When you travel to Munnar, you make some lasting memories. But there’s more to it than just making memories. The experience of the charming life of Munnar will leave you with some long term side effects. I am sharing the side effects that I suffer, ever since I got back from Munnar.
I never look at my cup of tea the same again: Being in Munnar, driving through lush tea gardens and interacting with the people of Munnar, has had a lasting impact on me. My morning fixer upper (I am not sane till I have had my first cuppa), is now accompanied by the memory of vast stretches of vibrant green carpets of tea plantations, interspersed with silver oaks. I am sure you must have noticed that your average advertisement for tea (and many other unrelated products) is generally about the very same scene. But let me tell you, an ad can never, ever come close to the pure bliss you feel walking through the tea gardens of Munnar. Being in high ranges of Munnar, observing and interacting with tea plantation workers, re – learning how to brew tea and simply enjoying being in the mist covered tea garden, really drives home the fact that my humble cup of tea holds within itself, many wonderful stories that I now relate to.
I never knew that sighting a goat will be so thrilling: It’s no ordinary goat that I’m referring to. I was fortunate to visit the Eravikulam National Park, which is around the highest peak of South India – Anamudi. This National Park is home to the endangered Nilgiri Tahr. There was a time when large herds roamed all around the Western Ghats. But with a rapid loss of habitat and poaching in the 19th century, these benign animals almost faced extinction.
Walking up the steep road to Anamudi, and training one’s eyes all across the Shola grassland, I was trying hard to find the Tahr. I literally jumped out of my skin when I spotted one just a few feet ahead of me. This particular fellow had a bored expression on his face, and was looking benignly at us around, through it’s half lidded eyes. To all of us that day at the park, the sighting of Tahr was no less than sighting a Tiger at Ranthambore.
My faith in conservation efforts is definitely restored. I felt buoyed with enthusiasm, when I saw that the population of the Tahr is now increasing within its original habitat. I now know something about myself, it’s possible that sighting a goat can inspire hope in me about the future of our planet.
I know everything about the spices in my kitchen: After my intensely enjoyable trip to Munnar, I have discovered that I have an organic connect to the spices in my kitchen. I have learnt so much more than I knew from cooking for my family for ten years and more. For example, I never knew that the cardamom plant is, in fact, from the ginger family. Whoever knew condiments would be related to each other !
Poor jokes apart, the fact is whether it’s walking though hazy tree shaded cardamom plantations, seeing nutmeg trees grow in abundance, touching the bark of the cinnamon tree or simply plucking a bunch of green pepper right of the vine, my sensory overhaul in Munnar is complete as plantation walks have made me an aficionado of spices.
Going for a walk now implies a whole lot more: Munnar is a destination where every time you step out for a small walk, you come back with a big experience. Walking around the Anaerangal lake (in Malayalam or Tamil, it means where the Elephants come down) brings around many surprises. My children went up a tree house, perched precariously on a Parasitic Fig tree. It was definitely not safe and one of those things that a responsible mother (unlike me!) will never allow. But it will remain etched forever as a wonderful childhood memory for my kids. And my son will never, ever in his life, forget seeing an elephant come to drink water at Anaerangal Lake. Seeing this iconic mammal, in the wild, has made his year for sure. Suffice to say, going for a walk, implies a whole lot more in Munnar.
I yearn to go back: There’s something about the Nilgiris that touches your soul. The panoramic vistas, the misty evenings by the campfire, the colonial feel of the plantation bungalows and the genuine warmth of the people of Munnar will make you want to return to this amazing place. So I have made plans to go back to Munnar, what about you?
Have you too suffered any such side effects? If so, do share your experiences with us in the comment section, would love to compare notes.