Monday, June 2, 2014

"Kerala Travelogue- Day 1 - Bangalore to Cochin -- Munnar"

Finally I can almost strike off one long lasting wish from my "Wishlist of places to visit"! Kerala was on my to visit list from long and finally we formulated a plan to visit Munnar & Alleppey in Kerala (well there are many other places in Kerala which I want to cover but had no time). As we were 8 people (Me, my husband , my parents, In-laws and my brother and sister-in-law) the itinerary slightly differed for us. I started with my husband from Bangalore at 8:30 A.M. on the morning of May 1st and the rest of them started from Hyderabad at 9. A.M.. We reached airport well in advance and spent our time by doing something which will please both of us. No.Before you put your naughty minds to work, we both relished the hot BisiBellebath and Pongal at a Tiffin center followed by hot coffee. After strolling aimlessly in airport finally the boarding of our flight was announced and we got in to the bus which will take us to the Air India flight which we need to board. For a moment I felt we will go to Kerala in the same bus as it rounded the entire airport. We got down and the first thing I remembered was a toy airplane with which my nephew Ayaan plays. The plane was tooo small and looked pretty old. Due to recent MH 370 news I was dead scared and kept chanting whatever prayers I know. Unlike the look and feel of the flight which is ancient and rugged , the take off and landing were smooth.

In roughly 2 hours we reached Kochi (Cochin) airport and started waiting for our parents who joined us in half - hour. As and when I stepped out of the airport I realized Kerala was too humid and too hot. The horrible traffic jam en-route Cochin- Munnar dampened my spirits. We stopped at a hotel named Nanny's to have lunch which didn't suit our taste buds at all. There was mota - rice (rice bulkier than the usual rice we have here in Andhra) , fish fry and chicken , dal , avial and some other curries. Every thing looked delicious but there was less salt which made me eat less food. So in a way I was able to follow my diet regime perfectly :p

We had a mango ice candy to get temporarily relieved from the burning sun ! With out much ado we started off to Munnar. Zig zag roads, hair pin bends and the wet mud smell were all inviting and soothing. In no time it started drizzling and then it rained heavily.As we traveled more and more it got more and more dense and green. We came across many waterfalls and many churches on the way to Munnar. Clicked few of them. The below shared image is of Cheeyappara water falls
Cheeyappara water falls
The beautiful weather and backdrop of a church
The weather and the greenery made me sing songs and I totally got drenched when I got down to click some pics.
   
Clicked from the car window
After a long journey of about 4-5 hrs which actually seemed short due to blissful climate we reached our destination - "The Birds Valley resorts." We were warned by the hotel personnel that if we don't start by 4 we won't be able to catch the Kathakali and Kalaripayattu performances. We were informed that as it is a hill station by 5 - 6 O' Clock every thing will be closed. I felt bad as it was already 4:15. We all were pretty tired and hence ordered some tea which was served cold or may be it got cold due to the foggy / misty weather. We enjoyed the ambiance and clicked few pics quickly.

The beautiful Birds valley resorts

view from the resort room
We got ready asap and started off to Punarjani traditional village.  I always love the bumpy / scary rides at hill stations even if I momentarily get scared. We couldn't stop any where as we already got delayed. Unfortunately Kathakali performance has already started and I felt devastated as I always wanted to watch it. Kathakali is Indian dance-drama noted for the attractive make-up of characters, elaborate costumes, detailed gestures and well-defined body movements presented in tune with the anchor playback music and complementary percussion (source: wiki ) . We tried to peep in to the auditorium from the gap between curtains but were glared at by one of the organizers. The performance seemed too energetic with a lot of rhythmic shouting along with the dance. The ticket was 200/- per head but I guess it was worth it. We went in to the arena where Kalaripayattu will be performed after Kathakali and waited patiently. Kalaripayattu is a Indian Martial art. It seemed like forever as the audience watching Kathakali had to come and settle in the area where we already were seated on benches. The seats were raised and arranged like in a stadium, in a circular fashion so that every one gets a clear view of the performance. Finally the show started and before going there I never thought it would be such an enthralling experience which I can remember through out my life. I only saw songs and performances on TV and never admired it much. I remembered SRK from Dil se and the song Jiya Jale Jaan Jale as and when I saw their attire but once I started watching I realized the performers are the real heroes. Enchanted is a small word to describe my feeling. Below are few glimpses of the performance. Their strength mesmerized us. Their body mind co-ordination amazed us and their valor made us stand and applaud!

One of the most dangerous acts with fire


Jumping through fire rings. I gasped
We got an opportunity to pose with the performers. Many other visitors who watched Kathakali got an  opportunity to pose with artists and dancers too. I almost wanted to take an autograph of an young chap who was exceptionally good compared to others but I was not partial and praised every one and clicked most of them. Punarjani means rebirth and every performer's name had this suffix when they were called in to the arena to perform!

