Three Rivers – Mattupetti, Periavaru, and Nallathanni flow through the Keralan city of Munnar. This city is a South Indian Hill Station and also a popular honeymoon destination which was a summer retreat during the British era.
Whether it is viewing Anamundi (the highest mountain in South India) or trekking through the tea plantations, Munnar is the perfect romantic getaway.
Photo: Tea Plantations at Munnar/ CCo
Munnar Travel Guide
One of the biggest tea-plantation area of South India, Munnar is one of the most beautiful and popular hill-stations of Kerala. It is divided into Old Munnar, where the tourist information office is, and Munnar, where the bus station and most guest houses are located.
The Eravikulam National Park, Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary and tea plantations are its major attractions. Plan your trip during a year when the Nelakurunji Flowers bloom. The exotic species blooms, splashing the valley in Violet, only once every 12 years.
Photo: Greenery at Munnar/ CCo
Things To Do In Munnar
The quaint town of Chithirapuram has an old world charm from the British Colonial period. Abandoned cottages and sleepy bungalows amidst the vibrant green tea plantations make it seem like a fairy tale destination.
Photo: Tea Plantations at Munnar/ CCo
After lounging in old towns, set your muscles on fire by boating and horse riding in Mattupetti Dam. The Dam leads to another exciting place called Echo Point. The name is perfectly fitting the destination, where a serene lake encircled by hills echoes your voice ten times.
Photo: Mattupetti Dam/ CCo
Located away from the hustle and bustle of the main cities, Photo Point is a picturesque site perched atop the slight slopes and undulating plains of Nilgiris.
With the backdrop of stretches of tea gardens, this point serves as an excellent photographic opportunity, something you must’ve understood from the name itself.
Photo: Tea Plantations at Munnar/ CCo
Kolukkumalai Tea Estate
At a height of about 2,175 m (7,130 ft), this orthodox tea factory lays claim to being one of the highest in the world. The views here are arguably better than anywhere else in Munnar (like Top Station) and are best at sunrise.
You’ll need to hire a 4×4 jeep to take you up to the estate and it’s a very bumpy one-hour long ride, not recommended for the elderly or those who get carsick easily.
Photo: Worker at a Tea Plantations in Munnar/ CCo
Wrapped in a wispy blanket of glorious clouds, Marayoor is an altogether different and enchanting landscape of exquisite green beauty. Add to it, the natural blessing of a sea of fragrant sandalwood trees; this place is a sensory experience like no other.
Photo: Marayoor/ CCo
The Rose Garden, spread over 2 acres of land, is an excellent stretch that is brimming with a variety of plants, including spices, crops like cardamom and vanilla, and a variety of other fruit trees. The heart-warming blossoms and colourful flowers make the place a mini-heaven on earth.
Photo: Rose garden/ CCo
Kundala Lake & Dam
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. Unless you know how to row a boat, prefer a pedal boat.
Photo: Kundala Lake and dam waters/ CCo
Nestled 2 km away from Munnar amidst beautiful hills and lush green jungles, this pristine waterfall makes for romantic escapades and picnics site. However, the road to Atukkad is very narrow and needs a lot of experience to drive on so it is advisable to take a cab.
Eravikulam National Park
See Nilgiri Thar – an endangered species of mountain goats, rolling grasslands and sholas, spread over 97² 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 2018 being the latest.
Pothamedu View Point
Pothamedu View Point, situated 6 km off Munnar, is adorned with stretching hills and lush green mountains. One can witness the spectacular wide views of tea, coffee and cardamom plantations of the area. Trekkers and hikers would love the adrenaline rush of this place.
Photo: Pothamedu view point/ CCo
Anamudi, the highest peak (2,695 m) of the Western Ghats and South India lies south of the Himalayas and towers over the sanctuary. The slope of the hills is home to the Atlas moth, Nilgiri Langur, the lion-tailed macaque, leopards, and tigers.
One of the largest waterfalls in the state, the Cheyyappara Falls are a sight to behold. Cascading through seven tiers of stones, these falls are a force of nature that you can not only see and experience but dip your toes into and enjoy.
Photo: Waterfalls/ CCo
Shopping in Munnar is an interesting expedition. Different varieties of spices, homemade chocolates and different varieties of tea are sold in Munnar. It is also famous for its tea and spices plantations.
Handicraft is also famous with well-known handicraft shops in being Johnson`s Wood Craft workshop, Kunjithanni, and Deeja Gift House, Misha Jn Munnar.
Majority of bazaars are owned by the private owners but the presence of Government Shops can also be felt in the market. In Munnar best buys are all its local products. In Munnar, you can also buy luscious strawberries and locally produces spices but nearly all other so-called souvenir items, such as coir or metal ware, are from another part of Kerala.
Head towards the Munnar City Market to get yourself a variety of items to buy.
Shop selling tea bags/ powder in Munnar
Temples and Churches
Established nearly 110 years ago by the British tea planters, the Christ Church draws visitors from far lands. Wih its sloping roof and stone walls, the whole place has a rustic charm dragging us towards it.
