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Old 22nd August 2019, 14:06   #1
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Default S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar

One fine Wednesday at work, it just dawned to me Kungfu Panda (Jr.) has not had much adventures lately, and was doing only city duty. After his first year run of some 45K Kms, he was mostly left for smaller duties in the city and some airport runs. Why not give him an opportunity and wake him up from this slumber? Why not just switch the Exploration Mode ON?

Spoke to a colleague who likes to join me on drives, and immediately got an okay for a drive. I asked him if he'd be okay for a day off plus the weekend, and he readily agreed. Yes, its going to be the subsequent Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and I have Thursday to plan pack and leave! Well we make decisions like that these days, since well planned trips normally do not convert, sudden decisions do.

Trip of three days for me to plan, I sat at my desk contemplating the possibilities. I did not want a mile crunching drive, but an exploratory one. It flashed on mind about a trip to Kodai, but not really to Kodai, but around Kodai. Why not we find how many routes are there to reach Kodai? What are those villages nearby Kodai? What one could expect in these parts? With that theme in mind, details were put together to execute this trip. My trip partner had no clue what was in the cards for the trip.

In the end we found 7 routes to reach Kodai, while for six of them you could drive, the seventh you have to walk in from Munnar or may be a 4x4!

So here is a log of a drive to Kodai, without actually visiting Kodai and a walk from Kodai to Munnar!

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Old 22nd August 2019, 14:52   #2
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar

The Plan
Day 01 : 07th June 2019 : Friday : Bangalore - Kodai Outer
Day 02 : 08th June 2019 : Saturday : Kodai Outer
Day 03 : 09th June 2019 : Sunday : Kodai Outer - Bangalore

So Simple

The route
S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar-kodai01.jpg

But the plan had all the entry routes to Kodai possible, and ask me, it was fun charting this out and executing!!

Detailed Drive Plan
S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar-kodai02_entries.jpg

The marked numbers are the entry points to Kodai.
1. Normal / Usual route to Kodai from Batlagundu via Kodai Road. Plain Boring stuff, following all those crazy guys showing their skills on the hills.
2. Turn off at Sempatty and take Sitharevu - Perumparai - Thandikudi - Pannaikadu and join the Kodai road and go on wards via Perumalmalai to Kodai.
3. Sempatty - Adalur - and join route 2 at Perumparai.
4. From Vedasandur - OddanChathram - Pachalur and join route 2 at Perumparai.
5. Palani - Melpallam - Perumalmalai - Kodai, I guess this route would be the second most popular after 1. Again boring stuff!
6. Periyakulam - Adukkam - Perumal Malai - Kodai, will make you heart skip a beat. Its via Adukkam forest range, and half of the road is not completed yet.
7. This one needs permissions if you want to take vehicles, I was told. Vehicles are strictly not allowed, even if they allow it won't be of any use. You need 4x4, but that too only till Kerala border, after that it's better to walk into Kodai!! Only the villagers who stay in between the borders use this, either they take a donkey to bring the produce to Kodai side or they take a Mahindra pickup to Kerala side. Rest of them just walk.
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Old 22nd August 2019, 17:16   #3
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar

Day 01 : 07th June 2019 : Friday
Bangalore - Kodaikanal

As with all our drives, we start very early to beat the traffic and to reach our destination by day break, there by maximizing our day time " Sun light" time at the destination for exploration. This was known to my travel partner and we decided to get rolling by 02:30AM in the morning.

We start by 02:30. Kungfu Panda (Jr.) just short of 46K
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By 06:00 we stopped by for a chai break and to stretch our legs
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Hope he did not mind keeping the sticky chai cup on his bonnet
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A little later we exited NH to be on smaller roads


We stopped by to catch some fresh air and to enjoy the sound of the wind amidst the coconut trees
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By 08:30 We moved on ahead and took one of our exploratory roads to Kodai as in the plan.

We took deviation from Sempatty, this is our Route 2
S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar-kodai03.png

We drove on till we stopped by to check out a waterfall, Pulla Veli Waterfall



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Old 22nd August 2019, 17:30   #4
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar

Day 01 : 07th June 2019 : Friday
Bangalore - Kodaikanal

We trekked towards Pulla Veli falls, but as expected there was no water. We don't care as this was just an exploratory drive, no expectations anyways.

A mild trek to the falls

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Stream has no water and you could see it is all littered
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That is the step where the water falls
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Disappointing sight with no water, not even a trickle
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A wooden bridge for those real watery days!
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My colleague tries to test it, thankfully it stayed
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An interesting berry, no we did not try tasting it
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By 09:30 we decided to give this place a miss and move on. We tried for a chai, but we were told we can have milk instead. Time to rush!



