Munnar: Untouched paradise of God's own country
Kerala, the South-Western region of India, is often referred to as God’s own country and Munnar is the epitome of beauty. It is the famed hill station and one of the major tourist destinations in the country, with its the Western Ghats covered in aromatic spice and lush green tea plantations, secret waterfalls, and windy lanes. Blessed with natural beauty and ecological diversity, Munnar has a lot to offer to tourists and travelers. The mesmerizing beauty of the land is rightly called paradise.
Earlier the summer resort for the British, Munnar is known for its pleasant climate and unspoiled beauty. The rolling hills covered in mist crisscrossed by the winding road, the dark emerald green colored plantation, and the few lone houses in the heart of it will promptly make you fall in love with this place. Nature lovers, wildlife lovers, and adventure enthusiasts are very fond of the place. They can relish boating, trekking, and paragliding. Munnar is the ideal place to hang your shoes and soak in the calm and soothing atmosphere.
In the second half of the 20th century, Munnar gained popularity as a tourist destination due to its scenic beauty and colonial charm. Some of the interesting places of Munnar are Chinnar, Thattekad, and Eravikulam wildlife sanctuaries. These untouched areas are home to many endemic and threatened species like the grizzled giant squirrel, the sambar, the gaur, elephants, Niligiri langur, the Nilgiri wood-pigeon, and Nilgiri Thar. The valley is also renowned for the Neelakurinju flowers that bloom once in 12 years. The valleys and hills get blanketed by the purple-blue blooms during this time.
Holding on to the desire to explore more and more, here is a listicle of the attractions in and around Munnar. Hence, begin marking the places in your travelogue.
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is a treasure house of nearly a thousand species of flowering plants. It’s not just flora; in fact, it is home to prosperous animal life. From birds and butterflies to moths and mammals, the 90.44-sq km sanctuary is residence to a great mix of species. It is also acknowledged as having the largest reptilian faunae among other sanctuaries in the state, counting a celebrated inhabitant - the mugger crocodile.
The sanctuary, a trekker’s wonderland, is situated about 60 km away from Munnar and the Munnar-Udumalpet road passes through the sanctuary. A watchtower in the sanctuary adds an enchanting panorama of the sanctuary, vast expanses of green forests heading to the nearby state of Tamil Nadu and far away mountains. The Thoovanam waterfall, a spectacular waterfall in the sanctuary, is also a hotspot for travelers.
There are 11 different tribal communities in Chinnar, and the main inhabitants of the park are Pulayars and Mutuvas. They do farming for a living. Chinnar is also among the few places in the world to find dolmens. Dolmens are said to be tombs made using stones during the Neolithic period.
A drive of 13-Km from Munnar on a winding road cutting through bushy greenery would head to the Mattupetty hills. Besides the green rolling hills, the center of attractions includes a dam, lake, and a dairy farm of international standards. About 7 km from Mattupetty is Kundala, another splendid picnic spot where large green tea plantations and a dam with a scenic treasure trove await travelers.
Boating on the peace, serene Mattupetty lake is a not-to-miss event. The lake is on the edge of a forest, and there is a possibility to have a glimpse of elephant herds strolling on the grassland.
A short drive from Mattupetty would lead you to Kundala, a small town amid the wild and greenery. Kundala has situated about 20 km ahead of Munnar. A stroll through the sprawling tea plantations would be one among the joyous moments of the travel. Another interesting place to visit is Kundala Club, which boasts a proud past dating back to the colonial era. The Club has a golf course, and visitors can enjoy a game with the permission of the Club Secretary. The clubhouse and premises are worth a visit.
Kanan Devan tea museum
The glorious tea plantation is one thing that makes Munnar different from other hill stations. Kanan Devan tea museum is the first of its kind in the country and was started to depict the growth of a more-than-a-century-old tea plantation in the Idukki District and focus on the tea processing method and its operations. It gives first-hand knowledge about tea processing and the operations that go into making black tea. The visitors can witness the very old rudimentary tea roller here, used in olden times, and discover a fully automated tea factory, which makes the tea processing way too easy.
One of the museum's rooms features the old-time bungalow furniture, cash safe, magneto phone, wooden bathtub, an iron oven that used firewood, to name a few. There is also a tea tasting exhibition room, which has a variety of teas on display. The visitors can also find a mini-CTC and Orthodox manufacturing unit to educate themselves in different aspects of tea processing.
Kolukkumalai Tea Estate
The tea estates are an emblem of Munnar. While these estates have brought down major portions of the thick, dense forest to make way for tea plantations, their aesthetics enhance the charm of Munnar. At 8000 ft, Kolukkumalai is the highest tea estate across the globe. Even though it has a bumpy ride, the view and sight siting are still worth the pain.
Visiting this place was quite fascinating. Once on the highest point, visitors can witness the gorgeous hills and villages of Tamil Nadu. The tea plantation has been situated here since the 1930s and depends on age-old methods to produce some of the finest tea worldwide. However, the travelers try their tea while exploring the tea estate. It tastes divine, but so would the tea from a roadside stall, given how cold it is at 8000 ft altitude. The scenery and the arrangement of the estate will leave you enthralled.
The natural echo phenomenon where the voices made through the reservoir resound back into the surroundings, breaking the hill station's serene silence, gives this place its name "Echo Station." Located only 13 km away from Munnar, this serene spot over gives people the joy of hearing their voices returning to them again and again.
The inimitable beauty of Echo Point marks the conjunction of three mountain ranges, Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni, and Kundala. Positioned on the banks of a lake, the calm and serenity of this place are charming.
Echo Point is a widespread adventure tourism destination that offers trekking, nature walking, boating, etc. It is also a great place for admirers of nature, photographers, and wildlife enthusiast, who enjoys viewing the picturesque valleys of Munnar and capturing the visions of green hills clad in tea plantations and spice gardens. This place is covered with abundant green sceneries and gives travelers a perfect location for a nature walks or trekking. It is a paradise for birdwatchers, as many native birds can be spotted here.
Therefore, the voyage to Munnar would not just be an experience of covering a tourist spot, in fact, it is a journey to the ethereal beauty of the scenic valley, rolling hills, virgin forest and waterfalls. In other words, the urge to explore the heaven on the earth.