echo point. I guess every hill station has an echo point and this one here is no exception. But the view from here is really beautiful we find a lot of people trying to shout out loud for the echo. We walk down to the edge of the lake for some photographs and after spending about 30mins here we head back to the car and continue our drive towards Top Station.

Bangalore – Munnar /Thekkady /Kochi in Swift D..-dsc08553.jpg
Elephant ride on the way towards Echo Point

Bangalore – Munnar /Thekkady /Kochi in Swift D..-dsc08559.jpg
Lake at Echo Point

Bangalore – Munnar /Thekkady /Kochi in Swift D..-dsc08561.jpg
Beautiful view from Echo Point

Bangalore – Munnar /Thekkady /Kochi in Swift D..-dsc08572.jpg
At Echo Point

About 25kms from Munnar is Kundala Dam and Lake. The drive down to the dam is about 500mtrs from road towards Top Station. We drive over the dam towards the other side where the Kundala Lake is. The road on top of the dam is really narrow with space available only for one vehicle. Have to wait for my turn, only after the opposite traffic is clear that I can proceed further to cross the dam. We are Kundala Lake by 1:00PM. The lake is at a beautiful location with beautiful hills all around and you have boating facilities here at the lake. You can hire pedal boats, row boats or Shikkara boats here. We wanted to try the Shikkara boat but that option was not open today due to rains and only pedal and row boats were available. We decided not to go for boating and took a walk beside the lake. After spending about an hour at the lake we make our way towards Top Station.

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Driving atop Kundala Dam

Bangalore – Munnar /Thekkady /Kochi in Swift D..-dsc08581.jpg
Kundala Dam

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Kundala Lake

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Kundala Lake and Dam

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View around the lake

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View around the lake

Top Station is about 34kms from Munnar Town situated at 6300ft above sea level. Top Station is situated at the border of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The last 2-3kms towards Top Station is very bad roads or no roads. Slowly make my way on the slushy road. The road ends abruptly and I make a U-Turn and find place beside the narrow road for parking. The walk towards Top Station is about 1km from the parking area and offers stunning views of the Kodaikanal hills ahead. We have to climb lots of steps to get down to the view point. Pay an entry of Rs.15 per head and only climb down half the steps and stop for photographs and taking in the beauty the place has to offer. We spend about 30mins here and slowly climb our way up back. The climb up is a little tiring with steep steps and it was a good decision not climbing all the way down to the view point.

Bangalore – Munnar /Thekkady /Kochi in Swift D..-dsc08614.jpg
On the way towards Top Station

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Swift D enroute Top Station

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View during the walk towards Top Station

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View at Top Station

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View at Top Station

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View of the hills towards Tamil Nadu

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View of the hills towards Tamil Nadu

We head back up the road where my car was parked. We decide to have hot tea and roasted maize at one of the small shops. After that we are on our way back to Munnar town by 3:30PM. Drive back to our hotel in Munnar by 4:30PM and head over to Hotel Annapoorna for a late lunch. Back in the room after lunch we rest for some time and by 5:30PM we try to explore the road towards Pothamedu View Point. To go towards Pothamedu View point one has to take the road towards Cochin from Munnar and take a left after Blossom Park over a narrow bridge which more looks like a mini dam. We take the right after crossing this bridge and make our way up into the winding roads. As we keep going we see some beautiful resorts built around here. The roads get really narrow with plants growing very close to the road. At one place an electric pole was leaning against a tree across the road with just enough space for my Swift to squeeze in. We go a little further ahead and decide to turn back as road was very narrow. With lot of difficulty I take a U-Turn and head back to Munnar town by 6:30PM.

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On the way back to Munnar

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On the bridge towards Pothamedu View point

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View of the bridge we just crossed

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Views enroute Pothamedu View point

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The roads get really narrow and I had to turn back

We stop at a small temple near the KSRTC Bus Stand. My wife wanted to visit a temple as today being her birthday. Then I head back to Munnar town center for some shopping. While my wife is waiting in the car I head over to the friendly neighborhood Bakery and buy a small piece of chocolate cake, a pack of candles and couple disposable plates and spoons. Yes we are going to have a small cake cutting celebration back at the hotel after dinner. We head back to the room and watch TV for some time.

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Birthday celebration

By 8:30PM we head over to the restaurant at Hotel Hill View for dinner. Nice restaurant and I get to have Kerala Beef Dry fry today. After a nice quite dinner at Hotel Hill View we head back to our hotel by 10:00PM. Have a small cake cutting ceremony and finally call it a day around midnight.

Continued....
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Old 12th September 2009, 16:45   #15
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Dream Diesel, man the travelogue is shaping up nicely, off all the different posts on Munnar, yours stand out with freshness with images and also splendid narration, do continue. How was the roads to Chinnar and also the traffic? The FE of Swift? Belated wishes to your wife, nice thought of completing the posting with a picture of the cake and the candle.

Last edited by Majic : 12th September 2009 at 16:46.
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