The Southern counterpart of Kashmir Valley, Munnar is a hill town located in Kerala’s Western Ghats mountain range. Home to huge tea plantations and picturesque locations, Munnar has been a considerably popular tourist destination among Indian tourists, especially honeymooners.
In the picturesque surroundings of Munnar, the tourists can enjoy fishing, play Golf and even experience the lip-smacking cups of tea that are made using locally grown tea leaves. The small town in Kerala is the perfect destination for anyone who is looking to get away from the hustle of city life.
Image Source: Wesley & Brandon Rosenblum (Flickr)
Munnar derives its name from the Tamil word Moon-aar, which means three rivers. Munnar is located in the Idukki district of Kerala at the confluence of Nallthanni and Kundale rivers which join the Mudrapuzha river and then make their way through the hills to join the Periyar river, and later the Arabian Sea.
Spread over a huge area of 12,000 hectares, Munnar’s tea fields and plantations have helped it gain immense popularity in and out of the state. Tea production is such an integral part of the town that there is a museum solely dedicated to showcasing different varieties of teas and their history.
One distinguishing feature of Munnar that makes it a must-visit destination is its breathtaking greenery. In addition to the vast blanket of green tea estates, Munnar is adorned by eucalyptus plantations that spread a refreshing aroma throughout the town and make it greener than any other hill station of Southern India.
Image Source: Wesley & Brandon Rosenblum (Flickr)
Location & How to Reach
At a height of 5249ft in the Western Ghats, Munnar is located at the confluence of Mudrapuzha, Nallathani and Kundale rivers. The hilly terrains of Munnar make it a little less accessible via air and rail route.
Nearest Railway Station: Cochin International Airport (110 km from Munnar)
Nearest Airport: Aluva ( 120 km from Munnar)
Distance From Nearby Cities:
Munnar to Thekkady: 91 km (3 hrs)
Munnar to Alleppey: 175 km (4-5 hrs)
Munnar to Cochin: 131 km (4 hrs)
Munnar to Varkala: 256 km (7 hrs)
Going Around the City
Government buses are the most convenient and inexpensive mode of transport to explore the beautiful town of Munnar. For solo travelers, renting a bike is also an option which will cost anywhere between Rs. 300 and 400 per day. Hiring cabs to visit the main attractions of Munnar is also an option available for tourists. Auto-rickshaws are easily available in the town.
Things to See & Do in Munnar (Within 50 km)
Munnar is home to some breathtakingly beautiful locations and picturesque surroundings. A 3-day trip to Munnar should be enough to explore the town to your heart’s content.
Eravikulam National Park
One of the major tourist attractions of Munnar, the Eravikulam National Park is home to the largest population of endangered Nilgiri Tahr and Neelakurinji flowers which only blooms once in 12 years.
Source – Monika & Tim (Flickr)
Munnar Tea Museum
The museum was established in 2005 by Tata Tea in the Nallathanni Estate to showcase the history of tea in Munnar and the journey of people who had been associated with it. A tea tasting room is the main attraction of the museum. Here, the tourists can sip on some of the most exotic varieties of tea from across the globe. Tourists can visit the museum between 9 am and 6 pm from Tuesday to Sunday.
Source – lax (Flickr)
Located around 8km from Munnar, Athukad falls are a major tourist attraction. During the monsoon season (July and August) the rainwater makes the Athukad falls a treat of sore eyes.
Source – arunknaircof (Flickr)
Located at a height of 160ft, the Madupatty dam offers splendid views and revitalizing boating experience. Boating in the reservoir also gives the tourist a chance to spot elephants and sambars. The dam is around 13km from Munnar along the Top Station Road. The entry to Madupatty Dam is Rs. 10 for adults, Rs. 5 children and Rs. 50 for foreigners. A small boat for 5 people costs Rs. 300 for a 15-minute ride. A bigger boat that accommodates up to 20 people costs Rs. 700 for a 30-minute ride. The visiting time for tourists is between 9 am and 5 pm.
Source – Umesh Budge (Flickr)
Gravel Banks and Devikulam Lake are located around 25km from Munnar make one of the perfect locations for trout fishing in South India. The rough terrain around these areas makes it important for tourists to hire local jeeps.
Source – Raishul Alam (Instagram)
One of the top things to shop from Munnar is the locally grown teas. The locals of Munnar have been perfecting the art of tea cultivation over the past 125 years thus, making it an unmissable experience for tourists. Aromatherapy oils, strawberries, and spices are a couple of other things that one must buy in Munnar.
Source – superkimbo (Flickr)
Tourist can scale the Anamudi mountain, which is the highest peak in Kerala and South India. The peak is situated on the top of Eravikulam National Park and requires at least some prior experience in trekking.
Source – Vishal Koshy (Flickr)
Enjoying Local Cuisine
Munnar has an impressive street food culture. The Post Office Road of Munnar transforms into a food lover’s paradise after sundown. Vendors set up small stalls on wheels and sell lip-smacking local delicacies such as rice with meat and egg.
Source – Bryan Keith (Flickr)
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Munnar is between June and September. Although most tourists do not prefer planning a vacation during monsoons, visiting Munnar during the rainy season can give you an experience that is one of its kind.
The opportunity only comes once in 12 years thus, if you can plan a trip to Munnar during the blossoming of Neelakurinji flowers it can be an experience of a lifetime.
Accommodation Options in Munnar
Munnar offers a wide range of 4 and 5-star hotels. A night’s stay at a plush property can cost an upwards of Rs. 4,000. These properties are best recommended for couples and families.
Budget chain hotels such as OYO Rooms also operate in Munnar. A night’s stay at these budget properties can cost anywhere between Rs. 2,000-3,000.
For solo travelers or tourists travelling on a shoestring budget, homestays and lodges are also available at a tariff of Rs. 800-1,000 per night.
Where to Head Next? (Within 50 – 300 km)
(91 km, 3 hours)
Source – Parth Joshi (Flickr)
A small hill station located near Kerala-Tamil Nadu border, Thekkady is famous for its lush green surroundings and Periyar National Park. The vast grasslands of Thekkady give the feeling of utmost serenity and the abundant wildlife makes the tourists feel one with nature.
(175 km, 5 hours)
Source – Anu Leponiemi (Flickr)
Alleppey aka Alappuzha is a city in Kerala located on the Laccadive Sea. Its serene backwaters and tranquil houseboat cruises have made it a hot favourite among tourists over the years.
(256 km, 7 hours)
Source – Leonid Yaitskiy (Flickr)
A small town in Kerala, Varkala is known for its pristine cliff beaches. One of the beaches of Varkala, the Papanasam Beach, is believed to have holy waters and a cliff nearby the beach is home to the ancient Janardanaswamy Temple, which is Hindu pilgrimage site.