One of the best hill stations in south India, Munnar is famous for its romantic tea gardens and natural hillocks. This hill station which was discovered by Britishers as a summer vacation spot is located on the Western Ghats in Idukki district of Kerala (India). Our Munnar Travel Guide details the beauty of Munnar and the places that you can explore when you are in this hill station.
Though the ancient history of Munnar is not well known today, it is believed that the place was first inhabited by the members of Muthuvan tribal community. The place remained almost unexplored until the later half of 19th century. When the Europeans discovered this place as a summer spot to escape humidity and temperature of the lower coastal lands, the hill station was almost inaccessible. Later, by using the local community, the English planters crafted tea plantations out of the hillocks of Munnar. Today Munnar hosts some of the highest organic tea gardens in the world.
Visiting to Munnar means enjoying the nature at its doorstep. Tea gardens, unexploited forests, and beautiful hillocks that let the stunning streams to flow downward until the rivers that offered the name Munnar (Moonnu – three and aaru – rivers) are just a few to mention. Read further on Munnar Travel Guide to know more about Munnar. The guide gives you an outline about the destination, places of interest, where to stay, how to reach and how to roam around, weather conditions, etc.
Munnar Travel Guide: Places of Interest
Munnar is not just a single spot to visit and come back. For the complete enjoyment and exploration of the destination, you may take 3 days to 2 weeks depending on your itinerary. Here you can see our most favorite places of interest and things to do in Munnar.
1. Tea Gardens
One of the major reasons for anyone to visit Munnar is none other than the beautiful tea gardens. Unlike many other places, Munnar is popular for its uniquely stylish tea gardens at a higher elevation. Enjoy a walk in the tea plantations and grab your chance to pluck tea leaves with the plantation employees. Find a tea garden that offers a mixture of experience. Some of the tea gardens are so close to the forests with springs flowing through it. A splash from those springs and a few minutes near to the forests can refresh your mind and body.
2. Anamudi Peak
Located on Western Ghats in Eravikulam National Park of Munnar, Anamudi is the highest peak in India outside the great Himalayan Ranges. Interestingly, the peak is abode to the largest living population of Asian Elephants. A vast variety of fauna in this region includes exotic Nilgiri Langurs, endangered Gaurs, and Lion-tailed Macaque. To enjoy the beauty of evergreen forests on the peak and several streams from Anamudi, one should take a trek (need to take prior permission from the Eravikulam National Park authorities).
3. Eravikulam National Park
At a distance of 12 kilometers from Munnar, Eravikulam National Park gives you the opportunity to watch the largest population of endangered Nilgiri Tahr (Hemitragus hylocrius). The highest peak in south India (Anamudi Peak) is located in Eravikulam National Park. The park has an elevated plateau at 2000 meters above sea level. The park that extends to 97 sq. km of land is comprised of grasslands, shrubs, and forests. More than all, Neelakurinji (a mass flowering plant that blossoms just once in every twelve years) is abundantly found in this national park.
More tea plantations and more from nature; Devikulam is a hill station just 9 kilometers away from Munnar. The name that is derived from the two Malayalam terms – ‘Devi’ and ‘Kulam’ has a story to share with us. ‘Devi’ means goddess and ‘Kulam’ means pond. The legend says that during the time of Ramayana, Goddess Sita bathed in the lake of Devikulam and hence the place earned its name Devikulam. The lake in Devikulam is popular as Sita Devi Lake.
5. Madupetty Dam & Kundala Dam
Madupetty dam and Kundala dam offers a good water front for the tourists to enjoy some relaxed hours. At Madupetty dam one can enjoy boat rides to get a closer view of the dam and the surrounding hills. Between these two dams is another interesting spot – Echo point. At Echo point one can scream aloud and wait a minute to listen his sounds returning from the hillocks around.
