Munnar, a place located in the state of Kerala in India, is between 1600 and 1800 meters above sea level and the climate typically stays between 22 Â°C and 38 Â°C. Its one of the most fascinating gateways for honeymoon couples looking for scenic cool and silent paradise. The tourist season starts from August to May but is its especially lovely during the monsoons, with little streams and rivulets all over the place. During monsoons the main attractions are the great waterfalls which flow from tremondous heights. Munnar is close to the Eravikulam National Park, famous for the Nilgiri Tahr (Ibex).
Munnar itself is so small that it is easily manageable by foot. The whole of the munnar town is situation within one sqaure Kilometer. The town has some local transport, including auto-rickshaws, should one get bit tired of moving around on foot. For sights further out of town, like Top Station and Thattekad, a rented bike or taxi is the best option. But the best option would be to hire a taxi if you want to explore Munnar to its fullest. Having your own vehicle is great at Munnar provided you are frank enough to ask the locals for directions. There are some tour operators in town that will arrange excursions to more out laying places. The area surroundings Munnar can also be accessed using the regular buses that leave for Theni, Top Station, Marayoor and Chinnar, among others.
Apart from the Kochi road there are three other major roads leading to Munnar â€“ Thekkady road, Top Station road and Marayoor road. Munnar is located 70 km from Idukki. The drive to Munnar involves about 2 hours through the ghat section and its a lovely journey if you love to take snaps of cool mountains. There are 17 hairpin bends on the way and it just adds to the thrill.
In both Malayalam and Tamil, the word â€˜Munnarâ€™ means three rivers, as it is merging place of three mountain streams. The Duke of Wellington was the first prominent person to visit Munnar.
Munnar was once the summer capital of the British in southern India. Munnar was developed to cultivate tea plants by British although it was first discovered by Scottish planters. In the early developmental stages only Tamilians worked there as few Malayalis inhabited in that area at Munnar.
Tea Estates :
Munnar is almost full of tea estates and has thick forest cover. Most of the people work in tea estates and many of them are labourers (to pluck the tea leaves). The majority of the tea estates (approx 27/30) are owned by Tata Tea, one of the Tata Group of companies. In fact, the entire area is known as the Kannan Devan Hills, from which the famous brand of the Tatas gets its name. Unlike other tourist places in India,Kerala Munnar doesn’t have many artificial parks or gardens. Munnar’s speicality is the tea gardens, you will amazed to see the tea hills, its a fascinating scene.
However, due to its status as a tourist spot, a few places have more visitors.
1.Places on the Munnar-Udumalai route:-
Kannimalai Estate – Tea factory visit (special permission needed):
Rajamalai: – Place quite near to jungle and location of the Eravikulam National Park , where one can see the Nilgiri tahr (kind of mountain goat). Tourists are not allowed during the breeding season.
A quite place near to jungle and is at the location of the Eravikulam National Park, a 97 square kms National Park located along the Western Ghats, the terrain consists of high altitude grasslands interspersed with a type of high-altitude stunted evergreen forest called Shola forest. The word ‘shola’ is probably derived from the Tamil word solai, meaning ‘thicket’ or ‘bamboo clump’. Eravikulam National Park harbours the largest surviving population of Nilgiri tahr. Nilgiri Tahr is endemic to the southern Western Ghats. During breeding season of Nilgiri Tahr, tourists are not allowed.
Chinnar – Wildlife Sanctuary:-
The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the rain shadow region of Western Ghats of Kerala, India., and represents a large number of plants and animals unique to the thorny vegetation.
Apart from the dry thorn forests, due to the significant variation in altitude and rainfall, it has a wide array of habitat types like deciduous forests, dry thorny forest, riparian types, sholas and grasslands that are interspersed with plains, hillocks, rocks and cliffs which provide microhabitats for varied forms of life.
The famous â€˜white bison of Manjampattiâ€™ has been recently reported from Chinnar. With 225 species of birds, Chinnar is rich in avian diversity. In association with the neighbouring PAs, Chinnar forms part of a viable conservation unit.
Marayoor – SandalWood Forests and Plantations:-
The Marayoor sandal is regarded as the best in the world. Spread over an area of 93 sq km the reserve forest here has over 60,000 trees. This is the only natural sandalwood forest in the state. Permission is required from the state Forest Department to enter the forest. However travelers can visit the â€˜Sandalwood regeneration experimental plotâ€™, which is good enough to satisfy their curiosity about the fragrant tree.The state Forest Department runs a sandalwood depot here where travelers can learn the treatment, classification and processing of sandal.Marayoor is an archaeological hot spot too for its 2,000-year-old megalithic monuments. It is about 40 kms from Munnar in the Idukki district of Kerala.
Places on the Munnar-Top Station route:-
Madupatti dam – Dam which was built by British where boating is offered during the tourist season.And also there is Echo Point which is Situated 7kms further from Madupatty lake(18 kms from Munnar), this place has a small brook running.The voice echoes from across the brook. If the climate is right at this place, it would just make you go wild. Even though boating here is stopped during heavy rains, if you are lucky to get a mist fall then this place is like heaven.
Madupatti Indo-Swiss Project – Rare hybrids, especially the Indo-Swiss hybrid of cattle, are bred here.
Kundalai :- The Sethu-Parvathy Dam (occasional streaking happens), Golf Club.
It is a picturesque town on the way to Top Station. The Golf Course which belongs to Tata Tea Ltd. is located here. The Sethu-Parvathy artificial dam is another attraction. Aruvikkad waterfall is also located near Kundala.
Top Station –
Fantastic high mountain vistas. You can see the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu from here. 1700M above sea level, this is the highest point on the Munnar-Kodaikanal road. The rare Nilakurinji (strobilanthus) belongs to this region. This flower that bathes the hills in blue once in twelve years will bloom this year in the month of July.
2.Places on the Munnar-Theni route :
Devikulam – Dam, Tea estate, Tea factory visit (special permission needed)
Sandal Wood Forests
When to go…
Munnar is a pleasantly cool and refreshing place to visit at most times of year. Winters are cooled! And during monsoon days the downpour is steady.
This hill station, located at an altitude of 1600 m above sea level, was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British government in South India. Sprawling tea plantations, picture book towns, winding lanes and holiday facilities make Munnar a popular resort town. Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands is the ‘Neelakurinji’.
This flower which bathes the hills in blue every twelve years will bloom next in 2018 AD. Munnar also has the highest peak in south India, Anamudi, which towers over 2695 m. Anamudi is an ideal spot for trekking.
Take plenty of warm clothes.
Nearest Railway Station
Ernakulam Railway Station ( 04 Hrs from Munnar )
Cochin International Airport ( 4 hours 30 minutes from Munnar)
Hotels in Munnar:
1.Club Mahendra Munnar
2.Tall Trees Munnar
3.Blackberry Hills Munnar
4.Royal Fort Munnar
5.Cloud 9 Munnar
6.Oak Fields Munnar
7.Wispering Meadows Munnar
8.T & U Resort Munnnar
Arrive Cochin and drive to Munnar enjoying the scenic beauty & the marvelous waterfalls, high mountains with the low flying clouds passing by. Arrive Munnar and check in at hotel. In the evening you can go for sight seeing of Munnar and witness tea gardens spread like a green carpet over hundreds of kilometers, lust green hills, a place so difficult to describe, very low population too far from pollution, most of the covered by Tata tea. Overnight at hotel. wake up to the amazing sunrise on the mountains, even though at times you will never see the sun at Munnar because you will be inside the cloud and its an amazing experience to be within the cloud. There are resorts in Munnar which often touch the cloud. So Happy Journey to Munnar…the heaven on earth !