A backpack trip to Munnar in the Kerala’s own KSRTC.
DAY 1 / 26-07-2014
- Started from Alappuzha bus depot at 2:00PM. KL 15 7851/RAC 669/Rs. 122/-
- On the way, we passed through Vaikkom bus depot at 3:10PM, Muvattupuzha bus depot at 4:45PM, Kothamangalam bus depot at 5:20PM, Adimali bus depot at 7:05PM and by 8:20PM, we reached Munnar. Had an amazing ride up the mountains although it was drizzling from Vaikkom.
- A taxi driver named Subramanian introduced himself as we got out of the bus and took us to a hotel* nearby in his Indica for 50 rupees. Took a double room in the ground floor for Rs.800/- and that gave access to the hotel WiFi.
- By 8:55PM we had our dinner from the hotel nearby. Got back to hotel and planned to visit Devikulam the next day. We decided to hire a two wheeler and called up a bike rental service**. Since we had one and a half day to spent, we booked a Honda Activa for 2 days (Rs. 350/day and fuel charges extra).
DAY 2 / 27-07-2014
- Woke up at 7:10AM, had breakfast at 8:25AM, got our ride by 9:30AM, filled the fuel tank from Munnar town and kick started our day.
- It was drizzling at regular intervals. Be it photography or riding, the rain couldn’t restrain us from anything. We stopped at Devikulam for some time and resumed riding by 10:45AM.
- By 11.50AM, we reached Suryanelli from where we had an amazing view of the Anayirankal Dam. We were also able to spot a few elephants moving down the hills. As we had no specific plans, we thought of heading to the dam.
- By 12.40, we reached Sinkukandam. In the process of finding/asking our way to the dam, we met a few kids playing in a small ground. Was amused to see them riding a bicycle without the front tyre – yeah, it ran on the rim!
- Those kids (Alvin Tijo, Sanith Sajeevan & Arun K P), in turn, became our guides and took us to the dam through an Elam Plantations which is suspected to have elephant attacks at any moment. The way lead us to a beautiful valley – which is actually a part of the Dam. We roamed around and photographed the landscape as well as the kids. While returning, we met met Alvin’s mother from whom we came to know that at about 8kms away, there is a place called Bodimettu (after crossing the Kerala – Tamilnadu border) from where we can get a view of Tamilnadu.
- We crossed the border at 2:45PM and reached Mettu from where we got to see an amazing rainbow just about 10 meters ahead of us. View of Tamilnadu in the background made it picturesque. The immense happiness it gave can’t be described in mere words. By 3:45PM, we returned from Mettu and stopped at the check post to have lunch.
- Upon returning, we reached Chinnakanal, where we were stopped by a few men by the roadside saying that there are some 6-7 elephants a few meters ahead. So we had to either stop there and wait for the elephants to move on, or go back and take another route back to Munnar. At this time, a Qualis and Merc E Class came by. We told them to stop, but the Qualis moved forward so as to see the elephants. A few moments later, we heard the elephant’s trumpet and saw the Qualis swiftly taking a turn. Everyone stood around us ran in fear and the Benz’s driver ran into the seat panicking and took the vehicle in reverse gear. In the process, it almost hit our left legs and Activa. We shouted at him to stop, but he didn’t hear and hit the milestone behind thereby breaking the back bumper which will approximately cost him an 80k.
- Since this had happened, we decided to take the alternate route back to Munnar. After traveling back a few meters, we saw the elephants crossing the road and moving away. That somehow gave us a sort confidence and we took the usual regular way itself. We rode and passed the elephants without any mishaps. It felt like the elephants were all calm & cool and it’s just because of the noise from the people who passed by caused tension and disturbance to them.
- Got back to our hotel by 6:30PM, had dinner at 9:00PM, lazed around in the room watching TV until 1.00AM and slept off.
DAY 3 / 28-07-2014
- The alarm did its part at 6:00AM itself and so did our hands to push the snooze button. We finally got up at 8:15AM. Though we planned to visit Top Station for the day the last night, due to lack of time, we decided to ride to Mattupetty and return.
- Started at 9:30AM, gave life to the fuel tank, and headed to Mattupetty. After spending half an hour at the Dam, we got back to the hotel by 12:15PM.
- Even though we checked out by 12:45PM, we lazed around as our return bus (as told by the station master earlier today over the phone) was scheduled at 1:40PM. By this time, we were only left with fifty rupees in hand – this excludes our return bus fare. So we decided to skip the usual lunch and bought a packet of bread and water instead.
- Returned our Activa and reached the bus depot at 1:20PM only to hear the station master say that the last bus to Alappuzha left just 10 minutes ago! So the only option we were left with is to get the bus to Ernakulam at 1.30PM, and take another bus back home from there.
- We took the Ernakulam bus and reached Ernakulam bus depot at 6.10PM. Got into a Alappuzha FP which was parked and got back home by 8.30PM.
SOME USEFUL INFO
- The bike hiring service is just a two minutes walk from the Munnar bus depot – get out from the depot, take the first left and then take the first right.
- We haven’t had any difficulties in riding a gearless vehicle up the hills. In fact, its storage space was useful to keep one of our camera bags.
*Greeshmam Holiday Inn: 04865 231315, +91 94 4704 2620
**Gokul Bike Hire – Sudheer: +919447237165, +91 98 4636 6135