Saturday, December 4, 2010

TO HEAVEN AND BACK (TOO), MUNNAR AND KUMARAKAM, KERALA

Dear friend and Foes 
I am back from heaven that too alive ( No one wants to come back from heaven dead or alive)!!!
I was in my dream land Kerala after 25 years!!!! It was a hurricane tour to Munnar and Kumarakam and with SOMEONE, my younger daughter and brother's family.
We had decided to take a budget trip, so that we can see people we wanted to,  just hole up some where and gossip.  Also we wanted to see the honeymooners. We were delighted to see that the honeymooners haven't changed from my times. But we missed some thing, which is common with the Himalayan Honeymooners. You will see  couples walking barefoot with hand in hand and holding their bright new footwear with the other hand, or some times you will see the girl walking with her nice high heels tucked under the arm and limping  with her husband...When I was young it was very funny site, now I feel bad. The agony of a blister or corn is traumatic. Actually no one should go to the hills ,  with brand new footwear even if the road is good.. The slopes are no good for new pairs of marriage shoes. 
Here I will put some photos as there is nothing much to describe.
We attended the marriage in Bangalore. The stay was too short to meet our blog friends of Bangalore. That made me sad.
We landed at Cochin airport  and as expected the pre-booked minibus was not there. The taxi driver kept on calling us singing the old Indian song " Sir, I am stuck in a traffic jam, will be there in 15 minutes..sorry sir "...The call kept coming with regular interval to assure us and finally that 'reaching within 15 minutes' happened after 1 hour 30 minutes. We never lose our cool, while travelling , so we took it as a great excitement. We finally left the airport at 2 PM instead of 12-30.
Munnar is about 3 hours drive through the Hills. It is small Hill town at 4000ft and pretty cold compared  to the sea sides.
Here are the few photos we took on the way to Munnar.
THE DRIVE TO MUNNAR.
The enchanting drive starts through forest, coconut and banana and rubber plantation


The Cheeyappara water falls

I have a weakness for clicking  hoardings ( Dont know what is written on it)

No..No it was not what we were thinking..there were toilets below.
AT MUNNAR
We reached Munnar around 5 PM. Actually we did not stay in Munnar town, instead we stayed at a nice hotel, 10 Km before Munnar town. A nice hotel, worth the money and away from the congested town. This is a hill station of Kerala with tea gardens. Wherever you look , it is lush green. One can make a day trip to the Dam, wildlife national park, the flower garden. More details are on the net.
The Hotel
The hotel is very nice, with a front lawn, lot of plants on the slope and green. It was cloudy and drizzling all the time.
Main building (someone in front)
 The cottages. ( mostly for honeymooners)
 A lonely tree from the hotel balcony
The tea gardens

Munnar town on the back drop

THE DAY TRIP IN MUNNAR
In the morning we set out to see the places where all tourists go. Nothing great, but the cool weather and light drizzle was just too good. We did not take any rum stop as we were not driving. ( See my Himalayan blog to understand what is rum stop.Click here)
The beautiful Mattupetty Dam and the  reservoir

Munnar Flori-culture center, Flowers from Munnar
We saw one small floriculture center maintained by the forest dept. Got a glimpse of lovely flowers.
Here are few snaps









The Eraviculam National
This National Park is famous for Nilgiri Thar ( a type of goat). Unfortunately we could not see any. But the drive up the hill and then a 2 Km walk further up was fantastic.
 The sign board with the Thar

 The forest dept bus dropping tourists inside the Park.
The road and bus stand seen from way up.                              
The beautiful bird was just sitting there, ,I am  trying to find out the name



The second night at Munnar was good with fish and more fish curry, Malabar chicken. The ladies were busy watching the soap and daughters were reading books all the time.


ON THE WAY TO KUMARAKOM
Actually we stayed at a village called Aymanam located in between Kottayam and Kumarakom. We wanted to stay in a Village hotel run by a very nice family. We were not in a mood to stay in a  resort or in a House boat on Vembanad Lake. ( This will be during my next trip to Aleppy.).
We reached our hotel around 5 PM. The hotel had a river at the back and a long verandah. We just settled down with tea and gossiping.
Village road to the hotel.
The river at the back of the hotel , good for fishing 


Next day we went to Kottayam and took a , 16 seat, motor boat for 4 hours travel through the back water and finally to the Vembanad lake. 16 seat for 7 people was great.
It was a life time experience. Thank God we did not hole up in a house boat!!.
Journey through the back water and canal.
Lovely house , did not look like a " Gulf house". Do you know what is a 'gulf house'?


The reflection every where was amazing
 Household work  ( I hope the clothes have insurance against damage due to beating )
 The sand pickers
 The ladies going home I guess.

