Kerala is dotted with several eye-catching hill stations, which are serene, mystical and misty. No doubt, each one of them is a delight for the eyes of travelers. It is a paradise for them because of its comfortable and cool climate. Besides, hill stations are gifted with picturesque mountains, gorgeous green valleys, dense forests, stunning waterfalls, frothing rivers and azure lakes. The flower-filled meadows of them are a feast to the visitors. Most of the hill stations in Kerala are a part of Western Ghats and an ideal option for your holidays. Contact Kochi Taxi if you wish to get more details on the popular hill stations in Kerala. Log on www.KSU.in in order to reach them to get spellbound by the splendor or the rolling hills and picturesque landscape, which nobody can ignore.
A Great Concept
Hill stations are really marvelous and the concept was made popular among people in India by the British. They looked for attractive packages in the state to get a break from the excessive summer heat to cooler temperatures. Most of the hill stations in Kerala have scenic lakes or dams making them ideal to enjoy boating. Besides, these tourist places have several view points and tourist attractions. People can indulge in different adventure activities also at this place. Here are some of the well-known hill stations in Kerala.
Surrounded by the beauty of majestic hills, Munnar is the most popular hill station in Kerala. The green rich nature draws travelers from different parts of the world. They love to explore the destination in order to enjoy its scenic landscapes situated on the verdant slopes of extensive tea plantations. Located at a height of more than 1600 meters, this marvelous hill station offers mind-blowing views of the surrounding hills. It shall be amazing to watch the picturesque hills of Munnar that carpeted with abundant tea plantations.
Munnar is an ideal destination whether you look for a vacation or honeymoon. This hill station is characterized by the confluence of three rivers namely Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. In the local language Malayalam, Munnar means the ‘three rivers’. This clean and serene tourist destination is also home to Neelakurinji, a plant that blooms only once in 12 years. Travelers can also watch several rare animal and plant species also in Munnar.
Blessed with treasures of tropical flora and fauna, Thekkady is the sole Tiger reserve of India. This destination is also home to many endangered animal and plant species. A rich and unique tribal culture is another attraction of this tourist spot. Thekkady is a paradise for people who love to see nature in its wildest form. The popular Periyar Tiger Reserve in Thekkady is spread more than an area of 777 sq. kms. There is an artificial lake surrounds this sanctuary with an area of more than 25 sq. kms. Some of the main tourist attractions in Thekkady include the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Mangala Devi temple, Periyar Lake, the tribal heritage museum and the Sukri Dam.
Enjoy the panorama of rolling mist-clad hills by planning a trip to Wayanad. Located in North Kerala, this region is surrounded by green lush sloping land of spice plantations. It is a place blessed by nature with undulating slopes and dense tropical forests through which a few smooth flowing rivers run. Pleasant climate is another attraction of this mesmerizing hill station that promises to attract. The eastern part of this hill station is bound by the Nilgiris and the districts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Wayanad also shares its borders with the Malappuram district on the south and Coorg district of Karnataka on the north and Calicut and Cannanoore districts on the west. One of the great features of Wayanad is that it is not uncorrupted by modernity even today. So, it is considered as one of the best hill stations in the state.
Ponmudi, popularly known as the Golden Peak is, another great hill station in Kerala with scenic nature. It can be reached within a short drive from Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city. In addition to a wonderful nature with eye-catching mountain flowers, small rivulets and exotic butterflies, this hill station offers amazing opportunities for trekking. The mist-covered valleys and the rich tea plantations make it a fast-growing hill station in the state. This beautiful tourist spot is surrounded by extensive tea gardens, beautiful hills, rich spice plantations, winding streams and natural springs.
It is believed that Ponmudi was founded by Lord Parasuram, a great Indian mythological character. There are several tourist attractions to visit in this hill station. Some of them include the Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary and many excellent trekking spots. The mist-clad valleys of Ponmudi certainly fascinate travelers especially the gorgeous Golden Valley near Kallar River. The stone and wood cottages designed in bright colors also attract travelers besides its deer park.
