In the hills of Kerala: top things to do in Munnar

Is the heat of the Keralan lowlands driving you insane? Don’t worry – by driving a few hours inland to the hill station of Munnar, the environment will change from tropical jungle to that of a chilly equatorial highland.

Popular with the British for weather which reminded them of home, it is the perfect spot to go if another day of 34 degrees Celsius at 90% humidity is about to push you off the deep end.

In the post below, we’ll discuss all the things you can get up to during your stay in Munnar, India – enjoy!

1) Tour its tea gardens

One of Munnar’s biggest claims to fame are the tea plantations which conform to hills throughout the area. Before heading out on a tour, stop by the Kannan Devan Tea Museum, as it will give you a background on the history of this leaf’s cultivation in the region.

A short drive from the great escape resort and other hotels, it shouldn’t be a problem to get local taxi drivers to take you there. Afterward, local guides will be more than happy to take you out amidst fields of green, where bushes of this prized crop grow densely in the fresh, damp air.

2) Visit Rajamalai National Park

Not all the land in the vicinity of Munnar is developed for farming. Some has been protected to guard the survival of native plants and animals. Of these preserves, Rajamalai National Park is the most significant.

It contains the world’s largest surviving population of Nilgiri tahr (an ungulate), 123 species of birds (of which at least a half dozen are endemic to the region), and a species of frog never before discovered until a couple of decades ago.

Note that access is controlled by bus, which can lead to long lines – plan your arrival at the park accordingly to avoid the midday rush.

3) Drop by the Attukal Waterfalls

As with other hill stations in India, the mountainous nature of Munnar wrings a great deal of moisture from approaching air masses through the magic of orographic lifting. This not only creates the conditions needed for dense forests and bountiful tea plantation growth, but it also feeds rivers from the tops of mountains, creating waterfalls as the water descends towards lower elevations.

Of all the waterfalls in the Munnar area, the Attukal Waterfalls are by far the most popular. While it is a great photographic opportunity at any time of the year, the best shots can be had during or just after the conclusion of the rainy season.

After taking in the atmosphere of this amazing place, retreat to the small tea shop, where you can contemplate everything you just saw.

4) Get photos from Top Station

Looking for a great spot to get excellent panoramic photos of the best landscapes that can be shot in Munnar? Ask any local, and they’ll tell you to head straight for Top Station. It is a long drive up winding roads through countless plantations, but when you finally reach the top, you will see why this is a special place.

If you are lucky enough to get clear weather, you’ll see an endless series of plantation-covered hills, but even in cloudy/misty conditions, the sense of mystery and chill in the air gives this spot a feel you’ll be hard pressed to find elsewhere in India.

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