To my dearest friends, family and fellow culture cravers,
I have moved around a lot this week. After a few days of being shown around the hectic city of Bangalore by a friend who studies there, I hopped on another night bus to Munnar, Kerala. After 14 hours of comfortable travel (I actually managed to get a good 8 hours kip), I poked my head behind the curtain and was stunned.
I was surrounded by rolling luscious green hills lined meticulously with tea bushes, sprinklings of vibrant flowers and extensive views across cloud peaked mountains.
After checking into the ‘penthouse’ suite at a guesthouse (it was their last available room and set me back 900 rupees… a bargain £9 a night), I went for a wander, booked onto a ‘soft’ trek through the tea plantations and then hit the hay.
The next day I decided to check out Top Station – the highest point in Munnar, which borders the neighbouring state, Tamil Nadu. After catching the scenic one hour bus journey up the mountain, I was engulfed by cloud – I couldn’t see a bloomin’ thing…
However the weaving bus trip past picturesque dams and view points was so beautiful, it was definitely still worth the trip (silver lining and all that…).
I ended my first day learning about the growing and making process of tea at the tea museum in preparation for the next day…
The next morning I was up bright and early for our trek. At 7am, we followed our guide Kumar to the entrance of the tea plantations. We weaved our way up through vivid, manicured tea plants until we came across a group of women who were about to start work cutting and manicuring the leaves.
Dressed in colourful outfits and smiling and laughing with one another as they dispersed into the greenery, it was incredible to watch them as they skillfully cut and gathered the tea – all with a huge grin on their faces.
After watching the women for a wee while, we hiked further and further up into the mountains opening up unbelievable views across the countryside. A little out of breath, we set up camp for the most scenic breakfast EVER.
Once we had stuffed our faces with Indian delights, we continued trekking up and down the mountains (stitch o’clock) whilst constantly taking in the breathtaking surroundings. At around 1pm, we began our descent back towards home.
Since Munnar I have been travelling down the coastline of Kerala, revisiting Cochin as well as, canoeing down the peaceful backwaters in Alleppey.
Tomorrow I am heading to an ashram run by the Hugging Mother (an Indian female guru), where I will be staying for a couple of nights experiencing meditation and yoga in real ashram style. I feel next week’s post will be an interesting one…
Until next week…