Camellia sinensis or tea is the wonder plant whose leaves when processed are ready for infusion.when infused they release a peculiar aroma special to the area or climate they are grown in.
In India, there are three distinctly different tea growing regions. These regions are geographically separated, thereby producing three entirely different teas both in style and in taste/flavor. The three regions are: Darjeeling (North-Eastern India), Assam (far North-East India) and Nilgiri (South India).
The Blue Mountains or the Nilgiris are situated in South India. They are a picturesque range of undulating hilly landscapes where tea is grown at elevations ranging from 1,000 meters to 2,500 meters. Rainfall varies from 60 inches to 90 inches annually. These conditions favor the fine, elegant flavor and brisk liquor of Nilgiri teas. The combination of fragrance and briskness makes Nilgiri a truly unique tea, the like of which can be found nowhere else in the world.
Tea is a natural source of the amino acid theanine, methylxanthines such as caffeine and theobromine, and polyphenolic antioxidant catechins.
Tea buds are plucked in a peculiar way with bud and two leaves. a fresh flush grows every 10 days.plants are pruned to waist height to facilitate plucking.
as you can see there is activity everywhere.with workers ferrying about in jeeps managers anti germicidal spraysetc etc
one of the daytrips you can take from munnar is towards TOP STATION.at 1700meters it is the highest point on the munnar kodaikanal range.it is flanked by the anamudi peak which towers 2695 meters.
Top station derives its name from the 24 inch kundala railway which once existed top station was the highest station hence the name then there was middle station and the last was lower station munnar.
Some remains of Kundala Valley Railway can be seen at the Munnar Tea Museum.
Middle Station and Lower Station, were also once connected to this place via ropeway. Remains of the Ropeway Station at Top Station are still visible
There was also another ropeway from Top Station down hill to the east to Bodinayikkanur, Tamilnadu.
Top station virtually means being at the topmost point.it is lands end here as the onward road into tamilnadu towards kodaikanal is derelict in condition.
it is a viewpoint where you can gaze across the border into tamilnadu which is the neighboring state of kerala.
the place is full of scenic beauty and shola forests.
on the way are various tourist spots like madupetty dam,indo swiss dairy project, kundala dam,echo point and the reservoirs.
beginning from munnar one immediately comes across acres and acres of finely manicured tea gardens cutting into the valleys.they are in various hues of green depending on their maturity and harvest.
soon you reach the emerald green madupetty dam and reservoir.you take a sharp turn around the lake and come to the point known as echo pointfor obvious reasons.
boating and speedboating facilities are available at both places.
then you come across kundala dam reservoir sethuparvatipuram dam which is a masonry dam.
after traversing a very beautiful and scenic area you come to the top station.
nothing much is there at top station i enjoyed passion fruit at a local fruit vendor who also had lots of other exotic fruits.
a mud pathway leads you down into the valley where you have to pay a charge of INR15 as the land is private after a certain point?i dont believe this!!!!
Mattupetty located 13 km from Munnar is situated at a height of 1700 m. It is a very beautiful picnic spot. You can take a walk on the dam and admire the beauty. The lake also has boating and various kinds of peddal and motorboats are available for hire. If you are lucky then you can spot some elephants on the banks. There are lots of birds for bird watching enthusiasts.
Neelakurunji grows in the Nilagiri Hills of the Western Ghats. This shrub has a flowers which are purple in colour and it blooms once in every 12 years. Neelakurunji literally means Blue Mountains. The flower when in bloom turns the entire ghats into blue colour hence the name blue mountains. Although it blooms only once in 12 years, you could still find it in few places during other years too.
Lots of local colour. Shops kiosks and market stalls. Cows wandering freely.
Fresh fruits, veg etc as well as household goods etc....
A good place to stock up on fresh fruit, nuts and sweets etc.
Plenty of atmosphere, and local colour.
A photographers paradise, but ask 1st!
See my shopping tips for more info.
This natural habitat of the Nigiri tahr is situated 15 km from Munnar. Half of the world population of the rare mountain goat (hemitragas bylocres) which is fast becoming extinct, is now found here. The nilgiri tahrs are today reduced to small herds found in the Eravikulam- Rajamala region.
