The Highland Connection

Kerala has always had its natural beauty in its hills, as these are the more preferred destinations in comparison to the beaches during the days when temperature is higher than it used to be. Among all these options, the first choice would always be Munnar, followed by these two special places – Thekkady and Vagamon. Located forty two kilometres, and about one and half kilometres apart, these two were to be combined in our trip. Our original idea was to travel to Thekkady and return after spending some time there, but the tour was rather extended. These two have been among our most visited destinations, with Thekkady being a place visited even when we traveled to the Tamil Nadu side, even though Munnar comes first as the most traveled hill station of all time, but a journey there would have meant eighty six kilometres and three hours, and so Vagamon seemed to be the much better choice.

At Vagamon, we stayed at Chillax Vagamon this time, and it was a simple place very close to the town itself, and the main attraction was a swimming pool at the roof top. During our earlier trip, we had stayed at Fairmount Vagamon Resorts, which was located further away from the town, and had a better view of greenery. At Thekkady, we stayed in Crown Valley Resorts, which was a grand place, a four star hotel which provided some fine facilities. During an earlier trip, we had stayed at Hotel SN International, which was closer to the town. The idea about this journey was more about traveling all the way there, and staying there to enjoy the atmosphere, and sight-seeing was not part of the plan. Well, at times, you need these hill stations for just the same, and not more.

The journey towards the destination always matters.

Reached the Crown Valley Resort, and then I had to take online classes.

Ford Aspire resting at Crown Valley Resort makes a fine view.

Note the route between Thekkady and Vagamon which is one grand sight.

What lies between Thekkady and Vagamon is the treat for the eyes.

Vagamon has its cute little hills at all places for you to see and admire.

There is always the setting sun which has the hills and clouds to hide itself.

Vagamon, even though the smaller among the hill stations, has its special charm.

View of the rooftop swimming pool of Chillax provided something to cheer for.

Some greenery is always there to be seen, from different angles and spaces.

*All the above photos were taken by me during our earlier trip in March 2021.

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TeNy

Just a Little Away from Munnar

Mankulam which is located at about twenty seven kilometres and an hour and a quarter from Munnar was our location of choice when a few months had passed after the end of COVID-19 lock-down last year. We had chosen this place over Munnar because is it is located ten kilometres closer to the midlands than Munnar, even though it will still take the exact same amount of time to reach there due to the bad condition of the roads – but the road is being repaired, and so that can change. We had chosen this area because it was peaceful there in comparison with Munnar, even though the temperature there was lower by three or four degree Celsius. But it was December, and so that ended up okay. It is to be noted that the other hill stations like Thekkady, Vagamon and Nelliyampathy also have lower temperature than Munnar, and so this is not that much of negative at that particular moment.

We really wanted a break at that time because we hadn’t gone for a trip in such a long time, and we were staying at home whenever possible. At Mankulam, we stayed at Treebo Trend Misty Garden Resorts and Spa, a fine place to stay with a swimming pool, and a good variety of food options available if ordered early. There is also some nice areas to visit nearby, even though they are not big tourist destinations. An evening walk in the area was refreshing. The roads which were being repaired at that time, if finished, can make this journey a quick and easy one. If Munnar seems to crowded, or if you don’t want to go that far, you can choose Mankulam, and I have shared ten pictures below for you to remember this particular area. After all, a stay away from the crowd and within nature with hill view can always be refreshing enough.

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***The images used in blog post were taken by me on my Samsung Galaxy A20S.

TeNy

Thekkady and the Two Stops

There has been a good number of journeys that we had made during this year, and among them, the trip to Thekkady was a memorable one. There is no need for an introduction to this place which is almost as popular as Munnar, a place about which we have heard about for a long time. An easy journey from Cochin to Thekkady is through Thalayolaparambu, Kuravilangad, Pala, Mundakayam and Peermade. But this specific journey had proven to be different for us because there was less at Thekkady, and more to see during the trip and beyond the town. When visiting the place, you surely need to go beyond the border, crossing over to Tamil Nadu, and see the vineyards of Cumbum. But that is rather well known. And something that you should know better is to understand where you should stop in between. You should stop at Panchalimedu and Parunthumpara, one after Mundakayam and before Kuttikanam, and the other after Kuttikanam and before Peermade. These two stops will make the best of your day of journey, and you can reach Thekkady before night begins. It is how you make the best out of this trip – a tip for everyone traveling there, along with that idea to combine the journey with a Cumbum journey. I leave you with a few photos from that particular trip.

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TeNy