June 6, 2007

There is no heaven on earth, but there are pieces of it - MUNNAR

There is no heaven on earth, but there are pieces of it - MUNNAR

TRAIN JOURNEY TO ERNAKULAM - 30 December 2006
I had visited Munnar from 30 December 2006 to 4 January 2007. I was travelling alone to Munnar and it was the best experience of my life. My friends and cousins had gone for Kodaikanal Trek of YHAI and were meeting me at Munnar in Misha. I could'nt go for trek because of my exam which got postponed from 6 Dec 2006 to 27 Dec 2006. I boarded the train- Mangla Lksdp 2618 from Kalyan at 10.30 am on 30 December 2006. The actual arrival time is 8.50 am but the train was late. There was a south Indian family in my compartment - Husband and wife. Uncle was working with railways at Bhusawal so new hindi well. He explained me all about Kerala, so I enjoyed my travelling to Ernakulam a lot. He showed me plantations of various kinds and also gave me a lot of information on the culture of Kerala.I reached Ernakulam at 12.45 pm since the train was late 3 hrs.

BUS JOURNEY FROM ERNAKULAM TO MUNNAR - 31 December 2006
I was a little afraid as I was travelling to another state for the first time completely alone. But I was comfortable as I had done my homework on net and a lot of inputs from uncle in train helped me. I took a rickshaw from station to bus stand. But the KSRTC bus was at 5.00 pm. So I took a private bus from private buses bus stand. The rickshaw wala left me at the bus stop and showed me the bus also, as language on buses is in malayalam.
My bus started from Ernakulam at 1.10 pm and the conductor could not understand English or Hindi, but still he explained to me that the bus will leave me at Adimali and from there the other bus will take me to munnar. I reached Munnar at 6.00 pm. The transportation is very cheap in Kerala. I had paid total Rs. 66 from Ernakulam to Munnar(50+16). The route was beautiful and I enjoyed my travelling in bus also a lot. The people of Kerala are very nice and girls feel very safe. The bus conductor left me in front of Misha Holiday Home were my friends and cousins were waiting for me.

31 December 2006 - Evening
We were now 6 of them ready to explore Munnar's beauty to its fullest. Myself, my brother Pratik, his college friend Dhramveer, our cousin sister Pallavi and my friend Hiren.
In the evening we visited 3-4 tours and travels offices to rent a bike for the next day. But we were a little dissappointed to know that there were only 2 bikes available and we wanted 3 bikes. Then finally we booked a Sumo at DTPC tourist information centre for Rs. 1,300 for full day. Then we had our dinner at Saravna Bhavan and returned at Misha Holiday Home. Played cards and waited for the new year bash. At 12.00 am we cut the cake and welcomed the year 2007 at the most beautiful place Munnar.

1 January 2007

We all got up at 5.00 am for the morning walk
except Pratik, who was enjoying his sleep to its fullest. It was the most wonderful beginning of the year 2007 for all of us. While returning from the walk we saw a beautiful garden of DTPC. The gate was closed but we were very much tempted to go inside as it was too beautiful with fog all over from the flowing river. Finally, we climbed across the wooden rods and went inside. There were beautiful flowers and plants inside. The purple colour bushes looked spectacular. We had some photographs and were off back to Misha. At 8.30 the Sumo arrived and we all exicitedly left for Munnar sight-seeing.

1. Nayamakad Water Falls:
Nayamakad is a land of breath taking water falls. The water cascade down a hill from a height of about 1600 metres. It is 8 kms from Munnar and takes 20 minutes to reach there. This was our first destination.

2. Anaimudi View:
It is the south India's highest peak - 8841 ft. 2695 mtrs. It shape is like the face of an elephant. It can be seen on the way to Eravikulam National Park.

3. Eravikulam National Park(Rajamalai):
Our jeep left us outside since inside we have to travel in the vehicle of the forest. The entry fee is Rs. 15/- per person and Rs.20/- for the bus fare. If you are taking the camera inside Rs. 25/- extra are charged. We sat in the bus and were droped inside the park from where you have to walk along the road to the top. This National Park lies at the crest of the Anamalai ranges near
Munnar spreading over 97 Sq. Kms. of evergreen tropical forest. High mountainous range at the foot of South India's Highest Peak Anamudi boasts of some of the most splendrous scenery. The mountains are also covered with the blanket of "Neelakkurinji". This is a wild life sanctuary and home of the Nilgiri Thars-a rare species of mountain goats seen along the sheer rocky slopes of the mountains. We enjoyed seeing the Thars, male and female species.
There is also a museum by Sri. Surendranathan Asari, F.S. which gives a lot more information about the park with some very interesting photographs and paintings. The ticket for the museum is just Rs. 5/-. We had bhuta, watermelon and keri down and headed for our next destination.

