Munnar " Heaven of peace and tranquility "
Munnar is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams – Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. Located at 1600 M above sea level, this was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India. Sprawling tea plantations, picture book towns. winding lanes, trekking and holiday facilities make Munnar a unique experience. Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands here is the Neelakurinji a flower which bathes the hills in he blue colour once in every twelve years. The Neelakurinji, will bloom next in 2006 AD. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India – Anamudi – which towers over 2695 M and is an ideal spot for campers who would like to trek. Munnar is situated around 1600 m above sea level, in the Western Ghats range of mountains and is a hill station The name Munnar is believed to mean “three rivers”, referring to the location at the confluence of the Madhurapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundaly rivers. Munnar town is situated on the Kannan Devan Hills village in Devikulam taluk and is the largest panchayat in the Idukki district in Kerala having an area measuring nearly 557 km?. The nearest major railway stations are at Ernakulam and Aluva (approximately 140 kilometres (87 mi) by road). The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport, which is 105 kilometres (65 mi) away. Munnar lies about 120 kilometers from Ernakulam is perhaps Kerala’s most famous and most visited hill station. Rolling hills of tea, winding roads, gurgling streams, endless plantation stretches cut by thick Shola forests, waterfalls that stream across roads and the smell of tea in the cool air, complete the beauty of Munnar. A tea plantation town, Munnar’s history is entwined with the advent of plantation crops into Kerala. Munnar was discovered on a hunting expedition up the hills by British civil servants. On one of such expeditions, the British Resident JD Munro acquired about 580 acres on concession from the Raja of Poonjar and planted coffee, cinchona and cardamom. Not much of a success, in 1880 AH Sharp planted tea at what is now known as Sevenmally Estate. The rest they say is history. There are many tourist spots around Munnar. Mattupetty Lake offers boating opportunities and is a great place for picknickers. Top Station, 34 kilometres from Munnar provides superb views of the Tamil Nadu plains below and was once a rope way station, transporting goods up from the lower plains. Kolukkumalai, an hour and a half from the town is 7900 feet above sea level is home to the highest tea plantation in the country. Tea Museum provides a pictorial view of the history of tea in Munnar apart from also acquainting the layman on the making of tea powder. The drive up to Munnar, by itself, is worth the distance and effort with many waterfalls to see enroute. All this make Munnar, one of the best hill stations in South India.
Eravikulam National Park
One of the main attractions near Munnar is the Eravikulam National Park. This park is famous for its endangered inhabitant – the Nilgiri Tahr. Spread over an area of 97 sq. km., this park is also home to several species of rare butterflies, animals and birds. A great place for trekking, the park offers a magnificent view of the tea plantations and also the rolling hills caressed by blankets of mists.
Located inside the Eravikulam National Park is the Anamudi Peak. This is the highest peak in south India standing at a height of over 2700 m. Treks to the peak are allowed with permission from the Forest and Wildlife authorities at Eravikulam.
Another place of interest, located about 13 km from Munnar Town, is Mattupetty. Situated at a height of 1700 m above sea level, Mattupetty is known for its storage masonry dam and the beautiful lake, which offers pleasurable boat rides, enabling one to enjoy the surrounding hills and landscape.
Pallivasal, located at about 3 km from Chithirapuram in Munnar is the venue of the first Hydro-electric project in Kerala. It is a place of immense scenic beauty and is often favoured by visitors as a picnic spot.
Chinnakanal & Anayirangal
Near the town of Munnar is Chinnakanal and the waterfalls here, popularly known as Power House Waterfalls, cascade down a steep rock 2000 m above sea level. The spot is enriched with the scenic view of the Western Ghat ranges. When you have traveled about seven kilometers from Chinnakanal, you reach Anayirangal. Anayirangal, 22 km from Munnar, is a lush green carpet of tea plants. A trip on the splendid reservoir is an unforgettable experience. The Anayirangal dam is surrounded by tea plantations and evergreen forests.
Top Station, which is about 32 km from Munnar is at a height of 1700 m above sea level. It is the highest point on the Munnar-Kodaikanal road. Travellers to Munnar make it a point to visit Top Station to enjoy the panoramic view it offers of the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. It is one of the spots in Munnar to enjoy the Neelakurinji flowers blooming over a vast area.
Munnar has a legacy of its own when it comes to the origins and evolution of tea plantations. Taking account of this legacy and to preserve and showcase some of the exquisite and interesting aspects on the genesis and growth of tea plantations in Kerala’s high ranges, a museum exclusively for tea was opened some years ago by Tata Tea in Munnar. This Tea Museum houses curios, photographs and machineries; all of which have a story to tell on the origins and growth of tea plantations in Munnar. The museum is located at the Nallathanni Estate of Tata Tea in Munnar and is worth a visit.
- Altitude : 1600 Mts to 1800 Mts above sea level
- Tourist Season : August to May
- Clothing : Warm Clothes and Rain Gear
- Temperature : Min. 0 c – Max. 25 c
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, via Aluva – Munnar Rd, about 108 km
By Rail/ Train
Nearest railway station: Aluva about 108 km and Angamali, about 109 km