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Old 9th August 2021, 17:43   #1
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Default Cochin Diaries: An anniversary drive to Munnar

Prologue



"You owe me a honeymoon"
"But.. but.. Ladakh.. bike ride.."
"That was an adventure trip, not a honeymoon"
"Yes, but.."
" You. Owe. Me. A. Honeymoon"

When the lady of the house starts punctuating her words with 2 second gaps, it signals the end of the argument.

To be honest, our honeymoon (An adventure honeymoon: 1500 km bike ride through the Himalayas!) was more of an adventure trip than a cozy romantic getaway. Both of us love travelling and had made lots of plans since then, but all of them were shelved due to covid. Now with our second anniversary coming up, I started looking at the possibilities for a short distance weekend trip.

The hill stations like Munnar and Wagamon were slowly opening up. There were reports that hotels/resorts obeying covid protocols, with fully vaccinated staff, were being allowed to open. I started going through resorts and their reviews, and found this one, Ambady Estate. It had decent reviews and images available on google were good. The rooms were cottages, spread over the resort compound, and weren't crowded. I called the number available on the website and it was the owner himself who picked the phone. I spoke with him regarding the covid restrictions, and the possibilities of us being stuck inside the resort, in case Munnar town was locked down. He was extremely friendly and helpful, and assured us that in the case of a lockdown, there was more than enough to see inside the resort compound itself! I didn't believe him then, but after reaching there, I was convinced! The place is set in the middle of a plantation, and is wonderful for nature lovers.

Now the ride. Our Rapid had covered a grand total of around 500 kms so far in 2021, and was begging to be driven. Service was done recently and she was ready to go.

We had planned to strictly adhere to safety precautions, meaning masks all the time and sanitizing after getting back into the car. Avoid crowds, or if that's not entirely possible, double mask. We had recovered from covid back in October 2020, and we both had our first shot of Covishield.

The route from Ernakulam to Munnar is as straightforward as can be. It is an extremely popular hill station and its not a complicated affair to get there. From Ernakulam, you can either go via Muvatupuzha, or via Perumbavur, depending on which part of the city you are starting from. We chose the Perumbavur route, since we were starting from Edapally. The direct route would be Ernakulam- Kothamangalam - Adimali - Munnar. But since we wanted to explore a little before reaching our destination, we chose a slightly different route.

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Enough with the intro, "Now shut up and drive, drive, drive"




Day 1



Our plan was to visit the following places on the way to Munnar town

1. Cheeyappara waterfalls
2. Ponmudi hanging bridge
3. Ponmudi Dam
4. Ripple waterfalls


We started from Edapally around 7 AM. The roads were mostly clear, there was no rain (it was raining heavily the previous night) and we were looking forward to a nice drive. Within 5 kms though, we ran into the first moron of the day. The idiot on a cycle took a U-turn onto the opposite side, oblivious to any oncoming vehicle.

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On a normal pre-covid day, this route would have been very busy in the morning. How things have changed! We didn't hit any traffic till we reached Perumbavur. Still, this is nothing compared to how it used to be.

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Roads cleared up once we crossed the town, and was once again empty till we reached the Kothamangalam town. It was quite congested and took us some time to cross. Seems there was some exam going on, maybe that was causing the rush.

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Once outside the town, we started to get a glimpse of the Western Ghats! Its been ages since I've been to the hills, and the view was very pleasing to the eye!

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Tea from a road side tea stall is a mandatory part of any roadtrip. Most of such small shops had closed down sadly, and it took us some time to find one. Took a few pics while the guy was preparing the hot beverage.

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Crossing the mighty Periyar river, just outside Nerimangalam town. It is the longest river in Kerala, and is rightfully called the lifeline of the state. It does provides for everything from agriculture to generating power (via the Idukki dam).

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Very soon, the roads got all twisty and curvy as we started climbing the Ghats. This is where any reasonable driver would start to ease off the accelerator and get into safe driving mode. We even have a dedicated thread here on Team BHP about driving in the Ghats. But of course, there are plenty of "pro drivers" who think they can drive on the hills, just because they pulled a few risky overtakes in the city. Morons like these are a nuisance to everyone.