Located in the Idukki district of Kerala, Vagamon is a virgin hill station that draws many tourists each year. It is among the most beautiful Greenfield hill stations in the country with salubrious climate throughout the year. The winter and monsoon are moderate in this destination make it one of the most preferred hill stations in Kerala. The room temperature in this region usually does not rise more than 220 even during the hottest months.
Perched high among rich tea plantations and gorgeous streams, Vagamon is nearly 1100 meters above sea level. This enchanting hill station is a soothing haven for hikers and trekkers and ensures mind-blowing adventure experience. It is possible to come across elephants frolicking in pools while strolling through the scenic nature. Vagamon is certainly an ideal hill station for those who seek travel experience with a difference. Some of the tourist attractions in this destination include the Kurisumala, Pine Forests, Thangal Hills and Vagamon Meadows.
Situated in Northern Kerala close to Wayanad, Vythiri is a must-visit hill station in Kerala. Located at an altitude of nearly 4000 feet above sea level at the High Ranges, Vythiri enjoys a pleasantly cool climate throughout the year. Aside the cool pleasant climate, this tourist destination is also famous for its unparalleled natural beauty. There are several natural wonders waiting for you at this scenic place such as lush green forests, gorgeous waterfalls, hilly terrains and meandering streams.
Laddiki is also a part of the Wayanad district of Kerala referred as the ‘Gateway of the Wayanad district’. It is an ideal starting point for those who wish to explore to this panoramic district. The entire district is famous for mesmerizing nature such as dense forests, lovely streams, alluring mountain peaks and several enchanting water features. Lakkidi is one of the highest locations in Wayanad and holds the credit of getting second highest degree of rainfall in the world.
Athirappilly needs no introduction for the movie buffs as it is among the most preferred shooting locations in the country. Located in the Thrissur district east of Chalakkudy, this hill station is on the fringes of the captivating Sholayar Forests of the Western Ghats. This majestic tourist spot is famous for its 42 meter high waterfalls. This region is lying at an average height of around 300 meters above sea level. Besides, Athirappilly consists of about 14850 hectares of tropical wet, moist deciduous riparian, evergreen and semi-evergreen forest ranges. Athirappilly Forests is one of the five territorial ranges of the Vazhachal Forest Division.
Athirappilly forestland is among the rich biodiversity hotspots in the world and home to many threatened and endangered species of flora and fauna. This region also draws attention of many biologists because the forest ranges of Athirappilly located at a low altitude. In fact, that is a unique phenomenon for the Western Ghats region. The awesome Athirappilly Waterfall is situated in Chalakudy River that originates from the Anamudi Mountains, which are the upper ranges of the majestic Western Ghats. River Chalakudy reaches Athirappilly after flows down through the Vazhachal Forest Division. This 42 meter high waterfall has 220 meters wide and consists of three waterfalls.
Located on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border, Ramakkalmedu is an alluring tourist spot that offers mind-blowing views of the Nedumkandom in Kerala and the Kombai villages in TamilNadu. It is truly a delightful retreat because of its fresh mountain air and rolling green hills. Travelers to Thekkady try to visit Ramakkalmedu as it is very close to this tourist destination. The statue of the Kuravan and Kurathi is one of the most captivating views of this hill station. It is believed that the Hindu mythological characters Rama and Sita visited this region during their exile and rested on the rock. So this region got its name ‘Ramakkalmedu’. Situated nearly 6625 feet above sea level, Ramakkalmedu offers amazing views of some of the Tamil Nadu towns like Theni, Kumbum, Thevaram, Kombe, Bodinayaknoor, Vaiga and Uthamapalayam.
Unlike other hill stations in Kerala, Thenmala located in the southern region of the state. This small village is in the Kollam district at the foothills of Western Ghats, basically a forest area. Thenmala means a ‘hill that yields honey’ and this region is famous for eco-tourism. The 100 sq. km Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary is the major ecotourism resource of this hill station which houses many exotic flora and fauna. The honey collected from the forest regions of Thenmala has of high-quality and exceptional medicinal value. The unique floristic composition of the forests in these regions enhances its medicinal quality. March to May is the hottest months in this region with a maximum day time temperature of 390C. December to January is relatively cool months and ideal to visit Thenmala.
