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Munnar Travel Guide

A mesmerising hill station in Idukki district, Munnar was the favored summer resort of the erstwhile British rulers in the colonial days.

Munnar is not just Kerala’s most soughtafter hill resort, it is also the centre of the state’s 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 Kundale streams flow into the Muthirapuzha River here. Tea is Munnar’s claim to fame. 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 many endangered species of wildlife. For the more adventurous, there’s the challenge of climbing the 8,841 ft Anaimudi, the highest peak in India south of the Himalaya, which towers majestically over the town.

Munnar is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. The hill station in God's own country is known for its serenity and remarkable beauty. Set amidst thriving green tea plantations, exotic wildlife and clear trout streams, Munnar is a delight for adventure seekers. Hill View Park, Sita Devi Lake and Mattupetti Dam are some the major tourist attractions.

Munnar is in a valley hemmed in by hills. Many of its attractions are to be found on its outskirts, within a radius of 30 km from the town. All these places are part of the Munnar experience, and are linked to it by local bus, taxis and autos along a network of excellent roads. Contact DTPC for information and bookings, trekking, sightseeing, tickets for boating at Mattupetty Dam and cycles on hire.

History of Munnar

Munnar, the beautiful hill station of Kerala, has been a favourite place of summer retreat of the British. The history of this place can be traced back to pre historic ages, although not much written records are available about the city, before the 10th century.

The town was established by Mr. John Daniel Manro with the assistance of Kannan Thevar (who belonged to the tribe that is said to have been the first inhabitants of South India). It was only after the permission of the then ruling king, Maharaja of poonjar, that the British adventurer was allowed to possess 588 sq. kms of the land in the town.

The first plantations on the land of Munnar were that of Cardamom, Coffee and Zinchona. It was A.H. Sharp, who planted the first tea sapling at Munnar in the early 19th century. He planted the sapling at Parvathi, which now form a part of the Sevenmullay estate.

The city of Munnar was declared as the summer capital of the British and Duke of Wellington is said to have visited the city. In the year 1895, Munro’s land was bought by the Messrs Finlay Muir and Company. In1976, Tata Finlay purchased the tea estate and a little later James Finlay Group sold all their shares to Tata, thus paving way for the birth of Tata Tea Ltd, the largest integrated tea company in the world.

When To VISIT

    The climate of Munnar remains moderate throughout the year. Summers (March to May) are the best time to visit as the temperature does not exceed 35°C, making it ideal for enjoying a visit to the tea gardens. Winters (October to February) are also good times to visit Munnar as the temperature drops to as low as 10°C, making it ideal for honeymooning. Monsoons (June to September) should preferably be avoided as the area receives heavy rainfall, bringing an abrupt halt to normal life.

  • January

    Cold weather. Carry Heavy woollen.
    Max: 23.8°C Min: 17.6°C Rain: 0.0mm

  • February

    Cold weather. Carry Heavy woollen.
    Max: 22.5°C Min: 13.9°C Rain: 0.0mm

  • March

    Cold weather. Carry Heavy woollen.
    Max: 20.6°C Min: 13.8°C Rain: 0.0mm

  • April

    Cold weather. Carry Heavy woollen.
    Max: 18.1°C Min: 17.2°C Rain: 0.0mm

  • May

    Pleasant weather. Carry Light woollen.
    Max: 22.1°C Min: 21.4°C Rain: 0.0mm

  • June

    Pleasant weather. Carry Light woollen, umbrella.
    Max: 19.6°C Min: 23.5°C Rain: 318.0mm

  • July

    Cold weather. Carry Heavy woollen, umbrella.
    Max: 20.3°C Min: 21.5°C Rain: 219.0mm

  • August

    Cold weather. Carry Heavy woollen, umbrella.
    Max: 21.2°C Min: 17.2°C Rain: 99.0mm

  • September

    Pleasant weather. Carry Light woollen.
    Max: 23.4°C Min: 20.8°C Rain: 42.0mm

  • October

    Pleasant weather. Carry Light woollen.
    Max: 30.2°C Min: 22.8°C Rain: 9.0mm

  • November

    Pleasant weather. Carry Light woollen, umbrella.
    Max: 30.2°C Min: 22.7°C Rain: 90.0mm

  • December

    Pleasant weather. Carry Light woollen.
    Max: 26.3°C Min: 19.5°C Rain: 0.0mm


Getting THERE

  • By bus

    • Munnar bus station is on the main street, Main Bazaar.

