Thursday, June 22, 2017

Munnar Holidays 2017

Munnar hills you get the blessed presence of Maneesh Jayachandran , a visitor from plain lands. It is me At Rivulet resort, Pallivasal in last week of May. Photo taken on my mobile phone.Apologise for the terrible quality.The background shows river flowing near Rivulet resort.

Nov 2016 to Mar 2017 was a strenuous period of work for me at Orangis Online.I was very happy during the period since I was having good work and not much period of time to waste seeing useless movies or reading religious texts.I desperately wanted some travel to get some happiness.This was suggested by my brother in law, Sri Sri Topiwala Krishnendu ji.His suggestion was Singapore or Malaysia. But I chose Munnar.

I did a complete research on the internet before going on the trip.I gave my Maruti Astar car for service at AVG Motors , Adoor. AVG guys informed me that my car's spare tyre was at fault.So changed it too.

I searched for rooms on trivago and shortlisted a resort "Rivulet Resort , Pallivasal" for staying because it had good google reviews as well as tripadvisor reviews and ratings.Trivago lead me to booking.com through which I booked the hotel room.As always in the deals, the amount mentioned in the deal was Rs 4300 for the hotel room but the real rates are Rs 5200 including the tax. The tax I don't think the resort people will pay since they took money in cash and didnt give the invoice.50% of money needed to be paid as advance for the booking to be valid.


On booking the hotel room at booking.com, I got an email from the resort person.I confirmed the booking on phone too.

Once I paid the advance of Rs 2500 by transferring the money to their account, my first day's stay has been taken care of. For the second day's stay I preferred to stay near the Town rather than the Rivulet resort which is at Pallivasal, about 20 kilometers from Munnar Town.So I took the advice of a cousin sister & her cousin brother who have been to Munnar. They chose a lodge named David's Regency for staying and they gave the number.I booked it over telephone.The rent for one night was Rs 2750 which was a loot. They staying experience at David's Regency was pathetic.Rooms were cleaned but were not up to the standard we expected. Also foul smell was emanating from the toilet. Even the reception was a place with bad odour.Travellers please avoid this lodging.Not worth the money you pay.

The Journey Begins

We went to bed early on a friday night and we woke up at 3 am which was very unusual.I had a black tea to keep me awake while driving.We started the journey at 3:36 pm.My wife slept in the Maruti Astar car.This is the route I used.

Nooranad ----> Pandalam ----> Chengannur ----> Thiruvalla -----> Perumthuruthy ---> Thrikkodithanam ---> Thengana ---> Vakathanam --->Puthupally --> Manarcaudu ----> Ayarkunnar ---> Kidangoor (took right) -----> Pala ---> Pizhaku ---> Manathoor ---> Nellappara ----> Karimkunnam ---> Kumaramangalam ---> Paingottoor ---> Oonnukal (took right) -------> Thalakode --->Neriamangalam ----> 6th Mile -----> Cheeyappara Waterfalls (Tourist Destination) -----> Machiplavu -----> Adimali ---->Breakfast ------> Anachal -----> Kunchithanny ---->Rivulet Resort Pallivasal

We had breakfasts at Jannah hotel Adimali on the way to munnar and again we had breakfast from Salkara Hotel & Bakery. Both vegetarian foods were good. Only problem was the curry at Jannah Hotel was very spicy.We reached munnar at 8 pm.

Best Destinations in Munnar

Cheeyappara Waterfalls 



Cheeyappara Waterfalls is located on the Aluva Road from Kochi to Munnar. It is very beautiful and located on the road side.You can park the vehicle,take photos and watch the waterfalls.The water cascades down in seven steps.The place was very crowded with people and their vehicles when we saw it.It is a forest area and good for trekking and the area have lot of other waterfalls nearby.It is dangerous to get in to the water.

There is a public pay and use toilet at Cheeyappara Tourist facilitation centre.It is very dirty.Look out for unruly monkeys.They can snatch your food or belongings

Can spend about 15 to 30 Minutes at Cheeyappara Waterfalls

Shengulam Dam


The visit to shengulam dam was not right as per plan.It was a extra destination that would be ventured if got more time.However we had to change our plans since this destination was near to our resort.We travelled through Kunchithanny, Anachal route and arrived at Kerala Hydel Tourism boating centre near Shengulam Dam. The dam and surroundings including the mountains looks majestic. The entry fee to the park for a couple including the car parking fee (car parked on road side) was Rs 30. While we are entering the park we were approached by Jeep drivers who can take us to different destinations for 3000 to 4000 rupees per ride.The park is good for kids to run around and play.There is a massage counter where fish will massage your feet.There is boating for a large group on a big boat.It will cost more than 1000 rupees. There is a bowl boat / coracle boat or kuttavanchi for a family. A driver will be navigating the boat.


