The steam swirled between my palms from the hot coffee I held in the paper cup before rising to join the already formed mist that surrounded me. My vision followed the serpentine tar road that disappeared into the curve of the undulating Western Ghats. The burst of emerald foliage that surrounded me consisted mostly of small tea growing shrubs sloping in their downward journey towards the foothills. The sun played through the low lying clouds creating patterns of light and shadow. Contemplating on chasing the clouds in our car from my vantage point in Munnar, I sipped my coffee quickly and inhaled deeply into the pure air, before joining my Husband. The thrill of our ride still makes me shiver. On one side the gentle Ghats rose high to touch the crystal blue sky and on the other a steep slope rolled down into green waves.
Tucked away at a height of 1700 meters this town of Munnar from the state of Kerala, provide a breath catching panoramic view at its every turn. Tiny cottages with red and blue tiles dotted the hills. We rolled down the meandering hilly roads piercing through the chilly wind. My hand was stretched out of the window in a playful attempt to catch the clouds. Alas! Only if I could. The moisture formed droplets on the windshield engulfing us into a near blinding road due to the ever moving clouds. Gradually I floated down from heaven leaving behind my memories in the mist.
After about three hours of ride we reached our next destination, Allepey. On our way we crossed number of villages. The change in scenic beauty brought with it a change in the temperature. It was much warmer in the low lands. The road ran along a straight line with the glimpses of the famous Backwater playing hide and seeks from amongst the multitude growth of coconut trees. My excitement grew in anticipation of a new adventure. Soon we reached a spot where houseboats lined the lagoon.
Our houseboat awaited us and we set out on a memorable journey. The houseboat was equipped with a well-laid out deck with plush seating arrangements, a bedroom with adjoining bathroom and a fully working kitchen. We had two stewards at our bidding! They were all in all the captain, cook, helper, waiter and what not. We knew were in for a pampering that we will not forget for a long time to come. The intricate networks of water bodies that form the Backwater ran parallel to the Arabian Sea offering a leisure ride along it. As the boat started to swim through the middle of the water, we noticed that the lagoon was dotted with many similar houseboats. I settled down on the deck comfortably to enjoy some breeze, beauty and the Backwaters.
A companionable silence descended unto us as the water lapped the sides of the boat, cradling us in the soft lullaby as the sun descended lower into the horizon. Everywhere we turned around all we saw is water. Deep, dark but soothing. Together we watched the sun go down. The night enveloped us in a peaceful silence. For the night we docked at the bank.
Next day we headed to the main city of Kerala, Kochi or Cochin. Chiselled from the dream of the Europeans, Kochi still holds an important spice trading route to many countries of the world from India. Evidences of the Western touch can be found scattered throughout the city in forms of churches and forts. After some local sightseeing we went to the shores to see the Chinese Fishing Nets. The atmosphere smelled of sea, fish and spices. The Sea was strewn with ships of all sizes. Situated in the nook of a dockyard, the Arabian Sea opened up into its limit less in front of us
Our journey had started with the idea of escaping the mundane city life. With few days to spare, we had planned for Kerala, India. Known as the God’s own Country, this place proved to be a breather. From my visit I came to realise God indeed took His time to build a real heaven on earth. Blessed with all that wonders of nature that includes mountains, forest and sea this place there is no dearth of wonders all around the place. It was indeed a true Pandora’s Box, waiting to be opened only to those willing to unfold its true gift.