Munnar located at the confluence of three hill valleys - Mudrapuzha, Nallathani, Kundala. Munnar is one among the amazing hill station in India, located at a height of about 1520 m above the sea level. Munnar is completely enriched with aromatic sense of spices, tea and cardamom flowers and plants. Most part of this marvelous destination is consisting with dense forests, grass hillsides and valleys this is what it makes this place a paradise of nature among other world destinations. The unique mark of Munnar is Neelakurinji flower that blossom in hills and valleys once in 12 year.
The temperature ranges between 10 degrees to 0 degrees in winter and 8 degrees to 16 degrees in summer. Munnar offers absolute serenity in the ambience, which makes it even more spectacular. A Munnar Trip is nothing short of an heavenly experience.With lot of sightseeing places and tourist attractions which starts much before the actual Munnar town makes it one of the perfect holiday destinations in South India.
The ascend to Munnar starts from the valley town of Neriyamangalam.Once you cross the Neriyamangalam Bridge,One of India's first Arch Bridges which is built over the River Periyar,You will be welcomed by the signature greenary of Kerala.As you move on through the scenic Ghat road look out for 'Ranikallu', foundation stone scribbled with Ancient Malayalam letters,laid by Her highness Rani Sethulakshmi Bhai during the construction of this road.
Once you cross the Ranikallu and pass more into the Kochi-Dhanushkodi National Highway you will be able to see thick green forests on both sides of the road which are adorned by small streams of cold and pure water from the hills.If you are travelling during the rich monsoons , you will hit the breaks automatically at Cheeyapara & Valara falls which will be its beat during the period of June - Sept.
Adimali is the last Major town before you reach Munnar.From Valara Till Pallivasal through Adimali, you will come across a number of Cardamom plantations where you can have a stroll and buy some fresh produces right from the source.
Pallivasal hosts Kerala's first hydel power project which comprises of Two dams , Kundala Dam at the top and Mattupetty dam at the lower level. It is place of immense scenic beauty. On working days it is possible to visit Hydro Electric project. (Permission should be taken from the electricity department). Munnar town is a very small town of just 2 km radius and is densely populated with the employees of various tea factories.One must visit point in Munnar town is the vast vegetable market which in itself is a seperate world inside this town with full of fresh vegetables and spices.
To visit places , You can take three routes from Munnar and all these three routes will cater with attractions which are totally different from each other. Let us have a look at each of them.
1.Mattupetty - Kundala - Top Station
Mattupetty just 13km from Munnar situated at a height of 1700m.. Mattupetty has a beautiful rose garden. The Mattupetty lake and dam is just a shot distance from the farm, is a very beautiful picnic sport. The sprawling tea plantations and the Kundala Lake are other attractions. This route starts with a flower garden run by State Horticulture Department which boasts of having a wide variety of flowers.When you move on from the garden, you will reach the photo point.Its nothing but a picturesque point at the middle of the road surrounded by thick green tea plantations.A few meters ahead just slow down your vehicle to have a sight of a giant beehive tangled on an eucalyptus tree.Mattupetty is the home of Indo Swiss cattle breading project which is a vast cattle farm spread across acres of land.This project is aimed at cross breading the high milk yielding swiss cattle varities and highly immune local breeds and providing the offsprings to farmers.Entry to this sight is totally restricted and you will need permissions from higher authorities to give a visit.
After a few kilometers you will reach the Mattupetty dam where you can have a boating through the reservior.There's also another privately owned amusement park too which is having a wide range of adventurous rides.Before reaching Kundala Dam, get down at echo point for a quick bite , small shopping and the fun of hearing your sound echoed from the hills.
Ascend more and take a break at Kundala Dam before you go higher into the top station.At top station you can have breath taking view of the neighbouring state Tamilnadu and of Kolukumala Tea estates.Further drive through the route will take you to Paambadum Chola National park where you can have a trek through the forest and an overnight stay right at the middle of the forest.One thing to be noted here is that you need prebook the stay over the internet so that you dont get stranded at the middle of the forest that too during the odd hours :)
2&3.Iravikulam - Marayur - Chinnar - Kanthaloor
This path is any tourists dream route.Starting with Iravikulam National Park visit , this has got everything that any backpacker would love to have in his iternary - trekking,peaks,forests,picture pefect sights,animals,waterfalls and what not.
This route begins with a visit to Tata Group's Tea Museum where you will get to know the journey from tea leaves to tea dust. Also a visual presentation on the history of Tea and Munnar is arranged there for the visitors. Once you are done with these activities you can buy some freshly prepared tea dust from the company outlet and start your sightseeing for the day
8 kms from Munnar town , situates Rajamalai,a part of Eraivikulam National Park which is the abode to world famous Varayadu ( Rock Goat or Parai Aadukal ) . Eravikulam National Park is 16 km from the Munnar Town. This park is a home of several elephants, lion-tailed macaque, and the Nilgiri tahr (a rare mountain goat). This national park is the home of Travelers can also explore the Rajamala Hills adjoining the national park. Forest Dept has arranged special buses from the parking zone to take you to the heights where you will be see both Varayadu and the beautiful Neelakurinji flowers.Do remember that you are the highest point in South India viz Aanamudi.Once you are done with Rajamalai , drive to Marayur through the Tea Plantation roads which are have the picturesque Gulmohar tress through out the sides.Sight of Sandalwood tress on both sides of the road indicates that you are in the right path and you are near Marayur.
Once you reach Marayur - You can take two directions.One is to Chinnar whih will take you to Thoovanam Falls. Karimutti forest station issues passes for trekking to Thoovanam falls and if you wish to stay on vernight beside the falls ,Forest Dept has got all the facilities arranged.
The other direction from Marayur is towards Kanthaloor through the sugarcane fields and Jaggery manufacturing units.You can travel till Koviloor which famous for vegetable and fruit farms.
At Marayur, Dont forget to give a visit to The Big Banyan Tree which is spread across acres of Land !
4 Devikulam - Kolukumala - Meesapulimala
Devikulam has got a story behind it's name. There is a Kulam or Pond situated at this place which is believed to be the same pond where Devi Seetha took her bath during her exile.A temple of Seetha Devi, Lav & Kush is the first attraction of this place.
Kolukumala Tea Estates is world's highest tea plantation.A conveyance to this plantation and tea factory can be arranged from Devikulam.The next attraction around Devikulam is a once in lifetime experience and that experience is called Meesapulimala ! The treak to this place starts from a point 20kms away from Devikulam and this 20kms can be covered only in a 4wheel drive vehicle.Once you reach this point , the trek begins ! After trekking for full 1 hour you will reach this awesome place where you will be above the clouds literally ! You can either choose to stay overnight there inside on a tent or you can descend !