Munnar Experience: Munnar is one of the famous hill-stations in South India and is one of the star attractions of God's own country - Kerala. This is a place where you can experience the beauty of nature and cool weather - an ideal place for sightseers, honeymooners and those who want a place to relax.
Munnar is located 138 kms from Kochi and is a hill station and is more than 2000m (6000 feet) above sea level. The landscape of Munnar has abundant greenery and tea estates all around. Wherever you look, you see great views of misty mountains and greenery.
The weather in Munnar is very cool and pleasant. Even in summer, on a sunny day, you can feel the cool breeze. And nights in Munnar are very cold, even in summer. If you are visiting in winter, make sure you carry sweaters and other clothes.
You can visit Munnar round the year, but the rainy season can be avoided as the rains are very heavy and you may not be able to move around freely. Summer is the best time to visit, if you want to escape from the heat of the plains.
Food, sight-seeing and shopping: Food:
Non-vegetarians have many options. But options for veggies are few. They include:
a) Saravana Bhavan in the town centre, where you can enjoy authentic south indian food. Great food, but the place is very crowded and place is a bit cramped
b) Mahaveer restaurant : offers North Indian food, including Gujarati, Rajasthani thalis. Food is ok, but rates are exorbitant.
c) Purohit restaurant : is in Hotel Dhanyashree and offers North indian food. Taste though is average and food is overpriced.
d) Srinivas restaurant in the town centre is another popular place for vegetarians.
Lots of places to see in Munnar. View points, dams, lakes. You can very easily spend 2 days in Munnar as there are lots of places to see.
(See the section on activities for sight seeing details).
Spices and tea are the main items for shopping.
Varieties of tea are available and Munnar is a treat for tea-lovers. You can also get cashews, spices like pepper, cardamom, etc here.
Home-made chocolates are another attraction.
Lots of shops in the town centre and also located at all sight-seeing points. Make sure you negotiate as the price printed on the package (except for tea) is not necessarily the selling price.
Try out the fresh carrots available for sale at most places.
Activities & things to do: Munnar has plenty to offer for tourists. Some of the popular sight-seeing destinations are:
a) Rose garden : A well-maintained botanical garden (Rs.10/- entrance)
b) Matupetty Dam : You can view the dam and the water and take photos here. Also, don't miss boating. Speed boat ride (Rs.350/- per boat) is one of the main things to do in Munnar
c) Echo point : has a beautiful, clear lake where pedal boating is available. Also, a good place to hear the echo of your voice.
d) Kundala Lake : A popular picnic spot, you can go for pedal boating, row boat or the shikara ride here. Horse riding is also available.
e) Top station : A not-to-be-missed place. From the parking area you need to walk for 5-10 mins before you enter Tamil Nadu. Pay Rs.15/- and you can climb down a hill (steps cut out of stone with rope railings) around 200 metres to reach the viewing platform. The view from here is awesome. But your return journey uphill is going to be tiring. Elderly people and heart patients avoid this place.
f) Eravikulam National Park : Beautiful sceneries here. Though the only wildlife you can see is the Tahr (mountain goat).
g) Waterfalls : There are many waterfalls, you come across before you enter Munnar. Chinnanakal waterfalls located after Devikulam is a must-visit, the place is enveloped in mist and is great.
Other places to see include:
a) Chinnar wildlife sanctuary
b) Tata Tea Museum
c) Pothamedu View point
Elephant rides are available at many places. Don't miss it.
Travel tips, How to reach, travel warnings etc: Nearest Airport and Railway station to reach Munnar is at Kochi, which is 138km away. The drive from Kochi to Munnar takes around 3.5 to 4 hours. The worst part of the journey is within Kochi, wherein you experience traffic jams.
The route to Munnar is scenic with abundant scenery. But the roads are full of sharp curves and you would be advised to eat lightly before travelling.
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