A Rainy weekend at Munnar
A Rainy Weekend at Munnar
“A rainy day is the perfect time for a walk in the woods.”
Monsoons may be considered by many as an unlikely season to travel. But for me, monsoon has always been a magical time. Everything in nature seems to come alive after the long, dry spell of summer.
Which is why, when my friends suggested a trip to the hill station of Munnar, in Kerala, I jumped at the idea. Munnar is a quaint town in the Western Ghats, on the eastern side of Kerala, almost at the border it shares with its neighboring state of Tamil Nadu. A mention of Munnar immediately conjures up images of vast expanses of lush green tea plantations covering rolling hills. These hills especially come alive during the rainy season.
The closest airport to Munnar is Cochin International Airport (Kochi), 110 km away by road. One can get a one-way ticket from Delhi to Cochin at about 3500-4000 INR, and the flight duration is about 3 hours. From Cochin, one can take a bus or book a cab to drive down to Munnar, a 3.5 hours drive. The cab fare can range from 3000 INR to 4500 INR, depending on the type of car.
Munnar offers a wide range of hotels that suit every budget. We chose to stay at a local homestay that offered authentic Malayali meals. We had made sure to check in about the weather forecast with the owner of homestay in advance, and he had advised us to prepare for heavy showers in the coming week. Taking his word for it, we invested in rainwear and accessories, including rain jackets, shoes and of course, sturdy umbrellas. Regular raincoats can prove cumbersome, especially for hiking. So, we purchased rain jackets online instead. Wildcraft has an impressive collection of rain jackets and other jacket online.
We reached our Munnar abode around mid-day on a bright Saturday, having taken an early morning flight into Kochi. Munnar is not one of your steep hills with long-winding roads. It’s a relatively low-standing town, which makes the drive so much better and picturesque. You can immediately feel the temperatures drop as you go uphill.
After enjoying a hearty Malayali brunch at our homestay, we decided to explore the town by foot, making good use of our purchase of rainwear and backpack online. The main roads were murky, so we chose an upward turn and started walking uphill along the tree plantations. The views were breathtaking, with misty clouds gently caressing the distant hills. There was a slight drizzle that made our walk more enjoyable.
Once the downpour became stronger, we raced back to our homestay. Only when we were safely inside did I realize that my purchase of the rain jacket online had kept me completely dry. It rained incessantly through the rest of the evening, so we stayed indoors and planned our next couple of days.
Early next day, we hired a cab to visit the Mattupatti Dam, a beautiful dam flanked by hills on both sides. We were told the surroundings areas were home to numerous animals, and they came to the dam to drink water, in particular wild goats and elephants. From here, we went to Echo Point where we found throngs of people shouting at the valley below in an attempt to hear their voice back! It was here that another downpour began. Armed with our rain jackets, we clambered back into our cab.
We then visited the Munnar Rose Garden and Photo Point, soon to realize that Munnar has a number of such “points” which have been locally labelled as tourist spots. We also spent some time around tea plantations and sampled their products. Once the rain had stopped, we walked up small hiking trails around the tea plantation, before heading back to our home-stay.
We spent the next day at Anamudi, famous for its elephant sightings. We didn’t actually see any, probably due to the rain. But the sights were beautiful, nevertheless. We came back to our home stay in time for a hearty lunch and spent most of that afternoon lazing in the balcony watching the rain. In the evening, we stepped out for a brisk hike once again, covered up in our Wild craft rain-wear.
Our weekend at Munnar was the most relaxing short vacation I’ve had in a long time. This was also my first monsoon trip and I can’t wait to plan more of such trips, if only to get more use out of my rain jacket!