Idukki

Kerala's Largest district, Idukki is one of the most nature rich areas of the state. High ranges and wooded valleys are girded by three main rivers - Periyar, Thalayar and Thodupuzhayar and their tributaries. An astonishing 50% of the area is covered by forest. It offers diverse attractions like wildlife sanctuaries, hill stations, spice plantations, mountain treks and elephant rides.

Current Weather

{weather kochi}

Places to Visit:

Idukki Arch Dam:

A technological marvel, this magnificent parabolic, structure is the world's second and Asia's first arch dam, constructed across the Kuravan and Kurathi Hills, 550 ft high and 650 ft wide, the dam lies close to the Cheruthoni barrage. To its west is the Kulamavu Dam. The Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary is located close by.

Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary:

This sanctuary extends over the Thodupuzha and Udumpanchola taluks of Idukki District, spreading over 77 sq. km and is about 450,748 m above sealevel. The Idukki Reservoir formed by three dams - Cheruthoni, Idukki and Kulamavu - extends to 33 sq. km

  • Animals: Elephant, bison, sambar deer, wild dog, jungle cat, tiger, wild boar etc.
  • Snakes: Cobra, viper, krait and a number of non-poisonous snakes.
  • Birds: Jungle fowl, laughing thrush, black bulbul, peafowl, woodpecker, klngfisher etc.

Malankara Dam: (6 km from Thodupuzha)

An artificial lake spread over 11 km, the reservoir is a popular picnic spot.

Annamalai Temple, Karikodu:

The 1800-year-old temple dedicated to Lord Siva is built in the Chola style of architecture and remains as it were, even today. It has a window with nine lattices pointing to the Navagrabas or nine planets.

Karikodu Bhagavathy:

(Open 0500 - 1100 brs, 1700 - 2000 brs) This temple opposite the Annamalai Temple is about 460 years old. The Kumbba Bbarani here is the most famous festival in the central ldukki region, drawing thousands of devotees.

Nainar Masjid, Karikodu:

The largest and the oldest mosque in Idukki, stone steps bearing inscriptions of an ancient script are found here.

Thumpachi Calveri Samuchayam:

(35 km from 111odupuzba) This is a picnic spot also ideal for meditation, relaxation and watching the sunset.

Kulamav:

(20 km) Attractions - Trekking trail, view point Painau:Trekking trail, evergreen forest Cberuthoni: ldukki Arch Dam, reservoir, hill view park.

Kalvary Mount/Kalliyanathandi:

(10 km from ldukki) This famous Christian pilgrimage site perched atop a hill offers an aerial view of the !dukki Reservoir and its surrounding peaks and forests. It is also an ideal place for mountain climbers and trekkers. Guided trekking can be availed from here to nearby places.During Lent, the area turns into a pilgrimage centre asChristians go in a procession up the hillock.


THEKKADY

Altitude: 900 - 1800 m above sea level Temperature: 13°C- 30°C Rainfall: 2500 mm.
The very sound of the word Thekkady conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hills and spice-scented plantations. In the Periyar Forests of Thekkady is one of the finest wildlife reserves in India, and spread across the entire district are picturesque plantations and hill towns that hold great opportunity for treks and mountain walks.

Accessing THEKKADY

Road: There are frequent buses from Kortayam and other cities to Thekkady. Jeep services are available from Kurnily to Thekkady (4 km). Bus timings from Kumily: • Thekkady: 0930, 1045, 1130, 1200, 1230, 1330, 1530 hrs • Kumarakom. 0700 hrs- Munnar: 0600, 0945, 1330 hrs- Ernakulam: 0700, 1330, 1515, 1630, 1715, 1930 hrs- Thiruvananthapuram (from Kurnily): 0840, 1530, 1615 hrs, (from Thekkady): 0820, 1515 hrs. Kottayarn: Frequent buses. Alappuzha: 1115 hrs • Cherthala: 1415 hrs- Idukki: Frequent buses- Chennai: 1630, 1900 hrs- Pondicherry: 1630 hrs- Madurai: 0115, 0515, 0525, 0645,0716,0720,0730,0755,0835,0940,1030,1045, 1120, 1155, 1300, 1315, 1320, 1420, 1515, 1540, 1550, 1650, 1705, 1800, 1840, 1905,2045 hrs- Dindigal: Frequent buses' Kodaikanal: There is no direct bus from Kumily to Kodaikanal. The Dindigal bus takes you to Vathalakundu from where there are frequent buses to Kodaikanal (149 kill) • Trichy: 0855, 1045, 1925 hrs- Palani: 0930, 1135, 1830, 1850 hrs.

