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Location

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Munnar is a beautiful hill station, and was the summer resort of the British. Tourists come here to see the vast tea plantations of the area. The town itself is typically Indian with the usual shops, guest houses and is really beautiful and traditional. It is a good place to stay to see the surrounding countryside. It is also a popular place for Indian honeymooners.The town is divided into two parts, Old Munnar, where the tourist information office is, and Munnar, where the bus station and most guest houses are located.

The region in and around Munnar varies in height from 1,500 m (4,921 ft) to 2,695 m (8,842 ft) above mean sea level. It is pronounced "Moon-aar" short for "moonu aar" meaning 3 rivers. Three rivers - Madupetti, Nallathanni and Periavaru which flow through this town, but join some distance away from Munnar. Munnar is famous for its tea plantations, many of them started by the British. The "Kannan Devan" brand of Tea from the Tata is cultivated and processed here.

The strobilanthus ("neelakurinji" in Malayalam, the local language), a blue flower which blooms only every 12 years, is found in this region. It bloomed last in December 2006. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India, Anamudi, at 2,695 m. Eravikulam national park is one of the main tourist attraction, where you can find the endagered species of Nilgiri Tahr (mountain goat called "varayadu" in Malayalam). A treck to Rajamala ("King of hills" in Malayalam), in the morning is sure to spot a few friendly mountain goats. You can also find Gaur, Langur, Lion-tailed macaque, and Elephants depending on the season and time of travel. The altitude is 1,600-1.800 m above sea level. Temperature ranges from a minimum of 0⁰C to a maximum of 28⁰C. Warm clothes and rain gear is recommended. The tourist season is from Aug-Mar.You can arrange a cab/taxi from Ernakulam Railway station, they willcharge (round trip) from Rs 2500 to Rs 3000.

Reach Orchid Highlands

By Air

Cochin International airport (IATA: COK, ICAO: VOCI), also known as Nedumbassery Airport and CIAL is the nearest airport. It is 98 km away from Orchid Highlands by road. Madurai International Airport which is 168 Km from Orchid Highlands by (National Highway 49).

By Train

The nearest railway station is Aluva, 101 km. Ernakulam is 117 km and Madurai is 158km You can get the direct regular buses to Chithirapuram CheythanMukku bus stop just 100 meters from Orchid Highlands First Bus starts at 6AM.

By Car

  • From Kochi: Munnar is 117 km (3 hr) from Kochi. The road is blind in some places and there are a lot of trucks and buses that seem to drive as if they own the road. Although the road is smooth (NH 49), it is narrow, twisty and curvy. Kothamangalam is on the way and is 70 km away from Orchid Highlands. Between Kothamangalam and next town "Adimali", you can experience a beautiful cool drive through a natural forest. Alongside, you can see many refreshing waterfalls. Once you reach Adimali, Orchid Highlands is just 20 kilometers away - but it will take almost an hour to reach. This is the last place where you can spot a decent restaurant before Munnar. Around 22 km from Adimali, you can start seeing the tea plantations on both sides of the road and a panoramic view of the western ghats. The view is extremely beautiful during the early mornings.

  • From Aluva: Aluva is nearly 101 km from Orchid Highlands. Just outside Aluva railway station you can hire a taxi for Munnar for Rs 2000. There is a bus stand nearby as well which operates frequent buses to Munnar; ticket prices start from Rs 70 per person.

  • From Madurai: Orchid Highlands is about 158 km from Madurai and 87 km from Theni. Madurai- Theni - Bodi - BodiMettu-Devikulam - Munnar route is the most scenic route by National Highway 49(Via Madurai-Cochin HighWay).

  • From Coimbatore: Orchid Highlands is about 168 km from Coimbatore and 124 km from Pollachi. Coimbatore- Pollachi - Udumalpet - Chinnar - Marayoor - Munnar route is the most scenic route and though it will take bit longer, it is generally considered worth the extra time spent.

  • From Kodaikanal: Kodaikanal is nearly 166 km from Orchid Highlands. Kodaikanal - Perumal Malai - Mayiladum Parai - Mooliyaru - Oothu - Falls View - Ganguvarpetty - Ghat Road - Periya Kulam - Theni - Bodi - Bodimettu - Devikulam - Munnar - Chithirapuram-Orchid Highlands. This route is also scenic.

  • From Tirunelveli: Tirunelveli is nearly 282 km from Orchid Highlands. Tirunelveli - Sankarankovil - Rajapalayam - Srivilliputhur - Aandipatti - Theni - Bodi - Bodimettu - Devikulam - Munnar-chithirapuram-Orchid Highlands. This route is also scenic.

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

Eravikulam National Park

One of the main attractions near Munnar is the Eravikulam National Park. This park is famous for its endangered inhabitant - the Nilgiri Tahr. Spread over an area of 97 sq. km., this park is also home to several species of rare butterflies, animals and birds. A great place for trekking, the park offers a magnificent view of the tea plantations and also the rolling hills caressed by blankets of mists. The park becomes a hot destination when the hill slopes here get covered in a carpet of blue, resulting from the flowering of Neelakurinji. It is a plant endemic to this part of the Western Ghats which blooms once in twelve years.

Anamudi Peak

Located inside the Eravikulam National Park is the Anamudi Peak. This is the highest peak in south India standing at a height of over 2700 m. Treks to the peak are allowed with permission from the Forest and Wildlife authorities at Eravikulam.

Mattupetty

Another place of interest, located about 13 km from Munnar Town, is Mattupetty. Situated at a height of 1700 m above sea level, Mattupetty is known for its storage masonry dam and the beautiful lake, which offers pleasurable boat rides, enabling one to enjoy the surrounding hills and landscape. Mattupetty's fame is also attributed to the dairy farm run by the Indo-Swiss Livestock Project, where one would come across different high yielding breeds of cows.

Pallivasal

Pallivasal, located at about 3 km from Chithirapuram in Munnar is the venue of the first Hydro-electric project in Kerala. It is a place of immense scenic beauty and is often favoured by visitors as a picnic spot.

Chinnakanal & Anayirangal

Near the town of Munnar is Chinnakanal and the waterfalls here, popularly known as Power House Waterfalls, cascade down a steep rock 2000 m above sea level. The spot is enriched with the scenic view of the Western Ghat ranges. When you have traveled about seven kilometers from Chinnakanal, you reach Anayirangal. Anayirangal, 22 km from Munnar, is a lush green carpet of tea plants. A trip on the splendid reservoir is an unforgettable experience. The Anayirangal dam is surrounded by tea plantations and evergreen forests.

Top Station

Top Station, which is about 32 km from Munnar is at a height of 1700 m above sea level. It is the highest point on the Munnar-Kodaikanal road. Travellers to Munnar make it a point to visit Top Station to enjoy the panoramic view it offers of the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. It is one of the spots in Munnar to enjoy the Neelakurinji flowers blooming over a vast area.

Tea Museum

Munnar has a legacy of its own when it comes to the origins and evolution of tea plantations. Taking account of this legacy and to preserve and showcase some of the exquisite and interesting aspects on the genesis and growth of tea plantations in Kerala's high ranges, a museum exclusively for tea was opened some years ago by Tata Tea in Munnar. This Tea Museum houses curios, photographs and machineries; all of which have a story to tell on the origins and growth of tea plantations in Munnar. The museum is located at the Nallathanni Estate of Tata Tea in Munnar and is worth a visit.