Tag Archives: Kerala honeymoon tour package

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.

Exploring Kolukkumalai Home to the Highest Tea Plantation in the World

Exploring Kolukkumalai Home to the Highest Tea Plantation in the World

Kolukkumalai isn’t really in the general tourist map, but the area has immense importance. Not only is this place home to the highest tea garden in the world (one that’s soon to be certified organic), but also to some rare and endemic flora and fauna including the Nilgiri tahr, the lion tailed macaque, and the kusuma tree.

How to Get There: There’s a reason why Kolukkumalai isn’t popular with tourists. The journey starts from Suryanelli which is the base camp by hiring a jeep with an experienced driver. To say that the journey is arduous is probably a gross understatement! No wonder, the jeep drive from Suryanelli to Kolukkumalai costs a bomb. For most part of the 10km drive, there’s no road in sight.

What to See: But once you get there, the sight that meets you at the destination makes the journey worth the effort. At 7000 ft above sea level, Kolukkumalai offers a different perspective every time you view it. The scenery keeps changing by the minute; sometimes it’s the sky that breaks into different shades of red and sometimes it’s the mountains.

A tour around the Kolukkumalai Tea Factory is a must. This tea factory still processes tea in the old and orthodox manner using centuries old British machinery. A guided tour of the factory helps to understand the history of the place and offers interesting details about the people working here.

A trek to Meeshapulimalai is also recommended, but one is forewarned- this is not for the fainthearted.

Exploring the Cardamom Hills of Munnar

Exploring the Cardamom Hills of Munnar

What is now known as the Cardamom Hills in Munnar was once a major expanse of forest until the British took up mass cultivation of the spice in the 18th century. Thus, the area entirely south of the Palghat gap came to be known as the Cardamom Hills. Today, the place is important enough to be mentioned in Frommer’s 500 Places for Food and Wine Lovers.

The smell of cardamom, cloves, pepper and other spices along with coffee grown in the area tickle the senses and make one hungry. Trekking is a popular activity here, but not for everyone. The slopes leading to the hills are slippery and can be difficult to navigate. But if trekking isn’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of other activities to keep you busy- you can either watch from close quarters how cardamom is processed or watch the harvesting of coffee and cloves. You can also hire a bicycle to tour the area and enjoy its glory.

The Cardamom Hills are also home to indigenous tribal people, viz. the Urumbans, the Mudugans, and the Irulans. They have been living here for hundreds of years using the rich forest resources to eke out a livelihood. Today, they work in the tea/coffee plantations of Munnar or take up work with the Kerala Tourism Board.

A trip to the Hills usually begins with a ride to the Anaerangal Lake (literally translated from Malayalam, Anaerangal means Where Elephants Come Down) near Thondimalla.