Kolukkumalai Tea Estate
Happy Independence day & the best ever sunrise i've seen in my lifetime is at Kolukkumalai since it lies on the eastern side of the western ghats. Some photo session with my official photographer, the Simpex tripod. Had my breakfast & left for the Top station trek. Made some friends who are from Kerala. After a half hour difficult trek reached the summit, from there it's a beautiful view and Meesapulimala(second highest peak in south India) looked majestic. I hope one day i would reach the peak of Messapulimala. The descent was easy & I reached the base camp at the afternoon. Also visited the Tea factory which is the highest organic tea factory in the world. The things you buy before you leave is Tea, Tea, & more Tea. Bought lot of Tea packets & left for Suryanelli.
After Mattupetty Lake, we moved towards Echo Point and on the way spotted a herd of wild elephants in the grasslands besides the road. It was a great experience to see the wild elephants roaming freely in their natural habitat instead of a zoo. We visited Echo Point which was a small lake with view of mountains and green forest as it''s back drop and is famous for its natural echo phenomenon. When we visited the place, there were a group of young school children who were screaming loudly to get the echo back and it was really working. We clicked a few pictures and came back to the hotel. Lying in the bed at night, a thought ran through my head, however creative man might be he can never create anything even comparable to the beauty of God’s creation and the glorious beauty of Munnar made me believe that Kerala is truly God’s own country.It was time to bid adieu to Munnar and start for Thekkady and I was quite disheartened to leave such a magnificent place so early. But hardly did I know at that time that Munnar still had a few surprises for us in store as a farewell gift. The day was quite sunny with a clear blue sky having white patches of cloud in between and the gentle breeze together with the morning sun created a soothing effect on the body and mind. I was feeling very lucky to have seen Munnar in two different forms, one on a cloudy day with little bit of drizzling and lot of mist and the other on a bright day when Munnar was gleaming in the sunlight.
Kolukkumalai View Point
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.
Day 2, MunnarAfter a heavy breakfast at our hotel we left for top station which is one of the highest points in Munnar. After a 1 hour drive through the winding roads and nothing but Tea estates we reached the Top station. The first sight of which was something surreal ! clouds were passing right through me !!!! The drive till here seems worth it for the view. Clicked some pictures and stopped at Mattupetty dam and flower garden on the way. We started to Alleppey after lunch and reached Alleppey after another 5 hour drive Day 3, Alleppey
Photo Point - It'll fall on the way to top station, only a few km away from the town. There is nothing there to see except that lush green symmetric tea garden that will fall to the left of the road. We clicked some photos and move forward. I still don't know what on earth that hoarding was doing there.. !!!
The Kanan Devan Hills Planation's (KDHP) Tea Museum in Munnar is India's first ever tea museum and here you can have a journey through the tea history of this place. The documentary film on Kanan Devan Tea Planation is a good watch and there is a retail outlet within the building that sells the plantation's produce and some tea accessories too. You can also buy some tea wood (for making furniture or as a decor) and some do some shopping from Tata's Srishti Welfare Centre (1.5 kms from the museum)
Pothamedu View Point - This is the best view point at Munnar. Long Stretched tea-plantation garden getting faded to the distant misty mountain, the lush green view, the series of mountains dancing to the tunes of nature under the grey-umbrella of those clouds will make you spellbound. Sitting there on the edge with a cup of coffee in hand and enjoying the beauty with the chilled weather will give one a feeling of heaven no doubt. Down the lane tea, cardamom plantations could be seen. The place was so mesmerizing that we sat there for more than an hour just looking at the splendid view. The view of sunset from this point is an out-of-the-world-view.The time seemed to stop for a while.
Being the highest peak in India outside the Himalaya's, Anamaudi is truelove breathtaking. It isn't like the mountains you see in the northern district of India, covered in snow like a fairy tale, but is rather lush green and smooth. Surrounded by random water bodies and greenary, Anamudi makes for a pituresque location at the least. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to go to the top due to elephants and expected bad weather. We stayed a while and allowed it to humble us.
Anamalai Tiger Reserve
Majorly known as the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, this is a part of the scenic Ananamalai Hills. This park covers the Shola Forest and also spills a bit into Kerala too. This is an important tourist attraction and was declared as a Tiger Reserve in the year 2007. The main animals you can spot here apart from a variety of tigers are leopards, elepahnts, panthers, spotted deer, peacocks, langurs, crocodiles ans the lion tailed macaques.
Carmelagiri Elephant Park
We made a quick stop at the Carmelagiri Elephant Park en route to Mattupetty but did not opt for any ride. I leave it to individuals to decide whether they would like to indulge in it. The park offers various options which range from a 1 hour ride and even half day or full day elephant ride.
Blossom Hydel Park
Blossom Park- This park is situated near the Munnar town. Only 2km away from the market area of the town. Though one could hardly see any blossom of flowers, but no doubt it is full of blossoming beauties :P. There is facility for a no. of fun activities also in the park e.g Water-Balloon walking, Air Gun, Bow & Arrow etc. A good place to kill some time. Of course, an excellent place for lovebirds and couples.
Rose Garden - There is a Rose garden only 2km away from the town in the Madupatty direction. The enrty fees per person is RS 20/- and extra for still and professional cameras varries from RS 20/- to RS 50/-. They have a good collection of flowers and decorative plants. We clicked 100s of photos there. But to our utter misfortune, the memory card got corrupted all of a sudden and left us in a havoc state as there were 1500+ photos. But Thank God !! I had a back up memory card. We continued with the photography session. Later I retrieved around 1200 photos from that corrupted card. Well... something is better than nothing ! On that same route we had also covered Forest Honey Bee Hive, Shooting Point, Elephant Arrival Spot(But No Elephant was there !! :( ).
