Kerala is situated in South India and is considered one of the best dream locations for vacations and honeymoons. I and my husband set out to explore this wonderful place in the month of June 2012 when it was absolute monsoons for Kerala. Munnar, Thekkady and Alleppey, these were the places we chose to cover in a trip of 5 days and 4 nights.
Munnar is a small village surrounded by rivers, greenery and loads of tea plantations. It is at roughly 125kms from Eranakulam station and takes around 3 hrs to reach the place. Being a hill station it has a very serene and fresh weather round the clock. We stayed in Munnar for 2 days. Though not much developed, its primitive surroundings in itself add glamour to the place. Just like any other hill station Munnar is free from plastics, garbage and is an uncontaminated place. It comes as a surprise that, during British rule in India, it was a British army officer who was the first one to discover Munnar, its value and its beauty.
On the first day of our arrival we went to see the tea gardens. Tata and Kannan Devan tea companies are the leading brands there. They have not only developed successful and healthy tea plantations but have also provided a good lifestyle and employment to the natives of Munnar. As soon as we entered the Tea estates we were welcomed with a cup of tea which was much need due to the cool monsoon weather there. Then we were lead to a Tea manufacturing factory, where the person incharge explains us the preparation of the Tea leaves from scratch. It is amazing to see and learn how much it takes for the green tea leaves to be converted as Tea powder that we use commonly at home. They have a store where different varieties of Tea like vanilla, chocolate, masala tea etc., are sold.
On the way back we visited few scenic spots and finally landed at a flower garden. It was simply stunning and very peaceful. Being monsoon all the flowers proudly put up their best bloom with the surrounding lush greenery promoting them. It took us one hour to completely go around the garden. Since it was getting very cold we had to end our day by 6:30 PM and retired to our room.
The next day we started to a place ‘Rajamala’ which was a hilly area. On the way we came across a natural, live water fall and were stunned to hear that it was 1000 feet one. The slope of ‘Rajamala’ is a 4 kms walk up but the misty look that Munnar wears makes it comfortable and exciting to climb it.
A rare species of deer will be found on the way. When we near the top of Rajamala, we will be actually above the clouds. In fact we will be walking through them. The ‘Neela Khurinji’ which is found there is another amazing jewel studded to Munnar. These are a vast stretch of breathtaking blue grass that blooms once in 12 years. Unfortunately we could not view that spectacle of nature. The same day in the evening we went to a sun-set view-point and experienced the best dawn of our lifetimes.
With fresh memories of Munnar in our hearts and greater expectations we left to Thekkady.
‘Munnar’ to ‘Thekkady’ is a 4 hours drive with many sight-seeing points and spice gardens on the way. The spice gardens have a range of spices used all over the world, the most amazing ones include, coffee, vanilla, insulin (sugar substitute plant). We stayed in Thekkady for one day and spent the first half of it going for a boat ride in the vast ‘Periyar‘ lake. In the evening we went to watch Kerala’s cultural programs ‘Kalaripayattu’ – a native martial arts show performed by professionals and ‘Kathakali’ – an expressive form of dance.
The last destination was “Alleppy” which is another 4 hrs drive from “Thekkady”. We spent a day on the House-Boat sailing through the ‘Pamba’ river in Alleppy. The house boat had a living room, a kitchen and a bedroom all of them well built and fully furnished. The house boat moves on water till 5:30 PM in the evening and is parked till morning 8:00 AM tied to a strong tree on the banks. Breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner will be taken care of by the friendly people on the boat. The people on the banks of the river have a civilization of their own. They live just like us on land except that they have motor boats instead of buses, small row boats instead of our usual two-wheelers. They sell vegetables on the boat, go to school, work and travel from one point to another on water. It was fun to observe and understand their living and quite exciting to experience one complete dawn to dusk on water.
Last but not the least after getting down we went to see the Alleppey beach lashing itself on the shores. All in all it was a great experience. I must mention here that quite contrary to my assumption, the food was excellent everywhere. Before even we realized, we came to the end of our vacation. It was an all-rounder vacation. We got to see almost everything, landscapes, the clouds, water-falls, beaches, rivers, wild life, we could not ask for more. Could we?