- Altitude - 1600 Mts to 1800 Mts above sea level
- Best Time to visit - August to May
- Location - Idukki District on the high ranges of the Western
- Main Attraction - 16 Kms From Munnar, Kerala.
- Temperature : Min. 0 c - Max. 25 c
- Clothing : Warm Clothes and Rain Gear
One of the most popular hill stations in India, Munnar is situated
at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni
and Kundala. Located at 1600 Mts above sea level, this was once the
summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India
tea plantations, picture book towns, winding lanes, trekking and holiday
facilities make Munnar a unique experience. Munnar is essentially a tea
town. The tea plantations have now been taken over by the Tata Tea
Company. The visitor is greeted with miles and miles of unending tea
plantations on entry into Munnar. Among the exotic flora found in the
forests and grasslands here is the Neelakurinji a flower which bathes
the hills in blue colour once in twelve years. The Neelakurinji
will bloom next in 2006 AD. Munnar also has the highest peak in South
India - Anamudi - which towers over 2695 Mts and is an ideal spot for
campers who like to do some trekking.
The Duke of Wellington
is reputed to have been the first European visitor to Munnar, in 1790,
but this is unlikely. In the early 19th century, the headman of the
villages of Anchanad, just to the North of the high ranges was named
Kanan Thevar. It is said that travelers from Madurai to the West coast
passed through these villages and named these hills after him. TEA
PLANTATION in MUNNAR Hill Station
Tea or Chai is the most
widely drunk beverage in the whole world. The tea plant, Camellia
Sansis, is a cultivated variety of a tree that has its origins in an
area between India and China. There are three main varieties of the tea
plant - China, Assam, and Cambodia - and a number of hybrids between the
varieties. The China variety grows as high as nine feet (2.75 metres).
It is a hardy plant able to withstand cold winters and has an economic
life of at least 100 years.
The Assam variety, a single-stem
tree ranging from 20 to 60 feet (6 to 18 metres) in height. Regular
pruning keeps its height to a more manageable 4 to 5 feet tall. It has
an economic life of 40 years with regular pruning and plucking. When
grown at an altitude near that of Darjeeling (Assam) or Munnar (Kerala),
it produces tea with fascinating flavours , sought after around the
SUB VARIETIES OF TEA in MUNNAR Hill Station
- The tender light-leaved Assam
- The less tender dark-leaved Assam
- The hardy Manipuri and Burma types
- The very large-leaved Lushai
- The dark-leaved Assam plant from Upper Assam.
The Cambodia variety, a single-stem tree growing to about 16 feet
(five metres) in height, is not cultivated but has been naturally
crossed with other varieties.THE SPICES OF
MUNNAR Hill Station
Keralahistory is closely linked with its
commerce, which in turn was wholly dependant until recent times on its
spice trade. Kerala was known for its spices and traders travelled here
to trade and to gain control over this rich land. It is believed that
the spice trade dates back to three thousand years. Pepper still remains
the king of Kerala's spices, but the state also rich in cardamom,
cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and turmeric. As in the past , the state
continues to be the spice capital of the world.
varieties of spices including ginger, garlic, cardamom, vannilla,
pepper, cinnamon, coffee, tea, clove and nutmeg is cultivated in Munnar
and its neighbouring villages.
Places to Visit in Munar Hill Station, Kerala
A cardamom plant normally starts bearing
capsules from the third year of planting. The harvested capsules are
rubbed on wire mesh and polished before they are graded and stored
in polythene-gunny bags to retain the green colour and to avoid
exposure to moisture.
The pepper plant grows best in a warm and
humid climate. Berries mature and are ready for harvest in about 180
to 200 days. Black pepper is produced by sundrying the mature pepper
berries for 3 - 5 days after they are separated from the spikes by
threshing and white pepper by retting mature berries in clean water
for 5 - 7 days, removing the outer skin and drying the seed after
Clove trees begin to bear flowers 7-8 years
after planting. Unopened flower buds are carefully picked when they
turn from green to pink. The buds are then allowed to dry for 4-5
days till they become crisp and dark brown in colour.
Cinnamon plants are ready for harvest about
3 years after planting. Harvesting is done twice in a year - in May
and November. The bark of the cut down shoots is split on the day of
harvest itself and dried in the sun for 2 - 5 days. The dry quills
or bark are packed in bundles for trade. Leaves and tender twigs are
used for extraction of oil by distillation.
The Nutmeg tree bears fruit throughout the
year, but peak harvest season is from December to May. The nuts
split open when the fruits are fully ripe. After dehusking, the red
feathery aril (mace) is removed, flattened out and dried in the sun
for 10 - 15 days. The nuts are dried separately for 4 - 8 weeks till
the kernels rattle within the shells.
Blue Mountain NEELAKURINJI
- Mattupetty (13 km from Munnar)
Situated at a height
of 1700 Mts , Mattupetty is famous for its highly specialised dairy
farm, the Indo-swiss live stock project. Over 100 varietes of high
yielding cattle are reared here.Visitors are allowed into three of
the eleven cattle sheds at the farm
The Mattupetty lake and
dam , just a short distance from the farm, is a very beautiful
picnic spot. The sprawling Kundala tea plantations and the Kundala
lake are other attractions in the vicinity. DTPC Idukki provides
boating facilities on the Mattupetty Dam. Speed Launch and slow
speed motor boats are available on hire.
