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What to See and Do in Munnar - From Tea Tours to Dance Performances

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Munnar's famous tea gardens are the main attraction for most travelers who wind their way up to this hill station amid the Western Ghats. But while the sculpted tea bushes covering the hillsides are a memorable sight, gazing at plantations isn't the only option here. You can spot leopards and go trekking in national parks, or take a Keralan cookery class in town.

Tea estates near Munnar

 

Whether you hire a rickshaw, take a stroll, or cycle, meandering through Munnar's tea plantations is an experience at the top of many visitors' itineraries. As you wind through undulating hills, you'll see acres of tea bushes being picked by sari-clad women, and spot distant mountain peaks. You can learn about the history of of tea production at the Tea Museum, a 5-minute drive from town, or take a 38-km jeep ride to the high-altitude estate of Kolukkumalai, which offers guided tours.

 

Exploring national parks

 

There are several sanctuaries and national parks to explore in the lush countryside around Munnar. Eravikulam National Park, 13 km from town, is the place to head if you want to see rare Nilgiri Tahr mountain goats grazing in the hills. Further afield, you can spot exotic birds like the Indian cuckoo and the Ceylon frogmouth at Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, 70 km from Munnar. Your Keralan wildlife safari can continue with a trip to Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, near the border with Tamil Nadu, which is home to leopards, tigers, and wild elephants.

 

 

Picnics at Mattupetty

 

The serene lake at Mattupetty, 13 km from Munnar, is a popular picnic spot for tourists. Framed by mountains, forests, and tea estates, it's an ideal place for photo opportunities, and you can hire boats, too. Pallivasal, 8 km from town, is another pleasant option for a day-trip in the hills. You can watch the waterfall rushing down from the mist-shrouded mountains in monsoon season, and wander past sloping tea plantations.

 

  • Mattupetty lake, Near Munnar, Idukki District, Kerala; Website: Mattupetty lake
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  • Pallivasal, Near Munnar, Idukki District, Kerala; Website: Pallivasal

 

Activities in Munnar

 

While many visitors to Munnar head for the hills, there are some interesting attractions in town, too. You can see memorials to British tea-planters at Christ Church, built in 1910, while an old statue of St. Anthony looks over the market. If you're looking for a more hands-on experience, why not try one of Nimi's "Lip Smacking Classes," which provide a fun introduction to Keralan cuisine. Punarjani Traditional Village stages daily performances of Kathakali plays, offering travelers the chance to watch an expressive form of dance-drama that dates back to the 17th century.