In Tamil, moon-aar literally means three rivers; Munnar lies at the confluence of the Nallthanni and Kundale streams, which join the Muthirapuzha River, that cascades out of the hills into the Periyar River and, later, the Arabian Sea. Tea is truly Munnar’s claim to fame; here, over 12,000 hectares of lush, manicured tea fields form an irresistible canvas. There is no better place than Munnar to put one’s feet up, and enjoy cups of tea and idyllic surround-ings, with a breath of calming, pure air.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO

Church of South India

Located one kilometre outside town, the Church of South India rises tall and stately above the road. Its fortress-like exterior, shrouded by eucalyptus trees, holds within its walls a repository of Munnar’s colonial past.

Timings 10.00am–5.00pm

Mass 8.00am

Eravikulam National Park

A former hunting preserve of the British planters, the Erivakulam National Park exemplifies wildlife conservation at its best. The main draw here is the Nilgiri tahr, an endangered species of wild goat which was all but extinct due to poaching in the 1950s. Thanks to conservation efforts, the ungulates can now be seen in large numbers. The view from the park, whose average elevation is about 7,000ft above sea level, is breathtaking in its extent and diversity, especially from the popular Director’s Leap viewpoint.

Entry Adults ₹85; Children ₹65; Foreigners ₹360 Timings 9.00am– 4.30pm Tel 04865-231587

Saibal Das
Tea plantation workers busy plucking leaves in a verdant tea garden
Tea plantation workers busy plucking leaves in a verdant tea garden

Tea Museum and Tea Processing

Run by Tata Tea, the Munnar Tea Museum traces the evolution of the tea industry in Munnar from the 1880s. It houses an interesting array of artefacts as well as several historical photographs and pieces of period furniture. At the adjacent tea-processing unit, one is introduced to the various stages of tea production and the intricacies of tea-tasting.

Entry Adults ₹80; Children ₹40 Timings 9.00am–4.00pm Closed Mondays Tel 04868-255272/ 73 Photography ₹20

Munnar’s Falls

The Athukad Falls are located approximately 8km from Munnar. At the height of the monsoons in July and August, these waterfalls become a roaring, untamed cascade. A narrow bridge, which needs to be negotiated carefully, spans the gorge. There are two other cascades along this same route which acquire remarkable proportions during the monsoons. The Cheeyapara Falls plunge from a height of over 500ft, a popular bathing site for tourists eager to rid themselves of the grime and dust of the plains. Another kilometre down the road, the equally impressive Valara Falls cascade tumultuously into the thickly forested ravine below the road.

THE INFORMATION

When to go September to May

Getting There

Air Nearest Airport: Cochin International Airport, Nedumbassery (121km/ 4hrs). Prepaid taxis cost ₹2,800–3,084

Rail Nearest Railhead: Ernakulam Junction (127km/ 4hrs)

Road NH49 links Munnar with Kochi and Madurai. Munnar is also connected to Coimbatore via Pollachi and Udumalaipettai Bus Munnar’s bus stand, located at the edge of the town, is served by KSRTC and private buses from both Kerala and Tamil Nadu