Tag Archives: budget kerala tour packages

Best Time to Visit Munnar

Planning a visit to Munnar? Before you decide on the things to see in Munnar it makes a lot of sense to know about the best time to visit Munnar. Situated at a height of about 1600 meters above sea level, Munnar enjoys a pleasant climate throughout the year. But there are certain months where the place is best avoided.

The rainy season for instance lasts from June to August and not really considered a tourist season, especially if activities like trekking and camping are on your mind. Munnar receives heavy rainfall and roads can get slippery. But if you still prefer to visit Munnar during the monsoon, don’t miss out the chance to experience rain amidst dense green forests.

Summer lasts from March to May and is ideally the peak season. Hotel rooms are packed to full capacity and tour operators report a busy schedule. The average temperature during this season is around 20 degree Celsius which means the weather is pleasant. It is also the season when the flora around the place is in full bloom, thereby enhancing the experience.

Winters aren’t harsh but temperatures can drop up to 5 degree Celsius. The place looks fresh and green thanks to the rains. December to January/February is also considered honeymoon season. It is also considered an ideal season for trekking, rock climbing, and other adventure activities.

Irrespective of the season, there are a few things that don’t really change in Munnar. For instance, it rains throughout the year and temperatures can drop at any time. Hence carrying light to heavy woolen clothes and an umbrella is important. Every season has its own charm and is worthy of a visit.

A Houseboat Experience in Alleppey

A Houseboat Experience in Alleppey

A visit to Alleppey is never complete without a houseboat experience. Alappuzha was an important trading destination for the erstwhile Travancore kingdom with good being ferried across the rivers in Kettuvallams. These vallams or boats were made of wood and durable enough to carry goods weighing several tons.

Today, these boats serve a very different purpose. They serve as floating hotels to guests who come to admire the beautiful backwaters of Alappuzha. You can either choose from single, double, or triple air-conditioned bedrooms. Tour operators offer a complete home stay experience with a living room, an open air dining room, and a ready to use kitchen. Whilst electricity isn’t a problem, some houseboats make use of the traditional vilakku or lamp to brighten the place.

An average houseboat is about 100 feet long with a maximum width (middle) of 18 feet. The crew includes the captain, life guard, and a chef serving scrumptious Nadan (traditional) cuisine that includes the ‘kuttanad’ special boiled rice, aviyal, and karimeen pozhlichadhu (pearl sport fish friend within a plantain leaf with a medley of spices. Vegetarians don’t have to be disappointed; there are plenty of options for them as well.

You can also choose to opt for a short journey without a night stay.  A typical houseboat tour takes you through the many villages and hamlets where workers are busy making coir products. You can also witness locals going about with their daily life along the lagoon or watch the beautiful paddy fields and temples that cross your path. Guests can choose to board from different points. The main boarding points include Allepey, Kumarakom, Thottappally and Alumkadave. The boat is usually docked at a quiet place during nights to allow you to enjoy the beautiful moon reflecting in the calm waters.

Houseboats are a never-miss charm for both national and international tourists. You can opt for an economic package or decide to go for the full blown experience. This is certainly a once in a lifetime experience that’s not only unique, but also combines the best of both worlds- contemporary and old.

Why Should You Visit Munnar?

munnar trip planning

Munnar is a hill station with as hundreds of attractions that promise to offer an experience of a lifetime. Besides enjoying the waterfalls and the forest area, you can visit sanctuaries, dairy farms, and dams.

The Eravikulam wildlife sanctuary houses rare varieties of animal species, NilgriTahr(mountain goat), especially Atlas Moth. This is located at a distance of 16 kms from Munnar and was declared a national sanctuary to save the rare Nilgiri tahr. This park is the combination of the grasslands and hills. The famous Rajamala hill is adjacent to the sanctuary and offers a vantage point to view the Anaimudi Peak. This is one of the highest peaks of the Western Ghats and located within the area of the park.

The Mattupetty dam is another attraction close to the park. It is located 13kms from Munnar. Don’t miss to watch the Indo-Swiss dairy farm with over 100 varieties of cattle breeding here. A wonderful boat ride in the lake near Mattupetty dam gives a great time to enjoy the landscapes.

Kundala tea plantations and the Kundala Lake are close to Mattupetty. The Kundala Lake offers Shikara styled boat ride. Another nearby waterfall attraction is Aruvikkad. The Kundala dam on the lake is constructed in the form of an arc and is the first of its kind in Asia. There is also a golf club for the golf lovers. This place is located on the way to Top station.

Top station is the highest point located at 32 kms from Munnar. This is situated in the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. The view of the Western Ghats view from Top Station is considered the best. The clouds here can be touched             with bare hands.  The rare Neelakurunji flower that blossoms once in twelve years is yet another highlight of the Top Station.

