Sprawling tea estates, picturesque mountain ranges with misty peaks and the aroma of spices wafting in the air. Situated in the Idukki district of God’s own country, Munnar is simply magical. The hill station derives its name from its strategic location at the convergence of the Madhurapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundaly mountain streams. With an altitude ranging from 1600 to 1800 metres above sea level, the panoramic view of fluffy clouds and hazy valleys is absolutely breathtaking.
A haven of tranquility, Munnar is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the world. From plantation visits to paragliding, this seemingly sleepy village offers exciting activities to its visitors.
Munnar is famous for a certain species of wild orchids, locally termed as ‘Neelakurinchi’.
They grow in Blossom Hydel Park. These flowers bloom once in every 12 years, turning verdant valleys into rich violet. The next expected blossoming is in 2014.
Eravikulam National Park, located 15 kilometres from Munnar, is home to an endangered species of mountain goat called Nilgiri Tahr. Spread across 97 sq kilometres of the beautiful Kannan Devan Hills, the sanctuary is divided into three territories - the core area, the buffer area and the tourist area. Visitors are permitted only into the tourist area, also referred to as Rajamalai, where they can observe the Nilgiri Tahr in close proximity. Anamudi, the highest peak (2695 metres) in South India, is situated at the centre of the Eravikulam National Park.
This towering mountain peak covered by a veil of fog is a magnificent sight to behold. Here, you can see exotic species of flora and fauna.
Munnar is celebrated for its awe-inspiring and immaculately cut tea plantations. The Tata Tea Museum or the KDHP Tea Museum, is a tourist hot-spot. After an interesting 30-minute short film, visitors are guided around the factory to understand how tea is processed. The museum has interesting displays such as the original tea roller or the Rotorvane, dating back to 1905 and a rail engine wheel of the Kundale Valley Light Railway, which used to shuttle plantation workers and raw materials from Munnar to the Top Station during the early 20th century. A magneto phone, a wooden bathtub, classic bungalow furniture, an iron oven, manual calculators and typewriters are a few displays which will take you back to the colonial India. The best of tea, coffee and spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and pepper, are available for purchase here.
Attukal Waterfalls, located 9 kilometres from Munnar, is popular for its scenic beauty.
The sight of the falls midst hills and jungles is celestial. Popular for trekking and hiking, an experienced driver is needed to reach this destination due to narrow roads.
Heaven on earth for nature-lovers and adrenaline junkies alike, Munnar’s magnificence will leave you overwhelmed.
MUNNAR FAST FACTS
Tourist season: August to May
Temperature: Min 0 C and Max 25 C
Clothing: Warm clothes and rain gear
Languages spoken: Malayalam and Tamil. English and Hindi are widely understood.
Distance from Bangalore: 480kms (9 hours)