To reach Munnar, maximum travellers begin their journey from Kochi. In Kochi, we enjoyed local food and sightseeing to our heart’s content. After that, while travelling from Kochi to Munnar, we also visited a spice farm. If you are coming to Munnar, keep a minimum of 3 days aside for the visit. It is a magnificent hill station. Namaskar Friends! Welcome to Visa2explore! This is your host, Harish Bali. Right now, I am standing in a tea garden in Munnar. When we hear about Munnar, the first thing that comes to mind is tea. What a beautiful view! As far as my eye can see, I can see – hills, tea gardens, lots of greenery! The weather is cool. We are 5000 feet above sea level. It feels good to come here and be standing at this height. And here, you can just spend hours and hours to enjoy the view all around. After a while, we will go for breakfast. We are staying in Chinnakanal area, 15kms from Munnar town. We are going here for breakfast. Sir, what will we get for breakfast? Appam, dosa, fish curry and Kadala (black chana) curry. Okay! Fish curry…..and appam! So, can we see how you cook it? I mean the fish curry! Yes, you can see the live cooking! Live cooking! We can see? Yes! Ohh! Thank you! Thank you! They have a small dhaba. First of all, they got the ingredients ready! These include onions, green chilies, garlic, ginger, curry leaves. Now, they added coconut oil to a pan. They told me that in Kerala, this small onion (shallots) are more popular in cooking. Small onions! Then goes in sarson (mustard seeds), methi dana (fenugreek seeds). They are cooking original Kerala style fish curry here. To the tempering, ginger-garlic is also added. After 5 minutes, onions and curry leaves were added and then the whole thing was sauteed. Turmeric! You’ve added too much red chili powder! This is fish masala (spice mix)! Fish masala! Ohh! This masala paste that is being sauteed is deep red in color because of chili powder and fish masala. Now, they are adding Kokum to it. Now it has been 15 minutes since this curry has been boiling. The fish is here as well. Kerala Special! Very good fish curry! Very good fish curry! Hmmm! Very good! For how long will it be cooked now? Time! Uhhh! 30 minutes! 30 minutes! To understand this whole system of fish curry, one needs to understand the recipe of that fish masala. Because it is that masala that has changed the whole game, whole flavor of the dish. And look at the beautiful texture of this curry. Ohh! You add coconut oil again at this stage? I enjoyed watching the process of cooking this fish curry. To be frank, this fish curry is at least a foot away from me. But I can still feel its flavor properly. Although they have a seating space inside but we are eating sitting outside because…. …we want to enjoy the weather as well. That is why outside! Chili is on the higher side! Slightly sour! But the flavor is that of Kokum! It is so chili, even though I am enjoying eating it. If you don’t like your food too spicy, you won’t enjoy it because it is very spicy. Their recipe of making appams is interesting. Fermenting the batter makes the appams slightly puffed up and I can also feel the slight sourness from it. Slight sourness! Eating in the open! In this weather! Fish curry – what a brilliant combination! Ever since I started eating seafood, I’ve liked the taste of Bangra fish. I am serious – adding Bangra fish to this spicy curry… ….means enjoying best of both worlds. Bangra fish is tasty on its own and on top of that, such spicy curry…. Mmmm! Adding appam to this will double the taste! Sajil Bhai, our driver, has already had a dosa. Tell me one thing…. It is good that you know Hindi, so you work as a translator for us as well. Tell me one thing – if I really enjoy eating a dish – I mean really savor it…. ….how to express it in Malayalam? We call it Adipolli! Adipolli! Adipolli! So, can you please call the owner? Yeah, sure! And also tell him that I liked this dish very much and I would want a repeat of this. Please call him! Okay! Ohh Sir! Please sit! Sir, Appam & fish curry – Adipolli! Excellent taste! Super taste! Thank you! Sir, one plate more! Yes, yes! Thank you! Hmm! Thank you Sir! We spent the rest of the day to understand the orthodox method of tea production. That you will see in another episode. It is 2 pm. We are going to visit Top Station. We are already on our way. Although, this is not the right time to visit Top Station…. ….morning time is the best. Sajil Bhai told me that it would take us 2 hours to reach there if we travel non-stop. We have hardly come two kilometers from Munnar town. There is a flower garden on our right hand side. We won’t be stopping here but if you have enough time and interest in flowers, you can make a stop here. This route has a lot of points where you can stop to do a little sightseeing and click pictures. From what I can see it looks like a place to get elephant rides. They charge Rs. 400 for a 10-minute ride. We are not stopping here either because we want to take an elephant ride in Thekkady. Second thing is that since we are