4. Luckam Water Falls:
Our next destination was Luckam Water Falls where we enjoyed the most. The entry fee is Rs. 5/- per person. A good place for waterfall bathing since the water is very pure and untouched. Our driver told us that the water has medicinal values and is the most purest form. Pratik, Hiren and Dhram trekked a little more and reached the top from where the water was flowing. But when they went up they saw that was not the start of the fall but from down we felt that it is the starting point of the fall.

5. Sandalwood & Bamboo forest(Marayoor):
This is the only place in Kerala that has a natural growth of Sandal Wood Trees. It was very beautiful and I saw the greenery paths which we see in the calenders. All the trees are numbered and our driver showed us a sandalwood tree bcutting a little part of it. The smell was very nice and strong. He said you cannot cut and take it with you since it is not allowed. The maximum sandal wood is smugled outside to foreign countries.

6. Childrens Park Marayoor:
This is a small park spread across a hectare of land under the canopy of a single Banyan tree.
Outside we drank Nariyal Pani and headed for Chinnar as they don't give entry after 3.30 pm.

7. Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Chinnar:
The last destination on the Munnar-Coimbatore Direction is the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary - 63 kms from Munnar. There are a lot of monkeys here and one needs to be very careful if you are eating anything. Here you need to wait for the guide who takes us to the trek in the jungle. The office opened again at 3.00 and everyone rushed inside for booking. The entry fee is Rs. 60/- per person for Indians and Rs. 100/- for foreigners. First they were not allowing us telling us we were late but we were there before 3.00 pm. Our driver convinced them anyhow and we finally headed for the trek in the jungle with a guide and a German couple also accompanied us. We trekked for 3 hrs but could only spot a deer that too very far. I enjoyed the trek as the route was very nice and it is fun to walk without any baggages on your back. According to the guide a bysan can be spotted but we could'nt see any.

8. Muniyara:
On the way back to Munnar we went to see Muniyaras, the caves with murals and relics from the New Stone age civilization.

After a great sight-seeing tour we headed back to Munnar from Muniyara, it was getting dark and the temperature was dropping down. There was a lot of fog on the way and we were wondering how can the driver drive so smoothly. We could'nt see anything and were praying God so that we reach safely. It was 2 hrs drive back to Munnar through the unseen ghats hided in fog and dark evening.
Finally we reached Munnar at 9.00 pm and had dinner at Sarvana Bhavan. Then we got a good news that there were three bikes available for tomorrow at Travel Inn Tours and Travels. Mr. Mooragan told us to come in the morning at 9.00 am on 2 Jan and collect the bikes. The rent was Rs. 300/- per bike. Dreaming about tomorrows Mountain Biking we all slept waiting eagerly to explore the other half of Munnar on bike.

2 January 2007
All of us got up at 7.00 am and got ready by 9.00 am for the activity we were most eagerly waiting - Mountain Biking. This was the first time we all were exploring a new place on bikes. The most excited was Dhramveer. So all of us started our journey at 9.30 am from Misha Holiday Home. Dhram and Pratik went at 9.00 am and got the bikes. We had 1 freedom and 2 CBZ.
The biking experience was superb. We all were enjoying the ride and the nature the way we had never enjoyed before in our life. You feel as if you are taking a bike ride in the heaven. All clouds besides you, greenery all around you, the pure air you feel during the ride......................
Difficult to explain in words.

