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5 Things To Do When Visiting Munnar

5 Things To Do When Visiting Munnar

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.

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2. Top Station

This is one of the best places to visit in Munnar for all travelers.[1] 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.

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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

Munnar Waterfall

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

    Reference

    [1] http://irisholidays.com/keralatourism/best-places-to-visit-in-munnar/

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    Last Updated on September 28, 2020

    The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

    The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

    At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

    Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

    One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

    When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

    So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

    Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

    This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

    Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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    When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

    Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

    One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

    Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

    An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

    When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

    Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

    Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

    We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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    By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

    Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

    While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

    I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

    You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

    Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

    When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

    Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

    Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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    Con #2: Less Human Interaction

    One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

    Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

    Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

    This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

    While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

    Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

    Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

    This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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    For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

    Con #4: Unique Distractions

    Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

    For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

    To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

    Final Thoughts

    Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

    We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

    More About Working From Home

    Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

    Reference

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