In addition to the above hill stations, Kerala also boasts some other hill stations worth visit such as Devikulam, Attappady and Nelliyampathi. Check the hill station packages of Kochi Taxi if you are interested to explore the popular hill stations in this state.
Chembra Peak is the highest peak in Wayanad with amazing trekking trails draws travelers with scenic views of lush green meadows and beautiful waterfalls. It is a perfect place to have a fun journey with friends or family. The views are panoramic and this destination is blessed with a wide range of flora and fauna. With excellent trails, it is a favorite spot for many trekking lovers. Situated in the midst of delicate and pristine ecosystems, visiting this place provides the unique opportunity to watch some rare flora and fauna. Get more information about Chembra Peak and plan a trip to this destination through our website www.KSU.in.
A Paradise For Travelers
Chembra Peak is a famous tourist spot in Wayanad blessed with dense and dark deciduous evergreen forests coupled with gorgeous waterfalls and rich green meadows. It holds the credit of the highest peak in Wayanad that overwhelms with its picturesque views of virgin waterfalls, rolling meadows and unique flora and fauna. This elegant destination is located at an altitude of 2100 meters above sea level and offers a great view of the entire Wayanad district. Even one can watch a large area of Kozhikode, Malappuram and Nilgiri districts also from this place. The heart shaped lake and the lush greenery surrounding the peak make it a heaven for travelers.
A Heavenly Area For Trekkers
The Western Ghats region of Kerala is blessed with heavenly natural beauty. Besides, this area is famous for its calmness, tranquility and natural wealth. This region is also known for several beautiful peaks in collection. However, none of them famous as the fascinating Chembra Peak. It is a favorite spot for trekking enthusiasts where they can enjoy a remarkable one-day trekking experience with comparatively less cost on pocket and energy. One the way to this gorgeous peak, they can enjoy the beauty of a heart-shaped lake which is certainly a gift of nature. This lake is major tourist attraction and believed not to dry up even during extreme summer.
Located close to the clumsy town of Meppady, Chembra Peak is only 8 kilometers away from Kalpetta. Travelers can enjoy mesmerizing views of the famous Banasura Sagar Dam from this peak. It shall be a wonderful experience to watch the lovely dam that stands out in the rich green blanket. In fact, it appears as if a silver shiny metal disk between the trees. As a part of the Wayanad Hill Range, Chembra Peak is also surrounded by many other peaks from this range. Each visitor will get amazing views of these peaks if they look at them from the Chembra Peak.
Take Permission For The Trekking
It takes nearly 4 hours to complete the trekking in Chembra Peak. Trekkers need to take prior permission from the forest department. Travelers can also get it from the ticket counter. Besides, trekkers need to pay an amount to get entry to this region. At present, cost is Rs.750 for a group of 10 Indians. Each additional member needs to pay Rs.75 extra and the cost of carrying a camera is Rs.40. The cost of trekking for foreigners would be double. The office of the Forest Department issues tickets and permits from 7 am till 2 pm. Trekkers can start once they get tickets. Camping is not allowed in this region.
- Carry your ID proofs as it is required to get access to some of the tourist spots in Wayanad like Chembra Peak.
- The flora and fauna in this region is well-maintained and well-preserved. So, putting wastes and trash in this region is strictly prohibited.
- Even if trekking to Chembra is a relatively a moderate one, it is wise to carry sufficient water to drink.
- It is also advisable to carry some snacks but ensure not to carry them in plastics.
Dhoni Hills is a famous picnic spot in Palakkad ideal to enjoy forest trekking and watch the beauty of nature at close quarters. It is a beautiful destination blessed with towering peaks. The three hour trekking from the base area to the reserve forest area is an amazing one because of the extremely beautiful views that it offers. In fact, this tourist destination is a gateway to some of the popular trekking areas in Kerala. Tourists can enjoy many animal species such as elephants, Nilgiri Langur, leopards and deer during the trekking to this region besides several small mountain streams. Plan a trip to Dhoni Hills through KSU. Visit our website www.KSU.in to get more details about this scenic destination.
