Mountains of Malnad
We set off to the monsoon drenched mountains of the Malnad district of Karnataka, in southern India. Our hired car careened wildly past hairpin bends, narrowly missing the nonchalant cows strolling along at a leisurely pace, while we were chased by enthusiastic village dogs. Out of place and out of time, every village hut boasted a satellite dish on the roof. Wizened monkeys peered curiously through the leaves, and patient elephants allowed their mahouts to bathe them by the river. Masses of white cranes nested in sanctuaries tucked into the Western Ghat mountains of the Deccan plateau.
We arrived at the Bananki plantation where our spirits were restored with old world charm. Our hostess took us on a tour of the rubber plantations: sap dripping diagonally into plastic bags. Cash crops of areca nut palms, cardamom and ginger plants, peppercorn vines, and banana trees. The emerald green of terraced paddy fields glinted jewel-bright in the sunlight. The next day, we pushed onwards to the mist covered Jog Falls, where we descended ~1400 steps to the bottom, into oppressive heat and humidity. We paid the price for our foolishness with the climb back up 🙂