Exploring Munnar: Places that You Shouldn’t Miss When in Munnar

Exploring Munnar: Places that You Shouldn’t Miss When in Munnar

There’s so much to see and experience in Munnar. We present to you a list of the most important places that you shouldn’t miss:

                                            

  • Devikulam: This is one of the must-see places at a driving distance of approximately 6kms from Munnar. It is believed that Goddess Sita Devi along with Lord Rama took bath in the lake in Devikulam. Tourists visit this place not only because of the holy connection, but also because the water is believed to have curative powers. Trekking is a popular activity around the area. Apart from the scenic view of the emerald green water, it is also famous for trout fishing for which permission is required.
  • CSI Church: A burial site of one of the British plantation owners is now turned into a foundation stone of a famous church. Painted stained glass, rosewood benches, and decorative chandelier of the pre-independence era are a treat to the eyes. Now, locals and tourists come here to offer prayers.
  • Pallivasal: The Pallivasal waterfalls are close to the Devikulam Lake. The first hydro-electric project in Kerala was set up here.
  • Attukkal: Situated at 10 kms from Munnar, this is an ideal place for long trekking. Tourists are sure to enjoy the scenery formed by the misty mountains and the waterfalls that flow like a milky foam. Attukal is on the way to Cochin, but closer to Pallivasal.
  • Lakkam: This is the closest waterfall from Munnar and on the way to the Marayoor forests. A perfect place for photography as the place is amidst the dense forests.
  • Marayoor sandalwood forests: The Marayoor Sandalwood Forest is the only place in India where natural sandalwood trees grow in abundance. Located near the Munnar- Udumalpetu route, a major part of the forest area includes bamboo and sandalwood trees. Tourists can observe and understand about sandalwood processing through a depot Stone age paintings and dolmens are also found here.

Exploring the Periyar Wildlife Sancturay, Thekkady

Thekkady

Thekkady is one of those rare success stories that dot the Indian wildlife conservation saga. It was not until 1934 when the Late Maharaja of Travancore, Shri Chithira Thirunaal Balarama Varma declared the area to be protected as a game reserve that people began to notice the place.

Much of the sanctuary is around the Periyar Lake, an artificial lake formed by the Mullai Periyar Dam. The forest around the lake has a rich and diverse flora and fauna. It hosts some of the rarest and most vulnerable species in the plant and animal kingdom. Naturally grown sandalwood, teakwood, rosewood, plumerias, and wild bamboos are found aplenty here. Should you choose to stay here, Aranya Nivas and the Lake Palace Hotel are a good choice. The later was once the summer guesthouse of the Maharaja and is accessible only by boat. Activities include elephant rides through the jungle, trekking and boat rides across the lake.

Getting to Thekkady is easy; Kumily is the base point and is 4 km from Thekkady. This place is a tourist attraction in itself thanks to the tea plantations here. It is also a great place to find medium range accommodations.

The Periyar Sanctuary is within the Cardamom Hills range; don’t miss out the tea and spice plantations and the beautiful glimpses of the flora and fauna here.  Some of the places close to the Sanctuary include, the Mangala Devi Temple, Vandiperiyar and Murikkady.

At Kerala Hop On and Hop Off, our tour package to Thekkady includes the best that this place has to offer.

Exploring the Various Spices of Munnar

munnar-spices

Kerala has an important place is shaping the history of India. The various spices that grow here have attracted people from faraway lands. Greeks, Romans, Arabs, and later the English set foot here only due to the spice trade. Most spices including cardamom and pepper grew naturally as wild plants amongst other indigenous trees. Not much was known about the origin of spices as the trade was monopolized by the Arabs who managed to hoodwink Europeans by keeping the source of the spices a secret.

But things changed with the discovery of the sea route by the Portuguese who collected ginger, cardamom, pepper and other spices to sell in the European market. Some of the spices that grow here include:

  • Cardamom: Cultivation of cardamom wasn’t popular until the 19th century when plantations were established and the formation of the Cardamom Hills. Cardamom plants often grow in the deep shades of the forest trees and resemble the turmeric plant. They grow up to a height of 6 to 10 feet with long shoots that bear cardamom pods. Cardamom is a labor intensive crop because pods have to be picked individually before they become ripe.
  • Pepper: This was once so valuable that its worth was measured in gold! Pepper grows in vines amongst the shade of forest plants. Common varieties of pepper grown here include Karimunda, Kalluvally and Kuthirivally among others.
  • Cloves: Cloves are the unopened buds of the clove trees. They are picked when they turn from green to pink, dried until they turn black and stored carefully.

Today, Munnar is a major producer of spices like ginger, cinchona and cardamom. Join us for a tour of the spice garden to understand how they are grown.