After visiting Kochi, we headed to Munnar, an inland city known for its lush hills and many tea plantations. While in Munnar we spent two days hiking through the hundreds of acres of tea fields. Our first hike took us up to 2200 meters where we ate breakfast and looked down on the rolling hills of tea that seemed to stretch on forever. Munnar is home to 27 tea plantations. Every season, hundreds of workers, mainly women, come to Munnar to harvest the tea and live on the plantations where they are provided housing, schooling for their children, and medical care to supplement their modest wages. It was amazing to see how the tea we drink every day starts with a single leaf that is cut by hand and we enjoyed seeing the process from start to finish.
On the way back to our guesthouse, we also hiked through a spice plantation where we were able to sample the many different spices – from Nutmeg and Cardamom to the fruit grown outside a coffee bean – found in India which proved useful knowledge the next day at our Keralan cooking class.
On the second hike, we climbed up to 2400 meters, the highest point in the area where the views were even more breathtaking than the day before.