By Sujith Mohandas(LMB)
After an exhilarating day at the mattupetty dam and photo point we relaxed at our resort and next day we got ready for the next day plan. Neat day after having breakfast at our resort we started out trip to Eravikulam National Park.
At a distance of approximately 12 km from central Munnar, the drive itself is quite pleasant and you would love the scenery throughout the drive through the tea estates. Once you reach the national park guarded by the forest reserve officers you can enjoy the scenic mountain view at the entrance itself. The officers are very helpful and friendly and will guide you through. Parking is available for free and plenty of space is available. However, no telecom signal would be available which again was a great experience.
Eravikulam National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is administered by the Kerala Department of Forests and Wildlife. The park is only open during April to February period of the year so visit here to be planned accordingly. Entry Timings are from 7.00 am to 4.00 pm but I would recommend an early visit to the park to enjoy the pleasant weather over the high mountains. Entry fee is Rs. 125 for Indian nationals and Rs. 420 for foreign nationals and an additional fee of Rs. 45 for an ordinary camera and Rs. 335 for a video camera. I would recommend online booking of the ticket at https://eravikulamnationalpark.in, 2 days before the actual visit to skip the queue.
After reaching the national park, you would have to wait for a safari bus which would take up top to the mountain. The bus regularly comes in a minute interval and the drivers are special drivers who are specialized to drive on the narrow roads of the mountains. You will be amazed at their driving skills and with that, you can enjoy the scenic tea estates mountains throughout the safari. The bus stops at the Eravikulam National Park Museum which takes you through the history of the national park and is a must visit place.
From the museum, the actual walk to the mountains starts. The trek is approximately 2 km and throughout the walk through the well-maintained road, you can enjoy the picturesque view and learn about the flora and fauna about the national park. We saw a lot of Nilgiri Thar which is an endangered species. Please strictly follow the rules and don’t litter around as it is highly punishable by law. You are also not allowed to touch the flowers and the animals over there. Neelakurinji flower (strobilianthes Kunthiana)which blooms only once a year is the main attraction.
After reaching the point till which tourist are allowed on the mountain you can relax at the various sitting arrangement available at the point. Then you need to trek down the same path to reach the point where you get the bus for further going to the parking spot. Near the museum, canteen is available where you can get ice cream and homemade baked items like cakes and muffins.
After our visit to the national park we decided to to go to Lakkam Water Falls which is located 21 km from national park. Through out the drive the road are awesome and people are very super friendly and they thoroughly guided us through out the way.
At the waterfall location, there is no designated parking space so you have to park your vehicle at the side of the road as everyone does over there. Neat the roadside many roadside foods stalls are there, where you can enjoy delicacies made in front of you at a very reasonable rate.
Entry fee to the Lakkam waterfall is Rs. 30 per person and if you want to trek through the fall the fee is Rs. 100 per person. A cloakroom is available where you can keep your valuables and clothes. As you enter the falls you can take a bath at the pleasant, cold and fresh water through the falls. Or you can just sit, soak your feet into the water and enjoy the falls. Altogether a very different experience. Trekking through the waterfalls is an amazing experience where you can explore the wildlife and nature. However, you have to bring your trekking accessories and are not available at the spot.
After the amazing visit to Lakkam Falls, we ended our day with a visit to the Kannan Devan Tea Museum at Munnar central city. The entry fee is Rs. 75 for adults, Rs. 35 for children and an additional charge of Rs. 20 for a still camera. The place is open for all days of the week except Monday. Timings are from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm.
One can observe the history and growth of tea estates in the area. We get to watch the transition from the rudimentary tea roller to the modern fully-automated tea factory. Various stages of tea processing can be seen, which includes the making of black tea. One can also see a sundial, placed on a granite block, which was made in 1913 by the Art Industrial School at Nazareth, Tamil Nadu. It has other attractions like the ‘Pelton Wheel’ used in the power generation plant in the 1920s, tea roller and a rail engine wheel of the Kundale Valley Light Railway.
A demonstration room for tea tasting is another attraction where one would come across different varieties of tea. One can taste some of the most exotic varieties of tea available around the world here. It is a must-visit spot for those who wish to delve into the soul of Munnar.
After our trip to the tea museum, we came back to our resort where we relaxed for a few hours and then went on for a night walk. The pleasant weather and the good cup of tea made us realize what we were missing in life. Next day we started from the resort at 10.0 0 am and reached Kochi by 3.00 pm. In between, you can stop at many places at Adimaly which have beautiful roads and amazing forest views.
Two day trip to Munnar was very enjoyable and relaxing, however, we felt that we were not able to explore a lot of places in Munnar. I feel it takes multiple visits to Munnar to fully explore it, like the tree houses, the camping, and various other unexplored landscapes. Every time you visit Munnar, it will surely be a different experience and surely you will find something which will make you stay there forever.
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