Postcard From Kerala: Munnar - Part 1
Hello my dear friends, hope you are doing fine. I am finally in Munnar, a hill station located in the Idukki district of Kerala at around 1,600 metres above sea level in the Western Ghats. It is also known as the Kashmir of South India; a popular honeymoon destination; greenery all around with the scent of tea leaves lingering in the air; nestled in the lap of nature surrounded by misty hills, lakes, waterfalls, elephant camps, cultural centres and long stretches of the most gorgeous tea plantations I have ever come across – this is indeed a slice of heaven on earth.
At The Tea Garden
They are the soul of a good cup of tea – simple, hardworking and always smiling, come sun or rain; plucking two leaves and a bud with their deft fingers are the lovely tea pluckers of Munnar.
Our adventure began in the lush green tea garden. These are the most mesmerizing tea plantations of South India. There are more than 50 tea estates in and around Munnar. The majority of these belong to the Tata group.
Tea Museum & Tea Processing
The Tea Museum here was set up by Tata Tea in 2005 at Nallathanni estate. It showcases old photographs, machinery and curios. They also run documentaries to introduce the history of tea plantation to the visitors.
It houses a tea factory too. Here tea leaves are processed. There is a souvenir shop where various flavours of tea, coffee and jam are sold.
After the leaves are plucked and collected, these are sent to the tea factory for processing. They are first weighed after which the humidity content of the leaves is reduced by about thirty percent. This stage is called withering which takes about 12 to 18 hours. Next the leaves are rolled in by large rolling machines and then they are taken to the fermentation room to ferment. Now the leaves are dried. Finally sorting takes place wherein we have leaf tea, broken tea, fannings or dust tea. This depends on the sieve sizes.
Some Precious Moments
Some breathtaking views while climbing up the hills in our car – on our way to Club Mahindra, a home away from home.
Waiting for our cuppa to refresh our soul and mind after a hectic day.
This is our room on the first floor with a small balcony right in front of one of the most beautiful tea gardens. Wish I could wake up to tea this way every single day of my life.
Enjoying the lovely view
Reliving childhood memories
Teasing his sister as always
Complaining about her brother as usual
Going back to nature
Living the moment
At Eravikulam National Park
This National Park is located along the Western Ghats in the Idukki district of Kerala. These are some amazing forests with a spectacular view of the tea plantation. With an area of about 97 sq. km, this is home to Nilgiri Tahr, an endangered species of mountain goat. This National Park, a protected area is divided into three parts – core area, buffer area and tourism area. As the name rightly suggests, only the tourism area is thrown open to tourists. Another interesting thing about this place is that it turns blue once in every 12 years or in other words, Neelakurinji flowers bloom all over the place then. Trekking packages and online bookings of the same are available.
Right in the heart of Eravikulam National Park is this stunning waterfall called Lakkam Waterfalls. It originates from the Eravikulam stream which is around 30 kms from Munnar or say about 30 to 40 minutes drive from Munnar. There is a Cafe and an Eco shop for the tourists.
See You Soon
We saw this elephant on our way back to the Club. It greeted us so very warmly.
Now I have reached my balcony. Tea and momos are waiting for us. Please join me for a cup of tea up in the misty hills of Munnar. And yes, Munnar is definitely not over. There’s more to come next week – elephant camps, lakes, dams, art & culture and finger licking meals of Kerala. So, until we meet again, goodbye & catch up soon.