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Munnar

In 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.

MUST SEE:
The Nilgiri Tahr: 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.

Tea estates: Tea or Chai is the most widely drunk beverage in the whole world. The tea plant, Camellia Sansis, is a cultivated variety of a tree that has its origins in an area between India and China. There are three main varieties of the tea plant - China, Assam, and Cambodia - and a number of hybrids between the varieties. The China variety grows as high as nine feet (2.75 metres). It is a hardy plant able to withstand cold winters and has an economic life of at least 100 years. The Assam variety, a single-stem tree ranging from 20 to 60 feet (6 to 18 metres) in height. Regular pruning keeps its height to a more manageable 4 to 5 feet tall. It has an economic life of 40 years with regular pruning and plucking. When grown at an altitude near that of Darjeeling (Assam) or Munnar (Kerala), it produces teas with fascinating flavours , sought after around the globe.

Eravikulam National Park : The 97 sq. km. park is situated in the Devikulam Taluk and is home to the Nilgiri Tahr. The Anamudi peak (2695 m) is located in the Southern region of the park. Originally established to protect the Nilgiri tahr (Nilgiri Ibex), the Eravikulam National Park is situated in the Devikulam Taluk of the Idukki District. It was declared as a sanctuary in 1975. Considering the ecological, faunal, floral, geo-morphological and zoological significance, it was declared as a National park in 1978. It covers an area of 97 sq kms of rolling grasslands and high level sholas (evergreen forests). The park is breathtakingly beautiful and is easily comparable to the best mountain ranges found anywhere in the world.

Sanctuary Visit : The park is devided into 3 regions - the core area, the buffer area and the tourism area. Visitors are allowed only to the tourism area which is in the Rajamala region. The Nilgiri Tahr can be observed at close quarters here. Trekking facilities are available here. Tourists are allowed to go on foot up to Anamudi. This is also a place for adventure tourism.

Nyayamakad: Located between Munnar and Rajamala, Nyayamakad is a land of breathtaking waterfalls. The waters cascade down a hill from a height of about 1600 meters. The enchanting surroundings makes an excellent picnic spot and trekking point.(10 km from Munnar

Lock Heart Gap: This is an ideal place for adventure tourism and trekking. The fresh mountain air, the mist-clad hills and panoramic view make it worthy of a visit.(13 km from Munnar)

Attukal: A panorama of waterfalls and rolling hills, Attukal, located between Munnar and Pallivasal, is a feast for the eyes. The place is also ideal for long treks.(9 km from Munnar)

Echo Point : This scenic place gets its name from the natural echo phenominon here. Echo point is on the way to Top Station from Munnar.

NEAR BY DESTINATIONS:
Anayirangal (22 kms from Munnar)
Devikulam (7 kms from Munnar)
Valara (10 kms from Adimali on the Kochi-Madurai highway)
Marayoor (40 kms from Munnar)

BEST TIME TO VISIT: October to March.

THE WAY TO MUNNAR:
By Air: Near by airports are at Kochi (130 kms) and Madurai (142 kms).

By Rail: Nearest railway stations are at Kochi and Kottayam.Nearest rail head Kochi- 130 kms.

By Road: Munnar is best reached from Kochi (130 km, 3 hrs). There are eight daily buses (4 hrs), but check timings, which generally vary. Prepaid cabs operated by the KTDC are available from Kochi airport.

The nearest seaport is at Kochi (formerly Cochin) - 130 km.

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