running late, we don’t want to miss the Top Station. We’ve hardly come 4kms from Munnar town. And where we’ve stopped, this place is called Photo Point. Look at this breath-taking view. It is a pleasure to watch this tea garden, which seems like growing up the mountain side. You can get a picture clicked here. And after that you can put these up on your Facebook, Instagram accounts. I mean to say, this is a good place to stop. Two kilometers up ahead is a dam, which we are passing through right now. I can see some tourists walking through here. This is a good point to stop for a while and enjoy the beautiful view. At some distance from here, there is a boating facility here. you can see a boat in the distance. We have travelled 4kms further to reach this place called Echo Point. The view here is beautiful as well. The lake, open space like this,…. ….trees, mountains around, even the weather is quite amazing as well. One can stop here for an hour or a half. We will stop here for 15-20 minutes but since it is an echo point, let us shout something. But good! You can feel the breeze blowing against your face here! Good experience! If we had undertaken this journey in the morning…. …we would have definitely stopped at every picturesque point to enjoy the beautiful nature. We would have done boating too. Look at the weather changes. A while ago, the sky was absolutely clear. And now it is cloudy. Wow! Finally we’ve reached Top Station. As soon as we came out of our vehicle and saw this beautiful view…. …we were impressed. This valley view is gorgeous! Mountains and fresh air – too good! Ohh God! How beautiful is this scenery, watching the cloud float by! This weather is awesome! Just look at it! We are loving it here at the Top Station. The movement of these clouds is looking so beautiful! Ohh, look at my right side! This place is totally covered with clouds. I cannot see the mountains situated beyond even though it is just 4.45 pm right now. So far, we had only heard of immediate weather changes and here we can see the same. Absolutely beautiful view! Too good! We are purchasing ticket at Rs. 25 per person. We are going down 120 meters. Someone told us that even if we go to and fro non-stop, it is going to take us at least 30 minutes. These steps are quite wide. There are two points to where we are going and we’ve reached the first point. The second point is down below, there, you can see it! The first point was about 120 meters, the second point, I believe, would be at least 200-250 meters down. We’ve almost reached our destination. We have to go there! It is good we came here, even though we were double-minded whether to come here or not. But, a wise decision! If you look down, it is all mist, you cannot see anything else. This place is so good! We’ve reached the last point of Top Station. I can only see this greenery upto 20-30 meters. Beyond that, I cannot see anything, trees, mountains, nothing! I can only see the clouds. Although, we can feel the sun in the sky, despite that, this place has no visibility. The mist has spread everywhere. It is 5 pm now. The scenic view of the Top Station is really magnificent. A lot of people had recommended us not to miss a visit to the Top Station. I really enjoyed watching such a beautiful scenery. By the way, the place where we parked our car, it took us an hour from there to the Second Point & back. All this while we spent only 10 minutes at the Second Point. This whole journey has been absolutely awesome! Passin fruit! Rs 10/- Ahh! Custard Apple? Custard Apple! Rs. 20/- One of each! Very tasty! A little sour! And a little sweet too! Custard Apple! These two fruits are quite popular in this region. I have seen a lot of vendors selling fruits here. Tasty! Yeah! Mmm! Very sweet! It is 5.15 pm. We are leaving here now and it would take us an hour or more to reach Munnar city. Beyond that, another hour to reach our hotel. So, it will take us till 8 pm to reach our hotel. Goodbye for today! Now we will meet tomorrow. We started our day very late today. It is almost 12 pm. We are 5kms from our hotel, to visit the Periyar Canal Waterfall. It is so soothing to watch this waterfall from up close. Just imagine, on one hand, this beautiful waterfall…. ….and on the other hand, such magnificent tea gardens. The natural beauty of Munnar is really exceptional. By the way, this waterfall is located about 13kms away from Munnar town. Now, we are headed towards the town for our lunch. And the weather has changed suddenly. It is raining outside. We’ve come here to have fish masala and fish curry. See, the first thing that I noticed once I came here…. ….is this chutney on the table. Just look at its colour and texture. Obviously, it has red chili in it. With that, they have served us warm water to drink. They have added herbs to it, which I asked them so that I could show it to you too. This is a popular practice in Kerala. The water is lukewarm. And adding the hearbs also brings a subtle change. Now what should be eat first. Fish curry before fish masala. Ahhh! Seeing this