Photo: The beautiful Christ church in the hills/CCo
Attukal Bhagavathy Temple
This Temple is located at Attukal, 2 km away from the city. ‘Pongala’ favorite offering to Attukal Bhagavathy. This temple is considered as the Sabarimala of the Women. The Goddess is worshipped here as the Supreme Mother. The pilgrims who visit the Sri Padmanabha Swami Temple also visit Attukalamma without which their pilgrimage is not considered as complete.
Santhigiri Sree Maheswari Temple
This temple dedicated to Lord Siva is situated at Santhigiri at the heart of Adimali town. It celebrates a five-day festival every year. The last day ‘Sivarathri’ is considered most auspicious for worship.
Photo: The Murugan Kovil in Munnar/ CC
Being a part of the mountains this place has no shortage of hills to climb, lakes to swim in or waterfalls to enjoy. Few of the famous trekking spots are
- Chummar (through Tea Plantation)
- Kannan Devan Hills
- Lakshmi Hill trek ( popular trek)
Photo: Trekking through plantations/ The Art of Travel Partners
Munnar’s cuisine suits every taste and palate. Vegetarians have the option of going for a typical Kairali thali served on a banana leaf comprising vegetable pachadi (salad), elaneer payasam or tender coconut kheer, mezhukkupurattai or mixed vegetable stir fry, mixed vegetable thoran, puli enji, rice with sambhar and rasam, among other items. All these dishes are cooked using coconut oil and garnished with a lot of crushed coconuts.
Appam with Stew – Honestly, appam is a revolutionary food. It’s got a soft and thick center and a paper thin outside. It’s essentially a rice pancake which you can pair with almost anything and it will still steal the spotlight. In a typical Southern stew, you’ll find chunks of chicken or meat bathed in a beautifully spiced and creamy coconut gravy.
Idiyappam with Egg Curry – Idiyappam, also known as noolappam is made of rice flour, salt, and water. A number of thin strands or sevai are entwined together to make this lovely appam. Its plain texture is what makes it versatile and allows it to be paired up with all kinds of curries.
Nadan Kozhi Varuthathu aka Spicy Chicken Fry – As mundane as chicken fry sounds, this version is delicious. Served on a banana leaf, the chicken is fried with onion, garlic, chili, vinegar and coriander which is sure to get you hooked!
Naadan Beef fry or Kerala Style Beef Fry and Malabar Parota– The dark hue of this dish reflects the depth of its almost paralyzing flavors. The beef is well cooked and generously coated with curry leaves, ginger-garlic paste and mustard seeds.
Also, try the Fish and duck curry infused with local spices and flavor.
Photo: Nadan Beef curry/ CCo
Getting To Munar
Kochi International Airport and Madurai International Airport are nearby Munnar. Kochi is the nearest, and there is good road network from Kochi to Munnar. It takes about 4 hours to reach Munnar from Kochi, but it is no typical ride. The roads are in good condition, but they are treacherous and curvy.
However, the stunning landscape full of deep forests (which also provide you a canopy against the sun) is enchanting. You can also take a bus to Munnar from Kodaikanal, Madurai, Coimbatore, Aluva, Tirunelveli, and Pollachi.
Once in the city, the best way to travel around is by hiring taxis. You can even try the local bus but they don’t connect all the tourist spots together so you might spend some time waiting for the right bus or waste time getting back to the city center to take the next bus to the next location.
Experiences to have
- Walking in the clouds: Trek your heart out by walking along the slope of the hills, which are usually covered in clouds
- Boating – One can choose among paddle boats and speed boats to Kashmiri-Shikara. You should not miss out on the beautiful ‘Kashmiri-Shikara’ boat ride especially if you are with your partner.
- Cycle – Experience the natural beauty of Munnar by cycling through beautiful paths of Munnar, passing through a tea estates
- Motorcycle around the Hills – Rent a Royal Enfield, scooter, or other motorcycle and ride to nearby destinations including Top Station, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Western Ghats, etc. Motorbikes can be rented at Gokulam Bike Hire.
Photo: Rent a bike and zoom on the beautiful roads with greenery on either side/ CCo
Best Time to Visit
Located in a hilly region, there is no problem with the temperature in Munnar. However, there is also a very busy tourist season that prevents you from enjoying the destination fully. Dodge the crowds and visit during the offseason between January and April.
Where to stay
The city has numerous places to stay. It has places to suit all budgets, from 5-star hotels to budget hostels. Airbnb also is a good option in the city. Visit one of the resorts to enjoy being the lap of nature.
Language & Safety
South India is a literate part of the country. Thus, any average local can speak with you in English, although the lingua franca is Malayalam. As many tourists come here for a holiday, it is friendly and easy to navigate with basic English or Hindi too.
Safety is also prioritized here and if you take your precaution you can move around without fear. For solo female travelers, it is always ideal to not move around far alone after dark, unless absolutely necessary.
December 27, 2017 9:50 am
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