Sweet and Sour Kerala Trip Part 2 – Beautiful Munnar

I know that it has been a long since I wrote the first part, so for those who read it but forget and those who missed it, here is the link to the first part of the tour about visiting Kochi.

After spending a day and a night in Kochi, we headed towards Munnar, one of the most popular and beautiful hill stations of India. We left Kochi at around 5:00 am and soon we were on Kochi Munnar Road. It was raining that day making surroundings and weather very beautiful and enroute I was thinking if it so lovely here how it would be in Munnar. We took our first halt for breakfast of famous Appam and Egg Curry and Aloo Poori with filtered coffee…ahhhh that divine taste of filter coffee…

Our next stop on the way was Cheeyappara Falls, a very famous and fascinating place. The sound of water falling down the cascaded hill is surely a treat to ears. We clicked few pictures here and resumed the journey.

Enroute Munnar

Enroute Munnar



Cheeyappara Falls

Cheeyappara Falls

Morning Mist in Munnar

Morning Mist in Munnar

Scenic View

Scenic View

One comes across many spice plantations on way to Munnar. With an urge to see how spices and herbs are grown, we stopped at Hindustan Spice Garden. The lady guide very expertly showed and described gardening and planting of each and every spice and herb being grown in the plantation. Most of the spices being grown were what we use in our daily cooking and it was quite interesting to know about them. The variety of spices and herbs included cardamoms, oregano, turmeric, black pepper(it is surprising to know how green bulbs of pepper are dried and turned into black pepper), coffee, cocoa, cinnamon, bay leaf etc. etc.

Tea Garden

Tea Garden

Nilgiri Hills

Nilgiri Hills

Carom or Ajwain

Carom or Ajwain

Cashew Tree

Cashew Tree

Chillies

Chillies

Cinnamon Tree and its leaves are Bay Leaves

Our driver suggested us to stop at a point where you can enjoy Elephant Ride. We were first not in a mood but considering our little daughter will have some fun, we decided to stop by. Then we had to think again about taking a ride as they charge quite much for a 15 min ride. 350 rs per person was not a fair deal but innocent and disappointed looks on daughter’s face persusded us to go for it. I was afraid of the ride at first but once the elephant started moving it was very enjoyable. The ride takes you back to childhood age and you want to scream loud in happiness and glory of sitting on an elephant. The only thing that disappointed us was the condition of elephants and the rude way in which they were being treated.  I had a pity on poor animals.

[caption id="attachment_97437" align="alignnone" width="640"]Elephant Ride Elephant Ride

Elephant

Elephant

We reached Munnar in the afternoon and realized the city was full of tourists and vehicles due to which it was difficult to reach first sightseeing spot Mattupetty Dam as the road was jam blocked. My tip: ‘Avoid to visit a tourist place on long holiday weekends’. So we decided to take another road and visit Ernakulam National Park, which we regret visiting later. Read on to know how.

Enroute Ernakulam National Park

Enroute Ernakulam National Park

Ernakulam National Park

Ernakulam National Park

In order to visit the Park, one has to park their vehicles near the ticket counter as only Park mini buses are allowed to take you to inside and you almost faint to see the long waiting line to buy the entry ticket. It sounds unbelievable that we had to wait for 2 hours in queue to reach the ticket counter. The mini bus operated by park autorities came as a ray of sunlight in darkness. We boarded the bus with big hopes to visit mighty Nilgiri Hills, the home of Nilgiri Tahr(an endangered species of wild goat and state animal of Tamil Nadu) and a lucky sight to Neelakurunji (a rare flower that blooms after a span of every 12 years). The serpentile road to the top of the National park was surrounded with beautiful tea gardens which looked liked green velvet carpets, hills were covered with mist making views more scenic and soothing to eyes. The mini bus dropped us at a point from where you can take a stroll towards hill top. The weather was quite cool at that height.

Well neither we spot any Tahr nor any Neelakurunji flower. We came back to the parking point with a little disappointment of expecting more than actually what it was. A two hours wait for ticket seemed worthless to us. We were very tired by the time we reached back to the taxi and as it was going to rain anytime we decided to check into hotel and visit other places later. As we had every booking under package, we had no idea that we will be staying in a place far away from the main city. We had a booking in Springdale Resort, Devikulam, Munnar and we realized that we had really made a mistake by booking package from that company (I won’t reveal their name but I will always curse them for spoiling our tour). The height of frustration was when we could not communicate properly with our driver about where he was taking us and which spots we should see or not. He was a totally dumb person.

Cinnamon Tree and its leaves are Bay Leaves[/caption]

Cocoa

Cocoa

Coffee Plant

Coffee Plant

Lemon Grass

Lemon Grass

Green Cardamom

Green Cardamom

Turmeric

Turmeric

Beautiful Wild Flower

Beautiful Wild Flower

Black Pepper

Black Pepper


Anyways, we checked in the resort which is a heritage resort located around 10 kms far from Munnar. Being far away from city we dropped the idea of sightseeing and market visit and decided to stay in the resort only for rest of the day. I missed pucrhasing famous Munnar chocolates and specialities. The room had an old style bed and very old style television set which took 15 min to get started. The most funny part of the so called heritage resort was there was no water jet facility in the commod. Use your imagination here  how would you have used that toilet without water jet. Upon asking manager, we were told this style is kept to preserve the heritage. Very funny!!! We tried to forget everything and enjoy the stay but the dinner we were served acted like salt on wounds. Pathetic, I must say.

