One of the best things about hill stations is that you are so close to nature and so far from the city life. Those mighty mountains, lush green forests, tall tress and the smell of nature, is just what you need. Unfortunately you don’t get all of these in cities and places like these are popular for this. I’m a mountain person and have been to several hill stations in India – Shimla, Ooty, Panchgani to name a few. No matter what direction you travel to or from Munnar, you’ll get some breathtaking views. Since there were a lot of spots to see towards Top Station, I decided to take my activa there. Here’s why I feel the drive from Munnar to Top Station is magnificent.
Magnificent Munnar Drive
Start Early, Keep Camera Handy
I booked a hotel in the heart of Munnar and hence moving anywhere wasn’t much of an issue. The road towards Top Station is a little confusing. What you need to do is, go straight towards Munnar Market, cross the Kanan Devan Tea Shop, cross the bridge and the Bharat Petroleum pump and keep driving straight. You’ll see a board to Top station. Take that sharp and steep right and keep driving. The road I’ll say is pretty good till almost Top Station, just the last 5-10 kms it isn’t good.
Lush Green Tea Gardens
Most part (read all) of Munnar is about tea plantations and all of it is under Kanan Devan Hills Plantation. The moment you are out of Munnar town, you’ll first be greeted by beautiful tea gardens. If you leave early a little late, you’ll find plantation workers doing their routine task. Around the same area, you’ll come across the Photo Point in Munnar. Well, it isn’t mentioned anywhere, but you’ll see photographers with plantation worker costumes for you to be clicked. Horse ride is also available.
The next stop on the route is the Mattupetty dam (Madupetty as it is mentioned on signboards in Munnar) If you are early in the morning (like I did) you’ll have the entire dam for yourself 😛 The landscape is amazing and a wonderful place for photo enthusiasts. You’ll get some amazing photos. The place is so quiet with just sounds of birds and the cool breeze. Also do look on the other side and I’m sure you’ll be astonished to see what’s there.
The Forest Road
Soon you’ll cross the Kerala Forest Reserve check post and the first thing you’ll notice is “Elephant Crossing” boards. The boards are very frequent. The flora and fauna changes quite dramatically. The green cover becomes more thick, the sunlight barely manages to reach the road and the temperatures drop immensely. There were times when I was the only vehicle for kilometers together. Trust me when you have seen the Elephant Crossing boards and hear the fall of a branch, you’ll be scared ! At least I was.
As you keep climbing the mist starts to fade away and you get to see clear blue sky. The actual blue sky that you hardly see in cities. Grasslands welcome you and once again the tea estates start. The climb isn’t very steep but the curves get dangerous, especially with buses zipping towards you at blind curves. Hence keep honking ! Within minutes you’ll see that you are above the clouds. Congratulations that’s the first sight of the Top Station. I’m not sure enough, but you are out of the Idukki district and also the Kerala State (Please correct me) and enter Tamil Nadu.
Magical Top Station
At last you have reached the Top Station. Your vehicle doesn’t go all the way to the point, you need to talk few hundred meters before you reach the ticket counter. There’s an entry fee which is Rs 25 for adults and Rs 15 for camera. From here own its a flight of stairs going down. Really Down. And trust me every step you take, remember you have to climb all the way back too ! There are places to sit so you can relax and take amazing photos of the mountains surrounded with clouds.
The drive is indeed magical and since I was on my Activa, I was able to stop at lot many places and take pictures. On an average one should take anywhere around 1:30 hours to reach Top Station, but that would vary largely. I took almost 2:30 kms to reach there because I stopped frequently and clicked pictures. The next time you are in Munnar, do drive to Top Station and enjoy the beauty of nature. Already experienced Top Station ? Have anything to say/ask ? Mention in comments below or tweet to me at @Atulmaharaj