Munnar Hill Station
Munnar hill station is Kerala's premier tourist destination. This is a hill station par excellence, surrounded by soothing green of vast tea estates. Munnar hill station is certain to rejuvenate and revive the travellers.
Munnar lies in Idukki district of Kerala, at the confluence of three mountain streams. The Muthirapuzha, the Nallathanni and the Kundala, which meet in the centre of the town. The word Munnar itself means "three rivers".
Munnar is situated at an altitude of 1600m above sea level. Munnar hill station is encircled by the wooded hills of the High Range. Towering Anamudi is the peninsular India's highest peak.
Munnar hill station was once a sleepy little hamlet. It was discovered by Scottish planters. They came here and developed it into one of southern India's most important centres for the cultivation of tea, coffee and spices.
Today, Munnar's tea gardens are perhaps its most famous attraction. There are close to thirty of them. The estates stretch vast and verdant carpets of green across the hillside.
But tea is not all there is to Munnar. The town's delightful colonial air, its bracing climate and its wonderfully laidback atmosphere have made it one of Kerala's most sought-after destination.
Though Munnar itself has few important 'sights-to-see', there is plenty to discover in the surrounding region. Actually Munnar is place to relax and take a pause from rushing tour of Kerala's other charms.
The town is an excellent base for trekking through the surrounding hills which are covered by lush green rain forests. You can picnic beside a crystal-clear mountain stream. You can also watch wildlife or simply relax out of a tired system.
Getting Around Munnar Hill Station
Munnar itself is so small that it is easily manageable on foot. Very few attractions actually lie within the town. A leisurely walk is enough to see them all.
The town has some local transport, including buses and auto-rickshaws. For sights further out of town, like Top Station, a rented motor bike or a taxi is the best option.
The town's main market has a few motor bike rentals. Some tour operators also arragne rented bikes or taxis. These operators can also arrange for excursions to more outlying places such as the Eravikulalm National Park.
Sightseeing in Munnar
CSI Church or Christ Church
A delightfully pretty reminder of Munnar's colonial days. Christ Church lies in the centre of Munnar Town.
Christ Church is a century old but the cemetery is about a decade older. The cemetery has some interesting graves of British who came to Munnar hill station and fell in love with the town. But what is really worth seeing is the church itself.
It is a stone building with square tower, beautified with stained glass windows. Inside the church are a series of brass plates dedicated to the many tea planters who have lived in Munnar over the years.
The Tea Gardens
Munnar's top attraction, its scenic tea gardens, are top priority on any travel package to this area. All are private owned, but most estate managers will allow visitors to wander around the estates for free.
Tea factories at the estates offer a great opportunity to witness tea processing. You can see the entire process. Tea changes from handpicked leaf to the fragrant product that makes to breakfast tables across the world. Many tea factories also offer tea on sale for visitors.
At an altitude of 1700m, Mattupetty dam lie 13km from Munnar. It is a popular picnic spot with visitors. The dam is surrounded by wooded hills.
The nearby Indo-Swiss Livestock Project is a highly specialised dairy. Over a hundred breeds of high-yielding cattle are reared in eleven cattle sheds.
Boating is allowed on Mattupetty Lake and combined with picnic, makes a great outing from Munnar.
41km from Munnar, Top Station is aptly named. It is home to some of the highest tea plantations in India.
The place is a tiny village that lies on the state border between Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Top Station commands a panoramic view of rolling green hills.
On the road to Top Station, 15km form Munnar, is Echo Point. It is an excellent place to spend some time. If you yell out and listen, your voice come back to you.
Eravikulam National Park
Eravikulam is one of Kerala's top wildlife reserves. It is just 16km from Munnar. The park is an excellent location for outdoor activities. It can offer unforgettable experience for any lover of the great outdoors.
The park spread 97sq km across the Rajamala Hills. It is a combination of grassland and shola forests dominated by the majestic Anamudi peak.
Eravikulam is best known for the endangered Nilgiri tahr. The park also harbour Nilgiri langurs, lion-tailed macaques, leopards and tigers.
Marayoor lies 40km from Munnar and is a not-to-be missed combination of ancient caves, sandalwood trees and more.
A natural forest of fragrant sandalwood trees, Marayoor has a sandalwood factory owned by the Forest Department of Kerala.
Other important site here is a series of muniyaras (caves) dating back to the New Stone Age. The muniyaras contain rock paintings of considerable archaeological significance.
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is 60km away form Munnar. The sanctuary is home to Kerala's most interesting wildlife.
The prime attraction is highly endangered giant grizzled squirrel. Other than this extremely rare creature, Chinnar's resident species include elephants, tigers, monkeys, chitals, sambars and Indian bisons.
Shopping in Munnar Hill Station
Munnar's greatest buy is, of course, tea. Besides tea, spices are also produced here.
Munnar has two markets. The older one is Munnar Supply Association Market. The Munnar Supply Association (MSA) was established way back in 1900, and retain much of its original charm. Both the MSA as well as the newer market in Munnar are good places to buy tea.
Check out the unique Kannan Devan Tea, which is named after Munnar's Kannan Devan Hills. Kannan Devan Hills Plantations are one of the world's largest tea plantations.
Spices, in particular cardamom and pepper, also make for good buys in Munnar. The DTPC (District Tourism Promotion Council) stall is especially recommended for purchasing spices.
Accommodation in Munnar
Munnar's popularity as s travel destination means there is no lack of tourist accommodation here.
The central part of town around the market has a number of properties. Many of them are budget lodges and lower-rung hotels. The quieter, pleasant areas outside town are home to the more luxurious hotels and resorts.
Many of these hotels, with their sloping roofs, pretty cottages and flower-filled gardens make for a very enjoyable vacation. Most of the more classy establishments come with an array of facilities, including gyms, health centres, dining and entertainment, business centre etc
Budget accommodation in Munnar include a handful of inns and 'tourist homes'.
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