The land of rolling hills and verdant landscape – Munnar was once known as the High Range of Travancore. Today, this low mountain landscape is a hugely popular tourist destination in South India and a commercial centre of India’s top tea-growing estates. Interestingly, the name Munnar is actually a blend of two words Moonu (three) and Aaru (river), referring to the location of this town, which is at the confluence of three rivers – Madhurapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundaly. The hills are dotted with green tea plantations, which are exquisitely clipped and contoured as patterned hedges. The sprawling tea plantations, picturesque towns, mystic hills, and exotic flora and fauna make this town a hugely popular resort for tourists. Let us look at popular attractions of Munnar:
The Attukal Waterfalls
Right across the jungles of Munnar near Pallivasa, you can spot the Attukal Waterfalls. The majestic cascades of these waterfalls will bewitch you with their pearly white water streams, gushing over the glistening rocks to travel downstream. There is a narrow wooden bridge in the vicinity, especially built to offer a closer view of the Attukal waterfalls. The mist rising from the water stream veils the nearby region and gives it a semi-transparent look. You can take a walk up to the waterfall by striding on the pebbly path and behold the splendour of this natural marvel closely. Alluring and serene, the Attukal waterfall is also an ideal site to enjoy trekking.
Eravikulam National Park
Eravikulam National Park is one of the major attractions near Munnar. This park is home to several animals, butterflies and birds – and hugely popular for its endangered species the Nilgiri Tahr. The landscape of this place is suitable for trekking. One can also savour the enthralling view of the mystic hills and tea plantations from here. Many tourists throng this park, when the flowers of Neelakurinji plant cover the hills with their blue colour. One of the most interesting thing about this plant is that it blooms only once in every twelve years.
Kundala Lake was artificially created after an arch shaped dam was built between two close mountains. This manmade reservoir is 20 km away from Munnar. Scenic and serene, one can enjoy a boat ride here to explore the beauty of the region.
Chithirapuram is 10 km away from Munnar and known for its quaint cottages, bungalows, and lush-green playgrounds. The old world charm of this town attracts many tourists towards it every year.
According to the Hindu mythological epic Mahabharatha, the Pandavas stayed in Marayur during this exile. This place is known for its Neolithic era dolmens and paintings. It is also home to the only sandalwood forest in Kerala state of India.
As the name suggests, Top Station is located on the highest point on the Munnar-Kodaikanal area. This railway station is at 1,880 meters above the sea level on the Kundala Valley railway line, and it is around 40 km away from Munnar. One can enjoy an awe-inspiring view of the Valley of Theni and Western Ghats from this place.
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
Chinnar wildlife sanctuary is located on State Highway 17 of Idukki district of Kerala. It is 60 km from Munnar and considered as an ideal place to explore the rich wildlife. It is home to endangered grizzled giant squirrel. Besides that, there are around 245 species of birds and 34 species of mammals in this sanctuary including elephants, panthers, and tigers.
Best time to visit: During the months of September-October.
How to reach:
The nearest airport from Munnar is Cochin International airport which is just 125 kilometers away.
The nearest railway stations are Kochi are Ernakulum.