Magical Munnar, a holiday to remember!
Munnar is known for its rolling hills and undulating tea gardens that have the ability to mesmerise anyone who is lucky to chance upon its beauty. My trip to Munnar was nothing short of magical, and only hiccup being an uncomfortable drive that left me with a throbbing and sore back for about a week after my trip.
1. A magnificent sunrise at Kolukkumalai
The sunrise at Kolukkumalai was truly one of the most beautiful that I have seen. On my left, the Kolukkumalai and Kodaikanal peaks playing hide & seek with cotton candy clouds, overlooking the lush green forest and valley below. On my right were the undulating lush green tea estates of Munnar! There really couldn’t have been anything better! This is a sunrise that you MUST see!
But getting here is not easy. Kolukkumalai is difficult to get to. Private vehicles are not allowed, and you have to hire a jeep from town which is quite expensive. I’m not sure if it was because I visited during the Neelakurinji season(2018), but I paid around Rs. 2000 for that jeep ride up to Kolukkumalai, through EXTREMELY bad roads.
How to get to Kolukkumalai
Stay overnight at Chinnakanal, (where I stayed), and hire a jeep (the hotel can arrange) to go up to Kolukkumalai.
The road through the tea estates of Kolukkumalai is in extremely bad condition, and is quite narrow, so only local jeeps are allowed up.
2. Tea Plantation tour
Take a tour of the stunning, undulating tea plantations owned by Harrisons Malayalam on Kolukkumalai. Stop in between to take in the view, and take a lot of pictures. Head to the tea factory to understand the tea making process, and buy a some tea to take home.
The tea plantation on Kolukkumalai is the world’s highest (7900ft) organic tea plantation. They produce world class teas- I bought a lot of tea from here to give to family & friends. They also have really beautiful packaging that heroes the arts and traditions of Kerala, making their tea even better for gifting.
If you can't make it to Kolukkumalai (nearest town is Chinnakanal, where I stayed overnight), there are tea estates in Munnar town that offer tours of their property & processes.
3. Camping at Kolukkumalai
It is possible to camp at Kolukkumalai. As I was walking through the plantation after going to the peak for sunrise, I saw people camped out on the side of the road. Do some googling and find the details for the same if you are interested.
4. Eravikulam National Park- Rajamala
Located in the Kannan Devan Hills of Munnar, the ride up to the Rajamala hills of the Eravikulam National Park is through beautiful green tea estates. It is home to the endangered Nilgiri Tahr, which are quite elusive, so consider yourself lucky if you spot one. I didn’t see it when I visited, probably because along with me came a huge crowd of people (mind you, it was Neelakurinji season!)
You can hike further into the National Park to increase your chances of spotting wildlife, check at the ticket counter at the entrance of the national park ahead of time (before your date of entry), as it could be busy, and if it isn’t, they still have to arrange someone to take you in.
5. Watch Kalaripayituu & Kathakali
The Kalari Kshethra & Thirumeny Cultural centre have regular performances of the traditional martial arts form of Kalari and dance form of Kathakali.
Do catch a show with them during your stay and immerse yourself in the cultural arts of Kerala.
-Kalari Kshethra Chithirapuram South, Munnar 685655
-Thirumeny Cultural Centre, Temple Rod, Near Hotel East End Silent Valley Munnar 685612
6. Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
Located 60km from Munnar, it is home to elephants, deer, and leopards.
7. Drive from Munnar town to Suryanelli
This drive was one of the best things I did when I was in Munnar. The drive through tea estates blanketing the hills around, and views of the colourful buildings of Munnar town in the distance is reason enough to take this drive.
8. Mattupetty Dam & Lake
The serene lake reflects the hills & tea estates that surrounds it. It is possible to go boating in the lake, though the area gets crowded during tourist season.
Let me know your thoughts below in the comments!