Thursday, April 27, 2017

Elephant ride at Tusker Trail, Thekkady

Date: 3rd April 2017

Visitors: Arun, Shilpi and Harsh

Timing: Starts around 8 AM and goes up to 6 PM.

Fee: 400Rs per person for twenty minute ride. 6 yr old free.

We left munnar after breakfast around 9 AM. We reached thekkady at noon. Gopi asked if we wanted to do elephant safari and we readily agreed. We went to tusker trail on the way to our hotel silver crest. There were some 5 elephants in this place. There are few more places which has the elephant ride. The ride is inside the small plantation. The ride is around 15 minutes. Shilpi and Harsh were scared initially but they enjoyed the ride once it started. It was always at the back of my mind how do we escape if the elephant goes crazy. There were bigger elephant than the one we went but that itself we felt we are sitting way to high. There are other options also like feeding the elephant, elephant giving bath to the visitors. The cost starts from 400 and goes way up to 6000 Rs. After the ride we took few pics standing next to the biggest animal and it was exciting as well as scary. We were there for half hour and left to our hotel.

Few pics from the tusker trail.

A exciting experience that should not be missed when in Kerala. 

Top Station, Munnar

Date: 2nd April 2017

Visitors: Arun, Shilpi and Harsh

Timing: Entry open till 6 PM.

Fee: Adult - Rs 25, Children - Rs 15 and Camera - Rs 15

Top station is another tourist attraction in munnar. The place is actually located in Theni district of Tamil Nadu. Gopi said that we will need to walk around 2 Kms so others said they will stay in car. Shilpi, Harsh and I went to the viewing point. It was less than a km and a easy walk. We got the entry ticket and walked inside. There are plenty of shops selling fruits and other things to eat. The most common was the bread omelette. We decided to eat on the way back as already 2 PM. The view of the western ghats and the valley was wonderful. We spent around 15 minuets there and walked back. Everyone was very hungry and we decided to eat some thing there. Everyone went to have meals in a hotel, Shilpi and i did not want to have meals so we went to another place. Shilpi ordered noodles and i got another omelette. The shop was run by a elderly women and she was from tamil nadu so when we spoke in tamil she started talking very well. She was talking about the shortage of rain and drinking water. She said sometimes they even use the bottled water kept for sale. They generally collect water from the nearby hill and use it for drinking. She gave that to  us to drink, there were small sand particles so we drank it once it settled down. Does water have taste? yes absolutely, the water was so cold and so tasty we had couple more glasses. Bottled water doesn't come anywhere close to the water collected from the hills. Kerosene was used as fuel for cooking and the noodles had bit too much kerosene smell. I was making fun of shilpi as she used to say that tha ladoo we get in Coimbatore is made of kerosene and today she ordered and had kerosene noodles:). When we went back my parents had also finished lunch and they were very satisfied with the food. Seems the sambar was very tasty and quantity filling.

Few pics from top station view point.

It would be even better if there are more clouds and reached early in the morning or late in the evening. Afternoon is not a good time if one needs to capture the real beauty of these hills.

Mattupetty Dam, Munnar

Date: 2nd April 2017

Visitors: Arun, Shilpi, Harsh, Muthusamy, Vijayalakshmi and Sneha

Fee: Car Parking Rs10.

We reached Mattupetty dam around 11:30 AM after visiting flower garden. The place was too crowded. We had to park the car and walk a bit. We walked for some distance on the dam and saw that its again a park and boating. Since we have already went for speed boating in sengulam dam we decided to skip this. It was too crowded so we returned and got down to go near the water and spend some time there. Even though it was close to noon the weather was nice. The water was cold, harsh and sneha stood in water playing for around 45 minuets. The water level was very low. There are multiple places to get down in water.

Few pics from the dam.

Its a ideal picnic spot for locals and the tourist to visit in munnar.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Tea Plantations, Munnar

Date: 1st April 2017 - 2nd April 2017

The name munnar is synonymous to beautiful tea gardens on the hills. One could see the plants covering the hill like a carpet. Kannan Devan hills is the most famous tea estate in munnar and one of the popular tourist attraction. One cannot stop admiring the view of these gardens while driving around munnar. We stopped in multiple places to click few pictures and we could not get enough :). Another place to visit is the tea museum in munnar but we missed it as we were tired while reaching the place.

Few pics of  the munnar tea gardens. The pic i liked the most at the end.

The tea plantation in the dream catcher resort munnar.

Tea garden view.

Green carpet spread beautifully over the hills.

Yet another view.

Valley of tea plants.

Can one not admire this view?

One of my favorite pics from munnar.

Breathtaking views of the tea estates all round the year one can never miss.

Flower garden, Munnar

Date: 2nd April 2017

Visitors: Arun, Shilpi, Harsh, Sneha, Muthusamy, Vijayalakshmi

Timing: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Fee: Adult-30, Kids 6-12yrs -15, Camera-20

Day 2 of munnar tour begun with visit to flower garden maintained by Kerala Forest Development Center. We reached there around 10:15 AM. The place was fairly crowded, We got the ticket and went inside. It was a small garden but with varieties of beautiful flowers. There is also a government run shop selling herbal powders and spices. When we came out around 11 the crowd has build up and the line had extended outside the ticket counter. We spent around 40 minutes there viewing the colorful flowers. Its one of the many place setup to attract the tourist.

