Most tourists come to Munnar to see the surrounding tea plantations. The town itself is typically Indian with the usual shops and guest houses and is nothing special in itself. But it is a good place to stay to see the surrounding countryside. It is also a popular place for Indian honeymooners.
The town is divided into two parts, Old Munnar, where the tourist information office is, and Munnar, where the bus station and most guest houses are located.
Munnar was a summer resort of the British government in South India. It is 1600 m (5400 ft) above sea level. It is pronounced "Moon-aar" meaning "Three rivers" in Malayalam. There are in fact three rivers - Madupetti, Nallathanni and Periavaru which flow through this town, but join some distance away from Munnar.
Munnar, located about 5200 ft. above sea level is originally a comfort station among the hills built by the British planters. Munnar is only a three hour journey from the most happening city of Kerala, Kochi. It is a land with rolling hills, carpeted with green tea, tropical forest and has a treasure of plants and wildlife that do not exist anywhere else on the planet. .
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The region in and around Munnar varies in height from 2,000 meters (6,562 ft) to 2,600 meters (8,530 ft) above mean sea level. Munnar enjoys a salubrious climate. The temperature ranges between −10 °C (14 °F) and 0 °C (32 °F) in winter and 8 °C (46.4 °F) and 16 °C (60.8 °F) in summer. The tourist season in Munnar is from August to May. However, even the monsoons are lovely with many streams and rivulets in the area and post drizzle the dew drenched tea gardens looking majestic and heavenly enshrouded in light mist.
BACK TO TOP HISTORY
The Reconstruction of the road was started in 1891s and was completed in the following decade. In fact the road has a much older tale to tell. The road that the local people showed the British was the remnants of a glorious past, Bits and pieces of an ancient Royal Path that connected the historic port city of Musiris (Now Kodungallur) with the city of old Madurai. The road covered the Western Ghat-–home to invaluable natural resources. The history of trade through this route traces back to the times before the Old Testament. There is enough evidence suggesting the importance of the road and the city of Musiris in the history of ancient globalisation.
The presence megaliths and so many other historical monuments point towards a civilisation over 3000 years old.
The ancient Pathway(road) was constructed in the Chera Era (300 BCE to 250 CE). The road, which transported valuables including sandalwood and spices from the misty heights to Musiris, was once the backbone of an economy. As trade in these items increased, Feneshiya/Arab/Roman/Chinese traders were attracted to India, and more specifically Kerala.
The history of this trade route has been traced back to times before The Old Testament.
The road is a rather unique one. First, it runs almost parallel to the rivers Periyar and Pooyamkutty. Second, it goes through an interesting ecological zone, one of the ecological hotspots of the world.
Third, nobody has as yet traced the ancient road in entirety. The reason being, the topography of the land has changed drastically over centuries. The Great Flood in 1534 almost wiped out the city of Musiris, destroyed the port and, as if in a quid pro quo, formed the natural contours enabling Cochin Harbour. The course of the rivers was also changed considerably, making it difficult to apprehend how the road, described as following the ancient river course, actually wound.
However there is enough evidence to show that the road existed and a civilisation prospered by the side of it. The remnants of old Forts, Nannangadis, and Muniyaras (dolmens) around the region show the same.
BACK TO TOP TOURISTS ATTRACTIONS
Until the early 1990s, Munnar, despite its enchanting natural beauty and salubrious climate, continued to remain a sleepy plantation town. Its tourism potential was realised only by the Sterling Group and Mahindra Holidays. However, the promotion of Kerala globally as God's Own Country and the rapidly increasing spending capacity of middle class Indians has resulted in a virtual explosion of tourism activities in Munnar. Resorts, big and small,have started springing up all around the town and overnight the once sleepy town has became a bustling tourist destination. Many of the developments done by unscrupulous investors have had a significant detrimental impact on the environment in Munnar and the once romantic beauty of the "sleepy town of Munnar" has significantly eroded over the years. Moreover the huge throng of domestic and foreign tourists in their buses and cars have added to pollution in Munnar and stretched the town's infrastructure and service delivery systems to their limits.
Earlier most of the land around Munnar was leased out to planters and the only activity permitted on such leased land was plantation of cardamom. Ownership continued to remain with the Government and even cutting of trees on such leased land was prohibited. However, the recent development of resorts in munnar has resulted in large scale deforestation and violation of government regulations governing land use, forests and plantation cultivation. It ultimately came to a pass in 2007, and the Government sprung into action to demolish illegal resort constructions to restore the beauty of the town.
Irrespective of all this, tourism has flourished over the years in Munnar and important tourist activities include boating (in the reservoirs of the many dams), trekking, parasailing, hot air ballooning and camping and wild life safaris in the jungles and sanctuary.
The presence of all these activities and more has ultimately led to Munnar becoming a choice destination for foreign as well as domestic tourists. One can also see people from nearby districts in Kerala and Tamil Nadu thronging the town during weekends
BACK TO TOP PLACES AROUND MUNNAR
- Eravikulam (Rajamalai) National Park: 45 mins from Munnar. See Nilgiri Thar (Hemitragas hylocres) - an endangered species of mountain goats, rolling grasslands and sholas, spread over 97 sq km in the Rajamalai hills, rare flora and fauna, Atlas moth (largest in the world), lion-tailed macaque, leopards, tigers, The Kurichi or Neelakurinji Flowers turn the hills of Rajamalai blue every 12 years. The next bloom will be in 2018. One can actually debate if going to the high peak just to see some goats is worth all the effort or not. However, the walk along the park is very romantic and has some breath taking view.