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And to no one's surprise, we came across the first accident of the trip. Either a self proclaimed Lewis Hamilton, or a victim of one. *sigh* We came across atleast 3 or 4 crashes over the next couple of days, almost all of them rent-a-cars.

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With the lockdowns easing, there's going to be plenty of such idiots on the road, especially to the hill stations, requiring us to be even more cautious while navigating the curves. Not to let all these dampen our mood, we moved on. A couple of kms later, we saw our first waterfall of the day. Though a tiny one, it was still a sight for the sore eyes, used only to waterfall wallpapers for a year and a half. With monsoons still ongoing, there's going to be plenty of such micro-falls everywhere.

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Cheeyappara Waterfalls

Just a few kms along the way, we came across the Cheeyappara waterfalls, one of the major falls on the way to Munnar. Its just by the side of the road and used to be full of tourists in the pre-covid world. There's sufficient parking available nearby. Plenty of small stalls for snacks and refreshments, though sadly most were closed. There is also a paid toilet nearby, which was now closed too.

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We parked the Rapid in a safe spot a little ahead and walked over to the falls. There's a kind of viewing area/ footpath by the side of the road, where you can get a wonderful view. A slight wind made the water spray all over the place! IIRC, there used to be a path somewhere nearby leading directly to falls. You could stand under a rock projection, behind the curtain of water. I don't know if it is still there.

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It was still monsoon and the falls were full and L-O-U-D! We spent some time there, enjoying the view. Feeling the water spray on your face, while sipping some hot coffee, that's a vere level feeling!




A few kms ahead, we reached Adimali town. The direct way to reach Munnar would be to drive straight from the town. We, however, took a right turn, which would take us to the other places on our list.

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Ponmudi Hanging Bridge

Taking a right turn from Adimali, its a 45 mins drive to the hanging bridge.

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This is the Adimali - Rajakkad road. Its quite narrow, but extremely scenic! Loved the drive, surrounded by such greenery!

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Crossing the Kallarkutty bridge. Great view of the dam reservoir!

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Soon enough, we reached the Ponmudi Hanging bridge. From what I've read, it was made to carry the construction materials for a dam nearby. Its very narrow, barely enough for one vehicle. We crossed it slowly, enjoying the awesome scenery all around!

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Wanted to stop in the middle of the bridge for some pics, but there isn't enough room to open the door to get out! But hey, this is just as good! One of my favorite pics of our Rapid!

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We spent close to half an hour on and around the bridge, admiring the river and multiple mini- waterfalls below. There might be ways to get down and have a quick dip, but not too sure how safe it would be.

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Day 1 to be continued...

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 16th September 2021 at 15:58.
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Old 15th August 2021, 18:12   #2
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: An anniversary drive to Munnar

continued...

Ponmudi Dam

The stop on our list was the Ponmudi dam, which was in fact just a few kms from the hanging bridge. It was barely a 5 mins drive, but the roads weren't in good shape.

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This dam is built across the Panniyar river, which is a tributary of Periyar River.

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A view of the reservoir from the dam.

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We parked her on the other side and took some time walking across the dam. It was extremely calm and silent, and seemed like a great evening hangout spot for the locals.

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Ripple Waterfalls

The Ripple waterfalls are along the Muthirapuzha River, a tributary of the Periyar River. Its about 5 kms from the dam. Mobile connectivity is not the greatest here, best to download the map for the area.

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I had no idea about the route and had to depend entirely on Google Maps. It directed us through some questionable diversions. We had to stop many times and re-load the maps, just to make sure it wasn't stuck. We sure didn't want to end up like these guys!

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I don't know if this is the correct route, but the road was super narrow and badly broken. At several areas, I had to navigate carefully so as not to scrape the bottom. I shudder to think what would have happened if a larger vehicle came in the opposite direction. Reversing over these giant potholes would have been a nightmare! We learned later, from the guys at the resort, that the proper way to get to the falls was via the longer route through Rajakkad. Google chechi veendum chadichu.

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After what seemed like hours, we reach the falls. Its a tourist attraction maintained by DTPC (District Tourism Promotion Council), with hotels, garden, cafes, souvenir shops and so on. All of which were currently closed.

