Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Kochi to Munnar, Kerala

DAY 7: KOCHI TO MUNNAR

DAY 5: OF LAKSHADWEEP CRUISE – BACK TO KOCHI

We all got up early today as it was the last time we will get to see a spectacular sunrise in the middle of the sea. Once up we went on the deck of the ship which had by now become our favorite place on the ship. We took some pictures of the sunrise, some wacky pictures of ourselves, did some running around, some goofing here and there… whatever we can think of, we did everything as today was our last day on the ship. We all knew that in few hours we will be in Kochi and it will be time to bid goodbye to this ship, to the beautiful sea, to the wonderful breeze and to the freedom we had because our mobile phones had no network.


Our Last Sunrise on M.V. Kavaratti
Our Last Sunrise on M.V. Kavaratti
We were out of network area the moment we left Kochi and trust me it was bliss. No phone calls, no mails (personal or official), no Facebook, no twitter.. nothing.  It was just you, your friends and family and the sea, the island, the ship, the adventure…. This was a true vacation.

We got ready and had our breakfast and again went to the deck. As we came closer to Kochi the colour of the sea started changing. The colour of the sea water changed from deep emerald green to grey now.

Flag of India on the deck of the Ship
India's Flag on the deck of the Ship

Boat near Kochi Port
Boat near Kochi
We saw how our ship was being parked on the dock. We again took our friends (tugboats) help to park at Kochi Port. Tugboat is a boat that maneuvers vessels by pushing or towing them towards the dock. The entire process took quite some time, much more than it had taken us to leave the port and head towards the sea.


Tugboat
Tugboat
M.V. Kavaretti finally docked around 11:30 pm at Kochi Port. We were advised to leave our luggage in front of our rooms and collect the same from the Port. It took an hour to exit from the ship (12:30 pm).

This cruise was in short a totally different experience. The ship is very well maintained – through out our stay on the ship we din’t find any rodents or insects. The ship was always clean and the crew members were always very hospitable and ready to help. We would definitely recommend all our friends to take this cruise.

With this we came to the end of our Lakshadweep cruise, but our vacation was not over yet. Except Parth (who was rushing back to Mumbai) we all were heading to Munnar. We had pre booked an Innova for our Kerela trip covering Munnar, Periyar, Athirapally and back to Kochi Airport.

We had earlier planned to visit Athirapally waterfall first and then head to Munnar. But our driver suggested to cover Athirapally on the last day of our trip before catching the flight back to Mumbai. So, after a delicious lunch in Kochi and dropping Parth at Kochi Airport, we headed straight to Munnar.

While on the cruise we were completely struck off from the world and didn’t have an idea what was going on. Once back to the land, we came to know that the strike in Munnar (into its 30th day) by the tea workers was still on and all entrances to Munnar had been completely blocked. The tea workers were neither allowing anyone to enter Munnar nor did they allow those tourists already there to leave. There were some incidents of violence reported such as breaking windshield of tourist cars. etc. Thankfully we had arranged for our accommodation at a home stay (Gokulam Homestay) which is located around 3 kms on the outskirts of Munnar.

The drive to Munnar is simply amazing. The roads are narrow (it’s not a highway), covered with trees all around. When you are a few kilometers short of Munnar, and you can start feeling the fresh air. We switched off the air condition of the car and enjoyed the fresh and cool air. There was greenery all around.

Enroute Munnar
Enroute Munnar
Enroute to Munnar, we stopped at Cheeyappara Waterfall. Tall, lean and majestic, the waterfall was in full glory. As usual we did some photo shoot, stretched our legs and then resumed our journey to the homestay. Before reaching our homestay we stopped over at a spice garden. The entry fees per tourist (with a guided tour) into the spice garden costed us Rs. 250. Before entering the garden, we were handed an umbrella each, which was quite strange as it was not raining.

Cheeyappara Waterfall
Cheeyappara Waterfall
The spice garden guide took us around for 30 minutes making us aware of the various herbs, spices and the trees that the garden has. She showed us the plants of pepper, lemon grass, vanilla, turmeric, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, coffee. In the midst of our tour it had started raining and thus the umbrellas came in handy.

Every spice garden has a shop just at the entrance of the spice garden from where you can buy fresh spices and herbs. We also bought few packets of spices from the shop. Not too sure if we got a decent deal, but it was surely convenient.

Spice Garden, Munnar

Spice Garden, Munnar
Spice Garden, Munnar
By the time we reached our homestay it was dark and we had no idea how the view from our rooms was. The owner of the homestay, Mr. Sunil was a nice guy and briefed us of the situation of Munnar. He discouraged us from trying to venture in to Munnar as it could turn fatal.

It was cold and we all took out our sweaters and shawls, thus enjoying the cold weather. We had some amazing and simple home cooked food, watched TV for a bit and retired for the day. We were sleeping after so many days on land – where our bed was not rocking ;).

Points to remember:

  • Munnar is a little costly as far as accommodation is concerned.
  • Munnar can get a little cold in early morning and night. Please carry warm clothes accordingly.
  • The road from Kochi to Munnar is a two lane road and is curvy and hills. Therefore, while estimating the travel time, don’t consider the kms. It takes around 4 – 5 hours to reach Munnar.
  • Expense Details of the day:

Expense Particulars
Amount for 4 people
Amount per head
Lunch enroute Munnar
1,250
313
Refreshments enroute Munnar
100
25
Cab - 4 day booking for Munnar, Alleppey, Athirapally and Kochi
14,500
3,625
Homestay at Munnar
1,500
375
TOTAL
17,350
4,338