Munnar is in the emerald Cardamom Hills, which stretch right down eastern border of Kerala to the southern tip of India, and at 1,700 metres above sea level, it is surrounded by high peaks and several of the highest tea estates in the world.
The verdant hills are densely forested and support plantations of coffee and fragrant cardamom. The town itself is little faded but the landscape is a stunning, rolling vista of green; perfect for trekking, rafting or adventure sports - or for admiring while enjoying a quiet cup of tea.
Many charming planters' bungalows left over from the time of the Raj lie scattered around, which you will pass during scenic walks through the plantations. We recommend stopping off at Tata's handmade textile and paper projects, featuring stunning creative work by relatives of the tea pluckers, while exploring the tranquil surroundings. Of course, no visit to Munnar is complete without a plantation tour, where you can learn the art of leaf-picking as well as the journey taken to make the finished product.
Wildlife lovers will appreciate a visit to Rajamala National Park, which sits 15 kilometres to the northwest, for it is home to half the world's population of ‘nilgiri tahr’ - a rare and endangered species of mountain goat - as well as lion-tailed macaques and elephants. Birdwatchers will love the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, the first of its kind in the entire Kerala region, which can also be visited from here.
Include Munnar in your tailor-made tour of South India if you are after an authentic taste of Indian rural life in its purist form. One can truly switch off and unwind here, especially when staying at laidback Windermere Estate with its evergreen 55-acre estate, surrounded by little else but vivid greenery and picturesque blue mountains: bliss.
Features in the following itineraries
- Leslie Siben, India
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
- Jaime Benitez, South India
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
- Mr David Wallace, North India
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India