I hope you are all enjoying this cloudy, gloomy weather with rains in between and lots of steaming cups of tea, when time permits. As the continuation of the last travelogue article, this one mainly focuses on Munnar trip. I wanted to encompass all the details of our vacation trip in one, but found that it was becoming too lengthy. So, this one stands out from the rest :).After having the complimentary breakfast at our hotel in Thekkady, we started with renewed vigor to explore Munnar. It is about 110 kms from Thekkady and we took NH 49. As we progressed, the road became narrow and winding, forcing us to go slow with caution. Munnar's altitude varies from 4,760 ft to 8,842 ft above sea level (the upper limit is close to the altitude of Mt. Everest). So, it was understandable that we got to see more of mountains on one side and valleys filled with greenery on the other side. As we ascended, we seemed to float among the clouds. When we reached the town, it was evening and to our dismay, we found that the hotel we were supposed to stay was 20 kms backwards. We were fatigued and hungry and so we had a late lunch and headed back to the hotel. It was a resort named ' Falling Waters' in the place known as Kurisupaara. The resort itself was a feast for our eyes, as it was surrounded by nature and there was waterfalls behind (and hence the name).
Munnar town images
The next day morning, eager to explore the place, we stared after the breakfast. We headed to a place known as 'Top Station'. To go inside and explore the valley part, we had to purchase tickets. The view from there to various merging of valleys was beautiful and breathtaking. The adventure part involved in that was climbing down a series of steps (about 250) and coming back. Folks, even in some of these famous spots, there are no decent toilets or vegetarian food (for vegetarians), and so prepare yourself for these basic discomforts. There are some toilets built near the spot 'Echo Point'.
View of the valley from 'Top Station'
After exploring the 'Top Station', we came down to the 'Echo Point'. Echo Point had everything from people, shops, animals, river, 'BUT ECHO'!!! Yes, we shouted loud but did not hear any echoes. It was a place spoilt with the incoming of large number of tourists and bad maintenance. If you want to have shopping experience, there are any number of fancy stores and shops which sell local spices and chocolates.
From there, we went to the well known 'Mattupetty dam.' This is one of the 'must see' spots for anyone coming there. The dam was opened in the year 1953 and built conserve water for hydroelectricity. The solid structure and the surrounding scenery there are beyond words. Boating services are also offered there. Feeling tired for the day, we went back to our hotel.
Our resort was surrounded with tall trees and we explored a bit around that part. At some point near the water falls, we had to climb up barefoot and we were quietly bitten by leeches. These leeches silently tug to our legs and toes and so, keep checking for those creatures if you are going for an adventure like this. After getting a lot of fresh morning air and brush with leeches, we packed our bags to go to Eravikulam National Park.
the thin waterfalls behind 'The Falling Waters'...
Eravikulam National park is one of the top most destinations in Munnar as there are certain attractions like the mountain goat Nilgiri Tahr and the highest peak of South India, Aanamudi. If you are going there during a weekend, expect to wait in a long queue for about 2-3 hours. So better start out as early as you can. We waited in the queue for about 1-1/2 hours which is 'less' compared to other days. We were not allowed to drive inside the park and buses are separately provided to go inside the park. The lush, never-ending tea gardens are no doubt feast for our eyes. That day, we were so lucky to see lots of Nilgiri Tahrs which our relatives could not spot after two days. They belong to the goat family and little different from the goats. They are generally brown in colour. Some even seemed to pose for our cameras. At the end of the park, we got to see the 'famous Aanamudi peak'. There is a museum with some animal horns preserved and scenic images. Our trip to this park was pleasant and memorable. The lucky sighting of Nilgiri Tahrs made it more memorable.
A misty view from a point....
Thanku for posing, dear Tahrs.....
It was all 'Tahry Tahry'......
Due to the paucity of time, we could not go to tea factory. We bought some tea packets, chocolates and spices. All these are available at unbelievably cheap prices. So do not miss that. In between rushing from one destination to other, get out of your vehicle and take a walk in the tea gardens. You will see the tea workers, mostly women carrying their bags to pluck leaves working from morning to evening. It will be a sight for us to watch, but if possible, talk to them about their daily lives and the hardships they undergo for their living.
We finished our vacation with the visit to Guruvayoor temple.
Love and cheers,