Wednesday, April 24, 2013

God's Own Country - My Travelogue - 3 Munnar

It is worth a visit to the Spice Garden, specially if you have kids in the group. A guide accompanies you for a half an hour tour, and you get to know a lot about different spices, their health and medical benefits etc:

Cardamom - the Queen of spices is the most sought after from Kerala. Although smaller in size, it is of good quality, and the loamy soil and medium slopes are ideal for its cultivation. Every one loves chocolates, and it was my first hand experience to get the feel of cocoa cultivation.

Each of the Spice Farms has a selling outlet, where you can shop for your favorite spice. The home made chocolate bars, without ant preservative are worth a try. With the growing awareness in our eating habits, it is good to understand about organic farming and to develop a taste for the produce.

Cocoa fruit 

Towards afternoon we entered Munnar town, and found it to be too crowded, it has changed its character and has become a bustling town of Tea Planters. We were fortunate to have booked ourselves in  Terrace Green - Sterling resort nestled in the hills, a peaceful heaven at  a distance from the hustle bustle of the town. Club Mahindra also has their property located near by in Chinnakanal.

Many years ago I had stayed in Terrace Green just for a day, but this time round I found the property to be greatly up scaled, with aesthetic room decor, impressive reception area, and large refurbished dining and activity areas. 

It covers a large area, so you can have a relaxing morning walk, and return to have your tea and coffee. The rooms have a small fridge, a microwave, a tea pot and the room service smiling keeps your tea/coffee, sugar / milk sachets full, so you can enjoy many a hot cuppas in the cold climate. 


Numerous indoor and outdoor activities keep the tourists in good spirit and cheer. A forest trek, Muuttuputtey Dam and lake, where you can hire a power boat, a flower and plants Nursery, and a visit to the first Tea Processing factory and Tata's Tea Museum, where the original Tea roller of 1905 and other related exhibits are on display, and at the end of the visit, we get to enjoy, complimentary famous brewed Munnar Tea.

The history of Munnar is that the verdant beauty of the place caught the attention of a British Commandant in the later part of the 18th Century, during the Third Anglo Mysore War, when the British  were in hot pursuit of Tipu Sultan, who managed to escape.

It was the British Resident John Daniel Munro in 1870 who had interest in Plantation, that brought Munnar to the outside world. However, it was an European - A.A. Sharp who planted in 1880  the first tea saplings in the 50 acres of land at Parvathy. Now the entire region is covered with Tea plants. The Tata's entered into collaboration with Finlay in 1964. At present the Tea Estates in the entire region by owned and managed by a Co-operative.

After a 3 day stay at Sterling - Munnar we left for Thekkady where the Periyar National Park is located. It is approx: 4 hrs downward journey, with sharp turns and bends, so if you are prone to travel sickness, eat light and take medicine.

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