We chose the scary option of a kayak of two where the tourism facility staff instruct us to row the kayak.Basically they are giving the kayak and asking us to row in the specified area of the dam for 20 minutes.The cost is Rs 400. It was a nice experience and scary one for me.I realised the truth that I am not good with the waters.
Representative Image.Because taking photos doesn't occur when I am afraid of water.

Pothenmedu Viewpoint 

Pothenmedu Viewpoint View
Pothamedu Viewpoint is a hyped tourist destination.We drive up to a hill to see a view point made just for couple of tea stalls.I think tourist guides get commission from these tea vendor.I had an inchi chaya (cardamom tea) for Rs 20 from the tea stall.Got the view of the viewpoint.Then I walked to the tea gardens nearby and spent some quality time there

A little later ,nothing was viewable from the viewpoint just the clouds & fog

Tea Gardens 


Tea Gardens are the speciality of Munnar.We can visit many tea plantations owned by Tata.Walk through it and take pictures,view the daily activities of woman labourers of plucking the tea leaves as well as men labourers spraying chemical cutting branches with knife etc.I intend to visit Lockhart Tea Plantation in Devikulam on my next visit.The visit planned this time could not be done.Where ever you go in munnar you can see many plantations and viewpoints.Stop the vehicle and enjoy the nature's beauty.

For those interested in tea, you can visit tea factories & learn about tea manufacturing processes.



Destinations in Munnar Town to Top Station Road

Mattupetty Dam


Mattupetty Dam is located enroute to Top Station about 15 kilometers from Munnar.It is a dam with a large reservoir where we could do boating.It is the first concrete dam in Kerala commissioned in 1953.Catchment area is about 105 square kilometers.So pretty large dam! huh!.On the way to dam, there are beautiful tea gardens and other tourist spots.You can take pedal boat or speed boat.There is a space for parking provided by the dam authorities but that is very difficult to spot and also inadequate for the large number of visitors.So we had to drive past the dam and parked the vehicle on the road side.Boating yard parking costs Rs 20.It is a beautiful location.Tamil speaking mothers on makeshift shops sell sliced pineapple , sliced mangoes with chilly powder as well as roasted corn.On top of the dam, while driving the people on the sides always stand carelessly looking at the beauty of the dam.Mattupetty Dam is a concrete structure with a bridge with traffic on it.When returned to the dam after parking the vehicle , I too stood on the side of the dam carelessly mesmerised by the scenic beauty.The traffic was hectic due to lot of visitors when we visited in May last week of 2017.Traffic jam kills the driving experience.The tourist buses plying on the narrow roads as well as overspeeding and callous driving Jeep Drivers test your patience on dangerous roads with curves.Kids will love this place.We can go down near the dam's bank.There is lot of space for them to run around on the banks of the water.Large number of visitors has resulted in considerable environmental damage in the area.Plastic bottles, cigarette butts, plastic wrappers.

Now start the vehicle and travel towards Topstation. Boating centre is nearby.Sun Moon Valley Boating Club offers boating in the reservoir.The entry fee is a steep 100 rupees.It costs Rs 200 per head to use a pedal boat for 30 minutes here.We didn't visit the kidz zone which bills 400₹ for adult and 300₹ for children.So we have nothing to say about it.Speed boating for one kilometer is a good experience here.Spending fifteen minutes in the speed boat is a nice experience.The boating charge is 600 to 800 rs per person.Rs 600 for a couple and a large boat for 20 persons can be hired for Rs 1400.If you can bribe the boatman Rs 100, he might take you near the elephants drinking water.

We gave a miss to the Indo-Swiss Livestock Project, a dairy farm with wide variety of cattles as well as the elephant park & an adventure park named Cow Boy.

There are photographers who are ready to take your snaps and provide instant prints for Rs 30.My panasonic camera was damaged and ernakulam service centre person judged it beyond repair.I was worried how to take a decent photo at Mattupetty Dam.Here comes a young tamil gentleman.I forgot his name. He took many snaps of us.And charged only Rs 120 rupees for the prints.On request he gave his camera's sd card to be kept in my mobile phone so that I copy the photos.

You can do a horse ride at Mattupetty. My wife did one ride on a horse name Lechmi.The horse's owner charges Rs 100 for it.He will charge Rs 100 again if you want to photograph yourself with the horse.Then there is a lad who gives airgun from which we can fire bullets to baloon targets nearby.

