Embark on an elephant safari, trek through a large national park and see rare animals at this popular resort town in southwest India.
The picturesque hill town of Munnar sits at an altitude of about 6,000 feet (1,829 meters). This former summer resort of the British rulers is set among a landscape of mountains, valleys and hills covered with tea plantations. Scale tall peaks, see exotic plants and travel through the terrain on an elephant.
Munnar's appeal lies in its beautiful surroundings. Explore the hills and mountains that encircle the town when you visit Eravikulam National Park. This huge area covers 37 square miles (97 square kilometers) and includes Anamudi, the highest peak in south India. Trek to the summit, 8,842 feet (2,695 meters) above sea level. Your trip will take you across hills that are filled with flowers including the nelelakurinji flower. This blossoms every 12 years, covering the hills in carpets of purple and blue flowers. The next bloom is due in 2018.
Eravikulam National Park is home to many species of birds, butterflies and mammals, such as elephants, boars, buzzards and eagles. See if you can spot the Nilgiri thar, endangered mountain goats that are endemic to this part of India.
Give your feet a rest and explore Munnar’s natural beauty on an elephant safari. The Carmelagiri Elephant Park offers elephant rides through valleys, forests and along hill paths.
Venture 9 miles (15 kilometers) outside of Munnar to Echo Point and experience the natural phenomena that gives the lakeside destination its name. Whether you whisper, shout, talk or scream, you’ll hear your voice echoed back to you from the surrounding hills.
Munnar has been growing tea since the late 19th century and there are many tea estates in and around the town. Tour the Kolukkumalai Tea Estate. It’s believed to be one of the highest tea plantations in the world. Visit the factory to see how tea is processed and savor the aromas and flavors of different varieties of teas at the tea tasting center.
The hill town is about 68 miles (110 kilometers) from the nearest major airport, Cochin International in the city of Kochi. The bus journey from there takes about 4 hours. Stay in hotels, guest houses or resorts and enjoy a vacation destination known for its mountain views and wildlife.