Sep 11 (9/11) happens to be my marriage anniversary and thought about taking a day or two off and go to some place on our first anniversary. Initial choice was Lakshwadeep, but after speaking to "Raghu The Great", decided against going there in the rainy season. Goa and Kodaikanal were two other options we initially covered but thought would go for Goa in November timeframe and Kodaikanal wasn't worth if it's raining...
Since Rohit had been to Kerala last month and mentioned it was a memorable trip, thought will check it out. Kerala Greenery website had lot's of packages and we zero-ed in on SP-05 which covered Alleppey to Kumarakom backwater, Munnar hill station and Cochin city.
We started here on 10th Sep 9:00 PM train from Yeshwanthpur - Kochuvelli Garibh Rath express.. It's a fairly new train with only 3AC and hence people are not aware about it... You can easily get tickets even 1 day before your travel….. Train started on time and we had our packed dinner even before the train left. We reached cochin at around 7:50 AM…
After the mandatory coffee break in the railway station, headed outside. Our cab driver was waiting with the placard. His name was "Joy" - a Christian and was friendly throughout the journey. It's about 2 hours journey from Cochin to Alleppey…..
We reached Alleppey at around 10:00 AM….Had our breakfast in a small restaurant there. Since the check-in time for house boat was 12 PM …we had to wile away sometime, so went to Alleppey beach and spent nearly 1 and 1/2 hours there in the hot sun…. Didn't get into the water but just walked around the beach side. We checked into houseboat at 12PM…. Spending a day on the houseboat was an inviting experience and since Rohit warned us that it get's boring we made sure we got list of DVDs accompanying us. After a quick Lemon juice refreshment, we went over the boat and took some nice snaps. . The view was good... So quickly got ready and came to the front and sat down to catch all the surroundings. It was a nice experience… seeing all the other houseboats sailing across leisurely .. .in no hurry whatsoever.. the beautiful landscape. .. the greenish water .... (No I would never swim in that but for scenery it makes a good background :)).. After a nice lunch, Pallavi and I did try driving/steering the boat for some time. We docked at a place at around 6 PM and took a leisurely walk around the place. Watched Amrutha Dhaare (Kannada) movie and Geetanjali (Telugu) movie on the boat and went for sleep early.
Next day morning, we got up at 7 .. got ready and left for Kumarakom in the boat... The Vembanad Lake looks great with all the birds flying around... We reached the shore at about 9:15 and then headed to Munnar.
From Kumarakom to Munnar is supposed to be 5 hours journey….. but we took more time than that. We stopped at Vaikom Shiva temple. Beautiful Shiva temple and we learnt few different principles they follow there thanks to a keralite who explained the significance of not doing complete round of Shiva linga. On the way to Munnar there are two waterfalls….Cheeyapara waterfalls and Vallara waterfalls….Vallara falls is just a view and vehicles aren't allowed to stop. However we got down near Cheeyapara falls and took some good snaps. We started back and then reached Munnar finally at around 3-30 PM….. As we started the final ascent into Munnar it started raining and we came to know from the restaurant that it had been raining since past few days especially in the evenings :(
We had our room booked in Misty mountain resort… It's a beautiful resort which is about 7.5 Kms from Munnar (there is a sign board stating Munnar actually starts from this point on the road). We checked into our room… and rested for a couple of hours. Evening, our driver mentioned about some good Kerala massage center and that got Pallavi interested. We went there and Pallavi took one for Rs 900/-. Since it was about 1 and 1/2 hours, I spent the time loitering in the Munnar town. Pallavi mentioned the massage was okay and nothing great as I had expected. We went back to the resort and had dinner (which was okay).
Next day we started at 9:30 AM……Visited photo point( nice view of tea estate)…next went to Elephant riding place…. great place and though costly (Rs 700 for 30 mins ride for couple), the ride was electric. The elephant trekked over a forest area which was damp and slippery. The ascent and the descent were really scary on it and it felt great to be back on the camp :)... Next visited mattupetty reservoir and dam…it has a great view…Speed boating option was also there .. but we just landed in front of the boating office at 12:30 which was lunch time and they closed the gate in front of us. So we continued on and went to Kundala Dam and lake. This is again very very picturesque and has breathtaking scenery. We didn't want to do Pedal boat, so waited 30 mins for rowing boat and took one (with a rower ofcourse :))... He was nice chap and explained us all about the place and even thought us both on how to row properly :)... It started raining heavily as we reached the shores and then headed to the Echo point. As the name says…if you shout at this place …u can hear the echo…. but since it was raining heavily we couldn't get that. We did some shopping and then headed to Munnar.
Came to Munnar town and had our late lunch in some hotel just outside the Munnar town…. Headed back to hotel and reached hotel at 5:30 PM… It was raining still... so went to room and took rest… Did a short walk after that but couldn't venture very far as it was quite dark without any street lights.
Our last day of the trip, so we got up early and did a 1 hour walk around the tea estates. The place was as green as it can get and very very beautiful. As per the package plan…there was not much to see… so we asked our tour co-ordinator if we could go "Athirapally waterfalls" which was a deviation on the way back. It is around 92 KM from cochin about 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours drive….Since they agreed, we set for it and reached the place around 2. Went to the sea pearl aquarium and then headed to the waterfalls. It was a nice one though I would rate Jog falls and Shivanasamudra much much higher :)... This is the place where the famous "Punnagai Mannan" Tamil movie was shot majorly... And is quite famous.. Supposed to the best in Kerala. We left back at 4 PM and reached cochin around 6.. Went straight to the Cochin marine drive and did a cruise ship tour of the backwaters there (covering harbor and marine drive). Driver dropped us to the railway station and after saying bye to him, we headed to MG Road to have a walk. Did some window shopping and then after dinner headed back to the railway station. Train was delayed by 15 minutes so it arrived at 12:20 AM. We were dead tired and dozed off as soon as we got into the train. Morning got up late and got down the train at 11:45 AM. And we were back in our apna Bangalore !
@ 07th Oct - Update from himateja was that we could have done trekking and gone to the base of the athirapally waterfalls which was simply great experience. Missed that part :(