Enjoy Nature At Its Close Quarters
One of the great advantages of a trip to Dhoni Hills is the opportunity to enjoy nature at close quarters. Spending some time in the lap of Mother Nature is certainly a refreshing experience. Visitors to this enchanting picnic spot get attracted to the lovely Dhoni Waterfalls and the gorgeous Sapal waterfalls at Parasuramkundu. You will love to visit this area during monsoon season as these waterfalls are in full swing at this time. It shall be thrilling to watch the water gushing down to the Malampuzha dam side. The government owned cattle and goat farm is also worth visiting during your trip to the Dhoni Hills.
A Great Picnic Spot
The Dhoni Hills is gaining popularity as a popular picnic spot these days. Many people started to visit this destination in order to enjoy trekking. They can encounter several rare species of flora and fauna during the trekking. The trails of Dhoni Hills are getting tractions with trekking fanatics and travelers. The scenic views on display throughout the trekking keep the adrenaline rushing of each trekker. These visuals are certainly a perfect reward for the exciting hike. The life-changing trek through the heart of the Western Ghats gives you the chance to watch several animal, plants and bird species.
A Healthy And Flourishing Ecosystem
Dhoni Hills is bestowed with a thriving and healthy ecosystem with unique flora and fauna. The endemic and lush habitat of this destination offers suitable conditions for many exotic plants and animals. Authorities are planning to construct a beautiful butterfly park in this region. Dhoni Hills is a heaven for explorers who have an eye for detail. Many researchers and field workers reach this area regularly to study the unique ecosystem of this place.
Best Time To Visit
Summer is the best time to visit the Dhoni Hills. But remember to carry sufficient water along with you. The beauty of the waterfalls at its maximum during monsoon and it is not safe to trek during this time. The Forest Department will give more details about the trekking in this region. You can also contact Kochi Taxi to get details about Dhoni Trekking.
How To Reach
Dhoni Hills is nearly 15 kilometers away from Palakkad Town. For people who plan a trip to the Dhoni Hills can take state government public transport buses but their services are less frequent.
Entry fee: Rs. 100 per head
Agastyarkoodam or Agastya Mala is the second highest peak in Kerala. This forested peak, an ideal trekking destination in the Western Ghats is 70km away from Trivandrum. It is accessed only on foot as tourists has to trek 24 km from Bonacaud, base camp of Agastya Mala. The 1868 m peak is the abode of the Hindu sage Agastya, who is one among the Saptarishis. Many Kerala as well as Tamilnadu rivers originate from the hill. Some of them are Kallada River, Achankoil River, Karamana River, Neyyar River, Thamirabarani River and Manimuthar River.
Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve, covers 23 sq km, is an important tourist attraction here. It is repository of medicinal plants and rare herbs. A valuable and rare herb ‘Arogyapacha’ (plant of eternal health) is spotted here. Agastyarkoodam is being called as a bio diversity hotspot .The peak is home to many endangered mammals including the Lion-Tailed Macaques, Bengal Tiger, Nilgiri Marten, Malabar Spiny Dormouse, Great Pied Hornbills, and Sloth Bear.
Do you want to enjoy the real beauty of Munnar? Munnar is a favorite hill station of many honeymoon couples and holidaymakers because of its matchless natural beauty and excellent tourist attractions. The cool climate and spice scented air certainly make your holidays in this hill station refreshing. Karadipara is a beautiful picnic spot in this hill station where travelers can enjoy the real beauty of Munnar valleys.
Enjoy The Scenic Nature
It must be a memorable experience for the travelers to watch the scenic nature from the view point of Karadipara. You can watch the extensive tea plantations and mist-clad mountains from this spot. These breathtaking views should fill your mind and make it refreshed. This beautiful picnic spot is on the way to Munnar and never forget to take a halt here during your trip to this hill station.
A Unique Picnic Spot
Karadipara View Point can be a good choice for travelers who love to enjoy the excellence of the hill station of Munnar. People mainly choose this route in order to watch the long views of the mountains and sprawling tea gardens. There are a few park seats in this picnic spot for visitors who love to enjoy the majestic landscape conveniently. Remember to carry a camera with you in order to capture beautiful photographs with amazing background. The pictures will remind your beautiful trip to Munnar and Karadipara.
