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Hyderabad to Munnar, Allappuzha, Wayanad and Goa. 8 Days, 7 States, 4000 kms. Road trip

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Having gone on no drives for quite some time this year, the travel bug started to bite again before the year's calendar got shut and it was already close to the Christmas weekend in December. Now this usually is the toughest one when you would have planned to visit a place with your friends, match up with the common leave dates at work and they get delayed at times, fell into a dilemma if to go without them or to wait till all get a leave.

Past experience taught me waiting for all to get a leave is a never ending proposition.


So, it was just myself and whoever could make it along would join in. Problem Solved. So, it was just me and my friend from Hyderabad until Bangalore with whom I have traveled extensively over the past few years to various places in India.


As we reached Bangalore and roped in two other friends of mine, the planned started to take some shape and we decided to drive down South to


'The God's own country' Kerala and end up for the Sunburn at Goa for the New year's eve.


When: December 25 - 2014 To January 1 - 2015


Drive: Honda City


Fuel Type: Petrol Mileage: Avg. 16 kmpl 


Route and Itinerary:


25th December (Friday) ---> Hyderabad (Hi-tech City) ---> Bangalore


26th December (Saturday) ---> Bangalore ---> Munnar (Via Dundigul)


27th December (Sunday) ---> Munnar local tour 28th December (Monday) ---> Munnar ---> Mararikulam, Allappuzha (Allepy)


29th December (Tuesday) ---> Allepy ---> Wayanad 30th December (Wednesday) ---> Wayanad ---> Goa


31st December (Thursday) ---> Goa local tour 1st January (Friday) ---> Goa ---> Hyderabad (Hi-tech City)

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Since it was a weekend, we started off early around 3:00 a.m. from Bangalore to reach Munnar by the late lunch hour. It distanced around 500 kms from our start point which took us 11 hours of drive time including a breakfast stop at Dindigul and few coffee breaks in between.


We drove down through the beautiful ghats and tea plantations to reach Munnarimage_1654.jpg


This was my first drive to Munnar and i loved every bit of the drive and every sight of the place. image_1655.jpg


We had reached Munnar by 2:00 p.m and got involved in clicking some pictures of the beautiful green meadows and tea plantationsimage_1656.jpg


Not having booked our stay at Munnar we started towards the Munnar town area and booked a decent home stay for 2000 INR for 2 nights excluding food.


Dropping down our luggage at the Hotel, we had our lunch late in a restaurant with in the urban limits and moved on to the ghats for a drive to experience the amazing Tea gardens by 4:00 p.m



Our drive for this epic trip down south





This lake laying on the lap of these beautiful green meadows was one of the best scene i had sightedimage_1660.jpg


View of the beautiful winding roads in the Tea estates.



The drive on these roads was one of the best drives I did9.jpg


One of the many waterfalls we had come across on our way



As we drove up the hill and over the clouds, we stopped by a broader road side to get a snap of the sceneimage_1661.jpg


The path gets very narrow over the steep at times such that only 1 car can pass through at a timeimage_1666.jpg


We had stopped by several view points to shoot these amazing green meadows hovered under a clear blue skyimage_1668.jpg


A walk through these green alleys on the hills was one heck of a mesmerizing experience.image_1667.jpg


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After the walk, it was almost getting dark and we started to head back to call the day off.



A walk, great drive, beautiful scenic views and delicious dinner. Overall, a great day spent.



It was the 2nd day in Munnar and we had our plan scheduled for the day. We passed by the Matupetti Dam to stop by the amazing 'Kundala' lake for a speed boat ride.



The lake itself is so beautiful surrounded by green hills and tea plantations. The scene was absolutely magical, calm and serene.



We were already running late according to the plan due to the heavy rush being a long weekend. After the boat ride, we started our drive to the Top station which was a long way up the hill. (25 kms ahead)



Due to the heavy rush and continuous traffic jams on these narrow 2 lane roads, it took us 2 hours (25kms) for us to reach this Top station over the clouds



Or i can rather keep it this way.. Yes, We were on the 'Could 9'. Absolutely mesmerized after watching the scene



Note: There is no specific parking area as such. You have to park at a random vacant space as the roads anyways ends at the 'Top Station' entry gate.



We walked down a small mud track to reach the entrance of the 'Sky Tunnel'. There is an entry fee of 15 INR for the Indians and 30 INR for the foreigners to take the stair way down to a view point through the sky tunnel.



After having spent some time at the view point clicking some snaps, we head back to the car parking to rest down after quite a hectic stairway trek. Refreshed after a snack break, we started to head back down the hill towards the start point (Munnar town)



Towards the opposite end of the Munnar town, we headed to the 'Anamudi' hill top which is the highest peak (8,850 ft.) in the Western ghats or say South India. The distance to the drivable top most point of the hill from the Munnar town is around 15 kms.



