The greenest hill station we have ever visited is no doubt Munnar in the Nilgiri Hills. One can come here in Munnar any time during the year. Possibly the best is winter, then at night temperature sometimes drop to subzero. We could not visit Munnar at winter but this is a story of October. At an altitude of 5400 Ft, Munnar is a dream like place with its lush green teagardens, colorful flowers and play of fog and clouds here and there. Anaimudi the highest peak (2700 Meters) of Nilgiri hill is also in Munnar. The literal meaning of Munnar is "confluence of three rivers". Here three rivers Madurapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. flow through the Munnar. Munnar can be approached from Kochi or, Ernakulam via Adimali in 4 hours or, from Coimbatore via Indira Gandhi National Park and Chinar National Park in 5 hours. These two routes are unique in their different natural beauty. The road from Kochi is through the tea gardens on each side of the road.
Kodai express from Chennai reached Coimbatore at 1.40 pm. Refreshed and had some snacks outside the station and hired a car from the station itself. It took some time to complete the formalities at the highway permit office before we could start our journey at about 3 pm. The first halt was the check post of Indira Gandhi National Park. Soon our car entered the forest with very little traffic. After a while we were passing through the Chinar reserve forest. The road and journey through narrow hilly road of the forest was adventurous. We were lucky (?) to see some wild elephants on our way. Our car left the forest area before the sunset and we stopped beside a water falls. A small shop was there where you can find tea, coffee, noodles and honey from the forest. We snacked and walked a little to ease out our cramped legs and started the journey again. Driver warned us beforehand regarding the dangerous fog in the 5 Km stretch after Marayur. He was right! Something was visible up to the sandalwood forest but after Marayur, we really still wonder how our driver drove? The visibility was absolutely zero! May be they know the road like their palm. Though we were tensed but safely reach near Munnar market area at about 8 pm. We booked a hotel for us there.
Eravikulam National Park:
Next morning a beautiful clear weather was waiting for us. We hired an auto @INR 250 to visit Eravikulam National Park and other spots. The route was really charming by the side the lush green tea plantation and river. It took half hour to reach the gate of the Eravikulam National Park. There was nice arrangement to travel within the park. We had to get on to a car to travel within. The car is available in every 5 to 7 minutes. The greenery was always more than what we imagine. In 20 minutes we reached at a high point in the park , like a view point and rain started. We will remember for long the magnificent view of rain over the green valley. This place is famous for Nilgiri Thars. Neelakurinji flower use to bloom in this park every 12 years. The last bloom was in 2006. We spent about an hour at Eravikulam National Park.
This is a beautiful reservoir and surrounded from three sides by green hills. We enjoyed the view running of speedboats in this dam. We had our lunch and visited a nursery and our plan was to see Kundala lake, Echo point and top station. Echo point was near by and it was a fun to hear the clear echo of anything you speak out loudly.
Through the dense Anaimudi forest a little away is Kundala Lake. A peaceful spot with little or no tourist. Few colorful boats are anchored in the lake. We enjoyed the serenity and tranquil beauty of the place by spending some time there.
Came back to Munnar by the evening we spent the by seeing the market and shops at Munnar. Variety of steel household goods including coffee filters. Shops of tea, filter coffee, homemade chocolates and honey is the specialty of this place apart from other regular shops. You will get all kind of food sops both vegetarian and non vegetarian; will serve you food of choice by making them instantly. Many cybercafé to link you to the world is also there at your service.
Next day we got up late. It was little cloudy. Last few hours are remaining for Munnar. We decide to go towards Marayur, the beauty of which we missed due to excessive fog. We took one auto and what a heavenly beauty was waiting for us! The place remain filled with mist throughout the day. The Carmel Church, tea garden, school lush green ambience and greenish blue mist made that place so dreamy. Bright red flowers on the road was like a warm red carpet welcome. We spent hours in the tea garden. Now it is the time to return.
From Munnar we proceeded to Ernakulam (Kochi) through the second route with a different landscape of tea gardens.
What is the best time to go to Munnar?
Almost throughout the year Munnar experience rain; but June to august is rainy season. The beauty of rain is also unforgettable experience. Always keep umbrella, whenever you come here. The temperature remain comfortable throughout the year between 10 to 25 degree Celsius. At times in winter it drop to subzero at night. Though you can come any time during the year the season is from September to May.
How to reach Munnar?
From any part of the country reach Coimbatore or, Ernakulam (Kochi). Both these places are well connected to Chennai by bus and rail service. The car fare from Coimbatore is @ INR 2220 and that from Kochi @ INR 1600. Bus services to Munnar are also available from important cities of south India.
Where to stay at Munnar:
STD code: +91 4865
Budget travelers can get hotels here @ INR 600 – 1200. Like other places in southern India you will not have problem with food. You can get food of your choice both vegetarian and non vegetarian.
Luxurious options are:
The other hotels in Munnar:
KTDC Hotel County: Ph: 230460 DB @ INR 5500 – 6500
Canonvivan Hotel: Ph: 230252 DB @ INR 950
Holiday Inn: Ph: 232155 DB @ INR 1000 – 1200
Green view Hotel: Ph: 230940 DB @ INR 650 – 1100
Munnar Inn: Ph: 230736 DB @ INR 1500 – 1800
Hill view Hotel: Ph: 230567 DB @ INR 2000 – 3000
Misha Holiday: Ph: 230376 DB @ INR 1000 – 2000
Puppata resort: Ph: 230223 DB @ INR 1200 - 2000