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Revision as of 16:32, 27 November 2011
Munnar is a hill station in the Indian state of Kerala.
Munnar is a beautiful hill station, and was the summer resort of the British. Tourists come here to see the vast tea plantations of the area. The town itself is typically Indian with the usual shops, guest houses and is really beautiful and traditional. It is a good place to stay to see the surrounding countryside. It is also a popular place for Indian honeymooners.
The town is divided into two parts, Old Munnar, where the tourist information office is, and Munnar, where the bus station and most guest houses are located.
The region in and around Munnar varies in height from 1,500 m (4,921 ft) to 2,695 m (8,842 ft) above mean sea level. It is pronounced "Moon-aar" short for "moonu aar" meaning 3 rivers. Three rivers - Madupetti, Nallathanni and Periavaru which flow through this town, but join some distance away from Munnar.
Munnar is famous for its tea plantations, many of them started by the British. The "Kannan Devan" brand of Tea from the Tata is cultivated and processed here.
The strobilanthus ("neelakurinji" in Malayalam, the local language), a blue flower which blooms only every 12 years, is found in this region. It bloomed last in December 2006. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India, Anamudi, at 2,695 m.
Eravikulam national park is one of the main tourist attraction, where you can find the endagered species of Nilgiri Tahr (mountain goat called "varayadu" in Malayalam). A treck to Rajamala ("King of hills" in Malayalam), in the morning is sure to spot a few friendly mountain goats. You can also fond Gaur, Langur, Lion-tailed macaque, and Elephants depending on the season and time of travel. The altitude is 1,600-1.800 m above sea level. Temperature ranges from a minimum of 0⁰C to a maximum of 28⁰C. Warm clothes and rain gear is recommended. The tourist season is from Aug-Mar.
Malayalam and Tamil are main languages spoken here. You can manage with English or Hindi.
Cochin International airport (IATA: COK, ICAO: VOCI), also known as Nedumbassery Airport and CIAL is the nearest airport. It is 110 km away from the Munnar by road.
The nearest railway station is Aluva, 110 km. Ernakulam is 130 km You can get the direct regular buses to Munnar, just outside of Railway station. First Bus starts at 6AM.
- From Kochi: Munnar is 130 km (3.5 hr) from Kochi. The road is blind in some places and there are a lot of trucks and buses that seem to drive as if they own the road. Although the road is smooth (NH 49), it is narrow, twisty and curvy. Kothamangalam is on the way and is 80 km away from Munnar. Between Kothamangalam and next town "Adimali", you can experience a beautiful cool drive through a natural forest. Alongside, you can see many refreshing waterfalls. Once you reach Adimali, Munnar is just 30 kilometers away - but it will take almost an hour to reach. This is the last place where you can spot a decent restaurant before Munnar. Around 22 km from Adimali, you can start seeing the tea plantations on both sides of the road and a panoramic view of the western ghats. The view is extremely beautiful during the early mornings.
- From Aluva: Aluva is nearly 110 km from Munnar. Just outside Aluva railway station you can hire a taxi for Munnar for Rs 1,400-1,600. There is a bus stand nearby as well which operates frequent buses to Munnar which cost just Rs 80-130.
- From Coimbatore: Munnar is about 160 km from Coimbatore and 120 km from Pollachi. Coimbatore- Pollachi - Udumalpet - Chinnar - Marayoor - Munnar route is the most scenic route and though it will take bit longer, it is generally considered worth the extra time spent.
- From Kodaikanal: Kodaikanal is nearly 170 km from Munnar. Kodaikanal - Perumal Malai - Mayiladum Parai - Mooliyaru - Oothu - Falls View - Ganguvarpetty - Ghat Road - Periya Kulam - Theni - Bodi - Bodimettu - Devikulam - Munnar. This route is also scenic.
- For detailed report and photos of route to Palani from Kochi thru Valparai please see Kochi-Valpara-Palani
Distances from Munnar to various cities:
The road to Munnar is narrow with lots of bends and curves. Hire a taxi or a driver with local experience if you are not familiar with similar conditions
Munnar bus station is on the main street, Main Bazaar.
- Kochi - takes about 3.5 hr. Buses leave Kochi between 6AM-6PM.
- Aluva - Nearest bus station to the Cochin International Airport. About 3 hr to Munnar. Ticket cost is around Rs 80-140 depending on the type of bus.
There are also buses from Coimbatore and Pollachi.
