Skywatch Friday - On Southern tip of India!

Kanyakumari. The Southern tip of India.

The land's end. 

A place for watching beautiful sunrises and sunsets. And moonrises too.....

Off the main land is a huge rocky island. A place immortalised by Swami Vivekananda who swam here to meditate.

Today we have a lovely memorial on the rock - Vivekananda Rock Memorial.

The view from the shore is spectacular. The red granite memorial contrasting with grey rock on which it stands with sea in the foreground.

Click on the picture to see in larger size.


We clicked this on a sunny morning with clear sky.

Travel Tips - A boat ride of 10 Minutes will take you to the island. In peak tourist season, you have to wait in the queue for your turn. The best time to go if you want to enjoy peaceful atmosphere is to catch the first boat early in the morning. Get up early. Watch the lovely sunrise and catch the first boat.

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Munnar in Monsoon 2 - Mesmerised at first sight!

Munnar in monsoon is mesmerising. This is the second part in this series. We explored Munnar in last week of July, 2014. The first part was covered in this post. 


Leaving Bodhimettu behind, we drive on. The roads gets excellent. The valley views gets fabulous.

We now realise how beautiful Munnar is in Monsoon. And regret why we never came here earlier in rains.

Cloud kissed Mountains in the horizon provides a perfect backdrop to the green valley in the foreground. The mountains rise sharply. They are conical in shape, their summits covered by thick monsoon clouds. 

The rains have actually made late entry into Munnar. The locals say that rains only started in Munnar in the previous week. We could see that ourselves with the lake which otherwise look beautiful when full is not even half full.

( Please click on the pictures to see them in original size)

Munnar in Monsoon
The first sight of verdant valleys of Munnar....
Munnar in Monsoon
The lovely lake. Notice the water level.
Munnar in Monsoon
Manicured tea gardens with mountains as backdrop
Munnar in Monsoon

Munnar in Monsoon
Sometimes, the green expanse gets a white contrast in the form of lovely cascades.

Munnar in Monsoon
This was a beautiful sight. A tea village with colourful houses in the middle of green valley!
Our journey now gets slower as we stop now and then to click pictures. The valleys now pave way to immaculately maintained tea gardens. The landscape is dotted by huge boulders amidst the manicured tea gardens. The boulders of Munnar makes the terrain interesting. Strewn at random, covered by green, they look as if some one has done landscaping. The green expanse is disturbed  by orange trees with lovely fruits.  We never knew that Orange is grown in these areas. 

Munnar in Monsoon
Orange trees amidst the tea gardens
Munnar in Monsoon
Natural landscaping!
We get into the car and start driving on the winding roads. Slight drizzle and mist add to the beauty of our drive. Around the corner, Brinda suddenly notice a lovely waterfalls at distance and we are all excited. We drive closer and this happens to be the beautiful "Chinnakanal Waterfalls". The rains in the last week has made it glorious sight.

Munnar in Monsoon
Chinnakanal waterfalls @ its glorious best

Munnar in Monsoon

Munnar in Monsoon
A panoramic view of the falls as we drove away past and turned on a curve...
The next few KMs of the drive was most exciting. The road gets narrower. Huge boulders on one side with tiny waterfalls cascading from the top and mist filled valley on the left.

Munnar in Monsoon
A panoramic shot of the boulder with its cascades. Mesmerising!
Munnar in Monsoon

Munnar in Monsoon
The vistas on the winding roads are lovely
A lovely drive in the mountains leads us to Munnar town. A small hill town, typical of a tea country. To some extent, Munnar town resembles the town of Nuwara Eliya in Sri Lanka's Hill country, though it lacks the lovely Gregory lake. But that is compensated by two lovely lakes away from the town. We will cover them in future posts.

The entry was like a fantastic prelude to next few days in paradise! 

Travel Tips

a) Munnar is not for some one in a hurry. For that matter any mountain. It has to be savoured slowly.

b) It is worth driving up to Bodhimettu even if you are reaching from other two routes of Udumalpet and Cochin. The vistas are beautiful.

c) Stop and click pictures for memories!

d) The water falls will be at their best in monsoon. Do not expect Chinnakanal in the same glorious best after rains.

e) Roads in Munnar in excellent condition. The best thing to do in Munnar is to drive around. It is an exhilarating experience. 
  
If you want to experience the beauty of monsoon in India, you can check this post on this blog.


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Monday Medley - Kashmiri chai and Buttered buns!

Monday Medley - A potpourri of interesting experiences, articles, posts from fellow bloggers which we liked, books we loved, interesting images of fellow travellers or images from our own portfolio. We hope it will be a good start to the week ahead...... 

When we read about the devastation caused by floods in Kashmir, our hearts went out to those who had lost their lives and whose life has been badly affected. At the same time, it also brought back fond memories of interacting with these fine people known for their courtesy and hospitality.

It was a sunny day when we got down in Srinagar airport on our way to Ladakh last month. We were surprised and asked  Mushtaq our driver why Srinagar was hot and humid? Mushtaq replied that rains were delayed in Kashmir this year which has had resulted in hot and sultry Srinagar.

As we left airport, we started talking about how the tourism season had been and other sundry subjects. Invariably the food was the next topic in our discussion. We spoke about our drinking of "Kashmiri chai" in Lal Chowk on a hartal day in August, last year. Dipping crispy "puffs" in "Kashmiri salt tea" and eating them was a delicious experience.

"So, you like Kashmir salt tea?" Asked Mushtaq.

"Yes"

"Ok, i will take you to a good place where you can savour the chai."

He turned the car towards tourism reception centre. In front of that is the taxi stand. Inside the taxi stand, Mushtaq led us to the "Chai shop". It looked like a popular place for everyone who wished to savour tea and exchange words. Few men were sitting on the bench talking in Kashmiri and sipping the chai.

Courtesies exchanged, the chaiwallah asked whether we want normal chai or Kashmiri chai. Kashmiri we replied. He prepared three cups of tea. Pink in colour and salty in taste. As we took the glass of tea, we saw him giving out Kashmir bun smeared with butter.

Ready to sip! 
Preparing buttered bun
We also ordered three buns with butter. Dipping that in the chai and eating was just what was ordered for a hungry stomach which was starving since morning.

If you go to Srinagar, one of the "must experience" is to sip the "Kashmiri Chai" along with butter smeared buns.

We have not been able to speak to Mushtaq ever since the floods affected the city of Srinagar. We are sure that the "Chai shop" would have flooded too. We hope and pray Mushtaq and the "Chaiwallah" are safe and once the things settle down, chaiwallah will start his shop once again.

Till then, the taste of Kashmiri Chai will linger on.

For other Gourmet experiences on our travel, please check this link in this blog

Food Safari

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