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ETTA - My Get away Stories | ETTA @ Munnar

Discussion in 'Travelogues & Experiences' started by srida, Apr 29, 2014.

  1. Hi FIATians. It has been long since I had written travelogues in TFI. Though I had traveled a couple of times I couldn't find time to sit down and write one. But I had felt bad for those I missed writing one. This time I wanted to make sure I initiate one even before the travel started, so that it would help me for preparation, get route planning, discuss stay options and lot more along with the actual travelogue. Also I thought I must name my travelogues / travel stories. As some of you might be knowing I like to name things that are special to me and for those names I would try to find out a catchy Tamil (my mother toungue) word, here I would like to announce the name for the travel stories / travelogues. From now on I would refer to my travelogues / travel stories as 'ETTA'.

    What does ETTA means ?

    Etta is an old colloquial Tamil word, still being used in some parts of Tamil Nadu which means AWAY. 'ET' is pronounced as in Eternal and 'TA' as in TAP. Not sure if Tamilians are familiar with the phrases like 'Etta Po' meaning go away, 'etta irundhu' meaning from a distance.

    What will be in ETTA ?

    My Travel stories and photographs of tourist places, roads less traveled, one day trips and whatever I find interesting related to my travel.

    Equipment Used ?

    My car Fiat Punto 90HP and My camera Olympus OM-D E-M5 + lenses.

    This is the short introduction of ETTA. I didn't want to start a separate thread for introduction and my first ETTA. So this thread along with the introduction will have the ETTA @ Munnar.

    April 29 - May 4 2014 I have planned for an ETTA @ Munnar with my family, my classmate and his family. 1 Night in Dindigul and 4 Nights in Munnar. April 29 2014, I will starting by 4PM in the evening from Chennai and my drive will be via Thindivanam - Trichy - Dindigul (Stay Over Night) April 30 Dindigul - Bodi - Suryanelli, Munnar. I have booked my stay at Silvermount Homes at suryaneli. A budget stay since I have to stay for 4 nights.

    Here I need your advise guys. Is the route I have planned for, a good one or should I go with Dindigul - Palani - Udmalpet - Munnar ??? Have anybody traveled to munnar via Bodi recently, if so then please let me know about the road conditions. Last December, I did a 2 night trip to munnar Via Udmalpet and the road was horrible half of the way and Okish for the rest. A Pot Hole cut my MRF ZLO's side wall and I had to change to the spare in the middle of the forest. So this time I didn't want to opt this route unless the other route is worse than this.

    Also please let me know if I there are any 'Must Avoid' or 'Shouldn't Miss' places on the way to munnar and in Munnar. Anymore tips, you are welcome. Please stay hooked to this ETTA. Will try to update on the move. Thanks a Ton FIAT'ians
    5 people like this.
  2. ramjn

    ramjn Staff Member Janitor

    Linea 1.3
    Bodi-Munnar section is very volatile stretch which tend to change drastically within a short period. On the other hand, Udumalai-Marayoor-Munnar is predictable. Always average. Now, the time being before the monsoon, I am predicting the Bodi-Munnar section should be Average to Good. I will try to see if there are any recent travelers in this section.

    Regular places of interest in Munnar
    - Mattupetti dam (Motor boat ride), Echo point, Kundala Dam, Top station (All these are on the same stretch)
    - Pallivasal falls (Not sure if there would be any water flowing at this time of the year. you can check with locals)
    - Tata tea museum.