You can rent a manual or automatic motorbike on a daily basis for Rs 350/day.
Some of these site would be more popular to Indian tourists than to Western tourists.
Near Munnar Town
- Atukkad Waterfalls, A scenic waterfalls amidst hills and jungles. You can find a road leading to Atukkad Waterfalls on Kochi road (just about 5 km from Munnar). This road is very narrow and needs a lot of experience to drive on.
- Chithirapuram is located at a distance of around 10 km from Munnar. Chithirapuram has old playgrounds and courts, bungalows and sleepy little cottages which all give this place an old world charm. This town is also famous for its tea plantations in the world.
- Blossam Park, (1 km from Munnar).
- Photo Point, (2 km from Munnar). It is a small place filled with woods and a small stream. Good location to take photos.
- Mattupetti Dam, (10 km from Munnar), this popular picnic spot activities like boating and horse riding and is a great place to spend the day e specially if visiting with children. You could take the speed boat ride which is fantastic. It costs Rs 300 if you have to hire a boat for you alone. The ride is for 15 min. The maximum capacity is 5 persons and you could save some money if you are a group of 4-5.
- Mattupetti Indo-Swiss Farm, Better known as Mattupetti (cattle village), Tamil migrant labourers had once upon a time reared cattle here. The cool climate and abundance of fodder made it the ideal location for the Indo-Swiss dairy farm. Established in 1961, the Kerala Livestock Development Board (KLDB) manages this highly specialised dairy farm. The dairy farm is a unique one of its kind with more than 100 varieties of high-yielding cattle being reared. Tourists are not allowed to enter the farm.
- Echo Point, (15 km from Munnar), on the way to top station from Munnar is a small lake set amidst rolling hills. Every loud call made from a spot on the lake embankment is returned manifold by the echo from the surrounding hills. Young tourists throng to this place to listen to the echoes of their friendship calls.
- Elephant Arrival Spot, (18 km from Munnar), Here you can board an elephant for a ride. It costs approximately Rs 350 per person.
- Kundala Lake, (23 km from Munnar). This lake is very beautiful amidst lush jungles. Hiring a pedal boat and exploring the lake and its surroundings is an awesome experience. Except at the place you hired the boat, don't expect to find humans around the lake as it is surrounded by scenic jungles and hills. Unless you know how to row a boat, prefer a pedal boat, each trip lasts around 30 min and will be closed at 4:30PM
- Top Station, . (37 km from Munnar on the Kerala and Tamil Nadu border). Great views of the Western Ghats. Top station is the "top"-tourist attraction. This place gives a real 'above the clouds' experience. Regular buses go to Top Station (1 hr) from Munnar. A jeep costs Rs 400. The area is known for the Neelakurunji plant, which flowers only once every 12 years. The flower is violet.
- Tata Tea Museum', (Around 2 km on the Nallathany road, from Munnar). Tourists can see pieces of colonial era and old bits collection. Videography and photography is strictly prohibited here. This museum remains open from 10AM-4PM every day, closed on Mon. There is a Rs 50 ticket fee for adults and Rs 25 ticket for children.
- Eravikulam (Rajamalai) National Park,  (45 min from Munnar). See Nilgiri Thar (Hemitragas hylocres) - an endangered species of mountain goats, rolling grasslands and sholas, spread over 97² km in the Rajamalai hills, rare flora and fauna, Atlas moth (largest in the world), lion-tailed macaque, leopards, tigers, The Kurichi or Neelakurinji Flowers turn the hills of Rajamalai blue every 12 years. The next bloom will be in 2018. One can actually debate if going to the high peak just to see some goats is worth all the effort or not. However, the walk along the park is very romantic and has some breath taking view.
- Anamudi Peak inside Eravikulam National Park, The highest peak (2,695 m) south of the Himalayas, towers over the sanctuary in majestic pride. The slopes of the hills abound in all kinds of rare flora and fauna. The Atlas moth, the largest of its kind in the world, is a unique inhabitant of the park. Other rare species of fauna found here are the Nilgiri Langur, the lion-tailed macaque, leopards, tigers. An ideal place for trekking, facilities are provided here and tourists are allowed to go on foot up to Anamudi.
- Lakkam Water Falls. (24 km from Munnar). A small waterfall.
- Marayoor - (Around 40 km from Munnar). It is the only place in Kerala with natural growth of sandalwood trees, natural caves with murals, and relics from late Stone Age civilisation. There is a sandalwood factory of the Forestry department of Kerala and a children's park extending across one hectare of land under the canopy of a single Banyan tree, all of which attract tourists in large numbers.
- Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, .Chinnar wildlife sanctuary is in the Wester Ghats of Kerala. This wildlife sanctuary has a large number of plants and animals. This wildlife sanctuary is spread in around 90² km of area. This sanctuary is one of the protected areas in the western ghats because of the significance of its flora, geomorphologic features, ecology and local cultural.
Other places to visit:
- Salim Ali (Thattekkad) Bird Sanctuary, . There are woodpeckers, Malabar gray hornbills, Ceylon frogmouths, parakeets, and rose-billed rollers. This sanctuary is located 20 km from Kothamangalam on the road between Ernakulam and Munnar. There are basic and mid-range hotels in Kothamangalam and an Inspection Bungalow in Boothathankettu. You can take a boat cruise from Boothathankettu to Thattekkad. Admission foreigners: Rs 40, Indian Rs 10.
- Kolukkumalai Tea Estate, At a height of about 2,175 m (7,130 ft), this orthodox tea factory lays claim to being one of the highest in the world. The view of the Western Ghats is absolutely enchanting.
- Waterfalls, Check out several natural waterfalls on the way to Munnar. They provide an excellent place for photography.
- mathikettan national park (POOPARA), POOPARA (34 km from Munnar on Munnar Thekkadi route.).
- Walk in the Clouds, Trek to your heart's content while the clouds slowly descend upon you.
- Rock Climbing and Rappelling, Munnar has a steep rock face about 30 m (100 ft).
- Munnar Carmelagiri Elephant Park (Munnar Elephant Safari), Mattupetty Road, Munnar (On the way to Mattupetty Dam), ☎ +91 94 4782 7696, +91 94 4737 9376 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . The elephant safari takes you through the misty forests, deep valleys and the rugged hill paths of the Munnar forests. One hour package, half day and one day tours. Features are, elephant bath, elephant shower, elephant feeding, timber dragging demonstrations and displays of elephant commands and communication.
- Boating, There are several places to go out for boating in Munnar. One can choose among paddle boats and speed boats to Kashmiri-Shikara. Young couples who travel to Munnar should not miss out on the beautiful 'Kashmiri-Shikara' boat ride. It is one of the most romantic experiences.
- Bicycle. Experience the natural beauty of Munnar by riding a bicycle through beautiful paths of Munnar and pass through a tea state called Madupatty, around 14 km from Munnar.
- Yoga @Kaivalyam Retreat, Moolakada, Pallivasal (7 km from Munnar towards Cochin), . "Kaivalyam" a holistic health retreat in midst of natural surrounding of tea valleys of Munnar. Year round destination to indulge in learning experience of holistic lifestyle with traditional form of Yoga and organic way of dining.
- The Christ Church, in Old Munnar. The exteriors have worn out with time though the charming interiors still have a very nice ambiance. It was consecrated way back in 1910 and still has 14 original rows of pews. The first Catholic Church in the High Ranges was Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Church.
- The High Range Club, has a charming colonial style. The club house is built of wicker and teak and is the social hub for the tea "Planters" of the region. Members enjoy lounging in the bar over Planter's Punch followed by a good meal, a game of billiards or reading a book in the library.
- Munnar Supply Association (MSA), Set up in 1900, this is another nostalgic landmark worth visiting in Munnar. It is the oldest department store in the area and has been re-inventing itself to stay relevant and popular after almost 102 years. The store was run by "planters" who still manage its affairs. The MSA is a red brick, red tiled building with gables, buttresses and a porch and is now a heritage site.
The best things to buy are tea, coffee, spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and pepper and definitely home made chocolates.
- Abbas & Co. Tea Merchants, 25, Bazaar, Munnar. Abbas & Co is wholesaler but also sells to visitors. Really good price for tea, green tea, coffee, cashew - nuts, home made chocolates, spices, aloe vera gel. Budget.
- Fresh tea from a factory outlet, Kannimallay Estate, Munnar (On the way to Eravikulam National Park, 5 km from Munnar town). Several varities of tea fresh from factory.
- State Bank of Travancore. ☎ +91 4865 2530274.
- State Bank of India, Munnar. ☎ +91 4865 2530381.
- State Bank of Travancore, Devikulam. ☎ +91 4865 2565441.
Kerala is famous for Fish Curry. For snacks, one should try local spicy cashew nut, chilly bhaji with hot tea as they are a traditional snack and makes good combination in cold weather.