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Even though we had expected this, we were at least hoping for a good view of the falls from the road itself. That was not the case, as the thick flora blocked most of the view. There was a lady manning the entrance counter (skeleton crew perhaps?) and my wife went down there to ask her if she could use the washroom. The lady was extremely friendly and helpful and let us inside. She told us not to wander too much since the place was officially closed.


Ripple falls are a multi - level waterfall. The DTPC has built multiple viewing areas/platforms all around, from where one can get an excellent view.

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The path leading to the falls and viewing areas. I can only imagine the crowd and rush here on weekends during the pre-covid era. It would have been an excellent place for a weekend getaway.

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There was a viewing platform near the washroom, which gave us an excellent view of the river and the falls. There are many such waterfalls on the river before it reaches the Ponmudi Dam. A drone shot would have be breathtaking!

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By now, it was getting dangerously close to lunch time and our tummies started making known their demands. It was around 13 kms from the falls to the resort, and I figured it shouldn't take more than half an hour. Boy was I wrong! The roads continued to be narrow, and this time we faced traffic as well!

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Aand it went from bad to worse!

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On the plus side, the road was running parallel to the river, which meant we had a great view all the time.

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Thankfully the main road came up soon, and then it was a smooth drive rest of the way. Forests started giving way to tea plantations, meaning we had reached Munnar!

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Ambady Estate

We joined the main Ernakulam - Munnar road at the 2nd Mile View Point. This is a popular spot which has a great view of the tea plantations nearby. The place was super crowded, so we didn't stop there. Our resort was nearby and we thought to come back here later in the evening.

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The entrance to the resort is by the side of the road. And by entrance, I mean entrance to the road leading to the resort! You still need to pass through a mini ghat section to reach the place, including 5-6 hairpin bends!





There were plenty of monkeys everywhere! We found some of them happily snacking on some jackfruits! This big guy was even chasing away some of the smaller ones by throwing the seeds at them!

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After a very enjoyable ride through the forest, we reached the main building of the resort. This was previously a room/ cottage to cure the spices grown in the plantation, which they had turned into the reception.

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The staff were very friendly and helpful. We were asked to fill out a form with our details including vaccination status. Since we had taken our first dose, we duly entered the proper details. While we waited for them to complete the check in procedures, they brought us a spiced tea. Supposedly the spices were grown in the plantation itself. Swear to god, it was one of the best spiced teas we ever had!

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Our tummies were critically empty by now, and the spicy tea had set our innards on fire. We made a beeline for the dining cottage, hardly noticing anything on the way!

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The dining cottage was beautifully laid out and had a good view of the plantation around us. The waiters were very polite and friendly. The food did take some time, but we enjoyed the surroundings so much that we didn't notice the time pass.

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The food turned out to be excellent! The waiters told us that the fruits and some of the vegetables were cultivated inside the resort itself. Now that we had pacified our stomachs, we went to our cottage, which was around 100-150 meters from the reception. The path was surrounded by trees and gardens and there were plenty of monkeys and birds all around.


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Our cottage. It was actually two cottages joined together with a shared common space in the front and back. But since there were very few guests, we got the whole space for ourselves!

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The cottage was very well laid out and had all the amenities. There was one main room, and an elevated living area with sofas and a table. There were plenty of large windows which gave an awesome view of the surroundings. We thought we'd sleep with the curtains/blinds open at night, to get a proper "forest feeling", but then the "forest feeling" became a bit too scary for us and we closed them anyway!

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We took rest for some time, and then got to exploring the area around our cottage. There was a children's play area nearby, but it was a bit overgrown (the resort was closed for some time in the lockdown).

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There were a couple of places to visit nearby, like Karadippara View Point, and the Kallar Waterfalls. Both the places were within 5 kms from the resort. It was starting to drizzle by the time we started. Wife wasn't too keen on venturing out in the evening (Munnar is famous for its koda manju aka fog), but I showed her some google images of the view point and convinced her.


Karadippara View Point

We left the resort around 5:30 PM. It was getting darker by the minute and the drizzle was getting heavier, all of which made the way down to the main road even more beautiful. I just had to stop for some pics on the way!

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The Karadippara view point was nearby, but unfortunately it was closed. There was no way to enter. And it started raining heavily. And the fog was too thick to get any view of the hills.

