Munnar: Cool Hills, Exotic Animals and much more
Munnar wants to remain exclusive and secluded. That is exactly how you will find the quiet, lush green resort in the hills of Kerala. Just a little over 130 km from Kochi, Munnar in the Kannan Devan Hills is a picture postcard country with low-flying clouds, misty valleys, lakes, rolling tea gardens hugging the mountain sides and lots and lots of greenery all around. Add to that the cool climate and you have a perfect getaway all ready to welcome you into its open arms.
Munnar at a height of 5000 to 8000 ft above sea level, is at the centre of three mountain streams, Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. It is no wonder that the area boasts of exotic flora and fauna. One such is the blue Neelakurinji flower which blooms every 12 years, clothing the whole valley in a delightful garment of blue. Make sure that when the Neelakurinji blooms in 2006, you are in Munnar to see the spectacle.
There is a lot to see and do in Munnar. The highest peak in south India, Anamudi (2695 m), is nearby. For the adventure-seeking tourist, Munnar also provides facilites for paragliding.Close to the hill station is the Eravikulam National Park, home to the endangered Nilgiri Tahr, often seen making their way to the top of the hills around looking for food.
Around Munnar there are several exotic locations like Mattupetty, Eravikulam and Rajamala. The best time to visit Munnar is between October and March. The one season that you must avoid is the monsoon for the hills can be treacherous then. One of the must-see places while you are at Munnar is Devikulam, a small town 16 km away. The place is well-known for its little lake, hidden in the hills. Legend has it that Sita, Lord Rama's wife, spent time at the lake. The lake has been named after that as Devikulam or the lake of the goddess. The lake also provides an ideal spot for trout fishing.
The Eravikulam National Park, 15 km from Munnar, is believed to be one of the wettest areas of the world. One of the largest moths found on the planet, the Atlas Moth, is seen in the park. In addition to the Nilgiri Tahr, there are tigers, panthers, wild dogs, civet cats, jungle cats, sloth bears, Nilgiri langurs and wild boar. While visitors are not allowed into the park during the monsoons, it is the place for trekking. The point up to where tourists are allowed in the Eravikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, is Rajmala, where half of the existing world population of the rare mountain goat is found.
While in Munnar, take a trip to Nyayamakad, just 10 km away, to see breathtaking waterfalls. The area around the falls is an excellent picnic spot and trekking point. Nearby is Chithirapuram, well-known for its picturesque tea plantations and Pothamedu, which offers excellent views of tea, coffee and cardamom plantations. There are other places too, like Lock Heart Gap, 13 km from Munnar, well-known for it beautiful scenery and ideal for adventure, tourism and trekking. Mattupetti, a short distance away from Munnar and located at a height of 1700 m, has a highly specialised dairy farm with over 100 varieties of high-yielding cattle, which visitors are allowed to see.
Reaching Munnar: The nearest airport and railway station is Kochi, 130 km away. Munnar can also be reached from a number of Kerala towns.
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