Monday, 20 July 2009

Munnar - a letter

Dear Joji

Got your mail asking about the picnic spots in munnar. Do excuse me for the delay in replying. Just came back today from oilfield offshore…..

There are so many places in and around Munnar for roaming and sight seeing. Joji , you decide the places according to the number of days that you have. I am just writing out a few places that I know about.

If you are ready for a serious journey other than just a pleasure trip, there is a lot to tell about Munnar.

We started our trip from Ernakulam. After reaching Neryamangalam Bridge, we saw ‘Ranikallu’ on the left side of the road. In 1931 Rani Sethu Lakshmi bhai opened this road and this is inscribed on it. Ranikallu is now an indisposable part of munnar’s history. After that we began our ascend to Munnar. Road to munnar has comparatively very less hairpin bends…. This is because the road is built along the old path used by the elephants to come down to the planes.

On the way to Munnar, we enjoyed the beauty of Cheeyappara water falls, chinnakanal water falls and many other small waterfalls…

The beauty of these waterfalls is magnified in the monsoons……. It is a real treat to the eyes!! Do not forget to bring along an extra pair of clothes if you want to enjoy a shower.

The sites of Munnar are pretty scattered, though the drive from one place to another, through the Tea Estates is surely an added attraction !! Besides, these aimless drives through the Tea estates and Grass fields are itself very refreshing…..

Hey,on your way do not miss the sight of workers who collect the tender Tea leaves( Known as Kolunth ), ok?

The major attractions in Munnar include Top station, Mattupetti and Devikulam Lake…If you are interested in old churches, visit the CSI Church in Old Munnar…

This age old church is situated in a valley and the history of it is as disturbing as it is interesting…..The cemetery was built 17 years before the church came….

Mr.Hentry Mans Field Night was the first G.M of Kannan Devan Factory and his wife Mrs.Elenor Isabel was so addicted to the beauty of Munnar that she casually exclaimed -
“ Bury me in this Hill for my final sleep”……

By some sadistic twist of fate, Mrs. Elenor Isabel passed away within 3 days from cholera…. She was buried on the hill. Her Tomb is still there, Later the church came up after 17 years. Since then, the Cemetery has witnessed much more Burials of foreigners and locals…

I’ve been to the church many times, but is yet to lay my eyes on Mrs. Elanor’s tomb….. The culprit is not some old ghost from a far away history….but the very common leaches which breed freely in the area….. Now, all we see from the church, is a mass of concrete structures…….…Ironically, the beauty of the place which made poor Elanor utter those inauspicious words are almost fully lost to modernity……

Once when I visited the church, I was lucky enough to see a rare old Bible and an exquisite Piano…….

The interior of the church itself depicts its age. The names of many of the late Europeans , carved in metal plates ornament the church walls.

You can reach Mattupetti when you travel in Iduki Route from Munnar Town . Mattupetti is known widely for its Indo-Swiss Cattle Project. Earlier people were allowed in there .But now as far as I know, visitors are not permitted .Anyway, in my opinion try not to miss it… It will be great to enjoy a boat trip in Mattupetti Lake. Do try to experience the echo effect when you are in the lake area….Besides, Mattupetti is also an area of scenic beauty. We felt like relaxing on that grass meadows with the lake view, for all eternity!

Devikulam lake is also a good picnic spot. The water filled lake in the monsoon is a sight to behold !!

Next point is Top station and that is of 35 kilometers drive from Munnar. The top view from the hill is a real eye candy….Usually, tourists never misses the Top Station.
If possible, include Kolukkumala with this trip. The Tea Estate in there is the highest one in the world. I strongly feel that once you reach till Munnar, then missing the sight of kolukkumala is a great loss. You can reach Sooryanelli from munnar via Chinnakanal route. From there it takes only 15 kilometers to reach Kolukkumala . Actually Kolukkumala belongs to the district of Bodinaykkannur in Tamilnadu, but there is no way to reach Kolukkumala from there by road.

Some of the other main places to see in Munnar are…--

Iravikulam National Park in 15 Km distance

Rajamala Forest Resort in 15 Km distance

Aanamudi Peak is at a distance of 50 kms . Aanamudi is the highest peak in Western Ghats in South India. An ideal place for those who are interested in Trekking.

Marayoor is an excellent place. It is situated at a distance of 40 kms from Munnar. On the way to Marayoor ,we can see Kanthalloor and Mannavan chola…The dense forest area of Mannavan Chola is of more than 42 Hectic kms and is situated at a height of 7800 meters …This area is noted for the presence of Elephants and Panthers !!

These are the main places in and around Munnar, as far as I know. Some of these places, I haven’t been to. Many places are still there to visit…My policy is to take time and enjoy one spot at a time.

Next bloom of ‘Neela Kurinji ‘ will take another 10 years ... ( Neela kurinji blooms once in every 12 years only). I have never been there in that season. Though I tried to be there in last session, couldn’t make it before the blooming season. It will be so crowded in Munnar at that time and I never prefer to roam around places when there is too much rush. The experience of some teachers who were in Munnar as part of a school trip was disheartening too. They had to be in Queue for hours and then got to see some trees which were already dried up.

I prefer to stay in Blue Mont Resort on my visits to Munnar .Blue Mont Resort is in Chinnakanal Route. Just 2.5 kilometers to Sooryanelli. Some of the major resorts like Mahindra, Sterling and Fort Munnar all are in the same route. Munnar Lake, a main attraction is in the same route. I am not aware of any alternate facilities like Home stay System or so in Munnar.

One good advantage of Blue Mont Resort is the cottage system. We can avail a cottage with 2 Bedrooms and a living room and is very convenient for families. Normal rooms are also available with affordable Tariff. All the other referred Resorts cost double than this. You can make a booking by dialing to 9447131710 after 5 pm. The best and the nearest view of the lake is possible from Blue Mont Resort.

Now the Temperature in Munnar is at 0 degree. It will be a great pleasure to make a trip To Munnar at this time…..enjoying the tickling fog….

Just ask me if you want to know anything more .Am only happy to help you out. Have a nice trip and try to write a travelogue afterwards.

With regards
(Yesterday, Today, For ever)
Translated from my Malayalam blog 'Chila Yaathrakal' by Jyothi.