|CHEERAPAYA WATERFALLS: ENROUTE TO MUNNAR FROM KOCHI|
Munnar, a hill-station, and yes the traditional tourist point was our next stop from Kochi. The 140 km long journey took us about 4.5 hrs including a quick lunch stop and on 2 en-route waterfalls. The drive was smooth as the roads are quite good- specially considering the battering from the rains. All along the way we noticed that the homes lining these roads were colorful and grand. Colors ranged from the usual crème and grey and red to the daring purple, bright pink and parrot green! Our driver told us that people in Kerela are very house proud- and spend much money on doing up their homes.
|WILD ELEPHANTS: LUCKY FOR US THEY STRAYED FROM THEIR PATH!|
|COLOURFUL AND PRETTY|
We knew we were reaching Munnar as the tea gardens approached and we were soon surrounded by acres of them on all sides. The air was cool and clouds made the area surreal. But, as we hit the town we wondered if we had made a mistake. Munnar core town is crowded and crammed- with shops, inns, massage centers and rows of cars and even more tourist buses. It noisy and packed and crazy. It was late evening as we reached-just in time to book our “Ayurveda massage” for the next day. We checked into our hotel- C7 (just outside town) and spent the remaining evening looking out of our balcony into the green hills and clouds as we sipped chai.
Munnar is your typical Indian hill station with the usual to do things- a flower garden, a museum, an echo point, a dam with a view and a national park. As we discussed our plans for the day we realized that it was going to be a very clichéd day. But so what? And why not enjoy it?
|NARIYAL PANI LE LO!|
As we were going to the Rajamalai National Park, we saw a family of 3 wild elephants which had strayed and were busy eating the tall grass near the roads! It made our afternoon. The Rajamalai National Park is a short drive from Munnar and home to the natural habitat of the Nilgiri Tahr (an endangered mountain goat). We did not see any goats or any other animal for that matter, but the Park is beautiful. The Park buses took us up into the sanctuary area. The whole area is thick lush green vegetation surrounded by black mountains, awesome waterfalls and clouds. We loved being there and by the end it did not seem to matter that we were unable to spot any animals.
|RAJAMALAI NATIONAL PARK|
It was almost dark as we headed back to town for the Ayurvedic massage to Mantra- a certified center. I for one did not like it much. They pour lots of oil onto limbs and rub from shoulder to finger and back or foot to thigh until the time elapses. By the end, we both felt we could have skipped it. A couple of other people we met seemed to have a similar experience. So, I wondered how “certified” all these centers were? Maybe we chose the wrong one. On that note, we closed our Munnar chapter.