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With the plans fully squished, any reasonable person would turn back before the visibility got bad. My wife suggested the same. I wanted to go ahead and visit the Kallar waterfalls. I f'ed up...


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By the time we reached the falls, or what we assumed to be the falls (fog was too thick to see anything), it was too dark. And the visibility was now almost zero. There was no option but to return. We turned around and started back to the resort, driving very slowly and carefully. The projectors did a good job cutting through the fog.

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Took us almost half an hour to get back. The fog was now completely upon us by the this time. I stopped on the way to take some more pics. Wife wasn't pleased with me getting out in the dark and I made the brilliant decision not to antagonize her further!

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It was pouring rain by the time we got back. They offered to bring our dinner to the room, which turned out to be extremely tasty! We turned in for the night, with rain hammering the cottage and winds blowing loudly for company!


End of Day 1

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 30th August 2021 at 15:07.
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Old 19th August 2021, 20:56   #3
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: An anniversary drive to Munnar

Day 2

We woke up to a day 2 covered in fog. It was still drizzling, though not as cold as we expected. There is a small backyard to our cottage, where we were looking forward to having our morning coffee, but it was too wet for that.

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We really didn't have much of a plan for the day. Our intention was just to enjoy some sights and well, drive. I had a chat with the guys at the reception for some suggestions, and fired up my most trusty road trip planner: Google maps.

From what they told me, there are mainly 3 locations/ routes around Munnar usually visited by travelers:

1. Towards Chinnar Sanctuary. This covers the famous Lakkam Falls and the Eravikulam National Park
2. Towards Top Station, passing through Matupetty and Kundla.
3. Towards Devikulam - Chathurangappara

Obviously, one day is not sufficient to see Munnar and we had to make a choice. Based on their advice, we chose the Top Station, since that route would also take us to the Matupetty and Kundla dams.

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Once that was taken care of, we went to have breakfast at the dining cottage. Food was once again excellent! Since there were very few guests currently checked in, we had the whole place to ourselves and we thoroughly enjoyed the ambiance.

We hit the road by around 9 AM. It was still foggy and drizzling. The staff had told us that we would not be able to get down much since it was expected to rain the whole day. We were perfectly fine with it, our intention was just a comfortable drive.

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The resort is about 10 kms from Munnar, and it took us around 15 mins to get to the town. We headed towards the nearby petrol pump to fill up, which also took us into the town.

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Now I don't know if it was the google maps freezing, or my stellar navigation skills, but pretty soon we found ourselves on the Munnar- Udumalpet Chinnar Sanctuary route! We had just gotten outside the town when google maps came back to life and told us to take a U-turn. We had travelled a couple of kms by then. The route looked very beautiful, and we though we'd go till the Eravikulam park and turn back from there.

The national park was a few kms away, and as expected, it was closed. Took a few pics from the entrance and turned back.

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Just before reaching town, the road runs parallel to a stream for some distance. We only noticed this on the way back, and we just had to stop! The sight of the stream running through the hills, surrounded by green, it was worth the wrong turn we took!

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Quite a few people had stopped nearby and were climbing down to the stream. It was still raining, and we didn't want to risk getting a cold. Stopped for some more time to enjoy the view and click a few pics.

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Photo Point

The first view point on the way to Top Station is around 5 kms from the town. This spot gives a great view of the tea plantation and the hills nearby. To be frank, it just seemed like a random spot on the map, and I was afraid I'd miss it while driving. But as it turned out, it's kinda hard to miss! Plenty of tourists had stopped here for pics. There were guys with cameras offering to print pics for some price.

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We spent close to half an hour here, soaking in the various shades of green! Green is indeed the most pleasing colour to the eye!

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There were some small stalls nearby selling tea and corn. We had some hot ginger tea and moved on. A few kms ahead, we passed the Carmelagiri Elephant Park. This is a popular tourist stop near Munnar, where you can ride elephants and feed them. Currently, this too was closed. Just ahead of the park was the Carmelagiri CMI Public School. Just look at where the school is located! Lucky kids!

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Just a few kms ahead was the High Range School. It was conceived and set up primarily for the benefit of the children of Tata Global Beverages employees residing in and around Tea Valley, Munnar. I never knew that such a place existed!

