|Munnar, Idukki :|
Munnar is a usual story of British discovery turned into their summer resort, developed into a major tea plantation with plenty of charming cottages. Standing at an altitude of 1600 m at the foothills of the tallest mountain in the Western Ghats, Anamudi, it is a stunner covered with acres of green tea plantation and verdant forest where plenty of wild animals thrive. The town is breathtakingly romantic located at the confluence of three rivers and frequented by many honeymooners. It is located in the Idduki district of Kerala. The town is divided into two parts: Old Munnar and Munnar which has most of the guest houses remaining ever alive with visitors.
The best way to explore this enchanting land is by foot. Hike up the exhilarating mountains that somehow become less taxing due to the purity of the air. Take pictures of the rolling hills and stop for a break at the rambling streams and rivulets and the placid lakes. Walk past numerous waterfalls and the emerald green tea plantations and soak in the tingling aroma from the spice plantations. Lucky ones might even get to see the Strobilanthus flower flowering which happens only once in 12 years. It bloomed last in December 2006 covering the whole countryside in a carpet of purple and blue.
Munnar is one of the prime tea plantation regions in Kerala. The "Kannan Devan" brand of tea produced by the Tata is cultivated and processed here. Most of the locals are employed in the plantations.
The Christ Church, in Old Munnar is an enduing symbol of the town. Though a little run down the interiors have relaxing ambiance. Plenty of tourists come to see the Church.
Trekking is a must in Munnar. The outdoorsy rugged terrain is perfect for treks especially at the slopes of Anamudi (2,695 m) and the woods of Eravikulam (Rajamalai) National Park home of the endangered Nilgiri Thar, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and the Salim Ali (Thattekkad) Bird Sanctuary. Boating facilities are available at the Mattupetty, Kundala Lake and Anayirangal, etc. Other popular activities among tourists are parasailing, hot air ballooning and camping, wild life and elephant safaris in the jungles and sanctuaries.
Other popular destinations nearby is the small lake Echo Point (15 km) so named because the hill reverberates any sounds made. Marayoor (40 km) is another popular hotspot frequented for its natural caves with murals, relics from the late Stone Age civilisation and the natural growth of sandalwood trees.
Munnars twin, Chithirapuram is located just 10 km away. The hill station is famous for its British bungalows and tiny cottages, and tea plantations.