Kerala is known as one of the greenest states in India. I have lived in South India, to be specific, in Tamil Nadu & Karnataka and thought I had seen it all in that part of the country. I was incredibly wrong!
Kerala is blessed with best of both worlds thanks to its layered landscape; it has the Western Ghats or Sahyadri mountains traversing on one side of the state and almost 600kms of Arabian Sea coast with its pristine beaches, on the other side. It has the cool mountainous highlands to green rolling hills and then the glorious coastal plains. Geographically, it shares its borders with Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and is the southernmost state of India.
It is serenely beautiful with its dense green rain forests covered in mist, rolling hills with tea plantations and numerous waterfalls, rivers, lakes, and the brackish backwaters. Kerala is a world away from the frenzy and chaos of the rest of India!
It was a welcome break for us as a family after a busy year of work, school and life in general. So I,
'Put on my blue suede shoes, and I boarded the plane
Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues
In the middle of the pouring rain' 😃
Except that instead of the Delta Blues, we landed at the beautiful Kochi International airport.
The airport itself will give you a feeling of what's to come. Its design portrays the Kerala temple architecture with its tapered , bright terracotta coloured roofs and huge pillars.
We were greeted by the friendly representative from The Travel Planners. From there we were chauffeured to their local tourist office where we enjoyed welcome drinks and completed few formalities. Thereafter, we started our drive to Munnar - a town in the Western Ghats and a tranquil hill station.
Enroute to Munnar & Places you must visit
The drive to Munnar from Kochi is about 130km and takes around 4 hours. The road winds up through the mountains and valleys. You will never be short of driving past waterfalls .
One such famous waterfall is the Cheeyappara waterfalls which is on the Kochi-Madurai highway in Idukki district. Its powerful flow down the rocks brings alive all your senses. The Cheeyappara waterfall cascades down 7 steps of rocks, creating almost an illusion, as if someone planned and planted those rocks in tiers and let the water run! All your weariness from the journey is washed away, the moment you are sprayed by the cool mist from the powerful splashes of water.
This is also a popular trekking spot. We
visited in July during the monsoon season and it was full and heavy with water. During winter months, it dries up hence you may not get to see its might or beauty in its full glory. It is also a great pit stop for stretching those cramped legs, filling your lungs with refreshing misty air, clicking insta worthy pics and watching some local flora and fauna too.
On the way to Munnar the rolling hills are covered with tea gardens spread like a green carpet over several hundreds of kilometers.
Wherever you go, lush green hills soothe your eyes. Idukki district is regarded as the second largest district of Kerala, however, it has the lowest population density. It is far from the madding crowd, pollution, and hullabaloo of the cities.
Most of these tea gardens are apparently owned by Tata Tea. There are more than 50 different tea estates and makes Munnar an attractive destination for tea connoisseurs and humble tourists (like us) alike. It is regarded as the prominent hub of tea trade in the country. This also makes a popular honeymoon destination giving you ample photo ops!! You can not only enjoy the large tea plantations, you also get to try and buy some great flavours of tea.
Munnar is famous for its trekking adventures and a lot of hotels and resorts organise such trips. If you are looking for an adventurous trekking whilst in Kerala, the beautiful mountains of Munnar provide an excellent setting and lots of exciting trekking trails. You can even go camping as part of your trekking adventure. Local guides suggest that best time in the year for trekking is during from August to May.
Overnight in Munnar
We arrived at our serviced villa late afternoon and it was getting dark already. Munnar can get cold at any time of the year ( apt as hill station), and thankfully we had our sweaters, shawls and cardigans packed. The hotel is built in traditional Keralite architecture 'Nalukettu', and located about 10kms from the town centre in the midst of cardamom plantation. It had great views from the balcony, comfortable well designed rooms and friendly staff.
Rest assured, that you will be spoilt for choice for a place to stay. Right from comfortable homestays, to budget friendly or luxury hotels, you name it and Munnar has it!
Madupetty Or Mattupetty is about 13kms from Munnar and is famous for its dam and the vast, serene lake.
Madupetty dam is a sight to behold. It is a storage concrete gravity dam. It was constructed in 1953; built for water conservation and power generation it is now a vital source of electricity generation in Munnar. We visitied the dam early morning; it started off being very misty, followed by a heavy downpour. However, this didn't dampen our spirits. We enjoyed views of the vast water body and were awed watching the water gushing out of the gates. You can enjoy picnics or experience a boat ride. Depending on the level of excitement you are seeking, you can choose a speed boat, pedal boat, row boat, or a motorboat.
Echo point marks the meeting point of 3 mountain ranges, Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni, and Kundala. As the name suggests, you can hear your own screams reverberate back to you. Its pristine waters, lush green surroundings covered in mist, make this an ideal place to enjoy nature at its best. Life here is idyllic. Depending on how much time you have at hand, you can enjoy either a nature walk along the lake, soaking in the picturesque scenery, or a boat ride in one of the pedal boats in its calm lake. This is another must-visit if you are in Munnar. There are shops selling popular local spices, coffee, tea etc. and bric-a-bracs to buy for keepsake. I have to mention that we also enjoyed, refreshing coconut water, freshly cut and served in a raw coconut. It was heavenly after few hours of boating, enjoying nature and having fun.
There is more to see, join me next time for more amazing places to visit in Kerala.