“There are no ACs and fans in the apartment, in fact you don’t require it all the year”, said Matthew Mamen before renting out his apartment for one night stay in Munnar – Kerala.
The Kashmir of south-India is the extremely awesome place standing over 5200 feet above the sea level. The smiling weather, the naturally well-crafted mountains, the supremely high water-falls cutting through the rocks, the beautiful natural creeks, the lusher greenery, the elephant rides, the freshly fried Koel’s eggs, the tea gardens and the ultimate scenic views beyond what our brains can ever envisage, gives Munnar the status of one of the most incredible destinations in the world.
We started off from Hyderabad around 10PM in the night with an underestimated calculation of 120 Kph driving speed and estimated arrival time of 1PM the next day. My maternal uncle Nayeem, who spent his time in Dubai estimated the roads and driving speed similar to Dubai where destinations of 1500Kms can be reached within 12 hours of enjoyable drive.
One has to hammer this in mind that Indian roads are quite rugged and cars aren’t capable of speedy driving. Our driver Sreenu initially promised us to drop us at our destination by the next day, but after 2 hours of driving at the speed of 80 kph, he could hardly reach 120kms.
We stopped at a motel around 1AM on the Mahboob-nagar highway to have our late-night dinner and to empty the bowels.
We decided to take the Andhra-TamilNadu route as this avoids heavy road-tax, if we were to travel through Andhra-Karnataka route the road –tax would be 7000 Rupees. However, the journey increases by 6 hours.
The bus was moving like a rowing boat, tired and exhausted we were, stretching our backs one by one on the aisles.
After 24 hours of journey we could reach Salem district in Tamilnadu. We decided to suspend the journey to book a lodge to sleep like a log.
Another 12 hours of journey was to be experienced to reach the top of Munnar mountains. Finally, we reached Munnar after 48 hours of complete journey.
It was 9PM when we reached Munnar. No sooner our bus stopped, noisy crowd approached us offering their private apartments for rent. We stroke a deal with Mathew Mamen for 2500 Rupees for 12 hours of stay.
The apartment was majorly occupied by the Israeli tourists who often visit Kerala for their roots.
We started off the next morning for the sight-seeing. Your journey will be incomplete without freshly fried Koel’s eggs served on the roadside. Elephant-rides give extra excitement to the trip.
You can find all sorts of south-Indian cuisines with toothsome sea-food dishes. We experienced Kerala’s ancient Ayurvedic body massage – an elixir to all body pains, and which cannot be found anywhere across India. Local transportation is unexpectedly cheap. Locals are quite amicable.
The trip would be more relishing if more days are spent, well-oiled vehicle is hired and hotels are pre-booked. Photos still give me nostalgic feelings.