Breathtaking beauty in this peaceful hill station makes it the most sought after destination for Holidays in South India. It’s not a delta but the confluence of three river streams makes this amazing beauty of nature even more beautiful. Munnar is derived from the words “munn” and “aar” which means three rivers respectively. Since the british rule, when munnar was the most favored summer resort of the British rulers in the colonial, this tea town has stood up to its impression of beauty and greenery. Located in the idukki distrct of Western Ghats, munnar forms the eastern border of kerala. Else known as a tea town because of its vast sloping areas of tea, munnar is also a perennial favorite of honeymooners. At a height varying from 2000-2600 meters, munnar enjoys a healthy climate. The hill station welcomes u heartily round the year, but the tourist season is from august to may.
The sprawling tea plantations on the hill slope, the lovely monsoons, and the winding lanes make this place heavenly, as if the god resides right here, within the air, the climate, the nature itself. Surrounded by vast jungles, munnar remains wet and cold during most year. The sunshine on the post drizzle dew drenched tea gardens makes them shine like diamonds scattered over the green lands. Though it had been the most favored spot for holidays, Munnar was officially announced as a tourist spot in 2000 by kerala govt. Its tourism potential was realized by Mahindra Holidays and Sterling group, which then emerged as a hot tourist spot than the previously labeled sleepy plantation town. Most of the tea plantations are owned by Tata Group.
The history of munnar dates back to Stone Age but the written history begins only from 10th century. The travelers from Madurai to west coast passed through hills to the north of the high ranges and named it after the headman of the villages of Anchanad. He was Kannan Thevar also the Poonjar Chief and a subordinate prince to the Maharaja of Travancore who held those lands from the local king of Poonjar. The royal family of Poonjar was the pre-independence owners of Munnar. In late 19th century, he leased a large tract of land, around 600 sq kms to J.D Munro, a british lawyer and tea planter. The land, later called as Kannan Devan Concession Land was cleared and tea plantation was done. Later in 1895 the land was bought by Muir and Co. which later became James Finlay & Co. Ltd. In 1976, it was sold to Tata-Finlay ltd and later in 1983 Tata Tea Ltd became the official owner of the plantations after Finlay group sold their remaining share holdings.
Munnar is also known for its flora and fauna. It still preserves the Neelakurinji flowers that bloom once in twelve years. The native fauna have been preserved in sanctuaries around the area. Some of them are the new Kurinjimala Sanctuary to the east, the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Manjampatti Valley and the Amaravati reserve forest of Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary to the north east, the Eravikulam National Park and Anaimudi Shola National Park to the north, the Pampadum Shola National Park to the south and the proposed Palani Hills National Park to the east. They preserve the endangered species like the Nilgiri Thar, the Grizzled Giant Squirrel, and the Nilgiri Wood-pigeon.
The original inhabitants of Munnar are the tribals called the Muduvans. They had great bond with the British planters when they first ventured into the dense jungle for plantations and is continuing till date after generations. Active and dauntless, muduvans were known for their hunting skills. Today they are mostly engaged in foresty or anti poaching work. The honey sold by muduvans is known for its purity.
Known as the Switzerland of India, Munnar was the starting point of Kundala Valley Railway which was functional between 1890 to 1924.
With such a low temperature over twelve varieties of spices including ginger, garlic, cardamom, vannilla, pepper, cinnamon, coffee, tea, clove and nutmeg is cultivated in Munnar and its neighbouring villages.
Some woolen clothes and an optional rainy coat should be carried while traveling to this hill station.