Munnar seems to be a perfect scenery painting. One can see numerous shades of green on the mountain slopes, ranging from dark beetle green to light lemon green, river beneath the mountains, perfectly blue sky with birds flying and one small road going to a distant house. This god painted mountain in the Western Ghats has thus attracted millions since the British era.
Munnar had now attracted us so much that we planned to visit in the month of January, peak winter season in Munnar. We reached Munnar at night and the temperature was freezing 1℃. We thought it was a big mistake coming off season as the hotels were empty and with slow service. This made life difficult as we had to wrap ourselves under one blanket.
Though the next day sunrise made everything worthwhile. The entire green valley seemed to be on fire from the sunlight reflecting over the dew. The cold still kept us shivering but the tea gardens with a small stream flowing in between and the golden orange sun made us forget the cold for a while.
Now all we needed was a ‘kadak Indian chai’. The hotel tea is generally very bland and thus we decided to walk and find a road side tea stall. About 1km down the road was a small tea stall perfectly placed on the corner adjacent to the tea plants. Like every tea stall owner, he started inquiring about us and started his tale of how his tea is very famous in Munnar, how celebrities visited his stall.
The tea pot, now was making boiling sound and an aroma of clove was slowly spreading. Few minutes later the tea was smelling like cardamom he was adding few drops from what looked like very old greasy glass bottles. As we were digging in the biscuits kept in jar of his stall another smell of lemon grass tickled our nose. Till now we were calm enough to let him prepare his special tea but now these aromas compelled us to rush him.
The brownish white colored tea was poured in the transparent glasses. The steamy hot glass in itself gave a relief from the cold and the aromas were warming our ice-cold nose. Then the first sip of that tea gave us an idea of what elixir must taste like. The shivering stopped immediately and everyone gradually removed their woolen caps.
In the background of that majestic view was a constant sound of a stream flowing. He probably noticed us talking about the stream and on his own started telling story of Munnar, “You hear this water? This is a river which gives these tea trees its water. There are two more rivers in Munnar.”
“They are lifeline of these tea gardens. In-fact the word Munnar means ‘confluence of three rivers’” his wife added.
The confluence of rivers is considered to be holy in many parts of India. This was new to me, that despite Britisher’s developing this hill station they respected the local belief and named this beautiful mountainous area after the confluence.
The couple respecting this confluence was very obvious I thought, a confluence of three was also their lifeline. The spicy clove extract, the rich cardamom extract and aromatic lemon grass extract had attracted many celebrities just like the confluence of the Mudhirapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundaly rivers. The confluence had resulted in a perfect cup of tea and a perfect scenery painting.
I don’t know what makes Kerala a holy place. The confluence of rivers? or its tagline, ‘God’s own country’? One thing is for sure it’s definitely paradise on Earth.
“The confluence of rivers only make it bigger, similarly a human trying to mix up with people grows with time.”Abhishek.
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