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Old 9th July 2022, 23:20   #1
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Default Munnar calling - A summer escapade

It was only February, but the sun was already merciless. The days were endless and melted the body and mind alike. On top of it, waves after waves of Covid meant we had not had a vacation in months. So, when the brother-in-law proposed staying two nights at Munnar, the decision to go was made almost instantaneously. Since a cousin and family were joining, we decided to take two cars, my Safari 2.2 and BIL's Ciaz.

The route we took both ways:
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On a Sunday morning, around 11:30, we started our drive. The first order of business:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00001.jpg

MC Road continues to be smooth and well demarcated, thanks to the World Bank standards:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00002.jpg

Thiruvalla Bypass:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00003.jpg

By lunchtime, we were near Kottayam, and searching for lunch options, we saw that the famous Karimpumkala Restaurant was nearby and right en route:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00003a.jpg

We had a hearty lunch of;
Porotta, appam, and duck:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00005.jpg

Chicken, fish:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00006.jpg

Prawns:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00007.jpg

Karimeen pollichathu:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00008.jpg

All this time the Safari was waiting patiently:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00010.jpg

We continued our journey and en route, I saw this delicious Supra:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00011.jpg

We reached Kothamangalam by 5:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00012.jpg

While we took a tea break:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00013.jpg

The above two pictures demonstrate how dissimilar our rides were.

The road continued to be smooth and since it was a Sunday, there were more vehicles returning from Munnar:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00014.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00015.jpg

Cheeyappara waterfalls was bone dry:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00015a.jpg

But a little further we noticed the signboard for Valara waterfalls and stopped:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00015b.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00016.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00016a.jpg

By then, it was dusk and we drove on to Munnar. Taking two different routes and waiting for one car to catch up meant we finally sat down for our dinner in Munnar town by 8:45:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00018.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00019.jpg

We still had to go 25 km more to our resort in Chinnakkanal, but due to ongoing roadworks and fog, the going was difficult with roads in various stages of construct from smooth to gravelly. The Safari took the lead in this section so that the Ciaz can avoid surprises. Even though Google mislead us slightly, we were in our resort by 10. The first thing we realized stepping out of our cars was how lightly we were dressed for the cold. Starting the day at mid-30 degree Celsius, we were now in the mid-teens.

Resting after a long day:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00019a.jpg

We were quickly allotted our cottages and lead to those:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00019b.jpg

It was a duplex type cottage:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00019c.jpg

The night view from the balcony:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00020.jpg

My son appropriated the pillows and declared his intention to sleep:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00022.jpg

We quickly fell off to sleep, the full moon watching over us.

Last edited by darklord : 11th July 2022 at 00:46.
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Old 11th July 2022, 21:37   #2
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Default Re: Munnar calling - A summer escapade

We woke up in the morning to this:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00025.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00026.jpg



We went for breakfast in the restaurant, which was poolside:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00027.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00029.jpg

View from the area:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00028.jpg

Some flowers:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00030.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00031.jpg

We walked back to the room, sat in the balcony for sometime, just quietly enjoying the view. The reservoir is of Anayirangal Dam:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00032.jpg

After sometime, we decided to go for a drive and explore some of Munnar's tourist spots. We had no fixed itinerary, but ad lib as we drove on. Since it was a local drive, we decided to leave the Ciaz parked and take the Safari.

Just a couple of minutes out of our resort, we saw the view which the night had concealed yesterday:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00033.jpg

This section of road to Munnar was freshly laid:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00034.jpg

The road bisected through this:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00035.jpg

We stopped to click a few pictures:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00036.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00035a.jpg

The clouds appeared to romance the hills:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00037.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00038.jpg

This section of road approaching the Gap was gravelly and vehicles left a tail of dust as they moved:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00039.jpg

This was what awaited us at the other side of the Gap:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00040.jpg

The entire stretch was full of photo opportunities like this:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00041.jpg

We stopped for a few minutes when Munnar began to appear in the horizon and contemplated which place to visit first:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00042.jpg

Last edited by darklord : 31st July 2022 at 02:23.
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Old 12th July 2022, 22:20   #3
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Default Re: Munnar calling - A summer escapade

What is a Munnar visit without a visit to the tea factory? We decided to visit tea factory of KDHP at Mattupetty, drive a little further to Mattupetty and Kundala Dams and return.

