Kerala Trip - A travelogue - Part 1

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

For a week vacation in September this year, had initially planned to visit Munnar, Kerala.

 In fact, decided to drive to Munnar from Chennai, the initial plan was to pick up my daughter from Munnar as they had planned a school trip to Ernakulam and Munnar at same time. However, just before two days of planned trip, got information from School that they would be skipping Munnar and return to Chennai directly from Ernakulam. This created dilemma in our mind, whether to skip my vacation plan, the other option was to drive down to Ernakulam and pick my daughter for the planned trip to Munnar.

Drive to Ernakulam?... its around 700 KM from Chennai, how are the roads?. How long it take to drive?, do we need to take a break, these were the question in my mind and had just 2 days to plan, if opting to drive to Ernakulam. Not much information, I could get from friends and hence turned to Internet. At first I wanted to check the NHAI roads as these are toll express ways and driving on them is much easier. I hit upon the map on NHAI web site. Chennai to Ernakulam did not have complete cover through expressway (NHAI), if its not NHAI road, it could be taxing and hence planned to take a break.

The interesting point is NHAI map provides details about Expressways (toll roads) across India.

Had two options,

Option 1: Drive to Madurai (Express way - NHAI) and then to Ernakulam. Driving from Madurai to Cochin, one has to use the Ghat road to reach Munnar and then drive down to Ernakulam and back Munnar. Driving 4 times on Ghat road could be quite taxing for an amateur driver like me.  

Option 2: Drive to Coimbatore, Palghat, Trishur, Ernakulam all through plain and then up the mountains to Munnar, then Madurai and back to Chennai. Slightly longish route. Most of the roads are express ways when compared to option 1. Hence choose this option.

With a day to go, the next one was to check for places where we could take a break along with accommodation. Based on the NHAI maps, understood that express ways (toll road) ends few kilometers from Coimbatore and further Coimbatore is about 500Kms from Chennai. Hence decided to stay overnight at place near Coimbatore. However, preferred a place away from city and hence the option was Palghat. Further narrowed down to Mallapuzha (Palghat). The other location for our accommodation just fell in place, which were Cochin, Munnar and Madurai.

Will continue soon on this travelogue....particularly with pictures on mesmerizing beauty of nature and the drive through Mulapuzha (Palghat), Athirapalli & Vazhachal falls(cochin) and Munnar.

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