Munnar

 Image of MunnarThe famed hill station is known for its sprawling tea estates, Eravikulam Rajamala National Park, Mattupetty Dam and Eco Point. One can sight Nilgiri Thar the endangered mountain goat on the grasslands and rocky terrain of Eravikulam Rajamala National Park. A trip to Tea Museum is a must do.

Situated at the confluence of three mountain streams – Muthirapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala,and perched 1,600 m above sea level,this hill station was the summer resort of the erstwhile British administration in South India.

The British resident D Munro recognized the agricultural potential of the region, and on a hunting expedition in 877, acquired about 821.12 sq km of land on concession from the Poojar Raja. After experimenting with various crops such as coffee, cinchona, sisal and cardamom, he discovered that tea was best suited for the climate and topography of this area.

Now overrun with tea plantations, Munnar nevertheless retains its old colonial charm. With its sprawling estates, rolling h hills, sparkling waterfalls, picture – postcard hamlets and undulating valleys, Munnar has the makings of an idyllic holiday destinations. Nature walks and photography, golfing, trekking, boating and angling are some of the attractions.Kolukkumalai, India’s highest tea estate, and Eravikulam National Park, home to the endangered Nilgiri tahr, are located nearby.

For details of Idukki District , see the web page http://halokerala.com/picnic-spots/idukki/

Sights

Tea Museum

The Kannan Devan Hills Produce Company houses India’s only tea museum in a century old tea estate. The memorable preserved include a burial urn from the second century BC,an original 1905 tea roller, a rotor vane (the old CTC type tea processing machine),the Pelton wheel used in the power generation plant of the Pelton wheel used in the power generation plant of the 1920s,and a rail engine wheel of the Kundala Valley Railway that shuttled between Munnar and Top Station during the first half of the last century. Other exhibit includes photographs, curios and century old rlics.The tea tasting, processing and picking demonstrations are really interesting to watch. Those who think Munnar is nothing more than a popular tourist destination should pay a visit to the Strawberry Farms of Kannan Devan Hills Plantation Company and feel the difference.

CSI Church

Located on a hill in the centre of Old Munnar is the CSI Church,a black basalt building with a prominent nave and bell tower. Rather squat and blackened with time, it has an unimpressive exterior, but a charming once you step inside.

Consecrated in 1910, the church still has its original 14 rows of polished rosewood pews and antique chandeliers, not to mention the brass plaques commemorating early tea planters. The adjoining cemetery predates the church.

Mount Carmel Church

Established in 1898, this was the first Roman Catholic Church in the High Ranges. Like all places to worship, this one is also located at a vantage point. Records reveal that the church sheltered refugees during the 1924 floods that devastated the area. There is a chapel below, dedicated to St.Anthony.Legend has it that the floodwaters miraculously receded when they touched the basement of the chapel of the church.

Blossom International Park

This park sprawls over 160 acres and boasts a garden with a profusion of flowers. There are many leisure activities for both adults and children. Boat rides along Munnar’s waterways is almost do. There are also facilities for cycling, roller skating, campfires and games.

Mattupetty

At a height of 1,700 m, it is 13 km from Munnar, and the favorite haunt of weekend picnickers. The Mattupetty Lake, flanked by steep wooded hills, is a tranquil picnic spot where boating is the big draw. A speedboat cruise to the far end of the lake invariably ensures a glimpse of wild elephants. Other nearby attractions are Echo Point and Kundala Lake.

Kundala

The Sthuparvathipuram Dam and the stunning views around it make Kundala a must vist.Boating in the lake and a visit to the Kundala Club for a game of gold or a cup of tea is highly recommended. The clubhouse and the sprawling grounds around it are reminiscent of India’s colonial past, and the posters adorning the walls of the clubhouse depict significant events from that period. It is 4 km from Mattupetty on Top Station Road. Pampadum Shola National Park is situated near Kundala  and 14 km away.

Top Station

Top Station derives its name from a ropeway that once connected it, the highest point, through Middle Station to Lover Station in the valley. It is also the highest point on the Munnar - Kodaikanal road and the 34 km drive through verdant tea plantations on the High Ranges, offering panoramic views of the country sides, is truly unforgettable. Inhabitants of tiny hamlet on the Kerala – Tamil Nadu border, perched precariously on ridge, are the only permanent inhabitants of Top Station. From the summit, the plains of Tamil Nadu and the edge of the Western Ghats are clearly visible.

Eravikulam National Park

Wedged between the picturesque Kannan Devan Hill and Anamudi, South India’s highest peak, this 97 sq km park is home to the endangered mountain goat, the Nilgiri tahr.

Marayoor

This fenced path of dense greenery amid hilly terrain holds the only natural sandalwood forest in Kerala.Marayoor not only grows the finest sandalwood in the world, but is also a famous archaeological site. The caves found here, home to tribal, are also considered holy as sages are said to have meditated here in the distant past.Hence,name,”Muniyaras”.

