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someplace India
A journey to eternity
Mar 07, 2011 06:01 PM 27366 Views
(Updated Mar 07, 2011 06:08 PM)


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Once upon a time, I had a thought, that whenever I marry, I will go some place which is exotic, enchanting, exuberant and fantabulous, and I thought of Kerala. After my engagement, I started searching for options to visit Kerala, and then I found a review by @deepa.s which covers every point about a good destination, I exchanged few details with her, and hence I found the beautiful trip of my life, with my better-half, and following is the full description of it, just to provide more detail on the spice-trail.

I booked a tour with Sai Tours and Travels, Pune, having their office at Vitthalwadi, 6nights-7days package, which includes Munnar-Thekkady-Alleppey Houseboat-Kovalam, Trivandrum. ( ) which is costing me Rs.36800 (earlier it was Rs35000 for 5 nights excluding Trivandrum), which includes an AC Indica all time at our disposal, along with all the 3-star hotels booking, including breakfasts at hotel, and all meals and rent of 21-hrs houseboat on backwaters of kerala, but excluding our tickets to and from kerala, lunches, dinners, and any entrance fees to any place, if any. It was a bit costly, but was worth the trip. Sai travels have their local contact as Trans Orient Travels, situated @cochin.

The travel - Day 1(Ernakulam-Munnar)- Reached Ernakulam Jn at 2PM, and we got a SMS regarding our driver and his contact no. Our driver was Shibin, and he was very decent, polite, and proffessional, service at best, and always with a smile, a little bit language problem, no Hindi. Our first day, we travelled from Ernakulam to Munnar, by AC Indica, it took 4.5 hrs, and through lush green mountains fully covered with tea plants, & we are welcomed with evening showers. In way many spice-ayurvedic gardens came, which have tickets upto Rs.100 per head. If you're interested then you can visit those, otherwise no need to waste the money, just visit their store for any medicinal products. In the way a fall named Cheeyappara Waterfall came, giving us a wonderful view. We reached our destined hotel, Issac Residency. Wonderful, courteous staff, and a well maintained,clean spacious room was given. Bathroom was smaller though, and food costly. It costs Rs.400 for 5 Tandoori Rotis, and one Paneer sabzi.

Day 2 (Munnar) - We took the breakfast, and a well-arranged buffet breakfast is there @Issac Residency, with choices of Idly (with chutney, sambhar), tea, coffee, milk, corn flakes, dosa, uttappam, egg, etc. Then at 9AM we started our visit in Munnar. First came a Floriculture center, which displays all types of ayurvedic herbs, and many beautiful flowers, and giving a wonderful view of mountains. Charges are minimal there, with charges for video-cam/still cam as well, but it's worth a watch. From there we reach, to a wonderful point called Matupetty Dam, pictursque view over the whole lake full of water surrounded by misty mountains, and we ate and roam at the road-side stalls, after clicking up some photos. Then we proceed to Echo Point, which is also a good point, although not echoed much, and is full with visitors. Later we went till kundala dam, where the lake and the dam over it was in the shape of a "Kundala", over the ears. No entry charges anywhere. We came back at around 2PM, and went to some low cost restaurant "Shri Mahavir Bhojnalaya", and ordered aloo-gobhi barathtvlas, but we neither got the taste nor the service from them. Still, the food costs us around Rs. 200. We rest at hotel for afternoon, and again started at 330PM for the tea museum, at the other side of the Munnar. Tea Museum is situated in the valley amidst mountains, and have an entry fees of Rs.75 per head, with no photography allowed. It was okay, displaying some pictures about developments in and around Munnar, then there was a session which explains about tea-leaf extracting process (the dialect was a problem to understand), but then we saw a documentary (of half-hour) showing all the developments, and it was a worth watch. And then our day came to an end, this time taking dinner at another restaurant "Roaches Restaurant", where the food was okay and within budget, but they by default serve you with a bottle instead of normal water and charge it.

Day 3 (Munnar-Thekkady) - We left Munnar at around 9AM after taking our breakfasts, and it took around 3 hrs for us to reach our destination - Hotel Ambady @Thekkady. We passed, lush green scenic mountains, taking pictures and enjoying our ride. Thekkady is the combination of just 2 gulleys, one of which ends at Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. After taking some rest, we enter inside Periyar limits at around 1:00PM. There are some entry charges, for each person (Rs.25), and a vehicle charge of Rs.50 (for a car). We went for Boating. Boating charges were Rs.150, and only two boating tours were remaining - @1:30 PM (1hr ride), and @3:30 PM (2hr ride). We accompanied by many foreigners and Indian onboard, and they have a seating arrangement as per the seat numbers allotted, and everybody have to wear the life jackets. Then We roam over the Periyar lake, looking at the sanctuary jungle from nearby. We haven't seen any wild animal there except some Deers, Elephants, and some birds, but the ride was good. There is entry fees for still, and video camera as well, but my advice dont pay Rs.200 for video camera, instead just pay Rs.25 for still one. After completing the boat tour, we roam nearby, but the snack bar "Periarensis" is not good, neither quality of food supplied, nor they have quantity. Everything extinguished by 230PM. Just beware of monkeys jumping here and there. For the evening, we bought the ticket of a show of the ancient martial art (known as Kalaripayattu) of Kerala, it costs Rs.200 per head, but it was worth a watch. The show timings were from 6PM-7PM. You can take your video/still camera to record the event, no extra charges. Kathakali show was from 7PM-8PM, but we opted out of it. We roam and visit some shopping places, but shopping is costly here, and the items are not as unique for Kerala, you can found it anywhere. No cheap restaurant. We ate at "Shri Gujarathi Marwadi Bhojnalaya", which was costly, and neither the taste was there. And we came back for rest @Hotel Ambady, which was cool, providing the ambience of old cottages, in the midst of jungle.

Day 4 (Thekkady-Alleppey) - After taking our breakfasts @Ambady hotel, we left at around 8-830AM for Alleppey houseboat trip. The breakfast service is slow and you have to order the food by checking out the menu. We reached at around 1230 @Alleppey Houseboat launching pad, where the sun was pouring all his heat over us, and it's really very sweaty. After calling the manager confirms our booking, and with the help of two persons (for taking our luggage), shows us the houseboat meant for us. We got a 2-bedroom houseboat, but we are the only pair to go on it. We checked in our room, which was neat and clean, everything's provided, clean bathrooms, AC is there. Two limitations were there - AC will be active only from 9PM-6AM, and no hot water onboard for bathing purpose. A guy explained us all the details in english, and then our houseboat-journey started at around 1:15PM, we were accompanied by 2 guys - 1 cook, 1 driver. They have a language problem but can manage with slight english. After suffering from lot of heat, I was wondering whether the trip was worth or not, but it was the wonderful day of my life, and the best day of the tour.

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Kerala - General