munnar

ALWAYE TO MUNNAR IN A BUS

 

It was during our vacations that we planned for an all family Kerala trip to Munnar known for its chillness and natural beauty. Munnar is one of the oldest hill stations of Kerala. This place is above 1,600 m above sea level and due to which this place is also called heaven by the locals. East India Company found this place long ago due to its topography in growing tea and coffee fields. They developed many tea plantation estates and distributed the produce to the wholesale market. Munnar even saw the first steamed engine train for carrying the tea produce from one location to another. They were also travelled using high cable ropeways, remains of which still can be found near to the old town. Munnar received its name due to its closeness to the meeting point of three rivers namely Mudhirapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundaly. Our trip was around the monsoon season of the state and we had planned for a budgeted travel, so we took our tickets in railways. We had our booking in AC Tier 3 as it was our first outstation trip so we wanted it to be safe. We landed at the Alwaye railway station by afternoon and we had our lunch from the nearby hotel and made our tummies happy. We wanted to take our cabs to Munnar but due to the issue of demonetization we were controlled to spend wisely.

 

So, we took ourselves to the nearby Alwaye Bus depot from where we enquired about the bus timings from the station master. We are basically from Jaipur (Rajasthan), so language was a huge barrier for us to take control off. We through actions and head grasps got ourselves equipped of the knowledge about the bus timings to Munnar. Later a native boy helped us in communication and identifying the bus. Luckily bus arrived after about 15 mins of sunny wait. We all boarded the bus and kept our luggage at the rear side of the vehicle. The bus took its roll and we all had seats to sit after a few minutes of standing on the bus platform. After about an hour of journey the city sites were drifted apart by the natural forests, they were thick forests with big rocks that shined due to the presence of water particles over them. The Journey was exploiting in its own way and I had a sit near to the window through which the cold breeze could be felt very deeply. I enjoyed that ride and wished it never ended.

We were tired due to the journey in train and we had fallen asleep in the bus for quite a good time. After an overall journey of about 4 hours we landed at the chilling place, it was already getting dark due to the weather. The mist was easily visible to all of us. We took our evening tea from the Munnar town and made ourselves to walk towards the homestay we had booked through the telephonic conversation. We asked about the Homestay to a guide whom we met from The Tourist Information Centre, we took a couple of rooms for our members of four. It was a very well equipped cozy room at affordable rates. The owners were very welcoming and good in their behavior. They treated us well and we could easily find a place to eat our meals. We ate our dinner and went for a night walk, we saw many tea sales outlet and many chocolate outlets too. We purchased a few bags of them for our way back home.

 

Next day, the owner of the cottage booked us a jeep for drive to the places called Mattupetty Dam and Top station. It was serene and the best of it. The roads, the view, the rain showers were perfect for the day. It was constructed in the 1950s mainly to conserve water for hydroelectric powerplant project. We halted before entering the bridge as we asked the driver to stop. We wanted to enjoy it walking and we first went on to the shopping side wherein we purchased some antiques and spices. We then descended over the bridge and stood overlooking the water body and the boats that were circulating as a part of tourism development. There were many fun plays too like shooting the balloons etc. After some quality time, we headed towards Topstation. We really enjoyed the roads, they were covered in deep dense fogs. The view over from the peak of Top station was the most thrilling of all and we all equally could share our smiles and show our inner happiness. We went onto exploring the way towards the bottom of the peak and finally reached the cliff. The parts of nearby state, TamilNadu could be seen from there at a very miniature scale. This spot had strong currents of winds blowing across all time so we left after a few minutes to escape the cold. We then ate from the retailer shops nearby and posted for some beautiful pictures with nature. We even met few families who were like us as a part of their trips. They suggested us some new places to explore and check upon. We noted and planned for it the following day.

Mattupetty-Dam-Munnar                               IMG-20161013-WA0008

 

The places which were told to us were GAP road surpassing Devikulam and the Anayirangal Dam. We had our quick breakfast jumped into the jeep for another thriving day experience. On our route, we saw mesmerizing view of tea plantations across both sides of the road. The road could be seen at a long stretch from the point where we stood. We saw many people of different states and nations taking photos and having their quality time with their loved ones. It all felt good to see and the climate was really welcoming. In the rainy climate, just an ample of sunrays could mean a lot and that’s how exactly the place was looking and glowing in itself. We roamed through the roads, got inside the plantations and ate some snacks. GAP was an hour distance from Munnar town and it called GAP road because of the view it provides. In order to reach this place, one must need to surpass a 100-200m narrow lane of road of which one side is the mountain and other being a steep cliff.

