From Munnar To Madurai

The first night on trek!

Written By Riley & Will

Part 1: the trek

After a bittersweet goodbye to our host families, we took a 4-hour long bus ride to our next destination. As the scenery transitioned from a bustling city to rural hills, to the dramatic green slopes of the Western Ghats, the group became more and more excited for a change in the view. Our destination was a campsite located a couple of kilometers from a beautiful waterfall, where the group snapped some really nice pictures. We had a really nice dinner, made by our hosts, the guides who would be leading us on the Munnar Trek for the next few days. When we woke up, we packed our daypacks and began to ascend the second highest peak in the Western Ghats.

The sun was intense and the trail was steep, but the view from the top was worth all of the strife we had endured.

We ate lunch at the peak and then climbed back down to the campsite, for another 4-hour drive to our next place to sleep. This new place is much more glamorous than our first site. Instead of tents, we slept in full-on houses with hot showers-a rare commodity in India. We woke up early for a trek to the top of the peak which had been looming mysteriously the previous night. It was a short steep hike that we did, providing another gorgeous view of the steep tea plantations in the Western Ghats. After our trip down, the group packed up for another long bus ride and traveled to Madurai.

Part 2:

After a great trek, we drove to Madurai, a larger city located in state of Tamil Nadu. We had the afternoon to explore the city which included lots of food and smiles. That night, we stayed in our first hostel of the trip. It’s best quality was the rooftop where we hung out after it began to cool down and continued to grow closer as a group. Our biggest challenge within the city was finding tuk-tuk drivers that charged reasonable prices. Once they heard our accents, the negotiations tended to get harder! We enjoyed staying at the hostel as there were many guests of different nationalities.

We spent the following day in Madurai. In the morning, we explored the Meenakshi Amman Temple to gain a better understanding of Hinduism. It was beautiful with the reflection pool in the center. We spent the rest the day finding delicious food like samosas and aloo gobi, and preparing for our first overnight train ride!

That night, we boarded the train at 11 PM. We slept three bunks stacked against the wall and enjoyed watching the cities and villages fly by! We promptly exited the train at 4 AM and headed to Sadhana Forest, a restoration project where we will be spending the next week.

Talk to you all soon, and thank you for your support!

Your weekly leaders,
Riley and Will

At the top of the second highest peak in the Western Ghats; above the clouds!
Our guide explains the tea growing process.
Sierra taking in the view.