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After breakfast, we left for Munnar, a little town in the hills. The bus was packed to its full capacity, yet the conductor was squeezing people in. We were sitting on front seats that unfortunately fell in the ‘reserved for ladies’ area. The conductor asked us to remain seated amidst the group of ladies surrounding us (oh god, they talked so much!). This scene reminded me of the crowds in Mumbai local trains. These guys can definitely cope up with the crowds in suburban trains of Mumbai. Strangely enough, in the initial part of the journey, large number of ladies were traveling, each one with some warm utensils in their bags.
I cannot easily distinguish between Tamil and Malayalam languages unless I pay careful attention to the speech – although these are quite different languages. From the intonations and accents, one can feel a dominating Tamil influence in this border town. Many shops have texts written in both languages and plenty of buses and private vehicles ply with Tamil Nadu number plates.
|Rain, winding roads and tea estates|
The route from Thekkady to Munnar travels through some of the highest ranges in Western Ghats. The road takes continuous twists and turns alternating between valleys, forests, streams and peaks. As Munnar draws closer, one can see extensive tea plantations covering hills completely. Just before Devikulam, the road passes through some breathtaking views!
Keralites live in a place that is drenched (monsoon pun) in natural beauty… I wonder if they know that…?
Confluence at Munnar
Munnar (mooon aar), in Tamil, literally means ‘3 rivers’. The town is situated around the confluence of these rivers. Typifying India’s secular culture, a church, a temple and a mosque are prominently located on three hillocks overlooking the town. In the evening, we went for a walk to the old Munnar town, about 2 kilometers away. Munnar is full of picturesque surroundings, with more than 12,000 hectares of lush tea fields, eucalyptus plantations and ofcourse hill ranges, streams and very pure air. At night, draped in plastic sheets, we went out again for a walk in heavy rains and chilly winds for a cup of coffee.
|Mosque and a temple on adjacent hills|