Echopoint & Photopoint

These are locations on the way to Top Station from Munnar.You can just stop over here and relax at these destinations.

Kundala Dam & Boating

Top Station

Top Station is a scenic place located 32 kilometers from Munnar in Tamil Nadu.It is in the border.You cross Kerala and enter Tamil Nadu. One has to travel through Mattupetty - Top Station - Vattavada road to reach top station from where the scenic beauty of Kannan Devan Hills can be seen.The forests, grass lands, Theni district of tamil nadu, the windmills far away as well as Kerala and Tamilnadu hills.Kodaikanal was said to be nearby.Very high altitude and it resulted in breathing problems and discomfort for my wife. She was okie only when she was back in Munnar and after some rest.

The drive to Top Station is amazing since there are lot of destination on the way.Couple of dams like Kundala and Mattupetty as well as Echo Point and many scenic places to stop and see.Entry fee to the viewpoint with 360° view is 10 rupees.We were lucky to have visited it when it was 12 pm noon.So there was less fog.Since you are among the clouds at a high altitude, fog spoils the experience. 

A valley view point is also there which is very scenic.Do not rush your munnar holidays.Instead of visiting lot of destinations, better spend 1 to 2 hours at a destination like this.The tourist facility closes at 5:30 pm in the evening.Don't make it to the night because you have to return the way back to Munnar through the forest areas where there are elephant crossings.So get back to your rooms at Munnar before it gets dark. Tents are provided at Top Station for overnight staying.But rates would be high and facilities would be bare minimum.No water and no toilets.

Since it is a forest area, facilities are bare minimum.Only makeshift tent shops selling soda, fruits, corns etc.Nearest hospital is in Munnar Town.So in case of emergency , things are very bad.Tamil Nadu has poorly maintained this destination.Two hotels are running at the place.One hang a board no toilets.The other hotel was Periyar Residency a lodge cum hotel.They also said no toilets. My wife wanted toilet.I said I am a customer to the man sitting there.He was a malayali.He said what will you eat.I said I can have a juice for now.He said no and declined the toilet.I said I am not hungry.I am giving you a hundred rupee note and I am going for a trekking.Please provide the staff toilet so that my wife can use it.When we come back , we will be hungry.Then I will buy food from your hotel and then you shall decrease the hundred rupees from the bill and pay the rest.I also got that in writing in a paper from him.Then we had the trekking bought a vegetable noodles and paneer butter masala curry parcel.We had a chat with the old man.He said he was the owner of this hotel and he has couple of resorts and hotels elsewhere.He said he was married from Alappuzha and promised he shall visit my office when he visits Kochi.He apologized that all his mind has been commercialised running all this business and that all good feelings are gone and commercialised.I forgot the name of the achayan (Malayali christian male).He said that water was being pumped from bottom lake areas through pipes to his hotel at Top station.But elephants destroyed the pipes and workers are afraid to go and repair the pipelines. That accounts for the water shortage, the reason for him rejecting the toilet request in the beginning.He asked whether he know Kuttichayan of Angamali who was a filthy rich person and happens to be the relative of this gentleman.We haven't heard of such a business tycoon.So we said no and bid goodbye to Periyar Residency and Top Station.

Top Station Valley View Video


Rivulet Resort Review & Staying Experience

Rivulet Resort Review & Staying Experience

I would say the staying experience in one word as amazing.As soon as I reached there, a young man welcomed me and a young lady welcomed my wife to the resort. They gave us a welcome drink , a fruit juice which quenched our thirst & tiredness due to travel.The staffs were very friendly generally.

Deluxe Room


I stayed in the deluxe room in this building.Good room for a couple to spend their holiday in Munnar.Looking forward to try the Premium Suite & the Royal Suite in the future.

Since it is little away from Munnar, rooms are provided with air conditioning.Usually in hill stations one would not need air conditioning.The room had flatscreeen tv with cable connection.The tv set top box remote of our room was not working.I complained it. All of a sudden technician came and replaced it.Two bottles of water was kept in glass bottles.Kettle to make tea / coffee was provided with tea powder / coffee powder as well as sugar in satchet packets.I felt nice about the option.Deluxe room provided was spacious and with shared balcony.The room was very clean and maintained well.There is an ayurveda spa in the resort.A person from Ayurveda Spa visited the room and provided his brochure.We were on a schedule with some destinations planned and the room was taken to spend the night.So we did not availed the ayurveda or laundry service.There are lot of taxi cars near the resort which the resort people can provide you.They could also provide Jeeps for touring munnar.But my guess is that prices would be higher than you sign up directly due to commissions involved in most cases. Anyway, we did not availed that service.
River Crossing through the small bund


Ayurvedic Spa Available
Spice Plantation Visit
Tea is being grown near the resort.In the adjoining hill, a spice plantation and trekking path has been setup. A group trekking with guide happens in the morning.We had alternate plans.So we went early for trekking in the forest like setup alone.They have spice plantation near the resort.We can walk through it too.