We crossed Munnar town without much delay and soon we were parked in front of the factory:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00043.jpg

Their visit program was closed, but the tea powder outlet was open, and we went ahead and purchased different types of tea powders.

Seeing this for the first time:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00044.jpg

Next stop was at Mattupetty Dam, just a couple of minutes away. Though the area was crowded, we got a parking spot. Nobody wanted to go boating or horse riding or anything of the sort. So our activity there was limited to shopping for trinkets, getting our photos taken by the photographers there, and shooting some photos ourselves.

The reservoir:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00045.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00046.jpg

Zoomed to the other bank:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00046a.jpg

People were enjoying jetskis:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00047.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00047a.jpg

Some sort of an amusement park at a distance:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00047b.jpg

By then it was approaching lunch time. We thought about having a dekko of Kundala Dam too before having lunch. We set out:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00048.jpg

Monkeys:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00049.jpg

En route, we saw a signboard for a farm visit of Kundalay Naturals. We decided to visit it while coming back from Kundala Dam.

The first view of the dam and reservoir:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00050.jpg

The shutters were open slightly:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00051.jpg
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00051a.jpg

The background was all green:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00052.jpg

The serene waters of the reservoir:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00053.jpg

There was boating facility available to the tourists, but we were not interested. After spending some time, we decided to go back and have lunch and then, check out the farm visit that we had noted earlier. Time was past noon and we were famished. First priority was lunch.

Last edited by darklord : 29th July 2022 at 17:23.
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Old 29th July 2022, 17:27   #4
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Default Re: Munnar calling - A summer escapade

Just as we came out of the dam premises, we saw a smallish restaurant and stopped for lunch. It was staffed by a few ladies and the lunch with chicken curry was thoroughly enjoyable:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00054.jpg

Safari parked out front:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00055.jpg

Post lunch, we drove off to visit the farm of Kundalay Naturals. After turning off from the main road onto the estate road, this is what greeted us:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00056.jpg

We purchased the entry ticket and entered the premises:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00057.jpg

This small stream was flowing beside the factory:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00058.jpg

Their main activity was distillation of flowers and production of aromatic oils. They were also experimenting with farming of organic vegetables and honey, but it appeared to be at a nascent stage. There were a variety of flowers being farmed for the purpose of distillation, mostly jasmine. They also had an outlet selling their own products.

Some flowers from the factory premises:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00059.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00059a.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00059b.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00059c.jpg

Bee farming:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00060.jpg

Plum tree:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00060a.jpg

Vegetables:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00062.jpg

Jasmine flowers being cultivated for distillation:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00063.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00063a.jpg

Tomatoes:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00063b.jpg

A staff member accompanied us as a guide and was extremely helpful and explained things in detail to our group:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00064.jpg

Cabbage:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00065.jpg

Broccoli:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00066.jpg

Cauliflower:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00067.jpg

Red cabbage:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00068.jpg

The background of the farm was spectacular. The kids enjoyed walking around:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00069.jpg

I managed to shoot a few birds as well:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00069a.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00069b.jpg

Can you spot the myna:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00069c.jpg

With that, we reached the last part of the cultivated land of the farm.

Raspberries:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00069d.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00069e.jpg

Chillies:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00069f.jpg

Strawberries:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00069g.jpg

The guide suggested visiting a cave-like rock formation and a brook before wrapping up the visit.

Last edited by darklord : 31st July 2022 at 02:21.
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Old 30th July 2022, 23:54   #5
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Default Re: Munnar calling - A summer escapade

We followed the guide down this steep path:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00070.jpg

We have to maneuver ourselves through this opening:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00070a.jpg

From the other side:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00071.jpg

There were some inscriptions on the rock:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00072.jpg

A distal view of the cave:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00072a.jpg

There was this wooden bridge adjacent to the rock formation and over the brook:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00073.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00074.jpg

The brook:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00075.jpg

With the bridge in the background:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00075a.jpg

We reached the parking area and the hills bordering the farm were visible:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00076.jpg

The Safari was waiting for us:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00077.jpg

We started off, but not before clicking a couple more birds:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00077a.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00077b.jpg

The sun had begun to set by now:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00078.jpg

We turned a corner and a spectacular sunset awaited us:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00079.jpg

We clicked a few pictures and turned another corner and voila, a spectacular-er sunset:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00080.jpg

With this last shot, we bid goodbye to the estate:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00081.jpg

We reached Munnar town by nightfall:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00082.jpg

We had a quick dinner from the town itself and returned to the resort. Tomorrow, we start our return drive, albeit a relaxed start in the morning.

