With a week left for my friend’ and my birthday, we decided that Munnar is the place to go. We found a decent stay in Suryanelly, 20 km away from the Munnar town, through Airbnb. After an exhausting travel of 14 hours from Bangalore, we reached Munnar only to be welcomed by the lush tea estates and bountiful rains.
Lush tea estates enroute Suryanelly
Lush tea estates enroute Suryanelly
A quick breakfast at Saravana Bhavan gave us the energy to get to our home-stay in Suryanelly. We found a warm friendly Share-Auto person who took us to the home-stay and enlightened us with places to visit in Munnar. The ride was beautiful. The tea estates were a treat to the weary eyes. After a quick picture and two we reached our home-stay. It was more than what we saw in the pictures on Airbnb and we were elated.
Home-stay at Suryanelly
Home-stay at Suryanelly
We enjoyed rest of the day, lazing around, watching TV, drawing and reading books. The next day we ventured out to explore the Suryanelly town and we had to book a ride to Kolukkumalai tea estate which happens to be the World’s Highest Organic Tea Plantation. We found a very genuine person(a travel guide cum driver) who gave us a short itinerary on the things that can be visited in and around in a day. After much contemplation, we gave a positive nod for him to take us along in his Jeep.
Before heading back to the stay, we explored the nearby tea estates and had a lovely stroll through the scenic roads.
Beautiful rolling mountains
A trail to the mountains
Lush tea estates
When trees add to the panoramic tea estates
The following morning we left quite early so that we could catch the sunrise at Kolukkumalai mountain range. The ride was pretty eventful as it was a bumpy ride all throughout. We did get a massage naturally.
Well, as we reached the mountain ridge, there the sun was climbing its way up and we were mesmerized by the spectacle. I felt on top of the world to start my birthday filled with wonder. After taking a few shots of the sunrise and the mountain ridges we took to a spicy breakfast as in spicy Maggi noodles and omelette.
After a while atop the scenic mountains, we hiked to the Meesapulimalai mountain. With winding paths and ridges we made it to the gorgeous peak. We were on the border of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Us at the Mountain ridge
The Meesapulimalai range
The panoramic views, the gushing wind and the mind boggling silence had us glued to the place. We then trudged back to the jeep.
Atop the mountain
The Birthday dudettes
Soaking in the silence of the mountains
We went about a tour of tea-making at this beautiful estate. A guide told us about the entire process and also involved us in few of the steps. It was quite heartening and hilarious as well.
Post lunch, we headed to our home-stay to freshen up. An evening of Kathakali was waiting for us. We were happy to be the curious audience at this program. I had always felt scared seeing those colorful faces on TV as a kid but today I was here, right in front enjoying their performance.
The Kathakali performers
Us with the performers
After the lovely performance we headed to our stay for a relaxing night by the stars.
The next morning we went towards Thekkady and visited the Spice garden. We were educated on the various benefits of the spices. The short trail in the garden mesmerized us in a spicy way. Later on, we whizzed past lovely bridges between the tea estates.
It was a nice tour and after some shopping we headed for our bus to Bangalore.
Well all in all, it was a beautiful trip where we rejuvenated our tired souls 🙂
The beauty of the mountains spell binds any traveler any day.
It has been a year already since the gorgeous Parvati valley happened to me. Situated in Himachal Pradesh, it is one of the beautiful valleys along the mighty Himalayas!
The trip to Himachal Pradesh last year was an adventurous one in every way- a road trip across the state, stopping by the scenic woods at Dalhousie, soaking in the serenity at Parashar lake, hiking up the Dhauladhar ranges and Parvati valley with thoroughly enjoying the roar of Parvati across Kasol- ‘Amsterdam of India’, Manikaran and quaint Tosh.
The trek to Kheerganga which is at 9700 feet is a beautiful one. The trek starts from Barshaini, a small town near Manikaran in the Kullu district at a height of about 7200 feet.
The trek of 14 km starts near a hydel project at the confluence of Parvati and Tosh rivers. The trail passes through small villages and cafes.
The vista opens upto the gorgeous Parvati valley lined with pine trees and one can hear the roar of Parvati all along the trail.
The Beautiful Parvati valley
Along the Kheerganga trail
The View below 🙂
Along the Kheerganga trail
After a lemon drink at one of the cafes we( my friend and the guide) hit the trail with a zing of energy.
As I saw the last of the villages lined with wheat fields, the trail opened up to a small clearing which happened to be the Rudranag waterfall.
A small bridge ahead paved way to a steep trail. The woods were spooky yet beautiful. After trudging up the rocky spiral trail amidst the woods which had a fairy-tale wonder to it, we had reached the famous Kheerganga.
Kheerganga, is a spectacular meadow where Shiva- the Adiyogi happened to have meditated for about 3000 years. The meadow is surrounded by lush green and snow clad mountains.
The hot springs of Kheerganga are best known for their healing properties and there are two separate hot springs area for men and women.
After a trek of about 3-4 hrs one can relax in the spring and rejuvenate oneself. The meadow is a bit commercialized with camps, cafes and stays. It could turn off any trekker looking for a tranquil space in the mountains.
After spending the night in a tent, viewing the splendid mountains, we were off to Barshaini to head to Tosh. More on Tosh at Quaint little Tosh
The trail is absolutely beautiful lined with pine trees, serene captivating meadows and that makes this trek all the more worthwhile!
A good conversation on travel kinda ends up in going for one. Well got to be lucky in a way! Thanks to my fellow travelers.
Tadiandamol was just that, a plan made in a jiffy and lo and behold we were at the cosy coffee estates of Coorg in no time.
