Exploring Western Ghats : Part 7 : Munnar

Exploring Western Ghats : Part 7 : Munnar

Munnar / May 9 – May 13

May 9, 2016

My wife had never been to Munnar before, so it was obvious choice. We drove to Munnar from Vagamon via Idukki Dam route. Beautiful scenery all along the way. We tried really hard to locate the point from where you can get to the Dam but all in vain. Google Maps didn’t help and we didn’t care to ask for directions. So, we drove straight to Munnar. Not many food options on the way. So, eat when you see an ok place and don’t wait for that perfect restaurant.

Route Recap :

Hyderabad – Chennai – Kodaikanal – Marayoor Munnar – Kochi – Vagamon – Thekkady – Munnar – Palakkad – Kalpetta (Wayanad) – Masinagudi – Ooty – Ananthpur (AP) – Hyderabad.

For previous part, click here.


Munnar

This time we stayed a little outside of the town near the bus stand. No traffic noise here thankfully and away from the crowd as well.

Monday was consumed in transit and it was already time to work.

May 10, 2016

Last week, I didn’t do much exploring in Munnar. It was more about long drives. Since, it’s more fun to just drive in these hills, we decided to do that. We drove all the way to Top Station with only a couple stops in between.

We didn’t visit Top Station as I learned earlier that it should be visited only when clouds are on to make climbing those stairs worth it. Instead we drove further to the Pambadum Shola National Park. Shola forest is like a rain-forest but much smaller in area. It’s dense and wetter than surrounding areas. We drove on this circuit passing through villages Vattavada and Koviloor. Few video recordings from earlier solo drive but the route was same.

The Circuit
The Circuit

Heavy logging between Top Station and the National Park check post. I think it’s a part of the regular process. Once the trees are mature, they need to be cut down to make way for new trees. No logging inside the national park though.

On this route, there are little villages and scattered houses all over the place. Almost no traffic. The entire route has amazing valley views.

Somewhere inside Pampuda Shola National Park
Carrot Cleaning Machine in Vattavada
Vattavada Village View
A machine that gathers no mud is not my favorite
A machine that gathers no mud is not my favorite

It started raining sometime when we were returning from Koviloor. Rains feels even better while in the dense forest. You can hear it all around you. By the time we reached Top Station, clouds have owned the valley completely. Visibility was reduced to hardly a few meters.

At this point, we wanted to go to Top Station but were totally out of time as I have to return to the hotel and start working.

When we reached Madupetty dam, huge amount of water was being released from one of the spillways. It was a little overwhelming even from a distance.

This day turned out to more adventurous then we originally planned and with just driving component.

May 11, 2016

Since we didn’t stop anywhere on the way to Top Station yesterday, we planned to take the same route again with stops at scenic spots on the way. This was the fourth time I was driving from Munnar to Top Station and trust me, excitement was still the same as the first time. Pics ahead.

Rose Garden on Munnar-Top Station road. Place is worth a visit if it’s not too hot.
Rose Garden, Munnar
Rose Garden Munnar
Rose Garden Munnar
Tea Gardens look even better with these symmetrically placed trees.

Next we stopped by the Botanical Garden (near Elephant Park). It’s an indoor version of Rose Garden but smaller.

Botanical Garden
Botanical Garden
Botanical Garden
Boating in Madupetty Dam Catchment Area
Echo Point Munnar
Completely flushed out Kundala Dam
Side view of Kundala Dam

During my previous visits, I had identified a spot between Kundala Dam and Top Station (Near Ellapatti Village) where not many people stopped but offered amazing views. On my four visits to top station, I/we stopped here every time for a tea and/or maggie.

Ellapatti Village View
Super views from inside the tea shop

May 12, 2016
It was mutually (?) agreed that we won’t go to Top Station again. At least not during this trip So, we decided to drive to the other side of Munnar (Kochi Highway, Chithirapuram etc).

Ladies in action
On way to Chithirapuram
On way to Chithirapuram

We also visited Cinnamon Garden on Munnar-Kochi Highway. It’s a small garden where they have many fruit/spice/vegetable trees in house and they take you on a tour of the same with a guide. They charged 200/- for two person. We didn’t find it too exciting but if you are into botany and all, you might as well go there.

Fig tree where fruits grow directly on trunk.

May 13, 2016
Since it was our last day in Munnar, we went for the mandatory Lakkam Waterfall Snan. Munnar visit is not complete without taking a snan here irrespective of the season or weather. They have limited lockers there for keeping your stuff and you can buy cheap bathing clothes if you forgot to bring some along.

Lakkam Waterfall Shop

 

For next part, click here.

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