A visit to Kerala is incomplete without visiting the famous hill station of Kerala called Munnar. It is part of the Western Ghats falls in the Idukki district. The name Munnar actually means three rivers. This is a place where 3 rivers (Mudhirapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundaly river) come and join together.
During one of our annual vacations to Kerala, we made this journey to Munnar by renting a car. It takes about 3.5 hours from Kochi via Adimali. It is an uphill drive through a natural forest with a view of the most picturesque valleys and waterfalls.
As you climb up, you can see the clouds on top of the mountains enveloping the peak and then slowly as you keep going up, you can feel the clouds kind of settling in on you as well. It is a wonderful feeling when you realize that you now are part of the clouds that you saw when you were down. As you come closer to Munnar, you can see the landscape has changed into smooth slopey mountains, trimmed and parted in columns and squares. The tea gardens are spread wide across mountains and as you inch closer to Munnar, the temperature dips and you start feeling a little cold.
Munnar is a very small town with houses scattered across the mountains. You can have a good look at the entire town from one of these mountains. We stayed at the Mar Thoma Retreat Centre on the Mattupetty Road. It was a very comfortable cozy place and once we had freshened up, we were on our way to see the Mattupetty Dam, or as some call it, the Madupetty Dam. The dam is nearly 13 Kms from Munnar town. Further ahead is a beautiful tourist spot called the Echo Point. The river enveloped by mountains all around was a beautiful sight to behold.
If you are making the trip from Kerala, the nearest airport is Nedumbassery at Kochi. The nearest railway station would be Ernakulam or Aluva. And then take a taxi or cab. It is about 110 Kms from airport.
Interesting tidbits on Munnar
- The blooming of Neelakurinji. This tiny blue flower (Strobilanthes kunthianum) blooms every 12 years and spreads the entire mountainscape of Munnar and is a phenomenon worth clapping ones eyes on. The flower with 40 odd varieties bloom mostly in shades of blue, and thus the name. Neela in the local language stands for the colour blue and Kurinji the local name for the flower. The blooming of Neelakurinji usually starts from August and would last up to October. After 2006, we can expect another blooming in 2018. Book your tickets!