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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Munnar (Kerala-India)


Munnar: This is one place you absolutely have to visit atleast once in your lifetime. Before I visited this quiet picturesque hill station which is so beautifully manged by Mr. Tata and his people, I never knew there can be so many variations of the colours green and blue. Situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala - Munnar has sprawling tea plantations, picture-postcard towns, winding lanes and trekking and holidaying facilities, which make its charm unforgettable. Munnar is essentially a tea town and the plantations are now owned by the Tata Tea Company. The flora family of Munnar boasts of the Neelakurinji, a flower which paints the hills blue once in twelve years. Munnar also has the highest peak in Southern India, Anamud,i at a height of 2695 mts. Standing on your hotel balcony, being visited the entire time by clouds and mist, looking out at rolling valleys and tea gardens and hills, wherever your eyes go you can only see greens and blues in all the shades that nature painted them in. The people here are extremely friendly and simple, the best bet in food is mostly regular vegetarian south-Indian delicacies like dosa (which has thousands of different varieties here), idli, vada and the lot.

To reach: Take a flight till Kochi and a 03 hour drive through the hills to Munnar.
Places of interest: Mattupetty (13kms) from Munnar, is famous for its highly specialised dairy farm. Timing 0900-1100 hrs and 1400-1530 hrs. Rates Rs. 5/- per head. Pothamedu (06 kms) offers a breathtaking view of the tea, coffee and cardamom plantations.; Devikulam (07 kms) is an idyllic hill station which also has the Sita Devi Lake, famed for its mineral water and trout fishing.; Pallivasal (08kms) the venue of the first hydro-electric project in Kerala ; Attukal (09 kms) has waterfalls and is also ideal for long treks. Located between Munnar and Pallivasal.; Nyayamakad (10 kms) has waterfalls which fall from a height of around 1600 mts. Located between Munnar and Rajmala ; Chithirapuram (10 kms) old world charm with little cottages, bungalows, old playgrounds and courts.; Lock Heart Gap (13 kms) ideal for adventure tourism and trekking;
Nallathanni Estate of Tata Tea (museum) – it houses curios, photographs and machineries, that depict a turning point that contributed to the flourishing tea industry in India. Visitors are greeted by a sundial, placed on a granite block, which was made in 1913 by the Art Industrial School at Nazareth, Tamil Nadu. In terms of antiquity, the burial urn from the 2nd century BC, which was found near Periakanal estate, is of great interest. Visitors can go through various stages of tea processing and also learn a bit about the production of black tea. Timing: 10:00 am - 05:00 pm every day. Entry Fee: Adults Rs. 50/- ; Children below 12 years Rs. 10/-..

Echo Point: located 13 kms from Munnar, ideal for adventure tourism and trekking, the place is kissed by fresh mountain air and surrounded by mist-clad hills. The place gets its name from the natural echo phenomenon here. On the way to Top Station from Munnar.

To reach: 140 kms from Madurai in Tamil Nadu; 190 kms from Cochin International Airport, Nedumbassery; Train: 60 kms from Theni in Tamil Nadu; 93 kms from Changanacherry

Added Info: 1600 mts to 1800 mts above sea level; temperature 0-25c ; Peak season August – March.

Happy travelling :))