- Bamboo Hut, G.H. Road. Wide range of food for reasonable prices, although service can be a bit slow. Also, the place usually has Western music (from Bob Dylan to electronic chill-out sound).
- Food Court, Munnarinn, .
- Saravana Bhavan, Right at the heart of town and one of the most inexpensive places to eat. The service here is quick and the food is absolutely delicious. You might have to share your table with others. This place provides South Indian dishes, served on a banana leaf.
- Silverspoon Restaurant, Munnarinn, Main Bazaar (Right beside the bus station). Breakfast until 11AM. This place does a great value buffet breakfast of cornflakes, toast, omelet plus Indian breakfast food for Rs 95.
- TreeTop Restaurant, ☎ +91 48 6526 4273 (), . Multi-cuisine restaurant. 70 person seating capacity providing vegetarian and non-vegetarian food.
Munnar has some amazing street food (try the Gobi noodles), so if you are after a cheap and delicious meal check the area around the bus stand in Munnar (not the KSRTC bus stand in Old Munnar).
- CampNoel, Pazhathottam, Munnar (15 km from Top Station), ☎ +91 48 6521 4095, . 7AM-10PM. Multi cuisine restaurant at 2075 m (6,800 ft) above sea level and possibly the highest altitude restaurant in Kerala. If coming from Top station, turn right at 19 mile. Road is bad so make sure you have a suitably robust vehicle or inform them and they will pick you up. The journey is worth it. Please inform them early if you are going there for only for food.
- Sri velavan stores, G.H.road, Munnar, ☎ +91 48 6523 2379. All provisions available at reasonable prices.
- Patel Gujarati Restraunt, (Near Post Office). Gujarati and Marwari meals. Under Rs 100.
- Purohit Restaurant, Inside Hotel Dhanyasree, Dhanyasree Jn. Chilling Plant Road, Munnar (Nr Tea County Resorts), ☎ +91 48 6523 2552 (). 6AM-10:30PM. Bombay, Jain, Gujarati, Rajasthani, Punjabi and South Indian food. Good Gujarati, unlimited Thali at Rs 85. Budget.
- Mahaveer Veg Restaurant, Kalinivas Building, Main Road, Munnar, ☎ +91 48 6523 1677 (). Provides authentic North-Indian food with style ranging from Gujarati to Punjabi and delicious rotis. Meals start from Rs 75/-. Only vegetarian food served. The downside to the place is cleanliness at the tables.
- Kaivalyam Retreat, Moolakada, Pallivasal Estate P.O. Munnar (7.5 km towards Cochin direction), ☎ +91 48 6523 2628 (), . 24x7. Kaivalyam retreat has a 100% pure vegetarian restaurant which serves organic and healthy yogic food. As it is a yoga retreat more emphasis is given to food quality and hygiene. Serves North Indian, South Indian and a few continental dishes. Their desserts are good. Set in the midst of cardamom and pepper plantation. Rs 200.
Fresh tea, coffee and milk is available at most places. Hard and soft drink are also available at fair number of shops.
Packed grapes and mixed fruit juice is also available at few places.
- Abad Copper Castle, Pothamedu-Munnar, ☎ +91 48 6523 1202.
- Allens Cottage, email@example.com (10 km from the town, opposite to the KSRTC bus stand), ☎ +91 97 47268095, . Upscale and standard cottages away from all the disturbences of the city. Camp fire and inbound trekking can be arranged.
- Eightlands Holidays, Colony Rd, ☎ +91 48 6523 2986, +91 48 6523 0938, Mob:+91 94 9581 2364, . Service and the rooms are a bit average. Nothing great, just cheap. Rs 700-900.
- JJ Cottage, (close to the KSRTC bus stand in old Munnar), ☎ +91 48 6523 0104 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Nice rooms, very friendly and helpful staff with surprisingly good cheap food. Double rooms may be negotiated down to Rs 300 during the low season. Feels more like a bed and breakfast than your average guest-house.
- Hotel Misha, Misha Jn (close to the main market in old Munnar. Opposite Hotel Green Ridge.), ☎ +91 48 6523 0376, +91 48 6523 2376 (email@example.com), . checkout: 12 noon. Can be negotiated further down to Rs 700-800/- in peak season and lower in off season. Rs 1,200-1,700.