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Old 22nd August 2019, 17:46   #5
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar

Day 01 : 07th June 2019 : Friday
Bangalore - Kodaikanal

We drove on towards Mangalamkombu


Nearing Mangalamkombu I saw a loop and turned around to explore
S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar-kodai04.jpg

We did a Mangalamkombu Kodalngadu Kammanoor Mangalamkombu loop just for fun


We then drove from Mangalamkombu to Pannaikadu


Some views from a viewpoint near Pannaikadu

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We then drove towards Kodai Road and joined at Moolayar Junction and pushed further towards Perumalmalai

S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar-kodai05.jpg

Pannaikadu to Moolayar Junction Joining Kodai Road coming up from Batlagundu


Moolayar Junction to Perumal Malai





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Old 22nd August 2019, 18:06   #6
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar

Day 01 : 07th June 2019 : Friday
Bangalore - Kodaikanal

Our next exploratory drive was to Adukkam. This is our Route No.6
S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar-kodai06.jpg

Near to Perumalmalai we take a left turn, while climbing towards Kodai. Kodaikanal is just 13 Km ahead. Here we take a left and Adukkam is 11 Kms and Periyakulam in the Batlagundu Theni Highways is 34Km.
S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar-adukkam2.jpg

Its a forest range and there is a check post
S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar-adukkam3.jpg

The road that goes ahead is to Kodai, Adukkam is via this check post
S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar-adukkam4.jpg

We drive in
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We enter Adukkam Forest Range Roads. Roads seems to be all done and it was a smooth drive.


We stopped by for some clicks of Adukkam forest
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Kungfu Panda (Jr.) enjoying the sun and good roads
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But little did we know all good things does not last for ever


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Old 22nd August 2019, 18:20   #7
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar

Day 01 : 07th June 2019 : Friday
Bangalore - Kodaikanal

We moved ahead towards Adukkam and Roads Vanish


Crossing over this was funny, with Kungfu Panda (Jr.) pointing nose down and scooping ground


Pictures don't show the angle or inclination
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No damages, we made it across
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After crossing over, we stopped a little ahead hearing the sound of a stream flowing by


We stopped by in search of the stream
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Kungfu Panda (Jr.) somewhere in Adukkam Forest
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Old 22nd August 2019, 18:29   #8
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar

Day 01 : 07th June 2019 : Friday
Bangalore - Kodaikanal

We took some time off to enjoy the stream
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Beautiful stream


It was already 12:45 and we decided to move on and exit Adukkam Forest

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Old 22nd August 2019, 19:04   #9
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar

Day 01 : 07th June 2019 : Friday
Bangalore - Kodaikanal

Exiting Adukkam forest check post


We drove from the check post to a Mango Orchard


After getting us some mangoes we drove towards Kumbakkarai Falls



We were not allowed to the falls, we were wondering why? There was not much water anyways.

The roads had shade from Tamarind Tree, it looked very beautiful
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We drove back to the Mango orchard to complete a loop


We then drove to Periyakulam to join the Batlagundu Theni Highway


This was what we did
S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar-kodai07.jpg

We the drove towards Kodai road, this is the Theni Dindigul Highway
S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar-kodai08.jpg

Periyakulam to Kodai road turn off



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Old 22nd August 2019, 19:38   #10
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar

Day 01 : 07th June 2019 : Friday
Bangalore - Kodaikanal

We then decided to drive back to Kodai via the usual route, Route 1
S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar-kodai09.jpg

This is the route through which everybody lands up at Kodai, so I particularly hate this route. All newbies show their racing and hill climbing skills here, and add to it the impatience and reckless speeds of the cabs, this is not a route I would like to take. Not just here, it is the case with any major road to any hill station. But for now we need to reach Kodai faster, it was already noon and we were getting hungry.

From Batlagund Highway to Kodai Checkpost


Since this is the major route to Kodai, there is a check post before the ghat section begins. Umpteen stories of harassment are heard from this place.

We were stopped at the Check post



Immediately there was another car with a couple in it and the inspector got interested in that car and shooed us away.

We drove towards Kodai and stopped at Manjalar Dam Viewpoint


We parked at Manjalar Dam Viewpoint Area. The viewpoint entry itself was barricaded!
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Beautiful Manjalar Dam from Kodai Road
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By 14:00 we drove towards Kodai.

We reached Kodai Road Palani Road Junction


We continued on and reached Kodai Entry Toll Booth. We paid some 50Rs for Entry


Immediately after the entry is Silver Cascade Waterfall



We then continued non stop to Kodai Lake area



We parked near the Lake and found us some food, all places were crowded like mad, and we made ourselves comfortable with a place which gave us something
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Old 22nd August 2019, 20:15   #11
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar

Day 01 : 07th June 2019 : Friday
Bangalore - Kodaikanal

It was almost 16:00 by the time we satiated our hunger and got ready. We could really feel the crowds and impatience in and around Kodai Lake. I decided to drive out to a smaller village which is about 40KMs from Kodai Lake and check out. It was almost sure that you will not get any accommodation in Kodai, and a cursory glance on booking apps gave us minimum rates of 3000 for a double bed for the night, and that too in shady ones!! With no idea of a stay, well it was not a concern for us, since we are the types who might even drive back to Dindigul for the night if we don't get rooms , we drove towards Mannavanoor.

