Travel Guide for Munnar Hill Station in Kerala
The car slowly mounted the hills as we were on our trip to Munnar. The air was becoming cooler and cooler and chill breeze also conquered the atmosphere. Terrace slopes of tea plantations and misty verdant hills covered the backdrop throughout the rest of the journey.
I had not imagined that Munnar would be so beautiful really as was heard in stories and lectures. It seemed that Munnar was an oil painting of God using bright blue green hues. It is also the casa of ‘Neelakurinji’ flowers of purplish blue color blossoming once in 12 years to embellish the resplendence of the hills.
Munnar is a hill station on the Western Ghats, situated in the Idukki district of the Indian state of Kerala. As it’s situated geographically on the confluence of the three rivers Muthirapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundaly, it came to be known as ‘Munnar’. Munnar town is in Kannan Devan Hills Village in Devikulam Taluk. Its delightful peaks and dams shower the nature lovers with a bounty of colorful paintings of misty mountains, clouds, streams and green woods.
Neelakurinji or bluebell flowers
Rajamala means royal mountains. The richness of nature experienced here awarded it this name. Rajamala at a distance of 15km from Munnar, located in Eravikulam National Park is a high rolling plateau of hills in the higher ranges of Munnar. Also, the wild endangered species of goat ‘Nilgiri Tahr’ (Varaiaadu in Tamil language) is found in abundance here because of the favorable living conditions. About half of the world’s population of this species of goat is concentrated here. Its special ability to jump up the hills within a moment adds glow to Rajamala where visitors flock to behold this rare sight.
There is ample scope for trekking up this green mountain along-with fogs crisscrossing us. As we go higher and higher, slender white lines of small streams become visible that fall down. At some rocky bases, we can tinker the toes in these waters that surge from some points. This panorama of fog covered mountains at a higher altitude is the acme of nature which makes Munnar the epitome of beauty.
2. Anamudi peak
Anamudi peak is the highest peak in the Western Ghats and South India, at an elevation of 2,695m (8,842 ft) from the sea level. As it resembles an elephant’s head, it came to be called as ‘Anamudi’ in its regional language Malayalam. A trekking from the basement of Rajamala in Eravikulam National Park may take you to reach the summit ‘Anamudi’. It’s a fault-block mountain of small local relief and not steeply tall. This rocky terrain is clothed with heavy evergreen forests of bamboos, black wood and teak growing lavishly. Also Anamudi hill is the source of many rivers that traverse the landscape before merging with major rivers. Stunning views of clouds in the sky and fogs moving around the hills can be enjoyed from this high peak point.
3. Echo Point
This cool point about 16km on the way to Top Station is dressed with almost all hues of nature. Mist clad mountains merging with blue sky, green landscape and the cool lake flowing amidst together grab all the five senses of the visitor for a moment. A sketch of Echo point can be said as an exact trace of nature’s drawing. The natural echo phenomenon found here gave this place the name ‘Echo Point’.
4. Photo Point
This photogenic point is on the way to Mattupetti dam. The green thick set tea garden sloping down from the green mountains arrange a stunning backdrop for those who crave for superb snapshots. This point is a true reflection of the tea country, Munnar.
5. Sitadevi lake, Devikulam
Distant about 7km from Munnar is the spectacular hill station Devikulam. It is believed that the lake flowing here is sacred because Goddess Sita, wife of Lord Rama took bath in it during her stay in the nearby forests. Thus it got the name Sitadevi Lake. People come here to drink this crystal clear water rich in minerals with curative powers. The lake amidst verdant forests and hills teemed with songbirds is a majestic scenic spot in Munnar. The outpouring Pallivasal waterfall lies in the vicinity of this divine lake.
Pallivasal is a village located at about 8km from Munnar, near to Chithirapuram. It is the venue of the first hydro-electric project in Kerala. The dam and waterfalls are the main attractions here.
It is a beautiful hill station at a distance of 10km from Munnar. This quaint countryside still hosts several ancient old cottages and mansions built during colonial rule. Chithirapuram is another paradise of manicured tea gardens, verdant hills and evergreen forests laced with mountain streams.
This village is at a distance of about 21km from Munnar. Travelling further 13 km from Devikulam, Chinnakanal is reached. Hotels and tea estates present in this village are very popular and commuters lure the grand visual feast of the cascading waterfalls here. Chinnakanal waterfalls or powerhouse waterfalls gush from a height of about 800ft amidst dense tea slopes.
