And as the sun goes down the hill crested horizon, and gin- and-the-tonic in your hands spreads a warmth matched only by the glow of the weaker-and-teak- dining room of the hill range club. Tea plantations, trout filled streams, placid lakes, picnic spots at each bend of the winding roads, trekking routes that take you to the highest peak in South India....
....Munnar. For long, the best kept secret among the hill station destinations, now the choice of honeymooners, tea tasters , corporate warriors. Wrapped in the greenest of the carpets of this side of Eden.
Munnar - A walk in the mist
One of the most popular hill stations in India, it is situated at the convergence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. It is surrounded by about 30 tea estates, amongst the highest in the world and a forest that is still rich in wildlife that continues to survive the increasing commercial use of the hill. Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands here is the Neelakkurinji a flower which covers the hills in blue color once every twelve years. The Neelakkurinji, will bloom next in 2006AD. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India, Anamudi, which towers over 2695 M and is an ideal spot for campers who like to do some trekking.
Walk down the spice trails
Munnar is meant to walk. An enjoyable way to start is by scouting around Munnar town, near the main bazaar area as well as little by lanes, in search of small shops that advertise hill produces like spices . You can also find a guide and trek to the one of the spice grown areas.
Munnar is home to South India's highest peak that is Annamudi. Getting here is fun but that is not at all easily, tough, because of the overzealous efforts to protect the Nilgiri Tahr. Most people get dispirited by the hassle o f getting an official trekking permits but if you are a serious trekker you will get the permit from the Divisional Forest Office.
Angling n Cycling
Munnar has several mountain streams and brooks that contain fish like trout which would tempt any angler. The best way to get around Munnar and simultaneously savor its delight is to hire a bicycle and cycle around. This proves to be a great option if your group includes Kids.
Situated at a height of 1700 m , Mattupetty is famous for its highly specialized dairy farm, the Indo-Swiss live stock project. Over 100 varieties of high yielding cattle are reared here. The Mattupetty lake and dam , just a short distance from the farm, is a very beautiful picnic spot. The sprawling Kundala tea plantations and the Kundala lake are other attractions in the vicinity.
This is the only place in Kerala that has a natural growth of sandalwood trees. The sandalwood factory of the forest department, the caves with the murals and relics from the New stone age civilization and the children's park spread across a hectare of land under the canopy of a single banyan tree, are of great interest to tourists.
Eravikulam National Park
The 97 sq. km. park is situated in the Devikulam Taluk and is home to the Nilgiri Tahr. The Anamudi peak is located in the Southern region of the park. It covers an area of 97 sq kms of rolling grasslands and the park is breathtakingly beautiful and is easily comparable to the best mountain ranges found anywhere in the world.
With its sleepy little cottages, bungalows, old playgrounds and courts, Chithirapuram still exudes an old world charm. Home of the Pallyvasal Hydel Power Project, this hill town is also famous for its picturesque tea plantations.
Located between Munnar and Rajamala, Nyayamakad is a land of breathtaking waterfalls. The waters cascade down a hill from a height of about 1600 meters. The enchanting surroundings makes an excellent picnic spot and trekking point Echo Point (15 km from Munnar) This scenic place gets its name from the natural echo phenomenon here. Echo point is on the way to Top Station from Munnar.
A little hill station, 7 kms from Munnar, Devikulam boasts some rare flora and fauna and also Sita Devi Lake, good for trout fishing. Local lore has it that Sita too a dip here and thus it is regarded as a holy place.
- In order to reach to Munnar the nearest airport is at Kochi and Ernakulam being the closest railway station. Traversing by roads Munnar is a beautiful drive from Bangalore especially after the climb to Kodai after Western Ghats to Munnar.
- Munnar is best to travel around the year.
- Tourist Office: DTPC Information Office, Old Munnar.