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Kerala Drive - Dec'14 - What a mesmerising beauty !!!

Discussion in 'Travelogues & Experiences' started by VahanPujari, Jan 12, 2015.

  1. Mabams1826

    Mabams1826 Amatore

    Messages:
    179
    Erode
    ERODE
    Fiat Enthusiast
    A must watch in Valparai area is Kadampari dam and power generation plant , though the latter is not open for general public.
    Water from Kadamparai is fed to a turbine placed several feet below the dam level and is housed in a tunnel which is entirety inside a tunnel carved out of the mountain
    Novelty factor in this plant is that a part of the power generated is used to pump water back to the dam and is again used for generating power.
    I think there only two such plants in Asia.
    VahanPujari likes this.
  2. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    2,303
    Mumbai
    Day 2 - 21st Dec'14....contd...

    Though we were running against time, just 20 minutes after Loam's view point we had to stop again for the views were wonderful :cool:. This was our first tryst with green carpet of tea estates :D


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    IIRC, we crossed Valparai at about 3.15 pm. Could not halt for Lunch. Had snacks in the car itself & continued driving.

    Sholyar

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    Disclaimer: All Flower pics are taken by my daughter;)

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    After a turn, we suddenly heard a loud shriek and came across this guy. In fact, there were two and they were right in front of us on the roadside. The younger one was pushing the bigger one in the steep decline besides the roadside & hence the shriek. My wife and kids were dozing and got scared hearing it. I was in decent speed and stopped about 40-50 meters ahead. I immediately reversed and came back to the spot but they were lightening fast and were disappearing in the forest below.

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    Just after 10 minutes, couldn't resist halting again for the view was breathtaking :D

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    Vazchal falls came and went. We didn't stop. Finally, reached Athirapalli falls at 5.40 pm (I was under impression that the gates would have been open till 5.30 pm hence was speeding). The gates were closed, and the closing time was 5 pm :(. We pondered over staying overnight there instead of Angamally and visit the falls in the morning and then drive to Cherai. Went a bit ahead to check the resort on the roadside. Meanwhile, could catch the view of the fall from roadside. We decided that we'll just spend some time here and move on rather than staying overnight there (anyways even if we could go inside, we were not going to trek down to get closer to the fall). It was getting dark. Quickly got a few pics and moved on.

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    Drove to Chalakudy and then 4-5 kms towards Angamally, checked in the hotel, had dinner and crashed to the bed. Two long days of stretched drive were over. Decided to go easy next day.
    King CM and Ravi like this.
  3. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    2,303
    Mumbai
    Day 3 - 23rd Dec'14:

    As I mentioned earlier, we decided to go easy on this day. Got up lazily and had breakfast at the hotel. Left hotel at about 11.30 am. Took Hotel - Chalakuddy - Mala - Kondugallur - Cherai Beach route. Nice bungalows along the route amidst nice soothing surroundings.

    A Car Enthusiast in the making? :)

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    Reached Cherai at about 1 pm. Our hotel was right in front of the beach but we were not too keen to hit the beach. Just before the hotel, there was a nice little spot where we gave justice to the shutterbugs :D.

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    At Hotel.....


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    Freshened up at Hotel & then drove to Vypin Ferry station to go to Fort Kochi. Just strolled around Fort Kochi for a while before taking an auto to Jew Street.

    On-board the ferry to Fort Kochi from Vyapin....



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    Vasco De Gama Square....

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    Jew Street.....
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    Synagogue.....

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    Strolled along beach side for a few minutes......

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  4. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    2,303
    Mumbai
    Day 4 - 23rd Dec'14:

    Again, we didn't rush things in the morning and left Cherai at about 10.15 am. The destination was Munnar. I was told that the route via Aluva is prone to traffic hence avoided it. We took the route Cherai - Mala - Chalakudy - Angamally - Perumbavoor to Munnar. However, even this route was full of traffic. It took us almost 2 hours just to reach Angamally. Since, we left leisurely, the power of leaving early was not with us :( Therefore, even though we didn't waste time anywhere nor halted, we reached Munnar at about 3.15 pm - a cool 5 hours instead of 3-4 hours it should take.

    8 kms before Munnar, we could not resist to halt and capture the greenery in the lens.


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    Here, the preparation of plotting the routes on offline maps helped me. The plan for the remaining half a day was to visit Eravikulam National Park at Rajamalai after checking in the hotel. Just when we were about to reach Munnar, I remembered that Club Mahindra is a bit ahead of Munnar and the road to Eravikulam diverts in another direction. Earlier I assumed that Club Mahindra won't be far from Munnar and would be somewhere around outskirts. But since we were late and intuitively I had a doubt what if it's a bit far. In that case, we won't be able to go to the hotel, check in, come back and reach Eravikulam National Park in time. Hence, we decided to proceed directly to Eravikumlam first and then check in the hotel late in the evening. It was the best decision taken spontaneously as we later found that it wouldn't have been possible to reach Eravikulam in time had we gone to the hotel first.

    Reached Eravikulam Park at about 4 pm and we were told that the closing time for issuing tickets is 4.30 pm. Right in the nick of time !! Took tickets and climbed the mini-bus run by Forest Deppt/ Park.

    Awesome sights & vista's all around while in the bus and also from Munnar to Eravikulam. As soon as we reached up the hill and climbed down from the mini-bus, we saw the endangered species, Nilgiri Tahr, roaming around on the road.

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    It's a walking trek for about 2-3 kms (we went till just over 1 km). There were quite a few Nilgiri Tahr's all around and of course the views were just breathtaking.

