Munnar

Munnar is a beautiful hill station, and was the summer resort of the British. Tourists come here to see the vast tea plantations of the area. The town itself is typically Indian with the usual shops, guest houses and is really beautiful and traditional. It is a good place to stay to see the surrounding countryside. It is also a popular place for Indian honeymooners.

The town is divided into two parts, Old Munnar, where the tourist information office is, and Munnar, where the bus station and most guest houses are located.

The region in and around Munnar varies in height from 1,500 m (4,921 ft) to 2,695 m (8,842 ft) above mean sea level. It is pronounced "Moon-aar" short for "moonu aar" meaning 3 rivers. Three rivers - Madupetti, Nallathanni and Periavaru which flow through this town, but join some distance away from Munnar.

Munnar is famous for its tea plantations, many of them started by the British. The "Kannan Devan" brand of Tea from the Tata is cultivated and processed here.

The strobilanthus ("neelakurinji" in Malayalam, the local language), a blue flower which blooms only every 12 years, is found in this region. It bloomed last in December 2006. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India, Anamudi, at 2,695 m.

Eravikulam national park is one of the main tourist attraction, where you can find the endagered species of Nilgiri Tahr (mountain goat called "varayadu" in Malayalam). A trek to Rajamala ("King of hills" in Malayalam), in the morning is sure to spot a few friendly mountain goats. You can also find Gaur, Langur, Lion-tailed macaque, and Elephants depending on the season and time of travel. The altitude is 1,600-1.800 m above sea level. Temperature ranges from a minimum of 0⁰C to a maximum of 28⁰C. Warm clothes and rain gear is recommended. The tourist season is from Aug-Mar.

You can arrange a cab/taxi from Ernakulam Railway station, they willcharge (round trip) from Rs 2500 to Rs 3000.

Talk[edit]

Malayalam and Tamil are main languages spoken here. You can manage with English or Hindi. Avoid guides, as there are no official guides approved by Govt. Many guides approaching you must be small time thieves.

Get in[edit]

By air[edit]

Cochin International airport (IATACOK, ICAO: VOCI), also known as Nedumbassery Airport and CIAL is the nearest airport. It is 110 km away from Munnar by road.

Madurai International Airport which is 140Km from Munnar by (National Highway 49).

By train[edit]

The nearest railway station is Aluva, 110 km. Ernakulam is 130 km and Madurai is 135km You can get the direct regular buses to Munnar First Bus starts at 6AM.

By car[edit]

  • From Kochi: Munnar is 130 km (3.5 hr) from Kochi. The road is blind in some places and there are a lot of trucks and buses that seem to drive as if they own the road. Although the road is smooth (NH 49), it is narrow, twisty and curvy. Kothamangalam is on the way and is 80 km away from Munnar. Between Kothamangalam and next town "Adimali", you can experience a beautiful cool drive through a natural forest. Alongside, you can see many refreshing waterfalls. Once you reach Adimali, Munnar is just 30 kilometers away - but it will take almost an hour to reach. This is the last place where you can spot a decent restaurant before Munnar. Around 22 km from Adimali, you can start seeing the tea plantations on both sides of the road and a panoramic view of the western ghats. The view is extremely beautiful during the early mornings.
  • From Aluva: Aluva is nearly 110 km from Munnar. Just outside Aluva railway station you can hire a taxi for Munnar for Rs 2000. There is a bus stand nearby as well which operates frequent buses to Munnar; ticket prices start from Rs 70 per person.
  • From Madurai: Munnar is about 135 km from Madurai and 80 km from Theni. MaduraiTheni - Bodi - BodiMettu-Devikulam - Munnar route is the most scenic route by National Highway 49(Via Madurai-Cochin HighWay).
  • From Coimbatore: Munnar is about 160 km from Coimbatore and 120 km from Pollachi. CoimbatorePollachi - Udumalpet - Chinnar - Marayoor - Munnar route is the most scenic route and though it will take bit longer, it is generally considered worth the extra time spent.
  • From Kodaikanal: Kodaikanal is nearly 170 km from Munnar. Kodaikanal - Perumal Malai - Mayiladum Parai - Mooliyaru - Oothu - Falls View - Ganguvarpetty - Ghat Road - Periya Kulam - Theni - Bodi - Bodimettu - Devikulam - Munnar. This route is also scenic.
  • From Tirunelveli: Tirunelveli is nearly 255 km from Munnar. Tirunelveli - Sankarankovil - Rajapalayam - Srivilliputhur - Aandipatti - Theni - Bodi - Bodimettu - Devikulam - Munnar. This route is also scenic.

Distances from Munnar to various cities:

 

The road to Munnar is narrow with lots of bends and curves. Hire a taxi or a driver with local experience if you are not familiar with similar conditions

By Taxi[edit]

By bus[edit]

Munnar bus station is on the main street, Main Bazaar.

  • Kochi - takes 3.5-4.5 hours. Buses leave Kochi between 6AM-6PM. Last bus leave in 17:50 from KSRTC Interstate Bus Terminus (near Ernakulam Jn. South). Ticket price is 90 Rs.
  • Aluva - Nearest bus station to the Cochin International Airport. About 4 hrs uphill to Munnar, and 3-3.5 hrs downhill. Ticket price is around Rs. 70 one-way for a government-operated bus, up to Rs. 150 for a privately operated bus.

Note that most buses have boards in Malayalam and not English. At Aluva, there are no signs, schedules or dedicated bus bays for Munnar-bound buses; many of them briefly stop at Aluva en route from Kochi/ Ernakulam to Munnar. Check with a few locals every 15 minutes, or ask and hang around the bus info office, so they can point you to the right bus when it arrives.

There are also buses from Coimbatore and Pollachi.

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