Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Munnar Trip

After quite a long time, it was a trip that was planned along with my parents.The hot climate enroute to Munnar raised questions regarding the climate in Munnar, but as we approached the destination, It was evident that we are going to have some extraordinary experience. We took the long route from Trichy -> Theni -> Cumbum -> Kumily -> Munnar just to get the permit for the vehicle else we could have took the diversion after Theni and reached Munnar through Poopara skipping Cumbum and Kumily. Taking some quick snaps at the Anaiyirangal (Translated to Elephant passing area) Dam Waters we moved on. At Devikulam, We came to know that the sita devi lake is out of bounds as it lies within TATA Tea Estate and needs special permission :( But we could see the sprawling Devikulam Tea Estate extending even beyond the horizon.

As we passed the Lock Heart Gap, we had in-the-midst-of-clouds experience. The valley below could not be seen as waves of wispy clouds have conquered the valley below and was hitting upon the mountain one after the another. Though it was mid-afternoon, the area was pitch dark (figure of speech, please excuse!!) because of this. As we crossed the Lock Heart Gap, the other side of the mountain was filled with sunshine(quite a converse from the other side) On reaching we checked in @ Elysium Gardens, a nice place to laze your bones. That night after having the complimentary dinner @ the hotel, I had a nice little walk which ensured that my bones are frozen to the deep.

Next day, our first destination was Top-Station a excellent viewpoint in Tamil Nadu (34 KM from Munnar) while returning back, we got down at various places like Yellapatty Tea Estate, Kundale Dam, Echo Point and Mattupatty Dam. The route to Top-station from Munnar is spilled with many places to visit. Apart from this, the lush Green Tea Estates would follow you through the whole path except for the last 5 KM which is inside the reserve forest. If not it is the Tea Estate, it would be the lush green grass on the mountain slopes that would grasp your attention.

That afternoon, after lunch we went to Eravikulam National Park and boarded on the Park's Vehicle for a trip to the Rajamalley's(King Mountain) summit. The ascent was terrific, and as we gained height the clouds came back and once on the top, the scenic beauty is beyond compare. We had to walk for another 1KM to gather more altitude. The mountain slopes were filled with Lush yellow tinted grass and NeelaKurinji(blue kurinji, a plant which blooms only once every 12 years. The next bloom is on sept 2018) It is here we sited the hordes of Nilgiri Tahr lazing and grazing the grass on the mountain slopes.We had som terrific encounter with clouds once again and we walked back to the pick-up point. Before boading the Vehicle, paid a visit to the Park's Museum(Story of the Park) which had fossils and many photos of the slopes of the Rajamalley when Kurinji was in Full Bloom and some photos of the flora and fauna that could be found there. Some deep inside the reserve forest pics caught my attention.While returning to the base camp, we were shown the Majestic Anaimudi Peak(tallest peak in south india @ 2695 m)

We retired for the day, and the day next we started covering the sevenmalley estate and pothemedu viewpoint. Then we moved to cochin and from there to guruvayoor for the night stay. Munnar's beauty lies in the extending sea of tea garden and the cool climate. Visit my Pics @

There are many places to visit and this link gives a good idea A small extract of that here for my future reference .

The places in and around are basically divided in four roads or directions :
1) Mattupetty : In this direction you have these places to visit
a) Photo Point : Good places to take snaps in the tea garden (4 km)
b) Mattupetty Dam (11 km)
c) Indo-Swiss Project : This place is a must visit (13 km)
d) Shooting Point : Place where many south Indian movies have been shorted (14 km)
e) Echo Point (17 km)
f) Elephant Arrival Spot (20 km)
g) Kundale Lake : Don’t miss the Boat ride here :) (25 km)
i) Kundale Golf Course (28 km)
j) Top Station (about 6300 ft above the sea level) : This is in the border of Kerala and tamil nadu,there is a way to Kodai from this palce. We need to walk down for about a 1 km to reach this stop from the road, it is a terrific sight, and you can also see the world?s highest tea plant from this place. (32 km)