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    Take back memories, Leave no trace !!

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    By the time we came back to the ticketing center, it was 6.15 - 6.30 pm and it started getting dark. Had boiled corn at Eravikulam and drove back. By the time we reached Munnar at about 7 pm, it was pitch dark.

    And then we started our journey from Munnar to Chinnakanal, 25 kms away from Munnar, where Club Mahindra was located. It was blinding dark but I could sense the beauty of the surrounding looking at the bends, curves, ghat, the climb, narrow road etc etc and repented being late :( It was almost a single lane road (good condition though)and full of bends & climb. Reached the hotel after 8 pm.
    --- Double Post Merged, Jan 15, 2015, Original Post Date: Jan 15, 2015 ---


    Day 5 - 24th Dec'14:


    As soon as we checked in the previous night, 3-4 members of the Club Mahindra staff told us that we got the best suit with the best view. It seemed to us that they were just flattering.

    I woke up early in the morning and just opened the balcony.....And I was speechless for in front of me was the awesome sight which took my breath away and which I won't forget in years to come. I won't waste more time in words and will just let the pics do the talking. pls don't blame me for multiple pics of the same spot, couldn't resist posting (I have almost close 100 pics of this, different angles, varying sunlight etc !! )

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    Last edited: Jan 15, 2015
    cassini, HareeshCR, rejin_r and 11 others like this.
  5. vayfiat

    vayfiat Amatore

    Messages:
    220
    Bangalore
    Great pics there!!! Waiting for the rest. :)
  6. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    2,303
    Mumbai
    ....contd....Day 5 - 24th Dec'14:

    The schedule for the day was to visit Munnar Circuit - Top Station. Most of the sights / points are situated in Munnar to Top Station circuit. Left hotel at around 11.45 am.

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    .......and the first stop was just a few kms towards Munnar i.e. Lockhard Gap view point.

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    The previous evening I cursed myself for being late and couldn't enjoy the breathtaking ride from Munnar to Chinnakanal. Today was the day to enjoy it thoroughly !

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    Rose Garden was on the way after Munnar. We didn't go inside as there was a long Que inside and we didn't want to spend more than 10 minutes.

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    Photo Point !

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    The next point was Matupatty Dam. Again, we didn't halt there but went a little ahead from where view of the lake was fabulous.

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    Boating at Matupatty
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    Ravi and ramjn like this.
  7. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    2,303
    Mumbai
    The entire route is so scenic that every 10-minutes there comes a lovely spot which forces you to stop !

    Another halt 10 minutes after boating....

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    30 minutes after the above spot, we stopped again :D


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    As we reached closer to Top station, the cloud cover on the road increased :)

    Top Station was fully surrounded by clouds all around. We walked till the ticket counter but then didn't climb down from there as there was nothing to see except for the clouds. Am sure that on a sunny day, the views must be beautiful. But we were not complaining and were loving the clouds ! We had snacks there and returned. There was a Christmas celebration program at night at Club Mahindra where we had enrolled.

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    cassini, Ravi, rajeev_pillai and 2 others like this.
  8. kailasmenon2000

    kailasmenon2000 Superiore

    Messages:
    609
    Chennai
    Excellent write up & beautiful pics! This travelogue is tempting me to explore Kerala in depth!
  9. Mabams1826

    Mabams1826 Amatore

    Messages:
    179
    Erode
    ERODE
    Fiat Enthusiast
    Because of the quality of snaps we should call this a a ," great Photologue". :)
    Kalish if have not visited Munnur and planning to do so, plan via udumalpet, you as driver will enjoy every bit of it, and if it is in GP or Aavy Nothing like it.
    Back in 2007 when I bought my first car( used Zen) I went to Munnur with family after just 3 months of driving experience in a 4 wheeler( plain stupid or Audacious;))
    So my maiden long drive in 4 wheeler was till date the most challenging and memorable one.
    ramjn likes this.
  10. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    2,303
    Mumbai
    Day 6 - 25th Dec'14:

    The destination on that day was Alleppey. My original schedule was to leave early at about 6 am and drive via Thekkady / Kumily. However, since I decided not to rush things earlier, got up at 6 am and spent 30 minutes in the balcony sipping tea and viewing the beautiful sights / morning unfolding.

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    Left at about 8 am & stopped for breakfast after Poopara. Had delicious Channa with Appam & Dosa / Sambhar here. Saw Coffee plants & Cardamom plants here.

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    On the way, since we were going leisurely having left late and spent time in breakfast, we decided not to go via Thekkady. From Puliyanmala, we took the direct route to Kuttikanam via Kattapana & Merykulam. Lots of Taxi / Jeep traffic was here, mostly I guess Shabarimala traffic?

    Reached Alleppey at around 1.30 - 1.45 pm. After Kuttikanam, the speed was good, the traffic lessened. Excellent road after Changanaserry. Checked-in the hotel. It was near to the boat ferry stand. Had lunch at hotel & went for a 2-hour backwater cruise since we decided against staying in houseboat.

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    Houseboat....

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    Nehru racing boat....

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    Beautiful house on the side of backwaters...

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    "Bus" Stop for local transportation...oops...Ferry stop

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    Stopped here & had Coconut water

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    Personal transport for people residing in those Villages (like our scooters/ cars? :) )

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    Stopped at a Paddy field and spent some time within the Green Carpet. Beautiful.

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    cassini, HareeshCR, Ravi and 3 others like this.

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