Posted On Friday, January 14, 2011 at 12:29:05 AM
At first sight
My first sight of this exquisite landscape and I knew why even God claimed this paradise to be his very own. An impromptu getaway and my husband’s partiality to the cold, instinctively had us choose to cruise down the winding ghats to southern India’s highest peak (2,600 metres above sea level) — Munnar!
Now Munnar is definitely not the destination for those who like their holiday to be on chill-out sloth-mode (which I do endorse once in a while too!) Here its keds-on and on-the-move.
Our chauffeur would often be confounded when we parked beside such a landmark, only to disappear on a walkathon in a maze of succulent-smelling tea leaves for hours at a stretch; the slopes are a trekker’s delight.
The sit-out of our cozy duplex did full justice to the incredible view of the mountains at eye range with the Periyar Lake dipping below, which saw us curl up with goblets there at the end of the day.
Munnar by day
The hill stations, especially in the winters have that dark, overcast sort of gloom accompanied by fog at regular intervals, that manages to cast an eerie spell on the place which many find instantly depressing! Munnar was certainly not gloomy, yet retained this mysterious magnificent edge that only the mist lends to it.
Now, who doesn’t love that daily brew of masala chai? Tea lovers are in for a treat here. Munnar is an exclusive tea plantation, making for a majority of tea exports, but what’s unique is the recently introduced Tea Museum set up by the Tata Group.
The display of curios, photographs and machinery depicting a milestone that contributed to the flourishing tea industry of the region, was interesting; while the tea-maker very entertainingly explained the workings. This was followed up by an informative reel on its fascinating history, but it was the refreshing cardamom cuppa at the end that
remains my favourite part!
Any destination has this ‘touristy’ check-list; quaint paddle boats, the bird sanctuary, etc…and all these were very nice. However, my husband went in search of something out of the norm and arrived with a speed-boat in tow at the famous Mattupetty Dam. The wind blowing in our face, while the boat made a path in the mystical waters, gave us a sight of the astonishing insides that thefoliage hides in its shadows.
The stalls at the edge provided piping-hot Maggi and coffee-flavoured-gooey, home-made chocolate. The virgin Munnar beauty is so pristine that the lens does no justice; it can only be captured in memory, really!