1. Kundaly Lake:
First we planned to go to Kundaly Lake to avoid the other tourists rush. To our surprise that was one of the wisest decision we had made. We booked 1
row boat and 1 paddle boat since two row boats were not available. The rates were Rs. 30/- per person for row boat and Rs. 60/- for the whole paddle boat. We took 3 row boat tickets and 1 paddle boat ticket. In between the lake we kept on exchanging the places between the two boats. So all of us experienced the fun of row boat. It not so easy to move the row boat as we feel. For about 15 minutes Pratik, Dhram and I were moving round and round at the same place in between the lake. Finally, Hiren came in our row boat and both Hiren and Pratik moved the boat in the direction we desired. Finally, it was Pallavi's turn to experience the row boat and my chance for paddling the paddle boat. When the 30 minutes ended we all did not realise at all. The best part was all of us rushing to give the boats back after 30 minutes having a racing who reaches first.
Then we had pani puri at a stall there and it was very tasty to our surprise. We had pani puri in north when we went for Himalayan trekking and it is the worst pani puri on the planet but the south pani puri was very tasty - a mixture of dahi puri and pani puri but no dahi was there inside. The Kundaly Dam is also having a look.

2. Top Station:
Our next destination was top station. The most beautiful scenery uptill now we had seen here. It had the best natural plantation and greenery. You also need to buy a ticket here to walk down 400 mts from main gate. It is Rs. 20/- per person. The best place to see the Neelakurinji flowers and have a feel of it. Top Station also offers a panaromic view of the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. The views those are seen from the top of this hill will give you unforgetable picture in your mind. Climbed back and had bhel which we made there with the things we had adding sauce, onion & lemom to kurmura.

3. Madupatty Dam:
Then we headed towards Matupatty Dam. On the way to Madupatty we had beautiful photographs with the woman working there. She was shaping the tea leaves with a machine. Enjoyed every moment of the ride and finally reached Madupatty.
There we booked the ticket for a speed boat for Rs. 250/- only for 20 minutes and headed for an adventurous ride on a speed boat. The photographs well justify our enjoyment.

4. Lockhart Gap & Rock Cave:
Then from Madupatty we came back to Munnar - Misha Holiday Home to refresh and planned to go to Lockhart Gap. Since we had to return the bikes at 6.00 pm, we were confused to go or not as it was already 5.30 pm and Lockhart was 14 kms and our petrol indicator was also only a little far away from E. But finally we geared up again and with full enthusiasm left for Lockhart Gap.
We wanted to experience the bike ride after dark and we enjoyed that a lot. The way to Lockhart Gap was a little confusing since people on the way were not aware of the place. Finally reached Lockhart, had sandwiches and icecreams there enjoying the cloudy scene and shivering as all of us were feeling cold now. On the way we met two bikers, husband and wife who were travelling on their bikes form North to South. They had carried all their luggages on the bike, both were foreigners. We were imagning what an adventure it would be to explore India on bike. May be someday we also plan it, not may be we will plan it.

At 7.00 pm we returned the bikes and went for some shopping in Munnar. The shop recommended to us by our taxi driver was Krishna. We purchased tea Packets, coffee packets, face packs and cleansers from there. Then we had dinner at Sarvana Bhavan and headed to Misha. At the end of the day after so much travelling on bike nobody was still tired. This day was the best start for our new year 2007. God's art of nature is the best art in this world which only eyes, mind and heart can capture. No photos can do justice to it. Finally all were off to sleep to get up at 4.00 am in the morning.

3 January 2007
We reached the Bus Stop at 5.00 am and the bus came sharp on its time - 5.15 am. We reached Ernakulam at 10.00 am. Deposited our luggage in the cloak room for 2 hrs and went to explore Ernakulam. We went to an Exhibition Meghna 2006 or 2007, I don't exactly remember which we had seen on the way to the station. The handicrafts collection was too good. We purchased ice-cream cups and tray for our house.
At 12.00 we boarded the train Mangla Lksdp 2618, whose departure was at 12.50. I cannot ever forget such a beautiful trip to Munnar with so much adventure and fun. It was just 2 days in Munnar, but you feel so rejuvenated and full of energy to take up the challenges of 2007. I feel India is the most best country to explore. It has immense beauty hidden in it and the hill station - Munnar is such one place.

4 January 2007
In the afternoon reached Kalyan at 2.30 pm and now waiting to reach home and tell Mom and Dad about all the experience we all had together. Waiting for next such adventure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2 comments:

Kusum rao said...

Hi Thr, Very nice blog and pics. Me and my hubbie are also planning to hire a scooter/activa in Munnar and roam around places. Was wondering if the hills roads are safe to ride as I will be riding in parts. Did you guys switch off engine while going downhill? Need some Tips, Thanks, Kusum

Tanvini Gogri said...

Thanks Kusum for your review. No we did not switch off the engine while going downhill. It did not bother us so we just drove with the engines on.