We clicked some signboards for making plans the next days, we had two more days still at hand.

We noted down Kookal, Palampudhur for next days
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As for today Mannavanoor was 7Kms and Kilavarai 19Kms
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Our plan was this go all the way to Kilavarai and come back to Mannavanoor and hunt for a stay
S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar-kodai10.jpg

We drove from Kodai lake towards Mannavanoor and stopped by the viewpoint


Mannavanoor lake and meadows as seen from the viewpoint. It was beautiful
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From Mannavanoor Viewpoint we drove to Mannavanoor and continued on towards Kilavarai.

We found a turn off towards Berijam lake



But there is a check post, and is closed



Berijam you can visit from Kodai side via entry form Moirs Point. There is a bus service these days with a ticket price of 150 or so per head which will take you to Berijam Lake from Moirs point entrance, and exit through this checkpost here and show you Mannavanoor lake and drop you back at Moirs Point. I find it a good idea and service. But the crowds are just too much. I never attempted this, dont want to.

This is the scheme of events for that trip. The bus traces the route marked in red.
S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar-kodai11.jpg


We then drove all the way to Kilavarai village


We went in search of the turn towards Kadavari Pass, which will go to Munnar!!


We interviewed the locals and found out the way to Kadavari Pass. It was almost impossible for any vehicle to take that route. The villagers told us they normally walk it out to the other side. This excited us and we wanted to explore the possibility for us to walk it out too. It was already 19:00 by then, and we decided to get back to Mannavanoor and hunt for a place to stay and explore the possibility of the pass the next day.


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Old 22nd August 2019, 20:30   #12
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar

Day 01 : 07th June 2019 : Friday
Bangalore - Kodaikanal

By 20:00 we reached Mannavanoor. Meanwhile we found a shady place in town which had some rooms and beds.

We were quoted 1000 Rs for this room with double occupancy.
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Forget double, not even one guy can fit in to the bed and the room. We did a straight bargain and got us two rooms for the night at 300Rs per room. We also decided to keep this place as our base for the next night also. So two nights, two rooms a total of 1200Rs . But be warned, you must have the will power to sleep in there, it is no simple feat!! We made sure we were dead tired before we hit those beds.

After the room for the night was settled it was time for settling hunger. But that too was too risky an affair as it turned out. I watched this guy again and again and asked him to fry my dosa's beyond 200 degrees to be very sure. I ate them like papad's.

The only food option for the night!!
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The mangoes we got form the orchard near Adukkam came in very very handy
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We pulled out a table and made some temporary arrangement to sit outside our rooms till we become tired to get in the room. The room smelled, it was damp, the bed the blankets all of it required strength.

While we were munching on our mangoes, we missed a fruit platter. So here make one for memories sakes.
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Somehow by 23:00 we hit the bed and dozed off
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Old 26th August 2019, 11:22   #13
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar

Day 02 : 08th June 2019 : Saturday
Kodaikanal

After braving the night in that damp and smelly room, uncomfortable as one can get, woke up early to escape to freedom. It was kind of disturbed sleep too. After venturing out unsuccessful in search of tea, we decided to start the day with rest of our exploration.

Kungfu Panda (Jr.) states we had done 666Kms previous day, and the temperature at 07:00 in the morning as 15 degrees
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We started our drive and near to Berijam lake turn off we decided to check a viewpoint.

Driving to the viewpoint and returning, since it did not inspire much


We then drove to Poondi Village


Some views from Poondi Village
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Old 26th August 2019, 11:39   #14
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar

Day 02 : 08th June 2019 : Saturday
Kodaikanal

We decide to drive to Poondy Dam
S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar-kodai12.jpg

Driving to Poondy Dam. From the turn off its all muddy rocky terrain


Some pictures of Poondy Dam, not much water though!
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That's the path through which we reached Poondy Dam
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Patchy, muddy, slippery, rocky terrain!
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Old 26th August 2019, 11:55   #15
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar

Day 02 : 08th June 2019 : Saturday
Kodaikanal

Before leaving Poondy Dam, we decided to check out a small eucalyptus oil extraction place.

Eucalyptus leaves collected for extraction
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That's the hut in which the extraction was going on
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Leaves dumped after extraction
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The distillation unit. Leaves are kept over a pot of boiling water.
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The pot and leaves are then covered with this and the steam through the pipe is condensed and distilled to get oil
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After some study on the extraction unit, we decide to get back to the main road from the dam area.

Poondy Dam to Main Road
S-Cross'd : Kodaikanal (without visiting it) and a walk to Munnar-kodai13.jpg

Drive from Poondy Dam to the road



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