    Not so regular but may be exciting
    - Kolukkumalai estate ride (you need to hire a 4x4 for this and it may be a half day venture)
    3 people like this.
  3. kailasmenon2000

    kailasmenon2000 Superiore

    Etta in malayalam is 'elder brother' and also most of the women call their husband 'etta' or 'chetta' in Kerala

    Sent from my GT-N7000 using Tapatalk
  4. Ette is Away in malayalam as per a dictionary. Im not sure.
  5. ramjn

    ramjn Staff Member Janitor

    Linea 1.3
    'Ette' is very widely used in Tamil in rural parts. I haven't come across people using this word in cities or at least in Chennai.
  6. kailasmenon2000

    kailasmenon2000 Superiore

    I have never come across the word 'ette' in Malayalam... As I mentioned 'Etta' or 'Ettan' is 'Brother' & 'Ettu' is number 8.
  7. ramjn

    ramjn Staff Member Janitor

    Linea 1.3
    It is same in Tamil too. :)
    1 person likes this.
  8. Sorry for getting back so late. Couldn't find time to write down the whole story. But managed to start and here are the first 2 parts of the story. Before I start publishing the story, I would like to thank the ETTAquipments [ my punto 90hp and my camera Olympus OM-D E-M5 + accessories] and a special thanks to the forum members for their interest shown towards ETTA.

    Here are the ETTAquipments.

    Last edited: May 12, 2014
  9. So I am done with the Etta @ Munnar & here comes the Story. To say a little about Munnar, this place has become one of my favourite place to visit. This is the third time in my life Iam visiting Munnar, and 2nd time in the last 6 months. The reason being, it is green green and green everywhere. The Tea Plantation, grasslands, trees, and what not. This is a place where one don't have to go for the tourists spots to spend time, instead sit watching the tea plantation, grasslands, lakes, for hours even for days without getting bored or tired. The city life is blue most of the time, green in munnar is such a wonderful change to the eyes, mind and body. Ooty is green, Kodaikanal is green but why only munnar is so special to me. I don't know, whilst leaving Ooty I would be thinking I should visit kodaikanal next and whilst leaving kodai I think about visiting munnar next time. But whilst leaving munnar, I think about revisiting Munnar the next time and this happened for the 2nd time too. Last time it was 2 nights, this time 3 nights, but still some sort of lacking fulfilment runs in my mind when I leave munnar which makes me think about revisiting this place again. For sure I would be visiting munnar again if not for anything else but for the FUN and Adventure Part of this Etta Story. Part ? What Part? Yes this ETTA comprises of 6 parts, Uncertainty, Excitement, Amusement, Misspend, Adventure and Yearning.

    The Uncertainty of ETTA:

    Although our intellect always longs for clarity and certainty, our nature often finds uncertainty fascinating. - Carl von Clausewitz

    My plan was to start at 4:00PM on April 29. As I do for all the long trips, On the day of our ETTA start, I did visit the FIAT RDC Service, Ambattur to get the car checked for all Fluids, alignment and balancing corrected, brakes checked etc. I visited the RDC at 10:45AM and was there till 12, just to hear the SA tell me he cannot get all these done by evening, and he can try his best to give the car by 6:30. It was not the usual SA I go for in RDC. If it was my usual SA who was on leave that day, I just need to tell him I am going to Munnar today for 5 days. He would take care of everything without me telling anything. But this SA was least bothered. So had to leave the RDC getting nothing done. Got the alignment and balancing checked outside, washed the car outside, small shopping and then reached home at 3:30PM. Immediately started loading the car and by 5:00PM we were ready to start. Oops !!!! I didn't check the fluids. Opened the bonnet and was shocked to see the Coolant was empty, dry. How could this happen ? Drove the car straight to RDC again with my wife, kid and luggages. The same SA came to me. I ignored him and went to another guy and told him the situation. The first thing he told me was "you should have come in the morning, I could have got the car ready for a long travel". The exact opposite what the other SA told me. Then he said, "don't worry sir, empty coolant box is a worst case, will get it checked. But if it the worst case you might not be travelling today." The car was put on the ramp, checked for any leak, then he emptied a full paraflu into the coolant container and again checked for any leaks. He assured me there is no problem, and this issue was a result of water pump change in the 60K service which requires a coolant topup after 5k. At 6PM the SA gave a go signal and we started from the RDC. What a coincidence, the HU was playing the song "Yenga Ooru vandi" from the movie Pannaiyarum Padminiyum exactly when I was coming out of the RDC gate just like the first 15 secs of this Video.
    I pointed it out to my wife and she was relieved of all the tension.Uncertainty broken and Here starts the ETTA....

