Breathtakingly beautiful, Munnar is an ideal tourist destination nestled in God’s own country – Kerala. The erstwhile British rulers too had considered Munnar to be their favored summer resort. Normally, the travelers visit Munnar to experience the vast tea plantations of the area, but there is a lot to it than just tea farms scattered around the slopes of the hill.
It is a quaint township with the usual shops, guest houses and is really beautiful and traditional. It is a good place to visit for a true countryside experience during the summers.
1: Kannan Devan Tea Museum
Begin your journey in Munnar by visiting the plush tea gardens. Experience this vast plantation area around the slopes of the hills. The scenery is simply stunning and mesmerizing. The view of the clouds descending into the mountains is indeed a pleasure to watch. How about enlightening yourself about the process of tea making? Indeed an offbeat thing to do. Visit the Kannan Devan tea museum which was initially run by Tata Tea, and now by the employees. The employees, who also double as guides, take you through the museum and also show you the tea production process.
2: Valara waterfalls
During your journey in Munnar, keep a look out for the many cascading waterfalls along the roads. Head towards Valara waterfalls which is about 42 km away. It is indeed a feast to the eyes. The water here pours from a 1000 meters peak. In summer-time, the flow of water is less, but during the rains the place is a heaven. The destination is a perfect offbeat getaway.
Next, you can head for Pothamedu, a small village in Munnar. It is yet another place a trekker would fall in love with. A hilly paradise full of coffee, cardamom and tea plantations, Pothamedu is located about 6 km away from Munnar. The destination is extremely greenish and offers beautiful views of the Muthirapuzha River, misty hills and rich green valleys around, even as the cool winds soothingly blow across your face. Visit the spot to indulge in the rejuvenating experience.
4: Punarjani Traditional Village
Head to the Punarjani Traditional Village where you can enjoy some great performances like Kathakali (local dance) and Kalaripayattu (martial arts). It would surely be an evening to remember when you get immersed into the local culture. There is a daily show at 5 pm in Pallivasal in Munnar (Tel: 04865 216161, 263888, 9895999701)
5: Eravikulam National Park
Visit the Eravikulam National Park, a tranquil destination playing host to an array of interesting and endangered species. The Nilgiri Thars, which are considered extremely endangered can be found nowhere else but for this place and some isolated Nilgiri forests. It is situated about 15 k from Munnar and to the South of this park is the highest peak in South India -Anamudi.
(Address: The Wildlife Warden, Munnar PO, Idukki Dist., Kerala, India; Tele: 91-4865-231587)
6: The CSI Christ Church
The colonial influence can be clearly seen with the number of Churches in the whole of Kerala. Munnar is no exception. The CSI Christ Church is a protestant church, built as far back as in 1910 and is a landmark for the quaint hill station. It is a beautiful example of the architecture of the days gone by and is a must visit for every visitor.
7: Rajamala Wildlife Sanctuary
Rajamala means ‘King of Hills’ in Malayalam, and these hills jutting proudly over Munnar are a must-visit for their exotic inhabitants- the endangered mountain goat species locally known as Nilgiri Thars. Rare flora and fauna such as the Neelakurinji Flowers that bloom every 12 years and will next come to life in 2018. Atlas moth (the largest of its kind in the world) the Nilgiri Langur and the lion-tailed macaque abound on the slopes of this majestic mountain range.
8: Nyayamakad Waterfalls
About 10kms from Munnar, en route to Rajamalai Wildlife Sanctuary, is where you’ll encounter the most breathtaking waterfalls. The waters at Nyayamkad cascade down a hill from a height of 1600 m before accumulating into a pool. The Nyayamakad fall is flanked by excellent trails into the dense forests of Munnar and a short nature walk will transport you to Nyayamakad Gap boasting of panoramic views of the tea gardens carpeting Munnar valley.
9: Anayirangal Lake (Recommended)
Anayirangal is where you can come face to face with the mighty tuskers. The lake here has been christened Elephant Lake, as you’ll frequently spot a herd of the wild mammals emerging from the cover of the dense forests for a drink. Take care not to disturb them, though! Local mahouts charge approximately between INR 350-500 for an elephant ride through the rolling grasslands.
Distance: 18 kms from Munnar near the Tata Tea Estate.
10: Mattupetty Lake
Mattupetty Lake looks like something out of a Swiss postcard. Surrounded by lush green meadows teeming with plump cattle, forests brimming with the most colorful and melodious birds and mountains whose peaks have been swallowed by mist, this azure lake is the perfect venue for leisurely boating. Owing to the fillip provided by the DTPC (District Tourism Promotion Council), a good infrastructure has been put in place and you can choose from an endless fleet of speed boats, row boats and pedal boats in which to sit back and enjoy the sylvan treats.
Distance: 13 kms from Munnar
By Richa Devi