Munnar and Ooty(which comes on the way)

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Oct 30 to Nov 2nd

Participants: Manohar, Vipin, Sameer, Gaurav, Kiran, Ravikiran

After planning, re-planning and cancellation of tours to Pondichery/Munnar, nobody thought that weekend would be so eventful. Friday 4’o clock, it was decided to go ahead with the Munnar trip with the available 6 persons. Manohar and Sameer rushed to book a vehicle and finalized to leave Blore on Saturday morning 9 AM.

Quite after 9 all of us assembled , breakfast followed and started by 10:15. “Do you want to go to temples or you will be going only to beaches?” first puzzle from driver Raju ! Gaurav was most confused – last time he went to Munnar there were no beaches! “Which route you would like to take – via ooty – kodai ? All the three can be finished in 3 days!” another attractive package from Raju. Dil maange more and we chose Ooty-Kodai-Munnar.

With frequent stoppages, it was noon in Mysore when we stopped over for the lunch. Journey after that was smooth. On the way we deviated to visit Bettada Gopalagiriswamy Temple. The hill was an indication of what we could expect from Ooty- the mist, the cold. Drive through Bandipur reserved forest gave us the sights of peacock, deer, one elephant family. Reached Ooty by night leaving us time only for drinks-food-sleep.

Visit to Munnar was at stake. After realizing that we were not left with any time either in Ooty or in Munnar if we want to go to Munnar, the plan was shelved. 3 days from blore and one can’t visit Munnar?? I and few others were visibly disappointed. We checked out the possibility of night journey and decided that we visit Munnar come what may. Vipin’s desire to go to a beach and its possibilities were also being considered all the time. All these planning left Kiran totally confused that he kept querying “Lekin Munnar kaun ja ra ha hai?” all the time.

All boys group, all through out the journey, obviously missed the obvious. Lets see if Manya keeps up his promise of arranging a “fairerâ€? and “betterâ€? tour next time. This time only possible solution was to talk about them.

Open-heart which was happening all through the journey, now continued formally. Bday boy Vipin entertained us with his stories of Lalbagh, childhood crush, and ofcourse aunty’s was well-known to all. Sameer with a story of handshake with his competitor. If Manohar finished with breakfast, Kiran went a bit ahead with his Dhandiya story. My “swapna-sundari” story didn’t impress/convince people. Gaurav kept mum throughout.

It will be unfair if a small note is not made about the service/hospitality (its absence) during our stay. Repeated requests for glasses/candles/blankets/pillows were royally neglected stating some dumb reason. We continued with our (insufficient) candle light dinner. At the end, hotel proved costly too.

In the absence of hot water none was ready to bathe and it saved us some time. Breakfast and we left to Doddabetta. 8640 feet above sea level, the cold embraced us. The mist covered views opaqued us from beautiful top views and scenaries.

The never ending uniform tea estates were a attraction by themselves. Varieties of tasty tea samples at a store compelled all of us to buy & take some tea powder to home.

Journey continued to Munnar broken by lunch, by Coimbatore and by frequent permit checks and dinner. Twas 11 pm when we were finally in Munnar.
With the ooty hotel experience still fresh but behind us, in much smaller town of Munnar at 11PM our prayers of good stay were more than answered. We stayed in a cottage (actually a house where 10 ppl can easily “live”!!). Hot water for bathing was provided but cosmetic lover Gaurav was not affected.

Munnar was not as cool as Ooty. The scenaries’ beauty met our expectations. After the breakfast and quick plan of places to be visited we set off to the lake. Boating was great fun (made more exciting after we bribed the sailor). The surrounding gave us a hint why Kerala is known as “God’s own country!”. We continued to “high-point” with a break in between at “echopoint”. The mist again played spoil sport and we could not capture any scenic beauties.

With the company of few water falls we continued our journey down the hill, just trying to capture as many as wonderful sights all around us.

Lunch and we continued our further journey. En route we spent some time near a dam. Around 3 am we were back in Blore thanks to heavenly roads.

Except for Raju who would have been happier if we had been to Kodai rather than to Munnar, all of us were satisfied inspite of investment of weekend in continuous journey. Uncrowned PJ king Vipin trained others so much that at the end his own title was at crisis with Kiran making most of his training. Vipin’s PJs and other stories, Silent sameer’s timely one-liners and accountancy, Kiran’s “Munnar kaun ja ra ha hai?”, Gaurav’s planning and ability to sleep anytime-anywhere, Manohar’s shooting —— all these entertained us through out the journey. But for these, the tour would have been as entertaining as a lonely sailor’s.

“Leave only footsteps, take (away) only memories” – one signboard had urged.

(This write-up was mainly targeted to the participants. Also, any similarities with TRAP is unfortunately co-incidental)

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