Among Kerala’s beautiful hill stations, Munnar finds a special mention on every visitor’s itinerary. Nestled in the Western Ghats, the rolling hills offer that much needed fresh air. There are a number of places to visit in Munnar in 1 day if you cannot spare more time to stay in this town.
Once the abode of the British imperialists, today, Munnar is a dearly loved escape from the city’s noise and pollution. Whether it is the lush tea gardens, the gushing waterfalls or the vivid colours of flowers at various botanical gardens, there is no dearth of natural experiences to be had here.
- Munnar Places to visit in 1 Day: Rajamalai National Park, Anamudi Peak, Munnar Top Station, Kundala Lake, Echo Point, Mattupetty Dam, Munnar Botanical Garden, Kanan Devan Tea Museum, C.S.I Christ Church, The Blossom Hydel Park, Pothamedu Viewpoint, Attukad Waterfalls, Kalari Kshethra
Also known as Eravikulam, Rajamalai is the only national park you will be able to visit if you only have a day at your disposal. Spread over 97 square kilometres among the Kannan Devan Hills, this is the first national park of the state.
Home to a 2,000-metre-high plateau, the terrain here is largely made of grasslands in the rolling hills and stunted tropical montane forests in the valleys. Keep an eye out for Nilgiri tahrs, sambar deer, lion-tailed macaques, Indian muntjacs and gaurs.
Birding enthusiasts have plenty of species to look forward to such as the Kerala laughingthrush, black-and-orange flycatchers, Nilgiri flycatchers, Nilgiri pipits, white-bellied shortwings and Nilgiri wood pigeons. Butterfly lovers will be able to spot the endemic Palni bushbrown, the red disk bushbrown and the Nilgiri clouded yellow among over a hundred species.
2. Anamudi Peak
Fondly known as the ‘Everest of South India’, Anamudi Peak is the highest peak of the Western Ghats mountain range, at 8,842 feet. Located inside Rajamalai National Park, the name of this mountain peak translates to ‘elephant’s head’ in Malayalam.
Hiking the grass slopes is a great way to explore this region which is at the helm of three hills – Palani, Cardamom and Anaimalai. You might even get lucky and spot Nilgiri marten, Bengal tigers or Asian elephants around this area!
If you are curious about amphibians, the newly discovered resplendent shrubfrog will be one to watch out for. If you have more time to wander around, Lakkom Waterfalls should not be missed. The falls swell up in the monsoons, making it a magical sight to behold.
5,500 feet above the sea level, Munnar Top Station offers a nice viewpoint to soak in the panorama of this hill town. If you bring your binoculars along, you will also be able to catch close-up views of the coffee and tea plantations that Munnar is famous for.
If you are able to time your visit to the “T”, you will be able to capture the rare glimpse of neelakurinji flowers in their full bloom – a spectacle to be witnessed only once every 12 years. The hills and forests are carpeted in blue and purple during that season.
Solo hikes are possible to Munnar Top Station, as are guided tours. If you wish to skip the crowds, try getting here at 6 in the morning. You will be rewarded with a lovely plume of fog clearing away as the sun begins to rise.
4. Kundala Lake
On your way down from Munnar Top Station, Kundala Lake provides a gorgeous relaxing place. Its tranquil surroundings are enhanced by the deep blue gleam of the waters in the lake. With mountains cradling it, Kundala Lake is good to visit in all seasons, except the heavy monsoons.
You will also find eucalyptus trees and cherry gardens dotting the periphery of this water body. Indulge in a romantic shikara ride with your plus one for about INR 200 or try rowing a four-person boat for INR 150 here.
Many waterfowl can be sighted when you are at the level of the lake and gliding over its surface. Migratory birds also make an appearance in the winters. The lake is formed from the waters dammed by the Sethu Parvathi Dam.
If you do not want to get close to the water but watch its beauty from afar, you also have the option of touring the nearby areas on horseback or seated upon an elephant.
5. Echo Point
Somewhere along the Kundala Lake, there is a place where it is possible to have a good echo effect. 600 feet above the sea level, when you stand here, cup your hands around your mouth and shout out a name, you will clearly hear the sound echoing back at you.
It is the mountains (Nallathanni, Mudrapuzha and Kundala ranges) that create this natural acoustic effect. If you have the energy, you can opt to hike up here instead of taking a car or a local bus to this point. If you feel parched after your hike, there are coconut water sellers waiting to quench your thirst along the road.
You are likely to find campers setting up their tents at the campsites near Echo Point. Apart from camping, the forested area offers trails for easy walks. It costs INR 30 for an adult entry to Echo Point, while the fee for children is INR 15 per head.
This dam creates the Mattupetty Lake adjacent to the ‘Cattle Village’. Built to generate hydroelectric power, Mattupetty Dam has a road that runs on top of the structure, providing a nice vantage point to take in the views of the vast lake.
