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

Varkala: The Beach and the Cliff

With its long coastline, Kerala is certainly not short of its beautiful beaches, and the names which everyone knows and is full of visitors at all times might be Kovalam and Cherai. Muzhappilangad is our lovely drive-in beach to remember. On that long list, there is one place which stands tall. Varkala Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches, one which is not to be forgotten. It is the only beach in Kerala with cliffs like these so close to the sea. It is the kind of place which reminds one of Dover Beach, and that wonderful lyric poem by the English poet Matthew Arnold, which we have studied more than once – “the cliffs of England stand, glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay”. About 170 km from Cochin, and 35 km from Kollam, the beach is Thiruvananthapuram district, with its capital 45 km from there. The town of Paravur is only 12 km from the place.

Along with its beauty, Varkala also have some places of spirituality with its temples. There are some fine options for food while walking through the cliff. There are some nice shots to be taken both from the beach and the cliff. In comparison with other beaches, this one has its shops opening late in the morning and closing late in the evening. When coming from the North of Kerala, both the Kottayam and the Alappuzha routes can be chosen. There is much to be seen through the latter route, even though both routes can be joined at different places except for certain parts of the low lying areas filled with water. There are some fine choices with food and accommodation, and if it is off-season, the better idea is to book directly from location as rooms should be available, unless some huge event comes up.

You look down from the cliff, and you want to be there right now.

Reached the hotel a little late for lunch, and had to rush through.

As the sunset approaches, you are always hoping to stay on.

Just another side of Varkala Beach which is not that explored.

Spent some time looking at Varkala beach and cliff at night.

The colours of the sunset spreads, and leaves us with a happy feeling.

Not exactly the while cliffs of Dover, but Matthew Arnold won’t mind.

Had some variety food from God’s Own Country Kitchen on the cliffs.

It is happy walking through the Varkala Beach and surroundings at night.

Thiruvambadi Beach Retreat Resort provided some good space.

Also read on the Indonesian Bali journey.

TeNy

Vagamon Revisited

Vagamon is a destination that goes back to childhood, and it was only a developing tourist place at that time. One can say that even now, it is a lesser hill station compared to Munnar and Thekkady. The elevation is surely less, and it might not be as cold as it can be in Munnar. On these days, when the road to Munnar is not that great, we decided to go on another trip to Vagamon, and the result was an interesting one. The shooting of Pranav Mohanlal starrer Irupathionnaam Noottandu was going on at the place, and the number of tourists was low. The traffic was also low, and the roads were not that good. There are some areas where the road is in a pathetic state, thanks to the rain which was continuous and had hammered the state.

Well, the journey this time was still better than the last one, as there was not much of a crowd there, and the options were still there. We saw a new suicide point coming up as an attraction with those usual destinations, and it is certain that it could be something to look out for next time with much more being built around that area. There are not many restaurants here now either, as it used to be then. The town hasn’t really developed that much as Munnar and Thekkady did, and the Kurisumala Farm was closed at that time. But the climate was cooler than ever, and the fog added further beauty to the scenic world. It was the combination of Muharram, Sree Narayana Guru Jayanthi, Fourth Saturday and Sunday.

*All photos of Vagamon shown above were taken by me on my Asus Zenfone Max during my last visit.

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TeNy