First, I must apologize for my really long gap in the blog posts. Needless to say, I was and will be really busy for the next few months and will be posting very seldom in the blog. Hopefully I will get excuses, like the trip to Munnar I had, a month ago , to take more photos and share with you guys. I had the good fortune to visit Munnar last year with Yanick Delafoge, one of my inspirations in street photography. More on that here.
But let me tell you a little bit about Munnar, a hilltop paradise in the Western Ghats. It is a nice drive from Adimaly (nearest town, at the foot of the mountain) with the nearest railway station at Kottayam/ Ernakulam and airport at Cochin.
Two friends and I set out on a drive after an early (which proved real early) breakfast to the hilltop. The drive was pleasant, with plenty of warm sunshine and cool breeze along the way. These grand landscapes and the blooming trees were a bonus.
And we stopped almost midway up the hills, to take a break from the drive and to take in the scenery. Maybe following our cue, many other cars going uphill also stopped, including this family who were keen to take a photo for posterity at the spot.
As I had seen the town in my previous visit, we decided to visit the Eravikulam national park, home to the the endangered Nilgiri tahr(a striped mountain goat) but our hopes were thrashed as you can very well see here. We decided to give the sanctuary a break and decided to go see Top station instead. Top station is the highest point in the Nilgiris which is accessible to the public (the higher peaks are only available for trekking for the adventure-loving).
AWe settle for a near-noon snack of carrots and freshly grilled corn cobs , which were thoroughly enjoyable (but in retrospect turned out to be a bad decision, as it made my gastritis worse) .
On the way to Top station, we made a stop at Mattupetty dam, whose reservoir made a particularly scenic background for this photo. (for those who don’t know me, I’m the one with the one-pack abdomen).Around the dam, there was a carnival-like air with children from a school who were there on study tour, hawkers and vendors selling tea leaves, sandalwood, spices and honey among many other things that nature produces in abundance there. A lot of shops selling tea/coffee/instant noodles/eggs were also present for the gastronomically inclined. Those weren’t anything gourmet but a hot cuppa in the cool clime, felt very refreshing.
There were many shops selling bric-a-brac like these lovely wooden bangles too.
Finally we reached Top station around 1 pm and this was what we were greeted with.We went down the magic stairway, expecting snow and clouds and a smooth descent and stuff which proved to be sunshine too warm to be comfortable in and an ankle twisting descent (well, I may be exaggerating a little bit but the descent wasn’t as smooth as it was painted to be, nothing to be said about the snow.) But well, “Top is top” and it gives you some degree of bragging rights.
Maybe these kids were also disappointed by the illusory snow .The Western Ghats stretched where the eyes could see, peeping majestically amidst their cloudy blankets.A few moments and some photos later we were heading back, having witnessed the highest point in God’s own country It really was an arduous climb.
Few more shots through the scenic mountainside and we were done.