My Colleague & Travel buffs Ranjeet Patole and his wife Darshani recently visited Kerala – The God’s own country Kerala (/ˈkɛrələ/), historically known as Keralam, an Indian state in South India on the Malabar coast. Known world over for its back waters, splendid greenery, exotic beaches and to top it all highest literacy ratio, was preferred choice of Patoles to spend some stress –free and quality time in peaceful and serene Kerala. Their first port of destination was Munnar, a hill station located in the Idukki district of the southwestern Indian state of Kerala. Munnar is situated at around 1,600 metres (5,200 ft) above sea level, in the Western Ghats range of mountains. Ranjeet & Darshani were gracious enough to capture beautiful Munnar in his camera, you can view those pictures on my blog in an exclusive photo – essay.
The name Munnar is believed to mean “three rivers”, referring to its location at the confluence of the Mudhirapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundaly rivers. Munnar town is situated on the Kannan Devan Hills village in Devikulam taluk and is the largest panchayat in the Idukki district covering an area of nearly 557 square kilometres (215 sq mi).
The nearest major railway stations are at Ernakulum and Aluva (approximately 140 kilometres (87 mi) by road). The Nearest Functioning Railway station is at Udumalaipettai according to Google maps. The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport, which is 105 kilometres (65 mi) away.
Most of the native flora and fauna of Munnar have disappeared due to severe habitat fragmentation resultant from the creation of the plantations.
However, some species continue to survive and thrive in several protected areas nearby, including the new Kurinjimala Sanctuary to the east, the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Manjampatti Valley and the Amaravati reserve forest of Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary to the north east, the Eravikulam National Park and Anamudi Shola National Park to the north, the Pampadum Shola National Park to the south and the proposed Palani Hills National Park to the east.
These protected areas are especially known for several threatened and endemic species including Nilgiri Thar, the grizzled giant squirrel, the Nilgiri wood-pigeon, elephant, the gaur, the Nilgiri langur, the sambar, and the neelakurinji (that blossoms only once in twelve years).
You can visit websites of www.keralatourism.org and http://travel.india.com/munnar/ for more details and planning your trip to Kerala and Munnar.