Holidays in Munnar, Tourist Attractions
If the very name of Kerala remind you up the images of backwaters and golden sands, Munnar, India is guaranteed to make you rethink.
Munnar is Kerala's premier hill station. It is definitely one of the most popular hill stations in India.
Munnar is 130km east of Kochi and 110km north of the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. It is the centre of Kerala's main tea growing region.
British named this area aptly as High Range. The name is popular even now. Munnar lies in the confluence of three mountain streams. The word "Munnar" itself means "three rivers".
The Scottish planters developed this valley in 1870s and 1880s. They felt at home here. At an altitude of 1600m, Munnar, India enjoys refreshing climate. The winter in Munnar is filled with clear mornings and sunny blue skies.
Tea is Munnar's claim to fame. Here 10,000s of acres lush manicured tea fields form and irresistible canvas against which honeymooners pose.
Kannan Devan Hills Plantations Company own these seven extensive gardens. The company is today the largest tea corporate in south India. 12,000 plus workers and employees are the major shareholders. The previous owner Tata Tea has a minor holding.
Munnar's centre on the valley floor fails to live up to your expectation as a hill station. It is a tiny town with iron-roofed corteges and other unplanned buildings.
But there's plenty of attraction in the surrounding mountains. The lower slopes are carpeted with lush tea gardens and dotted with old colonial bungalows.
The grassy mountain chains with rocks of High Range offer superlative trekking routes. Many of which can be tackled in day-trips from the town.
Munnar's greenery and cool air draw streams of middle class honeymooners and weekenders from Indian cities. A number of foreign travellers are also stopping here for few days.
Recent seasons have seen the emergence of wonderful heritage homestay accommodation. Some of them are restored British bungalows. These are the places where you can sip High Range tea on lawns against view of rolling estates and mountains.
A trip to Munnar, India is a journey through picturesque surroundings. But the most sought-after offering is the unbelievably pure air.
There are also wild animals to spot, golf to be played, some trout fishing to be done... the list is endless. But if lazing around is all that you want to do on your holiday, Munnar's idyllic surroundings let you do that too.
Of course, for the more adventurous, there's the challenge of climbing the 2695m Anamudi, which towers majestically over town. This is the highest mountain south of the Himalayas. It was once a landmark for ships approaching the Kochi port.
Near Munnar Town
Chithirapuram is on the way to Munnar from Kochi. It is 10km before you reach Munnar. Famous for the tea plantations. You can see playgrounds, bungalows and small cottages which give this place and old world charm.
This place is 8km before Munnar town in Kochi Munnar road. Pallivasal is filled with tea estates and it is the site of first hydro electric project in Kerala.
This is a scenic waterfall in the middle of the hills and jungle. It becomes a roaring cascade when the monsoon peaks.
Pothamedu is at the entrance to Munnar, India. The view from Pothamedu is extensively scenic.
A small garden with rare varieties of flowers, plants and trees. The park has the facilities of water cycling and roller skating for kids.
CSI Church or Christ Church
A repository of Munnar's colonial past, the church and the adjoining cemetery with its tombstones, are well worth a visit.
Tea Museum traces the evolution of the tea industry in Munnar, India from 1880s. At the adjacent tea-processing unit, one is introduced to the various stages of tea manufacturing and tea-tasting.
Eravikulam National Park
A former hunting preserve of the British planters. Today the park is an example of wildlife conservation at its best.
The main attraction is Nilgiri Tahr. A highly endangered species of wild goat. You are almost guaranteed to see the tahr from the minute you enter the park gates.
Rajamala and Anamudi are part of this park.
Ever wondered where the fragrance in your toiletries come from? Then visit Marayoor. It is worth stopping here to admire Kerala's only wild sandalwood forest. The 92 sq km reserve holds an estimated 60,000 trees.
The forest wardens will show you around. You can also see prehistoric rock-art for which this area is famous. A collection of stone-capped burial chambers may attract your fascination.
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is less visited by the Munnar tourists. The reason is that it takes a two-hour drive to reach the sanctuary from Munnar.
The reserve is rain shadow of the High Range and thus much drier than its neighbour Eravikulam National Park.
It is one of the best spot in the state for bird watching. But the real attraction is the giant squirrels.
You may also spot elephants, wild boar, deer, gaur (Indian bison) and peacocks.
Towards Top Station
This vast reservoir picturesquely extending several kilometres in to the hills. A cruise here is an exhilarating experience.
Echo point is on the way to top station. An excellent place to disembark for a while, yell out- and listen to your voice come back to you.
This dam entices visitors with its serene ambience. A sky-blue reservoir dotted with colourful raw boats and pedal boats. Cattle are gazing peacefully on its banks against a backdrop of eucalyptus plantations.
Top station is aptly named: it is home to some of the highest tea plantations in India. It is one of the most popular excursions from Munnar.
Devikulam is a small beautiful sub hill station of Munnar, India. The Devikulam Lake (Sita Devi Lake) and its surroundings are a good picnic spot. The lake is fishing site.
The Lockheart Gap offers a bird's eye-view of Bison Valley and the surrounding hills extending up to Thekkady. An ideal location for a picnic.
A beautiful spot with view of Anayirangal dam. Chinnakanal is home to many holiday homes and resorts.
Anayirngal is popular picnic spot around Anayirngal dam. The dam is surrounded by tea estates and forests. You may spot elephants here. Maintain safe distance with them do not disturb the animals in their habitat.
Another beautiful place with few resorts and adventure tour options.
If you want to sidestep the crowds and see even more awesome scenery head to Kolukkumala Estate. At an altitude of 2400m, it's officially India's highest tea plantations.
The only way to reach it is by jeep, via Chinnakkanal Suryanelli Estate. Plan to spend a full day here, exploring the incredibly rugged and scenic terrain.
Where to Stay in Munnar, India
Munnar has good hotels for all budgets. Since tourists stream into Munnar throughout the year, it's advisable to reserve accommodation well in advance.
Munnar's accommodation costs more compared to the other places in High Range. It's because of the town's popularity with middle-class tourists from the big cities.