My husband posing with one of the energetic performers. He was more charismatic than the others :) I became a FAN, no, not to my husband but to the actual performer :P

This was a great show and if at all you are visiting Munnar you should make this a must visit place in your itinerary. This is truly a nail biting show and will make you gasp and shriek. I also felt very good as our traditional art forms are preserved. I wish they get more and more funds and help and they make it  more BIG! You will be engrossed for a total 2 + hours and after watching you will feel the ticket was not that pricey! For more reviews go to trip advisor. After this performance we reached our resort and called it a night immediately post dinner as we were exhausted. This ends the day 1 of my Munnar trip which was soothing and the Punarjani performance spiced up the day :)
The Kathakali performance which we missed at Punarjani





                                             Image source: here
It was love at first sight as soon as we stepped in to this town midst Western Ghats! Sharing this beautiful love song- Jiya Jale Jaan Jale about which I spoke earlier. SRK looks extremely hot in this ;) It has few Malayali words which I decoded with the help of few Mallu friends! Meet you soon again with day 2!

47 comments:

  1. Munnar is a 2 hour drive from my place..ITS MY GETAWAY!!1 :D

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  2. U r always the first one to make me jealous by commenting :P
    That is amazing to have Munnar a get away !!

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  3. You surely had some good time there, it seems! Beautiful pictures. And I am totally with you on these traditional art performances. Esp. Kalaripayattu can be so thrilling and amazing to watch. And of course Kathakali too :) Looking forward to next installment of your travelogue :)

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    1. ya I enjoyed it there though Kochi and alleppey were hot :) Traditional art should sure be preserved. I missed Kathakali . Shall write the next part soon

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  4. Wow...you seemed to have had an amazing time! I have been to Kerala only once but that was not a holiday. However whatever little I saw of the place was beautiful.
    Nice pics :)

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  5. Thanks for the nice narration. Also, thanks for sharing these beautiful photos. We always wanted to visit Munnar but did not have the opportunity so far. Your post will give us good guidance during our next visit to India.

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  6. Beautifully written reminiscence. Awaiting more of the Kerela posts now. Pictures are so beautiful. I have never been there, Kerela is definitely in my bucket list.

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  7. Lovely narration afshan...u made us feel like we are in Kerala...awaiting for others days to come soon

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  8. Wow! Waiting for the other parts as well! Kerala is a beauty indeed!

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  9. I visited Munnar twice ..Once with my college mates and next time as the teacher-in charge of a bunch of naughty computer engineering students..Both were memorable and lovely. Your post brought back memories.
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  10. How small was the plane, I mean how many people can travel in it? And thank god, you can eat non-veg, for me it would have been more difficult. Btw, less salt is now the best way to reduce my appetite. :P

    Loved your pictures, specially the view from your room. Will ask for your guidance if I plan a trip there.

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  11. Great, to read an account about Kerala... and you have made the post spicy at places just like Kerala Spices...

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  12. Munnar is on my must-see places list. I have been to Kerala and it is very beautiful. Looks like the trip was fun. Waiting for the next post in the series.

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  13. Oh how I wish I could go and I love your video as well! what a great entry!
    jean ! xox

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  14. Amazing pictures. I find the beginning of a trip to be stressful and then enjoy most of it.

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  15. You really soaked in the spirit of the place. Perhaps pre monsoon is not the right time to visit Kerala. Becomes very humid.

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  16. Had been to almost all the places in Kerala except Munnar. Now it is in my list of places to see.

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  17. Awesome shots!! I would love to visit Kerala!

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  18. Nice shots and narration.Next time when you are in Kerala please experience Malabar (North Kerala).This is not a regular addition in top tourist destination maps,hence you can expect to have unique stories from your travel.The places are virgin with minimum tourist influx.Unexplored trekking sites,beautiful beaches,backwater,Theyyam,Kalari,most well kept forts,beautiful mountain peaks ideal for day trek...this place has everything to offer.The world famous Malabari cuisine which is a melting pot of Arabic and Indian influence.The amazing fact is that these places are just 6 hrs.drive from Bangalore.Do drop me note at sureshmps@gmail.com and I can help with your plans...Cheers! Suresh

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  19. Nice blog post. Munnar and Cochin, both are beautiful places to explore. Munnar is not just Kerala’s most sought-after hill resort, it is also the centre of the state’s tea growing district. For tourist attraction, check out these places to visit in Munnar.

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  22. Wow this is really exciting. Munnar is one of the best tourists destinations in Kerala and the climate over there is just nice. At night the temperature will fall even to minus degree. Thanks for sharing this wonderful blog. cap printing cochin

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  23. Every region has some unique and special culture, In kerla climate is beautiful and excellent for the tourist.
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