As we stopped by this amazing view point between the clouds and started to seep in this beautiful scene of nature, click pics, capture time-lapses of the moving clouds and the sunset at an extremely cold temperature.



One final pic of the day at the pit stop as my 'Honda' poses and we headed back home driving down the in the dark



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The next morning we had checked-out of Munnar and started to drive towards 'The Venice of the East', Allepy via Kochi around 6:00 a.m. as the fog slowly started to clear the way.


The drive from Munnar through the ghats was breathtakingly beautiful & thrilling and the roads were absolutely amazing. We came across many waterfalls driving down between the green hills until we had reached Kochi where we have stopped by for breakfast at the 'Sarvana Bhavan' The distance to Allepy from Munnar is around 180 kms which took us around 5 hours and we reached the House boat point by 11:00 a.m.


We had booked a decent Canoe for a day boat ride for 8000 INR as the prices were running high due to the peak tourist time at the place to experience the ride back waters.


All boats sailing low between the narrow channels around, we started off around 12:00 p.m. sailing slow aboard



Surrounded with trees on the banks around, we traced our path on to a broader side lapping the water. It felt like an absolute dream traversing so silently.



By 1:00 p.m. we were taken to a small shack on the banks where we were served amazing lunch which had some delicious 'Karimeen' fish fry and Tody.



After the delicious lunch, we had started our ride further. We had the sight of the mammoth house boats passing by all over towards their halt for the day by the evening hour.





Enjoying the beauty of nature, stretching ourselves and clicking pictures, we reached another shack for a tea break around 4:00 p.m









We started to head back towards the finish point as there should be no boat found running after 6:00 p.m. and we got done with it.





One of the island resorts which rests on the lap of this water body





We had reached the parking place and drove down towards the beach side place called 'Mararikulkem' village which was around 10 kms from Allapuzha.


We have rented a home-stay for the night at the Marari place by the beach side, dropped in the luggage and left for hike. Beach was very neat and calm with hardly any crowd around and was almost like a private beach. After a sumptuous dinner, we hit back home to rest down and get charged for the tour the next day.


The next morning we had started our drive towards 'Wayanad' touching the Athirapally waterfalls (Niagara of India) on our way.



We took the road via Ernakulam which was decent and distanced around 100 kms with 4 hours of travel time including a break.





We reached the Athirapally waterfalls around 10:00 a.m. and this is definitely one must see destination in Kerala.



A trek for about 20 mins has to be done to reach the base point of the falls and needless to talk about the place as the pics says it all and definitely not a place to miss out on.



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After a short snack and refreshment break, we had started our drive towards Wayanad around 2:00 p.m.



My camera battery ran out cold and so I have managed to get a few shots through my phone.



We had reached the 'Vythiri green' resort in Wayanad by 8:00 p.m. travelling 250 kms from Athirapally. The resort had charged us 3500 INR/night which included a complimentary breakfast.



Early morning walk around the resort in Wayanad on this green carpet was so relaxing and refreshing



We had spotted these beautiful fields around the place. After all it is the 'God's own country'..:D



The place looked so alluring that we never wanted to leave. Quite soon, we left the place after breakfast at the resort and started towards Goa around 8:00 a.m.



It was late in the night by the time we had reached Goa. We had traveled for about 14 hours to cover a distance of 650 kms via Gokarna. The drive from Mangalore until we had reached Goa was totally on the coast line and was one heck of an experience. The next day it was 31st December and we were all pumped for the new years eve in Goa after experiencing the 'Sunburn After Party' the previous night. We started to explore the known places around Candolim, Baga and Anjuna.



We had explored both the South and North Goa quite a few times when we had been there before and had come to Goa this time for an obvious reason to party like it never ends..:D



Few things to do when you are in Goa:


1) Always try to keep your bikes or cars full on fuel.
2) Try all the Goan cuisines possible.
3) It is known that Alcohol is cheap there but let us be civilized.
4) Keep the beaches clean and preserve the beauty.


List of beaches to be covered if you are going there on a tour:


North Goa:
1) Calangute
2) Candolim
3) Anjuna
4) Baga
5) Aguada
6) Chapora
7) Arambol
8) Dona-Paola
9) Vagator
10) Morjim


South Goa:
1) Colva
2) Palolem
3) Agonda
4) Varka
5) Cavelossim


List of places to be covered if you are going there on a tour:

1) Chapora fort
2) Aguada fort
3) St. Freancis Xavier's Church


List of few known places to party and good food:

1) Curly's (Anjuna)
2) Cafe Mambo (Baga)
3) Infantaria (Calangute)
4) Tito's (Baga)
5) Lasagna (Vagator)
6) Bora-Bora (Morjim)
7) Beach side seafood shacks (Prawns, Squids and Crabs are a must try)






After one heck of a night at the Curly's on the beach-side for the New year's eve, we got back to our stay around 4:00 a.m. in the morning to rest down as we have got our return journey lined up few hours ahead.



