Munnar, often called the “Switzerland of India,” beckons tourists to visit and re-visit to relax in its breathtaking natural beauty. A hill station at 1600 meters above sea-level, Munnar is the meeting point of three mountain streams and is situated in Idukki district of Kerala in the Western Ghats of South India. The picturesque town is sprawled with emerald-green tea plantations and surrounded by forests, hills and valleys along with waterfalls and wildlife – making it a nature-lover’s paradise. It offers so much to see and behold that one trip never seems enough, and you would want to come back again to rejuvenate your body, mind and soul.
Away from big city’s hustle and bustle, you have hundreds of activities to do and enjoy. You can bring peace to your soul by visiting tea plantations, spice garden, and wildlife sanctuaries; give your body a good workout by trekking and hiking; relax your muscles and nerves through a revitalizing Kerala Ayurvedic massage and spa; give your taste buds a treat of scrumptious food, or indulge yourself in great shopping.
I fell in love with Munnar when I first visited the place about two years ago in 2012. The heavenly charm of rolling tea plantations in the near and distant eye vision is etched in my mind even today. These plantations of world’s best Nilgiri tea, lying at varying elevations, leave a hypnotic effect with the backdrop of mountains covered with white mist. Coffee, cardamom and other spices’ plantations add beauty to the surroundings. A visit to tea estates and spice garden must be there in your itinerary. Tata Tea Museum is a great place to learn more about the history of tea processing and how Munnar became a tea plantation town. Mattupetty Lake and Dam are located at about 13 km from Munnar city. The huge lake is ideal for boating, and the reservoir is an idyllic place that also serves as a waterhole for the elephants in the region. Mattupetty also boasts of an Indo-Swiss dairy farm where high quality cattle are reared. Top Station is about 40 km from Munnar and at 1880 meters above sea-level. The place offers a panoramic view of Western Ghats and the valley of Theni. Walking through the clouds and mist simply takes your breath away. The way to Top Station is very scenic and is a pleasure in itself.
A valley of a thousand shades of green around Munnar is a magnificent sight and pulls you to explore the region on foot or on bicycle. Exotic flora and fauna are scattered all across. The famous Neelakurinji flower that blooms once every 12 years and covers entire hillside with purple blue carpet is nature’s charisma, which you can witness only here in the entire world. Since the last bloom occurred in 2006, the next bloom will be in 2018.
Eravikulam National Park is located at about 15 km from Munnar. It has endangered species of Nilgiri Tahr (mountain goats), deer, bisons, lemurs and elephants. Lakkom waterfalls are a part of the national park. The cascading waterfalls and glorious surroundings attract tourists in hordes. Atukkad Waterfalls are just 9 km away from Munnar but show their true splendor after the monsoon. Sandalwood forests of Maraiyur are further along the Eravikulam National Park and adjoining them is the Chinnar Sanctuary where you can meet with the grizzled giant squirrel and the star tortoise. Further on, you can also enjoy viewing of pre-historic cave paintings.
At the end of day, massage and spa are all you need to get rid of aches in your body and then splurge in a gourmet traditional food or multi cuisine meal. Hotels and homestays are available in all budget ranges. You can select from a vast variety of tea and high quality spices for souvenirs. The 60 km region around Munnar is riddled with places that are a tourist’s delight. Munnar is a vacation jaunt that breathes fresh life into the tired souls.
About the Author: Sandeep Sinha loves writing and poetry. He has traveled 17 countries in Asia, Europe and North America. While traveling, Sandeep has learned eternal truths and continues to evolve every moment.
Thank you for reading and commenting. Please enter our next Travel Writing competition and tell your story.