Munnar, with its sloping and emerald tea gardens, nestles prettily in the Kannan Devan Hills of Kerala. There are many top things to do at Munnar with a quintessential trip that takes you back to nature. Munnar is a gateway to some of the best experiences in God’s own country, Kerala. Two of the experiences that are sure to leave you with joy and fulfilment are to be found in the pristine locations of Top Station and the Carmelagiri Elephant National Park in Munnar.
Take a Sip of Tea History at Top Station
On the topmost point of the hills of Munnar and on the border between the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu is situated one of the most picturesque places in the region. A place that is intriguing but fittingly named as Top Station. Top Station is situated on the fringe between Idukki district in Kerala and Theni district in the state of Tamil Nadu.
Top Station was the transhipment point for tea sourced from Munnar to a place called Bodinayakanur in Tamil Nadu. It is fascinating to note the existence of a ropeway and monorail way back in the early 20th century. Remains of the ropeway station at Top Station are still a visible while. A monorail operated between Munnar and Top Station under the Kundala Valley Railway which was the first monorail system in India and was started in 1902. Bullocks pulled the Monorail up the tracks. This was later converted into a narrow gauge light railway in 1908 and light steam locomotives used. Even today vestiges of the Kundala Valley Railway can be seen at the Munnar Tea Museum.
Apart from the history Top Station lures one with spectacular views of the Western Ghats and the Theni Valley stretching down below. However, the icing on the cake is, of course, the blooming of the famed Neelakurinji flowers. These tiny blue flowers that bloom once in 12 years transform the hilly slopes into exquisite blue carpets. Top Station is a great place to view the stunning beauty of these rare flowers in bloom. The Neelakurinji flowers will bloom again in 2018 between the months of July to October. Indeed, so many reasons that really make Top Station one of the top destinations to head out to.
Carmelagiri Elephant Park
When you think Kerala, you also think Elephants. The elephant is the state animal of Kerala and is featured on the emblem of Kerala state. Elephants are inextricably linked with the culture of Kerala. The festivals of Kerala usually feature caparisoned elephants; many elephants work in Timber yards. Apart from elephants in captivity, there is a huge population of wild elephants that dot Munnar and other regions of Kerala.
The Carmelagiri Elephant Park is a private Park located on the Munnar Top Station highway that offers elephant rides across the path as well as opportunities to interact with the gentle giants that have borne the burden of Man for aeons. The park offers short rides on these elephants through the uneven and hilly paths of the Munnar forest. This is an experience that Children would love and probably adults too who do not have ethical issues with elephant rides. The park also affords an opportunity to observe the pachyderms at close quarters as they bathe and frolic in the water. One can also feed the elephants and talk to the Mahouts about the behaviour of the elephants and how they communicate with them.
Munnar is indeed a paradise with diverse experiences that range from the sheer beauty of nature to the thrill of wildlife and the intrigue of history. If your mind is drawn to the elephants of Carmelagiri Elephant Park or haunted by images of the blue carpets of the blooming Neelakurunji, then plan to head to Munnar this summer. Sterling Munnar awaits your footfalls.