On the whole, it has been a holiday full of action as i have squeezed in maximum destinations possible for the days available and i admit it was exhausting but it was an experience to cherish for a lifetime. :)


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Very nicely written to the point. 16KMPL, mileage is very impressive. Especially on the narrow lanes of Kerala. Munnar is still pending in my check-list.

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Excellent write up. Pictures are drool worthy. Very nicely written to the point. 16 KMPL is very much achievable in Honda city. If driven with light foot.

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Words cannot describe how breathtakingly beautiful the pictures above are.....Hats off!!!:) A very informative and impressive write up too. Places mentioned are definitely worth a visit....But can you suggest some alternatives to Goa which can be explored in the same time?....been there a lot already.... P.S.: Teach me a thing or two about photography also....:D:p

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 Thanks a lot buddy.. There are a lot of places in India to be explored, could you be specific around which area are to looking at so that i can suggest you or we can do it together.. Can work on the photography also as you have asked for :D

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The roads were all good as we chose to avoid the shortcuts and take up the highways even if it distanced more. Only thing where we need to be cautious is when in Kerala as the roads get too narrow and curvy which gets crowded between the usual business hours between the frequent towns you pass by.

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Remarkably attractive pictures. Sagar!! . Thanks a lot for making our trip more easier. We are 7 members planning to travel across south India this December in Innova. I found almost everything i need in this post - "The places to visit". I also need information regarding accommodation too keeping in mind, that there are 3 girls in our group. Do we need to book a hotel in advance, are there any specifics? or we can find easily when we reach each destination?

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I would suggest you to book the hotels in advance as you have girls traveling along with you so that you won't have any last minute rush even at the peak hour considering the high tourist traffic during the season.. :)

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8 days and 7 states !! Amazingg...Your pictures speak a lot about the beauty of this place :) Seems like you have made memories all over these states :)

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Yeah.. It was a great trip indeed.. We've not just seen change in cultures as we traveled down, but also change in vegetation and nature sculpted beauty all along. :D

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Thanks a ton mate.. and yeah now i run 190 mm high ..:P .. Planning to do North East or Gujarat and Rajasthan .. I've also got multiple plans piled up in the head.. Not sure where i'l end up though :D

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      Ford Freestyle is built to tackle bad roads and those beautiful untouched, unexplored roads. This said, the ride quality will definitely be on the stiffer side making all those shocks on the bad roads creep in. We can feel the thud sound when the car goes over speed breaker, potholes even in very low speeds. The suspension is on the stiffer side making the car super stable during high speeds and super rough on the bad roads. Space is strictly adequate in the front row and strictly average at the rear and the boot. The driving position is commendable. We sit higher than many of the hatchbacks making us see the road clearly. The car sitting at a height of 190mm from the ground makes driving on worst roads a breeze. No worries of under body hits. 
      The performance from the engine on offer is something else. It effortlessly touches 80 kmph in the second gear itself and 0-100 kmph in under 10 seconds making it one of the fastest car in India. This car even outshines VW Polo in terms of performance. This is the most economical, fun to drive car in India giving good fuel efficiency numbers.  Even Ford EcoSport doesn’t offer the low end torque and that jump this car offers. Reason being same engine for a lighter car. 
      Ford calls the Freestyle a Compact Utility Vehivle and in my opinion its justified. It is not just a raised hatch/hatch with cladding or hatchback in SUV cloths as claimed by few online forums. Having used this for almost a year, clocking 20,000 kms, going for some unexplored areas, I can confidently say that this means some serious business, built for a purpose, a very practice vehicle. If not for serious off-roading, this is made for serious travelling and to glide on those beautiful untouched roads... 
      Ford is known for this. It’s always ahead of the other cars in the segment when it comes to giving safety features if not fancy features.
      2 airbags ABS with EBD Reverse parking sensors Driver and passenger seat belt alarm is standard across all the varient in all the models of Ford Central Locking  Speed sensing door locks  Child safety locks  Making it the most value for money varient. 
      The top of the line varient Titanium comes with added features like 
      TCS HLA ESP  
      And the even premium varient the Titanium Plus comes with added features like
      6 airbags SYNC3 system With all the above features. 
      Road Trips:

      I’ve done many road trips in this 10 months. Multiple trips to Hyderabad-Vijayawada but there are few trips that standout, that tested my skills, that took me to places I’ve never thought I would. 
      The first one being 
      Hyderabad to Maredumilli

      This remains my favourite trip of all. This tested my skills on the ghat during heavy rains and low visibility, took me to a beautiful place called Pamulery Vagu inside the forest.