They have a nice Child's play area for children to run around and play funny games while adults can relax on an oonjal or swing.

Pallivasal power house is nearby. So a siren at about 5 am in the morning can be heard from there.Since the resort is near a mosque, religious prayers or azaan can also be heard from the loudspeakers.Waking up in the morning you can have a stroll in the resort premises.You can cross the river by walking over a dam built over the river.Possibly it was build to store water near the resort for a good river view from the resort in the summer.Then we can get down and walk or relax on the rocks in the rivulet when the water is flowing slowly.A bamboo boat is there in the resort which could used for leisurely crossing the river.
Bamboo Boat Ride




The Restaurant

Restaurant offers good food but a bit costly and buffet. A breakfast costs Rs 350 per head and dinner Rs 690. And it is at a remote location.So no shops or restaurants nearby.



This is the reception where you check in to the resort behind it is the restaurant.The papayas are there in the breakfast.We paid in cash when checked out because the swiping machines were not working.And bill was not provided once money was paid.Since I was in a hurry,I forgot to ask that too.

Royal Suite and Premium Suite are in the same building with separate entrances.The deluxe room block is a separate building.The suites would be more spacious.Planning to book them next time.




The tourist destinations near the resort are Pothenmedu Viewpoint (17 km), Sengulam Dam Kerala Hydel Tourism Centre (8 km) & Attukad Waterfalls.


Rivulet Resort Video 


I will definitely come back with family to check out the places we haven't seen in Munnar like Marayur, Kolukkumalai Estate, Funforest Adventure Park, Eravikulam National Park etc and will be staying at Rivulet Resort.

Lost Way Driving from Munnar Town to Mattupetty Dam

On the first Day, after having lunch from an eatery named Guru's Restaurant & Spices we started journey to Mattupetty Dam. Very crowded hotel.Dislike the spicy food from there. And I religiously blindly followed the Google Maps & got lost. It asked me to travel through the colony road where the tea estate labourers are living.The houses were small and the road was narrow for one car to pass through.There wer open drainages on sides of the road where your car type could go if you are not careful. Then we travelled to a hill top where there is a government school and a lone government quaters and we reached a dead end where we could rejoin the highway only through a risky mud road that is not even safe for an offroader. So we turned our car back and found a man in the government quarters nearby. I asked him for directions in tamil and he gave replies in malayalam. He told, of late lot of people are coming to this location using google maps and are getting lost.So we got back through the route shown in yellow line in the picture.A Mahindra XUV500 was coming towards us.They were a malayali family and kids were making noise from the vehicle. They were also fooled by Google Maps.I asked them to stop and told them the situation.So they also joined us to travel on the Munnar - Mattupetty - Topstation - Vattavada Road. Once we were back again in Munnar town , we found the correct road to cruise.

Blue line shows the actual route & yellow line shows the path Google Maps misled us to

David's Regency Munnar Lodging Review

David's Regency Mattupetty Road ,Munnar
What can I say?Terrible and Rs 2750 a night for a normal double room was pickpocket.The room was cleaned by the staff but not up to our expectation.Foul smell in the reception and the room.Do not go to this lodge and waste your money. Munnar lodging and staying is very expensive.I booked room here hearing advice of a person who stayed there.But my experience was bad.The guy in the reception was friendly but he didn't even ask for identity proof for staying.Also he told that if paid through swiping machine they have to show taxes and also the swiping machine service charges needs to be given, price would be more.A payment receipt was provided however.Space for three or four cars to park were there.Glad we could park the car before the rush hour.Else we have to park somewhere else.So while roaming the city in the night for shopping and dinner, I chose to walk and not take the car.

What to Buy?

Shopping 

I bought tea from tata outlet etc. as well as couple of spice shops from Munnar town.I also bought spices & masala products.Chocolates branded as homemade are another products marketed for tourists visiting munnar.We bought to give away to friends and family along with the estate tea powder.I bought saplings of Jaathi as well as Mangoisteen from couple of farms in Thodupuzha and Adimali.

Returning Back 

Returning back refreshed and ready to take on the world and return to the rat race & everyday chores of life

Farm Visits in Adimali & Thodupuzha

Visited couple of farms in thodupuzha and adimali and bought jaathi sapling as well as good quality mangoisteen sapling from the highranges to plant in my farm.

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