Published: June 1st 2009June 1st 2009
Munnar is set up in the mountains - 1,600 metres. The town of Munnar isn't particularly pretty. The real beauty of Munnar is the miles and miles of tea plantations that surround it. Every hill side has been taken up with beatifully manicured tea plants. The plantations are owned by TATA, who employ 12,000 people in Munnar.
We stayed 20 miles outside of the town, in a resort called Dew Drops. It was absolutely beautiful. Set in 240 acres of forests and lakes, we'd finally found a quiet place. No horns beeping, hawkers selling or beggers asking for money. It was really peaceful and relaxing. We spent 3 days there, and went trekking each day with our local guide, Nithin. He took us up through the mountains, to the waterfalls and smaller tea plantations. We managed to see growing; tea, coffee, cocoa, pepper, cardomon, cashew nuts, pineapple, mangos and passion fruit.
Many of the local villagers hadn't seen/rarely see Westerners, so as soon as we'd walk past, kids would wave and smile and gather to watch us. Very sweet.
We didn't want to leave, but had to get on with our next adventure. So, we boarded a bus
to Madurai. The journey was quite an ordeal - it was windy and bumpy as the bus drove through the mountain roads. The bus conductor put on 2 horror films as 'entertainment', and behind us a lady was being really sick!!
6 hours later, we arrived in Madurai. Unfortunately, we weren't immediately impressed. It was so loud, hot (43 degrees!!!) and dirty compared to Munnar. We decided to stay for just 1 night, and during the day, we went to see Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, which is right in the centre of Madurai. It was AMAZING. It's the largest Hindu temple in India, and was full of 400 year old detailed and colourful paintings and carvings. Really special.
That evening, we boarded a night train heading for Pondicherry....
There are more photos below