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Mattupetty Dam

The next stop on the way was the Mattupetty Dam. It was drizzling by the time we got there, so we couldn't really enjoy it. We parked the Rapid just after crossing the dam. There were a few small stalls selling trinkets near the parking (feel bad for these guys, their livelihood depends entirely on the tourists).

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A view of the reservoir. The dam park is nearby which offers horse rides and boating, but it was closed as well.

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With the drizzle growing into a downpour, we walked back to the car. There are plenty of small paths leading to the reservoir from the road. We wanted to explore a bit, but it was getting too wet. The Rapid was waiting patiently for us, enjoying the view!

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Our next stop was the Top Station. It was about 25 kms from the dam, which roughly translates to an hours drive. The route was typical Munnar-esque, with alternate forests and tea plantations. Driving through the rapidly changing shades of green was very enjoyable indeed!

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We drove for a few kms when we came across a commotion. People were stopping by the side of the road and jumping out to take pics! We too stopped nearby to take a look.

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No wonder the excitement! Look whos out for a lazy stroll through the hills!! We stood there for some time, watching the tuskers climb the hill.

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"Dude, are you taking a picture of me or the car?"
"Well...."

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Just ahead was the Echo Point. Judging by all the hotels and stalls (all of which now were closed), this is a very popular spot. I think there is a path here leading directly to the banks of the reservoir. Couldn't help but think of the number of livelihoods lost.

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After about 15 minutes, we reached the Kundla dam. We had heard from quite a few people about the Noorgiri Resort. It was just beside the dam and was supposed to have a great view of the reservoir and the hills around. Unfortunately for us, it was closed. We were really looking forward to having lunch, as our tummies had started sending us "gentle reminders"!

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Up ahead was the Yellappetty town. A tiny town surrounded by tea estates, its at the boundary between Kerala and Tamil Nadu. There are plenty of camping farms here, including the popular Cloud Farm.

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Top Station

Top Station was still about 20 minutes away, and we were starting to get really hungry. The roads were in reasonable shape and we had fun driving through the windy, twisty roads! Soon enough, we reached the Top Station. The view point is a short drive from the main road.

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Some lunar style craters welcomed us to the place! Managed to navigate across without scraping the bottom.

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The road is super narrow, and there will be plenty of cars parked all over the place. Thankfully, we found a space to park quickly.

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First order of business was lunch. Most of the smaller shops and hotels were closed, and the only one open at that time was this one. Freshly prepared food was available there, and more importantly, clean toilets (a godsend for women travelers). The menu had everything from maggi to biriyani. Food was good and we had our fill.

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Behind the cafe, there was a small backyard cum garden, which had a good view of the road below. The cafe owners told us that back in pre-covid era, they used to place tables and chairs here to accommodate guests during peak tourist season.

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The entrance to the Top Station view point was a short walk away. Thankfully it had stopped raining by now, but the path to the view point had turned slushy and slippery. Once inside the entrance, the path became much better. There were shops and stalls all the way from the entrance to the watch tower, almost all of which were closed. *sigh* The people manning the couple of stalls that were still open, all of them wore a dejected look.

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To be continued

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 30th August 2021 at 15:11.
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Old 21st August 2021, 19:33   #4
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: An anniversary drive to Munnar

Day 2 continued

Once past the row of shops, we reached the Top Station viewing tower. From what I've read, the entrance and path leading to the tower are in Kerala, while the tower itself is in Tamil Nadu! This place is literally at the border!

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The tower was closed, and its entrance was barricaded. But the area around it, and the view points were open. The decorations at the base of the tower:

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There's a long and steep climb down to reach the view points. The steps were uneven and quite tall. I believe its preferable to attempt this on an emptier belly.

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The climb is tough, but the view is totally worth it. The view point is actually the end of a path that leads to the edge of the hill with the Theni district valley lying ahead. We can climb down to different levels, each with better views than the one before. Plenty of camps here, which can be booked online.

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We spent close to an hour here, taking in the spectacular view! Climbing down all the way would have been optimal from a sightseeing point of view, but the lockdowns and WFH had completely nullified our physical fitness (not that we were marathon champions before )

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With a lot of effort and mutual motivation, we started making the arduous climb back to the top. Finally, after what seemed like a life-time, we reached the top. Huffing and puffing like a steam engine, we made it to a nearby tea shop for a quick break. The akka there made us some awesome spicy ginger tea, which really did recharge us!

