The western part of Western Ghats is really panoramic. There are plenty of places there, which are spotted and noted for tourism. But the centre of all attractions is Munnar, just like a sleeping beauty, and no one is supposed to disturb her. Each time we reach there her expression is different. So we can’t return from there without thinking of the next visit. The sad part is that many comes here in hurry burry and visit a few hotspots travelling 30km to the left and 40km to the right, finally exhausted by the day. Let us keep one thing in mind that Munnar is not a museum piece to visit, it is the blessing of the nature. Be there to feel it, fill with it.
My love for Munnar started when I met her first, 30 years back. I have been there hundreds of times, but even in my last trip in January 2011 I visited new spots which were satisfying. My honeymoon was there which we remember and recollect with all colors even after 18 years. Munnar is a small town located at the high ranges of Idukki district in Kerala, 130km east of Kochi. But by the name Munnar the tourism segment covers a wide area of 50km radius with tea gardens, echo points, hilltops, wildlife, waterfalls, water bodies, dams, deep forests, fog, mist and clouds.
When we think about Munnar the first thing comes to the mind is Neelakurinji (strobilanthes) which flowers once in 12 years. Thousands and thousands travel through the hills to see it then. It is in this bounty of nature that Tahr (Nilgiri Tahr) an endangered animal pastures and attracts people of all walks of life. This is a land of all spices, which is exported worldwide. Munnar tea is famous for its quality and fragrance.
When we travel through the gap road we feel that we are not far away from the heaven. Be at echo point and shout and whistle, go for a trekking to the top station and wonder about the technology of the bygone days. Take the camera and zoom at the clouds that touches the tea garden, can have a chat with the specialized labors there. Have a look at the kallurose with flower life of six months. Be at Marayur the land of sandal wood and sugar cane. Go to Devikulam to feel the warmth and calmness, have a boating at Mattuppetti dam and enjoy the high altitude rowing. We can even have an elephant ride to fill the memories for an era. We have to leave our vehicle and go with the department to cover the Eravikulam national park. Yes the options are plenty there.
In my opinion Munnar never open up fully. We have to go there again and again to cherish the changing moods of the nature. I strongly feel that, this is one of the rarest places in the world where the season never ends. Let us keep this ecologically fragile region as it is for the generations to come.
Author : Benny Kallel