Munnar is an idyllic tourist hotspot, set at an altitude of 6000 feet above sea level. Located in Idukki district of Kerala, Munnar is known for its never-ending green expanse of tea plantations, serene valleys and lively mountains.
Munnar ('Moonu' meaning three and 'Aaru' meaning river) derives its name from the confluence of three rivers - Muthirappuzha, Nallathanni and Kundaly. The British had made it their summer capital in South India, before developing it to cultivate tea plants.
Strobilanthus or Kurinji, a species that is endemic to the Western Ghats and blooms once in 12 years has really earned Munnar a special status; and tourists throng from all over the world to witness it. Munnar is known for tea and spices. Not to forget, homemade chocolates.
Vizag, on the other hand, is the largest city in Andhra Pradesh. It is also the financial capital of the state. Vizag houses the oldest shipyard and also has the only natural harbour on the East coast of India. The recent surveys have established that it is also the third cleanest city in India.
Vizag is surrounded by Eastern Ghats in the West and Bay of Bengal in the East. Vizag has a rich historical background. The present city is said to have been built by Kulothunga I of the Chola dynasty. There are many unfounded theories on how the city came about to have the name Vishakapatnam. During the British period, it was called Vizagapatnam. Later, it was changed to Vishakapatnam. However, the shortened name Vizag stuck and is used informally.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Vizag?
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Winters (from October to March) is the best time to visit Vizag. The temperature hits a maximum of 30 degree Celsius and a minimum of 15 degree Celsius. However, during the summers, i.e., from April to June, the maximum temperature can peak to 45 degree Celsius and with the humidity, it becomes unbearable to step out.
Monsoons (July to September) are pleasant with some showers, but also a lot of humidity. Generally, sightseeing or a road trip during monsoons is not recommended, as the visibility of the roads can also be minimal.
How To Reach Vizag From Munnar?
By Air: Munnar does not have an airport. The closest airport is at Kochi, and it is 110 km away by road. However, there are no direct flights to Vizag from Kochi. Vizag has its own airport and is pretty well connected with all major cities.
By Train: Aluva is the closest railway head to Munnar. Aluva is at a distance of 111 km from Munnar. Dhn Alappuzha E (13351) is a train that goes directly from Aluva to Vizag. It takes almost a day and a half to reach Vizag.
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There are 3 routes to reach Vishakapatnam from Munnar.
Route 1: Munnar - Theni - Tiruchirappalli - Tindivanam - Chennai - Nellore - Guntur - Vijayawada - Rajahmundry - Vizag, via Chennai-Srikakulam Highway/Guntur-Chennai Highway. This trip covers a distance of 1371 km and takes 23 h 11 min to reach Vizag.
Route 2: Munnar - Udumalpet - Tiruppur - Salem - Krishnagiri - Vellore - Chittoor - Tirupati - Nellore - Guntur - Vijayawada - Rajahmundry - Vizag, via Chennai-Srikakulam Highway/Guntur-Chennai Highway. This trip covers a distance of 1371 km and takes 23 h 31 min to reach Vizag.
Route 3: Munnar - Udumalpet - Tiruppur - Salem - Krishnagiri - Kuppam - Kadappa - Guntur - Vijaywada - Rajahmundry - Vizag, via Chennai-Srikakulam Highway. It covers a distance of 1370 km, but is slightly longer on the watch than the other two routes. It takes 25 hours to complete this.
Choosing route 2 would be ideal, as the roads are pretty good and it will be an easy drive.
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Munnar is a splendid hill station with gorgeous views and weather. There are some really worthwhile places to see in Munnar. Eravikulam National Park houses 26 species of mammals, 133 species of birds, 85 species of butterflies and 22 species of amphibians. It is also home to the endangered Nilgiri Tahr.
Mattupetty Dam is another favourite among the tourists. It is a concrete gravity dam built to conserve water for hydroelectricity. Perennial show of water helps the flora and fauna to thrive in this region. It is also known to be visited by elephants of this region. Anamudi is the highest peak in the Western Ghats and also in all of South India. This is at an elevation of 2695 metres above the sea level. Anamudi (meaning elephant head) derives its name from the shape of the hill, which looks like an elephant's head.
The Kannan Devan Tea Museum is a must visit to learn about the history of Munnar. There is also a live demonstration on how tea leaves are processed from the start till end. Kolukkumalai in Munnar is the highest tea plantation point in the country. There are also many waterfalls like Lakkam, Attukal, Nyayamakad, Chinnakkal, Kuthumkal, Cheeyapara, Valara and Thoovanam.
