Situated in an altitude of 6000ft amidst the Western Ghats at the confluence of three mountain streams, Munnar is a hill station that was once a retreat for Englishmen and their families in South India during colonial rule. A large part of the native flora and fauna of Munnar has vanished due to severe habitat fragmentation caused by the development tea plantations. However, many endemic and threatened species continue to survive and thrive in several protected zones around Munnar. The region around the town is ideal for treks and camping, birding, mountain biking and four wheel drive tours. Set against a backdrop of sprawling tea plantations, picture postcard towns, mist shrouded hills and vast stretches of forests, Munnar will elevate your soul.
History of Munnar
Munnar was once the summer capital of the British administration in South India. In summer when the heat in the plains began to get oppressive entire families and their staff moved to Munnar. Due to the cool climate they named Munnar ‘little England’. It is believed that the earliest European visitor was a Scotsman followed by the Duke of Wellington. Even though documented historical information exists from the 10th century, Munnar’s history is ancient. Prehistoric relics found in the area indicate the existence of a Stone Age civilization. In the early 19th century the chieftain of the villages in the Anchanad area named Kannan Thevar held lands to the north of the high ranges in the territory under the rule of the Raja of Poonjar. JD Munro a British lawyer and tea planter leased close to 600sq km of jungle around Munnar from the Poonjar king. It is believed that the first tea sapling was planted by A.H.Sharp in what is today part of Sevenmullay Estate. He then cleared the forests for tea plantations. This land was then known as Kannan Thevar Concession Land till 1895 when Finlay Muir and Company bought Munro’s land. Today many remanents of the colonial period can still be seen in Munnar town and in the surrounding tea plantations.