One of the prettiest destinations you will visit. Munnar is a place unlike any other. Lush green rolling hills, tea plantations as far as the eyes can see and the Western Ghats for company, these are just some of the reasons why Munnar is one of south India’s most loved hill stations.
The images of iconic green rolling hills and expansive tea plantations are considered some of the most definitive images of Kerala as a destination along with the backwaters. Munnar apart from being a popular tourist destination is also home to some of the largest tea producing estates in the world, most notably Tata. An administrative town surrounded by nature, winding lanes and truly excotic flore. Munnar is considered one of the most romantic destinations in the country and is a place that you will find yourself keep coming back to.
History and culture of Munnar
While there aren’t many records of Munnar’s history until British surveyors explored the region in the 18th century. Munnar’s earliest record is of it being a forest in the Travancore kingdom, inhabited by the Muthuvan tribe. British resident John Daniel Munro first visited Munnar to settle a dispute between the Travancore kingdom and Madras. Munro was mesmerized by the beauty of Munnar implored the Poonjar Royal Family to lease him the land. Munro would transform the region completely, he set up the North Travancore Land Planting & Agricultural Society in 1879. Munro instructed the society to cultivate coffee and cinnamon.
This would not be the only transformation Munnar would go through. The introduction of cultivating Tea would rapidly change everything, towards the late 1900’s a lot of companies including the Finlay Muir and company (one of the biggest tea producers). realized the potential of producing tea in the lush hills of Munnar and quickly bought 33 estates to ramp up their tea production efforts.
In 1963, Tata group made its entry into the tea industry along with Finlay, they formed the Tata Finlay group and by extension Tata Tea Limited was founded. This led to two things, tea became the most largely produced crop in the region, making Munnar the tea haven that it is today. People started to take note of Munnar as a destination. The urge to see the beautiful tea plantation and unwind amidst these beautiful hills led to Munnar becoming one of the prominent tourist destinations in the world.
The culture of Munnar is influenced by the Muthuvan locals, various British customs and a combination of influences from Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The locals are known for their generous hospitality. The locals are known for celebrating Onam with great fervour
How to Get to Munnar
By Air – Munnar is a relatively small hill station and does not have an airport of its own. The closest airport to Munnar is the Cochin International airport, which is about 3 hours away. Cochin is extremely well connected to most metros and tourist attractions in the country. Flying into Cochin and driving to Munnar is one of the most popular options for people traveling from outside South India.
By Rail – Munnar is well connected to three railway stations Aluva and Ernakulam railway station. Ernakulam railway station is an extremely well connected junction on the Konkan railway network. Madurai railway station in Tamil Nadu is also just 4 and a half hours away if you are visiting Munnar traveling from Tamil nadu.
By Road – Since Munnar is a hill station, a part of the journey can only be completed by road. Driving to Munnar from most places in Kerala is four to seven hours away. Some places in Tamil Nadu like Madurai and Coimbatore are also four to seven hours away, thus making Munnar an extremely accessible destination.
Best time to visit Munnar
Winter months are the best time to visit Munnar, anytime from September up until March is ideally the best time. Summer months from April to June are also relatively pleasant and definitely a good enough time to visit. Avoid monsoon months, from June to August. Munnar receives a lot of rainfall and your plans to explore Munnar during this period can be severely disrupted. If you find yourself in Munnar in August, try to attend the Onam celebration that are widely celebrated across the valley.
Getting around Munnar
Munnar is full of winding roads and the distances between destinations aren’t exactly walkable. We recommend having a vehicle at your disposal to truly make the most of Munnar. Hiring a car or renting a bike is the best way to explore the wildlife and the beautiful tea gardens that Munnar have to offer.
Breaking stereotypes about Munnar
Munnar is just the Tea Gardens – Munnars tea gardens are unlike none other, there are few things as relaxing as spending a day in the tea gardens surrounded by the western ghats. However Munnar has a lot more to offer in and around it. Eravikulam national park in Munnar is one such example. The national is home to tigers, leopards and other endangered flora and fauna is a must visit during your trip to Munnar.
Similarly, Chithirapuram, Echo point, the Marayoor Sandalwood forest and the Attukad Waterfalls are some other spectacular places in and around Munnar that you can experience. A lot more than just tea gardens.
Go check out
Eravikulam National Park – Located in Munnar at an elevation of 2000 metres above sea level. Eravikulam national park is home to Tigers, Leopards, Nilgiri Tahr, Indian Sambar, Wild Jackals and other exotic flora and fauna. The national park is known to house some of the rarest and the most endangered species and is a must visit.
Echo Point – A popular picnic spot around a lake. Echo point is one of the most popular destinations in Munnar and is a favorite among campers and photographers.
Mattupetty Dam – Another popular picnic spot. Mattupetty Dam is a water conservation and hydroelectricity generation project. It is surrounded by nature and is home to a plethora of birds and animals and is famous among families since it offers activities like nature walks and boating.
Attukad waterfall – The trek up to Attukad waterfalls is an exciting one. Surrounded by dense vegetation. This secluded waterfall has become a hotspot among locals and travelers alike!
Top Station – You would be forgiven for thinking you are surrounded by clouds. Top Station at an 1800 metre elevation is the best place to get a panoramic view of the mountains around you as you look down on Munnar. The Top Station offers mesmerizing views of all the nature around Munnar.
Marayur /Marayoor – Home to the only sandalwood forest in Kerala. It’s suggested that the Pandavas in Mahabharata visited Marayur. Marayur is extremely famous among tourists and history buffs alike for its ancient dolmens and neolithic rock paintings that go all the way back to the stone age.