Munnar


The fact file

          Munnar is a plantation town located in Kerala state in the southern Western Ghats in South India. The name is often used to refer to the whole tourist area of Idukki District of which the town forms a part. Munnar panchayat of Devikulam block is the largest in the district with an area of 557 km². The name of Munnar is believed to be derived from the Tamil words Munu (three) and aaru (river), referring to the town's strategic location at the confluence of the Muthirappuzha, Chandavurai and Kundaly rivers. The area is surrounded by vast jungles and remains wet and cold during most of the year. The Mattupetty Dam is nearby. The people of Munnar share the culture and traditions of Kerala and their Tamil neighbours

Location

          Cinnamon Gardens is located just 13 km off Munnar town in the Cochin - Madhurai National Highway NH49.

Places of tourist interest

          There are somany interesting tourist places in and around Munnar. Cinnamon Gardens is located just 13 km off Munnar town in the Cochin - Madhurai National Highway NH49.


How to reach

          Cinnamon Gardens is located just 13 km off Munnar town in the Cochin - Madhurai National Highway NH49.

History

          The entire area of Munnar, nearly about 556.44 square kilometer of land really belonged, and still belongs to the royal family of Poonjar and was given on lease for 99 years by the then poonjar King Kerala Varma in 1887.During the British rule of India, Munnar was developed to cultivate tea plants. At that time, most of the people around the area were employed as laborers for plantations throughout the area. In the early stages of development, only Tamilians and a small number of Malayalis inhabited Munnar.

          From the late 1890's till 1921, tea was transported down from Top Station by 24 inch railway and ropeway to Munnar for transhipment throughout the World. Most of the top positions in the estates were occupied by the British "Managers". A few bungalows were built for them and these are still in use. Munnar was a Hill Station for some British who sought a cooler climate. The collegiate educational institutes in Munnar are Govt. Arts & Science College and College of Engineering, Munnar. Hospitals in Munnar are Tata General Hospital, Matha Hospital and Arun Hospital.

History of Plantations in Munnar

          The history of plantation in Munnar started in the 1870s. J.D. Munro, a European, identified the agriculture potential of the land on a hunting expedition. In 1877 he leased 580 Sq Kilometres of land from the Poonjar Raja who was in control of the land. Munro formed a co-operative called ‘North Travancore Land Planting and Agricultural Society’ and members of the society started farming in different parts of Munnar.

          The crops included coffee, sisal and cardamom. Tea plantation was started by A.H. Sharp, another European at the A.H. Sharp Parvathy estate (Present Silent Valley Estate). In 1895 Finlay, a European company entered the scene and acquired about 33 tea estates in Munnar. In 1897 the Kannan Devan Hills Produce Company was formed to manage Finlay’s estates. In 1964 the Tata Group, an Indian corporate giant entered into a collaborative venture with the Finlay leading to the formation of the Tata-Finlay group. In April 2005 tea plantations under the Tata group were transferred to a new company called Kannan Devan Hills Produce Co, Pvt Ltd. Today the company manages 16 estates spread over in about 8600 hectares of land.

Geography and climate

          The region in and around Munnar varies in height from 1,600 meters (5,249 ft) to 1,800 meters (5,906 ft) above mean sea level. Munnar enjoys a salubrious climate. The weather ranges between -25 °C (-13 °F) and 10 °C (50 °F) in winter and 15 °C (59 °F) and 25 °C (77 °F) in summer. The tourist season is from August to May. However, even the monsoons are lovely with many streams and rivulets in the area.

Economy

          The territory of Munnar was previously almost entirely occupied by the Tata Tea company, one of the Tata Group of companies, who had obtained it on lease from the Travancore royal family.following TATA's withdrawal from the plantation sector the plantations have been handed over to a consortium that goes by the name of Kannan Devan Hills Plantation Corporation Ltd.Today TATA is concerned only with marketing of the tea produced under the brand name Kannan Devan.

          Many residents are employed in the tourism business. In 2000, the Government of Kerala declared Munnar as a tourist spot. This has helped in attracting more tourists to this beautiful hill resort. Several protected wildlife areas in the area attract many tourists who support the many hotels, restaurants and transport businesses in Munnar.














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