After enjoying the renowned sunny beaches in Kerala to the fullest, I decided to head to Munnar for a change of scenery as well as that of the climate. This being my first trip to this hill station, I tried to verify all my readings about it from everyone around: the tea vendors, people at the eateries, a few locals and my fellow travellers. Their accounts varied to great extent but one thing they unanimously echoed in was that this was a place of matchless beauty! I didn’t have to doubt these seemingly tall claims for long, as we approached the Munnar Valley. The landscape along the road was definitely more than pleasing to my eyes. I declined to get smitten with it though, arguing to myself that it was only because of the sudden transition from the sunny seashores to the hilly region that I found it so distinctly spectacular. Soon we reached Munnar and arrived at Vedanta Wake up, my default choice throughout my Kerala trip, and all my remaining doubts about the suitability of the labels bestowed upon the place simply evaporated, just like the mist that was slowly but surely vanishing right under my eyes in the gorges not far away. I had no qualms now to accept that I was indeed in “Kashmir of South India”!
Looking at the mighty peaks of Anaimudi, and the others of equal magnificence, the trekker in me hardly could rest in the hotel despite the best services available in there. The mountains kept calling me and I decided to not waste a single moment further, rushing out to master the challenging terrain of the impressive Western Ghats. Having a guide provided by the hotel made thing much hassle-free as there was no question of floundering on my path towards the peaks reaching into the heavens. He also proved to be extremely knowledgeable of the way of the jungle that we were passing thorough all along: the greens as well as the beasts, he knew of everything and enriched me from his vast storage of lore of the jungle. I can never forget lapping up the water from a mountain brook as I copied him, kneeling on the ground and reaching out my tongue to fetch the water straight from the brook! The water was the sweetest that I had ever tasted before or have tasted thereafter; it certainly did not seem to be the water for this planet. Rejuvenated by the drinks from quite a few such brooks, we soon put Anaimudi under our feet and the exhilaration of the achievement and the panoramic view laid in front of us made me certain that I was in no other place than the Paradise itself!
Traversing the National Parks and the sanctuaries in the Munnar Valley, gleaning precious serene moments along the Munnar Lake and Mattupetty Lake, bathing under the pristine waterfalls of Luckom and Attukal, the list of unforgettable memories from my trip to Kashmir of South India is simple endless. Though begun with apprehensions, my visit to Munnar was by far the most fulfilling for me on so many accounts!