Munnar: A green escapade

It must be because of Munnar that Kerala is most sought after honeymoon destination in the country. Just keep your picture postcard imagination of the backwaters in your pocket, forget the humidity, and wrap woolens around your neck to enjoy the romance of the hilly climes at Munnar in God’s Own Country. 

The hills are covered with greenest of carpets
Like any typical backpacker I was not set to witness the matchless beauty of these hills when I was leaving Cochin’s humid climate. Soon the world was going to change. And it really did.  Perhaps it was this ‘unpreparedness’ that further added to the exquisiteness of Munnar. Imagine entering from a city milieu to the kingdom of valley where the mountains are covered with the greenest of carpets and the red dust road crawls like a snake in a sprawling forest spread between the deepest of valleys to the regions highest peaks.

While I don’t quite agree with the title ‘Kashmir of the South’ because it’s like comparing apples with oranges, or rather cinnamon in this case, Munnar is certainly impressive enough for Kerala to boast of.

Driving through a surreal rippling mosaic of yellow-green tea bushes, you already know that tea plantations are Munnar’s claim to fame! One whiff of the potent tea leaves is enough to indicate why Munnar tea is perhaps the most touted beverages the world over.

The dramatic spice garden
Spices, of course, are as famed as the coconut trees and backwaters in Kerala. There are several
spice gardens that allow you to take a close look at the spices that add flavour to your food. You can buy them and also educate yourself about spices, herbs and ways to know how to select good quality ones.

There are a number of well-run spice gardens all over. The one I went to was a little dramatic. Standing in a tree house inside the garden, for a moment, it felt like walking into a movie…what with the misty mountains in front of me, cool breeze…and music from the 90’s Bollywood movies being played out loud in the garden. Of course we got it, it's was after all a honeymooners paradise!

Munnar comes alive in the mornings. Do not miss waking up early and watching the sunrise. Take a long walk in mountainous Munnar and soak in the idyllic surroundings and feel the magic.

The Touristy places:

Eravikulam National Park: For those who love the flora and fauna; get up close to some of the world's last Nilgiri tahr (a variety of mountain goat or ibex). For the more adventurous, there’s 8,841-ft Anaimudi Peak, the highest peak in south India

Spice Gardens: Buy them and also educate yourself about spices, herbs and ways to know how to select good quality ones

Tea Plantations & Tata Tea Museum: Tea plantations are beautiful. You'll get ample spots to click 'FB perfect' pictures but the museum, according to me, is over-rated. It has a miniature tea factory, which tells you about the nuances of tea cultivation and manufacture, alright. But you wouldn't find the 'original' cup of tea as they serve only machine-made tea (read pseudo chai).

Must Do in Munnar: Do not miss the opportunity to watch Kathakali and traditional martial arts, Kalarippayattu. I watched a spectacular performance at Punarjani Traditional Village. At first, the charge of Rs 200 for each performance seems too much but you’ll change your mind once you see the performances.

Avoidable: The Echo Point – There’s nothing here except ‘professional’ photographers getting after your life to get a ‘bollywood shtyle’ photo.

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