It was a much-awaited break after months of non-stop work on my last project. With just two days in hand, we decided to take off to Munnar which was our only feasible option given the time constraint. Being close to Kochi we opted to drive off to Munnar.
We started at 7.00 on Saturday morning a took a break by 8 for having breakfast at Jain Restaurant. Our friends had recommended us Saravana Bhavan which we had missed somehow. However, Jain Restaurant was also a good option. The transparent large windows of the restaurant amidst the large trees made us feel like our tables were set in the woods. Soon we were served with fresh masala dosa and steaming hot coffee. Here we had good food with a good view. I had started to feel a slight chill as we had started the ascend and I covered myself with a light jacket. We took off to our destination and it was not too late before we saw the signs to Munnar. The curved roads to mountains welcomed us. With each ascends the trees started becoming larger and thicker. About an hour of steeps and turns made me feel nauseous and we stopped by a local tea stall to get some air and feel normal again. The local chettan prepared us some fresh Kerala Chaya (tea). We also had some vettu cake (a locally made snack) which was simple yet delicious.
Once again, the roll began towards the destination. As we neared Munnar everything seemed naturally beautiful. I could see local houses with small cardamom gardens from my side of the window. We were following google maps to reach our destination as signboards were restricted by local authorities. Panic hit us as google maps lead us to a dead end. Luckily the locals guided us to our destination which was quite close by. My lungs could feel a punch of fresh cold oxygen. Once we reached and parked the car to pull out our luggage, we were welcomed in traditional style by the hotel staff. We were shown our rooms after verification of our ID proofs.
The drive had made me a bit tired and I wanted to relax a bit to shove off the after-effects of nausea. The hotel staff placed our luggage and cleared the curtains to the room. I was wooed by what I saw. From the light blue clouds wrapping the dark mountains that brought down a waterfall from between the white clouds to the bottom of the resort, I was staying. Though we had trouble finding Cuckmere Holidays Resort it was worth it. Located very close to Pallivasal Powerhouse the view also covered a glimpse of the powerhouse. The room clean and cozy and provided amenities including television, air conditioner, Wi-Fi, room service, and hot water.
Main Tourist Attractions
There are many popular tourist attractions in Munnar but with just a day to explore we had to choose limited options from among the lot. We chose the obvious one – tea gardens along with Matupetty Dam, Tata Tea Museum, Botanical Gardens, and just a stroll through the main town. But all this after lunch. The lunch was yum with biryani and lemon soda at a shack restaurant close by to Kannan Devan Tea Plantations. Once the tummy was full, we took off to explore nature.
If you get to see endless blankets of a tea garden in Kerala, then you are in Munnar. Just looking at the infinity of never-ending Tea Gardens can put you at ease from the strain you carry through your mind while at work. If you are not particular to explore a particular tea estate, then stop your vehicle side by and just enjoy their beauty. Looking at tea gardens in Munnar made me feel like watching the sea by sunset. With just your thoughts and nothing to worry about these gardens is the powerhouse of inner peace.
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Unfortunately, we had to skip both Tata Tea Museum and Mattupetty Dam because of the kilometers-long queue as some vehicle had died in between. It was impossible to reach both the places before they closed. After a few hours of the wait, we were fortunate enough to get space enough to take a u-turn and rather explore the township instead of being held up on road. On the way back we got to stop by for a horse ride by the road and saw some stunning view of the tea estate.
Afterward, we checked into Botanical Gardens which offered some rare varieties of flora. It hardly took us half an hour to cover. After this, we had some roasted corn and piping hot tea by the street which was a much-needed fix for the mild cold that had set in by the evening.
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Slowly we descended towards the Munnar Town and parked our car on the side to take a stroll through the town. Parallel to popular beliefs, there are not just Malayalis who stay here. The culture here is a mix of Tamil and Malayalam with many Tamil workers settling down in Munnar due to their job in the tea estates. You can also see many Jain restaurants which serve real yum vegetarian food at a decent price. On the way back we got some Rajasthani vegetarian food parcelled. By the time we began the ascent towards the hotel, the mist-covered us. It was just around 6 P.M. but the darkness had set in with the mist confusing the path further till we were lost and gave up.
Once again, a local passer-by helped and guided us towards the stay. Once back to the hotel safely we laughed at how we had lost the way.
Though we could not cover the places we wanted to see, it was worth the outing. Rather we decided to cover the missed ones along with other attractions including Kundala Lake, Attukad Waterfall, and Elephant Lake by Anayirangal Dam in our next trip.
What to Carry
Since the temperature remains low in Munnar it is advisable to carry light warm clothes. It is also recommended to carry an umbrella (just in case it rains), some case (ATM may be away) and some emergency medicines.
Being up early in the morning has its advantages especially when you get to see changing colors of the sky with the sunrise. The resort had a beautiful pool overlooking the hills. My people had leisure time swimming while I gazed into the beautiful silence of the mountains that was occasionally interrupted by the gentle waterfalls. After my early morning daydreaming session and my people’s leisure time by the pool, we proceeded to pack. The resort restaurant offered a complimentary buffet breakfast which we enjoyed thoroughly by the restaurant overlooking the waterfalls. Soon it was time for us to leave and we bid goodbye to the ever-pleasant hotel staff and the helpful locals.
How to get there
Munnar can be accessed through roads via Kochi. For people visiting from outstation, the closest connected destination is Kochi which can be reached by air, rails, as well as roads. The nearest airport to Munnar is Cochin International Airport Limited (Nedumbassery), and the nearest railway station is Ernakulam Town (also called Ernakulam North).
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Munnar is between January-March and September-November.
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