Located in the Idduki district of Kerala is a town called Munnar. The entire tourist area is actually referred to Idduki district and the town is merely a minor fraction of it. The words Munu and aaru in Malayalam mean three and river respectively giving us the name Munnar. The town is developed close to the convergence of the three rivers called Muthirappuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. Surrounded by a sprawling forest, Munnar hill station is for all intents and purposes a pass. There is a conflict between the Government of Kerala and the Poonjar royal family about the ownership. Munnar is a town right out of a book. The twisting streets and hiking paths are a dream for the adventurous. The expansive tea plantations are the highlight of this delightful town. Nilgiri Langurs and elephants roam free in over here.
Munnar hill station is set on a height of 5400 feet above mean sea level. The temperature here dips down to a minimum 0 degrees Celsius and goes only as high as 25 degrees Celsius. That is the USP of this town as it is cool throughout the year. The best season to travel to Munnar hill station is from August to March.
Munnar hill station has the distinction of being the region where the exotic Neelakurinji grows. This plant has blue flowers that blossom only once every twelve years. During this time the hillsides appear bluish in color. The last time it blossomed was in December 2006, therefore the next time it will only blossom in 2018. The highest peak in South India is in Munnar, called Anamudi. This peak stands at a height of 2695 meters.
The title of Kashmir of South India has been bestowed on Munnar for its immaculate beauty. The British Government in South India considered Munnar its Summer Capital. Munnar is a favorite of the Honeymooners in South India.
To get to Munnar hill station, you must drive from Kochi, which is 140 kilometers away and takes about 4 to 5 hours to arrive at. The road is wonderful as it passes through a forest offering cool winds and lovely waterfalls from time to time lending aesthetic beauty. On the way you will come across Kothamangalam and then Adimali. You will see the tea plantations from almost 8 kilometers before you get into the town of Munnar. The best time to travel this portion is early morning as the panorama is enchanting. You can also approach Munnar from Kodai Road, Udumalpet and Madurai. The hairpin bends on this road are treacherous. Another approach to Munnar is from Coimbatore which is a much longer but more picturesque road.
The tea plantations for which Munnar hill station is famed were first cultivated by A.W. Turner in the vicinity of Devikulam in the year 1877. Initially they tried cultivating several crops such as cardamom, sisal, coffee and cinchona. Finally they discovered that tea grew very well in this region. A.H. Sharp was the first one to plant tea at Parvathi. Muir and Co. procured this area. Later it was called James Finlay and Co. until finally the Tata Group acquired all of Finlays shares.