|Climate||Best time to Visit|
|The Nilgiri Tahr||What to do||Getting There||Where to Stay|
the forested high ranges of Kerala there is a valley watered by three rivers.
The slopes that rise out of it were once covered by dense jungles where elephants,
and ancient men who built stone burial chambers, once lived. Today the mountains
that hunch out of the valley are covered in manicured slopes of tea. And the
little town in the valley is dedicated to growing, harvesting, curing and
selling the drink that cheers but does not inebriate.
Munnar is cool, the tea-planters are friendly and the old Munnar Club is as delightful as a woodcut: trophies on the walls, a Men Only bar and an excellent golf course. Driving out of the valley, where serene-faced cows chew the cud, visitors can trek down to a stream-threaded glen where trout are bred to stock the waters of Munnar. Tea planters love outdoor activities like golf, tennis and fishing.
The Nilgiri Tahr
Still further out of the valley, the trees stay behind and the hills are covered in grass and dotted with a few, dramatic, black boulders. This is the Eravikulam National Park, home of the handsome Nilgiri Tahr (ibex), a goat in dire need of the protection given by the State Forest Department and the company which owns the tea estates in Munnar. Thanks to the dedicated care of these people, the chances of visitors spotting tahr, on or just off the road, are very high.
What to do?
Munnar offers a mildly challenging 3 hour trek, through tea-covered slopes, to the peak of the highest mountain in Southern India, the 2,689 metre high Anaimudi, the Elephant's Head. The estate where the trek starts is Nyamakad.
The drives out of Munnar are pretty, particularly the one leading to Top Station where the planters have an annexe to their club in the valley. 13 kms on this route is Mattupetty where there is a dam and the Indo-Swiss Dairy Project.
Bird watchers will be particularly enchanted because the green slopes of Munnar and the dense shoal forests in the folds of the hills offer varied, protected habitats for our feathered friends.
The nearest airport is at Kochi (formerly Cochin) - 130 km.
The nearest railhead is at Kochi (formerly Cochin) - 130 km.
The nearest seaport is at Kochi (formerly Cochin) - 130 km.
There are tourist taxis and regular buses from Kochi to Munnar.
Where to Stay?
Accomodation in the town is offered by three standard hotels. The Munnar Club also offers limited accommodation.
Tropical, between 10 and 26 degrees Celsius
|The Nilgiri thar or Varayaadu is an endangered species of mountain goat. It can be viewed at close quarters in Eravikulam National Park near Munnar.|