Sunday, January 30, 2011

Anaerangal Camp @Munnar December 2010

Munnar, the picturesque hill-station with sprawling lush green tea plantations was the destination of our choice for the Christmas weekend. Unfortunately, everybody else in Bangalore that I bumped into seemed to think so. I could imagine an exodus of Bangaloreans- distraught with life in the noise/dust polluted city and gasping for a breath of fresh air- to Munnar!
Fortunately, the Anaerangal Camp where we had booked ourselves- snugly nestled in the mountains, obscured by wilderness and intentionally under-publicized by the astute management- was obviously not on the radar of most internet-savvy vacationers. No wonder, despite having faced the arduous task of making it to our destination sans any boards all along the way, we chose not to complain!

Oriental White Eye

The Anaerangal Camp is a narrow strip of land located on a mountain side overlooking the well-known Anaerangal Lake. The camp has 6 cottage tents, each with two comfortable beds and an attached bathroom.
The Camp has its own kitchen which offers wholesome and delectable Kerala food. The lemon-grass thatched open dining area has an inbuilt fire place for camp fires where you can leisurely relish your barbeque platter with family and friends, devour a meal or just choose to relax with a book to keep you warm in the biting cold.

The Anaerangal Camp

The Anaerangal Camp as seen from Phantom's Peak

Sunrise seen from our tent

The magnificient View from our tent

You can go for treks, stroll through the boundless tea gardens or visit the cardamom plantations that are abundant in Munnar. We went on a trek to ‘Phantom’s Head’ peak to get a spectacular view below. We could also observe the common Kestrel, a falcon which hovers in the sky for long before it suddenly swoops straight down at a lightening speed to its seize its unsuspecting prey. You can catch a glimpse of the Kestrel only when the sun is bright and warm; if it is cloudy or raining, you cannot spot it.

Common Kestrel

Red Whiskered Bulbul
Golden Fronted Leaf Bird

Lush Green Tea Plantations


We spotted some splendid green frogs which are found in the cardamom plantations that are a-plenty in Munnar. One bold froggy even made its way into our open tent and was caught exploring my camera!
Camera-friendly Frog

The treasure I stumbled upon!

On our trek, we spotted this innocuous looking mound. On close examination, Arun informed me that it was Civet cat dropping. As I turned to walk away, he added that I could become rich overnight if I could scoop the poop and put it away in a safe to be sold later. I would learn later that this repulsive suggestion was no joke! Civet cats pick out and eat the choicest, ripe and fleshy coffee berries. The coffee beans are defecated without any change in their shape (as you can see in the picture). However, passage through the digestive tract of the animal, leads to partial fermentation of the beans which yields a much more aromatic brew on processing of these beans. It is even commercially made available as Kopi luwak or civet coffee, the world's most expensive coffee! Connoisseurs swear by the delicious, rich and chocolatey flavour of this coffee, known to linger long after the last swig.

Well..err…I prefer my Bangalore filter coffee any day…..