My Two Memorable Trips During Winter


Kerala, which is popularly known as God’s own country, is indeed a canvas full of green, gold and blue. When I first heard the catchy tagline, inadvertently I thought of this to be an exaggeration. It was when I visited the south-western state of India, I realized the truth behind that encomium.

The state of Kerala boasts of golden beaches, placid backwater, historical monuments and architecture, a rich culture and cuisine and lush green tea-gardens ensconced in the hills of western ghats. Of all the places I’ve visited in my life, the hill-station of Munnar in Kerala would always hold a special place. Not because I’ve visited it thrice in three different stages of life; with my parents as a child, with my hubby during our honeymoon and with my son and extended family, not because I’ve seen the beauty of Munnar in two different seasons, but because the place never fails to wonder me.

It often happens that regular visits to the same place make it lost its charm. But, Munnar is an exception. A kaleidoscope of memories opens itself up when I think of Munnar. I remember my enchantment as a kid on seeing peacocks in the Eravikulam sanctuary, I remember my first trekking with my husband in the Chinnar wildlife sanctuary, by the Koottar riverside. It was a great experience though, we failed to spot any wild animals during the trek. As there are a number of hotels in Munnar with all sorts of modern facilities, we decided to make it our base but, you may spend a night or two at the Thoovanam log house which is located near the waterfall (of the same name) in the Chinnar forest to feel the utmost jungle ambience.

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Me posing in a Munnar tea garden 😀

 

Whether you decide to stay in the wilderness or somewhere among the lush greenery of tea gardens along the slopes of Western Ghats, you are sure to fall in love with the mesmeric beauty of Munnar. Although it’s enchanting throughout the year, the best time to visit– December-January.

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My sister and I have a penchant for visiting old temples, shrines, excavated sites and architecture. We thoroughly enjoyed our visits to Khajuraho and the Diamond Triangles.
As we live in two different cities, it’s not always possible to merge our holidays and arrange a trip, but we do it whenever we can. We went for a short two-day trip to Lonavala with an aim to visit the Karla or Karli Caves. The assemblage of these caves was once the seat of Buddhist monks. The caves were developed over the period from the 2nd century BC to the 5th century AD, chiefly under the patronage of the Satavahana rulers. The feel of the ancient gets tangible in the atmosphere as one starts climbing up the steps. The rock-cut caves bear intricate designs and, their architectural marvel makes one wonder how they were built to such perfection when there were barely any equipment or tools! It seemed to me that the Chaitya or the Worship Hall (Cave No. 8) used to house hundreds of devotees or Buddhist monks at a time. As there is no tourist information office or guide service for the  Karla caves, my advice is to gather sufficient information before the visit through the internet.

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Way to the Karla Caves

Besides the Karla caves, Lohagarh Fort, Bhushi Dam, Della Adventure Park are other places of attraction. Though there are many hotels in Lonavala, as the spot is quite popular as weekend destination garnering tourists in flocks, it’s better to make a prior booking especially if you are visiting with family.

The Lohagarh Fort also has influenced history over quite a period of time as rulers of different dynasties hailed their supremacy over it until it was permanently conquered by Shivaji in 1670 AD who used this as his treasury. Bhushi Dam is a masonry dam on the Indrayani river. We were off to Lonavala in December and, so the dam looked quite unimpressive. However, the road itself was picturesque with flimsy curtains of fog hanging over the hills and golden rays of sun seeping through them. The best time to visit Lonavala is during the monsoons, but in that case, you might have some difficulties for the senior members of the team as the roads are not well-maintained.

Even a couple of days visit in the nearby places helps much to detox our body and mind from the clumsiness of city life. The mind finds natural peace amidst nature. It’s not important whether the trip is an expensive one or you’re staying in a star hotel but what you feel about the place and how you cherish your memories later, make a journey priceless.

 

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88 responses to “My Two Memorable Trips During Winter

  1. I loved taking the virtual trips to Kerala and Munnar with you! Wonderful photo of you in the tea field. I’m sure the scent of the herb was delicious! I was also happy to read that you’re able to vacation with your sister. I love my two sisters and try to see them when I can. They also live in two different cities, so it can be challenging. Love always finds a way. 😍

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  2. I visited Munar. But, I didn’t find any info about Karla caves and missed this beautiful place. During my Puna stay, I visited the Bhusi dam in Monsoon. It was amazing. Western ghats reveal its beauty in Monsoon. Do visit it in Monsoon. Am sure, you’ll enjoy it more. By the way, you are looking so beautiful in your Munar pic.

