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About Munnar

Munnar - breathtakingly beautiful - a haven of peace and tranquility - the idyllic tourist destination in God's own country.Set at an altitude of 6000 ft in Idukki district, Munnar was the favored summer resort of the erstwhile British rulers in the colonial days. Unending expanse of tea plantations - pristine valleys and mountains- exotic species of flora and fauna in its wild sanctuaries and forests - aroma of spice scented cool air - yes! Munnar has all these and more. It's the place you would love to visit - it's the place you would wish never to leave- so welcome - log on to munnar.com for all information on Munnar anytime, every time.Munnar hills is siatuated at an altitude of 5000 to 8000 Ft above sea level. and is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathani & Kundala. This beautiful hill station was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India. Sprawling Tea plantations, picture book towns, winding lanes, and holiday facilities make this a popular resort town.Munnar also has the highest peak in South India - Anamudi , which towers over 2695 m. Anamudi is an ideal spot for trekking. The high ranges of Munnar were earlier known as Kannan Devan Hills,named after a certain Kannan Devan,who had been land lord in the Anchanad Valley on the eastern side of the district. The main cultivation crops in Munnar are Tea and Coffee.Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands in Munar is the Neelakurinji. This flower which bathes the hills in the blue every twelve years, will bloom next in 2006 AD.

General Information

Altitude : 1600 Mts to 1800 Mts above sea level
Tourist Season : August to May
Clothing : Warm Clothes and Rain Gear
Temperature : Min. 0 c - Max. 25 c
Time Zone Indian Standard Time (IST) - UTC +5:30

Climate

The region in and around Munnar varies in height from 2,000 meters (6,562 ft) to 2,600 meters (8,530 ft) above mean sea level. Munnar enjoys a salubrious climate. The temperature ranges between −10 °C (14 °F) and 0 °C (32 °F) in winter and 8 °C (46.4 °F) and 16 °C (60.8 °F) in summer. The tourist season in Munnar is from August to May. However, even the monsoons are lovely with many streams and rivulets in the area and post drizzle the dew drenched tea gardens looking majestic and heavenly enshrouded in light mist .

Tourism

 

Until the early 1990s, Munnar, despite its enchanting natural beauty and salubrious climate, continued to remain a sleepy plantation town. Its tourism potential was realised only by the Sterling Group and Mahindra Holidays. However, the promotion of Kerala globally as God's Own Country and the rapidly increasing spending capacity of middle class Indians has resulted in a virtual explosion of tourism activities in Munnar. Resorts, big and small,have started springing up all around the town and overnight the once sleepy town has became a bustling tourist destination. Many of the developments done by unscrupulous investors have had a significant detrimental impact on the environment in Munnar and the once romantic beauty of the "sleepy town of Munnar" has significantly eroded over the years. Moreover the huge throng of domestic and foreign tourists in their buses and cars have added to pollution in Munnar and stretched the town's infrastructure and service delivery systems to their limits.

Mattupetty Dam reservoir, near Munnar.Earlier most of the land around Munnar was leased out to planters and the only activity permitted on such leased land was plantation of cardamom. Ownership continued to remain with the Government and even cutting of trees on such leased land was prohibited. However, the recent development of resorts has resulted in large scale deforestation and violation of government regulations governing land use, forests and plantation cultivation. It ultimately came to a pass in 2007, and the Government sprung into action to demolish illegal resort constructions to restore the beauty of the town.

Irrespective of all this, tourism has flourished over the years in Munnar and important tourist activities include boating (in the reservoirs of the many dams), trekking, parasailing, hot air ballooning and camping and wild life safaris in the jungles and sanctuary.The presence of all these activities and more has ultimately led to Munnar becoming a choice destination for foreign as well as domestic tourists. One can also see people from nearby districts in Kerala and Tamil Nadu thronging the town during weekends.Munnar was the starting point of Kundala Valley Railway functional between 1890 to 1924.

Mattupetty:Mattupetty is situated at a height of 1700 m above sea level. Mattupetty Lake and Dam is a beautiful picnic spot with the panoramic view of the tea plantations and the lake. Boating facilities are available in the reservoir. Mattupetty is also well known for its highly specialized dairy farm - the Indo-Swisss Live Stock project. The Shola forests in and around Mattupetty are ideal for trekking and are habitat to a variety of birds. Rivulets and cascades crisscross the terrain here, which again adds more attraction to the place.

Rajamala:Rajamala is the natural habitat of Nilgiri Tahr. Half the world population of this rare mountain goat is found here, which is fast becoming extinct.

Echo Point:Echo Point has a natural echo phenomenon and offers panoramic views.

Eravikulam National Park:A sanctuary for the endangered mountain goat of South India, the Nilgiri Tahr ( Hemitragus hylocrious), the Eravikulam National Park stands out for the stark beauty of its rolling grasslands and sholas, spread over 97 sq km in the Rajamalai hills.