The Backwater was dotted with tiny red flowers, which gave that pink color. Absence of sunshine makes all the difference in photography.
 Boatmen ferrying a passenger, the Dog (not in the mangers)
Few birds
A Darter, drying its wings


Purple Moorhen
Purple moorhen , closer view


The Cormorants

 Need to find the name of the bird
 An Egret
After 2 hours we arrive at a place called R BLOCK. There was a very dirty place and a dirtier restaurant. But it was only place to eat in the wild water. Fresh fish, Prawns, Big Kerala red rice (my favorite), and other usual accompaniments. The food is served on Banana leaf. This place normally becomes very busy after evening when house boats anchor and fresh fish fry and ToDi (local drink is supplied.) 
The boat landing area at R Block. ( someone on the right ,)

Awesome fresh Karimeen fries

The House boats 
You see many house boats here, in the lake and Canal. You can hire one with different capacity, 1 bed room , 2 bed room etc. One can take on hourly basis ans off season rate was Rs 1000 to 1200 per hour or for a day and night , from Rs 5000 upward.
 House boat parking area 
A big house boat carrying a group
From the R Block , we went further where the lake starts. From here one can go to Kumarakom and all the way to Aleppy through Canals and back water. We turned back for Kottayam. While coming back we mainly took a canals.
A foot bridge is being raised to give way for out boat. There are many such bridges.


parked boats
Another foot bridge and the long Canal

A boat carrying flowers

Next day I was in Delhi via Cochin.
 Dear Foodies
Wait , shortly, I shall treat you with 2 dishes made from Ol Kopi ( Nool Kol) Kohlrabi (German turnip) (Brassica oleracea ), 


Happy cooking and cant wait to see what all you have posted during my absence.

39 comments:

sangeeta said...

Great tour and once again i loved your writing.
The honeymooners at hill stations are really funny , that red chooda with tight jeans and stilettos types ... we used to make fun ... :)

I have yet to see the honeymooners at seasides , all the beach places we visited were in childhood n that time we couldn't notice all of that :)

Hamaree Rasoi said...

Hello Ushnish Kaku

Glad you enjoyed your trip to Munnar & Kumarakom. In spite of staying in Bangalore ei dui jaigai jawa hoini. Apni Bangalorer eto kache chilen. Next time surely contact korben. Amar aar aapnar family mile onek jayga dekhbo.

Deepa
Hamaree Rasoi

Jagruti જાગૃતિ said...

Hello dada
How are you?...beautiful post with awesome pictures...! kerala looks so lovely...maybe in future would love to visit there...!

? said...

The Hoarding:
K P Chacko
Gold Centre
The multicolored mallu script: Kids Jewels ?!!!!
The address: High Range Junction,
Kothamangalam, Ph:...
:-D!

The hoardings are an eyesore and they line all the highways; more and more you see rubber trees lining the hill-terrain.
How aptly the buxom lady represents the mallu love for all things bright and golden!
So also the honey-mooners and their wrong choice of footwear!

Am still laughing after reading the post Ushnishda!
Loved it!

Priya said...

Omg, God's own country is always our favourite destination, had a great trip to Munnar before 5years, thanks for sharing many beautiful clicks...Next time will definitely try to plan for Kumarakom..

Fathima said...

The narration and pictures gave the feel of visiting back home.... and that pic of karimeen is making me drool :-)

Kuntala said...

daruN lekha, daruN chhobi. I always wanted to go to Munnar. Now I cannot wait. Thanks for this brilliant post.






Dr.Sameena Prathap
said...

Hey,

Beautiful pictures...Have visited when i was a kid...It is raining in my place for the past 3 weeks...Kerala has a lovely climate too!!:)Have you been to cape comorin/kanniya kumari???

Dr.Sameena@

http://www.myeasytocookrecipes.blogspot.com

Indie.Tea said...

How beautiful!!!

Jaisy James said...

wow superbb pics. hope u enjoyed ur trip well.

Gouri Guha said...

Hi Dada,
Reading your write-up and seeing the lovely photos, it shows how much you enjoyed your trip.
I too had been busy travelinng a lot. I have just come back from my Sri Lanka holidays and will be writing about my travel on my website.
I have not been on the blogosphere for a long time. Will be back again once I settle down here at home.
Enjoy your winter and hope to read more from you.

Gouri (Didibhai) :):):)

sinfullyspicy said...

Very beautiful pictures of Kerala.It looks you had a really enjoyable trip.The clicks of the birds are amazing.

Shobha said...

Beautiful pictures and amazing places.You have really captured the scenic beauty. Wish to visit them one day.

Devasena Hariharan said...

loved all the flowers and beautiful scenery.

That karimeenu looks delicious. You are able to tell out the names of birds,..cool

Babli said...

Respected Kaku

Thanks a lot for your lovely comment. Hope you have prepared matar kachori.

Kerala is a very beautiful state with lovely scenic beauty and greenery all around. I have visited all the places in Kerala and my favourite place is Munnar. You have taken wonderful pictures of Kumarakom as well as Munnar. By seeing your post I feel like visiting Kerala again. I am sure you have enjoyed very much with lot of sweet memories. I liked the colourful flowers, little birds and the cottage. Fantastic post.