Munnar is a favorite spot for both nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. It is certainly a beautiful experience to explore the panoramic nature and feel its fresh air. Many nature lovers and honeymoon couples choose this hill station in order to enjoy its beautiful tourist attractions. Munnar is blessed with rolling hills, gorgeous valleys, extensive tea plantations, majestic waterfalls and unique flora and fauna. It can be a perfect place to unwind and relax. Make some beautiful holidays in your life by planning a trip to Munnar.
Catch The Excellence
Karadipara is the right picnic spot for travelers who love to enjoy the real beauty of Munnar. Each visitor to this tourist spot admires the extensive tea gardens and long viewpoint of misty mountains. It must be a mesmerizing experience to watch the serenity and charm of mountains from this standpoint.
Remember to do a good shopping during your trip to Karadipara. Visitors prefer to buy fresh tea, coffee and spices from this area. You can buy spices like cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and pepper from here. Travelers also love to buy homemade chocolates if they take a halt to enjoy the beauty of the place. So, log on www.ksu.in to get more details about Karadipara and plan your trip to Munnar.
Kalasamala is a virgin scenic hill station that lies to the north west of Thrissur district, which is renowned as the cultural capital of God`s Own Country Kerala. The view from the top is overwhelming. No wonder it is being promoted as a budding eco-tourist-cum-bio-deversity heritage spot in the district.
Kalasamala Grove in Akathiyoor near Kunnamkulam is the first Biodiversity Heritage Site of the State designated by the Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBDB). Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are the foremost deities of this sacred temple grove. Experts have identified the grove as home to critically endangered tree species known as Syzygium travancoricum inside the temple premises at Kalasamala. The sacred grove has 3.5 acres of land crammed with 110 Syzygium travancoricum ( locally known as Kulavetti or Vathamkolli) trees – a critically endangered plant species included in the IUCN Red List. According to the Red List less than 200 of the trees, usually seen in fresh water, are left.
The temple authorities of Kalasamala grove are the caretakers of this unique ecosystem, and play a fundamental role in the management of the bio diversity conservation system. The national Bio Diversity Authority (NRDA) and the KSBDB provide financial assistance to the temple authorities for the protection of this exceptional ecosystem. The local panchayat also allocates funds in its plan for conservation and fortification of the site. A total ban on cuttung trees in the sacred grove is in place.
Bio-Diversity heritage Sites (BHS)
The Biological Diversity Act of 2002 stipulates that the State governments notify areas of biodiversity value as BHS and that they should frame rules and regulations for the successful management and conservation of these sites. The State Biodiversity Board has already recognized five dissimilar ecosystems as BHS within the state, of which Syzygium travancoricum sighted in Kalasamala grove is one of the prominent ones. The Board has also identified the sacred groves at Iringole near Perumbavoor, the Paliyeri Mookambika temple in Karivallur near Kannur, the Connolly Teak Plantation in Nilambur and the Pathiramanal Island near Muhamma to be designated as biodiversity heritage sites.
Heritage attractions in Kalasamala
Apart from the grove, there is natural cave, on the hilltop in Kalasamala, locally known as Narimala, which dates back to the Stone Ae and it also has a dense shola forest having a beautiful temple in the middle. Stones such as Umbrella stone ( Kuda Kallu ) and cap stone ( Thoppi Kallu ) are seen here, which belongs to the megalithic age. The verdant hilltop with the temple lamps twinkling at twilight makes for a breathtaking sight.
Years ago, a Telugu film was shot here, for which the art director had created a miniature temple. When the film unit left, the temple remained abandoned there. One day, a Kalvilakku ( multilayer lamp made of stone ) appeared in front of the model temple, soon followed by religious rituals. The timely interference of the panchayat stopped the film`s miniature temple model from turing into a real temple. The scenic Kalasamala hill has been seen in many Malayalam movies, including Bhoothakanndi, directed by Lohithadas starring Mammootty. Evening are the perfect time to visiting this picturesque locale. For urban people, Kalasamala offers the perfect respite from the hustle and bustle of city life and enchanting introduction to the beauty of nature.
Kalasamala, as a Kerala tourist destination offers nature at its best even to the most discerning traveller.
