A Day In My Hill Running Journey At Munnar

by Durai on October 10, 2014

Born in modern civilization – am a runner by Passion;
Dwelling in concrete jungles – my heart’s desire to trot on nature’s trails;
Smoke and pollution are not my routine for forest is where I belong;
My legs stop nowhere and my heart submits only to Nature.

It was a cold early morning on the hills clothed in mist, I slowly stretched my muscles and got into running attire and I had intentionally decided not to sport a GPS watch and a carry smart phone. I started to trot syncing in the silence of the hills, in the calmness of the woods, in the chillness of the breeze, and in the melody of the birds. As my body started warming up I realised my body and mind was in perfect sync with the amusing atmosphere at Munnar. I had no distance in my mind all that I knew was I had to run the whole day till the dusk or may be till my body gives up.

 Munnar Running - Dam Pic

It was Day 3 of my 4 days running saga and I was carrying with me previous day’s 45 + kms run – body pain, it was slightly aching throughout my body to start with but the pain vanished once my mind synced up with the surroundings, and as my body geared up. I know nature is my biggest motivation.


As the lonely road rolled into beautiful lake, into thick vegetation, on the ridges of the mountain, into the striking tea estates, alongside the streams my mind was dancing to the tunes of nature and surroundings, one of the best early morning peaceful run in my life hitherto. I should confess that it was not my legs, which was running, but it was the hills that made me run. Every sight was a beauty, and for every breath I felt I was more alive than before. For the first time I could feel the fresh and chill breeze getting smoothly inside me and creating a wonderful feeling. I only wish my last breath should be a similar one.

 Running at munnar

Until the sunrays quietly sneaked into dark clouds and made us realise that it was noon my legs were slowly and steadily running across the length and breadth of the hills, into the lush green tea estates, inside the thick woods and on the beautiful trails. Every step on the hills was interactive and sometimes I felt the forest was running along with me, the greenery kept growing whenever I crossed a ridge and the impeccable views of the mountains were piercing through my heart.

 Munnar tea estate running - Durai 1

It was a perfect afternoon and we landed inside the beautiful but less known Chundavurrai tea estate. An amazing place with full of greenery, wildlife and striking tea estates, it was sheer bliss to run here. While running, my mind silently remembered the wonderful camping experience I had in the past in this place and few unforgettable encounters. From here we took the less known scenic trails to reach Top Station watching the plantation workers picking the tea leafs and admiring the beautiful highland villages along the way. The trail straight landed into the heart of Top Station a popular tourist destination in Munnar.

 Munnar running in Chindavurai estate - Durai

The Sun was slowly settling down and I had eight more kms to reach the destination a small village called Yellapatty though at one end my heart was happy that it was all downhill but for first time in three days my body started reacting differently. Whatever, I was drinking or eating started creating pain in my food pipe while going inside. But that could not stop my running legs, which was enjoying the cold raindrops and bone-chilling breeze.

 yellapatty munnar

An entertaining night with ‘Chitti Kombu’ Elephant:

 As we were having our dinner at the Yellapatty tea estate canteen one of the localite who was helping in cooking cautioned us against the notorious ‘Chitti Kombu’ elephant believed to be the most dangerous and cleverest of all the elephants in the region. The full-grown tusker gets the name ‘Chitti Kombu’ because of the unusual small tusk it has got compared to the other tuskers in the region. The localite cautioned us not to camp in the open as the news leaked out that ‘Chitti Kombu ’strayed into the British bungalow that is just 500 mts from our camp and it may stray inside. The canteen owner immediately went inside the room and pulled out a newspaper report, which has featured the exploits of ‘Chitti Kombu’.

However, we were convinced that as along as we are not harming the jumbo it will not attack us and we choose to camp outside. Within 15 minutes few guys rushed with sticks, diesel cans, powerful torches, crackers and a tractor that could explode with noise and small lorry. One guy said Chitti Kombu is going to drop its tusk inside our tent and take the shit out of us and another guy warned us that the Jumbo is just in that corner of the street and they cautioned us to vacate the camp immediately. Myself and two of my friends decided to sneak out to see what is actually happening outside. We went near the lorry and was looking at the preparations going on in full swing to chase ‘Chitti Kombu’ and luck came in our favour the driver offered us to stand on the lorry so that we will witness their heroic skills in chasing ‘Chitti Kombu’.

The tractor started exploding into the darkness, thus, our journey towards chasing ‘Chitti Kombu’ started. It was a very cold and silent night with the moon shying behind clouds, the noisy tractor stopped in front of the beautiful bungalow. 10 men armed with crackers, torches, fireballs tied to sticks and two vehicles thundered around the bungalow but we could not find ‘Chitti Kombu’ anywhere. The ‘Chitti Kombu’ combing operation continued for 1 hour but the whereabouts of the Jumbo could not be found.

Standing on the lorry and watching this entire operation we were surprised how come except for us everyone saw ‘Chitti Kombu’. The drunken guy holding the fireball saw it behind the bungalow, the guy holding the torch saw it disappearing into the bushes, the driver saw it getting into the tea estate and the workers in the bungalow saw the Jumbo wherever they turned around, damn the guests in the bungalow saw it entering their room. I was cursing my eyes, for missing the sight!

Finally, we got down the lorry and ventured to the backside of the bungalow just to observe that ‘Chitti Kombu’ has paid a visit to eat the leaves of guava and plantain trees. It silently proved the point that it is definitely the cleverest elephant in the region by appearing everywhere for these 10 men but still not have been identified by any. Needless to tell that he knew his land better than humans.

As the ‘Chitti Kombu’ episode came to an end it was mid-night a tiresome and rewarding day came to a peaceful end and I decided to rest my body enjoying the cold night inside the tent with only sky as the roof. But my mind was still engulfed with the brilliant encounters of the day.

Munnar running - Durai cliff

Happy Running,

Durai Murugan

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Solai October 10, 2014 at 9:50 am

Hello Sir,
I read ur Munnar experience. it was too good. Really envy you. I had been to the places u have written about. We have trekked in and around Munnar. We had started a trek from Yelapatty estate to Meesapulimalai and from there we trekked to Top station. It was a real visual treat. Then we had climbed a mountain the locals call Sokkan malai it is otherwise called the Lockhart gap. Then we had waled down the road to Lakshmi estate and done some more long and short treks. But your effort and stamina must be great.
Hats off to you.


Prabhu Loganathan October 13, 2014 at 10:55 am

Wonderful write up Anna. Pranam.


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