The rolling hills around Munnar, South India’s largest tea-growing region, are carpeted in emerald-green tea plantations, contoured, clipped and sculpted like ornamental hedges. The low mountain scenery is magnificent – you’re often up above the clouds watching veils of mist clinging to the mountaintops. Munnar town itself is a scruffy administration centre, not unlike a North Indian hill station, but wander just a few kilometres out of town and you’ll be engulfed in a sea of a thousand shades of green.
Once known as the High Range of Travancore, today Munnar is the commercial centre of some of the world’s highest tea-growing estates. The majority of the plantations are operated by corporate giant Tata, with some in the hands of local co-operative Kannan Devan Hills Plantation Company (KDHP).
Attukal Waterfalls Overview
One of nature’s most mesmerizing creations, the Attukal Waterfalls in Munnar are truly spectacular. Set amidst looming hills and the thick forests, this scenic spot is ideal for a family picnic or a romantic evening stroll.
A word of caution – the road leading to Attukal Waterfalls is very narrow and requires careful and skilled driving.
Devikulam is a panoramic hill station near Munnar. With its beautiful valleys and high majestic mountains, Devikulam is a must visit when in Munnar.
The cool breeze and beautiful views all around provide for an unbelievable trekking experience.
Rajmala is a small scenic hill station situated at an altitude of 8,983 feet above sea level. The hill station is the natural habitat of the rare species of Nilgiri goat also known as Nilgiri Tahr.
The Tahr is becoming fast extinct and at one time more than half of this rare species could be found in the Eravikulam-Rajamala region. Once you are at Rajmala, you can spend time exploring the hills and nearby valleys.
Mattupetty Dam and Mattupetty Indo-Swiss Farm Overview
The Mattupetty Dam is a very popular picnic spot and is visited by many tourists.
In the vicinity of the dam is a beautiful lake where you can enjoy a serene boat ride on the calm waters.
The Indo-Swiss Farm is an achievement in itself for the people of Munnar. It is a highly specialised farm where more than 100 varieties of high yielding cattle are reared. Visitors are allowed to enter only three of the eleven cattle shed,s as the rest are off limits.
Chithirapuram holds a special place in the hearts of the people of Munnar, owing to the Pallivasal Hydel Power Project, which is the first hydroelectric project in Kerala. What travellers from the city find most appealing about Chithirapuram is the old world charm that it exudes.
With its tiny serene cottages, playgrounds, courts and the old style bungalows, Chithirapuram provides a glimpse of the tradition and culture of an era far gone. The picturesque tea plantations adorning the landscape add to the beauty and appeal of the place.
Eravikulam National Park Overview
The Eravikulam National Park is home to the rare Nilgiri Tahr. The National Park houses a large variety of flora and fauna; moreover, the beauty of the park is unparalleled.
The famous Anamudi peak, the highest in South India, is located in the southern region of the park. Anamudi literally means ‘elephant’s forehead’ – a reference to the peculiar shape of the peak.
Spend a day at the park exploring the myriad colours of nature and basking in the beauty that surrounds the park.
Elephant Arrival Spot Overview
Discover the joy of riding on the back of the biggest mammal on Earth – the majestic elephant, at the Elephant Arrival Spot. The elephants are well trained and quite easy to ride and are accompanied by a mahout. The ride itself is relatively inexpensive and is very enjoyable, especially for children.
Photo Point Overview
As the name suggests, Photo Point is well known for its scenic beauty. Surrounded by woods, it has a small stream flowing through it, giving ample opportunities to both amateur as well as professional photographers to click some really mesmerizing photographs.
Echo Point Overview
Echo Point is located around 18 km away from Munnar, on the way to the Top Station – the highest point in Munnar. This picturesque spot earns its name because of the natural echo that one can hear resonating in the undulating hills.
The panoramic view of mist clad hills and pleasing mountain breeze make this place worth visiting. It is a popular picnic spot where one can enjoy a stroll while admiring the green surroundings. The adventurous can also opt for trekking up the mountains.
