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Published: October 12th 2008
You will not find a place like Kerala. People are in absolute harmony with nature
For the un-initiated..I do annual trips..all on my own..call them"Hippie trips". These are unplanned,impulsive trips with the sole aim of discovering places and probably discovering myself ( ok..i will try and stick to the facts and not be too mundane). This one was not like the earlier two..in this case I had a fair idea that we (me and my bike ) would be going to Munnar and then to Kodaikanal although to be fair even this program was made just a few hours before I pressed the ignition of my bike.
Anyways..starting with the stats..Cochin(where I am based as of now) to Munnar is 130 kms. The road is good for the most part of the journey and its AWESOME in the last 40 kms. I started at around 7 am on a saturday and reached around 11am. It usually takes 4-4 1/2 hours by car and in my case I also stopped to take these pictures that you see. If some of you guys are planning to come down to Kerala and you don't want to do the usual stuff of traveling by rented cars ( Its so boring and if you are sitting on the back seat then
Lots of catching up happens around bus stops
you have got to look right in front of you so that you don't feel nauseous in the hills) then I suggest that you camp at kochi..get 2 days of stuff in a rucksack..hire a good bike ( I am sure you can do that somewhere) and hit the road. Statutory warning..Don't read if you are just in a tourist mode and would like to see the 'points' .Nothing wrong with that..i did the same when I had first come to kerala and its quite enjoyable too! Carry on...have a nice time.
Okie..you are the kinds who don't give too hoots about the people who stare at you with disbelief with big round eyes and then squeal "You went to Kerala and you did not see .......?????" Great..read on..Essentials to have in your rucksack..1) Raincoat 2) A nice camera preferably with a decent optical zoom 3) Lots of snacks 4) Good music player (if you are alone that is) 5) Some pain killers (I will tell u why!) 6) Buffer energy and perseverance
Okie..lets start (and ya I will keep on rumbling..its my blog after all ;-) ) First of all..how to go..hit NH 47.. keep asking for
An apple a day
Lifetime supply of apples going to Munnar
a place called Muvatupuzzha and after that if you try to lose your way then probably you will fall down the hill (ya that means that its a straight road to Munnar wise guy!)Right..now there are 2 options...keep on driving with your eye on the watch and reach Munnar in 4 hours...or else just fall in love with the scenery..drive slow and stop to click 2 snaps every 5 kms. The drive is beautiful. Between a place called Kothamangalam and another place called Adimali,the road goes through a forest with all its twists and turns but great tarmac. There is a grand waterfall on the way..do the following...get off your bike..there is a side passage with a few iron poles on the right side of the waterfall. Follow it to climb slightly up and if you observe closely there is a spot which is right behind the cascading sheet of water...go and stand there...heaven is gotta be something like that. ( Let me try and see if I can mark that on one of the pics).Enjoy your ride till Adimali, Munnar is some 20 odd kms from there and when you start seeing the tea plantations as you reach Munnar
Whats Kerala without bananas? Oh n i clicked it while driving!!
you will understand why according to me Munnar is THE best hill station of India. anyways,once you reach Munnar you can do all what the other websites you checked tell you..my personal favourites..boating in the Matuppetty dam(ask the boatwallah to show some stunts) and a visit to the Tata tea muesuem (although its on a different route). One route (the more popular one) is 35 kms one side so if you take that just find a place and rest in Munnar for the night. Since this was my 6th visit to Munnar I just continued. The plan was to go to Kodaikanal but then it is 198 kms one way and the only way back to Cochin was to retrace my path back which is no fun..the other reason was that I love to change plans midway (hippie trips u know) but the biggest reason is that by the time I reached Munnar,my butt was aching considerably ( pain killers...remember? there you go) and Munnar-Kodai road I heard was not too great. So I took the road that is hailed by the Jet wings magazine as the top 10 drive-ways in India...its the Munnar-Thekkady road and boy did it live
Check out the photogenic quotient of the roads
up to the expectations!!!
Its around 110 kms..check out the pic that I have put of the board which says the same..one of my favourites.Most of the route is not more that 20ft wide with a traffic that depends on your luck...in my case it was absolutely none.Damn scenic route...intensely exhilarating...don't forget to thank me that i asked you to take a bike because you will really enjoy zooming ahead while the KTDC bus wallah and that fat jerk in the SUV try to figure out how they will wriggle through the narrow road. Stop very frequently...don't be in a rush and keep entering inside the plantation whenever the security guys are not around (missed my wife on this trip you know..this one is quite romantic). More stuff to do...Sip water from the numerous waterfalls on your way..sip some tea with loads of milk and sugar given in big glasses from the 'Kairali Tea Shops" (Mallus are experts at putting up tea shops at the place where u least expect it)...stop and squat after a long strech (not for what u are thinking...its just to relieve the pain in your butt..remember?)
Ahem.. my monologue does not seem to end..so
The spot I am talking about is where NDF is written
just reach Thekkady..no wait..stay at kumily(this piece of information had come from my pal Ayyappa Das) ..4 kms before Thekkady and reasonably priced hotels where you can crash for the night. I stayed in a hotel which charged me Rs. 300..but thats just me!!
Ok last fun thing to do...leave your hotel at 5.30am and go to the entrance of the Periyar forest reserve and get a ticket. Now as soon as the gate opens just watch how the rented cars with stuffed tourists travel at breakneck speeds while honking like mad so that they can reach the Periyar river boating ticket counter first. The reason?? The first boat leaves at 7 am and has a capacity of 235 passengers.So go ahead..join the great race, stand in the queue while you enjoy the Bengali head of the family shouting ticket buying instructions to his wife 150 people apart in the ladies queue and the Hydeabadi gentleman trying to figure out how many people to deploy in the line for buying tickets for 35 people (27 full and 8 half) when only 3 tickets are being given per person.
It took me 6 hours to ride back 200 kms
keep your eye open for this house..it will blow you off your feet
to cochin via Kottayam and ma kasam...my butt is still on fire...don't forget those pain killers I am telling ya.
Ok guys..ending on the same note .. would really appreciate a comment...curse me if you did not like it..but do leave behind a word....it gives me fuel to write another marathon blog like this. Cya!
P.S- Btw when I reached the ticket counter finally after an hour I refused the ticket.Why? C'mon man the boat ride could not have been more fun than the queue..right? But then thats just me!!!
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