Munnar is one of the popular tourist destinations in Kerala and is situated in the Idukki district at an altitude of 5200ft. The vast expanse of tea plantations, valleys, mountains and pleasant climate make Munnar one of the favourites for domestic and international tourists.
Bell Vedera Resorts
We visited Munnar during the Christmas holidays in 2021 and had a pleasant stay at Bell Vedera Resorts. You may read my previous article on our stay at Bell Vedera Resorts here. We reached there on 24th December by car and checked out on 27th December. We took the Muvattupuzha – Neriamangalam – Adimali route. Before reaching Adimali we can see Cheeyappara and Valara waterfalls on the way and take some beautiful snaps.. Since we reached the resort in the evening, we spent the first day walking around the premises.
Most of the places to visit in and around Munnar lie on three routes:
- Neriamangalam – Adimali – Munnar
- Mattupetty – Top Station
- Chinnar – Marayoor
Day 1 – Sight Seeing
We decided to engage a cab instead of going by our car, as we can be more relaxed and enjoy the travel.
First, we reached Mattupetty Dam. Water from this dam is used for generating electricity at Pallivasal Hydro Electric station. There are stretches of tea plantations around the area. Pedal boats and a water bike are available for those who like to boat.
The office of the Kerala Livestock Development Board (Indo Swiss Project) is on the way to Mattupetty. We also found a speed boat service counter within a few distances of the dam.
The next spot to visit was Echo point. Surrounded by dense vegetation, this point is good for taking some beautiful snaps. A pedal boating facility is also available. There is an entry fee and have to pay additional charges for cameras.
As we got information that the route ahead was having heavy traffic jams due to a large number of vehicles, we decided to visit some places near Munnar Town. So, we could not visit Kundala Dam and Top Station which are popular. With a little hesitation, we had to return.
Carmelagiri Elephant Park
Carmelagiri elephant park provides elephant rides of 15 min duration, which is definitely a must-try if you have not already done it. The ticket charger per person is ₹600 and free for children below 2 years. There is a waiting period of 45 – min to more than an hour during peak time. This was my first elephant ride and thoroughly enjoyed it. If we like, we can also feed the elephant with a basket of pineapples for an additional ₹100, at the end of the ride.
Near Munnar town is the popular photo point. As the name indicates, we can take some good photos on the backdrop of lush green tea plantations and valleys. We stopped here while returning.
Neelambari Spice & Herbal Garden
This is a private spice and herbal garden. The charge to visit the garden is ₹100. A guide will accompany us and explain the uses of various herbs and plants. We can also purchase Ayurvedic products, tea etc from their outlet.
Watch the videos below:
Day 3 – Sight Seeing
As we had to go to Vadakkencherry in Palakkad district we decided to go there via Marayoor – Chinnar – Udumalpet – Pollachi route which is through the forest and a bit longer than the Perumbavoor – Angamali route. We checked out at 9 am and started our journey. The following are the important places on that route:
Eravikulam National Park
The eravikulam national park, administered by the Kerala Department of Forests and Wildlife, is famous for the endangered Nilgiri Thar and Neelakurinji flower which blooms once in 12 years. There is an entry fee. We need to wait and go to the park on their buses. Anamudi, the highest peak in South India is inside this park. Due to the heavy rush, we decided to skip this spot. We visited here on our Munnar trip in 2012.
An Unforgettable Incident Near Eravikulam
Since it was the Christmas holidays, there was a heavy rush of vehicles visiting the park. The vehicular traffic became almost a standstill due to the parking of other vehicles on both sides of the highway. Adding to the horror was when I noticed that the gear lever of my Alto 800 had some complaints. I was really clueless about what to do. Luckily one of the travellers came forward to help and managed to get a star screwdriver. He opened the gear lever assembly and found that a bush had corroded. Surprisingly he happened to be a car mechanic who had a spare bush with him. Within minutes he replaced the faulty bush and did a test drive. In the hurry burry I could not even ask his name. Some other people also came to help by pushing the vehicle to the side. As already the road was blocked, I did not have any opportunity to thank the kind-hearted person and the others than just move forward. Our journey ahead was through dense forest and were really worried whether the problem would recur. Turning back to Munnar town was also not possible. We did not stop at any other tourist spots, but just had a glance from the vehicle itself. I realized that help would come in many ways when you believe in the supreme power.
Lakkam waterfalls is part of the Eravikulam stream which is a tributary of the Pambar river. There is an entry fee. Here we can take a bath. Dress changing rooms and toilet facilities are available.
Marayur is famous for its natural sandalwood forests spread across 93 km². The place is also known for ‘Muniyaras’ or dolmens and rock paintings. There are also some jaggery factories in Marayur.
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
Chinnar wildlife sanctuary is located near the Kerala – Tamil Nadu border and is part of a vast block of protected forest. Jungle safari options are available here. This forest is home to many species of animals and birds. The Munnar – Udumalpet road SH 17 passes through the sanctuary for 16 km.
Anamalai Tiger Reserve
Anamalai Tiger Reserve is a tropical reserve forest spread across more than 959 km² consisting of sholas, grasslands and a variety of flora & fauna. A variety of activities are available here. More details are available on their website.
A sigh of relief came once we crossed the tiger reserve and reached Udumalpet. We had our lunch there at Kickgrass restaurant.
From there we took the Pollachi – Govidapuram route and reached our destination Karumanassery village in Vadakkencherry at around 5 p.m.