Kerala, a state on India’s tropical Malabar Coast, has nearly 600km of Arabian Sea shoreline. It’s known for its palm-lined beaches and its backwaters, a network of canals popular for cruises. Its many upscale seaside resorts include specialists in Ayurvedic treatments. Inland are the Western Ghats, a mountain range whose slopes support tea, coffee and spice plantations as well as abundant native wildlife.
A Road trip to Kerala materialised out of the blues and we decided to head there, having multiple occasions to celebrate. The road that we chose to take to Munnar happened to be via Pollachi.
As we drove through Pollachi, we got to see thousands of windmills stretched across acres and acres of beautiful landscaped roads.
We neared Munnar in a few hours, and the roads began curving into sharp hairpin bends, carrying us over the mountains and below.
It was a beautiful experience on the whole, of driving through narrow and steep mountainous roads, being enveloped within clouds with just 5% visibility, stopping at multiple locations – to take in all the surreal scenery around us and to capture the picturesque locations. As we began approaching the city, however, we could see the beautiful tea estates widely spread across the hilly roads.
We constantly had this feeling of missing out on moments,though we tried living every bit of it.
After a short stay at Munnar and its beautiful resorts’ tree houses, we navigated our way to Mattupatty dam, where we tried the speed boating that they were offering.
It was quite an experience, flying over the water amidst greenary and mountains, with the strong breeze hitting our faces.We left Munnar shortly, after stopping for a quick bite and reached Alleppey by nightfall.
We experienced a relaxing stay in a houseboat, cruising all day in the emerald backwaters, having freshly caught fish and delicious keralean cuisine for lunch and dinner.
Varkala being our next planned destination, we reached there by noon the next day. A beautiful beach side resort with its own little private beach happened to be our home for the next 24 hours. A pretty little cottage overlooking the sea was where we stayed. Lying on a hammock we tried relaxing to music of the waves hitting the shores and the warm sea breeze. It felt like bliss.
I enjoy the preparatory elements of travel – packing my bags and choosing my outfits .However, my most favorite part is – getting there.
The Varkala beach being a 15 minutes walk from our resort, was where we spent the rest of the evening. After having played in the water, building sand castles and soaking ourselves in the sun ,we managed to get back on time for dinner.
The next day we headed back home.
The experience on the whole was brilliant and was worth all the issues that we faced on the way, rash driving being one.However,Kerala is truly stated as ‘God’s own country’ as one would want to re-visit the places over and over again. We missed visiting Kovalam due to time constraints, maybe it calls for another trip, pretty soon in the future!
- The drive to Munnar via Pollachi took us over 14 hours and it was pretty exhausting. On the way,we crossed the Kannan Devan Hills( very picturesque ) ,Lakkam waterfalls and the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary . Its ideal to reach these places during daylight, as the roads are muddy and rocky for a certain stretch before reaching Munnar. Lakkam Waterfalls closes by 5pm.
- One can stay at the tree houses or tents,available at many of the resorts there.It is an experience to cherish! We stayed a resort’s tree house,built on a sloping hill,offering us a beautiful view of the mountains and the valley below.Many of the resorts provide a free ride to their properties along with a trek and a plantation tour.Ours did.
- Speed boating at Mattupatty dam is offered for Rs 500 for 5 people for 15-20 minutes.A restaurant is available within the vicinity. Also,one can visit the store close by which sells spices, clothes and souvenirs.
- If in Alleppey, the stay at boathouses should not be missed. We picked a boathouse for an overnight stay, inclusive of lunch,snacks,dinner and breakfast. However for a day cruise,one can hire a shikara for an hour or two, it may cost about Rs 250-500 on an hourly basis.
- There are several beautiful restaurants which provide delightful dishes,lining the Varkala cliff overlooking the Varkala beach. A few resorts by the beach are lovely and one can have a very relaxing time,staying in these.