We left Kumarakom quite early because we had to cover around 150 kms to reach Munnar & honestly we didn't wanted any surprises (read rains) in between. Around lunch time we were halfway through & there it started raining. We decided to stop there, have our lunch & start after the rains slowed down a bit. Subeesh took us to this dhaba kinda restaurant, which served us some really flavoursome Indian food. By the time we were done, rains had actually slowed, so we set off. Till this point, the journey had been very smooth & we passed by many Pineapple Plantations, Rubber Plantations, Spice Plantations and lots of greenery. As we started ascending the Western Ghats, the views were sweeping us off our feet & we couldn't help ourselves from clicking pictures, videos & every damn possible thing. Since we had taken the main highway route, we were to cross 2 famous waterfalls on our way i.e. Cheeyappara & Valara waterfalls. The first one was Cheeyappara waterfall, this waterfall cascades down in 7 steps & ultimately meets the Valara waterfall which is not very far from this point. At Cheeyappara, the milky white water gushing down the jet black mountain, covered by dense forest on both sides, is a sight to behold! There are many small shops there which sell souvenirs, spices, food items, toys etc. The Valara waterfall is also covered by dense forest on all sides & lies at a distance from the highway.
Once we reached Munnar, it started raining. So the tea plantations were covered with layers of fog & were looking damn gorgeous! But the fog left few places completely concealed. Our resort lied deep within the tea plantations, so we had to travel quite a distance before reaching there, not that am complaining! Mostly because we got to tour whole of the tea plantations & then came deep woods with cardamom plantations, tall trees & mini waterfalls. On arriving our destination, i.e. "Eagle Mountain Resort" we found, that there a lot of other resorts in the vicinity, perhaps it's the amazing location!
We spent a lot of time gazing at the Valley, the endless Western Ghats, the deep woods comprising numerous tall trees & gigantic Cardamom plants. Their was this particular singing bird whose song echoed in the woods, maybe that was her way of saying a "hello" to us! Lol. It was late afternoon by then, we went out for a stroll & invited Subeesh for a cup of tea with us. While on our way to the tea plantations, we crossed this really beautiful waterfall, lying just by the road & covered with dense forest on all sides. We then reached the Tata Tea Estates which lied just 300-400 metres away from our resort. It seemed as if the whole mountain was covered with velvety green tea plantations & with the backdrop of an overcast sky, it looked more dramatic. Do they prune the leaves everyday? Cause all of them were of same height & they looked so fresh & green. Those who love to spend time in the lap of nature, will love it. We walked our way to a tea shop that Subeesh recommended, and truly the view was unmissable. It was almost the half of Munnar that we were viewing from top, all the roads, resorts, valleys & Western Ghats could be seen. On our way back, we stopped at the tea gardens again to catch sunset. That evening Sun decided to come wrapped in layers of clouds, but that's the thing about monsoons. We managed to click some amazing pictures of the "sunset by the tea gardens" before it went down. Okay so all this time Subeesh was waiting to click us few couple photographs, so we did but definitely not all the poses he suggested. Lol. Jokes apart, it was a very sweet gesture from him.
After returning to the resort, we spent most of the time chilling in our warm & cozy room, mostly looking at the pictures we clicked that day. It was getting colder by night & we ended up ordering dinner to the room. They had this special provision for couples, i.e candle light dinner in the room, so we went for it. Food was absolutely amazing, especially the 'Ginger Chicken'. By now I had become a huge fan of the food served in Kerala, is it the fresh spices that do the wonder or is it their inherent talent? I think it's both.
The next morning we woke up to the sounds of the whistling woods, chirping birds & slow dripping of water from the mountain top. There were so many things happening out there that one would never want give a miss! So the next moment we were out in the woods, strolling by the Bison Valley road crossing innumerous huge stemmed sky high trees & cardamom plantations. We also crossed a tiny gurgling stream of water in the mid of the road. Returning back in the room we heard a bird whistling and singing something melodiously, it was so clear one would mistake it to be a human. Prathamesh being an enthusiastic wildlife photographer, spotted the bird within no time. There it was a small black coloured bird seated on a tiny branch & whistling notoriously. Through some research I came to know, that it was a 'Malabar Whistling Thrush' who are also known locally by the name of 'Whistling Schoolboy' for the whistling calls that they make at dawn that have a very human quality. The species is a resident in the Western Ghats and associated hills of peninsular India including central India and parts of the Eastern Ghats. They are usually spotted in dense forests.
It was time for us to bid adieu to this lovely mountain resort & head for exploring Munnar. Also, we had to reach our next stop "Ragamaya Resort & Spa" atleast by afternoon. It was a pleasant sunny day & our first stop was Echo Point. The whole route is covered by tea gardens on both sides and the views are very captivating.
Echo point is an idyllic lake side location and it is about an half an hour ride from Munnar. It is an artificial lake covered by mountains on all sides and surrounded by lush greenery. People come here not only for the amazing picturesque beauty of the place, but to also experience the natural echo phenomenon. There are few areas near the lake where elephants come to drink water, though we didn't spot any that day! Boating is popular here and there are many make shift stalls selling souvenirs.
Apart from these 2 spots we got down at a beautiful spot amidst tea gardens & clicked few pictures there. While we were on one side of the Idukki district, our next stop was on the other side, so it was going to take almost 3 hours to reach there. We had our lunch at a restaurant called "Alibaba & 41 dishes", which is located in Central Munnar & started on our journey.
The roads are covered with profuse greenery on both sides & we passed across some really charming country side views, surrounded by mountains, coconut trees & lush vegetation. My next blog will cover our stay at Ragamaya Resort & Spa, which is located in Rajakkadu and which is said to be a PEARL among the resorts in Munnar.