Munnar is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. 1600 m above sea level, this hill station was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India. Sprawling tea plantations, picture-book towns, winding lanes and holiday facilities make this a popular resort town. Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands here is the Neelakurinji. This flower which bathes the hills in blue once in every twelve years will bloom next in 2018 AD. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India, Anamudi, which towers over 2695 m. Anamudi is an ideal spot for trekking.
Tea plantations, trout-filled streams, placid lakes, picnic spots at each bend of the winding road, wildlife reserves, trekking routes that take you to the highest peak in South India...
For long, the best-kept secret among hill-station destinations, now the choice of honeymooners, tea tasters, corporate warriors and wannabe colonial masters. Wrapped in the greenest of carpets this side of Eden. Munnar is not just South India's most sought-after hill resort. It is also the centre of Kerala's premier tea-growing district, aptly known as the High Range. In Tamil, moon aar literally means 'three rivers', a reference to the streams around whose confluence the town grew. The Nallthanni and Kundalai streams flow into the Muthirapuzha River, which cascades out of the hills to join the Periyar and, later, the Arabian Sea.
Tea is Munnar's claim to fame. Here, more than 12,000 hectares of lush, manicured tea fields form an irresistible canvas against which honeymooners pose. Stately eucalyptus plantations, which fuel the many tea factories in the vicinity, sway gently in the wind, their fragrance wafting over Munnar. And shola trees hug the mist-shrouded hillsides, sheltering several highly endangered species of wildlife.
A trip to Munnar is a journey through picturesque surroundings, but the most sought-after offering of the estates is the unbelievably pure air. There are also wild animals to spot, golf to be played; some trout fishing to be done... the list is endless. But if lazing around is all that you want to do on your holiday with your partner, Munnar's idyllic surroundings let you do that too.
Of course, for the more adventurous, there's the challenge of climbing the 8,841-foot-high Anaimudi Peak, which towers majestically over the town. This is the highest peak south of the Himalaya and was once a landmark for ships approaching the port of Kochi. It's a spectacular view, and even if you are not lucky enough to be here when the Neelakurinji blooms (an event that happens only once in 12 years between August and November with a peak period of late September and October; the next is expected in 2018), you won't despair. Munnar's beauty will ensure that.
A visit to a tea factory for a firsthand introduction to the complexities of tea-processing and tea-tasting is a must - it's an aromatic experience. And at the local Tea Museum, the first of its kind in India, one can take a peep into the past.
Many newly married couple often prefers Munnar as their honeymoon destination. You can see honeymoon couple roaming their at every time of the year.
Pothanmedu: Pothanmedu offers an excellent view of the tea, coffee and cardamom plantations in Munnar. The rolling hills and the lush mountains here are ideal for trekking and long mountain walks.
Devikulam: This idyllic hill station with its velvet lawns, exotic flora and fauna and the cool mountain air is a rare experience. The Sita Devi Lake with its mineral waters and picturesque surroundings is a good picnic spot. The lake is also ideal for trout fishing.
Pallivasal: This is the site of the first Hydro-Electric Project in Kerala and a place of immense scenic beauty.
Attukad: A panorama of waterfalls and rolling hills, Attukad, located between Munnar and Pallivasal, is a feast for the eyes. The place is also ideal for long treks.
Nyayamakad: Located between Munnar and Rajamala, Nyayamakad is a land of breathtaking waterfalls. The waters cascade down a hill from a height of about 1600 metres. The enchanting surroundings make an excellent picnic spot and trekking point. Gravel Banks, the delightful trout fishing site is tucked away in a remote corner of Nyayamakad Estate.
Chithirapuram: With its sleepy little cottages, bungalows, old playgrounds and courts, Chithirapuram still exudes an old world charm. Home of the Pallivasal Hydel Power Project, this hill town is also famous for its picturesque tea plantations.
Mount Carmel Church: Established in 1898, this was the first Roman Catholic Church in the High Ranges.
Lockhart Gap: This is an ideal place for adventure tourism and trekking. The fresh mountain air, the mist-clad hills and panoramic view make it worthy of a visit.
Blossom International Park: Sprawled over 16 acres, this park has a garden with a profusion of blooms and a plethora of activities for adults and children including boating, cycling, roller skating, games etc.