6. View Points in Munnar
Munnar, being a hill station, offers several view points. Some of these view points are very easy to access while some others need a trek of several hours. The view points like Top Station (36 km from Munnar) and Pothamedu (6 km from Munnar) are easy to reach by road. While top station gives an excellent view of sky-tall peaks and dense forests Pothamedu gives a charming view of tea plantations.
Munnar’s ambiance changes further lively during the monsoon season of Kerala. The streams flowing down from the hills can sketch wonderful pictures to the already exotic landscape of Munnar. This is the time where you need to explore some of the most beautiful waterfalls of this place. Lakkam falls (25 km), Power House falls (18 km), Nayamakkadu falls (8 km), and Attukad falls (9 km) are must to visit during monsoon.
8. Trekking and camping
Munnar offers several trekking and camping opportunities. Though not adventurous like Himalayan treks, Munnar treks also gives a lot of fun and wonderful experiences. Meesapulimala on Kannan Devan Hills is one among the best treks in Munnar. Meesapulimala is the second highest peak on Western Ghats. There are also opportunities of other adventure sports and elephant rides in many of these camps.
Munnar Travel Guide: Where to Stay
Traveling to Munnar makes more enjoyable when your selection of accommodation matches to your need and expectations. This wonderful hill station receives a variety of travelers including adventure lovers, honeymooners, family travelers, luxury travelers, and casual visitors. Do not worry, there are several accommodation alternatives too in this high-range destination. You can find anything from a home-stay facility to a farmhouse and from a simple lodging facility to a luxurious hotel. Read our detailed guide for an understanding of Stay in Munnar.
Munnar Travel Guide: How To Reach and How to Roam Around
Munnar is located in Kerala, one of the southern states of India. The place can easily be accessed by road. There are public transports run by Kerala State Transport Corporation plying to Munnar while private buses are also frequent from the nearby cities. You can book a taxi and have more personalized travel to this hill station. However, my best alternative is to hire a motorbike and enjoy your ride through the beautiful roads of Kerala. Are there options to hire a motorbike in Kerala? Yes, there are options for hiring a bike in the cities like Kochi, Kozhikkode and Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum).
Roaming around Munnar can be challenging during the monsoon days. However, the best option is the motorbike. Munnar has other options too like auto rickshaws, taxis, jeep services, and bus services. Some of the roads are almost impossible for a non-4-wheel-drive (2 wheel drive) vehicle to reach. A motorbike can go some of the narrowest roads while a jeep can access some of the toughest roads of Munnar.
Cochin International Airport is 110 kilometers away and it is the nearest airport to Munnar. From Cochin International Airport, it may take almost 3 hours to reach Munnar. However, as a second alternative, Madurai International Airport is 165 kilometers away and can take almost 5 hours to reach by road.
The nearest railway station, if you prefer to go by train, is Aluva (108 km) and it can take 3 hours to roach Munnar from Aluva. Ernakulam South Junction Railway Station is 125 kilometers away and can take 3 hours and 30 minutes to reach by road.
Munnar is easily accessible by road from the nearby cities. There are public transportation facilities as well as cab hiring facilities that can take you to Munnar easily.
Munnar Travel Guide: Weather Conditions in Munnar
Munnar has a pleasant mild climate throughout the year. During the monsoon days Munnar can be a bit moist but still pleasing with the fog. Shining misty grasses and spring waters can surely give you a wonderfully unique experience even during the toughest monsoons.
Mostly the temperature in Munnar clicks around 15o C to 25o C. During the monsoon days (June till August/September) Munnar receives moderate to high rainfall. During these months temperature can vary between 18o C to 25o C. Immediately after monsoon, during the months of October and early November, Munnar enjoys a pleasant weather with temperate can be anything between 15o C to 20o C.
From late November until January end Munnar has its coldest climate with temperature dropping down to 10o C. The highest temperature during these months can be some where around 15o C. You can enjoy Munnar during any day in a year. However, Munnar is most visited during the months of November, December, and January.
Author: E Jey
Just a passionate traveler who loves scribbling his expeditions @ www.jauntmonkey.com, www.outonroads.com, and www.blogthatall.com