9. Mattupetti dam
This is a storage gravity dam to conserve water for hydroelectricity in Kerala, at a distance of about 13km from Munnar. The scenic beauty of the reservoir in the brilliant backdrop is what makes this place exemplary. This scenic spot is enjoyed best with a speed boat ride of about 10 minutes. The ride gives the feel of being in nature’s lap of brilliant colorful backdrop. Fresh air, cool breeze and the thrill of floating in a boat in green waters amidst lush green forests is an all time cherishing experience for a tourist traveler. It is the grounding place of wild elephants too.
10. Rose garden
This garden housed in Mattupetti is a treasure of varieties of flowers. Flowers grown in small pots arranged in consecutive rows one above another gives a quick glimpse into the garden here. Besides, roses are also planted in hill slopes of grasslands. The ideal climate for growing all kinds of flowers gave way to the advent of rose garden. Water lilies grown in an artificial pond is another attraction here.
11. Kundala dam and lake
Kundala dam and the nearby lake present another striking spot for the wayfarer to explore. It is situated at about 20km from Munnar. The lake stretching through green woodland provides many boating facilities. Kashmir style boat ‘Shikara’ gives a feel of taking a Kashmiri ride in Kundala Lake. Pedal boat rides are also available to cruise through this placid lake of Munnar. This is a popular buzz thronged with sightseers during peak season (Dec to Mar).
12. Pothamedu View Point
About 3km from Munnar is Pothamedu view point which gives us a glance into the fog covered mountains. Tea and cardamom plantations look like a green carpet of Munnar from here. Fog can deter this view as it has to carpet the mountains every now and then. Sunset can be seen from here with the several transformations of hues sunrays pass through.
These are the major attractions of the magnificent tea country and Neelakurinji hill station, Munnar. If you’re not satiated with all these, then traverse through some of the landscapes that have historic prominence. Wild life sanctuaries and waterfalls are yet other splendid sites in Munnar to explore. This natural, unruffled, extravagant tourist site is a golden dot on the heart of God’s own country, Kerala.
13. Tata tea museum
Housed in Nallathanni Estate of about 12km from Munnar, this museum showcases antiques related to tea processing that date back to more than a century. Tata tea museum is a tribute to the pioneers of tea production, whose sincere toils turned Munnar to a major tea plantation center of Kerala. The burial urn excavated from the vicinity of Periakanal Estate dating back to 2nd century BC, original tea roller Rotovane of 1905 used in CTC (crush, tear, cut) type tea processing, the Pelton Wheel used at Kanniamallay Estate in1920s, a rail engine wheel of the Kundale Valley Light Railway used in between 1900 – 1950 are some of the equipment displayed here.
A demonstration room for tea tasting is also included in Tata tea museum. Here one can taste the different varieties of tea and find out the nuances of tea processing in CTC and orthodox tea manufacturing units.
14. Anayirangal dam
This dam, perched on the hilltop is 22km from Munnar. The reservoir bordered by dense green forests let you cruise through it enjoying the wilderness. ‘Anayirangal’ literally translates to ‘elephant alight’ as elephants alight here frequently from nearby forests.
15. Kolukkumalai tea estate
Kolukkumalai tea estate is 35 km from Munnar. A ridge anchors Kolukkumalai tea estate and the factory where tea is processed. It is regarded as the world’s highest reputed tea estate at approximately 8000 feet above the sea level. With a bumpy ride for about 90min through the narrow rocky terrain, you can reach Kolukkumalai tea factory. The various stages of tea production can be studied in detail here.
Kolukkumalai hosts amazing vista of rugged mountains carpeted by tea plantations below. On clear nights Kodaikanal hills of Tamil Nadu state become visible from this point.
16. Top Station
Top Station, about 41 km from Munnar is situated along the border of the state of Tamil Nadu. Top Station has historic significance as it was the transshipment location for tea delivered up here from Munnar by railway and then down by rope-way to Kottagudi. With the mesmeric view of the ethereal hills of Munnar, Top Station always charms its guests atop. During the ‘Neelakurinji’ season, this point becomes clustered with Neelakurinji(blue bells) flowers that tend it to be called ‘Neelakurinjimala’. The wildlife Kurinjimala sanctuary is also nearby.
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Munnar hill station
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© 2013 Radhika Sreekanth