written by - Jayanta Chaudhuri
It has been long that we have been hooked on to roadtrips. Despite going on roadtrips to many countries around the world, the hunger seems to be only increasing…The last proper roadtrip was in Sri Lanka during the Christmas holidays of 2015 (Read: A Sri Lanka Roadtrip). In Austria this summers, we had a brief affair with the road – from Salzburg to Hallstat and then from Hallstat to Cesky krumlov in Czech Republic. And that’s why, we had been itching to go for another full-fledged roadtrip when we discovered that October offered us a 5-day weekend over the Durga Puja and Muharram holidays! We hit the roads again, Kerala’s roads this time — flew down to Cochi and there onwards, drove to Munnar, Alleppy and back to Cochin covering more than 600 kilometers, powered by CEAT Tyres, including the to and fro journey and the sight-seeing drives….
Cochin to Munnar is about 130 kms, party through plains and partly through the hills. For most part of the plains, you drive past little towns with a mix of traditional and modern architecture, hard core commercial towns with big rice factories…The hill drive up to Munnar is through winding roads, filled with wild flowers. We stopped every now and then to admire a waterfall, or a hill covered with wild yellow flowers. The uphill drive can cause motion sickness, so have your vomiting pills early on to avoid the discomfort
Within Munnar town, the drive is very beautiful, what with the famous tea-estates and lovely hillocks filled with wild flowers. Must have been the rains, for, flowers were in abundance everywhere – be it the Palash tress or the huge hibiscus completely filled with their pretty reds. We stayed in Munnar for two days-two nights during which we saw a Kathakali recital and an hour-long Kalaripayattu performance, over and above visiting the tea museum and frolicking in the tea estate and spice farms.
From Munnar, we drove down more than 170 kilometers to Alleppy for a day on the houseboat. Drive from Munnar to Allepy is, once again, past small towns. Traffic, surprisingly, is pretty heavy. Advisable to start early from Munnar. Be on the lookout for many shops selling jute and coconut items. We bought a whole lot of household tidbits from these shops. Prices are extremely reasonable.
After a day and a night in a houseboat all to ourselves in the backwaters of Alleppy, we drove to Cochin where we stayed for a day and night. Much of our Kochi stay was spent in shopping and touring the old town, Fort Kochi. Plus, we completed our quota of Kerala food here – Karimeens, Prawns, Mutton Fry, Beef Fry, Appams, Iddliappams…
Click the links below to read in details and plan your own trip:
1 - Things to do in Munnar
2 - Where best to stay in Munnar — The Fog
A seasoned driver and an SUV powered by CEAT Tyres ensured a comfortable drive all through, with enough room to stack our pile of bags from excessive shopping! All in all, a complete holiday….
A few guidelines on road safety while on a roadtrip:
1 - Express-Highway driving in India is, still in many regions, quite chaotic. Despite better quality roads, every form of vehicles ply in the highways, making speed driving extremely risky. Especially near small towns, you find autos, carts, bikes, commercial vehicles, all trying to get the better of one another. Important to drive carefully around these stretches.
2 - State highways, which are narrower in comparison to the express highways, are often without dividers. Be sure to drive within controllable speed limits in these stretches.
3 - As a rule, we never take the highways post sundown. That’s to keep our drives as risk-free as possible.
4 - During monsoon season in India, its imperative to check your Tyres condition before the trip and drive with slightly lesser air pressure to ensure better grip. Always drive at a slow speed keeping safe distance. Ensure there is enough & proper soapy water for cleaning the windscreen clean