Looking for the perfect honeymoon spot in India? Or planning a holiday with your family that does not burn a hole in your pocket? Are you a wild life enthusiast, or are you just looking to spend a few days of happiness along with your friends??? Situated in the hilly terrains of Kerala, the Hill Station of Munnar would certainly fit the bill. Situated at a height of 5000 – 8000 ft, above sea level, Munnar, with its unending expanse of tea plantations, pristine valleys and mountains, its exotic fauna and flora and the heady aroma of spices, weaves its magic cloak around you. The summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India, Munnar is certainly the jewel in the crown of God’s own country!
Archeologists have found evidence and relics that probably belonged to the Stone Age which proves that the history of Munnar can be traced back to the prehistoric era. However, the origin and history of Munnar took shape when, in the late 1700’s the Tamilians known as the Muthuvans migrated to that area. By the late 1800’s, a British lawyer, JD Monroe realized the potential of the area and leased out around 600 square Kms of land from the Poonjar Rajas. The first tea plantation was subsequently cultivated by AH. Sharp and later on in 1893-1895 this land was bought by Muir and Company which later was known as James Finlay and Company, with their estates being managed by Kannan Devan Hills Produce Company. In the year 1976, Tata – Finlay Ltd. Purchased this plantation and in 1983 the James Finlay group sold their remaining share holdings and thus the company came to be as Tata Tea Ltd., the largest integrated tea company in the world!
How to reach
The nearest airport is Nedumbassery Airport and Aluva Railway station, both situated near Kochi. From here one can take the numerous buses including the state run KSRTC to Munnar. The drive by road to Munnar, with its hairpin bends and beautiful, breathtaking scenery serves an appetizer to the wonderful days ahead!
Accommodation and Transport
The visitor is spoilt for choice with regard to his stay in Munnar. Resorts, Hotels and Guest Houses are available to suit every pocket. The Kerala Tourism Department also offers hotels and resorts ranging from Premium to Budget and these places function as icons to the rich heritage of Kerala. The various options for getting around in Munnar are buses and Auto rickshaws. Rent -a – bicycle and rent- a – car are other options.
What to see
Munnar is located about 30 Kms from Kochi and 90 Kms from Kodaikanal. The serene landscape with terrace upon terrace of tea plantations adds a magical charm to the many places of attractions in and around Munnar.
Eravikulam National Park, Rajamala
Spread over an area of 97 Sq Kms, and about 15 Kms from Munnar, this park is home to a vast variety of rare species of butterflies, animals and birds. The endangered species of deer, the Nilgiri Tahr can also be sighted here. Be prepared with comfortable walking shoes and clothes to trek along this wide expanse to get a breathtaking view of tea plantations and the peaks and valleys of hills covered in a shroud of mist.
A travel to the past is what Marayoor is famous for. Archaeologists discovered relics from the later Stone Age civilization from natural caves with murals that are found here.
Kerala’s highest mountain peak, this is an ideal place for trekking. With permission, treks are organized to the peak of this mountain. The slopes are covered with a wide variety of fauna and flora and it is possible to have a glimpse of the rare species of the Nilgiri Langur, the Lion – Tailed Macaque, leopards, tigers etc. It is also home to the Atlas Moth, a rare butterfly, the largest in the world.
A beautiful lake surrounded by waves of layered tea plantations and sylvan forests, Mattupetty is also famous for its Dairy Farms run by the Indo-Swiss Livestock Projects. Besides being an ideal location for boating and trekking, it offers birdwatchers an excellent opportunity as this place is home to a number of birds, animals and butterflies.
Situated at an altitude of 3,000 feet above sea level, the trip to Nadukani is nothing less than a trip to heaven itself! Silvery streams, breathtaking view of valleys and hills covered in a lush green carpet and the gentle swaying of the paddy fields, coupled with the mist covering the top of the mountains……an experience which makes you feel truly one with nature at its most endearing best.
The Powerhouse waterfalls cascade down a rock 2000 ft above sea level which, along with a panoramic view of the Western Ghats makes Chinnakanal a perfect picnic spot.
Kundale is famous for its tea plantations. Here you can get an opportunity to watch how tea is prepared, right from the plucking of the leaves to its final processing. Don’t miss the opportunity of buying tea directly from the gardens!
Situated about 1700 metres above sea level, this is the highest point on the Munnar – Kodaikanal range of mountains. The famous Neelakurinji flower which blossoms once in twelve years is found in abundance here.
Seven kilometers from Munnar is the hill station of Devikulam. The picturesque Sita Devi Lake makes this an ideal picnic spot. Also known for its rich fauna and flora, it is a paradise for nature lovers.
This is another breathtaking picnic spot, with cascading waterfalls, falling from a height of 1600 metres.
Situated about 6 kms from Munnar, this place is one of the most important hubs for growing tea, coffee, and many other spices. Trekking and hiking along the slopes of these mountains ensures an excellent view of the plantations and the lush mountains in all their sylvan glory.
A visit to the various Sanctuaries is a must for wild life enthusiasts. The Kurinjimala Sanctaury, The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, The Indira Gandhi Wild Life Sanctuary and the Pampadum Shola National Park are home to several threatened and endemic species of animals like the Nilgiri Tahr, the Grizzled Giant Squirrel, the Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, elephants, gaur and Sambar and also the exclusive kurunji flower that blossoms once in twelve years.
Most of the world’s best tea estates are found in and around Munnar. Among the 30 tea estates found in this region, a majority of them are owned by Tata Group’s Kannan Devan Tea Estate. To preserve and showcase the evolution of the growth of tea in the mountain ranges of Munnar, the Tata Group have opened a museum exclusively for tea where one can go on a tour of the history, origin and growth of the tea plantations in Munnar. Also on exhibit are curios, photographs and machinery of the bygone days.
Things to do in Munnar
Munnar offers its visitors a whole range of options. From boating, trekking, rock climbing and rappelling, to taking tours of the various tea and spice plantations, the tourist is never at a loss for things to do. Just walking around the beautiful scenic spots is the best way for newly married couples to get to know each other better and start a harmonious beginning of their lives together.
Away from the world of Newspapers, Television and Mobiles phones, Munnar gives you an opportunity to completely relax and is a wonderful stress buster. A holiday in Munnar is truly a refreshing experience!