Rajamala: This is the natural habitat of the Nilgiri Tahr. Half the world population of the rare mountain goat (Hemitragas hylocres) which is an endangered species, is now found here. The Nilgiri Tahrs are today reduced to small herds found in the Eravikulam - Rajamala region and their total number in this region is estimated to be 1317.
Mattupetty: Situated at a height of 1700 m, Mattupetty is known for its highly specialised dairy farm - the Indo-Swiss Livestock Project. Over a 100 varieties of high yielding cattle are reared here. Visitors are allowed into 3 of the 11 cattle sheds at the farm.
Echo Point: This scenic place gets its name from the natural echo phenomenon here. Echo Point is on the way to Top Station from Munnar.
Eravikulam National Park: The 97 sq. km park is situated in the Devikulam Taluk and is home to the Nilgiri Tahr. The Anamudi peak (2695 m) is located in the southern region of the park.
The Park is divided into three regions - the core area, the buffer area and the tourism area. Visitors are allowed only to the tourism area which is in the Rajamala region. The Nilgiri Tahr can be observed at close quarters here.
Trekking facilities are available here. Tourists are allowed to go on foot up to Anamudi. This is also a place for adventure tourism.
Trekking Areas: Anamudi Rajamala
Power House Waterfall: This waterfall on the way to Thekkady from Munnar cascades down a steep rock 2000 m above sea level. The spot is enriched with the scenic western mountain ranges, and is an ideal place for a break on the way to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Thekkad
Kundala: Kundala is a picturesque town on the way to Top Station. The Golf Course which belongs to Tata Tea Ltd. is loated here. The Kundala Artificial Dam is another attraction and is also known as Sethuparvathipuram Dam. Aruvikkad 'aterfall is also near Kundala.
Anayirankal: This place is a lush green carpet of tea plants. The Anayirankal Dam is surrounded by the Tata Tea Plantation and evergreen forests. It is an ideal picnic spot and a boat ride on the splendid reservoir is an unforgettable experience.
Top Station: 1700 m above sea level, this is the highest point on the Munnar-Kodaikanal Road. The rare Neelakurunji 'Strobilanthus) belongs to this region. This plant blooms once In every twelve years bathing the hillsides in bright blue. Top Station also offers a panoramic view of the neighbouring State ofTamil Nadu.
Kollukkumallay: Located in steep, rugged terrain, Kollukkumallay is the highest tea garden in the country at 7900 ft. Accessible only by jeep, a visit to the estate includes a drive around the tea fields and a tour of its factory. What gives ollukkumallay tea its special flavour is presumably the high altitude.
Palkulamedu: Kochi, Alappuzha and other nearby towns can be seen from this peak which is located 3125 m above sea level.
Marayoor: This is the only place in Kerala that has a natural growth of sandalwood trees. The sandalwood factory of the Forest Department, the ancient caves (muniyaras) with murals and relics from the Neolithic Age and the children's park spread across a hectare of land under the canopy of a single banyan tree are of great interest to tourists. Thoovanam Waterfall and the Rajiv Gandhi National Park are also nearby.
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary: Situated on the Tamil Nadu border, the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is spread across 90.44 sq. km.
Cheeyappara: The Cheeyappara and Valara Waterfalls are located between Neriamangalam and Adimali on the Kochi- Madurai Highway. The Cheeyappara Waterfall falling in seven steps, is a real feast for the eyes. This is also a great place for trekking.
Meenuli: It is noted for the two acres of evergreen forests upon a huge rock. The rock is more than 500 acres in area and an ideal spot for mountaineering.
Malankara Reservoir: Located on the Thodupuzha - Moolamattam Road, this artificial lake is accessible by road. The reservoir is ideal for boating and fishing.
Thommankuthu: Famous for its seven-step waterfall, Thommankuthu is an ideal place for adventure tourism. Other attractions: Pedal boating, forest trekking, night camping, bathing in the waterfall ete.
Keezharkuth: The Rainbow Waterfall which cascades down a rock from a height of about 1500 m is a wonderful attraction of this spot. It can be seen throughout the year in all its splendour. The forest around this spot is home to various medicinal plants. It is an ideal place for rock climbing, mountaineering, camping and trekking.
Rarnakalmedu: Cool, green hills and the fresh mountain air make Ramakalmedu an enchanting retreat. The hilltop also offers a panoramic view of the picturesque villages of Bodi and Cumbum on the eastern slope of the Western Ghats. Distance: 45 km from Idukki, 40 km from Thekkady and 75 km from Munnar.