2) Coimbatore : In this direction you have these places to visit
a) Anaimudi, Highest Peak in South India (about 8853 ft above the sea level,20 km)
b) Nyamakad Waterfalls : Samll but a beautiful falls (8 km)
c) Eravikulam National Park : You get great view of munar from this national park, one has to walk about 1.5 km and you will also find a rare and endangered wild goat which can walk on mountains, we were privileged that we could see them (13 km)
d) Lakkam Falls (26 km)
e) Sandal Wood Forest : This drive is just too good (35 km)
f) Childrens Park (43 km)
g) Wildlife Sanctuary (Chinnar) : You can also go trekking here to a falls which is flows through the jungle , the falls is about 8 kms from the road.Pls take care not to honk or make noise when going through the forest since there are good chances you may miss out some wild life (63 km)
h) Amaravathy Dam (78 km)
i) Crocodile Dam: You can find crocodiles at different ages here , entry fee is 50p per head (can u believe this) ;) (79 km)

3) Cochin : In this direction you have these places to visit
a) Blossom Park (2.5 km)
b) Pothemedu View Point : A beautiful view spot for Sunset, there are couple of resorts near by this view point,you can also see coffee and cardamom plantations here. (5 km)
c) Attukkadu Water Falls (10 km)

4) Thekkady : In this direction you have these places to visit
a) Sita Devi Lake : Cannot miss this beautiful lake and scape (22 km)
b) Lock Heart Gap View : Should I explain this view ;) (14 km)
c) Power House Water Falls (17 km)
d) Resorts Village View (18 km)
e) Anaiyirankal Dam View (18 km)

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Malpe Trip

After some 250 conflicting emails sent across for the preparation of the trip, finally it was decided that we are making a move on 13th March for a Dakshin-Coastal-Karnataka Trip. The Tempo Traveller was fully packed, and the people you chipped in were myself, senthil, subbi, musi, shyama shastri :) , Prakash (Prabhu, Rajesh, DP, Pramod) annas, sai & nachi. Rajesh and Subbi made it for the trip at the last minute.And so we started for Belur by 12:00 AM.

We were planning to reach Udupi through Bangalore -> Belur -> Mudigere -> Kalasa -> Karkala -> Udupi. Our driver drove through the Kudremukh sanctuary in the kalasa -> Karkala stretch in the wee hours and it was a blessing in disguise. The Samse Tea estate was fully covered in early morning mist. As we moved through the Kudremukh Sanctuary, a wallpaper like scenary took our breadth away!!! The slopes of the Kudremukha(Horse-face) mountain was fully covered in heavy fog and the day before rain that had drenched the slopes made it a sight of a lifetime.The whole-night-wide-awake-syndrome combined with the topsy-turvy curves from Mudigere already made us feel dizzy and thus we couldn't look outside any further the fog covered mountain stream flowing under the bridge and the mist covered town of Kudremukh. Cursing the bad-shape we were in, we finally reached Udupi by 9:00AM

Getting ready, we headed towards the Malpe Harbour to take a ferry to the St.Mary's Islands, a virgin Columnar basaltic Island in the midst of the ocean. Changing two boats enroute to the Island(Bigger one to a smaller one as the water would be shallow) we reached it atlast. The awe-invoking grand Columnar volcanic rocks, Crystal clear Greenish water, steep beach filled not with sand but with sea shells, greenish grass filled landscape interspersed with coconut trees makes St.Mary's Island a lonely-Treasure-Island effect & a dream destination to visit. We had a nice bath in the rough beach of the Island and after a round of clicks we headed back to the harbour in the next boat that visited the Island. The Irony associated with the title of this blog post is though Malpe was our main place to visit after St.Mary's Island, we avoided visiting that, as we were running out of time for lunch and the next place to visit.

After lunch, we went to Maravanthe Beach, a renowned sun-kissed beach where the beach on one side, sauparnika river running parallely to the NH17 on the other side makes it a wonder-struck sight. the only stretch of land is the NH17 and the rest is water on all the sides. We played Football till sunset and then paid a visit to anegudde Vinayagar temple. That night we had our dinner at Mitra samaj and finished the day off with a round of playing cards.

Next day, we set off to the Udupi Krishna Temple, and worshipped the deity through the window panes from the backside of the temple(The reason why the deity faces the backside of the temple is beyond the scope of this blog). Gobbling up buns, idlies and vadas at Mitra samaj, we steered towards the desolate Kaup beach. The lighthouse out there is open only from 4:00 to 6:00 hence we missed the terrific view from the top. But we played the game of the lifetime, beach volleyball as the waves splashed over us. From there, our plan was to reach Kodachadri before evening, but due to the fear of night driving in the Ghat section, we took the diversion to Bangalore when Kodachadri was just 14 Kms. Atleast we left this for a future trip. Enroute to bangalore, we got down at Thirthahalli to get a nice view of the Tunga river which flows through the town.

Photos at