Thekday was calling loud and clear on the Ugadi weekend. I reached Kumily , which is the town nearest to Thekady by bus from Bangalore on the morning of 28th March. It is at the Tamil Nadu / Kerala border and very close to Kodaikanal and Munnar. The plan was for the old Reflections (a collegiate magazine team of ours during Engg college days) to meet and have a look around. Sujith, Rahul and Thomas ettan apart from me were the participants for this trip. Sujith had booked an Inspection Bungalow (IB) at Kumily , which is where the stay for the next 2 days had been planned for. Kumily being just 4 kms away from Thekady, this was the perfect place to halt.
This had been one of our dream treks and got lucky that one of our Bangalore based trekking club got permission for the route. Obtaining permission is quite difficult owing to the fact that the trek ranges along restriced areas of both Kerala and Tamilnadu and most the trek route would be along the border of the states.The plan was to cover the trek with in 2 days which would be difficult to squeeze since the ideal time to cover the trek would be 3 days. So we had to cover a distance of 35 (15Km on first day and 20Km on the next) within two days. We had started towards Munnar Friday night and got to reach Chinnar at 7 am the next day, where we first encountered the Kerala border check post. The guide joined us there and we went along the picturesque road towards Munnar. We had a great breakfast (Appam and Puttu-kadala curry) at a place called Marayur inside the Kerala border on way towards Munnar. The highway route was amazing with beautiful tea estates and gorgeous valleys.
I was bit skeptical about this in the beginning when S had this idea of spending couple of days in the back waters of Kerala @ Alleppey. Nevertheless, we made up our mind and decided to go ahead. It was really a memorable and a wonderful experience. After getting the details from our family friend, who had been there last year we dialled to Mr Alex from Seasons Cruise. Nice gentleman he is... he took care of A-Z of our travel. As soon as we alighted from the train, a cab was waiting to pick us up and he dropped us to a homestay where in we could refresh ourselves. Houseboat -stand (If I may call so) was at the walking distance from homestay and we started our journey in the morning.
You must be wondering what is chhoti patti and why I mentioned it in the topic. You will know this as you finish reading the blog.:) Most of my friends are a**h***s and almost 70-80% of the headache of planning a trip comes to me. This was the trip in which I did almost nothing, other than going to the trip. And the reason why all this could happen was because all those a**h*** friends didn't come to this trip. Actually this was my first all-colleagues trip to any outstation place and thus it was really a nice experience. I got to spend a valuable no-bug and no-debug time with them. Plan was very simple - take train till Shimoga, book a taxi and visit Jog Falls , take same taxi to Mudureshwar, next day spend some time on the beach , come back to Shimoga, if possible visit some places on the way, and then take train back to Bangalore.
After another long gap we got an opportunity, in the form of a 4 day Christmas holiday, to go on an outing. It was late by the time we started planning and getting accommodation was getting difficult. After evaluating different options, we closed in on to either Coonoor or Kudremukh. We got a booking in a small hotel in Coonoor. But Kudremukh was more tempting as we had read quite a bit about it and it appeared more beautiful and pristine. Kudremukh or "Kudere Mukha"literaly means "Horse Face". It gets this name from the highest peak in that region which resembles the face of a horse. It belongs to the Western Ghats mountain ranges of India and has 600 sq. km. of protected forests. There was a large open pit iron ore mine by KIOCL ( Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd.) which has ceased operations now owing to environmental pressures.