Sunday, 15 July 2012

Munnar - The Misty Mountains

If your idea of a relaxing holiday includes walking through the misty undulating tea gardens, tea valley covered with green tea bushes, sloping hill tea gardens make way for the meandering road which climbs and descends dramatically offering most enchanting vista of white fluffy clouds chasing the rain on the firmament of blue sky and down below women and men plucking tea leaves with their nimble fingers in the vast sloping gardens on the hills. Then you should head to the valley of Munnar. 

The  morning sun plays hide and seek with the dark rain laden clouds in the long months of monsoon and when it is time for the rain god to shower his blessings on the earth below it does so generously. Long hours of lashing rain followed by sunshine washes away any dust that may find its way on to the green trees and bushes. Tiny rain drops sparkle on the tea leaves and swaying trees. 

The hills are not only abode to the several tea estates but also to numerous spice plantations producing the best of the Indian spices - cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, cloves and vanilla. 
One look at the lavish spread of nature here makes one to believe that this land has been generously blessed and truly it is Gods Own Country!

What does one do in such a land, other than watch the nature in its glorious best? The monsoon rains, clouds, greenery, red earth accompanied with the call of birds unfold nature's opera. The bulbuls, sunbirds, barbets, tree-pie, Malabar whistling thrush, babblers, drangos, the vernal hanging parrots create quite a ruckus. The vista is the stage and the traveler, the audience in complete awe of the magical natural opera.
Gentle walks through the landscape, visits to tea gardens to watch the tea plucking process first hand, eat freshest food and rejuvenate in the spas is all that one should do here. The television, internet and mobile should be rested for few days. This is where one really connects with nature.  

How to Reach: Approx 130 kms from Kochi, can be reached in about 3 hours. Drive down through NH85. Most of the resorts are away from the Munnar town. Hire car or taxi from Kochi. Drive from Kochi is itself a treat as one meanders through the countryside, villages, valleys with thick cover of evergreen forests and the rolling tea plantations.   
Here's my pick of the top stay options in Munnar.
Ambady Estate

Ambady Estate is wrapped in the cool embrace of the Sahya rainforest, surrounded by awe-inspiring Parvathy Hills on one side and the marvelous view of the ‘Chokkan Mala’, Idukki Dam, and the tea plantations on the other sides. Spread across seventy acres, the plantation is home to diverse and indigenous flora and fauna. Tastefully appointed large and spacious bedrooms with attached living area and private gardens in the colonial twin bungalows provide an invigorating and rejuvenating experience.
Ambady Estate :: Munnar
The estate offers various nature activity options - trek through the cardamom plantation under the shady canopy of old evergreen trees, participate in plantation activities like processing of cardamom and pepper. One can also go for jeep safari through the plantations, trek along the steep hills, or if you are lucky - you can also watch migration of Blue Tiger butterfly.  

Club Mahindra Lake View is an excellent property nestled inside a rolling tea plantation. Sitting in your cottage or apartment balcony you could see the vast expanse of the rolling tea plantations, hills and the lake in the far distance. Tea shrubs are all around, you step out of your cottage and you have the rolling tea plantations.  

 Club Mahindra Lake View as seen from a distance across the valley

View from the Room

The clouds play hide and seek and when it pours it shows on the land below and the swaying trees
The birds rush to their nests and create quite a ruckus.

 The evening from the balcony brings enchanting play of fading daylight, clouds descending in the valley and even caressing your face. The car lights leave a bright streak on the road below.

The cottages and apartments are shrouded by thick foliage cover. The resort has been planted with large varieties of evergreen trees and plants. Designed purposely to provide a salubrious environment to the jaded city bred travelers.
Spacious studio apartments and cottages are tastefully furnished and provide comfortable stay. All apartments and cottages have kitchen with microwave oven, crockery and cutlery.
Facilities: Club, Multi cuisine Restaurant, Barbeque's, Children's Corner, Store, Gift shop,
                      local excursions
Club Mahindra Lake View   Chinnakanal, Munnar

KTDC  Tea County

Cosily nestled right in the middle of two hills is Tea County. Enjoy the mist rolling down in the warmth of luxuriously furnished rooms. For activities one can bicycle down mountain trails, para glide over the valleys, go trekking, climb rocks, try to catch a rainbow trout or spend a day in a tea plantation.
67 rooms and suites, all tastefully furnished to provide comfort and great view is hallmark of this resort.
Facilities: Ayurveda therapy, health club, restaurant, paragliding
Tariff: Rs.5000 to Rs.12000 depending on the room type and season of visit
Tea County - KTDC      KTDC Hill Resort, Munnar. Phone: 4865-230460 / 230969. 

1 comment:

Pawan Sharma said...

Nice and informative!

Visit Octavius Tea Resorts in West Bengal, India for the best tea experience.