Wanderlust in a wonderland 'Kerala'

3rd Jul 2017

Nature in its wild self!

Photo of Wanderlust in a wonderland 'Kerala' by Soma Das

Well, I don’t think there could be any off-season for Kerala! Every season must be having its own beauty and colour. But planning a trip to Kerala in the rains had always been my wish! Although the sun mostly hid from us but the hide and seek with the rains and clouds was perfect for my friend, Madhumita and I. I strongly felt that Mother Nature conspired and helped us get absorbed in the beauty of this beautiful state with multiple shades of green, blue, white and grey. She painted it on the canvas for us.

Before disembarking the flight at Kochi, I asked my friend a favour. She arranged for a car for us and little did we know then that we were about to get introduced to an amazing guy, Prince Xavier. He definitely made our entire trip joyous. Our route was Kochi (day 1)– Munnar (day 2 & 3)– Thekkady (day 4 & 5)– Alappuzha (day 6) – Athirapilly waterfall (day 7).

Day 1

The same day, we roamed around Fort Kochi, ate our lunch at a road side shop (Pizza Italia), Currymean fish fry (sea fish popular in Kerala), prawn curry with Kerala porotta and a super tasty iced tea with honey to drink. We ferried down the river from Fort Kochi to Ernakulum with our car and it cost us only Rs. 35/-- a different experience for us. The roads around Ernakulum, after we crossed the boat jetty point, were peaceful. The air was so fresh!

Day 2

Next day, we left for Munnar (Idukki district) at around 7.30 a.m., charged up to witness the hill station which every person who has visited has said it to be beautiful. We first crossed the Cheeyappara waterfall. The beautiful weather enthralled me.

We left for Suryanalli in search of Munnar Pramic, almost 34 kms from the national park. We stayed in tent there surrounded by an absolute tranquility. The view from there covered hills with forests, tea plantations and valleys.

Day 3

We boarded an off-roader dot at 4.30 am the next day (day 3) to Kolukkumalai. We reached the point and saw the sun rising. But the season being rainy one, who could dare win over the clouds?

That morning, I saw the clouds at the war. The battalion on my right were clustering in fast to increase on its size. The battalion on my left seemed weak in the beginning. I turned my neck further on my left to see a huge cluster of clouds roaring and while coming to the battlefield, it swallowed in the mountains. They seemed fast and ruthless. Everyone took their positions. But to my surprise, they didn’t thunder, they didn’t lighten. They broke. They broke right before my face and not on my face. I could see the drizzles fly across the empty spaces between the mountains. Nothing touched me.

Photo of Kolukkumalai View Point, Kottagudi, Tamil Nadu, India by Soma Das
Day 4

Afterwards, we left for Thekkady and on the way we ate our breakfast. We decided to take a jeep safari in Thekkady across the border of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, surrounded by agricultural land and vineyards. It was a package safari tour.

Photo of Thekkady, Kerala, India by Soma Das

Post our return, Madhumita relaxed herself at Mayura ayurvedic massage centre and I retired to stop-gap sleep at Thekkady Homestay. The owners shared the dinner cooked for them when we told them that we were too tired to go out for dinner. It was indeed a very sweet gesture. We got to eat home cooked food for the first time in this trip. They were very friendly and aunty felt bad that she could offer us only rice, sambar and puttu with some fish fry. Little did she know that it was heavenly for us and the food tasted awesome.

Day 5

On day 5 we trekked 4 kms to reach Periyar Lake. We had collected our tickets from Periyar Information Centre (government centre) the previous day for bamboo rafting. It was a delightful trek that started at 7.30 am. We had 3 guides for a group of 6 people and a man with a gun who walked at the end of the human trail. After 1.5 hours of trek the view of the lake was heavenly. It was purely serene. After eating our breakfast in the jungle near the lake, we climbed on the raft. It sailed through the waters. It was undisturbed, away from human cacophony.

While returning to Kochi, we took the Neryamangalam Idukki road which runs through the jungle. The rains had created strata of mists in the mountains and I was mesmerized at the beauty of the mountains. The mountains were on my right. My neck held tight to the right, I wasn’t ready to miss a single frame. And then came a twisty turn and the humongous misty mountain emerged before me for few seconds before we drove to the end of the bend. I realized I was sitting at the edge of my seat. The periyar river gushed with us on parallel track.

Day 6

The next day, we went to Alappuzha and took a shikara to sail across the backwaters for 5 hours.

Photo of Alappuzha, Kerala, India by Soma Das
Day 7

On 7th day, i.e. the last day of the trip, we went to Athirapally waterfall in Thissur district. It was time to get drenched in the 80-ft tall waterfall-largest waterfall in Kerala.

Photo of Athirappilly Water Falls, Pariyaram, Kerala, India by Soma Das
Day 3
Photo of Kolukkumalai View Point, Kottagudi, Tamil Nadu, India by Soma Das
Day 5
Photo of Periyar Lake, Idukki, Kerala, India by Soma Das

Our next stop was Munnar Spices. The guide showed us various plants used for medicinal purposes. Then, we crossed Valara waterfall and stopped by at Karadippara view point and grabbed a cup of coffee. Our next destination was famous Eravikulum National Park. That 1 km walk in the national park was breathtakingly beautiful with mountain goats grazing the lush green fields. The breeze was cool. We sat on cemented fence and ate cashews – in a way enjoying the picturesque view, careless and carefree.

Pleased and contented, we dangled to the lion rock point after making a quick visit to Kolukkamali tea factory established by the British.

At the lion rock point, I was awestruck at the greenness of the valley and kilometers away someone played music loud enough for us to hit our eardrums, but we couldn’t identify the song. The music reverberated in the valley.

Our shikara man was a great guy. He had let me take the control of the steering wheel of his shikara twice. Sailing on the backwaters excited me, as if I was the captain of the ship. Adding to our great luck was this season’s first Vallam Kali –Champakulum Moolam boat race. When we reached Champakulum, a huge crowd had gathered to cheer for their clubs.

We climbed the rocks and went to the nearest allowed point at the bottom of the fall and emerged as champions! We checked our watch and it was time to leave. Time to leave the ‘God’s own country’!

We shared a nice rapport throughout the journey of 7 days with Prince and exchanged ideas, interests and learned about the cultures of both states. He invariably made our road journey better with each passing day. Coming from the eastern part of India, who wouldn’t like to listen to Bollywood songs being played in the car and enjoy it even more when you learn that every person sitting in the car understands Hindi and English. Hindi was his second language in school and he understood the songs which we played!

So this time when you plan a trip to Kerala, call him up first – Prince Xavier - +917012550676.


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