It is a very risky route and two large vehicles cannot surpass this road due to its built structure. This road is one of the factors adding to its realistic experience. There are many van shops which provide meals and tea and other items. The place was covered in fog and we could feel like we are floating across the heavens. The clouds are literally below us and covers our view towards the bottom. It is a common place for Elephant crossings, but that mainly happens during late nights or early mornings. We can also see some parts of the neighboring state TamilNadu from the top view. It was heavily raining and we found ourselves inside the car after a few minutes with the heater on. It showered for about 15minutes non-stop later which it subsides leaving behind strong wind currents. We had bought our raincoats from the market which protected us from being wet after we were out. In a place like Munnar, where winds are almost of high speeds and amplitude, an umbrella cannot withstand and may break if caught up in the wind.

We walked through the roads, they were very wide here unlike seen from the narrow lane we surpassed to reach here. Later, we headed towards the Anayirangal Dam wherein unlike Mattupetty, it was quieter and less crowded. It was covered with Tata tea plantations and even offered some coffee plantations too. Various tour packages were seen out of which Anayirangal Camping is the most beautuiful as said by our jeep driver. We did not plan for a night out then so we decided not to go for the camping instead we managed out time roaming around and taking pictures, videos etc and came back to our room. We retired for the day with sufficient meals.

Gap_Road,_Munnar_-_panoramio                             2

Our days were ending soon, so we wanted to explore something different and wanted to visit the religious places this town has to offer. We went to the temple situated right at the center of the town. It was blessed feeling for my family and everyone indulged themselves in prayers and offerings. We walked through the sideways of the temple and took peace within ourselves. We thanked God, the almighty for making us come here, see all the beautiful places. We sat around the temple for hours thanking God. We then moved to the see the famous CSI church that stood in the old Munnar. This church has a long history and is said to be built by the Britishers during their rule in India. The locals even say there is a tomb in the cemetery for the British woman who died due to some reasons. This entire structure is built purely on large rocks, inside there are wooden benches for mass prayers. The column beam of the church is metallic and they have this glass windows which adds up to the beauty of the place. We sat there for some time and prayed to the Lord almighty.

02                           3976997581_72300f08ed

We made our offerings and went on to visit the cemetery. It was really into a space full of trees, plants, it was mess of herbs, shreds etc. There were ways through which people walk and even followed the same path. We saw many names but sadly couldn’t find the much-anticipated tomb of the woman. Nearby, to the church was the fast food chain Pizza Max, from where we ordered and ate a medium size pizza. It made our stomachs complete as lunch and after a while we walked through the streets. We saw the Cinema-themed hotel Silvertips. We roamed casually for hours, taking selfies, eating street foods. We later returned back to the town as it was getting darker and uploaded some of the pictures on social networking media as well. We talked to the owner of the homestays about our trips and asked their suggestions about almost everything, the places to see, the things to buy, we did not want to miss the nay must-dos.

 

The next day was in different routes, they call it the Marayoor known for its Sandalwood tree plantations. The place was quite far from the Munnar town, as about 40 kms on the Udamalpeta road. Udamelpeta is a place located in TamilNadu from where connecting buses could be easily found to Bangalore, Coimbatore, Pollachi, Pazhani etc. These plantations were heavily fenced and guarded by forest rangers as these trees are extremely expensive and stealing of these buy big powerful men for money have had caused serious issues in the state for the past several years. Enroute Marayoor, we halted at the factory tea production outlets and purchased some tea bags. We also drank some freshly made black tea which enriched our moods. The specialty about this place is that the roads which are twisty gives an experience of viewing the forest from close range. We stopped in between and felt some good fresh air amidst the forest, we also took some photos of the tea plantations.

Marayoor                          marayoor-sandalwood-forest

After some chit chats we drove back to Munnar town and had our delicious meals, we tried Biriyani this time. We ate and went to our rooms for a siesta. After waking up in a hour or so, we packed our baggage and tied up the things we purchased. We had plenty of tea and coffee packets bought from the retail outlets. Later, in the evening we walked through the rain and made ourselves feel the good vibes of the nature. The day surpassed with beautiful memories and it was our last night of this place, so we stayed till late night through the streets. We ate porotta and chicken curry as it was the sort of traditional food for night walkers. Porotta is basically made out of maida after some many processes in between. We then took some cash from an ATM, we had to get over atleast 3 ATMs to obtain cash due to the issue of demontization. We cursed our government regulations and set back to our room to wake up early next day.

 

The next day morning, the driver dropped us at the Munnar Depot station and we boarded our bus back towards Alwaye. We had our train reserved later for that day. We reached well on time and made a happy comeback to home. We still go through the photos and videos that had been taken during our visit to Munnar and we remember the fun we had and still to date cherish it.

 

http://vinodgarudaa@gmail.com

NB: Some pictures were taken directly from Internet.

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