Distance of a few major towns from Thekkady:

Kumily: 4 km (15 rnin.) • Sabarimala via Pullumedu: 50 km (2 hrs) • Idukki: 65 km (2 1/2 hI'S)• Munnar: 106 km (4 hrs)• Kumarakom: 128 km (4 hrs) • Sabarimala via Erumeli: 134 km (4 hrs) • Kodaikanal: 149 km (5 hrs)• Alappuzha: 164 km (5 hrs) • Kollam: 220 km (6 hrs) • Ooty: 390 km (11 hrs)

IN AND AROUND THEKKADY

The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary:

(Open. 0600 to 1800 hI'S) Snuggled in the Western Ghats, one of the world's richest bio-diversity spots, is the fascinating natural wildlife sanctuary ofThekkady - the protected Periyar Tiger Reserve. The splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar River adds to the
charm of the park. This is the only sanctuary in India where you have the unique experience of viewing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat. The greatest attractions of Periyar, however, arc the herds of wild elephants that come down to play in the lake. Vasantha Sena - an
initiative of the ceo-development committee at the Periyar Tiger Reserve comprises a voluntary group of tribal women who patrol rhe reserve to ensure that it remains pristine and poachers are kept at bay.

Population
Flora: Over 1965 flowering plants including 171 grass species- 143 species of orchids • the only South Indian conifer Podocarpus Wallichianus.

Fauna:

  • Mammals: 35 species including' the wild elephant, gaur, sambar deer and wild boar that can be sighted from the boats. the Nilgiri Tahr in the higher rocky areas, the endangered lion-tailed macaque confined to the evergreen interiors, the bonnet macaque, Malahar giant squirrel, fyling squirrel, tiger, jungle cat, sloth bear etc.
  • Birds: 265 species including migrants. The hornbill, stork, woodpecker, kmgfisher, raptor, cormorant, grackle, darter etc.
  • Reptiles: Cobra, viper, krait, a number of non-poisonous snakes and the monitor lizard.
  • Amphibians: frogs, toads and limbless caecilians including the colourful Malabar gliding frog, common indian toad, fungoir] frog and bicoloured frog.
  • Pisces(fish): Periyar's lake and streams have several species of fish including the masheer, the famous and endangered game fish of lndia. The otter, the only mammal of the lake, can be frequently spotted from the boat.
  • Plantations: Tea, cardamom, pepper and coffee plantations surround the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

The Sanctuary Watch Towers: There are two watch towers in the interiors of thePeriyar forest. Reservations can be made at the Divisional Forest Office, Thekkady. Ph: 04869-222027

Permitting authority: The Wildlife Preservation Officer, Periyar Tiger Reserve,Thekkady.

Kumily:

(4 km from Tkekkady) This plantation town, closely associated with Thekkady, is situated on the outskirts of the Periyar Sanctuary. An important shopping centre and spice trade centre, the main bus station and most of the medium range accommodation in the Periyar region are in Kumily.

Murikkady:

(5 km from Thekkady) Washed in fresh, spice-scented air, Murikkady is a panorama of cardamom, coffee and pepper plantations.

Pandikuzhi:

(5 km from Kumily) This picturesque spectrum of exotic flora, fauna and gurgling streams is cradled between Chellarkovil and the Tamil Nadu border. A popular picnic spot, Pandikuzhi offers great opportunities for trekking and is a photographer's delight.

Mangala Devi Temple:

(15 km from Thekkady) This ancient temple is hidden in the dense woods at the top of a peak 1337 m above sea level. The temple, believed to be more than 2000 years old, is built in the traditional Kerala style of architecture. Visitors are allowed here only on the Chithra Pournami festival day. The peak commands a panoramic view of the eastern slopes of the ghats and some hill villages of Tamil Nadu Permission to visit the area can be obtained from the Wildlife Warden, Thekkady. Ph: 222027

Chellarkovil:

(15 km from Kumiiy) This sleep) Little village with its breathtaking view of the plains and cascading waterfalls is a feast for the eyes. The village slopes down to the famous coconut groves of Cumbum in neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

Vandiperiyar:

(18 km from Thekkady) The River Periyar flowing through the centre of this town nourishes its vast tea,coffee and pepper plantations. A major trade centre, Vandiperiyar is also home to a number of tea factories.The Government Agriculture Farm and Flower Garden have a delightful array of rose plants, orchids and anthuria.

