Munnar is one of the most beautiful hill stations in India. The highest peak in South India, Anamalai, is in this range of hills. Munnar hills are part of the Western Ghats, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Leonardo DiCaprio, the hero of the Titanic movie, came to these areas in the Idukki district and described it as “a paradise on earth” in April 2023.
This picturesque hill station is known for its rivulets, tea plantations, and colonial bungalows built during British rule in India. The word Munnar means ‘three rivers’. River Muthirapuzha, River Nallathanni, and River Kundala confluence at this serene hill station.
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Eravikulam National Park
Eravikulam National Park is a nearby wildlife Sanctuary worth visiting. Rajamala (King of Hills) is situated inside Eravikulam National Park. Rajamala is around 15 kilometers from the town on your way to Anamudi.
Nilgiri tahr (Varayadu) in and around Anamudi
Nilgiri Tahr (Hemitragas Hylocres) at Munnar. Image Courtesy – Aju P. John
Anamudi is the highest peak in South India. Anamudi is located inside Eravikulam National Park. It is also home to many ‘Nilgiri tahr‘ (Hemitragas Hylocres), a rare mountain goat that is on the extinct list of animals. Half of the world’s ‘Nilgiri tahr’ is found in Rajamalai. You can see them roam around the steep hills, at very close proximity, on the roads inside Eravikulam National Park. The approximate number of Nilgiri tahrs in this area is 1300. It is locally known as Varayadu.
Neelakurinji Flowers (Strobilanthes Kunthianus)
Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes Kunthianus), a shrub that flowers once in 12 years, is found here in this national park and surrounding areas. The last major flowering started in August 2018 and is ended in October 2018. Neelakurinji flowering areas were declared as “Neelakurinji National Park” by the state government in 2006.
PowerHouse Waterfalls originates from Sita Devi Kulam’. It is believed that Sita, wife of Raman, the hero of the great Hindu epic Ramayana, used to bathe here in this lake. It is situated at Chinnakanal, around 21 kilometers from the city.
Mattupetty Dam, a nearby dam, offers boating (speed boat, pedal boat) inside the dam waters. There is also an adventure park here. The majority of plantations in and around Munnar consist of Tea estates, a large portion of which is owned by Tata Tea Limited, one of India’s leading corporate groups in India.
Kalvari Mount alias Calvari Mount
Kalvari Mount, also known as Calvary Mount, is approximately 2700 feet above sea level. It gives you an aerial view of the Idukki Reservoir and mountain peaks and forests.
It is near the 10th mile on the KATTAPPANA-IDUKKI route. It is at a distance of 13 kilometers from Cheruthoni town. There is an Entry fee of Rs.20 For Adults and Rs 10 for Children.
For an amount of Rs 2500, five people can stay in the cottage there. There are two cottages here. To book the cottages, please contact +91-9497535460. It is under the Kerala State Forest Department.
Some of the other places to visit in Munnar are listed below.
There is a flower garden maintained by Kerala Forest Development Corporation Ltd (K.F.D.C.) near Munnar town. Blossom Park near the old Munnar town is also a beautiful tourist destination.
Tourist places in and around Top Station
Top Station, known for the picturesque view of the hills, is around 30 kilometers from town on the Munnar-Kodaikanal road. The village Ellapatti, en route to the top station, is famous for vegetables like carrots, beans, cauliflower, cabbage, etc. You may buy these vegetables here.
Meesapulimala is just opposite this village, and the view is excellent.
Echo Point is another tourist destination near Munnar, on your way to Top Station. ‘
Elephants at Munnar. Image courtesy – Sajeevan
Anayirankal (the word means elephants come down) is another beautiful place where herds of wild elephants can be seen roaming around on the slopes of the mountain ranges.
Kundala Dam (The First Arch Dam in Asia) and Kundala Lake
Kundala Dam is situated around 20 kilometers from Munnar town, on your way to Top Station. Boating facilities are available in this dam. Lake Kundala is on one side of the dam. It is the first arch dam in Asia. Aruvikkad Waterfall is situated near this dam.
Yellapetty Tent Camp or Yellapetty Camping site
Yellapetty Tent Camp is one of the best private tent camps near Munnar. It is situated around six to seven kilometers from the Yellapatty Post office. Yellapatty Post office is on the Munnar – Top Station Road. The entry fee is Rs 2500 per person as of March 2019. They offer trekking to nearby beautiful hills covered with mists. Sunrise and sunset can be seen from here. Overnight stay with a campfire at the tents is also part of the package. They can be contacted by telephone number +91 96339 96929.
Pallivasal Hydro-Electric Power Project
Pallivasal, Kerala State’s First Hydro-Electric Power Project, is at around 10 kilometers distance from the town. “Sethuparvathy Dam”, part of the ‘Pallivasal Hydroelectric Project’, is another tourist destination where boating facilities are available. Iduky Dam, the largest and oldest arch dam in India and the third-largest in the World is around a 1.5-hour drive from this town. Munnar is one of the best Kerala tourism destinations.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary near Kumaly Town is around 3 hours drive from Munnar. Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary offers boating facilities inside the lake. You can see many wild animals during this boat safari. Hoards of Elephants can be seen drinking water during the summer season. Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is one of its kind among the wildlife sanctuaries in India, offering boat safari inside deep forests, which allows one to have a close look at the beasts of the jungle. (Some other wildlife sanctuaries in India offer boat safari,; but only limited animals can be seen in such cases.)
How Do I Go to Munnar in Kerala?
Madurai airport is the nearest airport at around 160 kilometers from this hill station. Cochin International Airport, at Nedumbrassery near Cochin (Kochi), is another nearby airport. Munnar is around 4 hours drive from Cochin.
Theni railway station is the nearest railway station at around 75 kilometers distance. Angamaly railway station is around 100 plus kilometers away. Kottayam Railway station is at a distance of around 145 kilometers. It takes around a 3-hour drive from this beautiful hill station town to reach Kottayam.
Munnar is well connected by roads to Kottayam, Ernakulam, and Thekkady in Kerala. Cities in Tamilnadu, like Kambam, Theni, Dindigul, etc, are also well connected by bus services.
Which are the Best Munnar Hotels and Munnar Resorts?
Tea County is one of the good hotels run by the Government of Kerala’s tourism department, KTDC. Eastend is another one of the good hotels in the center of the town, offering 4-star facilities at affordable rates. Club Mahindra Resort is one of the best Munnar resorts, having a large property at a vantage point in Munnar. Ayur County Mountain Resort is at Chinnakanal, Munnar.
Carmelia Haven is another good resort; it is an Eco-friendly resort in the middle of cardamom, pepper, and tea estates. It is one of its kind in the state. Carmelia Haven is at Vandanmedu, around 68 kilometers from Munnar on the Munnar- (Kumuly) road. Kumily is around 23 kilometers from this resort. Apart from regular rooms, Carmelia Haven has a treetop house and an underground house (cave house).
Cloud Farm is a much sought-after campsite near the Top station.
Mar Thoma Retreat Center (under Malankara Mar Thomas Syrian Church) also has rooms for rent. Contact numbers are +91 4865 208399/ 232289/ 232290/ 232285.
Ashley Bungalow is a heritage property built in 1868 by the Baker family. It is located two kilometers away from Kuttikanam Town. Baker also made the Bird Sanctuary at Kumarakom and constructed a beautiful Bungalow near the sanctuary, now a heritage hotel run by the Taj group.