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With that energy boost, we walked the rest of the way to the parking. The poor girl was getting bored, waiting for us to return!

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By the time we started our drive back to the resort, it had begin drizzling.

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Kundala Dam

After about half an hour, we reached the Kundala dam. We had skipped it on the way to the Top Station since it was raining, but now with just a drizzle, we thought we'd stop and check it out. There's a park nearby with horse riding and boating, but it was closed now.

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Crossing the dam. There's a great view of the Kundala lake from here.

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The park is on the other side of the dam. A few of the shops were open, selling trinkets. A couple of tea shops were running too.

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The park. This place would have been wonderful to spend a few hours, especially if travelling with family. *sigh* adokke oru kaalam

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We were a bit tired by now, and were looking forward to reaching the resort. The drive back was uneventful, though the rain was making everything much much prettier! Crossing the Matupetty Dam on the way back.

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It was around 4PM when we reached the Photo Point. The place was starting to get covered in fog by now.

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The tea stall was still open and we stopped nearby. By the time we got it, it was starting to rain quite heavily. Sipping hot tea while sitting cozy inside you car, enjoying the forests and tea plantations all around, that's a complete emotion in itself!

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It was around 5 PM when we got back to the resort. It was raining now, and fog was starting to descend. It was so beautiful that I just had to stop and take a pic! Turned out to be one of our most favourite pics of the trip!

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Just like the previous day, we were completely covered in fog by the time we got back.

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We went straight to our rooms for some much needed rest. While waiting for my wife to freshen up, I had a chat with the owner. It was our anniversary night, and I had spoken to him in the morning about the possibility of arranging a candle light dinner. He was super helpful and helped to organize everything. By the time we took rest, they had set up the dining cottage for us! The rain, the candles, the awesome food, and most important of all, the perfect person to share all of this with!

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By the time we reached our cottage, they had sent a basket of freshly picked fruits, all of them grown in house! The strange one you see at the bottom is a Star Fruit, also known as Carambola. It was crunchy and juicy and slightly sweet, and we loved it!

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We spent some time watching the rain and listening to the wind, and soon turned it for the night.

End of Day 2

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 31st August 2021 at 18:07.
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Old 22nd August 2021, 15:02   #5
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: An anniversary drive to Munnar

Day 3

Woke up to a very pleasant and cool morning on day 3. We were checking out of the resort on the day. The standard check-out time was 12 PM, but the staff told us that we were welcome to stay till evening and explore the resort if we wanted to. We gladly took up that offer! There was much to see inside the resort compound itself, and we were looking forward to some exploring!


With the clear morning, we were finally able to have that coffee in the backyard! No fog meant excellent visibility of the hills around!

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After a sumptuous breakfast, we set about exploring the grounds. There were trees growing all around, many of which were bearing fruits.

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There was a small clearing near the main reception building which had plenty of flowering plants.

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We saw a lot of strange looking flowers here!

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There were a couple of bicycles available at the reception, which the guests were free to use. We took then and rode them down the road leading to the highway. It was one continuous downward slope, and it was fun riding without having to pedal at all!

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It was only once we reached the bottom that it dawned on us that we would not have to push the cycles all the way to the top! Uff! It was no easy task! We were completely winded by the time we reached the resort! There were a couple of hammocks in the garden, and we made a beeline to them and collapsed!

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After we've had our lunch, we decided to go to Munnar town to buy some home made chocolates for our families. Being a Monday, the town was pretty crowded and parking space was very hard to come by. We stopped at a couple of shops to get some different varieties of chocolates, as well as a few packets of local tea powders.

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Once the mandatory shopping was done, we went back to the resort to check out. A few other guests were checking in (Bakrid leaves were coming). The red Ecosport seen here belongs to the Vlogger Shameer Shareef (saw his name and Youtube channel stickers on the vehicle)


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Packing all done, we waited at the reception for the final bill and other formalities.

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While we waited, they gave us some more of their excellent spiced tea! We loved it so much that we're willing to stay at the resort again just for that awesome beverage!

