Munnar – Part 1

It is almost getting close to the end of this year and I haven’t yet updated any of my trips for this year. It is a shame actually! I used to be particular about writing my posts on my trips. But this year, life got in the way and I haven’t been able to get to this blog in a long time. But I am going to try and rectify that before this year ends 🙂 Let’s get started.

The first set of blog post(s) is about Munnar. I have made two trips to Munnar this year. One was in March (25th and 26th March, 2016, to be precise) with a couple of friends (let’s call them C & V) and then the other one a day trip in September (16th Sept, 2016, to be precise) with my bf (let’s call him AGM).

Let me start with the march trip. We had booked into Munnar Tea County Resort and we were travelling from Bangalore. Earlier we had planned for a night drive 0.00 am to be exact, but then we decided to start by 5 am at the last minute because that would give us enough time to get to the hotel’s checkin time, rather than go early and wait there. The earlier route was via NH 44 (that is, through Salem, Erode, Udumalpet) but after Salem, we saw that the Dindigul route was lesser traffic so we went through Theni. C and I were driving (and it was C’s car of course) and after Dindigul when it became a single lane road (via the Kodai road) C took over, because I am not very good with single lane highways and the hilly portion of the driving started, which I am not at all comfortable with.

We reached around 2 pm – 2.30 pm and had called them upfront that we would be there for our lunch at 3 pm mostly. I had my regular naps in the car (didn’t sleep the whole night) while  V was giving us drivers company and being the navigator too. The entry to the hotel is so steep that I thought that the car was about to topple. I felt bad for C’s car. Got a very beautiful, garlanded welcome and checked in to our 3 bed suite (let’s call it a suite for the lack of a better term). What we didn’t expect was the heat. It was quite hot. Gosh! Wanna to see the view from our balcony? Beautiful, isnt?1-IMG_2217.jpg

After the lunch, we checked with those folks about the various places (we had our own list, but thought to verify which was closer and which could be done that day etc…we had only one more day out there. The third day morning we were leaving back to Bangalore) and got some tips. The hotel also had a morning trek (close to 6 am – 6.30 am) around the tea estates which we booked for. After lunch, we got ready to go to the Sengulam Dam boating place to do our boating for the trip. It wasn’t too far away from the resort. But the boating closes by 5pm and we arrived a few seconds late 😦 So no boating for us. We roamed around the place. Watched the people who were already booked for the boating. Watched the sunset there. There was a play area for the kids too. A lovely place actually. Here are some photographs for you (click on the photographs to see them in large size).

 

The resort’s receptionist suggested us to try the Kalaripayatu performance on the way back from Sengulam Dam towards the resort. Just keep in mind that the network isn’t always good in Munnar, especially in those ghat sections. So better to have a offline downloaded map on your phone (which is what C had did, thanks to him). The place where one of the Kathakali and Kalaripayatu performances were held was called Chithrapuram. Kathakali was from 5 pm to 6 pm and Kalaripayatu was from 6 pm to 7 pm. We were at that place by around 5.50 pm or so and saw quite a few people milling around waiting for tickets. When we stopped there to check, one guy came to us and asked us if we were there for a the show and then asked C to get in the car and he himself got into the passenger seat, left V and I outside standing and wondering what is happening and off they went. We both had no clue as to what happened to C and who that person was. After a couple of minute, saw them both walking down (after parking the car…he showed C a place to park our car) and took us to the ticketing booth and asked the guy there to get us tickets. And when we saw the pamphlet that came with the ticket, we were surprised to see that the guy who guided us was one the key performers in the show. Wonder why he chose us that day. We got our tickets and went to the place which was already packed enough. We got squeezed in our seats and waited for the performance to begin.

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It lasted for an hour and half (close to) and it was AMAZING. It is different when you see them perform live. So much stamina and so much strength. Even the audiences were involved in some of the stunts. And one uncle trying to prove his youth, tried jumping into the ring and got his ankle twisted too, when there was a perfectly placed ladder on the other end. At the end of the spell bounding performance we also had a chance to go to the ring and get a couple of photographs posing with the performers. The guy who had guided us earlier was telling us about his shows in Bangalore and all. V was so much in awe of them. She was fangirling over that guy :). It was a different experience. We had a katta chai outside from an old grandpa and it was quite dark by the time we left that place. We had our dinner at the resort (which was a buffet) and tucked in early. We had to use the air conditioner there, which wasn’t what I was expecting at least. But we had to, given the heat and the mosquitoes around that place. We called it a day given that we had a very early morning walk around the tea estate.

 

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