It is birds and butterflies all around at Anamudi Shola National Park, Kerala. Anyone entering the Shola should keep one’s eye’s wide open, for this is one belt that has tigers, gaurs, leopards, elephants, wild boars and sambhars. Gaint squirrels can be seen leaping among branches.
This is one of the largest shola forest ecosystem, which gives it a uniqueness both in climate and biodiversity. That explains why when even in the peak of summer, it is cool most of the time out atop the hill ranges which are around 7,500 feet above sea level. In April, the temperature is unlikely to go beyond 25 degrees.
Sitting outside the hut of the forest department or going up the watchtower nearby can be a different and colourful experience with all the bright coloured flowering trees, the lush green hillocks and the wavy tea gardens around.
Monsoon is another enchanting season as the park receives an annual average rainfall of about 4,500 mm. But one cannot venture out to the forests. Sitting in the hut, one can listen to the roaring music of the rains interspersed with howling winds.
It is this dense ecosystem that is source for the Pambar river and as locals, the Muthuvan tribe, say this shola provides water for the whole of Munnar. The dense forests have little rivulets that are perennial water sources flowing into the river.
With the assistance of the forest officials one can even under take a trek through the dense forest where you may come across a herd of bisons or wild boar. Most of the tree barks are covered mosses or lichens.
The massive ferns can leave you wounder struck. At a distance between the sholas are grasslands which make playgrounds for tigers and leopards.
According to Munnar Wildlife Warden P.U. Saju, there are more than 60 species of trees and around 175 shrubs and herbs and variety of lichens and climbers. It is a den for butterflies with more than a hundred species and roughly 230 moth species. The thick forest canopy also makes it a den for birds and surveys have pointed to around 75 species in this shola, he adds.
Alongside the Anamalai National Park, declared one in November 2003, are the Mannavan, Pullardi and Idivara sholas. The hut is run by the Eco development society of the forest department. Enquirers and reservation can be made at Forest information centre at Munnar.
Going to Nelliyampathy ? Take a skilled driver along!” is the oft heard advice to any travel enthusiast making a trip to the renowned hill station in Palakkad.
From Pothundi dam, nine kilometers from Nemmara in the district, a narrow road winds up 17 KM, around hairpin turns towards the renowned Nelliyampathy Hills. Savoring the sights of massive trees, monkeys, porcupines and numerous other interesting fauna, travelers can reach this paradise surrounded by tea and coffee plantations, some of which are the highest yielding estates in the country itself, from where you can also buy fresh tea. Theses estates have existed from the British times.
The monsoon traveler is welcomed by numerous newborn waterfalls on the way to Nelliyampathy. Umpteen species of butterfies and birds such as Great Pied Hornbill, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Pipit, Launghing Thrush, great Black Woodpecker and oriental Broad-billed Roller add colour to the verdant green locale. Nilgiri Tahr, an endangered species found in Munnar, can be spotted here too, along with Nilgiri langur and lion-tailed macaue. Interested in feasting on fresh fruits and vegetables and products made from them? Farms run by Kerala government in Nelliampathi sell these like hot cakes.
Enjoy fresh squashes and jams, as you check out the numerous peaks here. Padgiri peak, standing tall on the Nellikotta mountain range, is the highest in Nelliyampathy. Vellachimudi, Mayanmudi, Valiyavana and Vela Vanchan are some of the other important ones. Seetharkundu, a small stream with a mythological connection, is a popular among religiously-inclined travelers. According to folklore, Lore Rama`s consort Sita used to worship with the water in Seetharkundu, which is how it acquired the name. The hill station, located about 60 Kilometers from Pallakad central, has numerous state and private run lodging facilities that are budget friendly.
Munnar Homestay – Home on the Range
Munnar, with its rolling countryside and spreading plantations, is best enjoyed by living in a Munnar Homestay.
When the British planters clambered up the hills to the confluence of three streams running out of the Kannan Devan range carrying the first of the tea saplings, and in time, carpeting the favourable slopes with lush tracts of tea plantations, heralding the mushrooming of estate bungalows, little did they know. That, by the turn of the century, Munnar (literally, ‘three rivers’) would be rated one of the most popular hill stations of the Indian south.
