We were staying in Cochin but before we can start, it started raining very heavily. It was pouring cats and dogs and within 10 minutes open corridor of resort filled with water. But due to heavy rain we had to wait and after 30 minutes when rain turned to light drizzling we started. We were staying in Bolgotty Island we took ferry to cross the river. We reached the jetty and our driver got the car in to ferry for crossing, there were one more car & couple of autorickshaws and many people standing in it for travel. Water was choppy after rain but in my mind was playing Munnar places to visit. It was much calmer when we came a day before. The ferry was swaying little too much and we were scared but the local people around us were standing casually. It took us 10 minutes to touch land. As we came on the road, there was not much traffic and we crossed the city quickly.
Finally, we were driving on NH 85. It is well-maintained highway and both sides are lush green. The road was well maintained in most places but at some places, it had blind turns or hairpin bends. There were some heavy vehicles and buses that seem to drive as if they own the road, so our driver kept the decent pace.
We took our first break at Cheeyappara waterfalls. The water here was cascades down in seven steps, which was a delightful sight. We took some photographs here, bought some snacks and after spending 30 minutes we started.
As we moved further towards Munnar it started getting misty at some places. The mist and fog in the Nilgiri ranges create a thrilling effect, which we experienced later in Munnar.
Our next stop was Valara waterfalls, it is surrounded by lush & dense forests that are home to a wide variety of small animals and birds. The waterfall is falling from the height. It is in the middle of a non-exploited forest and due to its height & force, there were water vapors in air, which was giving dense mist/watery feeling. After spending 10 minutes, we moved.
As we came closer to Munnar, we noticed there were tea gardens on both sides of the road as far as we can see. But as we moved it started getting mistier and sky covered with clouds, which resulted in lesser sunlight. There came a place where the fog was so thick that we could barely see for 11-15 meter, the driver told us that this place is called Misty mountain because most of the time it is like this i.e. misty and foggy. We drove slowly here.
We were staying approx 7-8 km from Munnar town in the middle of tea gardens. We were told that it will be 4.30 hours drive but it took us 6.30 Minutes to reach Munnar due to fog & winding roads. My parents were feeling tired so, we decided to check into the hotel first. The road to the hotel was very winding & both sides have thick forestation or tea garden. Due to clouds and the wind, it was feeling very cold and mysterious. We checked into the hotel and decided to roam around in nearby tea gardens instead of going to town. We had dinner and called for the day.
Around midnight there was a strange and mysterious whistling sound, we looked out of the window but could not make out from where it was coming. This happened for a while. Next morning I checked with the hotel people and they told us that it is due to the strong winds blowing between tall & strong trees. This happens sometimes when the wind is strong and blows from a particular direction at high speed. Next night there was no such sound 🙂
Next morning we had planned to see maximum possible places and after breakfast, we started for our sight seeing. our first stop was Eravikulam National Park. This national park holds the largest population of the endangered Nilgiri Tahr and which is the main attraction of this place. Our car was not allowed inside the park. We bought the ticket for a bus ticket, entry ticket to park and camera ticket from the counter. the mini bus started in front of the ticket window. Our bus ride from outer gate to the main entry point of the park was beautiful with tea gardens or forest on both sides. We were there at the end of monsoon so, there was some small waterfalls on the way, which add to the beauty of the place.
The bus dropped us at the main entry point. There is a museum, small canteen, and souvenir shop at this point. I walked up on the narrow road going inside the park, there were many different plants though I can’t say much (As I can’t identify those). The view is very good while walking and it’s worth walking. I spotted few Nilgiri Tahr at the top of the hill. Finally seen one while coming down, it a big male. He was very close and looking for something, I stopped on the road but he ran away as people started gathering. Nilgiri Tahr is a little bit difficult to locate at a distance because it’s color matches with the topography of the place.
Imp: This place is very popular for the spectacular mass flowering of the shrub neelakurunji which takes places on these hills takes place in cycles of the 12yrs. The next neelakurunji ‘outburst’ is due in the year 2018.
Next, we went to Floriculture center of Kerala forest dept, they have hundreds of different plants and flowers. They have well maintained this place.
We had our lunch in Munnar town. Next, we went to Mattupetty dam. The dam was not operational during our visit (Water was not falling). The lake of the dam was surrounded by lush green trees and place looked beautiful. There were some stalls selling snacks, cold drinks, and snacks. I have seen some people doing boating at some distance but we didn’t. The most interesting part for me was the journey to the dam.
Ecko point is little further from the dam, there were lots of stalls selling different souvenirs. I had to cross this market area to reach Echo point. The place was ill maintained and there were some horses grazing around the lake. I shouted but didn’t get the echo of my voice 🙁 Nothing to write about it and we returned.
While we were returning we seen some wild elephants grazing on top of a hill. Our driver stopped for a moment but then moved because they were wild & unpredictable.
In Munnar, there were lots of tea gardens on the way. We stopped at some of them to look at them. Most of the tea garden especially those looks picturesque, their tea companies have put hoarding for publicity and these were a big put off as I wanted to click pictures. Though there were some places where tea garden looked beautiful.
We came back to Munnar town. There we shopped for different teas i.e. green tea, full leaf black tea and regular tea bags (The quality of the tea was good when we used those at home).
After spending the full day roaming around, we retired for the day. We had seen Munnar places to visit.
There are not too may place to see in Munnar but this place is more about the feel and for spending time at leisure. Driving around is fun as it was green and beautiful.
Next morning we strolled around our hotel checking different spice plants and after breakfast, we started for Thekkady.