Top Station Overview
“Top Station, the highest point in Munnar, is positioned in the Kannan Devan Hills at a height of 1700 metres above the sea level. This captivating spot is most popular for the rare Neelakurinji plants, which bloom only once in 12 years, and envelope the hills in a bright blue colour.
The vantage point is also the western entrance to the famous Palani Hills Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park. During the early 1990s, it was a significant trade centre for delivery of tea from Munnar in Kerala to Bodinayakkanur in Tamil Nadu. A reminiscent of this is the old ropeway station (connecting tea estates to the foothills), presently in ruins.
Owing to its strategic location, on the borders of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the site offers a panoramic view of the splendid Western Ghats. The town of Munnar, replete with verdant forests, rolling hills as well as tea, coffee and spice plantations, appears as a green carpet from this view point. It is mostly clad with mist, but when the atmosphere is clear, visitors can even see some parts of the district of Madurai of Tamil Nadu from here. The ideal time to visit Top Station is during the months of November through May.”
Kundala Dam Lake Overview
Situated about 21 km from Munnar, Kundala Dam Lake is among the major tourist attractions of Munnar. Also known as Sethuparvati Dam, the Kundala Dam was constructed for Pallivasal Hydro Electric Project in 1946 and is considered to be Asia’s first arch dam.
From its top, one can enjoy breathtaking views of the lush green surroundings. Adjoining to this magnificent dam is the beautiful lake where visitors can enjoy a Kashmiri-Shikara or pedal boat ride.
Punarjani Traditional Village Overview
A venture of few young artists, Punarjani Traditional Village was established with the intentions of preserving the art and culture of Kerala. It is a cultural centre that is run by well-trained artists who have charmed and continues to charm audiences with their outstanding performances. Kathakali and Kalarippayattu are the two main art forms that are performed here. While the former is a famous classical dance drama showing intense emotions through facial expressions, the latter is a traditional martial art form based on actions and thrills.
The organisation arranges an hour’s show for each art form. If you want to see how the artists do that dramatic make-up, visit this place at least an hour before the performance. To learn about the rich cultural heritage of Kerala, a visit to this centre is an absolute must.
Best Time to Visit Munnar
Owing to its pleasant climate, Munnar remains an ideal holiday destination almost throughout the year. Though here is a month wise break up of the weather of Munnar so that you can plan your trip accordingly.
December to February:The winter months are by far the best time to visit Munnar since the weather is pleasant. The minimum temperature during this time of the year drops to ten degrees Celsius and is perfect for a vacation or a honeymoon. This is also a great time for adventure enthusiasts who can enjoy adventure activities such as rock climbing, trekking and rappelling. Do carry woollens along as the evenings can get quite cold.
March to May:March marks the beginning of summer in Munnar. The weather remains pleasant and temperatures range between 19 degrees Celsius and 35 degrees Celsius. Summer in Munnar is a perfect time to enjoy sightseeing and visiting tea estates and the Tata Tea Museum. Carry light cottons, though also carry an umbrella as rain showers are common during the summer months.
June to September:This is the monsoon season in Munnar and even though many tourists avoid Munnar during the monsoons, this is a great time to visit the hill station if you’re looking for a quiet vacation. Covered with lush green foliage, monsoons in Munnar have a charm of their own. This is also a great time to enjoy discounts on hotel tariffs and enjoy Munnar all to yourself, without swarms of tourists. Also do remember to carry an umbrella or raincoat along.
How To Reach Munnar
Munnar does not have an airport of its own. The nearest airport is the Cochin International Airport, which is 110 kilometres away by road. From Cochin, you can hire a cab to get to Munnar. The Madurai International Airport is 140 kilometres away from Munnar. In case you de-board at the Madurai International Airport, you can hire a cab or board the state transport or private buses to get to Munnar.