India Part 7: Mysore, Ooty and Munnar
After Hampi I was headed further south through the state of Karnataka to Kerala. My first three stops were Mysore, Ooty and Munnar.
Mysore is a pretty big city that I stopped at in order to split up the traveling. There is a beautiful palace that they light up at night as well as a zoo that was closed at the time due to bird flu. Other than visiting the palace I ate a lot of good vegetarian thalis and relaxed.
Ooty was up in the hills and provided some nice cool weather. To get there I took a government bus on a winding mountain road that went through national parks and tiger reserves. The ride was bumpy and uncomfortable but the ease of hopping on and off government buses is well worth it in my opinion. Ooty is known for having tea and chocolate factories, as well as beautiful scenery often used in Bollywood films. I tried some chocolates, walked around a tea factory and went for a short hike. I also got a bit of food poisoning for the first and only time in India when I decided to get some home comforts and ordered a Domino's pizza.
Munnar, the most beautiful place in South India since Hampi, is a hill station with thousands of acres of tea plantations. Although not a natural beauty, the tea plantations are very picturesque. The first day in Munnar I took a trek which went through tea plantations and ended with breakfast on top of a mountain overlooking the tea. The second day I took a tuktuk tour with someone who I met in Goa and reconnected with on this leg of the trip. The tuktuk driver was one of the most colorful people I have met in India which, on top of the beautiful scenery and spotting a couple wild elephants, made the day a very memorable one.