Kerala has always fascinated us with its timeless beauty of backwaters and beaches, the undulating hills of tea and spice plantations and the enchanting lush green forests. A visit to the ‘Gods Own Country’ Kerala is a must for some laid back experience.
We had first visited Kerala for our job training in Trivandrum. It was only after 6 years that we came up with a plan to explore the beauty of the state on a family trip.
Munnar – Kolukkumalai tea estate
We drove all the way from Bangalore to the resort we booked in Chinnakanal village in Munnar. We reached late evening, had our dinner and decided to get a good night’s sleep to start afresh in the morning to explore the heavenly Munnar.
Next morning, we had our breakfast and hired a guide recommended by the resort manager for Munnar sightseeing.
The guide drove us in a private jeep suitable for the bumpy mud route through the Kolukkumalai tea estate which is one of the highest tea estates in the world. We drove for an hour or so through the never-ending expanse of stunning views, intricate patterns of plantations and tiny rivulets flowing through them.
We finally reached the summit of 7130 ft., which is the border between Tamilnadu and Kerala states with magnificent tea gardens on one side and rugged mountainous plains of Tamilnadu on other.
We started walking down from the highest point of the estate to arrive at the small tea factory. A guide walked us through the factory equipment and the processing of the handpicked leaves into packaged tea.
The factory tour ended with a hot cup of tea actually several cups. We could not resist ourselves from having more than one.
Munnar – Spice Garden
We next drove to the spice garden to check out some Kerala special spices. Kerala is known to produce a wide variety of quality spices. We walked through the garden and were amazed to see various spice plants and trees which we had never seen before.
My Mother in Law bought lots of spices as she felt they were of very superior quality and we would not find such quality back home.
Munnar – Chinnakanal waterfalls
After spice shopping, we drove back to our resort stopping at Chinnakanal waterfalls on the way. The gushing waterfalls cascading through the hills surrounded by the verdurous plantations was a breathtaking sight to behold.
Alleppey Boat House
We had booked a boathouse in the backwaters of Kerala. The route to Alleppy from Munnar meandered through forests and villages overlooking the gorgeous vistas of clouds hovering over the green valleys.
We parked our car safe under the guidance of the boathouse owner and hopped onto the boat. We were all set for a laid back experience over the 45 km stretch of the Vembanad Lake. As the boat had only 2 rooms we had the boat all to ourselves.
We were hungry and the thought of Kerala cuisine had highly increased our appetite. The boatman asked us to choose from the few variety of veggies he had in store and also prepared Kerala special fish fry. Within an hour, the lunch was ready and we savored the traditional delicacies.
After lunch, we reclined onto the couches while our boat drifted past palm-fringed canals passing through several traditional villages, tiny islands with sprawling plantations and paddy fields lined with coconut trees.
While tourists relished this slice of nature, the locals were busy in their chores, kids canoeing, an old lady feeding the birds, men transporting goods, men fishing; rustic yet authentic experience.
Our boat stopped at local markets where we shopped seafood for dinner, we also bought some Kerala special banana chips and fresh coconut water with the sweet coconut malai. Our day ended with yet another menu of Kerala traditional food for dinner accompanied by a Bollywood movie; our boatman had a movie ready for us.
The atmosphere now had slowed down. It was dark and we could only see lights of the houses on the islands. Everyone seemed to be wrapping up for the day. Our boat moored up at a dock to spend the night, slowly several other boathouses too lined up behind us.
Next day morning we had some light breakfast while our boat sailed back to our start point. We bid farewell to Alleppy and drove towards our next destination
Atthirapally – Niagara of India
Atthirapally waterfalls popularly known as Niagara of India has been Mani Ratnam’s favorite and some of the best songs of Bollywood have been shot here which includes Aishwarya Rai in Guru, Namrata Shirodkar and Anil Kapoor in Pukar and Preity Zinta and Shahrukh Khan in Dil Se.
Situated in the middle of Kerala rain forests the falls can be viewed from the top where one can see the Chalakudy River rushing down into cascades or trek down through the narrow path leading to the bottom of the waterfall and behold the spectacular waterfalls roaring amidst the lush green forest.
An Unexpected Safari at Bandipur
After having a good time at the falls, we headed back to Bangalore. We were in a hurry to cross the Bandipur park gate which is closed 9 pm to 6 am in the morning. We were right there on time and entered the park, but elephants blocked our route. We waited there in the middle of the forest for around half an hour waiting for the elephants to clear the road, but the elephants were busy playing around. There were 2 to 3 adult elephants and 2 cute baby elephants. Worried for our safety we decided to return back to the entrance and wait till the dawn.
We spent the night in our car and headed back to Bangalore in the morning.
Driving through thousands of acres of fog-covered hills of tea plantations; The Beautiful Munnar.
Sailing through the 45km stretch of the freshwater lake in houseboat tasting the Kerala special fish curry and fish fry; The Marvelous Alleppey.
“Niagara of India” – The incredible Atthirapally waterfalls.
And an unexpected night safari when the elephants blocked our route in Bandipur on the way back to Mysore…
An awesome experience to cherish for the lifetime!!!
Did Kerala enchant you enough to plan a visit? Do let us know in comments.
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