Vandanmedu:

(25 km from Kumily) This is one of the world's largest auction centres for cardamom. A walk through the sprawling cardamom plantations of Vandanmedu is a heady experience.

Pullumedu:

(43 km from Thekkady, 26 km from Periyar) The winding journey to this hill town, along the Periyar River, offers a stunrung view of the hills draped in lush greenery. Velvet lawns, rare flora and fauna add to the beauty of Puliumedu which can be accessed only by jeep. The famous SreeAyyappa Temple at Sabarimaia and the Makara Jyothi (celestial light that appears on Makaravilakku Festival) at the shrine are visible from here. Since it is part of the restricted forest zone, special permission to visit Pullumedu has to be obtained from the Wildlife Preservation Officer, Thekkady Ph: 222027 or the Range Officer, Valiakkadavu Ph: 252515

THINGS TO DO IN THEKKADY

Plantation tours:

The tour covers visits to spice, coffee and tea plantations, tea Factories, tribal settlements etc. and can be arranged through the District Tourism Information Office at Thekkady Jn. in Kumily.

Elephant rides:

The Forest Department, Thekkady offers facilities for elephant rides through the jungle

Trekking:

Main trekking areas near Thekkady: • Kurisumala, near Kumily • Pulillmedu, 43 km from Thekkady & 26 krn from Periyar  • Ottakathalamedll, 5 km from Kumily • Grampi, near Vandiperiyar.
The Forest Department conducts daily treks from the boat landing station at Thekkacly to the Nellikkampetty area and Manakkavla • Departure: 0700 hrs, Fare Rs.250 + 10 entrance fee. Bookings can be made with theWildlife Preservation Officer, Thekkady. Ph: 222027, 222028.

Boat cruises on the Periyar Lake:

• Timings: 0700, 0930, J130, 1400, 1600 hrs
• Fare: Lower deck: Rs. 25 + 10 entrance fee, Upper deck: Rs, 50 + 10 entrance fee. The Forest Department Ph: 222028 and the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. Ph: 222023 conduct boating trips from Thekkady • Fare: Lower deck: Rs. 50, Upper deck. Rs 100.


PEERMEDU

Altitude: 915 - 1100 m above sea level. Temperature: 13°C - 24°C Rainfall: 2500 mm
Peermedu, the famous plantation town, takes its name from Peer Mohammed, a Sufi saint and close associate of the erstwhile royal Family ofTravancore, Wiele vistas of tea, cardamom, rubber and coffee plantations interspersed with silver cascades, sculptural rocks, meadows and mist cloaked hilltops make Peermcdu an unforgettable experience. The most delightful trekking trails complement the panoramic landscape, Monuments like the summer palace and summer residence of the royal family add to the splendour of the land. The summer residence now converted into a government guest house under the Department of Tourism, offers comfortable accommodation.

Accessing PEERMEDU

Road: Frequent bus services are available from Kottayarn and other destinations in the State to Peerrnedu. Jeeps are the best mode of transport, Bus timings from Peermedu: • Thiruvananrhapuram: 0930,1630 hrs • Alappuzha. 1215 hrs • Cherthala: 1515 hrs • Kottayam: Frequent bus services • Kumily: Frequent bus services • Ernakularn: 0800, 1415, 1600,1715 hrs • Madurai: Frequent buses from Kumily

Distance of a few major towns from Peermedu: • Vagamon. 25 km (1/2 hr) • Kumily: 40 krn (1 hr) • Thekkady: 44 km (1 1/2 hrs) • Kottayarn: 75 km (3 hrs) • Alappuzha: 114 km (4 hrs) • Munnar: 140 km (4 1/2 hrs) • Kochi: 150 km (5 hrs) • Madurai 174 km (5 1/2 hrs) • Thiruvananthapuram: 225 krn (6 hrs)

In And Around Peermedu

Kuttikanam:

A place for adventure tourism and trekking, or even a languorous, mtranquil break. This picturesque plantation town washed in the fragrance of cardamom is surrounded by lush, green hills.

