Located in the Western Ghats mountain range in Kerala state of India, Munnar is surrounded by rolling hills of tea plantations and waterfalls. With its exquisite and unique natural beauty, Munnar attracts tourists from all over the world. Here are the best sightseeing spots that you can explore when visiting this place.
1. Tea Gardens and Estates
Munnar has a wealth of tea gardens and plantations that are possible to visit, many of them owned by Tata ltd. There are whole mountains covered with growing tea plants, the leaves of which smell really fragrant. You could decide to go on a specific tour, or you may choose to travel there on your own accord, with a hired car, or a hired motorbike. Many of the plantations do a factory tour, so that you can see how the tea is processed. There is also a tea museum there that will give you some history to tea cultivation.
Another interesting find is the Kolukkumalai Tea Estate, which is approximately two hours drive away. The estate is beautiful and the drive to it is also extremely scenic with plenty of tea and spice farms and waterfalls passing you along the way. It would require a jeep or 4×4 to travel the estate, because the terrain is rugged and the roads are not well made. The hills are the highest in the area with stunning views from the top of the estate and it’s an amazing place to see the sunrise or sunset. If you’re a lover of organic green tea, this place is a must, and you will have the opportunity to buy some there.
2. Top Station
This is one of the best places to visit in Munnar for all travelers. If you love animals, Top Station is a breathtaking experience where you can see a multitude of majestic elephants. Echo Point is on Top Station and can be seen while people are travelling up to it. Like its name suggests, when you shout at Echo Point, you’ll hear your voice echoing back to you. It’s a beautiful scenic place on the edge of a lake, ideal for viewing wildlife or walking. It’s located at approximately 600 feet and has beautiful green banks. At Top Station, you have stunning views of Tamil Nadu, the Western Ghats, and you’ll experience swirling mist in the valleys and clouds around the tops of the mountains, which give it a magical mysterious, yet calm and relaxing quality. Many visitors comment that they feel as though they could touch the clouds.
Top Station is the highest spot in Munnar with an altitude of 1,700 metres and is about 32 km away from Munnar. Its name derives from the fact that Top Station is the very highest railway station in Kundala Valley and was formerly used as a means to transport tea from Munnar to Bodinayakkanur, before being shipped to places like England. One unique aspect of Top Station is that there are Neelakurinji flowers (Strobilanthus) that only blossom every twelve years. When they are in bloom, they have a beautiful blue colour and smell very fragrant. The next time they’re expected to bloom in 2018. It’s possible to travel to Top Station by bus, cab, hire-car, as well as by rail. Nearby is the Kurinjimala Sanctuary.
3. Rajamalai (Eravikulam) National Park
This is a lovely place to visit, whether it’s with family or friends. The park contains rare endangered mountain goats (known as Nilgiri Tahr) with short bristly fur, that roam freely around you in the Rajamala tourist zone. There are also a wide variety of birds and butterflies to see. There are beautiful flowers, such as the Neelakurinji blossoms. The cakes on sale at the store in the park come highly recommended. There are a variety of restaurants and shops at the park. You’ll see stunning views of mountains at the park, including the Anamudi Peak, which is the highest mountain in South India at over 2,695 metres. You can see many different rare flowers and plants at the park, including orchids and balsams.
The park itself is 97 square metres in the Kannan Devan Hills and from the park you can see the surrounding tea plantations. The park has the Lakkom Waterfalls, which cascade down the side of a hill, creating a spectacular image and the waterfall itself is surrounded by Vaga trees. There are also many beautiful trails that you can walk along throughout the park. For visitors who want to see a shola-grassland ecosystem, it’s the perfect place. Other animals that you may see at the park include: langur, leopards, tigers, and bison.
4. Power House Waterfalls
Also known as the Chinnakanal Waterfalls, this waterfall is can be found en-route to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. It’s located close to Thekkady and approximately 18km from Munnar. The waterfall starts at the top of a steep rock-face (Western Ghat), which is 200 metres above sea-level. The water comes from the River Devikulam. The waterfall cascades into a natural pool at the base of it, which can be an incredible place to have a swim.
There are beautiful green Western mountain ranges and tea plantations surrounding the waterfall. The waterfall itself cascades down three levels, which makes it very picturesque and ideal for taking photos at. The waterfall occurs on a main-road, which can make it the ideal place to stop off at on your way to travelling elsewhere because it’s an added bonus attraction. It is clean and well maintained, and very relaxing and calming to hear the flowing water. In the monsoon season, the waterfall is especially powerful (but the water can dry up in April to May). It can be a beautiful place to watch a sunrise from.
5. Punarjani Traditional Village
At the Punarjani Traditional Village, you’re able to watch traditional dancing and martial arts. The performances there are sure to keep you entertained and interested with a vast array of vibrant costumes and stylish and skilled movements. The dances have a story to tell so it’s like watching a theatrical performance.
The Kathakali dance is performed in a performance temple known as a Koothambalam. It is possible to arrive early at the show so that you can see the performers applying their makeup (Chutti). It’s wonderful to experience some true culture and to learn more about Indian traditions. The shows contain Kerala Kalari and Kathakali dancing and the martial art Kalarippayattu. Kalarippayattu is one of the world’s oldest martial arts and has influenced many others. Performers use swords, shields, sticks, hands, daggers, and spears as part of their fighting.
These beautiful attractions in Munnar will leave you with many unforgettable memories. If India is your next travel destination, don’t forget to put these sightseeing places on your list.