Munnar in the Monsoon Season
Unlike the low-lying coastal areas of Kerala, Munnar is a comfortable escape from the heat during the summer monsoon - as the humid air rises up the slopes of the Western Ghats it cools and shrouds the magestic tea-covered mountains in a mystical fog.
These misty mountains are famous for the tea plantations that employ most of the locals in the area. Once an escape for officers of the British Raj from the sweltering summer heat, the hill station remains a popular tourist destination for foreign travellers and domestic honeymooners alike.
The region is also famous for the spice plantations of the surrounding hills - where cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and pepper are grown. A walk along the winding roads through these hills is filled with smiling faces of the local tea-pickers, schoolchildren, breathtaking views, and the occasional whiff of spice or tea.
Compared to my experience in the megacities of Mumbai or Delhi, or the historic centres in Varanasi or Madurai, Munnar was a pleasant escape from the sounds, smells and sights that make India so exciting, and sometimes overwhelming.