- Theresian Cottages (Homestay), Munnar (near Tea County Resorts), ☎ +91 48 6523 0351, +91 94 4739 7720, +91 94 9587 9748. checkin: anytime; checkout: 12 noon. Good location with nice views. Nearby to many restaurants. Tea and coffee is available. Kerala Tourism Department approved. Room with 2 beds~Rs 700.
- Hotel Anai Mudi, (Munnar-Marayoor route), .
- Greenspaces Munnar, (10 km from Munnar), . Greenspaces is neither a resort nor a hotel; it is a small guest-house/plantation-stay/homestead amid a cardamom plantation, about 10 km away from the crowded Munnar Town. It is one of the Kerala state tourism department approved stays.
- Blackberry Hills, (3 km from Munnar), .
- Camelot, (10 km from Munnar), . If you are travelling in your own vehicle then this may be a good choice. You need to drive 2 km off road to reach the resort, which is fun. However if you are new to driving, leave your car at the entrance and ask the owner to pick you up from there. Pack your food in town as the choice of food at resort is limited.
- Deshadan Mountain Resort, (5 km from Munnar), .
- Copper Castle, Pothamedu road, (2 km from Munnar), .
- Bracknell forest, Pothamedu road. (7 km from Munnar), .
- Holiday Heaven, Chinnakkanal. (20 km from Munnar Town), .
- Kaivalyam Retreat, Moolakada, Pallivasal (7 km from Munnar), . Organic living and dining with yoga
- Marthoma Retreat, (on the way to top station, about 2 km from Munnar Town) . Has a restaurant, but food is made to order.
- Hotel Oak Fields, Pothamedu. (5 km from Munnar), .
- The Siena Village, Chinnakkanal, (20 km from Munnar Town on the way to Thekkady/Periyar), .
- Spice Garden Resort, (Located in the second mile, around 8-10 km from Munnar Bus Stop), ☎ +91 48 6526 3698, +91 94 4716 3696 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Cheap, clean, courteous staff and located on hill slope with a breathtaking view. Multi cuisine restaurant providing breakfast and dinner however food is only made to order. Hot water 24 hr, TV in all rooms, Trekking and travel assistance, laundry. A doctor is on-call, parking spaces and driver accommodation are provided Rs 1,500-2,500 (Indian nationals).
- Hotel Westwood Riverside, (1 km from Munnar Town), .
- Whispering Meadows, (6 km from Munnar Town), . Around Rs 2,500.
- Bella Vista Resort, Chithirapuram Post (20 km from Munnar town), . Very scenic with roof top restaurant. Double honeymoon cottage around Rs 1,800.
- Ayur County resort, Munnar (18 km from Munnar Town), ☎ 91 48 6568 5618 (email@example.com, fax: +91 48 6824 9218), . Ayurvedic centre, cardamom plantation visit, fishing, trekking, camp fire, multi-cuisine restaurant and coffee shop, childrens play area & activity room, credit card facility, travel desk, site seeing trip 24 hr hot & cold water, STD direct dialing, cableTV in all rooms, pick up and drop off, conference hall, doctor on call. Rs 2,500-12,500.
- ' Camp Noel, (36 km from Munnar Town), .
- Tall Trees,Pothamedu, (4 km from Munnar), .
- Best Western Fort Munnar, Chinnakkanal. (22 km from Munnar Town), .
- Club Mahindra Lakeview Resort, Chinnakkanal. (20 km from Munnar Town on the way to Thekkady/Periyar), .
- Windermere, Bison Valley Rd, (outskirts of Munnar). 
Apply sunscreen lotion while you leave Munnar because as you descend the hills the weather gets warmer and causes sun burn.
- Tata General Hospital, Munnar ☎ +91 48 6253 0270
- Matha Hospital , Munnar ☎ +91 48 6253 0744
- Arun Hospital, Munnar ☎ +91 48 6253 0410
- Main Post Office. ☎ +91 48 6253 0280.
- Police control room ☎ 100
Ayurvedic treatments, massage
- Swatic Ayur Care Centre, ☎ +91 94 4703 1656, +91 48 6523 1656, +91 48 6523 0395.
- Surya Ayurvedic Health Resorts, Chithirapuram. ☎ +91 48 6256 3204.
- Kodaikanal Munnar - Devikulam - Bodimettu - Bodi - Theni - Periya Kulam - Ghat Road - Ganguvarpetty - Falls View - Oothu - Mooliyaru - Machoor - Mayiladum Parai - Perumal Malai - Kodaikanal - approx 170 km
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