Thrissanku Hills:

(4 km from Peermedu, 1/2 km from Kuttikanam) The rolling hills, othe lovely landscape and the gentle breeze make this an ideal spot for long walks. The hills offer a breathtaking view of the sunrise and sunset.

Summer Palace:

The huge palace where the Maharajas of Travancore used to spend their summers is set amidst lush greenery.

Panchalimedu:

This largely unexplored area is said to have been the camping site of the Panchavas. The pond, Panchalikulam is said to have been used by Panchali, the wife of the Pandavas.

Peeru Hills:

(4 km from Peermedu, 1 km from Kuttikanam) This idyllic hill station is a favourite haunt of trekkers and picnickers. The hill is named after Peer Mohammed, the Sufi saint, who spent his last days here. The mausoleum of the saint, the summer palace of the royal family and the residence of the Diwan situated nearby are all worth a visit.

Grampi:

(5 km from Peermedu; 10 km from vandiperiyar) Grampi is also known as Parunthupara (eagle rock) because of the panoramic view from its high peaks. Rocky plains, lush hillsides, forests, trekking trails and picturesque views lend charm to this destination. The road to Grarnpi is flanked by unending stretches of cardamom, tea and coffee plantations.

Amritha Medu:

The second highest peak in South India after Anarnudi, Arnritha Medu offers a bird's-eye view of the entire Peermedu region. An ideal trekking spot, on Good Friday large numbers of people throng here in memory of Christ's crucifixion.

Madammakkulam:

A natural pond under a gushing waterfall encircled by deep woods, this was a favourite spot of British planters in the colonial times. The pond has been named Madam's pond or Madammakkulam after a British lady who used to Frequent this spot.

Pattumala:

(17 km east ofPeermedu; 28 km west of Thekkady) Lofty peaks, little streams and ever expanding tea plantations are the attractions of this place. Pattumala (which literally means hill draped in silk) is home to two famous tea plantations - Harrisons Malayalam and AV Thomas & Co. The Velankanni Matha Church, built entirely of granite, at the top of the hill is a famous pilgrim centre. The nearby flower garden with roses, orchids and anthuria is a fascinating riot of colours.

Koottickal-Mundakayam:

Excellent stopovers, these adjacent places are blessed with the bounty of nature. But Mundakayam's claim to fame is that the first commercial production of rubber was started here in 1904.

Sahyadri Ayurvedic Centre:

A well-established Ayurvedic Hospital, Sahyadri, managed by the Peerrnedu Development Society in Pallikunnu, is known For its curative and rejuvenating treatment packages. The centre bas well-appointed treatment and accommodation facilities, a unit for manufacturing Ayurvedic medicines as well as a well-maintained raw drugs museum where more than 200 varieties of rare and endangered herbs are preserved. More than 400 herbs used for medicines are grown in the hospital's own garden spread over 35 acres. For permission to visit the herb garden, contact the Director -  Peermedu Development Society, Peerrnedu, idukki. Ph: 232097,232247 Fax: 232096

Vagamon:

(25 km from Peerumedu) A curious blend of religious mysticism and European legacies, this hillside village is a haven of tranquility. The chain of three hills - Thangal Hill, Murugan Hill and Kurisumala - is a mark or relilgious harmony. The daily farm managed by the Kurisumala monks is worth a visit. The breeding centre of the Kerala Livestock Board is located here.

Plakkathadam:

The Orali, Malapandaram and Malayarayan tribes live in the hills of Peermedu, The main trihal settlement here is Plakkathadam which is also known for  its trekking trails.

Things To Do In Peermedu

Peermedu and its surrounding areas are ideal for trekking, cycling and horse riding

  • Trekking sites: Peeru Hills, Kalthotti, Vagamon, Karandakapara Hills, Grarnpi (Parunthupara), Memala
  • Plantation visits: Tea, coffee, cardamom, rubber etc.
  • Trips: to Meloram, Nallathanni, Panchalimedu, Valanjarnkanam Waterfalls etc.
  • Visits: to tea factories in and around Peermedu

MUNNAR

Altitude: 1500 - 2500 m above sea level. Temperature: 0°C - 30°C. Rainfall: 2750 mm
Munnar is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. 1600 m above sea level, this hill station was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India. Sprawling tea plantations, picture-book towns, winding lanes and holiday facilities make this a popular resort town. Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands here is the Neelakkurinji. This flower which bathes the hills in blue once in every twelve years, will bloom next in 2018/9 AD. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India, Anarnudi, which towers over 2695 m. Anamudi is an ideal spot for trekking.

