If you’re looking for quiet strolls along rows of tea bushes, if you’re looking for the enveloping calm of cool mist, if you are partial to pristine green countryside laid out below clear blue sky-then you’ve been looking for, and will be hooked by, the hill station of Munnar.
Tucked into the Western Ghats, surrounded by tea and spice plantations, soaked in atmosphere, Munnar is heart-stopping beautiful hill resort. Hidden away in the midst of thick vegetation and lush rainforest, Munnar was the secret holiday getaway to the hills, of only a few who were familiar with its many charms. But modern day Munnar has become highly visible on the tourist map as Kerala sells its much faceted self to domestic and foreign visitors.
A misty, lush green hill station 1600m ASL in the Annamalai range of Kerala, Munnar is fast making a transition from a tea, coffee and spice plantation centre to a prime holiday resort and wildlife reserve.
This hill resort retains its colonial British character with neat bungalows, cottage gardens filled with flowers and the smell of fresh spices, tea and roasting coffee beans that hangs heavy in the air. The surrounding hill slopes are covered with orderly rows of tea bushes, the plantations amongst the highest in the world stretch for miles only interrupted by pockets of forests teeming with local fauna and flora. Amongst the unusual flowers that grow here is the Neelakurinji that blooms once every twelve years and bathes the entire area in a beautiful blue colour. The Neelakurinji is next due to flower in 2018!
How to Reach Munnar?
By Air : Nearly 130 Km away, at a driving distance of 4 hours from Munnar, theCochin (Kochi) International Airport is cradled in Nedumbassery. It has two active terminals for international and domestic operations. The airport receives passengers from all across the globe and is served by leading carriers like Air India, Jet Airways, Emirates, Air Asia, Etihad Airlines and Qatar Airways.
By Rail : Munnar does not have a railway station. The nearest railway station is at Kochi, or rather at Ernakulum. The Ernakulum Junction is a major junction in the south; it gets trains from all over the country including frequent ones from Delhi, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Mumbai, Mangalore and Bangalore.
By Road : The best way to get to Munnar’s fabulous tea bushes is by road from Kochi. Take a cab from Kochi, Kottayam (5 hours), Madurai (6 hours), Coimbatore (6 hours too), or Thiruvananthapuram (9 hours). Both rattling, state transport and sleeker privately run buses also service these routes.
Best Time to Visit Munnar
The summers are ideally cool, a lovely retreat from the sweaty hot plains heaving under the sun’s assault. The months of September-October when the rains have ceased are the best time to visit. It really is a cool, invigorating, beautiful season. Avoid the monsoon season between June and August, because when it rains here it really pours and the winters get pretty cold in Munnar owing to its height (1600 meters).
Things to do in Munnar
Munnar presents a varied list of things to do. Enjoy fantastic views from atop hills, take serene walks in the nearby tea gardens, buy aromatic fresh spices from the spice market, visit the nearby Thattegad Bird Sanctuary or spot the nilgai at the Eravikulam Park, Munnar is a wonderful little hill station - just what the doctor ordered if de-stressing and relaxing are what you are looking for. Come and get floored in Munnar!
Places Near Munnar
Some of the nearby places around Munnar are pretty interesting so if you have some time on hand, do make a trip to any of the places listed below.
Marayoor with its valuable sandalwood forests and some archaeological sites is just a short distance from Munnar, approximately 40 kms away. On the way to the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary the sandalwood forest is thick and the sweet musky fragrance. Excavations in the area have yielded relics dating back to the later Stone Age.
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is a tiny reserve a little beyond Marayoor and is approximately 60 km from Munnar. Wild elephants and tigers are supposed to be endemic to the reserve but are so hard to spot that it is difficult to believe their existence here. No matter the lack of wildlife, the place is perfect for a picnic in the midst of green forests - an ideal way to spend a family vacation.
Hotels in Munnar – Choice is Yours
There are numerous hotels in Munnar ranging from 3-star, 4-star and 5-star deluxe to budget hotels.