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  3. “It’s not important whether the trip is an expensive one or you’re staying in a star hotel but what you feel about the place and how you cherish your memories later, make a journey priceless.” …Absolutely agree with you. Beautiful post!

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  4. The post expresses your enchantment with Munnar and Lonavla that offers so much serenity to one’s soul and aesthetic mind. A beautiful and vivid composition that makes your trip a powerful myriad of images that I could visualize.

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  5. Munnar and Kerala: beautiful!!!! (I love how the word sound as well, by the way). How great to know that you were able to visit in different stages of your life. As with time come new perceptions and feelings towards the surroundings, right? Love your trips. Thanks for sharing dear Maniparna. 😘 All the best to you

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  6. Your description of God’s own country is as fascinating as Kerala and the mesmerising back waters…nowhere in the world would you find such a marvel besides the varied beauty that this state possesses…no wonder it has that tagline of being ‘God’s country.’ I didn’t record my reflections when I visited Kerala and Khajuraho and now it seems like a dream! 🙂 Thanks for taking me down the memory lane.

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  7. It is very inspiring to read about your visit to Kerala. I wonder, what is life like there for people living there? I liked the picture of you in the tea garden. Did you get any impression if it is a good place to live in?
    Ellington

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    • It’s a quaint town with all the modern amenities of life. The population is less though, travel and tourism-related profession are one of the main sources of income along with farming. Overall, it’s a nice place to live in but for city-dwellers, it might prove to be too silent a place with nothing happening on a daily basis. 🙂 Thanks, Ellington for reading 🙂

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  8. Indeed Mani, the more we talk of Munnar the more we get attracted to repeat our visit. I have visited the place and every word of your resonant with me. I fully agree it has its own charm that perennial in nature and every time you go you have something more exciting to explore. The lush green tea gardens spread across the valley and there is such beautiful pattern and the symmetry of it makes us glued with awe and wonder of beauty and bounty of place. Kerala has all that makes it truly a God’s own country and it is to be experienced to express the connection with nature at its best.

    And in Lonavala, it has its own little charm away from the city life but I think it has rapidly changed and today it almost eaten away by the development between Mumbai and Pune, and with so much crowd it is fast losing its natural beauty, still lot to be seen on caves, forts and damn…

    Travelling set us in a different zone and going with family makes its truly special and for children it is a lovely learning experience.
    Have a wonderful Sunday.
    😀

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    • Wow! Great to know you’ve visited both the places and I’m happy that my post revived your memories 🙂 Munnar is truly beautiful. Mother Nature has blessed the place in an overwhelmed manner. I agree with you on Lonavala too. But, as the place attracts tourists most during the monsoon, you’ll find it comparatively less crowded during the months of Dec-Jan.

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  9. Travelling is a wonderful thing, even bad trips can be turned into fun when recounted on our blogs. History is amazing and I would love to travel there now, to feel part of something old, yet new.

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  10. There isn’t one day i felt not clm and serene after reading your posts,i have been to south india,but not to Munnar,but in the next year i will be surely keeping Munnar in my travel bucket list.Kemon acho didi?

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  11. Maniparna, You look absolutely refreshed in the tea garden. Lonavala, being so close to Mumbai, I have been there a number of times, so somehow the familiarity creeps in but yes including the Karla caves are beautiful and your post is tempting me to plan a visit to Munnar somewhere during the winters.:-)

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  12. Beautiful read Maniparna. Love my kerala – My beautiful kerala. You jogged me through so many nice memories. And I can feel that breath of Lonaval. My first job in Fariyas holiday resort😍 Carla caves, bhushy dam and much more.. Thanks for this beautiful read.

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  13. Munwa sounds like every bit the beautiful place to visit. You look very glad to be underneath the sunshine and admiring the tea garden, Mani. Such a beautiful smile 🙂 Maybe you also walked away with some tea. You did mention you visited in winter…so I guess late during the year and early on, the weather is best and not too warm. The caves sound so fun to visit – not just sacred places of worship but also rich in architecture and you actually get to wander around but know what you get into before you go – like one big adventure where you might end up lost 😀

    Always lovely to try to work trips out with those whom you love. Sometimes a place might be work the hype, but the company is even better ❤

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    • You said it, Mabel. Much depends on the company. My sister and I have similar tastes when it comes to travelling.
      I did pluck a few tea leaves hehe…there is a rule to pluck tea leaves. You’ve to be careful, every puck should consist of two leaves and a bud. I learnt that from the ladies who were working there. 🙂

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