Accessing MUNNAR

Road: Munnar is easily accessible by frequent bus services from all over the State.
Bus timings from Munnar: (KSRTC enquiry Ph: 230201) • Thekkady (4hrs): 0630, 1200, 1430, 1500hrs • Thiruvananthapuram (8 hrs): 0840 hrs via Alappuzha; 1030 hrs via Kottayam; 1140 hrs via via Alappuzha, 1215 hrs via Kottayam, 1530 hrs via Kottayam  • Thrissur: 1330 hrs • Palakkad: 1500 hrs • Theni: Frequent buses •  Palani: 0715, 0930,1130,1415 hrs • Top Station(1 hr): Daily 8 buses - First trip - 0730, Last trip - 1830 hrs • Ernakulam(4 hrs): Daily  8 buses - First trip-0530, Last trip - 2150 hrs • Madurai(6hrs): 1430 hrs • Marayoor: frequent buses • Coimbatore(6 hrs): 0630, 1545 hrs • Chinnar( 3hrs): Daily 8 buses; First trip: 0630 hrs, Last trip: 1800 hrs • Devikulam: Frequent buses (30 min)

Distance of a few major towns from Munnar: • Pothanmeclu: 6 km • Pallivasal: 6 km • Devikulam: 7 km • Mattupetty: 13km • Rajamala:15 km • Anamudi: 20 km • Kundala: 28 krn • Top Station: 34 km • Marayoor: 40 km • Chinnar: 60 km • Idukki: 60 km • Theni: 70 km • Amaravathy Dam: 80 km • Thodupuzha: 91 km • Vaiga Dam: 105 krn • Thekkady: 110 km • Palani: 122 km • Oory: 146 km • Kottayarn: 147 km • Thrissur: 158 km • Madurai: 160 km • Kumarakom: 160 krn • Kodaikanal: 195 km • Alappuzha: 200 km

Tourist Information Offices: • District Tourism Office, Kumily Ph: 222620 • DTPC Information Centre, Old Munnar Ph: 231516

In And Around Munnar

Pothanmedu:

(6 km from Munnar) Pothanmedu offers an excellent view of the tea, coffee and cardamom plantations in Munnar. The rolling hills and the lush mountains here are ideal for trekking and long mountain walks.

Devikulam:

(7 km from Munnar) This idyllic hill station with its velvet lawns, exotic flora and fauna and the cool mountain air is a rare experience. The Sita Devi Lake with its mineral waters and picturesque surroundings is a good picnic spot. The lake is also ideal lor trout fishing.

Pallivasal:

(8 km from Munnar) This is the site of the first Hydro-Electric Project in Kerala and a place of immense scenic beauty.

Attukad:

(9 km from Munnar) A panorama of waterfalls and rolling hills, Attukad, located between Munnar and Pallivasal, is a feast for the eyes. The place is also ideal for long treks.

Nyayamakad:

(10 km from Munnar) Located between Munnar and Rajamala, Nyayarnakad is a land of breath laking waterfalls. The waters cascade down a hill from a
height of about 1600 metres. The enchanting surroundings make an excellent picnic spot and trekking point. Gravel Banks, rhe delightful trout fishing site is tucked away in a remote corner of Nyayamakad Estate.

Chithirapuram:

(10 km from Munnar) With its sleepy little cottages, bungalows, old playgrounds and courts, Chithirapuram still exudes an old world charm. Home of the Pallivasal Hydel Power Project, this hill town is also famous for its picturesque tea plantations.

Mattupetty:

(13km from Munnar) Situated at a height of 1700 m, Mattupetty is known for its highly specialised dairy farm - the Indo-Swiss Livestock Project. Over a 100 varieties of high yielding cattle are reared here. Visitors are allowed into 3 of the 11 cattle sheds at the farm. Visiting time: 0900 - 1100 hrs and 1400 - 1530 hrs, Entrance fee. Rs. 5 per head. The Mattupetty Dam, just a short distance frorn the farm, is a very beautiful picnic spot. The sprawling Kundala Tea Plantations and the Kundala Lake are the other attractions nearby. DTPC Idukki provides boating facilities on the Mattupetty Dam. Speed launch, slow speedboat and motorboats are available on hire.

