Munnar : Back to the Misty Hills
Munnar, quite so far yet so near, a breadth of fresh air from the hustle and bustle of the city. I was toying around with the idea of visiting Munnar, just to experience the weather and to get away from my busy schedules. I was also wondering whether to take a trip with friends, family or go solo. But my wifey promptly broke me away from my reverie and booked us in KTDC Tea County, Munnar.
For thoses who are not really not familiar with Munnar, Munnar is a gorgeous hill station in the Western Ghats mountain range in Kerala. The place is well known for its tea plantations and cool climate. It had been years since I visited Munnar and as usual my mind was yearning for a mini trip. I was a little apprehensive of taking my little one along, but then decided to take him along since, like me, he too loves tripping. A little bit of caution and care during these times are necessary especially when we travel with kids.
Journey to the Hills
Our check-in time at Tea County was at around 3 pm, so that meant we had plenty of time. We lazied our way through our morning routines, but there was one person amidst us who was brimming with energy, my little Zavi. The first thing he said when he woke up was “Munnar Pogaam” ( Lets go to Munnar). Munnar is around 100 kms aways from our home at Ernakulam and we estimated that it would take around three to four hours to get to our destination. Accordingly, we started from home and we decided to pack up our lunch with us as we didnt want to stop at random places for having lunch especially during these Covid times. The first one hour went quickly, but then Zavi started getting impatient. He kept on asking if we were nearing our destinations. Slowly we started our ascend. By this time Zavi was almost too bored and he dozed off. As we ascended and climbed multiple hairpins, we started seeing a lot of monkeys on the road sides and slowly the atmosphere also began to change. It had begun to get foggy and the endless tea plantations was a sight to behold. As lunchtime approached , we decided to pull over at some place, where we could just relax and have lunch. This is when we passed the Valara Waterfalls and right there, there was some parking space meant for heavy vehicles. We pulled over immediately. Zavi was sound asleep when we halted. I soon got out and walked towards the waterfalls to click some pictures. I quickly got back and by now Zavi was wide awake. The time was around 1: 30 pm but the weather was already chilly with a cool breeze. Zavi and Laya hopped onto the back of my Isuzu and we settled down and had lunch with the sound of the waterfalls playing in the background.
KTDC Tea County
It took a little more than an hour to reach Munnar town. As we got nearer to the town, we could see countless street vendors, selling fresh carrots, pickled fruits and vegetables, chocolates, sweaters, jackets, mufflers and the like. Tea County, a property managed by the Kerala Tourism Department, is situated right in the heart of Munnar town. Finally we had reached our destination and Zavi was brimming with joy. I dropped Laya, Zavi and the luggage at the entrance and proceeded to the car parking area. As I stepped out of my vehicle, I realized that it was actually pretty cold here. The check-in process was seamless and we were quickly ushered to our room.
The room itself was well sanitized and I was pretty much happy with the set up. What I really liked was that there was a balcony overlooking the whole Munnar town and tea estates beyond that. I thought about resting for some time, but my Zavi had other plans. He wanted to explore the place. We finally convinced him to sit inside for sometime, till we had some hot black coffee and snacks. As soon as we were done snacking, Zavi was on his toes. So we decided to take a quick walk around the property. As soon as we got out, I realized that the temperature had dropped drastically since we had arrived and it was really cold. Zavi had noticed a small park near the entrance and that was going to be our destination.
There was some maintenance work happening at the property, but we decided to make best use of all that we had. We walked through the well kept garden, with immaculately planted plants like roses, cacti and many such beautiful plants with flowers. The park area was pretty much rusty, and Zavi just played around sometime on the swings and slides. Just then it began to drizzle very slightly. The three of us rushed in as we didn't think that chill and rain was a good combo.
Once inside, we straight went up to the reception and enquire if there were any indoor games. They told us there was snooker and table tennis. Zavi was seeing a full sized snooker table for the first time, even Laya was not really familiar with the game. It was fun to try to teach Laya and in between my Zavi also wanted to try playing. Zavi was excited to see any one of us score so that he could collect the ball. After sometime, we moved to the table tennis room. Here Zavi was the umpire and we played two to three rounds of highly competitive game of table tennis. After a point, I really thought that someone from the reception would come and tell us to calm down as we were really noisy.
We slowly walked back to our room and that is when Zavi noticed a mini pond with some fish. After fish gazing for some time, we got back to our room. We decided to just relax in the room, so we ordered dinner and played Monopoly while we waited for the food. Our sumptuous meal arrived and the portions served were pretty much on the bigger side. After dinner, we just goofed around the bed and room and slowly I began to completely relax and sometime in between I just drifted off to a deep slumber.
I woke up with a start, it was already morning. I had planned to take some pictures of the early morning mist, but unfortunately I slept off. I was a little disappointed but there was nothing that could be done. So we all just got up, dressed up and proceeded to the restaurant to have breakfast. I opened the door of the restaurant, and I was shocked. The restaurant was filled with people. I started to get a bit worried, but finally I found a table away from the crowd. The buffet breakfast had a decent spread of Kerala breakfast cuisine. The check-out time was 11:00am. Zavi just didn't want to come back home. He insisted that we stay just for one more day. But the weekend was too short.
We slowly packed our bags and checked out. I just hadn't got enough of Munnar. On our way out Zavi insisted on playing at the park again. So after some playtime, we started back. Actually, there are a lot of places to visit at Munnar, like Mattupetty Dam, Echo Point, Tea Museum, Eravikulam National Park and the like. But we didnt go to any of these places as we thought it would be crowded and we thought it would be best to avoid such tourist destinations.
A few minutes into our descent, and Zavi was sound asleep. With a heavy heart we bid good bye to beautiful Munnar.
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