- Anamudi Peak inside Eravikulam National Park: The highest peak (2695 m) south of the Himalayas, towers over the sanctuary in majestic pride. The slopes of the hills abound in all kinds of rare flora and fauna. The Atlas moth, the largest of its kind in the world, is a unique inhabitant of the park. Other rare species of fauna found here are the Nilgiri Langur, the lion-tailed macaque, leopards, tigers, etc. An ideal place for trekking, facilities are provided here and tourists are allowed to go on foot up to Anamudi.
- Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary,.Chinnar wildlife sanctuary is located in the Wester Ghats of Kerala. This wildlife sanctuary has a large number of plants and animals. This wildlife sanctuary is spread in around 90 km of area. This sanctuary is one of the protected areas in the western ghats because of its geomorphologic, ecological, cultural significance and floral.
- Mattupetti Dam - 10km from Munnar, this popular picnic spot activities like boating and horse riding and is a great place to spend the day especially if visiting with children. You could take the speed boat ride which is fantastic. It costs 300 INR if you have to hire a boat for you alone. The ride is for 15 minutes. The maximum capacity is 5 persons and you could save some money if you are a group of 4 to 5.
- Mattupetti Indo-Swiss Farm - Better known as Mattupetti (cattle village), Tamil migrant labourers had once upon a time reared cattle here. The cool climate and abundance of fodder made it the ideal location for the Indo-Swiss dairy farm. Established in 1961, the Kerala Livestock Development Board (KLDB) manages this highly specialised dairy farm. The dairy farm is a unique one of its kind with more than 100 varieties of high-yielding cattle being reared.
- Echo Point - 15km from Munnar, on the way to top station from Munnar is a small lake set amidst rolling hills. Every loud call made from a spot on the lake embankment is returned manifold by the echo from the surrounding hills. Young tourists throng to this place to listen to the echoes of their friendship calls.
- Top Station, . 37km from Munnar on the Kerala and Tamil Nadu border, has great views of the Western Ghats. Top station is the "top"-tourist attraction. This place gives a real 'above the clouds' experience. Regular buses go to Top Station (1 hr) from Munnar. A jeep costs Rs 400. The area is known for the Neelakurunji plant, which flowers only once every twelve years. The flower is violet.
- Kundala Lake - This lake is very beautiful amidst lush jungles. Hiring a pedal boat and exploring the lake and its surroundings is an awesome experience. Except at the place you hired the boat, don't expect to find humans around the lake as it is surrounded by scenic jungles and hills.
- Atukkad Waterfalls - A scenic waterfalls amidst hills and jungles. You can find a road leading to Atukkad Waterfalls on Kochi road (just about 5 km from Munnar). This road is very narrow and needs a lot of experience to drive on.
- Salim Ali (Thattekkad) Bird Sanctuary, . There are woodpeckers, Malabar gray hornbills, Ceylon frogmouths, parakeets, and rose-billed rollers. This sanctuary is located 20km from Kothamangalam on the road between Ernakulam and Munnar. There are basic and mid-range hotels in Kothamangalam and an Inspection Bungalow in Boothathankettu. You can take a boat cruise from Boothathankettu to Thattekkad. Admission Foreigners/Indian Rs 40/10.
- Marayoor - Around 40km from Munnar. It is the only place in Kerala with natural growth of sandalwood trees, natural caves with murals, and relics from Later Stone Age civilisation. There is a sandalwood factory of the Forest Department of Kerala and a children's park extending across one hectare of land under the canopy of a single Banyan tree, all of which attract tourists in large numbers.
- Kolukkumalai Tea Estate - At a height of about 7130 ft, this orthodox tea factory lays claim to being one of the highest in the world. The view of the Western Ghats is absolutely enchanting.
- Blossom Garden - Houses many different varities of flowers. Tourist will definitely take away good memories from this place.
- Water falls - Check out several natural waterfalls on the way to Munnar. These waterfall carry fresh rain water. They provide an excellent place for all tourists to have photo shootout.
- Tata Tea Museum' is located at the distance of around 2 km on the Nallathany road, from Munnar. Tourists can see pieces of colonial era and old bits collection. Videography and Photography is strictly prohibited here. This museum remains open from morning 10’o clock till evening 4’o clock every day, besides Monday which is an off day. There is a 50 rupees ticket on the entry for the adults and 25 rupees ticket for the children.
- Chithirapuram is located at a distance of around 10 km from Munnar. Chithirapuram has old playgrounds and courts, bungalows and sleepy little cottages which all give this place an old world charm. This town is also famous for its tea plantations in the world.
BACK TO TOP
HOW TO REACH
BY ROAD -
- From Kochi: Munnar is 140 km (about 3 hours) from Kochi. Remember to budget a good 6 hours if you are driving up or down, since the road is blind in some places and there are a lot of trucks and buses that seem to drive as if they own the road. Although the road is smooth (NH 49), it is narrow, twisty and curvy. Kothamangalam is on the way and is 80 km away from Munnar. Between Kothamangalam and next town "Adimali", you can experience a beautiful cool drive through a natural forest. Alongside, you can see many refreshing waterfalls. Once you reach Adimali, Munnar is just 30 kilometers away - but it will take almost an hour to reach. Around 22 kilometers from Adimali, you can start seeing the tea plantations on both sides of the road and a panoramic view of the western ghats. The view is extremely beautiful during the early mornings.
- Munnar bus station is located on the main street, Main Bazaar. Kochi - takes about 4 1/2 hours. Buses leave Kochi between 06:00 - 13:00. There are also buses from Coimbatore and Pollachi.
We would provide you all India tourist permit vehicles for the local transportations and also for the intercity drives too. Escape to the lap of Munnar Resorts.