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Published: August 6th 2018
Views of the Western Ghats
Today we woke up far too early due to the noise of a very violent monsoon shower. This relatively small amount of rain was enough to put me off getting up early for the 7am yoga class provided by the hotel every morning on the terrace. We quickly went back to sleep to wake to beautiful sunshine and a more reasonable hour. I maintain I’ll do a class before we leave, Stephen is convinced I won’t.
Breakfast was the first challenge of the day - having been put off spices by an insanely hot cauliflower the night before I was pleased to be able to enjoy eggs on toast and banana fritters. This was accompanied by delicious black tea. Again, having discovered the milk version the day before is undrinkable.
We were picked up by our driver at 9am and taken off for a day trip to top station - a beautiful view point of the western ghats between the Tamil Nadu and Kerala borders. There are specific tourist spots along the route where the driver stops and ushers you out - he seemed quite confused when we didn’t want to stop at some of them!
Our walk around part of the lake
was a flower garden - not really worth seeing but a pleasant walk around a small garden with lots of potted plants. I suspect it would be more interesting later in the year when more of the plants are flowering.
Next was a ‘tea garden view point’. It’s just a stop beside the road of a tea plantation. There are tea plantations everywhere and this was not the best view by a long shot but we diligently got out the car and took a photo like the good little tourists we are.
We did manage to put our foot down and refuse the next suggestion - an elephant ride. He really did try to sell it but neither Stephen nor myself much fancied seeing the elephants anywhere other than the wild. Despite all the ‘caution, elephants crossing’ signs we didn’t see any wild ones. Or any signs of their existence. Not surprising given the huge electrified fencing around all the crossing areas....
After being dropped off at the Mattupetty dam and told to walk across and meet him on the other side we decided to go rogue and walk in the opposite direction! It was a good
The obligatory selfie
choice. After walking through the tourist car park and past all the stalls (there are a lot of fruits we cannot identify) we came to a forest track which went around the lake. The sun was still shining at this point and we saw plenty of birds & butterflies as we walked to a point above the dam and came out in yet another tea plantation. At this point we met a road and decided we should go back and find our driver.
Further around the lake is echo point. Described by kerala tourist office as a must see destination we found it very disappointing. It was surrounded on both sides of the road by stalls and there was rubbish everywhere. You’re supposed to be able to go for a walk from here but we couldn’t see any obvious paths (except the road). You can pay a small fee to go down onto the tiny beach where you can play with the sound of echo‘s but it was rather too busy for us to bother. As we drove further along the road we noticed that you can pull over and walk down to the shore line for free and
From our walk around the lake
these areas looked much cleaner and more pleasant for a short walk.
Kundala lake and dam (we suspect a remnant of the British colonial days given how ornate it is) was our next stop. Again we walked right through the tourist stalls and out the other side. We then went off the road and had an explore up a path above the lake. The views were lovely and it was much more peaceful. Stephen got distracted by some derelict houses and cows and seemed quite happy.
Our final stop of the day was Top Sation. The views from here are spectacular and well worth the visit. We had a brief walk around the tea plantation below before heading back towards Munnar. Our only regret was finding a walk from Top Station after getting back to the hotel. There is a 4hour walk from this point down to the village below and back. Frustratingly we are discovering that whilst everywhere says munnar is good for trekking it seems almost impossible to find trekking routes to do!
On the way home we stopped at echo point again for some lunch. We found a stall that served reasonable looking food
Off on a short explore. Elizabeth tries to befriend a local...
and went to ask for some (safe) eggs and banana fritters. They were having none of it. Asking if we wanted lunch (yes), they ushered us in and sat us down at a little table and promptly produced 2 plates of rice with chutneys and 3 saucepans of sauces to help ourselves to. One contained sour cream and we have no idea what the others contained. There was no cutlery so we gamely started to eat with our hands as best we could. This was clearly not very well as they soon gave us spoons! The food was delicious and the quantity huge. We were able to enjoy the table water curtesy of our amazing water bottles and thus far have suffered no ill consequences. All this food only cost us 140 rupees, about £1.40!
Final stop before home was the botanical gardens - very similar to the flower garden of earlier in the day and can easily be missed. That said it was a good place to hide from the now torrential rain and we enjoyed seeing all the fruit plants and it sells some yummy chocolate 😊
Tomorrows plans are somewhat hazy given the fact there’s
a drivers strike on....
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