An exciting elephant ride
|Munnar – 4 We had to tear ourselves away from the sight that filled our senses as it was a long drive back to our hotel and also it was well past lunch time. Anbu drove like a man possessed taking sharp turns on the winding roads throwing us down our seat quite a few times in the process.On the last day of our sightseeing, my husband said like a disappointed child who was promised a chocolate but not given one, “How can we return from Munnar without a ride on the elephant?”Even as we were about to make another trip to Mattupetty Lake and Dam to indulge in his long-cherished desire, one of the tourists who had just returned to the hotel from his sightseeing informed us that there was an Elephant Park just 6 km which also offered an elephant ride.We immediately headed to this park and right at the 6th km a narrow stretch of muddy path took off from the main road which led to the park where we could see a few people and children.
“The ticket for a 15-minute ride on an elephant is Rs 400,” said the man at the ticket counter, adding that it was the same whether one person or two persons took the ride. I was tempted to join my husband and gingerly got up on the makeshift bamboo ladder to reach the high platform against which the elephant stood. I slid myself on to the animal which appeared very friendly.
Oh, the 15-minute ride (really a ride) through what appeared like a mini-forest was absolutely exciting with the elephant negotiating the ups and downs extremely cautiously. We thought we should show our gratitude to this friendly animal by offering a basket of fruits and vegetables which were sold for Rs 50.
We proceeded to Devikulam having heard that one could have the best views of Munnar’s landscape from this point. Devikulam Lake, situated in-between forests and tea gardens, is believed to have got its name as Sita Devi bathed in it.
Even before we could ask Anbu to take the road that led to the lake, he said, “No use going there because the lake is all dried up.”
Once we reached the Devikulam view point, we alighted and were wonderstruck at the sight of yards and yards of tea estates where just enough gaps were left in between rows of the “lush green carpet” for the women to pluck the tea leaves.
We felt the fresh air and serene atmosphere transported us to another world, far from the madding crowd of polluted cities and towns.
The last on our itinerary was the Lock Heart Gap Road, (the locals pronounce as Gape Road) perhaps so-called because of its narrow width, allowing vehicles to move in a single file.
We reached the view point after driving a considerable distance and the scenery was simply stunning and we felt the distant hills and valleys appeared to beckon us! I could visualise the scene during sunset – it was certain to be a real feast to the eyes. However, such a scene did present itself when we went to the Sunset Point in old Munnar in the evening.
On our way back to the hotel we picked up a few sachets of spices and dry fruits besides a packet of cardamom tea Munnar is famous for.
The next day we set out on our return journey bidding goodbye to this idyllic hill station blessed with nature’s bounty in God’s Own Country. We knew we would miss the whistling and chirping of birds perched on trees and the flora surrounding Tea County, something we would remember a life time.
N. Meera Raghavendra Rao