    My plan was to start at 4PM and reach dindigul by 10PM and stay there. Since my start was delayed by 2 Hrs, I had to change the plan and stay in trichy. Called Hotel tamilnadu and got confirmed a room for us. The next day we started by 7:30 AM from trichy after the breakfast. My son fell ill. The food he ate previous night or the breakfast or the way I was driving the car, upset his body and he was feeling very uncomfortable till dindigul. After that it became worse and he started vomiting and it continued till bodi slowing us down. At bodi, I got him a Lemon Soda and he is back to form. Wow, this Lemon Soda is such a rescue drink while travelling, which helped my wife and son many times during this Etta and this time it got my son and wife a smooth transition into the Excitement Part of the Etta.

    ExcitemenTTA :

    Dreams get you into the future and add excitement to the present. -Robert Conklin.

    It was 2:00PM we reached Munthal, the foot hills. As soon as we hit the hill roads, the excitement started. Till then we were worried for running late but as soon as we hit the ghats we decided to take our time enjoying the sceneries. Lot of stops, few clicks, bad roads, senseless oncoming traffic added up to the slow down. But still the drive on the ghats was really enjoyable. But my friend and his family who are the other participants of this ETTA, have already reached Munnar and were settling down in the home stay (I will come to this later in this part).






    FIATs are unreliable so we had a backup car which is another FIAT




    I have to mention about the road condition. Till Muthal the roads and traffic were really good, except for the few kms that I have to drive in the towns. The ghat section was a mix of Moderate, Bad and worse but no good till the kerala check post. Below is a Sample of the road condition. There had been a lot of mud slides throughout till Kerala check-post which was not cleared properly. If it had rained when we were driving up, the situation might have got worse because the mud slides along with the rocks were still waiting for a rain to come down to the road. I was wondering why wouldn't these officials take some action before some mishaps happen to people travelling through this stretch.



    While I was busy with the camera, my son was sincerly preparing for his board exams


    Anyway we reached the safe-zone which is after the Kerala Check-post and a heavy rain pored down. After this again the roads got better which was a mix of more good and very little bad. I never expected this route to be so scenic, thanks to the heavy rain which took care of the beautification of already beautiful sceneries. I thought I should have driven slower and spent more time out of the car. But the other family is waiting for us so we have to show some generosity.



    Since the other family has already reached the home stay it wasn't hard for me to find the place. By 4:00PM we reached Suryanelli, where the homestay 'Silver Mount Homes' is located. We had booked for this homestay one month in advance, so there was not hassle in checking in. all the rooms were available and we had the choice. I opted for a room with balcony. Both me and my friend were concerned about the money we are gonna spend for the stay, we wanted it to be cheap and best and we managed to find one. Since we booked it one month in advance the owner gave us some discounts and final price was INR 1500/Night/Room. Both the rooms were very neat, comfy. Our room had no hangers or shelves, so organizing our luggages were a mess, which was only the negative. Also the rooms were small but our expectation has to be genuine for the price we pay. Since this is a homestay we had no expectation for kids play area. Otherwise we were happy we opted this stay. The owner George and his wife were very generous and eager to help. I would go back to this homestay again.


    A view from the room balcony



    After a quick rest, we decided to start to munnar town which is ~25KMS from our stay for a small shopping. Ladies had their time to enjoy shopping while the men were running behind the kids. By 8:00PM we came back, made our family have their dinner and sent them to their bed. Now I have to join my friend who is waiting down outside with the chicken and Hobsons Brandy. So it was a slow but great enjoyable day for all of us. After the drink I deserved a sound sleep and rest to be up and running for the FUN part of the Etta.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 13, 2014
    6 people like this.
  10. m-matt

    m-matt Timido

    might be number 8 or elder brother :D. anyway that is funny!

    Your travelogue seems awesome. Nice photography. Keep up the good work. All the best!

    Olympus OM-D E-M5 is an SLR ? Looks very similar to old generation Olympus Film camera.
    Last edited: May 12, 2014

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