Saturday, 8 September 2012

Munnar : Hilltop Tea Town Bordered by Tea Estates and Green Valleys : Part -1

Hotel Ruby International where we stayed in Kodaikanal had arranged a vehicle for us to reach Munnar. We boarded the vehicle and there were two more couples - a Gujarati couple and a Bengali couple along with us. We left to Munnar from Kodaikanal. I was little bit worried on Mist. If it continues in Munnar then our whole trip would be wasted. As we were nearing Munnar I was very happy to see the clear blue sky. There was clear weather with no trace of mist. It was bit warm too.
As we were approaching Munnar border we could see boards like "Spice Garden", "Spice Plantation" along roadside. Driver told us that we can enter those spice garden by paying some amount to the plantation owner to see the entire plantation. Gujarati couple were very much interested to see the plantation and requested our driver to stop the vehicle. We entered the spice garden. There was a house and house owner came outside with a smile and welcomed us. He charged 100Rs per couple to show the spice garden.
A lady took us backside of the house and started showing elaichi plants, venilla creeps, black pepper creeps, cinnamon plants. Me and my hubby started laughing as we had these plants in our house too. To see this we paid 100Rs!!! but those Gujarati and Bengali couple were seeing all these for very first time. They were touching those plants and examining with great curiosity and took some snaps. That lady was explaining in English with Malayalam accent that nobody could understand. Finally our spice garden tour ended with a special masala tea offered to us by the house owner. Tea was simply superb!!!
Beautiful Dam On the Way to Munnar :
As we moved further, we started witnessing the real beauty of Munnar. Munnar town was still 20 Km away. Our driver stopped the vehicle near a dam. View of the dam and the valley was wonderfull with tea plantations surrounding the dam. There is a beautiful small island in the middle of the dam. We relaxed there for 10 minutes and moved further.
We were told that Munnar got its name from three (Munu) rivers (Aaru) - named Nallathani, Palaar and Kanniar. 
Beautiful Dam On the Way to Munnar

Tea Plantations of Munnar :
We could see only tea plantations everywhere. We were greeted by miles and miles of unending tea plantations on entry into munnar. Sun was bright and neatly plucked tea bushes and tender tea leaves were shining. Smooth road looked like a long, moving black snake in the middle of tea bushes growing and spreading on every availaible space on the rolling hills. Our vehicle driver told that today tea is cultivated on 25,000 hectares of land in Munnar with an annual yield of 50,000 metric tonnes.

We reached our hotel around 4 PM and remaining day was for our relaxation. Bengali and 
Gujarati couple had booked rooms in different hotels. Hotel receptionist told us that we can go for a walk, enjoy tea plantations and come back by evening. So we started to explore tea plantations with an evening walk.
Munnar hills are home to many large and small tea plantations. We saw plantations of Tata Tea, Kannan Devan and Harrison Malayalam. Plantation workers were busy in plucking leaves, pruning the tea bushes, sprinkling water. There were localites houses on top of rolling hills. 

Plantation workers sprinkling the water
Localites Houses on top of the Hill
I really started falling in love with Munnar. This is the place where heaven meets earth to show us the rare treat of beauty, serenity and tranquility. Words are falling short to explain the heavenliness of this place. One has to see, to believe the sheer magic of this place.

Tata Tea Company in Munnar
Here I must mention about Tata Tea Company in Munnar. Tata Tea estates, factories  and other processing operations provide jobs to a large number of people in and around Munnar. It has given meaning to a lot of people's lives.The company has gone out of its way to provide all kinds of facilities and conveniences to its employees - among them schools, medical centres and more. Tata Schools provide free and quality education to plantation workers children. Special care is taken for physically handicapped children. Company has built quarters for plantation workers which look beautiful on the hill. So I can say that they are leading a peacefull life in God's own Country in the tea estates of the heaven called "Munnar".
Tata Tea Workers Quarters

Tata School
We wanted to visit Tata Tea Museum which has been opened recently to the delight of tea lovers and tourists. But time didnt permit. It was already 7 PM and we returned to hotel.

To be continued.......


R Niranjan Das said...

Nice write up and photos of Munnar. Would love to travel to Munnar from Kodaikanal. I suppose it is very scenic.

Chetana said...

Yes is very scenic....

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