Western Ghats

Western Ghats

06-09 October 2019

India’s 1,600-km-long Western Ghats, a mountain chain that has forests older than those in the Himalayas, is World Heritage as one of the world’s eight “hottest hotspots” of biological diversity.

It’s about a 3½ hour drive from Kochi up into the mountains to Vanilla County, a 75 year-old Heritage Plantation House where we relaxed for 3 days. We thought there would be nothing to do but walks, visits to nearby villages and sights and of course eating easily filled in the time.

Crickets and frogs calls were all that disturbed the nights.

Our friendly hosts – Mrs Rani and Mr Baby Mathew: it was a delight to stay with them
On an early morning walk from Vanilla County after a night of heavy rain
Some of the flowers (and pepper) growing around Vanilla County
A trek through the forest
Cutting the rubber trees early in the morning and later collecting it
After 5km through the jungle this rock pool looked perfect for a swim
Maju demonstrates how practical the dhothi is for men’s wear, when it gets hot just lift it up
Exciting to see this working elephant getting its bath
Rani preparing tonight’s dinner – chicken curry in coconut milk
Western Ghats about 10 am – 2 hours later covered in cloud, mid afternoon pelting rain
Homemade brined vegetables for sale at a roadside stall
Women picking tea on the the plantation about 700 meters above sea level
Kerala thali – a selection of various curries and accompaniments served on a banana leaf
Final breakfast in the garden at Vanilla County