Last edited by darklord : 31st July 2022 at 00:11.
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Old 31st July 2022, 01:23   #6
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Default Re: Munnar calling - A summer escapade

The morning started off with a sumptuous breakfast.

Puttu:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00083.jpg

Egg curry:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00084.jpg

Cherupayar (green gram):
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00085.jpg

Omelette:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00086.jpg

I took a walk inside the property, clicking a few pictures:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00087.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00088.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00089.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00090.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00090a.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00091.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00091a.jpg

A couple more avian friends:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00091b.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00091c.jpg

Parting shots from the balcony:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00092.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00093.jpg

We bid our goodbye to Mountain Club, Chinnakkanal:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00093a.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00094.jpg

Starting to drive back home, I stopped at a vantage point and clicked the parting shorts of Munnar tea plantations, till we return next time:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00094a.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00095.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00096.jpg

By the time we reached Adimali, it was lunch time, and we stopped to have lunch:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00097.jpg

Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00098.jpg

Approaching Neriamangalam:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00099.jpg

While stopped for a fuel break after Muvattupuzha:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00100.jpg

Light drizzle accompanied us all the way till home, where we reached a little after 9:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00101.jpg

I clicked this picture the next day:
Munnar calling - A summer escapade-image00102.jpg

All my passengers were a happy lot at the end of the trip.

Safari did flawlessly what it was designed for; to "Reclaim your life."

Last edited by darklord : 31st July 2022 at 02:25.
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Old 31st July 2022, 05:00   #7
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Default Re: Munnar calling - A summer escapade

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 2nd August 2022, 14:47   #8
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Default Re: Munnar calling - A summer escapade

Always good to see the original Safari. Does Kerala have the 10 year old rule for Diesel vehicles? If not, my heart yearns for a well maintained Safari VTT 4x4 VX of 2010 vintage. The comfiest ride I have ever experienced any where in the world. Speeds of 70 - 100 Kmph is the sweet spot for this beast. I miss her a lot. It must be a pain to maintain the black colour though. Kudos to you for keeping her shiny after all these years! Thank you for an interesting travelogue. Wish you and the Safari many more safe and happy miles!
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Old 3rd August 2022, 19:16   #9
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Default Re: Munnar calling - A summer escapade

Quote:
Originally Posted by aveoman19 View Post
Always good to see the original Safari. Does Kerala have the 10 year old rule for Diesel vehicles?

It must be a pain to maintain the black colour though. Kudos to you for keeping her shiny after all these years! Thank you for an interesting travelogue. Wish you and the Safari many more safe and happy miles!
Thank you for your kind words.

NGT did attempt a ban, but it has since been stayed by HC. No movement since then:
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/india...stays-ban.html (NGT bans 10+ year old diesel vehicles in Kerala. EDIT: High Court stays ban)

As of now, my Safari is approaching the re-test date in a few months, and I am planning to get it done after a new coat of paint. Hoping the laws doesn't get changed before then.
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Old 4th August 2022, 10:56   #10
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Default Re: Munnar calling - A summer escapade

Wonderful to hear that. May I suggest stock Alloy wheels during the re-paint? Looking forward to your thread on rejuvenating the already well maintained beast!
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Old 10th August 2022, 18:23   #11
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Default Re: Munnar calling - A summer escapade

Awesome trip and photos. I'd say you have the perfect vehicle for this trip. How was the overall comfort level on this trip? Could you please share your camera+lens details used in this trip?
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Old 10th August 2022, 21:15   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John P Daniel View Post
Awesome trip and photos. I'd say you have the perfect vehicle for this trip. How was the overall comfort level on this trip? Could you please share your camera+lens details used in this trip?
Thank you.

A co-traveller with back pain said after the trip, "this had been a very comfortable ride."

Most of the photos are using Samsung S21+. Birds were shot using Canon D1300 with 55-250 mm lens.
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