Thursday, 30 October 2014

Long drive to Delhi - 13 : Munnar, Kerala

From Fort Kochi we decided to go up to Munnar via NH 49 covering a distance of 130 km. Kothamangalam was about 60 km but had heavy traffic & thereafter hight started increasing & road started narrowing. Almost took 6 hrs to reach Munnar as the road moves like a snake through dense green jungle. But the lush green surroundings are pleasure to watch.

To get out of city on to a highway is cumbersome exercise as sign boards which are in local lingo are of no help. Then you have to look for an auto driver, student or office goer who can understand Hindi or English for guidance. GPS in mobile phone comes in handy in such a situation. At times however, we had problem with GPS specially if traffic policeman suddenly decides to make a city road one-way-only! Then there is the problem of change in spelling of names of places - like Cochin becomes Kochi! Pronunciation of South Indian names by Ms. GPS are sometimes not understood & seem funny!

We always kept stock of biscuits, namkeen, honey, sprouted moong dal, lemon & fruits in car as quality dhabas are less on these roads & one is not sure to find a good one when you are in need of it. Of course good filter 'kappee' can be had easily in most of southern India.

Munnar town is situated on Kannan Devan hills in district Idukki, Kerala at an elevation of 1600 mtr. Winter temperature may go down to 5 & in summer temperature may go up to 25, cool place indeed. Munnar town is located at the confluence of three rivers Madhurapuzha, Nallathanni & Kundaly. Nearest railhead is Ernakulam approx 140 km & nearest airport is Cochin approx 105 km. Plenty of hotels & resorts to suit your budget. Enjoyable hill station. Some photos: 

On way up to Munnar - such single lane old fashioned bridges are common 

View of Munnar town from hill top

Red flags, hammer & sickle signs can be seen along the road side

During & after monsoon many waterfalls are seen

Same waterfall as seen on the other side of the bridge

Hills & tea bushes. Munnar has more than 50 large tea estates mostly owned by Tata group

In the tea garden. First tea sapling is said to have been planted in 1870 

Another view of the tea gardens

Insecticide being sprayed on tea bushes

Road spiralling through tea estates
Tea bushes are pruned & kept at table level so that picking up tea leaves is easier

Break in journey - enjoy the greenery 

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