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A selfie with Baiju Pappachan, the manager. Plenty thanks to the guy for making our stay an excellent and memorable one!

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We had mentioned it to him in passing in the morning, that we loved the Star Fruit (Carambola). He had remembered that and packed some for us! How thoughtful!

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It was around 4 PM by now and time for us to leave. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the place, and were looking forward to coming back here again!

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Back to Ernakulam

We started the long drive back to Ernakulam. There were plenty of rashly driven cars on the road. We were just talking to each other about the same, when we saw this crashed Eon rental car. These guys didn't even make it to Munnar, not even close. Perhaps it was for the good *sigh*

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After about an hour of driving, we came across a tea stall, situated just beside a tiny waterfall. We made a quick stop here. There was a car with a LTD sticker in front of us.BHPian?

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This has got to be the best way to enjoy tea!

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There she was, looking fondly at the fog covered hills. Cheer up girl, there's gonna be an Ooty/Yercaud trip coming up for you soon!

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It was around 7 PM when we reached Perumbavoor town. The place was totally congested, due to the festivals coming up. It was very frustrating being stuck in traffic, after a few days of enjoying near empty roads.

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Finally, by around 8:30 PM, we reached home.

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Summary:
Total number of days: 3
Total kms driven : 385


Epilogue



Ah! We shed a good few swear words at the one who said - All good things must come to an end. But Alas , they were very right!

With the hills of Munnar now looking down at us in the rear view mirror, it was with a heavy heart and tear filled eyes -in some case *cough* my wife's *cough*- that we scaled the mountains down and settled ourselves to the mundane routine of life.

We both had a bunch of personal and professional commitments which would occupy our time for now. This was our first road trip in a really long time and we enjoyed every second of it. Thank you , you majestic Western Ghats! All through our trip back , our conversations were ablaze with the next practical trips that could easily meld into our schedules; Because ultimately travelling is the fire that only requires the spark of time .

Until next time, this is GeneralJazz signing off!


*Post credits scene*

Hmm.. I detect the presence of some new smells on this 3 legged thingy. Must sniff...

Cochin Diaries: An anniversary drive to Munnar-img_3927.jpg

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 16th September 2021 at 15:50.
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Old 17th September 2021, 04:47   #6
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: An anniversary drive to Munnar

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 17th September 2021, 08:34   #7
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: An anniversary drive to Munnar

Wonderful pics and narration GeneralJazz.

Quote:
Green is indeed the most pleasing colour to the eye!
The myriad shades of green provide a balm to eyes sore from looking at the computer screen.

Happy driving and keep them coming!

PS

Did you have to produce an RT PCR when you crossed the "border"

Last edited by batterylow : 17th September 2021 at 08:36. Reason: Additional data
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Old 17th September 2021, 09:41   #8
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: An anniversary drive to Munnar

Nice travelogue and lovely pictures to with, the greenery and views captured are superb, thanks for sharing

Brings back lots of memories from our earlier trips to Munnar, last being almost a decade ago

I would have loved to visit during times such as this with so less traffic and crowds though!
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Old 17th September 2021, 10:15   #9
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: An anniversary drive to Munnar

Munnar is the first town surrounded by tea plantations that I saw outside the north east and truly enjoyed the place. The place holds a special place in my heart since then because of the fact of what Tata Tea did for the tiny town and it’s residents. The first tea plantation company (KDHPL) owned by the employees themselves is something that we don’t hear very often.

Enjoyed the place very much back then, things have changed somewhat going by your pictures though. There was this center run by Tata Trusts back then which was called SHRISTI and employed differently abled people and I had a fantastic time out there. I don’t know whether it still exists or not. Also, there was this nice little restaurant named Rapsy bang in the middle of the Munnar town which served fantastic continental food. Travellers all around the world would leave their memorabilia on the walls of that very restaurant.

Echo point and Madupetty dam look clumsy now with all the shops around but that would anyways be present in any tourist point. Fantastic going through your log, the pictures and the place of your stay is indeed amazing. Your log brought back memories of a place I visited a decade back. Also, that star shaped fruit is very popular in Eastern India. Thanks for sharing and wishing you two many such anniversaries in future.