Kanthalloor

Cabbage Farm in KanthalloorKanthalloor, near Munnar is the little known fruit bowl of Kerala, nestled among tea garden and farm stay there is the best way to enjoy.Kathalloor, some 50 kilometer off Munnar, bordering Tamil Nadu,is the only winter vegetable and fruit growing centre in Kerala. In addition to the variety of exotic fruites,vegetables like cauliglower,cabbage,carrot,beans,potato,beetroot and garlic are also cultivated in this picturesque valley nestled among the hills around.

In recent times, Kathalloor has been attracting hordes of tourists mainly because of the renewed interest in farm visits and orchard tours.Eravikulam National park and Marayur; the rain shadow villages on the eastern slopes of Western Ghats, are on the way to Kanthalloor.

The exotic fruits bearing trees like blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, apple, orange, plum, guava, cherimoya, peach and Passion fruits are the main attraction of Kathalloor. The farm has a rare collection of vegetables like vale sprout and green kale imported from Canada and known for their cancer fighting properties. 

The visual treat of the blooming orchard, the challenging trek and the late night camp fire are pleasant memories in Kathalloor.Kanthalloor, the beautiful fruit bowl of Kerala, does not stand out in the tourist map of India, even though its neighboring villages of Marayur and Chinnar are better known to the outside world for the best quality sandalwood and a rich wildlife. This hidden village of scenic beauty, soothing climate, orchards and vegetable farms is yet largely unexplored and, perhaps, that is why it is still pristine.

Devikulam Lake

The drive along the winding road to Deivikulam is a real treat. The lake here is said to be the highest in the region and is ideal for trout fishing. According to local folklore, Sita is believed to have taken a dip in the pond close by. Revered as a holy place, a small temple has been built here in here honoring the middle of the lake is an island with a fishing lodge.

Kolukkumalai

KolukkumalaiThis is said to be the highest tea plantation in the country.Located in the upper reaches of Tamil Nady’s Theni district,it is close to the Kerala border with an elevation of 2,400 m .Kolukkumalai offers some splendid views of the sweltering plains of Tamil Nadu.The drive to the top along a narrow winding road past sprawling tea plantations is an adventure in itself.

A treacherous serpentine route, once used by estate workers to carry tea chests to the plain, is today a big hit with trekkers. A visti to the tea factory here is especially interesting, and offers an opportunity ot savor the special flavor of the famous Kolukkumalai tea.

Kolukkumalai Tea FactoryA four wheel drive through the hill roads has become one of the most adventurous entertainments in Munnar. We provide with our tour packages an opportunity to discover the deep mountain paths to reach your destinations in the paradise through a well equipped jeep service. Guiding through your tours this jeep safari would take you down the road of adventure to absorb every inch of natural beauty of Munnar. 

Kolukkumalai is prominent for its panoramic views, and rugged mountains. The important attractions are Kolukkumalai Jeep safari, tea trail and Orthodox Tea Factory established in 1935, “The highest tea growing estate in the World”. Drive through the Kannan Devan Hills, tea plantations and scenic valleys, Lock heart gap and spice plantations. The wonderful experience of the jeep drive through the tea plantations enables one to have a close look to the spectacular country side. Meesapulimala is another trekking destination near Kolukkumalai in Munnar.

Viewpoints

Stunning vistas are a plenty in Munnar.The Lockhart Gap, located on SH 19, offers a bird’s eye view of Bison Valley and the surrounding hills extending upto Thekkady.It is also an ideal place for rock climbing. The view from Pothamedu, 6 km from Munnar, is equally spectacular. It has an exotic ambience with lush mountains and plantations all around.Vehiclaes on NH 49, creeping up the hills appear like toy cars. From the Nyamakad Gap on the Munnar – Coimbatore Road, there are great views of the Thalayar Valley on one side and the Munnar Valley on the other.

Waterfalls of Munnar

Munnar and its surrounding environs abound in waterfalls that are especially spectacular just after the rains. Located 18 km from Munnar, on the way to Thekkady, the Power House waterfalls cascade down a steep rock.Attukal, located between Munnar and Pallivasal,is a fest for the eye. It is also ideal for tekking.Nyayamakad is another fabulous location. The enchanting surroundings make this an excellent picnic spot and trekking point. The Valara and Cheeyappara falls located close to the national highway on the Adimali – Munnar route, are also delightfully scenic.

Getting There

By Air : The nearest is Cochin (Kochi) International Airport.105 km

By Rail : The nearest railhead is Aluva.Ernakulam Junction is better connected.

By Road : NH 49 links Kochi to Munnar.Aluva is about 120 km.Palakkad is 150 km

Where to stay

For details of hotels and resorts in Kollam,see accommodation listing on http://halokerala.com/hotels/munnar/

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