God’s own country, Kerala, is famous all across the world. Owing to the presence of the tea gardens and hilly climate, Munnar can be called ‘the Darjeeling of Kerala’. Though it lacks the Kanchenjunga peak, it makes up for that with its coffee plantation. There is something for everyone in Munnar, whether it is kids or honeymooners. Located 1600 metres above sea level in Idukki district of Kerala,Munnar is also home to exotic and threatened animals.
If you have just two days at your disposal, then follow this ‘tried and tested itinerary’ to explore Munnar in 48 hours flat!
8 AM – Start your day by having breakfast at Saravana Bhavan (Munnar Market, Nullatanni, Munnar, Kerala 685612 ). They operate from 7.30 AM to 9.30 PM. They serve authentic South Indian dishes on banana leaves. Food is tasty and the price is very affordable. Have dosa and fill your tummy sufficiently because there are lots of places to visit before lunch!
Talk to your accommodation provider to arrange a car and driver to take you to the four-point-tour and Tata Tea Museum on the first day and Eravikulam and Marayoor on the second day. There are also lots of travel agency outlets with shops all throughout the Munnar town, so you will never have a dearth of options.
9 AM -The Mattuppetty dam is one of the most important dams in the Idukki district and it is extensively used to generate hydroelectric power. The ripples of blue water of the lake created by the Mattuppetty dam will soothe your eyes. The lake is surrounded by thickly forested Western Ghats hills. Shacks selling souvenirs and food items to tourists have mushroomed by the lake shore. Activities like boat rides can be enjoyed on the lake.
10 AM - Just as the name suggests, this is a point where you shout out something loud and a while later a similar voice shouts the same words back to you. The Echo point has a lake with densely wooded hills on the opposite side. The visitor is supposed to shout out loud standing on the shore of the lake. Take my word for it, it works. The place has an eerie beauty to it. The eeriness has something to do with the low-lying clouds which hang low over the lake. I wouldn’t be surprised if you spot a ghost or two here!
10.30 AM - If you are a natural beauty seeker, I am sure that out of all the lakes, you will love this one the best. The lake has a breathtaking tranquillity. The lakeside flaunts tall Eucalyptus trees. The lake is surrounded by lush greenery and is frequented by interesting birds. Boating and horse riding are the two activities one can enjoy by the coast of the Kundala Lake.
11.30 AM - Top Station is where the roads end and it is indeed the ‘top’. The car will have to halt after a certain point and from there one has to reach the viewpoint on foot. The 360 degree view from the Top Station is worth the walk. A shack or two sell hot coffee. Sip a cup of coffee while enjoying the scenic locale. The fluffy clouds and the towering heads of Western Ghats along with the occasional song of the birds are perfect to inspire the poet in you.
1.30 PM –Come back to the town of Munnar after experiencing Top Station, and walk into this eatery. The restaurant is often swamped with foreign tourists. The non vegetarians are going to have a gala time here without spending a bomb on food. Vegetarian options are also available.
3 PM– It would be a shame to leave Munnar without visiting a tea plantation on foot. The Kannan Devan Hills of Munnar is where the Tata Tea plantation lies. The plantation became infamous after news of underpaid plantation workers took over the media world. Visitors can tour the tea factory where processing of the leaves takes place. A short film is played on a projector. I never sat through the entire movie but sources on the internet say the movie is a propaganda to project how well Tata takes care of the plantation workers. Photography is chargeable. The plantation shuts at 4 PM.
Buy some home-made chocolates and spices
4.30 PM - 6 PM – Come back to the town of Munnar and walk through its lanes and markets. Almost all the shops in Munnar sell ‘home made chocolates’. They come with various flavours with the rich taste of almond, cashew and raisins. Go around tasting and buying these unique chocolates found in Munnar. Kerala is famous for it's spices. Don't miss out on checking the wide collection of several spices.
Munnar sleeps early, have dinner and sleep early for the next day is going to be physically demanding.
8 AM to 12 noon – Have breakfast and take a packed lunch before setting out for the most popular tourist place of Munnar. The Eravikulam National Park is considered the main attraction of Munnar. It is home to the endangered Nilgiri Tahr. It also offers stunning vistas of the tea gardens of Munnar. In rainy season the place is sheathed in a blanket of greenery with scattered clouds and waterfalls cascading down the slopes. The park remains open from 7.30 AM to 4 PM but travelling in the first hour is recommended to avoid the crowds. In high season the queue for an entry ticket is awfully long. Nowadays tickets are available online. There is also a reservation counter at the tourist information centre at Munnar where one can get tickets by paying INR 50 extra, a price you pay to avoid standing in queue. Inside the park you need to walk around, so a minimum level of fitness is required. The more adventurous ones can attempt to climb the Anaimudi peak, the highest peak of the Western Ghats.
2 PM – 3 PM – Eat the packed lunch in the car as the vehicle rolls on to reach its next destination. Marayoor is renowned for its sandalwood trees, rock paintings and a special kind of tomb called dolmen. Being in close proximity of Eravikulam National Park, it also has rich fauna reserves.
4 PM – After reaching back to Munnar, definitely take a look at the Mount Carmel Church in the heart of Munnar. It is a very peaceful place with a pleasant view of the Munnar town.
If you plan to stay in Munnar for quite a few days more, then definitely keep these in mind.
Other things to do and see
1. Visit the Chinar Wildlife Sanctuary
2. Visit the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary.
3. Go on a nature walk.
4. Rent a motorcycle and ride around the picturesque town.
Cuisine on offer
Food is largely south Indian. The bakeries provide delicious cakes and baked goodies. The non vegetarians would relish the fish and meat options. Coffee is the go-to energy drink.
When to go
The winter months of India (November- February) is the peak season. Munnar is crammed with tourists in December and January in particular. Munnar also sees a fair share of visitors in the summer months of March to May. The monsoon season (June- September) is considered the lean season, but of late monsoon tourism has risen in Kerala. Given the lush greenery around, I don’t blame the tourists for travelling in monsoon.
Auto rickshaws plies in and around the town of Munnar.
Where to stay
Set amidst an enthralling location with whistling birds flirting with the fluffy clouds floating in the sky, Chandy’s Windy Wood is a perfect getaway in the lap of nature. Rooms here start at INR 13000 per night.
Emmel Dwellings is easy on the pocket. Rooms here start at INR 2000 per night. The place is conveniently located with easy access to the markets of the bustling town of Munnar.
Have you been to Munnar? How was your experience? Did I miss anything? Do you want to add your own opinion? Don’t hesitate! Comment and let’s get talking!
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