Munnar: Street Photography in India

31st March 2014


Munnar was like a breath of fresh, mountain air. High up in the Western Ghats, the cool mountain air of Munnar was a lovely relief after so many sticky days. Without a doubt, Munnar was one of the most beautiful and relaxing parts of our time in Kerala. The hill station of Munnar was nestled up amongst tea plantations that covered the mountain like a blanket.

We were pleasantly surprised that the state-run hotel was quite nice, and a few of us got to eat french fries!  Most importantly, since we arrived before sunset, everyone had some free time to themselves.  This all came at the point in the trip where people usually need a break–from the hectic pace of travel, from the parade of foreign buffets, from theformula of a group trip, and from the inside of our (admittedly swag) bus. Munnar came at the perfect time.

I went for a walk in the small, but bustling town with Gaia and Meruschka, eventually coming across about half of our group at one time or another.  I enjoyed moving at our own speed and in such small numbers.  It always relaxes me to be able to shoot photos without a group either waiting for me or constantly suspicious that I could possibly find a shot they didn’t.  The results aren’t exactly stellar, but shooting always helps to clear out the cobwebs, which is exactly what I needed after a long day on the bus.

Like everywhere else in Kerala, multiple major religions were present at every turn in Munnar.  As we moved farther north, the increasing influence of Arabs and Islam was comforting and familiar. I love hearing the call to prayer, especially at sunset, and I found Munnar’s Middle Eastern-influenced version of Kerala food to be fantastic. I think we all found ourselves wishing we could stay in Munnar longer, but perhaps the reality is that we were just starved for some sunshine and free time to enjoy Kerala on our own on foot.

I loved seeing the tea plantations. It isn’t often these days that I see something completely new, and nothing beats the lightness and wonder of being surprised by something wonderful and new.

Outside of a temple at the top of a hill in Munnar, shoes patiently wait for their owners.

The colorful old temple was under construction while we visited.

Waste management is a global problem, and in India the solutions seem to be privatized. Munnar was no exception.

The personalization of car dashboards and rearview mirrors always interests me. It’s amazing that mass-produced decorations in mass-produced vehicles can be combined to show such character.

Like walking into a movie set, flowers and flower-sellers seem to be everywhere.

These banana chips, fried in coconut oil are a delicious local snack, and one I partook in often.

The increased Middle Eastern influence can be seen in food, music, clothing, languages spoken, and the call to prayer.

I hope you enjoyed this little photographic tour of the town of Munnar in Kerala, India!

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