Kashmir of South India- Munnar

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it's better to travel with the one you love 

Photo of Kashmir of South India- Munnar by nidhantrika

There are days when you are gagged with work and there are days when you sigh relief sipping your poison. I kept postponing my travelogue for a year. Duh! How lazy! Right! Until I paid my second visit to this heavenly abode and the mountains whispered to me. The realization came alive when I witnessed one of the most beautiful mornings of my life from Chinnakanal.

Munnar is one of the best hill stations I have visited so far. Munnar is a town situated in the Idukki district of Kerala (God’s Own Country). It is often referred as “Kashmir of South India” located in the Western Ghats mountain range. There are two options to reach this beauty.

1. Buses plying from different cities such as Bangalore, and Cochin

2. Options are available for self-drive in cars and cab services from different cities of Kerala

P.S.- The roads are well-maintained for bikers to venture this hill station, driving at crazy miles per hour.

My first visit to Munnar described in a word: Mesmerizing. I was in Kerala for a wedding and planned to cover few places in the vicinity, Munnar was one of them. We (add-on bestie) landed at Kochi Airport in the evening resting for the night in one of the luxurious hotels nearby the airport. The next morning, we took a bus from Kochi to Munnar. It is a four-hour journey from Kochi to Munnar and you will find just one Private Travel operating in the region. The journey through the Ghats section drives you insane, for most of them it would be the beauty and others it could be motion sickness. We started our journey in the around 10 AM in the morning and reached to the drizzling tea gardens by the afternoon. Our hotel was located 2 Km from the Munnar market. We checked in and walked to the market feeling the chills after the rain even in the month of May. We were lucky to witness the ‘Annual Flower Show’ of the region. We walked to the Hydel Park as the weather was pleasant. There are orchids of different varieties enhancing the beauty of the park. We crashed early at night as we had one day to cover most of the places in the town. Top station is one of the greatest tourist attraction of the town located on the border of two states- Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Spice gardens and tea gardens are numerous in the town to experience the aroma of India. The only thing we missed on this trip was a visit to a tea factory, due to lack of time.

Photo of Mattupetty Dam, Mattupetty, Kerala, India by nidhantrika

Scaling up to the tea garden in a rain lashed afternoon

Photo of Mattupetty Dam, Mattupetty, Kerala, India by nidhantrika

Annual Flower Show

Photo of Mattupetty Dam, Mattupetty, Kerala, India by nidhantrika
Photo of Mattupetty Dam, Mattupetty, Kerala, India by nidhantrika
Photo of Mattupetty Dam, Mattupetty, Kerala, India by nidhantrika
Photo of Mattupetty Dam, Mattupetty, Kerala, India by nidhantrika
Photo of Mattupetty Dam, Mattupetty, Kerala, India by nidhantrika
Photo of Top Station, Kerala, India by nidhantrika
Photo of Top Station, Kerala, India by nidhantrika

Bunny Carrots

Photo of Top Station, Kerala, India by nidhantrika

Black Pepper flower

Photo of Top Station, Kerala, India by nidhantrika

Coffee beans

Photo of Anakkara spice garden, Munnar-Kumily Highway, Anakkara, Kerala, India by nidhantrika
Photo of Anakkara spice garden, Munnar-Kumily Highway, Anakkara, Kerala, India by nidhantrika
Photo of Munnar, Kerala, India by nidhantrika

After a year, I visited the tea gardens and hills again. This time the music was louder in a self-driven car with a crazier group of friends. We drove up in the hills scaling away from the hustle of the market crowd. Bethal Varkis- a heaven which was our home for the next day. We checked in quite late but the people were very friendly at the hotel guiding us for the trip. My friends had already been to the hotel earlier, which compelled us to book the same for this trip. The place gives you the feel of forest life with wooden cottages, log chairs, and swings. The night was chilling outside and warmer in the cottages. At 0545 hours, we scaled up 1.5 Km to the view which left us spell-bound. None of us wanted to trek during our vacation, but we didn’t want to miss the view as described by our hotelier. We walked up to the hills to witness one of the beautiful sunrises of our lives. At the hilltop, the cold breeze kissed ‘good morning’, sun warmed the day and we cherished some moments for life. We walked down after spending some time at the top. The day began when we drove to the hills of Suryanelli towards the HML tea factory. For most of India, tea is equivalent to Marijuana. Not kidding at all. We walked to the tea factory geared up with head and mouth masks. The supervisor guided up to the different stages of tea making- cutting, tearing and curling of tea leaves out of the garden. The aroma of tea had driven the craving in us ending up in the purchase of the exuberant amount of tea. We stopped nearby after driving for half and kilometer from the HML tea factory. We walk in the open field and discovered a beautiful landscape waiting for us. The best thing about visiting Munnar is driving through the tea garden and mesmerizing terrain.

Though my trip doesn’t offer to be a guide to all, it is one of those trips which can be your impromptu getaway from your work life. The weather in Munnar is unpredictable for us, not the people in Munnar. So, you might want to carry a thermal wear for the cold romantic nights. There are jungle safaris and treks organized by various hotels and camps which is a different experience in itself. Make sure you taste some chocolates in the market. Also make sure to taste some seasonal fruits and bunny carrots on the way to the tea gardens. I bet they are the sweetest fruit you ever tasted. Most of the restaurants serve food without salt, I guess. The safest option is to hog some South-India food at Swarna Bhavan or burn a hole in your pocket by dining at Fort Munnar. However, there is never an off-season in Munnar. It is pleasant all the year round and offers you it's best every time you reach.

On the way to the Heaven

Photo of Kashmir of South India- Munnar by nidhantrika

Night at Bethal Varkis

Photo of Bethel Varkis, Chinnakanal Mirino Hills Road, Chinnakanal, Kerala, India by nidhantrika

Scaling up the hill

Photo of Chinnakanal, Kerala, India by nidhantrika

Top point view

Photo of Chinnakanal, Kerala, India by nidhantrika

Sunrise at Chinnakanal

Photo of Chinnakanal, Kerala, India by nidhantrika

Wanderlust/photo bug

Photo of Chinnakanal, Kerala, India by nidhantrika
Photo of Chinnakanal, Kerala, India by nidhantrika
Photo of Chinnakanal, Kerala, India by nidhantrika

Walking down to Varkis

Photo of Chinnakanal, Kerala, India by nidhantrika

Cafe @Fort Munnar

Photo of Chinnakanal, Kerala, India by nidhantrika

HML Tea Factory, Suryanelli

Photo of Chinnakanal, Kerala, India by nidhantrika
Photo of Chinnakanal, Kerala, India by nidhantrika
Photo of Chinnakanal, Kerala, India by nidhantrika
Photo of Chinnakanal, Kerala, India by nidhantrika
Photo of Suryanelli-Kolukkumalai Tea Estate Road, Suryanelli, Kerala, India by nidhantrika
Photo of Suryanelli-Kolukkumalai Tea Estate Road, Suryanelli, Kerala, India by nidhantrika
Photo of Suryanelli-Kolukkumalai Tea Estate Road, Suryanelli, Kerala, India by nidhantrika
Photo of Suryanelli-Kolukkumalai Tea Estate Road, Suryanelli, Kerala, India by nidhantrika
Photo of Suryanelli-Kolukkumalai Tea Estate Road, Suryanelli, Kerala, India by nidhantrika
Photo of Suryanelli-Kolukkumalai Tea Estate Road, Suryanelli, Kerala, India by nidhantrika
Photo of Suryanelli-Kolukkumalai Tea Estate Road, Suryanelli, Kerala, India by nidhantrika
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