Few flowers from the garden.

Its a typical garden which one can see in all other hill station like Ooty, kodaikanal and yercaud. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Dream Catcher Plantation Resort, Munnar

Date: 1st April 2017 - 2nd April 2017

Our stay at munnar was in dream catcher plantation resort. The resort is located some 20Km from munnar town. We were skeptical initially as the resort was very far from munnar town but it turned out to be a excellent place to stay. The rooms were very clean and the bed was vert comfortable. The staff were very friendly and helpful. The tour operator mentioned that you cannot go out of the resort in evening for dinner so either carry food from outside or eat at the resort itself. It turned out to be very true. Even if we had own vehicle it would have been very difficult to venture out in the night and come back. Dinner was bit expensive as expected but the food was good. There is campfire area and a viewing gallery built around a tree. The gentle breeze and the view of the hills gave an amazing experience. The buffet breakfast had a decent spread of items.

4x4 for off road experience. We did not inquire about it so not sure if they operate it or just kept.

Beautiful tea plantation inside the resort.

Harsh has learned to click nice pics :).

Sneha was more interested in giving pose and harsh was even more interested in taking pics. Nice time pass for both.

Sunset from the view point.

Hanging bridge connecting the rooms and the view point.

View of tea plantations from the dining area.

One of the nicest resort to stay in munnar and surely recommend it to anyone.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sengulam Dam Speed Boat, Munnar

Date: 1st April 2017

Visitors: Arun, Shilpi, Harsh, Muthusamy, Vijayalakshmi and Sneha

Timing: 9:15 AM to 4:40 PM

Fee: Rs 750 for 15 min, Max 5 people per ride including Kid.

We reached close to munnar around 3 PM and we had nothing much planned for the day. Gopi said we can go to Sengulam dam for boating. There was speed boat available here and we decided to take it. First shilpi said she will not go and take my mother. I bought the tickets after filling the details and came to the jetty and were waiting for our turn. My mother got a bit scared after seeing the speed boat and she said she will not come. I went and changed the name and shilpi came with us. I was expecting a more thrilling ride but it was not as much as expected. How ever it was an experience and we enjoyed the ride. There is also a family boat which carry more people at slow speed. Another side of the center there was kayak's and kayaking was also available in the Kerala hydel tourism center. Left it for another day at another place. We had cup of tea and left the Dam to Dream catcher resort.

Few pics from the visit.

Ready for the speed ride.

Few turns which was fun.

Beautiful backdrop.

Finishing turn.

Harsh enjoyed the ride a lot.

One another activity to do while in munnar. 

Places to see on the way to Munnar

Date: 2nd April 2017

Visitors: Arun, Shilpi, Harsh, Muthusamy, Sneha, Vijayalakshmi

Places of interest: Kalady - Sri Adi Sankara birth place,  Cheyyara water falls, Valara water falls, spice garden.

Timing: Kalady - 7 AM - 7 PM

Fee: Kalady - Rs 5, Spice garden Rs 100

We left Guruvayur on day two and reached kalady around 11 AM. We went to Sri Adi Sankara Sthamba. Its a eight-story build with winding steps up. The walls are decorated with paintings of life of Sri Adi Sankara. When we went there was some renovation work going on and last part was closed out. We spent around 30 minutes there and left for Munnar. Worth the stop on the way to munnar.

Also read about Sengulam speed boating.

Our next stop was at Cheyyara falls. Gopi has told us there was no water is most of the water falls. Most people we spoke to were very concerned about the low rainfall in 2016 and the water shortage and failing crops. Our mind was set to see no water but when we saw this trickle we were happy. Its just on the left side of the road while going to munnar. There were many shops nearby suggesting that it will be a beautiful falls after monsoon.

Valara falls was better when compared to Cheyyara falls as there was bit more water here. This was on the right side on the way. There might be some way to get down and reach the falls. We just saw it from the road and moved on.

Spice garden was included in our package but we need to pay for this visit. It was the case with most place. Only taking us to the package was included and all tickets we need to buy. One thing we learned with the package tours. Its actually a shop selling herbal medicines and they have one or two sample plants/trees of all herbs. Harsh, I and my father went to see the plants and others went to the shop to see. We saw many varieties of herbs and flowers. One person explained is about all the plants and its uses and without fail added that we can buy the medicine from the shop :). The visit was just OK. It was a marketing ploy and we anyway were not planning to buy anything and so we left.

Inside the garden.

Shoe flower. Harsh saw this and went few steps and came back and said "Appa enaku oray athisayama irukuthu" it was so cute listening him say the word athisayam.

Few colorful flowers from the plantation.

All the places are on the way, water falls will be a wonderful sight after the seasons rain. Spice plantation can surely be skipped. 

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