Mount Carmel Church:

Established in 1898, this was the first Roman Catholic Church in the High Ranges.

Lockhart Gap:

(13 km from Munnar) This is an ideal place for adventure tourism and trekking. The fresh mountain air, the mist-clad hills and panoramic view make it worthy of a visit.

Blossom International Park:

Sprawled over 16 acres, this park has a garden with a profusion of blooms and a plethora of activities for adults and children including boating, cycling, roller skating, games etc

Rajamala:

(15 km from Munnat) This is the natural habitat of the Nilgiri Tahr. Half the world population of the rare mountain goat (Hemitragas bylocres) which is an endangered species, is now found here. The Nilgiri Tahrs are today reduced to small herds found in the Eravikulam - Rajarnala region and their total number in this region is estimated to be 1317.

Echo Point:

(15 kmfrom Munnar) This scenic place gets its name from the natural echo phenomenon here. Echo Point is on the way to Top Station from Munnar

Eravikulam National Park:

(15 km from Munnar) The 97 sq. krn park is situated in the Devikulam Taluk and is home to the Nilgiri Tahr. The Anamudi peak (2695 m) is located in the southern region of the park.

Sanctuary visit: The park is divided into three regions - the core area, the buffer area and the tourism area. Visitors are allowed only to the tourism area which is in the Rajamala' region. The Nilgiri Tahr can be observed at close quarters here. Visiting time: 0800 - 1700 hrs. Visitors are not allowed during the monsoon. Entrance fee • Rs. 30 for adults & Rs. 10 for children below 12 years. Rs. 100 for foreigners. Permitting Authority: Wildlife Warden, Munnar Ph: 231587

Trekking facilities are available here. Tourists are allowed to go on foot up to Anamudi This is also a place for adventure tourism.

Power House Waterfall:

(18km from Munnar) This waterfall on the way to Thekkady from Munnar cascades down a steep rock 2000 m above sea level. The spot is
enriched with the scenic western mountain ranges, and is an ideal place for a break on the way to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Thekkady.

Kundala:

(20 km from Mummar) Kundala is a picturesque town on the way to Top Station. The Golf Course which belongs to Tata Tea Ltd. is located here. The Kundala Artificial Dam is another attraction and is also known as Sethu-parvathipuram Dam. Aruvikkad Waterfall is also near Kundala.

Anayirankal:

(22 km from Munnar) This place is a lush green carpet of tea plants. The Anayirankal Dam is surrounded by the Tata Tea Plantation and evergreen forests. It is an ideal picnic spot and a boat ride on the splendid reservoir is an unforgettable experience.

Top Station:

(32 km from Munnar) 1700 m above sea level, this is the highest point on the Munnar-Kodaikanal Road. The race Neeiakurunji (Sltobilanthus) belongs to this region. This plant blooms once in every twelve years bathing the hillsides in bright blue. Top Station also offers a panoramic view of the neighbouring State of Tamil Nadu.

Kollukkumallay:

(38km from Munnar) Located in steep, rugged terrain, Kollukkumallay is the highest tea garden in the country at 7900 ft. Accessible only by jeep, a visit to the estate includes a drive around the tea fields and a tour of its factory. What gives Kollukkumallay tea its special flavour is presumably the high altitude.

Marayoor:

(40 km from Munnar) This is the only place in Kerala that has a natural growth of  Sandal woodr trees. The sandalwood f,lClOIYof the Forest Department, the ancient caves (muniyaras) with murals and relics from the Neolithic Age and the children's park spread across a hectare of land under the canopy of a single banyan tree are of great interest to tourists. Thoovanarn Warerfall and the Rajiv Gandhi National Park are also nearby.

Cheeyappara:

The Cheeyappara and Valara Waterfalls are located between Neriamangalam and Adimali on the Kochi-Madurai Highway. The Cheeyappara Waterfall falling in seven steps, is a real feast for the eyes. This is also a great place for trekking.

Meenuli:

It is noted forthe two acres of evergreen forests upon a huge rock. The rock is more than 500 acres in area and an idea: spot for mountaineering.

