Here I go, sharing my travel experience. We do a lot of research before we make it to a place, maybe in some way it definitely helps others to plan better
This trip plan was in May 2016. A Road trip again!
It’s KERALA. We covered Munnar, Kochi and Allepey as part of this trip. The stunning beauty of Kerala never fails to mesmerize me! The tea estates and ups and downs of roads. You definitely have to include Kerala in one of your visits.
Theni was our first point to shift from bus to car. We hired a driver.
Theni Munnar: 77kms
Time: 2hrs 30 min
Hilltop tea town
You know you’ve reached munnar once you spot the “spice garden” and “spice plantation” boards. Several spots on the way are scenic and their views breathtaking. We stopped by each and each plantation to click a snap! Unending tea plantations, tea is cultivated on 25,000 hectares of land in Munnar with an annual yield of 50,000 metric tons. On your way you may notice leading tea outlets, TATA and Kannan devan tea museums.
Munnar got its name from three (Munu) rivers (Aaru) - Nallathani, Palaar and Kanniar.
We had booked a sublime resort at the hills– Elysium gardens. Rooms were cozy and well maintained. The view was balcony was mind-blowing. The entire resort was filled with flowers here and there, hence the name Garden! Lost amidst the beauty of nature.
Now coming to the places visited on Day 1, we covered very few in the evening
1. Matupetty Dam
2. Rose garden
3. Photo point
4. Aatukal falls
Rose garden – 700m away from the place we stayed. It gives a spectacular view of different roses being grown and maintained. 350 variety of roses are on display which takes you into the imaginary world of roses.
Entrance ticket – Rs.10/ person
Timing - 10 AM to 5 PM
Photo point – Photo point is nothing but the majestic view of hills and tea estates. In munnar, you can never escape from the charm of tea estates. It leaves your eyes green all time!
Mattupetty Dam – We travelled along the Top station road to reach Dam. It was quite dark and missed the fascinating sights to relish. Rivulets and cascades crisscross the terrain here. The dam includes boating facilities and trekking at shola forests are carried out quite often.
Aatukal falls and chinnakal falls are other places of importance to be visited.
Aatukal falls is a magnificent beauty! Since we had to travel miles to reach falls, we decided to skip these spots.
Next comes, Eravikulam national Park.
Popularly known as Rajamalai, You can find a rare species of birds and if you are lucky enough you will be able to spot a Nilgri Tahr amidst the green pastures. Government has taken preventive measures during breeding season, and tourists are not allowed in the month of February and March.
Private vehicles are stopped at the foothills. There are ticket counters and online reservations as well, In order to avoid the long queue you could opt for the former one. Sunday goers should definitely pay heed to this “Warning message” of day long queue! Travel henceforth will be in a van. It takes hardly 20min to reach the park. Visit the museum of rare and extinct species with the hot coffee gulping down your throat. Yes there is a Canteen available on top! Coffee makes me go wild and explore the unexplored more!
The park covers an area of 97 sq.km and you need to walk to the hill top to spot a Nilgri Tahr. Every step towards the hilltop makes you look deeper into the expanse of green nature. Obsolete, a panoramic view of scenery! We walked along the curvy tar roads in contrast with the pastoral grass. Nilgri Tahrs are few in number and it’s difficult to spot one in a particular time. We visited in the afternoon, only two were grazing and were found in the hilltop (far off). My heart stayed there lingering in the pure air, but had to move in order to visit another place.
Blossom Hydel Park:
This Park is large enough and floral arrangements are made. Since we visited in the month of May, we were fortunate enough to view the blossoms. Majority of the flowers were sunflowers. You can pass the rest of the evening in this silent park. Few games were arranged to attract kids like trampoline, floating bridge in the amusement center. Aquariums were available at extra cost.
