Beautiful Munnar! A destination for Nature lovers
This was our first travel as a couple and we covered all touristic places Munnar, Thekkady, Kumarakom, Alappuzha, and Cochin.
We started our travel from Pune via train to Ernakulam. Although, it was a long journey of 30 hours on the train since no fast train was available. But we got down on a lot of station and tried their local food which we never had and believe us it was a wonderful way to travel long journey via train in India.
We reached Ernakulum at 5:00 am via Kanyakumari express train. We already hired a cab for 5 days through a local travel agency. Munnar was our first destination. Our entire trip plan was Pune-Ernakulum- Munnar-Thekkady-Kumarakom-Alappuzha-Cochin-Pune
It was a scenic journey and on the way to Munnar, we stopped to enjoy beautiful streams, Valara waterfalls, and Cheeyappara waterfalls, rubber, pepper, cardamom, tea plantations and thick forests. It took us around 4 hours to reach Munnar.
We decided to stay in a hotel Archana Residency which is located just near to the blossom park it was a budgeted and very decent place to stay.
DAY 1 –
Rajamalai Eravikulam National Park
God has blessed this state with incomparable beauty and we were very excited about our list of places to visit in Munnar. We started with “Rajamalai Eravikulam National Park” and the entry fee was 100 rs per person plus 50 rs for point and shoot camera, 100 rs for DSLR and price varies for other high-end cameras. You can also book the entry tickets online through https://eravikulamnationalpark.in/ portal to avoid standing in the queue. Only 3500 people are allowed to visit this park every day. February to March this park is closed for visitor due to calving season of Nilgiri Tahr.
They have special CNG buses which pick you from entrance gate and drop at the hill. The short bus ride is very scenic with curved roads. As you get down the surrounding panoramic view is memorizable. There is around 2 km of the road where you can walk and gather mesmerizing memories with you. There are different species of mammals, birds, butterflies, amphibians exist. You may get the chance to see some of them. Apart from that this place is famous for the habitat of Neelakurinji flowers, which blooms once in 12 years. This park has a small museum which is just next to where the bus drops you. During daytime, the weather was pretty hot while it was January 2nd week. Although at night temperature goes down to 5 degrees.
Note: – Outside eatables and beverages are not allowed to carry inside the park.
Munnar Tea gardens
On entry of Munnar, you will see miles of endless tea plantations. TATA Tea, consisting of estates mainly in Munnar, is a dominant player of Tea. The other important tea estates of Kerala are Harrison Malayalam, Michael’s Tea, Brooke Bond, AVT tea.
We visited one tea garden which was just on the side of a road. The people working in the garden shared how the plant grows and how do they do tea leaves plucking, it was an interesting thing to know.
As on Day 1, we were a little tired so could not explore many places, the next day we got up early and started with Spice garden and Munnar elephant ride.
Munnar Spice Garden and Elephant Ride
There are so many spice gardens to visit where you can get a chance to explore the garden with Elephant ride. Few of the famous ones are Hindustan spice garden and green field but there are many other spice gardens which are not as famous as like as Hindustan spice garden but equivalent to them and worth visiting.
We did not go to explore the famously named one as the charges were quite high. We went to a spice garden which was close to our hotel and took an elephant ride to explore the garden. Later we bought black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, star anise and a few other spices which were so fresh that you can never get that quality in the market. Later in the evening, we had visited the Hindustan store as well to check the products and collection in their store.
Munnar Tea Museum & Tea Factory
After covering the spice garden we visited ‘Tata Tea Museum’ which is located at the distance of around 2 km on the Nallathany road, from Munnar. You can see pieces of the colonial era and old bits collection there. Videography and Photography are strictly prohibited here. This museum remains open from 10 AM till 4 PM every day and closed on Monday. There is the fee of 75/- INR ticket fee per head for the entrance.
Kundala Lake & Kundala Dam
Our third stop for the day was Kundala lake is 23 km from Munnar, The Lake is very beautiful and amidst lush jungles. You can hire a pedal boat, explore the lake and its surroundings. This lake it is surrounded by scenic jungles and hills. Each boat trip lasts around 30 min and closed at 4:30 PM. We spent a couple of hours by just enjoying the surrounding nature, peace. It’s a very nice place to visit.
This park was just a km away from our hotel and it stretches about 15 acres. Blossom park has beautiful gardens with rare varieties of plants and flowers, shady trees. A perfect place for anyone who wants to spend some leisure time in the lap of nature.
Other Touristic places in Munnar are Mattupetty lake, Mattupetty dam and Echo point which we did not get time to visit. Mattupetti is an ideal location for trekking and at Echo point, every loud call made from a spot on the lake embankment is returned manifold as an echo from the surrounding hills.
Kalaripayattu is an ancient Indian martial art and fighting system that originated in Kerala. It is considered to be the oldest martial art in existence, with its origin dating back to the 3rd century BCE. We have seen this show in Punarjani traditional fight show in Munnar and it was such a thrilling show.
Food Options in Munnar:
Munnar is a heaven for non-vegetarian food lovers. Fish is widely eaten here. But as a vegetarian, you will not be disappointed. For breakfast, you can try varieties of dosa and idlis. You can give a try to iddiumppam with vegetable stew which is a unique rice-based Keralean delicacy available at most breakfast joints in Munnar only in the mornings before 10 am. We went to the Saravana Bhavan to taste their famous vegetarian thali during lunch time. It’s a very basic look restaurant and Thali was served on a banana leaf comprising salad, mixed vegetable stir fry, chapatti, rice with sambhar, rasam and tender coconut kheer or payasam with some other items. All these dishes were cooked using coconut oil.
Shopping in Munnar
Near the Sarvana Bhavan restaurant, there are lots of shops to buy famous Kerala saree located on MG road and you will get the saree at a decent rate. You can also buy dry fruits and handicraft from this area. You may try your bargaining skills which can help you to buy things cheaper here.