Regards.
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Old 17th September 2021, 10:18   #10
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: An anniversary drive to Munnar

While Rapidly (pun ?) scrolling through TeamBhp at breakfast i initially read title of your thread as "Murder in my Skoda Rapid"



Did a double take, read again and went straight into the travelogue

The reader gets teleported into your trip.

Keep travelling and keep posting
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Old 17th September 2021, 10:30   #11
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: An anniversary drive to Munnar

Great travelogue GeneralJazz!

Kerala has been calling me for a long time now and waiting for the covid to subside to make a visit in my White Beast (a Rapid).

Western Ghats and the monsoon are definitely a match made in heaven.
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Old 17th September 2021, 10:53   #12
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: An anniversary drive to Munnar

That's a cool one. I was in Munnar in 2018 (actually 2018), reason I say is, you should re-set the time on your dashcam! On a side note, I think those are some amazing pics. Thank you for sharing info on Ambady Estate, looks like a cool place to stay. I have one question, how did the Rapid manage on the speed breakers or rough patches. Did you scrape the underbelly anywhere?
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Old 17th September 2021, 11:03   #13
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: An anniversary drive to Munnar

Dude, the amount of time you were on the road you make it sound like a sightseeing trip, not a honeymoon

Never seen Top Station road this empty. Two times we did, we had loads of traffic (loads of them). These were ofcourse pre-Covid days.
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Old 17th September 2021, 16:06   #14
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: An anniversary drive to Munnar

Quote:
Originally Posted by batterylow View Post
Did you have to produce an RT PCR when you crossed the "border"
Lol no, but we were so tired after climbing back up that if they had asked for a mandatory quarantine, we would've happily obliged!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NPV View Post
Nice travelogue and lovely pictures to with, the greenery and views captured are superb, thanks for sharing
Thanks NPV! Visiting Munnar without the usual crowd of tourists was indeed enjoyable, especially the drive! Do visit before the place gets crowded again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ABHI_1512 View Post
Munnar is the first town surrounded by tea plantations that I saw outside the north east and truly enjoyed the place. The place holds a special place in my heart since then because of the fact of what Tata Tea did for the tiny town and itís residents.
Thanks for the kind words ABHI_1512! As you said, massive respect to Tata for all they've done for the people!

Quote:
Also, that star shaped fruit is very popular in Eastern India. Thanks for sharing and wishing you two many such anniversaries in future.
Regards.
Wow! I had no idea the fruit was popular there! I was seeing it for the first time.

Thanks again for the wises!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voodooblaster View Post
While Rapidly (pun ?) scrolling through TeamBhp at breakfast i initially read title of your thread as "Murder in my Skoda Rapid"
Well, I murdered the curves with my Rapid!!
Sorry sorry! That was lame, I know!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MilanRao View Post
Great travelogue GeneralJazz!

Kerala has been calling me for a long time now and waiting for the covid to subside to make a visit in my White Beast (a Rapid).

Western Ghats and the monsoon are definitely a match made in heaven.
Do answer the call as soon as you can MilanRao. Your Rapid will have a wonderful time on these twisty roads!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raghu M View Post
That's a cool one. I was in Munnar in 2018 (actually 2018), reason I say is, you should re-set the time on your dashcam! On a side note, I think those are some amazing pics. Thank you for sharing info on Ambady Estate, looks like a cool place to stay. I have one question, how did the Rapid manage on the speed breakers or rough patches. Did you scrape the underbelly anywhere?
Thank you Raghu M. There's a reason the the date still hasn't been reset, I'm a lazy bum!
Yeah Ambady Estate really was a cool place to stay! And the Rapid had no problems anywhere. Maybe it was coz I was extra careful. After driving my Baleno 1.6 for so long, I'm always terrified of rough patches.

Quote:
Originally Posted by narayans80 View Post
Dude, the amount of time you were on the road you make it sound like a sightseeing trip, not a honeymoon
A sentiment my wife shares as well! Looks like I still owe her a honeymoon! But hey, than means another trip!
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Old 17th September 2021, 19:19   #15
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Default Re: Cochin Diaries: An anniversary drive to Munnar

@GeneralJazz that was a lovely travelogue with tons of human touch, and excellent pics. I enjoyed it at a leisurely pace. May you have more wonderful vacations �� that you share with us on tbhp.
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