I was walking and walking. I couldn’t feel my miserable past or my future. My mind was at a peaceful state embedded into the serenity of the atmosphere. My numb toes could feel the moist mud, as I took each step barefooted into the Tea Plantations. The sun had rose up steadily showering its rays over the Poor Man’s Ooty.
Dewdrops glistened from the tealeaves as the golden rays fell on them. The atmosphere held a magic in itself and was neither warm nor too cold. That’s a usual morning from an unsung paradise, set away from man’s cruelness in the deep forests of Western Ghats, known as Manjolai. The scenic beauty and its eye smoothening colour palate of pea green and sky blue nicknamed the place as Poor Man’s Ooty !
Close your eyes and go into a deep conversation with nature; only the shrill songs of the birds echoed there. The fog hasn’t settled yet and you could still feel the shiverness as the gentle breeze waves past you. To reach this offset paradise, a permission from the Ambasamudram Forest Office is compulsory, situated about forty-four kms away from Manjolai.
Someone once said,” It’s the path that matters and not the destination! ” ; but in this case both the path and destination is tantalizing.
The cascading milky Manimuthar falls holds the gate to the Manjolai forest reserve. From there begins a long off-road drive to Manjolai. The two hour long drive through the jungle with no network coverage is enchanting as well as troublesome as you could get trapped with no assistance for hours. Manjolai has limited entrance about ten vehicles a day and has to return before the night.
After an hour of drive through the broken forest paths we were worried as we didn’t meet any other person or vehicle on the roads. We couldn’t find the eye-catching tea estates which we saw on Google, still the journey continued.
While climbing uphill a hair pin curve we saw our first sight of satisfaction. We spotted bright green coloured tea plantations on a faraway hill from us. The energy and vibrance was back, we switched the gears and the car moved much faster.
From broken off-road paths we entered into a well maintained small tarred road accompanied by lush green tea plantations on both sides.
The Manjolai Post Office, a grey painted building made out of rock boulders stood there lonely. Manjolai is a mesmerising beauty for every traveller who wants to seek some peace out of the city hustles. There is no crowd here like the usual Tamil Nadu hill stations and you may even feel lonely here. Manjolai is filled with wonderful misty attractions.
Give your feet a shiver by dipping them into the crystal clear waters of the Tarzan Pool / Dasan Pool. Tarzan Pool is a small pond with crystal clear water and lush green pines around it. Lying adjacent to the pool is another of nature’s wonder – a natural golf course. Walk through this creation of Mother Nature barefooted and you could feel the icy cold dewdrops on the lawn.
Moving forward you’ll reach the only shack here. Run by an old woman, this rock made building with low lit dark interior is the only place for food here.
Hear the enchanting stories about Manjolai from the lady itself as she serves you Tea and Egg Omelette, the only dishes available. If you’re lucky enough you could get lunch from her on some special occasions. I took the glass of tea and went for a lonely walk down the tea estate path, pure silence was heard except the shrill cries of sparrows and you may even spot some Malabar Squirrels.
You could spot some people and houses at a distance. Yes they are the residents of this area- they all are tea workers.The Manjolai route ends up as it throws a spectacular view over the Upper Kodayar dam.
Time has come and the birds are flying in search of their nest. It’s time for us also, to leave to our nests. We rode back the hairpins slowly, trying not to miss any view. The thirst of freshness and new experience never dries up and I would be back continuing my blog soon, in the penname of Sesky Travel Diaries.
Until then goodbye !