Mattupetty is situated 13 km from Munnar at a height of 1700m, Mattupetty is known for its hightly specialised dairy farm-the Indo Swiss Livestock Project. Over a 100 varieties of high -yielding cattle are reared here. Visitiors are allowd into 3 of the 11 cattle sheds fof the farm.
Visiting time 9 am 11 am and 1400 pm to 15.30 pm.
The Mattupetty Lake and dam , jst a short distance from the farm, is a very beautiful picnic spot. The sprawling kundala tea plantations and Kundala lake are other ottractions in the vicinity. DTPC Idukki provides boating facilities on the Mattupetty Dam. Speed launch and motorboats are available on the hire.
The cheeyappara and Valara waterfalls are lovated between Nariamngalam and Adimali on the kochi madurai higway. The Cheeyappara waterfalls cascade down in sever steps. It is a real feast to the eyes. This is also a great place for trekking.
This idyllic hill station with its velvet lawns, exotic flora and fauna and the cool miuntain air is a rare experience. The Sita Devi Lake with its mineral waters and pituresque surroundings is a good picnic spot. The lake is also ideal for trout fishing.
Pothen medu situated 6 km from Munnar. It offers an excellent view of tea, coffeee and cardamom plantations in Munnar. The rolling hills, the lush mountain and the breathtaking scenary here are idea for trekking and long mountain walks.
This park stretches for about 97sq km, though there is only a 10km pathway, that visitors are requested to use. In a bid to cut down on erosion to the grasslands, taking walks off the pathways is forbidden.
Plastic water containers are also forbidden, in an attempt to discourage littering. (There is a big problem all over Kerala with abandoned plastic water bottles!)
Its a nice place to enjoy a walk and admire the stunning mountainous and hilly scenery.
The main attraction is the Nilgiri tahr (Hemitragus hylocrius). These goat like creatures are indiginous to this region, and thrive on the grass covered land, and shola forestation. It favours a rocky habitat.
The tahrs were in danger of extinction, but due to serious conservation work led by Clifford Rice, and proclaiming the area as a National Park in 1978, there are now estimated to be over 1000 tahrs in this area of parkland.
These creatures are quite tame, we were quite close to a small herd. Although some visitors did try to get a bit too close.
(see my Munnar intro page)
Open 08.00 - 17.30 daily
Small charge for video cameras.
Not sure of entrance price as this was included in our tour.
For many people, what Munnar instantly bring s are the tea gardens and the Nilgiri Tahr in Rajamalai wildlife sanctuary. Another sight which is equally or more attractive is the Kundala dam.
Kundala dam , which is about 20 Km from Munnar town, is situated on the way to Top station. Its a relatively small dam which has an arch shape.
If you are visiting the dam at any time other than summer, the water is almost filled to the brink. The narrow single lane raod above the dam will give a panoramic view of the catchment area. Also the trees surrounding the water gives a greenish tinge to the water.
Boating facility is also available in the reservoir.
There is boating also down on this Mattupetty River. They have High Speed Boats for few people and big boats for larger groups.
On the other side of river is jungle where we spotted a kid elephant with his mother and father.
The speed boats have amazing balance and the person driving this takes you for all the adventurous turns in the water.
So, this is a definite "No Miss Activity".
Tourist Season : August to March
The visitors can see unending tea plantations on entry into Munnar. Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands here is the Neelakurinji a flower which bathes the hills in blue colour once every twelve years. The Neelakurinji, will bloom next in 2006 AD. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India - Anamudi - which towers over 2695 M and is an ideal spot for campers who like to do some trekking.
MUNNAR - FACT FILE
Location Idukki District on the high ranges of the Western Ghats
Altitude 5000-8000 ft above sea level.
Area 26.2 sq. km.
Temperature 0°C - 30° C
(Summer : 15.2°C - 25.8°C
Winter : 0°C - 10° C)
Rainfall 275 cm
Best time to visit September to May Clothing Woollen and cotton Languages spoken Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi and English.
Boundaries North : Coimbatore
South : Pallivassal Panchayath
East : Vattavada Panchayath
West : Kuttampuzha Panchayath
Munnar is known for its extensive tea estates. It's better to join a tour or hire a vehicle (cab, auto etc) to move around. Especially if you want to have a great photo scenary, public transportation will just fly among the rolling hills and tea estate. And you will NOT see any tea estate in the town.