MAGICAL MUNNAR !!!

It was summer vacation for me and I hadn’t gone for any 3-4 day trips in the recent past and even my other family members needed a break. So, we decided this is the time to have one but we had to choose between two destinations, Valparai & Munnar. I did a lot of research before choosing the latter, well; it has been one awesome journey to say the least. Though I have already been to both these places, it was at a very early age when I didn’t have that sort of a craze about waterfalls that I have now. Moreover, my sister (who’s in class 6) hasn’t put her foot on God’s Own country even once. Since it was the rainy season (well, supposed to be but didn’t rain except for a few drizzles here and there), my father made us think twice before zeroing in on Munnar.  So, we started to look forward to Munnar magic!!.

Ford Fiesta was there to accompany us throughout and boy, hasn’t he done a splendid job?

 

 18th of July 2012:

Route taken during onward journey:

Chennai -> Tindivanam -> Perambalur -> Thuraiyur -> Musiri-> Karur -> Dharapuram -> Udumalaipet -> Munnar

We started off by around 3.45 am, had breakfast at hotel Arya nivas at Tindivanam. The roads were great till Perambalur but then the state highway connecting Perambalur and Musiri can be done purely for the beautiful hill ranges around.

Perambalur is where my father did his high-schooling and was working in its SBI branch way back in 1994. I was taken by surprise to know how its name came about ( Perambalur is Perum-Puliyur( big tiger’s place), Erumbalaur is Elam-Puliyur ( young tiger’s place) ) and how that name doesn’t justify that place now. We seriously need to save tigers big time, don’t we?

We crossed the famous Cauvery bridge and was alarmed to see so many lorries queuing to take truck-loads of sands from the river. We reached Karur, went inside the town to fill diesel tank and entered a hotel only to return back to the car as we were required to wait for ½ an hour to get lunch. So, we continued our journey, reached Pollachi (actually you don’t need to go there unless you want to put permit), had lunch there and headed towards Udumalaipet. It was around 4:30 PM when we started our climb. Roads were very bad for another ½ an hour but after that it was great. The views, though, were spectacular throughout. On the way, we had a good look of Thoovanam falls (didn’t have the time to trek down to the falls though, must do it next time). We reached Marayoor by 6 PM to refresh ourselves with tea. We resumed the journey but had many stops. One of them was Lakkom falls. It was magnificent. It was already late in the evening hence couldn’t take better pictures. Another was to have a closer look at a roaring stream ; myself and my sister were heading towards a bridge on it and it was an unforgettable experience. We couldn’t hear each other there! After 1 ½ hours we were there! Had a good night’s sleep…

19th July:

Munnar- Pallivasal-Attukal falls-Valara- Cheeyappara falls

The next morning the mountains were so beautiful when we came out of our room. Only then did we realize at what height we were staying from the main road.

We completed our routines and were ready for what that day had to offer us. It was quite a lot of places! Had a mini photo shoot at our cottage and then off we go..

First, it was Munnar headworks, a small dam. Pothamedu view point was our next stop. The views were so compelling for one to have a few clicks.

I wanted to stop every now and then to just fall in love with those tea gardens. Wow!   Next up was Attukalfalls. It is a very risky place to be in during rainy seasons as the water flow can even destroy the bridge over the stream there. This was what we heard from the person who is running a lonely yet attractive tea shop with a garden, right next to the falls. But not risky in our case unless you venture out to have a bath which is obviously prohibited.

View of main falls: 

View from tea shop

The bridge that I was talking about and of course,the narrator!!

Had a wonderful time there and proceeded towards Chitrapuram (power house) but there wasn’t much out there to see except for a check dam but the drive to that place was lovely. We got down at karadipparai view point. It was great and there is a chaai shop right next to it.

We didn’t expect the waterfalls at Kallar-Varattiyar, which is on the way to the famous ones, Valara and Cheeyappara. It was roaring on one hand but on the other hand it is sad that construction of a hydel power plant is going on there which will certainly destroy its beauty….and it is evident from the below pic

I was expecting Valara falls to show its gorgeous waters anytime since we had a river following us and when it finally revealed, I was spell-bounded. Seriously, no one can do anything but just keep looking at its enormous and ravishing force….spent around 20 mins there.

The river which jumps suddenly to form Valara falls was calm and smooth till this place. Again, we ventured to that bridge to witness the transformation of the river.

The other one, Cheeyappara, located within 1km distance from Valara, made me a mere spectator for more than half an hour. It was MMaaggnnificent!!!. I personally liked Cheeyappara falls more. It was looking purer than Valara; we can get very close to the  falls; obviously taller, it’s a multi-tier cascade.

We headed back to Munnar. On the way, we stopped at 2-3 places. One was Adimali to check out another waterfalls there…It isn’t actually a waterfall. It’s a stream flowing at a 45 degrees descend. We never thought we would come across such a huge one as it kept on draining crystal clear water. There is actually a village out there on the hill…We saw children climbing up the hill after school and they keep doing it daily and we were tired after hiking just once. It can get really bad and dangerous during rainy days.

Once you have walked some distance up the hill you get this mind-blowing view of the hidden falls.

A waterfall secluded from the busy road was the next stop. Again totally flawless water.

Came back, had some work charging all the mobile phones, cameras etc. and we charged ourselves too with zzzzz.

20th July :

Eravikulam NP- Mattupetty dam- Echo point- Kundala dam- Pampadum shola NP- Munnar

Eravikulam NP was a brilliant experience. It was very cool since we started off pretty early and there was mist all over the place as we witnessed it while on the shuttle inside the park. It drops us at a place from where we can walk 1 km on tar road to catch a glimpse of the highly endangered Nilgiri Tahr.

View of the park from the shuttle

My sister isn’t as shy as Nilgiri Tahr to pose for the click.

A waterfall on the way

Stop right here!

From here on for the rest of the day we will be covering the “usual” excursion route for tourists coming to Munnar

Honey tree, well every one stopped and so did we. (WARning : One stone throw will make it disastrous)

Mattupetty dam didn’t have that much of water (in fact way below par cos of wayward monsoon season) but speed boating was simply awesome.

Echo point

Kundala dam, pedal boating was good but not suggested if you have time-contraints.

Top station is the final point on this tourist circuit but you just have to enjoy the views as there isn’t anything to do.

Pampadum shola NP isn’t the one you are looking for if you want to spot wildlife. It’s a place with dense forests and is the starting point of the Munnar- Kodaikanal escape route laid by the British.

Narrator and his father

The Malabar Squirrel, an endangered animal found in Pampadum shoal NP

A langur, which was jumping wildly from one branch to another

I don’t the names of these birds but I just loved watching them chirp and fly merrily (These weren’t taken inside the park).

That’s the end of the day! :)

21st July :

Return journey to Chennai by Bodi- Theni- Periakulam- Dindigul- Trichy route.

This is why we are @Munnar…Look at these amazing tea gardens..just keeps on going as far as we can look

The last waterfall on this tour…Periakanal falls, not in its full glory but worth having a look nonetheless. Water was terribly cold; this supplies drinking water to the locality and hence the fences to prevent people from bathing

We were back after a tiresome, fabulous, scintillating trip.