Kerala ( Munnar - Thekkadi (Periyar National Reserve) - Kumarakom (Houseboat in Backwaters))
22.02.2013 - 27.02.2013 24 °C
22 Feb - Cochin to Munnar was a Hillyroad.
4-4.5 hrs journey. Good to watch spice gardens and tea plantations on the way.
Tea shrubs with silver oaks inbetween
We reached munnar at nightfall, nothing much to do there except shopping for indigeneous variety of
tea and watching the Kathakaali dance form in the nearby theatre.
with Kathakalli Dancers
23 Feb - Munnar to Mattupetty Road - sightseeing in Munnar
Flower garden, mattupetty dam, elephant rides, boating and top station.
Good trek on top station, day well spent. Buy tea and oils at Tata Tea outlet. Spend evening watching Kathakali and Kalariapattu stay in town area makes it easy to travel Mattupetty and Anaimudi route. Anaimudi closed in Feb and March for Nilgiri Thar breeding season.
24 Feb - Tata Tea Museum - must see - the film sheds a lot of light on tea plantation history. Tea shrub takes about 3 years for a tea plant to grow to full bloom and then people can continuously harvest it for next 2 years. Film takes a lot about Munnar tribe which settled here from TamilNadu and established themselves in Munnar. There are a lot of restaurants but none serve authentic south india keralite food. Only chinese and north indian food sickens a person who wants to taste authentic cuisine of the region. The early morning though its febriary are extremely clilly but worth to have a little hike into the. hills to get a glimpse of the sunrise.
Only place where i am not scared
This is how a tea shrub looks like....
When asked why there are no coffee plantations, one of the guide told us that its not economical crop at the altitude munnar is. The high altitude and cold climate gets a good harvest of tea, and silver oaks inbetween tea shrubs facilitates optimal production of polypheonyls in the tea leaves by providing shade when needed.
The oranges were ripe this time of the year in munnar and got the chance to eat authentic organic oranges just plucked from the tree. The tree estates are a sight to watch and click and you cant seem to get enough of it. The way from Munnar to Thekkady has a lot of spice plantations like cardamon, cloves, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon. The route is winding and can really tire you out.
The periyar reserve is a beautiful place and we had booked Bamboo Groove by KTDC. The place is welcoming and food made by locals is stumptous and gives a glimpse of real south india keralite food. The late afternoon trek in the jungle did not have any animal sightings but got to learn and closely view the life of the tribals in the jungle, thanks to our tour guide. Evening was reserved for tribal dance show.
The Bamboo Groove, Periyar
Too tired walking the Periyar
We ended up dancing with the tribals making us feels welcome and rejuvenated. Back in Bamboo Groove the Black Nilgiri Langurs were enjoying themselves outside the bamboo hut, while we were dining on good south indian food provided by the locals. Dodging the langurs for the time being we were caught offguard at night when they decided to play havoc outside our hut and gave us a real taste of living in the wild.
Next morning we went on ferry ride in the periyar lake to catch a glimpse of some wildlife. Sadly no elephants could be spotted. Pressed on time and money we did not want to do another ferry ride to
try our chances.
Misty Periyar Lake
Boarding the ferry
Trying to stop something
Another view of Lake
25 Feb - Thekkady to Kumarakom
Thekkady to Kumarakom route was 3 hrs of senic journey of tea estates, spices , rubber and rice plantations. The heat and humidity of Kumarakom hits you immediately and it takes time to adjust to this kind of weather after cool and chilly places like Munnar and Thekkady. Kottayam is a big city on the way and has Gold and silk saree shopping options. The thirunakkara Shiva Temple of 16 AD is worth a visit in Kumarakom, a pretty laid back town in the backwaters. The Lake Palace Hotel we stayed is not at all worth the money you pay. Wherever you plan to stay consider spending the evening at Kumarakom Lake Resort for Dinner, its the best place for enjoying good food, good ambience and good classical music. The live classical music show set our mood in right spirit. What a magical evening to spend after sunset.
Kumarakom Lake Resort 1
Kumarakom Lake Resort 2
Kumarakom Lake Resort 3
Kumarakom Lake Resort 4 - Finnaly the yumm dessert
26 Feb - Morning began with avyurvedic foot massage the traditional style in Kumarakom, followed by simple breakfast of appam and dosai. Soon it was time to board the HouseBoat "ADITHYAN" of Lakeview houseboat provided by Shree Tours and Travels. The crew of three including the driver gave us a warm welcome with a welcome drink of coconut water.
Nature looks beautiful from here
My fav fruits
She couldn't stop meditating
Food was awesome and we were humbled by the hospitality
There were a lot of bird sightings whilst we were on the HouseBoat. The boat stopped at Allepi for lunch and then to a final halt for the day at a small senic town in Kottayam.
Sunset was awesome and the view cant get any better than this
We had a small walk in the town, saw few ostriches kept in captive (don't know if its legal to do that), we
plucked few coconuts from the roadside (don't know if thats legal either ). Finally had that sweet coconut water before dinner on the HouseBoat. There was a TV on the boat and it had all the channels possible, awesome is the word for that kind of arrangement.
The lunch served was fresh with spices and had the true taste of kerala food. This is exactly what we wanted since Munnar. We ate and mpstly over ate which obviously led to a catnap/siesta after a longtime. All in all a day an trip well spent. We spotted a lot of birds including woodpecker, duck, kerala black duck, storks, kingfisher, split tailed birds, cuckoo and numerous other species of small birds. Crows as usual were abundant.
In the morning the houseboat left kottayam toward our starting point. We left the housboat will a lot of memories. We took our cab towards Kochi. Stopped at a place for toddy, Toddy is coconut with 10% natrural alcohol. Had a sip, it something out of the world different.Visited Jew Town in Kochi, It was a wonderful experience seeing the Jewish Synagogue and lot of antique piecies. Worth a visit.
Relaxing on a cane chair in Jew Town, such a comfort
Finally headed towards the Kochi airport. What an experience it was. Unforgettable is the word.