    • Kochi - Takes around 6 hours. Buses leave Kochi between 6AM-6PM.

    • Aluva - Nearest bus station to the Cochin International Airport. About 4 hrs uphill to Munnar, and 3-3.5 hrs downhill. Ticket price is around Rs. 70 one-way for a government-operated bus, up to Rs. 150 for a privately operated bus.

    • Note that most buses have boards in Malayalam and not English. At Aluva, there are no signs, schedules or dedicated bus bays for Munnar-bound buses; many of them briefly stop at Aluva en route from Kochi/ Ernakulam to Munnar. Check with a few locals every 15 minutes, or ask and hang around the bus info office, so they can point you to the right bus when it arrives.

      There are also buses from Coimbatore and Pollachi.

  • By car

    • From Kochi: Munnar is 130 km (04 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 2000. There is a bus stand nearby as well which operates frequent buses to Munnar; ticket prices start from Rs.70 per person.

    • From Madurai: Munnar is about 170 km from Madurai and 90 km from Theni. Madurai- Theni - Bodi - BodiMettu-Devikulam - Munnar route is the most scenic route by National Highway 49(Via Madurai-Cochin HighWay).

    • From Coimbatore: Munnar is about 160 km from Coimbatore and 170 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.

 SHOPPING

Munnar is famous for its spices, tea, coffee and homemade chocolates and these make the best buys in Munnar. Shopping in Munnar can be enjoyed while on a leisure stroll, as there are only a few shops scattered in the bazaar area. Tourists should not miss to buy tea that is sold by the Kannimallay Estate on the way to Eravikulam National Park, 5 km from Munnar town. For tea, green tea, coffee, cashew - nuts, homemade chocolates and spices at decent prices, go to Abbas & Co. Tea Merchants at 25, Bazaar and Green Land Spice Supermarket on the Main Road in Munnar.


What To SEE

Some of this site would be more popular for Indian tourists than Western tourists.

  • Floriculture Centre
  • Photo Point
  • Mattupetty Dam
  • Echo Point
  • Kundala Lake
  • Top Station
  • Tata Tea Museum
  • Eravikulam (Rajamalai) National Park
  • Luckkom Water Falls
  • Marayoor Sandal Wood Forest
  • Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Atukkad Waterfalls
  • Pothamedu View Point
  • Kolukkumalai Tea Estate

Where To EAT

    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.

  • Non-veg food

    Eating non-vegetarian food in Kerala is perceived as a pain due to cooking in coconut oil etc. But tghis is not the case in Munnar's ""Guru's Restaurant"" which cooks delicious tandoori chicken and all things North Indian. Recommended for all those who miss their north-Indian cuisine and cannot put up with idlyappam and all those items.

  • 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.

  • Hotel Eastend Temple Road, Munnar.

    Good restaurant 3star hotel in Munnar town serving all types of Food

  • Blue Berg Resorts

    Urban Spoon Restaurant, Multi-cuisine restaurant. 40 person seating capacity providing vegetarian and non-vegetarian food.

    Near KTDC Yathra Nivas, Devikulam PO, Munnar, Kerala, India. 04865 264050, +91 9447220025
  • 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 105/-. Only vegetarian food served. The downside to the place is cleanliness at the tables. Mahaveer has a branch near Purohit restaurant; this one is larger and cleaner.


Distances from MUNNAR

  • Thekkady 110 km 2h, 20m
  • Kochi 130 km 3h, 20m
  • Kumarakom 153 km 3h, 50m
  • Coimbatore 170 km 4h, 10m
  • Alleppey 180 km 4h, 20m
  • Trivandrum 295 km 6h, 20m
  • Kovalam 306 km 7h
  • Wayanad 328 km 7h, 20m
  • Bangalore 480 km 9h, 20m
  • Chennai 589 km 10h, 20m
  • Idukki 55 km 1h, 40m
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munnar travel guide