Tourists passing through the Munnar-Neriamangalam forest stretch can now now take a tea or coffee break at a shop that has come up near the iconic Neryamangalam bridge. They can enjoy their sip with ambient music being played in the background at the shop, located near “Masalappetty” (Haat Bazaar) that sells tribal produce.
Munnar Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Raju Francis said that the tea shop is reminiscent of older times. “The Masalappetty tea shop aims to serve tea and snacks round the clock. An art centre is also being established near the tea shop,” Mr. Francis said.
“The tea shop focuses on those who are coming from the Munnar forest route. A forest Vana Sree Shop will also be opened, where all major forest produce will be made available,” said the official.
Inspired by the success of Chilla market under Marayoor forest division on Thursdays, the forest department started “Masalappetty” (Haat Bazaar) at Neriamangalam in May this year to market the produce from 28 tribal hamlets under the Munnar forest division. The Masalappetty has achieved over ₹1 lakh worth of business within a period of six months.
“All agricultural goods and vegetables can be marketed through Masalappetty market every Sunday. In addition, handicraft items of tribespeople are also available in the market. The new bazaar was set up under Ancham Mile Vana Samrakshana Samithi,” said a forest department official.
Chilla, an exclusive tribal market under Marayoor forest division, opens on Thursdays to sell the tribal goods and produce. The initiative was started in 2014.