Let me tell you the most interesting worst part now. As we woke up next day we realized we had forgot our bag having shoes of three of us, in the taxi last day. We would have ignored it if the cost of all shoes was not Rs 5000. A big loss  and another mood spoiler. We were kind of blocked as there were no phone signals except BSNL, the driver who dropped us had left for celebrating Eid and some other driver had to serve us for next day, we did not have his phone number, tour manager’s phone was out of network. We found ourselves stuck in a stranded place. Resort Manager tried but could not help us. With a spoiled mood we asked him to arrange a taxi back to Kochi which also cost us extra. We were not in a mood of going anywhere but back to our home. Suddenly on our way back, we received the call from the tour Manager and started scolding him for ruining our tour and asked him to return our shoes packet. We broke the rest of the deal with him and Thank God we hadn’t paid him all money in advance. Well, all that ends well is well. We checked in at a hotel near airport at Kochi and waited for his driver to deliver the packet so that we could then plan forward to our next and most awaited destination Allapuzzha or Alleppey, the Venice of India.

Stay tuned till next post.

16 Comments

  • MUNESH MISHRA says:

    Very nice post.

    Refreshing natural views. Information and special photographs of spices and herbs trees very beautiful.

    Thank you for sharing the GREENERY.

  • Shefali Arora says:

    Thanks Munesh

  • Venkat says:

    Nice pics of Munnar and description, Shefali.

  • AJAY SHARMA says:

    Read both the logs Shefali! Your flawless write-ups are superb. Pictures are tempting me to run n reach there. Write more & inspire!

    Keep traveling
    Ajay

  • Uday Baxi says:

    Dear Shefali

    A very good post. Travel is about life. As life would have it, there are various UPs and DOWNs. Experiences that go bad and the experiences that one cherishes. Your log covered the one set of experience quite well.

    My only advise, though unsolicited, is that please take the bad experiences in your stride and never let them take away your spirit and energy for travelling.

    Regards

  • Shefali Arora says:

    Venkat Sir, Ajay Sir and Uday, Thank you for your lovely comments.

  • Pravesh says:

    Dear Ms. Shefali,

    Very good post & fantastic pics.

    Online booking of packages has a risk of spoiling the trip & same happened here…

    Hope, that you had good time in Allepy.

    Keep writing…

    With appreciation.

    Pravesh

  • Dear Shefali,

    My late entry here. Sad it is! But as Uday rightly said, there may be good or bad experiences. They are all part of your travelling and you learn from that, and then again you experience a new thing and so on. I think you should have come out with the name of the resort and the tour operator. Because all the readers at Ghumakkar would have benefited.

    Waiting for your next post

    Thanks

  • Shefali Arora says:

    Thanks for your valuable comment Anupam.

    Will soon be writing the last part.

  • Tipsy Tips says:

    Same tip from me Never visit a tourist place on holidays. I had a same experience in Silvassa, which was extremely crowded. Tour packages are always disappointing and problematic, but we have to consider them if there is a kid. Anyways, beautiful pics and it seems you enjoyed the elephant ride after all. ?

  • Shefali Arora says:

    Hello Tipsy Tips…thanks for your comment.

    Yes we did enjoy the ride, I was afraid at first but it was fun.

  • Pat says:

    Glad to know there are sweet points as well. Kerala is such a place where nature makes up for everything else. Take a walk or a ride, you’ll forget all your worries. You are right about visiting tourist spots on long weekends. We went to Mussorie during 2014 Independence day weekend but had to change the plan 5 kms before the place as the cars were not moving at all.

    The caption of some of the pics need to be corrected – the one above lemon grass is cocoa plant (the one with big papaya-like fruit – its shell is hard, though) and the one below is coffee (small green beans in clusters). The one mentioned as cocoa (under the head cinnamon) seems to be nutmeg, not sure though.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    First , the pictures need to be rearranged and I need to take the blame. Shefali, when your time allows please send me a right order and I would fix it. Apologies. Also please look at Pat’s (good to see more of you Pat) comments on the captions.

    I think it is fair to name the company. It could be a matter of ‘information gap’ than any intent. I have always heard good things about the Kerala hospitality.

    Never been to Kerala but heard so much about it that when I go, it would have to be a real long affair. I am hoping that the natural beauty of Kerala made up for your loss.

  • Shefali Arora says:

    @Pat and @Nandan

    Thanks for your valuable comments. I would check the pictures again for captions and improvisations. Will send you soon Nandan

    As everyone in comments asked me for the name of the travel company so here is the info

    Company – Go Kerala Tour
    Website – http://www.gokeralatour.com/
    Travel Agent – Mr . Joseph

    I even have their travel iterinary and confirmation email which clearly states the payment would be done on the last day of travel but that moron came and asked us for full payment during our arrival at Kochi on first day itself. We didnt pay him full even then, had we paid him the full amount we would have surely lost it.

  • Snig Bhaumik says:

    Haven’t been there at Munnar yet… sadly and suprisingly…
    Thanks to your log Shefali, almost visited those places by myself.
    Waiting for the next episode.

  • puzha says:

    i found ur tour ws vry bad i feel pity but ur bad experience actually amused me. thanks

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