Pambadum Shola National Park
Pampadum Shola National Park, with an area of 1.3 sq km, is the smallest national park in Kerala. The national park falls within the Allinagaram Reserved Forest and is also part of the Anamalai Sub-Cluster, a region under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. The literal translation of the name "pampadum shola" is "the forest where the snake dances", implying the rich density of flora and snakes in the region.
This is a tourist Point at a very high altitude on the Kerala- Tamil Nadu border about 40 kilometres from the beautifuk hill station of Munnar. This is also famous as the highest hill station of the Kundala Valley. You can get the most spectacular views of the Western Ghats and the most awesome Theni District from here. The clouds seem to be crushing across your face everytime and you will want to keep one piece of the fluff each time. This is a lot of fun and an experience which feels absolutely out of the world. This is also the place where there is an abundance of Neelakurinji flowers which are said to bloom every 12 years only and the next blooming season is 2018. These flowers when in full bloom give this place a complete bluish hue. The Kurinjimala National Park is another attraction in this lovely place.
Kanthalloor - Marayoor Rd
Muniyara: A story untold- Muniyara is part of Marayoor which is 40 km from Munnar, in Idukki district, central Kerala-Official story on Muniyara- Marayoor:-  Muniyara is part of Marayoor. Marayoor occupies a vast area on the slopes of the Western Ghats in Idukki district and is an important pre-historic site in Kerala. Apart from the Dolmenoid cists in Muniyara, Marayoor is famous for its natural sandalwood forests and pre-historic rock paintings.A fascinating destination for anthropologists and archaeologists from all over the world, Muniyara has remnants of Dolmenoid cists belonging to the Megalithic age. Dolmenoids were burial chambers made of four stones placed on edges and covered by a fifth one called the cap stone. Some of these Dolmenoids contain several burial chambers, others have a quadrangle scooped out in laterite and lined on the sides with granite slabs. These are also covered with cap stones.Story untoldDriving through the Smooth roads towards Kanthalloor, a long awaitedtrip ,I wanted to visit the apple and orange plantation and the famous"mazha nizhal pradesham"( rain shadow regions) in Western Ghats...Joby was saying a lot about the muniyara which is on the way to kanthalloor. As per the available information, it is a great part of our history where saints and ancient monks lived and buried.Me, Vinnya and Zayan are anxious to see the fertile soil in Kanthalloor, apple plantations and to collect some fresh apples from there. But Joby said Muniyara is a must watch, and aesthetic view is a sure bet. Abi and family was also in support to Joby and we got down at muniyara with a pre-determined notion as it will be a boring trip.The vast rocky region of Muniyara was protected with barricade and anentry fee of Rs.20/- per head was charged at the check point. .The noonSun restricted us to pose for a snap in front of the giant rock, but we managed to have some clicks with beautiful bluish sky back ground.As we entered into the rocky region, a fragile stranger started following us.Though  I was little cautious initially,we progressed our exploration with him and started enjoying his presence because of his narrations in malayalam with tamil accent.  But I was more interested in the high range view and to have some selfies.While we wondering about  the huge rocks paneled in Muniyara and wondering the spiritual powers of ancient saints, he slowly intruded and murmured…do not believe those falls stories. Then he started narrating the story of an ancient tribe that  lived in this region thousands of years beforeHe seems in full flow and enthusiasum and we can sense that he belongs to that tribe and he explained everything about Muniyara-the living space of ancient tribes, the intense harassments they faced,  their neglected voice ,the culture they followed and so on..we were still curious about the huge rock panels paved on the roofs of Muniyara as it seems above human capabilities . He smiled and said, it is very easy.  Tribe people  first digs pit and slowly place  big rock panels into it as  walls  of the house  and finally the roof. Then they remove the soil in between...yes its possible, we all shook our head.He again talked a lot about ancient tribal medicines and shown some hidden Muniyara- ohh sorry, not Muniyara ancient tribal houses.He was keen to show us the ancient tribal medicines like Danthapala-which is good for growing thick hair..We started our journey to kanthallur, saw Marayoor sandal woods, manufacturing of famous marayoor sharkara...but the tribal man friend we met….sorry Iforgot to ask his name, his narration , a forgotten culture, fake stories…. everything still haunts me....
Munnar - Top Station Highway
After breakfast, around 11am we left the main town and decided to cover all the places along the way upto Top Station. Mattupetty Dam, Kundala Lake, Rose gardens and view points gave us spectacular valley sights all the way to the top.Top Station gets it's name as it was the historic transshippment location for Kannan Devan tea delivered up here from Munnar by rail.Absolutely dreamy location! The roads; the views; the weather; everything was beyond perfect. Lunching with a view, an absolute delight! Kerala parathas, appams and stew, YUM!
Anamudi Shola National Park
Castillo De WoodsWhy stay at Castillo De Woods: The property located in Koviloor, Munnar presents the best way to explore the nearby Anamudi Shola National Park. Your stay includes wildlife watch, horse rides, elephant rides, an off-road drive and camp fire to keep you warm by the night.Perfect for: Castillo de Woods accommodates eight people and is perfect for a gang that's planning a vacation together, be it business travellers, friends or a family.