      It was fun driving this car in those ghats. Steering feel and feedback was really good and was spot on. This trip will be forever remembered. The engine sound coupled with cool breeze and nature sounds made this a really wonderful and memorable trip with my Ford Freestyle.

      Hyderabad to Yanam via Ramachandrapuram 
      This place is really beautiful. I’ve been to Yanam in 2012 in our Swift Dzire. I was siting beside my father and was observing him cruising in that beautiful cool, rainy weather. I was 16 back then. Learning driving from my father in our colony roads. I was amazed by the way it cruised, clicked many pictures  in my father’s Galaxy S3. I couldn’t know more about the place. All I knew was the beach and the beautiful Jesus statue. Nothing beyond that.
      This is 2019 and I was on the wheel with my father sitting beside me and my Sony A6000 DSLR in the rear seat to click the beautiful places. It was 4:30 in the morning, I fired the loud TDCi engine waking up others in my house at Ramachandrapuram. We hit the roads and it was all nostalgic.
      The roads were bad, full of potholes and very bad curves. This gave me a new experience to drive on those village roads full of potholes and truck traffic from the opposite direction with high beam. Made me explore Yanam and the nearby mangroves and getting to know the place beyond beach and of course the beautiful Jesus statue, reminded my father of his childhood and the hotel where he used to sometimes eat and now we having  our breakfast which is still running with the same quality at Drakshramam. This also proved how beautiful my car is gliding  over those big potholes with very loud and uncomfortable sounds in the cabin and  zero underbody hits. making this another memorable road trip. 
      Vijayawada to Hyderabad

      I’ve done multiple trips between Hyderabad-Vijayawada on our Honda City as well as Ford Freestyle as my father is posted there. But this will be remembered.
      This unexpected drive for few minutes under the railway bridge tested my knowledge on flood water driving, knowledge can be acquired by learning but not experience. And this kind of experience is very rare. This tests our skill, It’s a do or die situation. Drive well and come out of the pool or get stuck ruining your car permanently. 
      The experience was all together a very different one. This kept me in a situation where It was all on me. No one to help me, guide me or drive the car. This proved the capabilities of ford Freestyle and my driving skills. The punchy low end torque never worried me or gave a feel of stalling. It never lost the grunt. I successfully came out of it which doubled my confidence in driving and my love towards the car.
      Accidents & Incidents 
      It was 24th of April, 8:45 in the morning. I was driving towards Suchitra Junction to meet my father’s colleague and take my internship certificate which I forgot in her cabin the previous day. I tuned into 98.3 radio mirchi my favourite radio station and was just 5 minutes away from my home when the unexpected saddest thing happened.  



      A construction truck which was coming from the opposite direction taking a 90 degree banged into my car’s rear third quater leaving a really bad damage. It was a hit and run case. Many villagers ran behind him but he fled away leaving me in utter grief. The impact was huge but the damage was small considering the impact.
      Did anyone remember this? “the impact was small, but the damage was really huge” “A thought to upgrade to a safer vehicle struck my father’s mind” and this proved to be the right choice, the safer vehicle. 
      It was 31st of July, 3:30 in the evening, I was driving  from Tellapur towards Kompally on ORR. An incident which taught me the meaning of hydro planning, made me realise the power of water and yet again made me fall in love with my car.   
      It was raining, the road was good obviously because it’s the ORR a Hyderabadi drivers favourite, the road was empty and there’s a water pool that can be seen on the left most lane.
      A child in me touched triple digit speeds (100kmph) from 80kmph wanted to spill the water and went straight onto the waterlogged pool only to loose control over my car. The vehicle immediately lost traction, drifted towards the right, steering was out of my control for few seconds, I tried very hard to steer the car to the left keeping it in the lane and I succeeded.
      All thanks to the traction control that my car has. This taught me how much dangerous water can be and the force of water. Never after this incident I touched triple digit speeds during rains. 

      To sum it up, Freestyle is a car that definitely puts a smile the drivers face. Particularly the TDCi. It’s rightly called a pocket rocket. 

      Freestyle is not about luxury, its rugged, rough, not so comfortable when compared to the competition, the interiors are hard, the plastics are not placed well but as said before its lal about ruggedness and practicality. Once you are behind the wheel of a Ford you’ll forever be the fan of Ford.

      Srikrishna Bhavaraju
      A true Ford Lover

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