Apart from cups of tea—and showcasing the beverage’s fabled origin, recounted in a visit-worthy museum—this idyllic locale includes lush and rolling hillsides, langorous clouds, gurgling brooks and a nippy chill. But the Munnar experience is incomplete without reliving the days of its old world charm—stacked sacks reminiscent of the spice trade, the influence of its colonial past on the charming real estate of today, although little remains, and the warmth of the Malayalis—when you happen to stay in one of the laid-back homestays. But don’t expect services and, with frequent power outages, be prepared for at least one candle-light evening.
With impeccable hospitality. Royal Mist (Call 09495444123 email firstname.lastname@example.org) is a recommended option. The large terrace on the upper floor opens out into perhaps the best view, especially delightful for that morning cuppa. It is backed by three delightful rooms. A sumptuous breakfast comes with the room, but other meals are equally worth digging into. The host is always eager to lend his presence for a network of short walks around vanilla and pepper plants, imparting insights about the Munnar spice story. For women, there are always cooking lessons available from the hostess. And don’t call it a day without taking another short walk to see the mesmerising sunset over the tea plantations.
If poor roads do not deter you. Rose Gardens (Call 09447378524 email email@example.com), located about 14 km from Munnar proper, is another great stay option with large rooms amidst thick plantations and the aroma of spices. Opt for the rooms at the back on the upper floor and keep your budget a little flexible. This farmhouse-look homestay on the main Kochi- Munnar highway sits in an idyllic two acres of plantation and here too the hosts are eager to share knowledge about home-grown species. Expect to be away from the idiot box. Instead, you might be exchanging travel tips with other guests.
Greenspaces (Call 09747483119 email tdmunnar@gmail. com) prefers to call itself a homestead and it’s very high on character with wooden floors and ceilings and rustic in-betweens. The open deck outside the upper two rooms is a vantage point, where one can spend hours listening to the sorority of winged species. A pocket-friendly option, Greenspaces sits amid a swathe of lush natural cardamom deep in the woods. After sunset, the surroundings become pitch-dark and it is preferable to get in early from Munnar’s must-dos. You will be spoiled by the coal-fired barbeque under the stars.
A couple of minutes’ uphill walk from town, easy on the pocket and with wi-fi for those who dare not live without it, Rheinberg (Call 09497320970 email firstname.lastname@example.org) homestay is another good choice. It overlooks the bustle of Munnar, yet is private enough, with flowers blooming in the small garden. The place has three spacious rooms, each named after a decor theme— Woody, Sky Blue and Bamboo. The caretaker can offer no more than tea and coffee but is more than willing to get food from restaurants around. Sarvana Bhawan, a popular South Indian eatery, is a short walk away.
By Air Kochi (100 km) has the nearest airport. Taxis are available for Rs. 3,000
By Rail Angamaly (120 km) is the nearest railway station. Thrissur (132 km) has better connectivity with major metros across India. Taxis cost Rs. 3,000
By Road By road Munnar is approachable from Ernakulam (140 km). Kochi Munnar Taxis charge about Rs 3,000
Best Season All year round, except June to August
Located 38 km from Munnar Town, a trip to the Kolukkumalai Tea Estate & Factory is unforgettable. Touted as the world’s highest tea estate that grows organic orthodox tea, it offers plenty of thrills and chills, with spectacular scenery to boot. Thrills from the drive up the steep, one-laned mountain roads that makes your heart skip several beats, and chills because the estate, located between 6,500 ft and 8,500 ft above sea level, can turn your toes to ice. The estate has an unmatched 360° view of lush tea plantations and lofty mountain peaks, and also houses an 84-year-old tea factory that still operates British-era machinery. Stock up on some organic tea available at the factory shop.
What didn’t: The roads that lead to the estate are stones of all sizes held together by mud – be prepared for an extremely bumpy ride.
If travelling in an open jeep, hold on tight or you may find yourself at the bottom of a steep ravine.
Try making it to Kolukkumalai before sunrise to catch the magnificent views. It isn’t advisable to go in your own car – not even a 4WD. Hire a jeep from Munnar Town (round trip from Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,500, excluding entry onto the private road that leads to the estate). The factory tour costs Rs. 100/ person and includes a cup of tea.