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Kinnakorai - Where Man and Nature live in Harmony

It's a place where the climate changes like your mood. Kinnakorai, situated at the tip of the Nilgiris, on the Kerala-tamilnadu border,is inhabited by a few score Badaga families that still believe in old-words Hospitality.

When we ask for directions at the Manjur bus stand, a local thalaivar comes to our aid and soon two Badaga men acompany us on the hour-and a-half drive. At Carrington Estate, the tea plantation stretchas far as the eye can see. The rays of the sun cut a swathe acros the middle of the deep green-gray valley part of which belongs to Kerala. As you walk down the quiet Carrington road enroute to Kinnakorai,even the sound of twigs snapping under your feet gets magnified. Nerby is the Thiasholatea estate, which grows organic tea. Carington and Thiashola are the oldest tea plantation in the Nilgiris.

Tea Gardens

Till 60 years ago , Kinakorai was known only for its coffee gardens. But falling prices saw the locals switch to tea cultivation, which has proved more profitable. From the tea gardens, situated at an altitude of 6,000 ft above sea level, you can see the Geddai power station, winch route and the narrow, widing road. You can also spot Kolathurai, Attapadi and Anaikatti.

Badaga Village

After stopping by at the tea plantations, make it a point to visit at least one badaga village. We choose Melur - a village where tradition and modernity have struck a truce. The children go down to the plains to study while the elders continue life at their own pace.

The people are so friendly that they don't mind you gawking at their traditional attire. Known for their hospitality, they ensure that you never leave without sharing a meal with them. At the entrance to Melur is a semi - circular beach-like stone structure. This is were the village headman presides over meetigs. A hole in the midle server as a fireplace.

Nearby, a grid for a game of dice has been chiselled in stone. This and the image of a tiger were carved in 1882, as indicated by the artist's signature on a stone near by. The local believe that anyone who is sick will be cured if they show the affected part to the image, first thing in the morning. The road leading to Kinnakorai is an example of harmonious co-existence between Man and Nature.

The forest is so well preserved that tigers and panthers don't mind taking a stroll even in the middle of the day.The locals don't panic and merely wait for the original inhabitants to move on. That the people here love nature is evident in the way they look after their surroundings.

How to Get There

Drive up to Manjur, 88 km from Coimbatore. From there,it is a 35 - km drive to Kinnakorai. There are no hotels around. But, the place is perfect for a day's outing.

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