Kurinji said...

lovely pics...

http://kurinjikathambam.blogspot.com/

Sandhya Hariharan said...

You have given us a great insight of Munnar Ushnish...
Glad to know u enjoyed your trip !

Madhu said...

My my my...I totally envy you! Really, you have literally transported me to Munnar and brought me back. So nice to read about this trip.

Mary said...

What a wonderful post. This looks like a beautiful place. I'm so glad you enjoyed your stay. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

aipi said...

Hi Ushnishda-I was there myself a few years ago and I still can not get over how beautiful it was..So I absolutely know how you felt..
Beautiful captures!

US Masala

Jaya said...

Ushnish Da,
Oti asadharon chobi protek ta..sotti, nijer deshe jey koto moni mukto choriye ache tar bodhaye kono kolpona hoye na..loved this virtual tour ..thanks for sharing these pics with us..regards

Jay said...

OMG...its totally amazing...d beautiful clicks and lively presentation..just loved it..!
Munnar is our fav place and its been 2 yrs since our last visit..
YOur post has made me drooooooool..

Thanx for sharing your wonderful experience..:)
Tasty Appetite

Sayantani said...

Ushnishda not fair...apni melay santiniketan jachen??? ami jete parbo na ebare...amar sosur barite akta bie ache jan e sekhane jete habe bole trip delayed....
Kerala trip asadharon hoeche to. amrao gata mase giechilam, amar Baba esechilen takhon. khub bhalo ghurechi ar bhishon bhalo Kerala'r khabar kheyechi.
ar pumpkin seeds ekhane kinte paoya jay...tabe ei packet ta amake Bharathy pathiechilo as a mystery ingredient. Arusuvai friendship chain e ki apni interested? ekhane bloggers ra eke anyake mystery ingredient pathay seta die kichu ranna karar jonyo....apni interested hole ei post ta dekhte paren.
http://ahomemakersdiary.blogspot.com/2010/11/arusuvai-friendship-chain-another.html

Arti said...

Nice to see you again... The pics are just fabulous, loved the waterfall...
And yes the Badri Gangotri trip was very good... No problem at all:)
Will post about that after this Nashik Shirdi trip!!
Have a wonderful week...

Bong Mom said...

UshnishDa

Delhei bojha jache khub sundor beriyecho. Anek kal age Kumarakam gechi, khub sundor jaiga.

kothiyavunu.com said...

Ushnishda,Glad you enjoyed your trip.. :-) I think you are a great cook and also a great writer, your writings have the power to make anybody feel the smell of their native soil..Thanks for the wonderful pics and for bringing back vivid memories associated with it..
Have a great day!

Ananda Rajashekar said...

yes indeed kerala is god own country it has to be heaven...i have dream to be there some time...just gorgeous pic this is all driving me to go there right now :)

Viki's Kitchen said...

Oh my! what a lovely post again! Kerala is divine and you have captured the beauty very well. River behind a house lodge, fish fries, that nameless bird, newly married's shoes....ha ha ha! Todi is the local liquor:) Like the way you enjoyed the trip with mam' and family. It is really very wise of you to stay in the village lodging, great way to understand the local culture! Taxi drivers are better in Kerala, you should have seen chennai drivers:( Never take an auto in chennai / Tamilnadu:) Just call a call taxi, that's safe there. Totally a fantastic post, now I am gonna show it to hubby:)

Gulmohar said...

wnderful pictures..and now I want to go home :( Kumarakom is near to our place ans it's so close to Sunitha's house :-)Munnar looks as pretty as ever !

alwayswinner786 said...

Hi Ushnish,
Welcome back and what a lovely post you share with us,Kerala radiates divine beauty since ages and we enjoyed it once again in your post, great pics! Great sharing!

Rajani said...

Great writeup on your vacation.Love your style.

Padhu said...

Last year we went on a trip to Munnar. It is really a paradise on earth.Lovely post and beautiful pictures.

Anita said...

I liked teh ol Kopi with Paneer so very much. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Susan and Abraham said...

seriously this is such a lovely place to be... i have lived and worker there for 1 year ... i know...

Adelina said...

amazing shots- beautiful places- you have a great eye for that detail most of us would miss!

Satya said...

lovely pictures

Mina Joshi said...

Hello Ushnishji

I really enjoyed reading about your holiday and loved the beautiful pictures you have taken. What a lovely place!! India is truely beautiful!! Thank you also for visiting my blog regularly!!

khushi said...

the pics are very colorful......loved them a lot....I did not go to Kumarakom...but I had the house boat experience at Alleppey , you can see the photos of Alleppey in my blog :)

Sumeet Mukherjee said...

Such a beautiful shot you got for white bellied blue flycatcher and you are being so modest of that. People die to get such a beautiful shot of that bird.
And the other pic where number of small white birds were perching on the wire, that's "whiskered tern". Again a beautiful bird but quite common near water bodies.