Malankara Reservoir:

(6 km from Thodupuzha) Located on the Thodupuzha Moolamattam Road, this artificial lake is accessible by road. The reservoir is ideal for boating and fishing.

Thommankuthu:

(17 km from thodupuzha) Famous for its seven-step waterfall, Thommankuthu is an ideal place for adventure tourism. Giber attractions: Pedal boating, forest trekking, night Camping, bathing in the waterfall ete.

Keezharkuth:

(25km thodupuzha) The Rainbow Waterfall which cascades down a rock from a height of about 1500 m is a wonderful attraction of this spot. It can be seen throughout the year in all its splendour. The forest around this spot is home to various medicinal plants. It is an ideal place for rock climbing, mountaineering, camping and trekking.

Palkulamedu:

(12 km from Idukki) Kochi, Alappuzha and other nearby towns can be seen from this peak which is located 3125 m above sea level.

Ramakalmedu:

(16 km from Nedumkandam Thekkady-Munnar Road) Cool, green hills and the fresh mountain air make Ramakalrnedu an enchanting retreat. The hilltop also offers a panoramic view of the picturesque villages of Bodi and Cumbum on the eastern slope of the Western Ghats.•  Distance: 45 km from ldukki, 40 km from Thekkady and 75 km from Munnar. • Bus timings: 0930 hrs Munnar, 1030 hrs Kottayarn, 0930 hrs Ernakulam.

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary:

(60 kmfrom Munnar) Situated on the Tamil Nadu border, the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is spread across 90.44 sq. krn.
Animals: Most of the South Indian wild animals can be found in this forest. These include the grizzled giant squirrel, champal squirrel, elephant, sarnbar deer, gaur etc.
Birds: Jungle fowl, myna, laughing thrush, black bulbul, peafowl etc.
Access: • Munnar - Udumalpetta Road: 60 km • Coimbatore - Udumalpetta - Chinnar Road: 100 km • Kochi - Chinnar: 190 krn • Parambikulam via Pollachi - Chinnar - Udumalpetta. 60 krn • Kottayam - Chinnar: 208 km.
Visiting time: 0700 - 1800 hrs. Entry passes are available at the office of the ACF or the Check Post Information Counter.
Permitting authority: Wildlife Warden, Idukki Wild Division, Painav / Wildlife DFG, Munnar. Ph: 231587
Trekking Routes: • Palapetty - Champakad • Karirnutty - lnchapetty • Karimutty - Alampetty

Valara:

(10 km from Adimali on the Kochi-Madurai Highway) Valara has a chain of waterfalls surrounded by thick green forests.

High Range Club:

Charmingly colonial in style, this clubhouse built of wicker and teak still serves as a social centre for the far-flung farmers of the region around Munnar.  The club houses an elegant lounge and dining room, the obligatory gentlemen's bar, a billiards room, a library etc. Entry is limited to members only.

Plantations of Munnar

Tea: (Camellia sinesis)

Tea plantations in South India are located on the Western Ghats, the eastern part of central Kerala and adjoining parts ofTamil Nadu, usually at an elevation of 4300 to 6200 ft above sea level. The high ranges of Munnar were earlier known as the Kanan Devan Hills, named after a landlord in the Anchanad Valley on the eastern side of the district. Tea cultivation started on the Nilgiris in 1832 on an experimental basis, and later in 1878 was taken up on the Kanan Devan Hills in Munnar. Today, tea is cultivated on 24,000 hectares or land in Munnar, Peermedu and Devikulam areas with an annual yield of 47568 metric tons.

Tea processing:

The tender tea leaves collected from the plantations are withered in hot air at the factory and then sent to the rollers. After being rolled into particles and fermented, they are fed into driers before they are ready to be packed.

Medicinal value of tea: • Stimulates the central nervous system • Leads to increased period of awakening. Prevents drowsiness and dullness • Keeps alert the intellectual faculties.

Coffee:

Coffee cultivation in India dates back to 1600AD when Ba Abadan, a Muslim saint from the holy city of Mecca brought seven precious coffee seeds and sowed them in the Chandragiri Hills near Chikmagalore in Karnataka. The main varieties of coffee cultivated today are Robusta and Arabica. Coffee plantations occupy 15,400 hectares in Devikulam, Peermedu, Thodupuzha and Udumpanchola taluks of ldukki. The average yield per hectare is 320 metric tons.