Nestled amidst sprawling tea estates surrounded by majestic mountains and pristine valleys, Munnar is an idyllic destination for those wishing a perfect getaway from the hubbub and mundane urban life.
Situated in Idukki district of Kerala in India, Munnar is at an altitude of 6000 ft. Derived from Tamil words, ÔÇ£muunuÔÇØ (meaning three) and ÔÇ£aaruÔÇØ (meaning river), Munnar is at the intersection of three rivers namely Mudhirapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundali.
Lush green and beautifully manicured tea estates define the landscape of this hill station which served as the summer resort for the erstwhile British rulers. The mist gently enveloping the hills and the humble silver oaks dancing to the tunes of wind are a sight to behold.
Home to the worldÔÇÖs highest grown tea plantation, Kolukkumalai tea estate is a must visit hill top. The factory built in the 1930s presents some of the old time tested methods of tea processing. The guided tour provides in depth understanding of the entire tea processing stages from withering to rolling, oxidation, drying, fibre extraction and grading. Tea connoiseurs can try fresh and flavourful tea at the quaint tea outlet attached to the building.
Among other attractions around Munnar are:
Mattupetty Dam ÔÇô Located 13 kms away from Munnar, the dam is built between beautiful hill ranges. Elephants are said to frequent this place. The water looks so still that you can see the reflection of lovely tea gardens. You could row a boat or simply sit by the lakeside and enjoy the serene ambience.
Tea Museum ÔÇô The museum showcases the collection of the Colonial era. Besides, the place also provides insight into the art of tea processing.
Attukad waterfalls ÔÇô Located 9 kms away from Munnar, many streams emerge from this cascading beauty.
Eravikulam National Park ÔÇô The park is home to an endangered species of Nilgiri Tahr, a rare mountain goat. A variety of rare trees and shrubs can also be found here.
Spice garden tour ÔÇô There are few spice gardens in and around Munnar, open to visitors. The tranquil place attracts visitors with a treasure of an amazing range of spice plantations ranging from cardamom to cinnamon, pepper and cloves. A tour around the garden helps visitors understand how these spices are grown. It is here that we discovered that bay leaf and cinnamon are derived from the same tree. While cinnamon is derived from the bark, the leaves are bay leaves.
Get soaked in serenity as you take a stroll, stop by the lone chayyakada (tea shack) to sip some hot tea and laze by the lakeside or simply watch the sun shine drizzle into the trees or moon light illuminate the hills. The captivating sights of the enchanting hill station can be extremely soothing to the sore eyes bored of skyscrapers and polluted roads. Every moment in Munnar is deeply etched in memories. We returned to the hubbub after a peaceful retreat. We are now back to the mundane but the cool crisp mountain air has recharged our body, mind and soul to get back to work and look at things with a fresh perspective.