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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Munnar is an incredibly beautiful hill town positioned at a height of 6000ft in the Idukki district, Kerala. With an extensive stretch of tea plantations amidst the high mountains and unspoiled valleys, Munnar gives a very pleasant feeling. The scented cool air is filled with the aroma of spices. The rising and falling terrain of Munnar is covered with forests and grasslands. 


Day 0 - Preparation & Meet Up

Munnar has always there in my visiting list. All friends occupied themselves for Rakhi & Independence Day weekend and I was going through my options. However, nothing seems to be finalized until I received a mail from BASC regarding Munnar Trip. After few dropouts, I was accommodated.
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We met on 12th Aug @7.30pm. A total of 20 BASC Members few known, many unknown started for the Journey.
DAY 1 - 13th Aug
When I woke up in the morning, we were in Coimbatore, Tamilnadu. After some time we saw many windmills across the road... we were in Pollachi. A few hours later, the dry forest started with monkeys around :) and later we reached "Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary". 
After sorting, the permissions and taking pics of few monkey families around, a forest guide took us for a trek inside the sanctuary.
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During the initial 150mts, we spotted some animal “pichvada”. I can only remember "yellow tail" :). The forest was full dry and we spotted nothing after day. The guide took us to a small river flowing down from Thoovanam waterfalls with a caution. We relaxed ourselves @river, doing eating / brushing / extra... (The other way around literally speaking). I also see "Tiger" (Nickname of My friend), doing monk eying around. Anyway, it soon ended and we started back. In the mean time, we visited a watchtower, took some snaps and went back to sanctuary base. We finished our lunch and started forward to Munnar our main destination.
On the way to Munnar, we visited Lakkam waterfall. Chk the pic to read its story :) Here few of us had "teetar" bird egg bhurji. It was OK, a litter bitter to my taste. Soon we started and we were presented with majestic tea garden across. A road in the middle, surrounded by Tea Garden.... It was beautiful to say the least. On the way, Jinu enquired about the timing of "Eravikulam National Park". He mentioned it as 7.00am. Anyway, through the scenic beauty of tea garden we reached our accommodation at AIDA by 5.30pm. We accommodated in three room. Few of the members opted to stay back and relax, few took their cameras and headed north/south/east/west.. I don't know the direction as I was busy sleeping. :)
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Hang ON!!! Day 1 is still to be closed. My roommates and I started around 7.30pm for the dinner. In the market, we can see only Tea Shops... not for drinking but fresh tea for taking home. Infect, there are hardly any tea stalls. Ok.. Moving on.. we had our lunch in the outside dhaba (others No idea) and came back move to play cards. We played cards for 2-3hrs ... having blanket maar for winning/forcing others to loose. Thts it.. we retired for the day after spending not so amazing time outside as most of time we were in the bus :P
DAY 2 - Munnar Visit
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The day started with the visit to "Eravikulam National Park". It opened @8.00am and we were the first batch to reach there. We were taken to the park base and left there to enjoy the scenic. We already knew there were no Animal sightings. Hence, we wandered through and came back with good pics.. thts it. It is told that blue blooms happens once in 12yrs and is worth a visit. During this visit, few of the members started proposing there places to visit but they themselves delayed and hence more places were not explored.
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Hmm.. we then spend half-n-hour roaming around the market near the national park until Jinu figured the bus. In the mean time, we had fresh carrot, green mangoes, buttas to name a few. There were truly delicious :) Tht contributed to good breakfast since we were further delayed due too traffic jam. Anyway we reached Munnar by 11.00am, had our breakfast/lunch, and headed to Mattupetty Dam.
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The dam was crowded. We parked our vehicle after few knots and headed for the river. Few clicks and again the journey started. This time to 'Kundala Dam'. Here, three of the gates were open however, there was hardly any water flowing through it. We thought of boating but being a Sunday, it was too rush.
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Then, through "Lock Heart Gap" we traveled to the "echo point" and "Top Station". The trip through "Lock Heart Gap" unveiled the breathtaking panorama of evergreen tea estates, undulating valleys, a spine of hills in the horizon and streaks of cloud drifting over tea gardens. We traveled to "echo point" and then headed to "Top Station" for the final visit of the day. Some of the members decided not to visit the "Top Station" viewpoint because of Fog (better to say passing cloud), Rain and Crowd. For others those things contributed to disappointment especially there was hardly any view and they decided to stay back.
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We came back and struck in traffic in crossing ourselves not bus (it was far ahead). On the way we stopped near Kannan Devan tea plantation and posted for pics :). Soubrab was left when we started from this place. In addition, here we saw Mandir, Majid and church location within 5KM giving the prospects of communal harmony.
Thts the end of Day 2 with more visits but for less time :( since the traffic was eating up the time. Similar to Day1, we had our dinner, cards playing and rest.
DAY 3 - Kolukkumalai Tea Estate
The initial plan was to keep our language at the hotel and come back for lunch & vacate it. However, Team decided to check out the hotel @morning only since checkout was possible within 12.00pm.
Anyway, we started for Chinnakkanal by 7.30am. On the way we halted near periyakanal waterfalls. It was one of source of drinking water for Munnar. He had our photo sessions before proceeding further. Here again Sourab and other person was left behind. Jinu had to go back around 500mts to get them... They didn't knew & were still busy photographing. Crazy guys!!!.
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Next, we suddenly stopped somewhere and Jinu went and came back with three Jeeps.
Well.. It was to take us to 'Kolukkumalai Tea Estate', the highest organic tea garden. The ride to the estate about an Hour was one of the memorable experience to say the least. I definitely recommend a ride here for those think they are the best drivers.
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The road to/from this tea estate is unpaved and very uncomfortable... It like getting free massage for your leg, body, silence mind. It was a horrible drive. I guessed I would have trekked in less time. Anywayz, the view from the top of the estate was zero  for the fact that huge cloud cover. We later went to estate tea estate company for a demo of the tea preparation. The tea factory is about 70+ old and still uses traditional method for tea preparation. Later after purchasing tea we came back to base where our bus was parked, again via un-describe road. My mind was roaming like anything once we came back. I had to take instant food & water to get going.
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Anyway, we started back to Bangalore via Body-Theni-dindigal route.
Summary:
Day 1 - Chinnar Wild life Sanctuary , Thoovanam, Lakkom falls
Day 2 – Rajamala, Eravikulam National Park, mattupetty dam, Kundala dam, Echo point, Lock Heart Gap, Top Station
Day 3 – Chinnakkanal, Periyakanal waterfalls, sooryanelli, Anayirangal dam, Kolukkumalai Tea Estate
Pics  Courteousy: Tanoy, Girish, Debashish, Pratab, Gururaj, Jinu, Naveen
Original Writeup by: Tanoy
Event organized by: Jinu John

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