The evening passed peacefully and we were heading towards chinnakanal to Terrace gardens – A sterling resort. It was almost 7.00 PM. Maybe I should call it as an encounter with the misty clouds. The fog lamp was of no help, we were moving in a narrow road with no view of the vehicle in front. Everything was just mere assumption! The driver ought to be a skilled one indeed. There were two sides of me, adrenaline rush through my blood and other holding the breath for every turn he made. It’s difficult when someone drives in the opposite. We drove for hours in the traffic! Reached Terrace gardens at 8.00 PM.
Terrace gardens – the view of the resort was splendid. The lights added beauty to its glorious presence. The stay seemed royal and luxurious. Unfortunately we had only a night’s time to be spent there. It was a lavish construction covering acres of land for accommodation purpose. An entire floor was reserved for dining, another floor for gaming. The gaming area includes snooker, computer center, indoor game and also kids center. Apart from this we also have an outdoor play area which adds on to the list with trampoline, badminton play area and roof top view. The food was not too good and manageable for a night’s stay alone.
The next destination, Kochi, towards which we were travelling down south. The target time to reach the port was 1.30 PM. We were in a scurry to reach the place on time, had lunch on the way. Somehow we made it on time and caught up with cruise ship. We had to walk long distance in order to board the ship. There comes the cruise ship, with seating capacity of 60. But we found only two families were travelling with us. The places covered in the KTDC tourism
St. Francis Church
Chinese Fishing Nets
Santa Cruz Cathedral
Timing: 2.00 PM – 5.00 PM
Checked in to Hotel Air link Castle, beautifully designed for a professional stay.
Allepey – Boat house:
In God’s own country, a visit is never complete without visiting backwaters, this is the Venice of south! The city seemed to be much silent and one thing I noticed here was, as told in movies, “churches are greater in number when compared to houses”. There are several boat house agencies all over Allepey. We preferred government house boats (KTDC) for security purpose, two bedroom house-boat cost around Rs.11, 000 which could have been provided much cheaper by private agencies.
It was a planned trip for house boat, we took off at 11.00AM with pineapple juice/ tea. A kitchen is attached to the rear end of the boat. Two bedrooms were available with AC’s, however the AC will start working only with the help of the generator. After 6.00PM the boats will be parked and connected to generators where you get signal for TV too. There is a dining hall available and sit out with sofa and tea poi are also provided to spend our convenient time chit chatting. Two people were there to help us, one who sails the boat and other one is the cook. We had a commendable cook whose dishes are delectable. Both sailor and cook greeted well and was helpful throughout the 22 hours journey.
The boat sailed through the lush and serene green nature encircling the backwaters and its beauty is not complete without coconut and palm trees at the edge!
It sailed on and on, we just loved the scenery as we passed by, the local village people had their mundane activities and few birds we found were one of a kind. We saw a lot many birds in the farms. The boat was on a halt for lunch, we had a sumptuous lunch at 1.00 PM, south Indian style I should say. Yum! We settled down to play for a while in the sofa looking at the house boats travelling in parallel to ours. The crowds were not confined to families, students and employees were also making their day with loud sounds of music systems and dance. By this time we reached Vembanad Lake, drizzles of rain played around the backwaters like the fingers on a piano. The never ending coconut trees met in a horizon and the clouds reached down to greet us. The entire place was isolated and climate was getting awesome. The sailor rushed down to park the boat, where we got down and clicked few pictures. Much needed mental rejuvenation for the hour! As it got darker, starring at the star studded sky we passed our time in silence. Therapeutic view!
After 6.00PM the boat was parked near Kuttanad Village, where we purchased local sea food and asked our local companion to prepare yet another lip smacking dinner. Signals picked up and TV was on.
The night went peacefully floating in the backwaters. Experiencing overnight stay boat ride for first time!
The next day morning breakfast was provided and we started on our way back to Alappuzha terminal. On my way back I noticed, school children from local villages were travelling by boat to school in the morning, Every day they get to enjoy the nature & peace which can never be replaced by the so called “civilized crowds and jam on roads”.