The tea-and-spice town of Munnar is one of the compelling attractions of Kerala, and was voted the second best tourism destination in Asia after Tokyo by TripAdvisor's 2010 Traveler's Choice Destination Awards. This holiday town in the Western Ghats soars 6,000 feet above the languid backwaters of Kerala and is overwhelmingly green. All roads in Munnar either wind along high-altitude shola forests, rolling slopes of tea plantations or large stretches of spice plantations.
There are about 30 tea plantations in and around Munnar. Tea bushes are planted along the land’s natural contours, and when you wedge yourself amidst them for a photograph, you appear as a barely noticeable blip on a green background. Tea pickers in colourful clothes and baskets on their backs are barely visible amidst the sea of tea plants; each person plucks as much as 25-30 kilograms of tea leaves per day. Four kilograms of green leaf make 1 kilogram of black tea that goes into the making of your morning cup.
The spice plantations are less dense and more fruit laden. Over 12 varieties of spices - including ginger, garlic, cardamom, vanilla, pepper, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg - are cultivated in and around Munnar. Guided visits to these plantations are absolutely fascinating; it’s delightful to see the spices that you use everyday in their raw, natural form rather than bottled or packaged in plastic.
Whether it’s the tea and spice plantations, the lakes and waterfalls, the cattle breeding farms, or the sky-piercing Anamudi peak within the Eravikulam National Park, every part of Munnar accentuates its beauty. Munnar truly complements Kerala, a place that truly deserves its exalted title of ‘God’s Own Country’.
Did you know?
- Munnar’s annual yield of tea is about 50,000 metric tons (50,000,000 kilograms).
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