What is Munnar in Kerala famous for
Munnar in Kerala has been famous for almost 2 centuries, earlier as the summer resort of the British upper class ruling India and now, with thousands of tourists descending on Munnar, to experience that wonderful climate and sceneries in Munnar. The Tea plantations of Munnar add to the already wonderful landscape by giving that green carpeted look to the landscape.
Munnar in Malayalam, the language of Kerala, means 'three rivers' and is due to the fact that the three rivers Madhurapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundaly join together near Munnar.
Munnar is easily the best Hill Station in South India, even better than Ooty or Kodaikanal. Munnar has the highest mountain peak in South India called 'Anamudi' which is at a height of at 8840 feet or 2,695 meters. The Elevation of Munnar town is about 6500 feet or 2000 meters above sea level. Munnar is most famous for its Tea Estates and the cool, misty climate. If you happen to be in Kerala, then Munnar is worth visiting for a cool holiday.
Munnar Kerala best time to visit
The summer temperature in Munnar is between 59 °F (15°C) minimum and 77 °F (25 °C) maximum. The temperature in Munnar in winter drops to 41 °F (5 °C) minimum and 77 °F ( 20°C) maximum. The best time to visit Munnar is in the winter months when you can really enjoy the misty mountain climate of Munnar to its fullest. The winter months from September up to late March are the best time to be in Munnar. But any time of the year Munnar has a lovely pleasant climate and is worth visiting. Munnar during the monsoon rainy season of June and July, may not be to everybody’s taste, but it is a unique experience to see the heavy rains in this mountain resort of Munnar.
How to reach Munnar in Kerala
The only option for travel to Munnar in Kerala is by road. The nearest airport to Munnar in Kerala is the Cochin International Airport also known as Nedumbassery Airport or CIAL , and is about 80 Miles or 130 Kilometers by road. The other Airports near Munnar are Madurai International Airport which is 100 Miles or 160Km from Munnar and Calicut International Airport also known as Karipur Airport, which is 155 miles or 250 Kilometers from Munnar.
The nearest railway station to Munnar Kerala is Aluva Train Station and the distance between Alwaye to Munnar is 110 km. By road the route from Cochin to Munnar is through the cities of Kothamangalam, about 50 miles or 80 km from Cochin and Adimali which is just 19 miles or 30 kilometers from Munnar. The road from Cochin to Munnar is very smooth but it is narrow and a bit of a winding road. Distances from Munnar to other main cities are 100 miles or 160 kilometers to Coimbatore and to Kodaikanal it is 108 miles or 170 kilometers.
History of Munnar
The town of Munnar gradually emerged due to the many Tea Estates around it. The first tea estate in Munnar was started in the 1870s by an Englishman Mr. John Daniel Munro, who obtained a lease for about 136,000 acres of land on the Kannan Devan Hills in the Western Ghats. Many types of plantations were tried in the beginning like Tea, Coffee, Cardamom, etc. but Tea cultivation was found to be the best crop to cultivate in Munnar. A Company called 'Kannan Devan Hills Produce Company' was formed in 1897. In early 1970s Tata Finlay Company bought out the Kannan Devan Hills Produce Company and later Tata Finlay became the Tata Tea Company and now it is Kannan Devan Hills Plantations Company Private Limited.
Places worth visiting in Munnar
Almost everywhere you will see the flat cropped tops of the tea plants packed together and it looks fantastic like a green carpet laid over the rolling hills. The atmosphere is laden with moisture and it is cool. It is an experience that cannot be put in words, you have to experience it yourself and once you experience it, you will not want to let go. That is why there are so many repeat visitors to Munnar and they always try to extend their stay there, reluctant to let go of this wonderful feeling of relaxation. Munnar was the summer retreat of the Colonial English rulers of India and even today it has that colonial charm with many mansions, clubs and hotels built during the colonial era.
Other sights in Munnar are the many waterfalls and the sight of the mist covered mountains and green valleys extending as far as the eye can see. There is also the rare flower of Munnar, Neelakurinji (Scientific name: Strobilanthes kunthiana) which only blooms once in twelve years when the whole of Munnar, not covered by the green tea plantations, turn blue.
There are many streams and lakes and quite little picnic spots like Photo Point, Top Station and Echo Point. Munnar has many tour operators who have day trips to the interesting spots in and around Munnar like visits to the historic tea plantations, the Tata Tea Museum and the Eravikulam national park in Munnar is a favourite with tourists to see the Nilgiri Tahr mountain goat, an endangered species (Scientific name: Nilgiritragus hylocrius and known as "varayadu" in Malayalam). Also in the Eravikulam national park of Munnar you can see some of the wildlife that the Munnar region is famous for - the Gaur or the Indian buffalo or bison (Scientific name: Bos gaurus), the Langur monkey (Scientific name: Semnopithecus schistaceus), the lion-tailed macaque monkey (Scientific name: Macaca silenus) and if lucky, the never to be missed herd of wild elephants.
If you would like to have an elephant ride the place to go is called the Elephant Arrival Spot about 20 km (12.5 Miles) away from Munnar. You can ride elephants for as long as you like for a charge. For Lakes, boat rides and waterfalls the places to go to are Mattupetti Dam, Kundala Lake, Naimakkadu Water Falls and Lakkam Water Falls, all within an hours journey from Munnar. Another very interesting place near Munnar is Marayoor, also about an hours journey from Munnar. Marayoor is famous for its sandalwood trees growing in the wild. The sandalwood tree is a protected tree and nobody is allowed to cut it. The government has exclusive rights to these trees which are cut by them and the sandalwood oil extracted in the only factory in Kerala at Marayoor. Marayoor is also famous for its Stone Age caves with Stone Age mural drawings.
For a list of Tourist attractions in Munnar with description, it is best to use the Google link here. Link to Google Maps with all the Tourist attractions in Munnar
Where to stay in Munnar
There are many hotels, both luxury and budget, in Munnar. Also available for stay are cosy homestays with families who have a special guest bed room just for paying house guests. These homestays are a great experience where the families go out of their way to look after you and feed you. We give a below details on how to find hotels and homestays in Munnar.