Munnar is a town and hill station located in the Idukki district of the southwestern Indian state of Kerala. Munnar is situated at around 1,600 metres (5,200 ft) above sea level, in the Western Ghats range of mountains.
The name Munnar is believed to mean “three rivers”, referring to its location at the confluence of the Mudhirapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundaly rivers. Munnar town is situated on the Kannan Devan Hills village in Devikulam taluk and is the largest panchayat in the Idukki district covering an area of nearly 557 square kilometres (215 sq mi). The nearest major railway stations are at Ernakulam and Aluva (approximately 140 kilometres (87 mi) by road). The Nearest Functioning Railway station is at Udumalaipettai according to Google maps The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport, which is 105 kilometres (65 mi) away.
Flora and fauna
Most of the native flora and fauna of Munnar have disappeared due to severe habitat fragmentation resultant from the creation of the plantations. However, some species continue to survive and thrive in several protected areas nearby, including the new Kurinjimala Sanctuary to the east, the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Manjampatti Valley and the Amaravati reserve forest of Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary to the north east, the Eravikulam National Park and Anamudi Shola National Park to the north, the Pampadum Shola National Park to the south and the proposed Palani Hills National Park to the east.
These protected areas are especially known for several threatened and endemic species including Nilgiri Thar, the grizzled giant squirrel, the Nilgiri wood-pigeon, elephant, the gaur, the Nilgiri langur, the sambar, and theneelakurinji (that blossoms only once in twelve years).
There has been action to address the problems of property takeovers by the land mafia that have, according to successive governments, plagued the area. In 2011, the government estimated that 20,000 hectares of land had been illegally appropriated and it launched a campaign of evictions that had first been mooted in 2007.
Geography and climate
The region in and around Munnar varies in height from 1,450 meters (4,760 ft) to 2,695 meters (8,842 ft) above mean sea level. The temperature ranges between 5 °C (41 °F) and 25 °C (77 °F) in winter and 15 °C (59 °F) and 25 °C (77 °F) in summer. Temperatures as low as −4 °C (25 °F) have been recorded in the Sevenmallay region of Munnar.