So when summer came in this year, Kerala topped the list of 'places to travel' with the quaint Munnar giving a new meaning to 'rolling hills' and 'winding roads'.
With a landscape made of lush tea plantations and dense forests, streams flowing down hills and vast water bodies sparkling in the sunlight, you will realise why this region located in the Western Ghats mountain range was deemed the perfect summer town for the British population in pre-Independence India.
The 'perfect' badge holds true even today, as was evident when my friend Remya and I drove through Munnar situated 5,200 feet above mean sea level.
Pleasant climate and picture-perfect landscape being two of the main attractions, I must admit to being surprised by the myriad activities and spots that this town has on offer.
But since Remya and I were visiting for just a night, we decided to cover the 'main things'. And these main things left us stunned to say the least.
Roads to Munnar
Having been a frequent visitor to Munnar, Remya had warned me to stay awake - she is well aware of my penchant for falling asleep during car rides that last longer than 30 minutes. "You absolutely CANNOT miss the view," she kept saying, until a few minutes after leaving Kochi, both of us inadvertently hit the snooze button.
Only to be woken up as the driver took to the twists and turns through some dense foliage before I lay my eyes on one of the most magnificent range of mountains to my left and a ravine that could inspire masterpieces to my right. "Behold!" was the apt term as our driver slowly climbed the mountains, slowing down to stop at a series of roadside stalls - called thattukada - for a cuppa.
We'd reached the spot in the early hours of the day when the stalls were opening and could only serve us biscuits and black kapi. "But later in the day, you can get piping hot savouries that are made right here," my travelling companions informed me.
Eyes sweeping over the panoramic view, I spotted white trails going down the sides of the mountains. These, the driver informed me, were where the waterfalls gushed down from but had tragically dried up during winter. So for those planning to visit, do plan a trip in or after monsoon.
On the brighter side, the vista of tea plantations as you inch closer to the city is what makes the journey to, what many called, 'Kashmir of Southern India' a divine experience. You will be tempted to stop every few minutes to grab a photograph or two but be practical please. These mountain roads are not meant for photo stops. And pray how are you going to jostle for space with honeymooners posing for photographs with those massive tea baskets on their heads?
The ride, ladies and gentlemen, is the highlight of your trip to Munnar irrespective of the time you visit it.
A different kind of ride