A magical lake and a tea museum
|Munnar – 2 As we were on our return journey, the sight of mystical mountains, appearing in three different layers, reminded me of our visit to Mount Abu. The view was simply captivating and I stopped to take a picture of Nature’s ethereal beauty.“Aren’t there any lakes on this route?” I asked Anbu, our driver, as he was speeding away to put us back at Tea County, (probably he was hungry and also was waiting to catch his forty winks, I thought) and most reluctantly he took a road that led to a beautiful lake situated in the midst of scenic surroundings.The sprawling Kundala Lake had facilities for boating and horse riding. My husband who looked excited at the sight of a well-built and well-fed horse, and making sure that it was a trained one, he chose to take a ride on it with the trainer accompanying him of course. No, I was mistaken, the horse just walked till the end of the road and returned in a few minutes!I preferred to sit under the shade of a tree and enjoy the cool fresh mountain breeze.On our way back to Tea County, we stopped at Mahaveera, a restaurant which boasted of pure vegetarian food from different regions of the country. Neither the food nor the service here deserved the amount charged and the ambience made it worse.
he next morning we visited the Tea Museum which was hardly a couple of kilometers from Tea County. After purchasing our tickets (Rs 75 per person) we were ushered into a preview theatre to watch a documentary film which provides a glimpse into the history of tea plantations and the phenomenal growth of the industry.
We assembled on the first floor to witness a live demonstration of the various stages the tea leaves undergo right from the time they are plucked till they reach the consumer.
The photographs displayed at the entrance of the museum give a glimpse into the history of Munnar. It was fascinating to see the memorabilia showcased in the adjacent hall, a wheel of the rail engine of the Kundala Valley light railway, a tea roller from 1905, rotorvane which is an old-type tea processing machine, the “pelton wheel” used in the power generation plant that existed in the Kanniamally Estate in the 1920s.
Even more fascinating were “anything but handy looking” manual calculator, an age-old typewriter and a telephone that reminded me of my ancestors!
On our way out we were offered a small cup of elaichi tea which was simply delicious.
As we emerged, something at the entrance caught my attention and I cursed myself for missing to notice it while entering the museum. It was a sundial fixed on a block of granite. Made in 1913 by Art Industrial School at Nazareth, Tamil Nadu, it enables one to calculate the time from a gauge on which the sun’s rays fall. Photography is prohibited here.
N. Meera Raghavendra Rao