The route itself to one of the most popular tourist destinations and breathtakingly beautiful hill stations in India, Munnar in Idukki district of God’s own country, is scenic with cool winding uphill mountain passes and waterfalls along the road in some places. On reaching Munnar, the visitor is greeted with lushgreen mist covered and seemingly unending tea plantations that off er a panoramic view of the Western ghats.
Situated at the confl uence of three rivers (Madhurapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundaly), the name ‘Munnar’ is derived from the word ‘Moonu’ (three) and ‘aaru’ (river) meaning ‘three rivers’.
What to watch out for Neelakurinji – ‘Neela’ is blue in Malayalam and ‘Kurinji’ is the local name of the flower. Th e bluish Neelakurinji flowers bloom only once in 12 years, though different varieties of plants have diff erent flowering cycles. It is said that the ‘Nilgiris’ derive their name from the vast swathes of wild Neelakurinji flowers. In an endeavour to save the endangered flower, the postal department had released a postal stamp on the Neelakurinji in 2006 – an innovative way to sustain tourist interest as well as boost the cause of conservation.
• Trek to Anamudi, the highest peak
• Visit the Top Station viewpoint for an ‘above the clouds’ experience
• Indulge in adventure sports like rock climbing and cycling
• Go trout fishing in the Sita Devi Lake
• For a picture-perfect moment head to Photo Point near Mattupetti Dam
• Take selfies with mountain goats (Nilgiri Tahrs)
• At the tea museum see first-hand how tea is processed
• Take an elephant ride at Elephant arrival spot which is 18 km from Munnar
• Hire a pedal boat for half an hour at Kundala Lake, 23 km from Munnar
Nilgiri Tahr – Th e Eravikulam national park is home to the largest population of this endangered species of mountain goats with short, yellow-brown or grey fur and large, curved horns. Th e park is closed every year around February-March so check with the officials before going for a visit.
Tea museum – The highlights of the museum in the Nallathanni estate include old machinery used for tea processing, apart from old photographs and other curios from the colonial era. The visitor, for a fee, is taken around the tea manufacturing unit and shown the various processes involved and allowed to taste various flavours. The museum is open from 10 am to 4 pm and closed on Mondays. It is advisable for travellers to contact the museum authorities prior to their visit.
Mattupetti Dam – 10 km from Munnar, is popular for boating, horse riding and a great place to spend the day, especially for those visiting with children.
The tourist season is from August- March and Munnar has lots of resorts and hotels that cater to everyone’s needs right from the opulent to the affordable hotels. Munnar is a rare brew of smoky mist covered deep silent valleys, gurgling streams and waterfalls, vast tea plantations and rare flora and fauna… So what are you waiting for? Come, visit Munnar and leave with the experience of a lifetime.
By air – Th e nearest airports are Cochin (110 km) and Madurai (140 km).
By train – Th e nearest major railway stations are Aluva (110 km), Ernakulam (130 km) and Madurai (135 km).
By road – Well connected with direct government-operated and private buses.