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Best things to do in Munnar

Lush tea estates in Munnar
Image courtesy: ©Flickr/NSiddhu/CC BY-ND 2.0

The little paradise town of Munnar in the serenely beautiful state of Kerala is a favourite destination among tourists seeking peace and relaxation in nature’s lap. The rolling hills around Munnar, South India’s largest tea-growing region, are carpeted in emerald-green tea plantations, contoured, clipped and sculpted like ornamental hedges. Wandering around the region, one gets engulfed in a sea of thousand shades. You can indulge in quite many interesting things here.

Go Sightseeing

Munnar is surrounded by many top highlights where tourists can go sightseeing. Wander around and you will find remarkable sceneries to capture in your vision. Even though strolling down the wide lanes is blissful enough, don’t forget to visit the Tea Museum. Located at about 1.5 km northwest of the main town, it is a demo model of a working tea factory, but still shows the basic process. A collection of old bits and pieces from the colonial era, including photographs and a 1905 tea-roller, are also kept here.

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The best way to experience the hills is on a guided trek, which can range from a half-day ‘soft trekking’ around tea plantations to more arduous full-day mountain treks, which open up some stupendous views when the mist clears. The tea plantations are private properties, so do not trek around without a licensed guide.

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Puttu is a popular breakfast dish in Kerala
Puttu is a popular breakfast dish in Kerala
Image courtesy: ©AJP/Shutterstock

Indulge in Kerala Food

Get the best of Kerala’s food at small eating joints as well as big resorts in Munnar. Some of the top restaurants are Rapsy Restaurant, Saravana Bhavan and Sree Mahaveer Bhojanalaya. You can even learn to cook some delicious dishes by Nimi Sunilkumar, who has earned a solid reputation for Keralan cooking, and offers popular daily hands-on cooking classes at her home. You’ll learn traditional Keralan recipes, and the class includes a copy of her book-Lip Smacking Dishes of Kerala.

Endangered Nilgiri Tahr at  Eravikulam National Park
Endangered Nilgiri Tahr at Eravikulam National Park
Image courtesy: ©Kerala Tourism Board

Experience Wildlife

Munnar is home to several national parks and sanctuaries for wildlife lovers. Eravikulam National Park- This park, 13km from Munnar, is home to the endangered, but almost tame, Nilgiri tahr (a type of mountain goat). The park is also home to Anamudi, Kerala’s highest peak (2695m). About 60km northeast of Munnar, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary protects deer, leopards, elephants and the endangered grizzled giant squirrel. Trekking and tree house or hut accommodation within the sanctuary are available, as well as eco-tour programs like river-trekking, cultural visits and waterfall treks. Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary is a serene 25-sq-km park in the foothills of the Western Ghats and home to over 320 fluttering species, which are unusually mostly forest, rather than water birds, and include Malabar grey hornbills, Ripley owls, jungle nightjars, grey drongos, darters and rarer species like the Sri Lankan frogmouth. Also here are kingfishers, flycatchers, warblers, sunbirds and tiny 4g flower-peckers.