- Pothamedu (6 km from Munnar)
Pothamedu offers an
excellent view of the tea, coffee and cardamom plantations in
Munnar. The rolling hills, the lush mountain and the breathtaking
scenery here is ideal for trekking and long mountain walks.
- Devikulam (7 km from Munnar)
This idyllic hill
station with its velvet lawns, exotic flora and fauna and the cool
mountain air is a rare experience. The Sita Devi Lake with its
mineral waters and picturesque surroundings is a good picnic spot.
The lake is also ideal for trout fishing.
- Pallivasal (8 km from Munnar)
This is the venue of
the first Hydro Electric Project in Kerala and a place of immence
- Attukal (9 km from Munnar)
A panorama of waterfalls
and rolling hills, Attukal, located between Munnar and Pallivasal,
is a feast for the eyes. The place is also ideal for long treks.
- Nyayamakad (10 km from Munnar)
Located between Munnar
and Rajamala, Nyayamakad is a land of breathtaking waterfalls. The
waters cascade down a hill from a height of about 1600 meters. The
enchanting surroundings makes an excellent picnic spot and trekking
- Chithirapuram (10 km from Munnar)
With its sleepy
little cottages, bungalows, old playgrounds and courts,
Chithirapuram still exudes an old world charm. Home of the
Pallivasal Hydel Power Project, this hill town is also famous for
its picturesque tea plantations.
- Lock Heart Gap (13 km from Munnar)
This is an ideal
place for adventure tourism and trekking. The fresh mountain air,
the mist-clad hills and panoramic view make it worthy of a visit.
- Rajamala (15 km from Munnar)
The natural habitat of
the Niligiri tahr , Rajamala is 2695 Mts above sea level. Half the
world's population of the rare mountain goat or tahr which is fast
becoming extinct, is now found here.The Niligiri tahr in Rajamala
are now to be found in small herds found in Eravikulam-Rajamala
region. The total number of Niligiri Tahrs in Rajamala is estimated
to be over 1300.
- Eravikulam National Park (15 km from Munnar)
sq. km. park is situated in the Devikulam Taluk and is home to the
Nilgiri Tahr. The Anamudi peak (2695 Mts) is located in the Southern
region of the park.
Originally established to protect the
Nilgiri tahr (Nilgiri Ibex), the Eravikulam National Park is
situated in the Devikulam Taluk of the Idukki District. It was
declared as a sanctuary in 1975. Considering the ecological, faunal,
floral, geo-morphological and zoological significance, it was
declared as a National park in 1978. It covers an area of 97 sq kms
of rolling grasslands and high level sholas (evergreen forests). The
park is breathtakingly beautiful and is easily comparable to the
best mountain ranges found anywhere in the world.
(22 kms from Munnar):
It's a lush green carpet of tea
plants. A trip on the splendid reservoir is an unforgettable
experience. The Anayirangal dam is surrounded by Tata Tea
plantations and evergreen forests. It is an ideal picnic spot.
- Devikulam (7 kms from Munnar)
This idyllic hill
station with its velvet lawns , exotic flora and fauna and the cool
mountain air offers a rare experience to visitors. The Sita Devi
lake with its mineral waters and picturesque surroundings is a good
picnic spot. The lake is also ideal trout fishing.
- Valara (10 kms from Adimali on the Kochi-Madurai highway)
has a chain of waterfalls surrounded by thick green forests.
- Marayoor (40 kms from Munnar)
This is the only place
in Kerala that has a natural growth of sandalwood trees. The
sandalwood factory of the forest department, the caves(muniyaras)
with the murals and relics from the New stone age civilization and
the children's park spread across a hectare of land under the canopy
of a single banyan tree, are of great interest to tourists.
Thoovanam waterfalls and Rajiv Gandhi National Park are also nearby.
The Cheeyappara and Valara waterfalls are
located between Neriamangalam and Adimali on the Kochi - Madurai
- Top Station (32 kms from Munnar)
1700 Mts above sea
level , this is the highest point on the Munnar-Kodiakanal road. The
rare Neelakurunji (strobilanthus) belongs to this region. Top
Station (a viewing point) also offers a panoramic view of
neighbouring state of Tamil nadu.
- Echo Point (15 km from Munnar)
This scenic place gets
its name from the natural echo phenomenon here. Echo point is on the
way to Top Station from Munnar.
(Strobilanthes kunthiana) is a shrub that used to grow abundantly in the
shola grasslands of Western Ghats in India. The Nilgiris, which
literally means the blue mountains, got its name from the purplish blue
flowers of Neelakurinji that blossoms gregariously once in 12 years.
they used to cover the entire Nilgiris like a carpet during its
flowering season. However, now plantations and dwellings occupy much of
Neelakurinji is the best known of a genus whose
members have flowering cycles ranging from one to 16 years. It belongs
to the family of Acanthaceae. The genus has more than 500 species, of
which at least 56 occur in India. Besides the Western Ghats,
Neelakurinji is seen in the Shevroys in the Eastern Ghats. It occurs at
an altitude of 1300 to 2400 metres.