A Guide to all the Offbeat Hidden Gems in Munnar
God is in the details they say. And when you are in God’s own country, it is definitely the details that matter. The resort town of Munnar is one such place where you will find magic in the least obvious places. Sitting on the foothills of the mighty Anamudi Peak, the hill station of Munnar is a gem of Kerala. With rolling hills, lavish tea estates, aromatic plantations, and lots of views to savor, this is an ultimate retreat for any traveler. However, if you want to turn your holiday into a unique experience, ditch the known and the seen and head out on the roads less traveled.
Here’s how you can do it:
Soak in the journey to this exotic hilly resort
The road that leads to Munnar from the airport is an experience in itself. The clean roads, winding through verdant hills and forests make for a scenic drive. To enjoy this view, you can rent a car in Kochi from a top-rated vendor and reach your destination in about four hours.
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Spend a day at a local farm
While plantation tours are more popular and common in Munnar, you can also witness the agricultural riches of this hilly locale at Kanthalloor. A small village on the Munnar-Coimbatore road, Kanthalloor sits at a little higher altitude than Munnar and remains cooler most of the year. The vegetable farms and fruit orchards here are rich in their organic produce and invite naturalists and farming enthusiasts. And for those who have never seen such farms, this is a great opportunity to have a first-hand experience of the art. Local farmers grow cabbage, potatoes, strawberries, and passion fruits and allow walk-in tours if you request. Some farms also sell the fresh produce, fruit wines, and jaggery made right there. The town is surrounded by thick forests of sandalwood and Gradis (a subspecies of Eucalyptus), which add to its charm.
Meet the tribes
The village of Kottakamboor is yet another place to explore near Munnar. It is on the same altitude like Kanthalloor and lies on the road towards Kodaikanal. If you book a cheap and comfortable taxi from Kochi to Munnar, you can continue till Kottakamboor in the same car and explore the town before you end your journey. The stretch from Munnar to Kottakamboor is covered in thick forests and end in small tribal settlements. These villagers engage in community activities like farming and sourcing herbs from the forests. But the most fascinating thing about this place is the trek through the forest trails and up the hills that lead to the villages.
Explore the dolmens of Marayoor
For those who are not aware, Dolmens are ancient Celtic burials or graves that were put together with stone slabs. As early European settlers explored different parts of Kerala, they left behind some of their cultural practices, the dolmens being one of them. About 42 Km from Munnar town, you will find a group of these megalithic tombs dotting the Western Ghats in Marayoor. These tombs have been lying here for eons and have turned into historical structures. The grey stones on the backdrop of greenery and the open sky, render surreal imagery. And yet, it is peaceful, scenic, and absolutely fascinating.
Visit the Elephant Pond
A small village called Annakulam sits close to the forests and the tribal villages around Munnar. The name literally translates to Elephant Pond, after a river that serves as a watering hole for the local elephants. This water body clearly demarcates the forest from the tribal villages. Usually, around evening, the elephants come in herds, to a particular spot on the river to feed and play. An interesting aspect of this river is that, despite being a hilly stream, the water at the bottom of the riverbed is salty and attracts elephants. You can find out from the villagers about the specific time to spot elephants and wait patiently for the mammoths to drop by.
On your next vacation to Munnar, step out of the regular spots and explore these offbeat places and experience the hill town from a whole new angle!
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