Anamudi: the highest peak (2695 m) south of the Himalayas, towers over the sanctuary in majestic pride. The slopes of the hills abound in all kinds of rare flora and fauna. The Atlas moth, the largest of its kind in the world, is a unique inhabitant of the park. Other rare species of fauna found here are the Nilgiri Langur, the lion-tailed macaque, leopards, tigers, etc.An ideal place for trekking, facilities are provided here and tourists are allowed to go on foot up to Anamudi.

History

 

Old Aluva – Munnar Road. The Reconstruction of the road was started in 1891s and was completed in the following decade. In fact the road has a much older tale to tell. The road that the local people showed the British was the remnants of a glorious past, Bits and pieces of an ancient Royal Path that connected the historic port city of Musiris (Now Kodungallur) with the city of old Madurai. The road covered the Western Ghat-–home to invaluable natural resources. The history of trade through this route traces back to the times before the Old Testament. There is enough evidence suggesting the importance of the road and the city of Musiris in the history of ancient globalisation.The presence megaliths and so many other historical monuments point towards a civilisation over 3000 years old.

The ancient Pathway(road) was constructed in the Chera Era (300 BCE to 250 CE). The road, which transported valuables including sandalwood and spices from the misty heights to Musiris, was once the backbone of an economy. As trade in these items increased, Feneshiya/Arab/Roman/Chinese traders were attracted to India, and more specifically Kerala.The history of this trade route has been traced back to times before The Old Testament.The road is a rather unique one. First, it runs almost parallel to the rivers Periyar and Pooyamkutty. Second, it goes through an interesting ecological zone, one of the ecological hotspots of the world.

Third, nobody has as yet traced the ancient road in entirety. The reason being, the topography of the land has changed drastically over centuries. The Great Flood in 1534 almost wiped out the city of Musiris, destroyed the port and, as if in a quid pro quo, formed the natural contours enabling Cochin Harbour. The course of the rivers was also changed considerably, making it difficult to apprehend how the road, described as following the ancient river course, actually wound.However there is enough evidence to show that the road existed and a civilisation prospered by the side of it. The remnants of old Forts, Nannangadis, and Muniyaras (dolmens) around the region show the same.

Getting Here

 

Its strategic location and commercial importance has led to an extensive travel network linking Kochi to the rest of the country and the world by air, rail, road and sea.

Air-Cochin/Kochi (Airport Code: COK) has a world-class modern international airport, located 30kms north-east of the city, with regular flights to major cities in India. Cochin is also connected to Singapore, Colombo and all major cities in the middle-east (Abu Dhabi, Dammam, Doha, Dubai, Kuwait, Jeddah, Muscat, and Riyadh) by direct international flights. Airlines operating from Cochin include Air Deccan, Air India, Air India Express, Air Sahara, Emirates, Go Air, Gulf Air, Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Mahan Air, Oman Air, Saudi Arabian Airlines, SilkAir, SriLankan Airlines, and Qatar Airways, making it the fifth busiest airport in India. The International and Domestic terminals are located right next to each other. The airport buildings have been built in traditional Kerala architectural style. It is the first Indian airport to be built using private investment. Cochin airport is expanding at a very fast pace. For regular flight arrivals and departures, follow the links below. The airport is also used extensively by cargo and chartered aircrafts. Prepaid taxis are available from the airport and can be booked from within the arrival hall.

Rail-Kochi (and Ernakulam) are connected to the rest of India by an extensive network of rails.There are three main railway stations in Cochin: Ernakulam Junction (main station), Ernakulam Town and Cochin Harbour Terminus. Many important trains start from here and many others from/to the south of kerala stop at these stations.

Road-An extensive network of national/state highways and local roads link Kochi to rest of the country. Three important National Highways(NH) pass through/start from Kochi, apart from many state roads. NH 47 from Kanyakumari to Salem pass right through the heart of Kochi while NH 17 to Mumbai and NH 49 to Madurai (in Tamil Nadu) starts from Kochi. Private and public transport services are available to/from all major cities of South India from here. Long distance coach tickets to Mumbai (Bombay), Chennai (Madras), Bangalore, Coimbatore, etc. can be purchased from private coach operators operating from Jos Junction in the heart of the city.

Sea/Backwaters-Kochi has a magnificent all weather natural port that is used regulary by large cargo ships. Regular boat service to places like Kottayam, Kumarakom and Alleppey are available through the scenic backwaters of Kerala. The outlying islands that make up Cochin, like Vypeen, Mattancherry, Bolghatty, etc are connected to the mainland by regular public and private boats plying from the main boat jetty off Park Avenue and from the boat jetty near the High Court. Many cruises ships also currently berth and the Ernakulam Wharf, which is part of the Cochin Port located on Willingdon island.

Local Transport-Getting around Cochin is quite straightforward. Cheap and affordable private buses (bright red) will take you to most parts of the city, but they may not necessarily stop near a location of interest. Tickets must be bought on board. Short distances can be covered in an autorickshaw. Taxis or prebooked taxis are generally recommended for longer trips.

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