After an overnight bus ride from Bangalore to Virajpet, we were ushered by the chill air of the mountains. Our next stop was to Kabbinakad via Napoklu. We got a ride, after a wait of two hours, through beautiful estates and climb up the scenic mountains..
Our home for the next three days was at Honey valley, at about 4250 feet which turned out to be an haven nestled in the lush coffee estates and forests. The Jeep ride from Kabbinakad to the homestay is an adventurous ride as it takes one through bumpy, slushy and steep curvy paths.
A light breakfast energized us in no time and, we enjoyed the serene place with just about doing nothing. We strolled a bit along the estate. We found flora, frogs, butterflies and of course 3-4 dogs who were constant companions throughout our stay.
A frog enjoying the rain, Honey Valley Coorg, Shwetha Krish
Lotus in a pond, Honey Valley Coorg, Shwetha Krish
Bee at its work, Honey Valley Coorg, Shwetha Krish
As it rained, we took to the confines of a small balcony facing the mountains and then made to the comforts of our bed. The day ended with card games, chatter with the rains playing a splendid tune.
The next day was slated for our much awaited Tadiandamol trek.
Tadiandamol(Big mountain) is the highest mountain in Coorg at about 5740 ft. It is a part of the Western Ghats range and is the fourth highest mountain in Karnataka state.
Owing to the rains and wild elephants, we had to take on an alternate route much before the Forest Guest house. As we hiked through the forests and winding paths, it felt as if we were the only four on the trail. After 2 kms, we hit upon views which were mesmerizing. The trail through the lush green grasslands were picture perfect. Not to forget the picturesque trail through the thick forests for about a mile. The weather was chill and it was drizzling. Thanks to that we weren’t that exhausted.
The hike up the last mile was sheer beautiful. With rolling hills all around and the puffy clouds making their way on a beat, made the climb all the more worthwhile. We stayed at the peak for about two hours. We were lucky enough to see the vast greenlands, beautiful valleys, thick forests and curvy ridges when the clouds unveiled the canvas!
The feeling of being one with nature is quite unexplainable till date. The silence of the mountains, a gusty tune of the winds, the whispers of the grasslands is just too divine.
Lush rolling hills and valleys
After a hearty meal, we headed back to the base camp. Just as we got into our Jeep the clouds gave way for a heavy downpour. We paid a visit to the Nalknad Palace, which happened to be hidden between the mountains. It is a very old palace built in 1792 AD and was the last refuge of the Kodagu kings.
We ended our day relaxing, singing and enjoying the rains.
Honey Valley estate is very beautiful and obviously away from the humdrum of the city. It was the first homestay in Coorg and started its services way back in 1994. It is surrounded by coffee estates all around along with pepper and cardamom trees. The homestay and the surrounding area is just warmly splendid. One take a peaceful stroll or meditate(which is what we did) or just about enjoy the natural setting.
After a lovely short stay we left the beautiful Honey Valley estate the next day only to drive back to the city but with renewed energy.
I remember three years back, my first tryst with Yoga turned out to be a sour puss. I used to go to a certified Yoga practitioner in the vicinity. The classes were held in the evenings and I drudged my body twice a week to all the weird poses and stretches. My body ached and mind did wallow in the stillness for at least a while. But, it seemed a boring affair after a month that I quite stopped going all of a sudden. With all due respect to the teacher, I felt Yoga was not for me.
About six months back, I apprehensively went through a course which indulged in Yoga and Meditation too. Quite surprisingly, I took to it like a duck takes to water. Well, maybe I needed to be ready to take on a Guru who would light the path; the path of realization! This happened well in time or should I say at the opportune time for things were clearer from then on.
I write about this not because I want to propagate Yoga or want everyone to take on Yoga, I am sure you are wise enough to decide for yourself!
I want to put forth a few simple things or thoughts that have changed me for the better over these few months of practising Yoga.
I have felt an amazing sense of freedom irrespective of what my situation is.
Life is beautiful and miraculous; you would agree with me if you have touched upon the inner journey.
We are all travellers on this Earth. Birth and Death are mere pit-stops.
We have come here alone and going out alone; prestige, wealth, fame, societal norms won’t travel with you- they are not important.
All the treasures and answers are within you. Mind and Body are merely there to assist us in the simple transactions of life.
The purpose of life on this Earth- Know Thyself, while you are at it- enjoy what this world offers.
Compassion and humility are the keys for a better life.
An action arising from the very sinews of the Infinite makes way for a more truthful and healthy life.
Being ever engrossed in Sadhana be it the work you do or simple acts of service or just being meditative( your practises, your work, your hobby) gets you on the path of the divine.
Most importantly, live in the moment for this is the now!
I have just mentioned a few thoughts that have ran across my mind now. But there are more subtle and amazing things which I have not expressed as I want and hope this journey for you is as intriguing and mind boggling as it has been for me.
Well bottom line, Yoga has changed me in and out. My whole perception has changed and it has been a significant revelation and it makes me want to enjoy this life to the fullest!
Phew, this International Yoga Day I am talking about the beauty of Yoga and the miracles of life that it augments; I quite cannot believe this 🙂 Well let’s call it a miracle too!
Do you practise Yoga? How has been your journey? Enlighten me…..
As I went about my morning walk up on the terrace of my home in Bangalore, the Sun was making it’s way up. It’s move up on the stage was so grand that I had to grab my camera and focus on its entrance.
It was a poised way up and it was utterly elegant that I had to focus on getting these above shots. I was lost in time and wonder of this spectacle.
We are always so lost in our own world that we fail to look at the beauty around, the nature is a grand spectacle and every day, every moment is brand new.
What do you think of this? Have you come across any grand spectacle of nature?