kokum in the curry reminds me of Goa. Kokum is popularly used here as well. The curry is made with tuna fish. This chutney! This bread is called Kerala Parotta. It is made of maida (refined flour). The spice level in this curry is on the higher side. I mean this curry is a bit spicier. It is slightly sour as well. And it is only here that I found out that…. ….they use smaller onions (shallots) in the fish curry. I have to admit that the taste of this fish curry is really commendable. All the spices used are locally sourced. Rest, the sourness is not of tamarind but that of kokum. Kokum has been used in this. Okay, this is visibly clear that this is fish. The fish has been fried before being cooked with masala. One interesting fact that I’ve been noticing regularly is that…. ….curry leaves are compulsory in the food here. That is properly visible. Second compulsory thing is use of coconut oil. So, if you like coconut oil in your food…. ….you will enjoy it. I mean to say that I like coconut oil very much. Coming to Kerala and not eating food cooked in coconut oil means the visit is incomplete. See, good cooking means the fish breaks apart just by touch. The cooking style of this place, I had inquired,…. ….I am talking of whole Kerala,…. ….means the fish is not cooked in a tandoor. At maximum places, the fish is fried and then cooked with masala like this. Pomfret is a tasty fish as it is. Rest, their cooking style is impressive too. The fish tastes better when fried and the masala is tasty too. One more thing that I’ve learned in Kerala, which I had learned in Sadya too…. ….that the red chili chutney can be mixed with rice, sometimes with curd too….. ….and it makes for a delicious combination. One thing is there – this red chili chutney is not as spicy as it looked from a distance. It is moderately spicy! And it makes a very good combination with rice. I am enjoying my time here. Exploring the seafood cooked with local spices is turning out to be a very good, pleasant experience. Now what will we do after finishing our meal? Haven’t really thought about it yet! We will finish it first. The weather outside is awesome! We will do some local sightseeing. This is the main market of Munnar. Sarees, spices, chocolates, and all other items popular among tourists are sold here. A little further, there is a vegetable market too. Here, on the left hand side of the road, the street food stalls operate at night. Since we are staying 15kms away, we won’t be able to visit during night. Walking in the rain is a pleasant experience! One feels like walking on foot and getting drenched. The temperature in Kochi was 27 degrees. Here, I checked this morning, the temperature was 17 degrees. Munnar, at 17 degrees, has good weather. This is the factory outlet of KTHPC. You will find a lot of tea varieties here. Till now, we were in New Munnar. Since it started raining, we couldn’t find banana fry sold anywhere. Now we are going to Old Munnar, 1km from here. We didn’t find banana fry. However, we found this stall nearby, and came here to eat some snacks. Sweet because of the banana in it! Its taste is good! Frying it has improved the taste. As a quick snack,…. Very, very good taste! Good taste! I will finish this after eating vada. Ohhh God! What a feeling of freshness, as soon as I picked up this vada in my hands! See how spongy it is! What a feeling! Too good! Just see! It is freshly made! I left this Undan pori mid-way because I wanted to eat this sweet after eating this savory snack. After that, I will have tea and then leave from here. Mmm! Good taste! By the way, I confirmed with him, this has chili in it as well. But I don’t feel the spice at all. It is tomato chutney and chili is minimal. Thank you! The kind of joy that you get on eating pakoras (fritters) during rainy season…. …or that of eating dal-vada (lentil fritters),…. ….the same joy is what I am experiencing eating this vada and Undan Pori here. With tea! Our Munnar journey ends with cup of tea! I am enjoying eating snacks in this rain! And to have this hot cup of tea! If you have some experiences related to Munnar, do share those with us in your comments. In the next episode, you will watch our tomorrow’s journey, which is from Munnar to Thekkady. This is how we are going to tour Kerala for some more days. And enjoy our journey! That is it! See you soon! Thanks for your time! Actually we spent 3 nights in Munnar. Despite that, we had to give up on a lot of sightseeing. If you go to Munnar, you must visit Kolukkumalai to witness the sunrise. This would be an off-road trip and you will need to leave early morning at 4 in a jeep. All the information related to Munnar video…. …is given in the description of this video. Our whole Kerala tour was 18 days long. Today is the fourth day of our journey. On Day 5, we left Munnar for Thekkady. We reached Thekkady while enjoying scenic views and exploring local food on our way. We really enjoyed the journey, which you will see in our next episode. We will meet soon with new series. Till then goodbye! See you soon!