After all how much honey can the bees gather from a sea of blue flowers!?
Adimali though only around 40 kilometers away from our destination, Eravikulam, doesn’t carry the air of a hill station. The only big town before Munnar, travelers often spend some time in the shops here. You will definitely catch the telltale aroma of spices hanging in the air. A detour to Cheeyappara and Valara waterfalls can be made from Adimali.
Cheeyappara is a charming waterfall that cascades down in seven steps especially in monsoon. Valara located between Adimali and Neriyamangalam is only 14 kilometers from the town on the Deviyar river. It is a chain of waterfalls set amidst lush green forest.
Patches of the long road to Munnar from Adimali were once elephant corridors. When the original road built by the British has swept away in a flood that came at the beginning of the last century, the authorities had to start from the scratch. They traced an abandoned path of the elephants and widened it to make it motorable. As you climb on, what first strikes you is the sudden dip in temperature; the cold sometimes stings you unalarmed as you take yet another sharp turn in the road. The journey uphill is all excited as you learn that you move through a vast jungle. Peer into the woods on the margin if you are not the one driving. The chance of spotting an animal is big... Sometimes you have to wait in a line of traffic patiently for a herd of elephants to cross the road. This is still their world. The fog now begins to hoodwink the eyes, sometimes leading you through a thin black corridor of a road bordered with thick wads of white fog. There are times when even road before you disappears. Wind down the side glass, inhale the crisp mountain air sharp with the aroma of spices. Soon, vistas will open up on either side, you find yourself moving through a bed of tea plants, shimmering in the morning sun.
Munnar is still a few kilometers away somewhere on top of these hills but the cold breezes that waft in bring you a vague idea of a weather waiting at the top. Munnar plays an important part in the history of the state. It was Duke Wellesley and his men who were the first to discover the splendor of the place. They came not as travelers, but as soldiers to capture Tipu Sultan in the 18th century. Though Tipu gave them a miss, and fails to turn up as a prey to their ambush in the high ranges, Wellesley was not upset with his failed plan. The place where he had explored from Tamilnadu had already bowled him over.
Ever since, travelers, merchants, businessmen from different parts of the Continent began to come and find in Munnar the homeland they had left in Europe. The climate was a perfect throwback to the one at home. The English began to build companies, churches, and bungalows after the fashion of European architecture, especially the English style. The High range Club in the town and the CSI church in Old Munnar are some of the buildings that speak volumes about the time when the whites frequented the place. The estate bungalows not only carry the legacy of its architecture, some of them still wear on their sleeves, the British customs and practices. A stroll through one of the tea estates will take you back through time.
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