Known for its lush green tea plantations and vast stretches of forest, Munnar is a hill station in God’s Own Country. Whether it’s for a getaway from Kochi or nearby cities, the town makes for a spectacular destination. Divided into two parts – Old Munnar and Munnar – the hill town has several popular spots. From the picturesque Mattupetty Lake and Dam to the tea plantations and the famous Tata Tea Museum, there are quite a few places to visit in Munnar. For the more adventurous ones among you, there are majestic mountains for trekking and hiking. To help you out during your next trip to Munnar, we’ve put together a list of top places to check out while sightseeing in Munnar.
A major tourist spot in the region, the Mattupetty Dam and its reservoir are located at a distance of 13 km from Munnar, in proximity to the Anamudi peak. Built under the Pallivasal Hydro Power project in 1940 between the hill ranges, the dam was constructed primarily to store water for hydroelectric projects. Apart from being an electricity and revenue generation source, the spot is also an idyllic place to enjoy the beauty of nature. Sit back and enjoy the sight of the entire surrounding tea gardens reflected in the still water here. It is also said to be one of the visiting grounds for birds and animals including elephants in the region. Several water activities such as speed boating are organized by Munnar Idukki Tourism Promotion Council. Adventure lovers can enjoy trekking and hiking options in the forest of Shola.
Mattupetty Dairy Farm
Mattupetty is also popularly known as the ‘cattle village,’ a name derived from the Indo-Swiss Livestock Project or the farm project. Started in 1963 as part of the project, the farm is spread across 191 hectares. Home to over 400 high-quality cattle including bulls and cows, the place makes for quite a scenic sight. Along with the three main sections – Animal Husbandry, Semen Bank and Fodder, the farm also has a training centre for technicians and veterinarians.
Situated about 20 km from Munnar and at the height of 1,700 metres above sea level, Kundala is well-connected by road transport and railways. With cherry blossoms appearing twice a year and the Neela Kurunji flowers (known to bloom only once in twelve years) blooming in the valleys around the lake, the lakeside makes for a picturesque spot. Said to be Asia’s first arch dam, Kundala Lake would be one the top places to visit in Munnar. Adding to the experience, you have boating activities with pedal boats, row boats and Kashmiri shikhara boats. Other attractions available here include a golf course belonging to Tata Tea Ltd., the Aruvikkad Waterfalls and the Sethuparvathi dam built as part of the Pallivasal Hydro Power Project in 1946.
Rajamalai is part of the Eravikulam National Park which is managed by Kerala’s Forest and Wildlife Department at Munnar. Located approximately 15 km from Munnar, the region is the habitat of the Nilgiri Tahr. The park is defined by hill plateaus and slopes of which Anamudi (2,690 metres) is the highest. The forests here are locally called ‘shoals’ and are characterized by tropical evergreen and sub-tropical broadleaf forests. The park is currently home to a wide variety of exotic flora and fauna including a particular type of orchids. In addition to the Nilgiri Tahr, approximately 120 kinds of birds and 26 different types of mammals including langur, elephants, and marten are also found here.
Munnar’s Museum of Tea, also known as the Tata Tea Museum, Nalluthanni Estate or Kannan Devan Tea Museum is another popular spot among places to visit in Munnar. The tea estate, set up in the 1880s, belonged to the Kannan Devan Hills Plantations Company Private Limited and was opened to the public on 1st April 2005. The tea museum displays the various aspects and growth of Kerala’s tea plantations on Coimbatore’s border in the Western Ghats. Tea lovers can witness the various stages of tea processing including crushing, tearing and curling, among others. Tea tasting of different varieties of tea is also available. The museum opened by Tata Tea also houses machinery and photographs that depict the growth of Idukki’s now flourishing tea industry.
The Attukal waterfalls, located 9 km from the town of Munnar, is on the way to Pallivasal and is one of the top places to visit in Munnar. The sight of the silver cascade rushing down the mountain is truly a sigh to behold. Trekking is also available along the hill slopes amidst the thick forests. The ruins offer a scenic spot, perfect for family picnics and Instaworthy photographs. The perfect time to visit the waterfalls is during the monsoon season when one can witness the falls’ beauty in its entirety.
Chinnar’s Wildlife Sanctuary
Located around 60 km from Munnar, the sanctuary is a 90 sq.km place that’s bound to fascinate wildlife enthusiasts. A perfect location for capturing wildlife beauty and trekking, the sanctuary is home to several endangered species such as the grizzled giant squirrel, Nilgiri Tahr, spotted deer and gaur. It is one of the 12 protected areas of Kerala and has substantial ecological, floral and cultural significance. The sanctuary houses almost 34 species of fauna including panthers, elephants, spotted deer and tigers in addition to over 245 species of birds. Due to the varied extent of rainfall in the area, Chinnar also has deciduous forests, grasslands, shoals, dry thorn scrub and sandalwood forests. Over 1,000 species of medicinal and flowering plants can also be spotted here. Jointly organized by Forest Department and the Eco-development Committees of the local tribal communities, the sanctuary has ecotourism activities such as tree house at Chinnar, trekking and camping at Vasyappara, river trekking, nature trail to the watchtower, trekking to the cultural site and to the Thoovanam falls.
With over 50 tea estates part of the town, Munnar is almost synonymous with tea plantations. Which is why it’s often listed among the top places to visit in Munnar. Most of these plantations belong to the Tata Group while others include AVT Tea, Harrison Malayalam, Brooke Bond and Michael’s Tea. In fact, Munnar is one of India’s largest tea trade centres. Whether it’s to take a leisurely and relaxing stroll through these lush estates or to know more about the process of tea plantations, there are several tea garden tours available in Munnar.
Echo Point & Top Station
Located about 15 km from Munnar, you’ll find Echo Point on the way to the Top Station, which is the highest point in Munnar. At this point, you might actually feel like you’re touching the cottony clouds. This destination is among the top places to visit in Munnar, especially because of the Neelakurinji flowers or Strobilanthes, which are known to bloom here once in twelve years. The flowers, when blossomed, give the spot a bluish look. One can also visit the Kurinjimala sanctuary which is in close proximity to Top Station. Echo Point is where visitors can go and scream loudly and hear the echo back! The spot gets its name from the natural echo that one can hear resonating from the hills. Apart from this, the point is also known for the picturesque views it offers, making it one of the popular places to visit in Munnar.
This point as the name suggests is a popular scenic spot known for its picture-perfect settings and backdrop which includes silver oak gardens, lush tea gardens, cascading hills and valleys. Ideal for that stunning selfie, right? The place is situated at a distance of 3 km from Munnar and is on the way to Mattupetty. It is also known as “Shooting Point” as it is frequented by professional and amateur photographers who head here to capture its charming beauty.
Now that you know the top places to visit in Munnar, make sure you tick them all off on your next visit to the hill town.