After spending two days at the Grand Hotel, it was time to say goodbye to Kochi and head to Munnar. Munnar is a hill station situated at around 1,600 meters (5,200 ft.) above sea level and is about 130 km from Kochi and take roughly 4 hours by road. The road to Munnar is nice but is very tight and twisty and can give motion sickness to even seasoned travellers. Our colleagues had advised us to keep the breakfast light for the same reason and boy were we glad we listened to them.
We had hired a car for 5 days that would take us from Kochi to Munnar to Alleppey to Kovalam and had requested that the car be there by 9:30. Our driver, Sabu was there well before that and we left for Munnar at 9:30 sharp. En route we stopped at Cheeyappara Waterfalls, Valara Waterfalls, A Spice Gardern along with a waterfall, a view point and a dam whose names we can’t recollect. All these stops ensured that we didn’t have to use the sickness bag.
For our stay at Munnar, we had booked Isaac’s Residency via Oyo Rooms. The room was decently sized and was clean enough, although it wouldn’t have won any prizes for it. The hotel is located on a hill giving a beautiful view of Munnar Town.
In the evening we headed out for a leisurely stroll across the town and then called it a day.
Day 2 was our Munnar sightseeing day and had a whole lot of places to visit and the first place on our list was Top Station. It’s about 35 km from Munnar and takes close to an hour to reach and the route has all the sightseeing places, so we decided to head to Top Station first and then on the way back stop at most of the places. The decision paid off as we got to skip all the crowd and also enjoy the much cooler morning weather. The views on the route are breath taking, endless tea plantations, tall trees, rivers and dams. The tagline God’s Own Country truly made sense now.
Top Station is situated at an altitude of 6200 ft. and actually falls under Tamil Nadu. It really feels as if you are within the clouds. Our driver had told us that, don’t forget to take tickets and go down and since we had parked right at the start of the walk way we were wondering where is the ticket counter. Luckily we saw it just before we were about to turn back. This give you access to a View Point. It’s a few hundred feet below and there are rudimentary steps to take you there. Once there you can see the true beauty of Western Ghats, we were above the clouds and saw in action clouds moving upwards after coming in contact with the mountains, it felt as if we were looking at a cloud factory. The climb back was really tiring but was well worth the effort.
We had a light lunch at Top Station itself and the headed towards Kundala Dam and from there to Mattupatti Dam. Both places offered pedal boating, but we decided to give it a miss and just enjoyed the serene beauty.
It was now time for the activity I was eagerly waiting for, the elephant ride, at the Carmelagiri Elephant Park. Well this turned out to be a very expensive affair, for the 10 minute ride they charged ₹800 for two people and another ₹250 for the not so great photographs taken during the ride. Lucky was the name of the elephant we sat on and had a fun memorable 10 minutes with him.
It was close to 4:30 when we wrapped up the elephant ride and wanted to go to the Tea Museum, but they close doors at 5 o’clock and we couldn’t have possibly made it there on time, so we headed back to the hotel and decided to go there the next day before heading to Alleppey.
Since we couldn’t go to the Tea Museum on Day 2, we checked out of our hotel and headed to the Tea Museum. The distance was just 2 km but it took us close to 15 minutes to reach there due to very bad roads. They charge an entry fees of ₹95 per person and ₹20 for camera as well. The museum has various photos and equipments showcasing Munnar’s tea making history and how the tea industry brought in new technologies in every field. They also show a half an hour documentary on the history of Munnar, which does a beautiful job of explaining its history and the way Munnar progressed over the years. Next, we headed to a session on Green Tea by the Museum Manager. Despite having some real useful tips and insights on the benefits of green tea, his condescending tone really put the audience off. It was followed by a small setup that demonstrated how tea is made.
|Isaac’s Residency, Munnar Town