Munnar is a small town at a height of 5,906 ft in the Idukki District in Central Kerala. The town itself is pretty small and unassuming. But it is nestled in a valley surrounded by the most picturesque hills of Kerala. As you drive around Munnar, you can find yourself traversing through the undulating hills draped with tea plantations. The grassy and craggy peaks of the High Range – a part of the Western Ghats – loom over these plantations. Dotted with tall eucalyptus trees, these plantations turn lovelier when cloaked by the ethereal mist. Since decades Munnar has been amongst the most popular travel destinations of Kerala.
Note: The hills around the town are dotted with numerous resorts and retreats where you can enjoy an enriching nature holiday. Also there are quite a few budget staying options in the town. So, whether you are an explorer or a solitude-seeker, Munnar is a hill station for you.
Here are the places you can visit during your stay in Munnar.
Matupetty, 30 km from Munnar, is situated on the way to Top Station. Of all the dam-created lakes around Munnar, Matupetty receives the highest number of footfalls. Owing to this a small market has sprung up on the shore of the lake. Behind the market, there are steep slopes covered with tea crops. The hills around Matupetty are thickly forested. Like other lakes of the region, speed boating is available. Despite the area being very beautiful, one thing that seems like a luxury here is solitude. Yet to catch a few peaceful moments with nature, walk towards the tea-covered slopes. Read More
Top Station, the highest spot on Munnar-Kodaikanal Road, offers a panoramic view of Western Ghats. It makes for an interesting excursion out of Munnar. Trekkers can drive up to Top Station and then take a 12 km long wooded trail to Kurangani in Tamilnadu. During colonial times, shipments of tea were transferred to Top Station by monorail (which was eventually upgraded to narrow gauge), and from there they were shifted to the valley floor in Kottagudi (Tamilnadu) by an aerial ropeway. None out of the railway or ropeway exist anymore. The road from Munnar to Top Station is one of the finest hill drives in Kerala. Read More
Note: It takes a short walk from the car-park followed by climbing down the stairs to reach the final point.
This lake, created by Kundala Dam, is in a beautiful setting amidst the lush green hills. It is about 26 km from Munnar town on the road to Top Station. A trail, starting from the barrage, meanders along the shore of the lake. Walking on this trail, you can take in the lake and its environs. There is a small but lovely grove near the shore, sitting there for some time is a relaxing experience. Boating facility is available. The best time to come here is in the evening when lake appears more charming. Read More
A refreshing drive of about an hour and a half from Munnar town, through the tea-covered slopes of Kanan Devan Hills, lead to Anayirankal. The road, after meandering through the tea estates, escalates to the higher terrain before descending to a lake. This lake has been created by the construction of Anayirankal dam. On one side of the lake are tea-carpeted hills and on the other side are unbound woodlands. There is a cafe with ample sitting area by the lake. Tree stumps are also placed by the lake for those who want to lounge near the water. For the active types, speed boating is available. All in all, it’s a good place to spend a few hours. Read More
Munnar is surrounded by the tea-covered Kanan Devan Hills. Spread over 24000 hectares, these tea plantations are dotted by tall eucalyptus trees. Often during monsoon and winter these tea-covered slopes are shrouded in a thick veil of mist. That is the time when these hills evoke romance in the nature lovers. Your first encounter with the tea crops will happen well before you reach Munnar. And then on every excursion out of the town you will be traversing through these tea-carpeted hills. There are a few places, like Matupetty and Kanan Devan Tea Factory, where you can walk around in the plantations.
Echo Point is about 6 km from Matupetty on the road to Top Station. Here the placid waters of a lake have forested slopes in the background. The view from here is almost similar to what you get at Matupetty. Also the lake here is connected to the reservoir created by Matupetty Dam. However, Echo Point is popular as a stopover on the road to Top Station.
Eravikulam, a protected sanctuary, is spread over an area of 97 sq km in the Kanan Devan Hills. Located near Munnar Town, this sanctuary is situated right at the base of Anamudi, the highest mountain in the Western Ghats and South India. Its high altitude grasslands and the lower slopes covered with dense forests are as pristine as they would have been centuries before. The biggest attraction here is the endangered Nilgiri Tahr. This place is the last refuge of these blue-coloured mountain goats. These goats are very human-friendly, and that’s the reason they were vulnerable to hunters and poachers. The unsuspecting nature of these goats had brought them almost near extinction. So, forming this as a protected park is an endeavour to save this species. Today about 3000 Tahrs call this sanctuary their home.
Note: The Rajmala section of the sanctuary is open to the visitors, except in the months of February, March, and April. You can take your vehicle in the park. And please avoid feeding anything to Tahrs because our food is not meant for them. You can also opt to trek up to the Anamudi Peak, the path to the peak is through this sanctuary.
Kanan Devan Hills Tea Museum and Factory
Situated right at the base of a tea-covered slope in Munnar, this place is a museum-cum-factory. Here, through a collection of old machinery, photographs, and an audio-visual presentation, they try to give you a peek into the history of this tea-producing region. You are also taken on a guided tour of the processing unit which is followed with a tea-tasting session. This tour in the factory of Kanan Devan Hills Plantation Company will enlighten you on how the invigorating tea is processed. Its store sells tea in many different varieties.
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is situated adjacent to the Eravikulam yet it is much drier than the region around Munnar. The reason is that it falls in the rain-shadow area of the High Range. And during the stay in Munnar, travellers get so much accustomed to the lush green environs that dry region appears like an eyesore. Yet there are bird-spotters and nature-explorers who endure the 2 hours long journey on winding roads from Munnar to reach this sanctuary. The only way to explore this park is on foot. The grizzled giant squirrels are unique to this sanctuary.
Marayur Sandalwood Forest
Marayoor is situated on the road to Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. It is about 42 km from Munnar. The significant part of the road passes through the forest. But this particular location is significant as it has the thicket of sandalwood trees. The entry is not available to the visitors, hence you can only gaze at the grove from outside.
Dolmens are the megalithic tombs. There a few such tombs here but the best part is the place itself. This place affords mesmerizing vistas of the lush green hills of the Western Ghats. It is situated close to the Marayoor Sandalwood Forest.
The lush green hills of Munnar are home to numerous waterfalls. All of them spring to life during monsoon. It is an enchanting experience to spot these cascades of water falling down the hills creating charming vistas. But in the other seasons these streams are reduced to mere trickles. The most popular falls are Attukad, Lakkam, Chinnakal, Nyayamakad, and Cheeyappara.