The lake itself is surrounded by shola forests, where hiking is common. There is a fee of INR 10 to enter the dam and walk across it. If you would like to try boating in the lake, you will have to pay INR 500 for a speedboat ride or INR 300 for paddle-boating. Row boats are also available for those you would like some upper body workout.
The entry to Mattupetty Dam is only possible between 9 AM and 5 PM, so plan your day accordingly. You will also get a bird’s eye view of some tea gardens from up here.
7. Botanical Garden
There are a number of botanical gardens in this hill town. However, if you have to squeeze in varied experiences in the short span of a day, Munnar Botanical Garden is highly recommended.
Located in Kannan Devan Hills, this botanical garden is open from 9 AM to 7 PM every day of the week. Quite a few flower species can be spotted here, including Portia, tulip and others. You will even be able to buy saplings at Munnar Botanical Garden.
Travelling with kids? There is a children’s play park on the premises as well. If you are tired from your day tour, you can relax at the restaurant and stock up for your kitchen at the spice store too.
If you happen to visit in May, you will even be able to watch the Munnar flower show at this garden when the variety of flowers will astound you.
Commonly recognized by the name of Tata Tea Museum, Kanan Devan Tea Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 4 PM. Owned by the Tata Group, this museum is the perfect place for tea connoisseurs to get to know a bit about the local tea production techniques.
Featuring six rooms, the Kanan Devan Tea Museum takes you on a journey of the making of teas – from plucking the tea leaves to getting them brewing and lending flavour and colour to your cuppa.
You will watch a documentary film and get a guided tour of the museum. You will also have the chance to taste some teas at the end of the tour. There is a store at the Tata Tea Museum where you may purchase teas, saffron and other spices. Admission to the museum costs INR 75 for each adult and INR 35 for each child.
One of the few relics left behind by the British Raj, the C.S.I Christ Church is a fine example of colonial architecture. It is sometimes also referred to as the ‘Taj Mahal of Munnar’. Built in 1910, the premises also have the tomb of Eleanor Isabel May – wife of the manager of the erstwhile Finlay Tea Co.
Eleanor died at the young age of 23 after she succumbed to cholera. While the church sits in the centre of Munnar, the elevation of this place allows for a glorious view of the town. The church has a simple architecture, but you will notice plenty of granite in the construction.
Inside the church, you will find the typical stained glass panels which bear stories from the Bible. The keen eye will also notice brass plaques at the C.S.I Christ Church.
Open from 9 AM to 7 PM every day, The Blossom Hydel Park is one of the most pocket-friendly attractions to see in Munnar. You pay just INR 10 for an adult and INR 2 for a child.
For an active and outdoorsy holiday, this park lets you explore various nature trails. For the children, there is an option to play badminton, get into a zorb or try roller skating. As a family, you will also be able to do some boating at The Blossom Hydel Park.
This park also has the Muthirapuzha River flowing through it, attracting many migratory avifauna in the lush green premises. Flower blooms and butterflies can also be spotted here even though the park is close to the Pallivasal Hydroelectric Project.
If you want to put your feet up and let your hair down, you can also jump into one of the hammocks at the park.
Sunrises and sunsets are best caught at the Pothamedu Viewpoint. It costs nothing to get up here and breathe in the fresh mountain air. Bring your binoculars with you to properly see the plantations of cardamom, tea and coffee.
If you are a photographer, you can also set up your tripod here and take a timelapse video of the sun setting behind the Sahyadri range of mountains. Plan to arrive here between 4 PM and 6 PM to watch the hues of the sky turn pink, orange, purple and a dark shade of blue.
You will also be able to stroll through the spice gardens nearby when you wait for the sun to set. Alternatively, if you plan to be here before sunrise, you will be stunned by the blanket of clouds separating the mountains from the earth – making them appear to float!
Among all the waterfalls you will find in Munnar, this is perhaps the most sought after. Attukad Waterfalls are best enjoyed in the rainy season, between July and August. If you are wary of getting drenched, winters are a decent alternative – from December to February.
If you are up for a waterfall trek, carry a sturdy pair of hiking shoes with you so you do not slip. The cascading waters of Attukad Falls gather into a small pool, offering a great place to bathe.
13. Kalari Kshethra
Do not leave Munnar without getting a taste of Kerala’s culture. Kalari Kshethra hosts traditional dance and martial arts performances in the evenings for guests who want to understand this South Indian state deeper.
From 5 PM to 6 PM, you will watch a mesmerizing Kathakali performance and look at the expressive emotions of the dancers throughout the show as they tell a mythological story through the medium of a dance form. Later, from 6 PM to 7 PM, you will be able to watch a Kalaripayattu performance – an amalgamation of dance and ethnic martial arts.
The shows are interactive at times, and you will be able to volunteer and have a place on the stage as well! If you would like to take pictures with the performers, wait until the segment is over.
While this list of places to visit in Munnar in 1 day is not exhaustive, it will certainly inspire you to plan a longer vacation in this hill station. Your time in the mountains should not be rushed. The hills are best enjoyed slowly, over several cups of local tea or coffee.