For those who just love the scenic beauty and environs of the hilly areas, a visit to Munnar in Kerala, India is inevitable. Munnar is Kerala’s premier hill station and is located in the Idukki district at an altitude of 5000 feet. From Kochi, it is just 135 km away in the north east direction and can be reached within four hours.
A minimum of three days is required to explore and enjoy Munnar. The attractions are primarily located on the outskirts. The must do include a visit to the Tea gardens, Tea factory and Tea Museum. This is beacause much of Munnar’s beauty and claim to fame is due to these lush tea gardens. The greenery is refreshing and so is the air. Kollukkumallay, the highest tea garden of India, is definitely not to be missed out. At Tea Museum, run by Tata Tea, there is an opportunity to learn how the tea industry developed in Munnar while the nearby tea processing unit offers a closeup of the tea manufacturing and tea tasting method.
A rendezvous with ‘once on the verge of extinction’, Niligiri tahr in the Eravikulam National Park is also recommended. The wild goat is now far from extinction and is actually so large in number that visitors invariably spot them on the road itself. Moreover, the tahr is now also the mascot of Munnar.
The Athukad waterfalls, Cheeyapara Falls and the Valara Falls, all along the same route from Munnar are breathtaking beauties that mesmerise visitors in seasons. For more visual treats, visitors can also pay a visit to Lockhart gap, Pothanmedu, Nyamakad Gap.
Apart from savouring the awesome beauty of Munnar, visitors can indulge in some trout fishing, golf and shopping. Shopping items list, needless to say, has tea at its top. Strawberries and spices are two other items that can be bought on a trip.
The best time to visit Munnar is after the monsoon, that is,from September to May. Actually, it is best to visit Munnar when the neelakurunji fl;owers bloom. The whole of the hillside, carpeted with the mauve flowers, present a ravishing beauty. However, since these flowers bloom only once in twelve years (2006 being the last time), it is best to consider the first option.
Cochin International airport and Ernakulam Junction are the nearest airport and railhead respectively. A prepaid taxi from both these places run for Munnar. KSRTC buses also run from different cities of Kerala to Munnar.