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Udumalpet from Munnar is 2 h 33 min and is 85 km away. The main attraction near Udumalpet is Aliyar Dam. The dam passes many entertainment bids your way. There is a park, a garden, an aquarium, a play area and a mini theme park, boating in addition to the exquisite dam. Valparai is a tourist hotspot that is located at a height of 3500 feet above the sea level. There are many coffee and tea plantations in the region. This is a relatively new hill station and has not fallen prey to complete commercialization yet.
Udumalpet to Tiruppur is 65 km in distance and takes 1 h 15 min to reach. Tiruppur is a massive textile and knit wear hub, which contributes to 90% of the total cotton knit wear exports from India. It is a good idea to pick up a few T-shirts and cotton wears at the surplus stores for throwaway prices.
Next on our route is Salem, which is at a distance of 125 km away. The time taken to reach would be 2 h 10 min from Tiruppur to Salem. Salem is known for its extraordinary mangoes. The taste of Imam Pasand mangoes you get in Salem is unparalleled.
Krishnagiri – Vellore
Vellore is 122 km away from Krishnagiri. It takes a total of 1 h 38 min to reach Vellore. Vellore Fort is a beautiful piece of architecture that houses a temple, a church, a mosque and the very famous Vellore Christian Hospital. The architecture is from the Tipu Sultan era. Golden Temple in Vellore is famous, as the temple is built from gold. It is gilded with 1500 kg of gold, which is 2 times more than that of the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Golden Temple is located in Sripuram, at the foothills of Thirumalakodi in Vellore. The presiding deity is Sri Lakshmi Narayani.
Next on the route is Chittoor, which is 38 km from Vellore, and takes about an hour to reach this place. Chandragiri Fort near Chittoor is a historical fort built in the times of the Yadava Naidus. This fort houses a Raja Palace (which is now a museum) that exhibits the Indo-Sarcen architectural style, which is attached to the Vijayanagar period. Sri Kalahasti Temple is a famous temple for Rahu Ketu Pooja. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Chittoor to Tirupati is about 71 km and takes about 1 h 38 min to arrive. The world famous Tirumala Venkateshwara temple is in Tirupati. It is a very holy temple and is thronged by many devotees all year round. Tirupati also has many educational institutions and universities. Tirupati is a good place for an overnight stay. There are many great options for accommodation in Tirupati.
Make an early start and head towards Nellore, which is 135 km away from Tirupati, the next morning. Venkatagiri is a town in Nellore, which is known for handloom cotton sarees. Vekatagiri saree has acquired a geographical indication (GI) tag. Irukalala Parameswari Ammavari Temple is a protected monument and worth a visit. After offering prayers, drive straight towards Guntur. Chirala, which is on the way is famous for its handloom sarees. The breezy cottons are a must have in your wardrobe. In addition to the sarees, the weavers are now branching into making kurtas, chudidhar materials, etc., so the options are extended. Chirala also has a beach, if a long walk on the coastline excites you.
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Guntur is 243 km away from Nellore. You will reach Guntur in 3 h 45 min. Guntur is famous for its red chillies. The fiery chillies will not only make your eyes water, but also make your tongues salivate. Guntur Sannam, as the chillies are called, has also acquired a GI tag under the Geographical Indication of Goods Act.
Mangalagiri, known for its handloom cotton sarees, is in Guntur district. These soft cotton sarees are a perfect splurge to treat yourself or to gift to others. Mangalagiri cotton sarees and fabrics have also acquired GI tag from Andhra Pradesh. The thick Nallamalla forests of Guntur are a part of the Eastern Ghats. The forest has many trekking areas and options.
Undavalli caves near Vijayawada is a magnificent piece of architecture carved out of a single sandstone in the 5th century AD. The architecture follows Jain style with the viharas exhibiting Jain tirthankaras.
Vijayawada is an hour and 40 km away from Guntur. Bhavani Island is a river island formed by the river Krishna. This is a perfect weekend getaway. There is nothing much to see or do here, except for boating. However, it is extremely laid-back and away from the hustle-bustle, thereby offering a quiet getaway.
Kanaka Durga Temple
Kanaka Durga Temple in Vijayawada is sure to leave you spellbound. Legend has it that this temple was built by warrior Arjuna to honour Goddess Kanaka Durga. Vijayawada has the highest honour of giving Kuchipudi to the world. The dance form was born in the village with the same name, i.e., Kuchipudi. There is a dance school here, founded by the founder of Kuchipudi, Sri Siddhendra Yogi.
The Prakasam Barrage is built across river Krishna, and it has the prestige of being the largest barrage in Asia. The barrage, which also serves as a road bridge, is a wonderful place for a long stroll whilst enjoying the balmy air and glimmering lake.
Rajahmundry is 157 km away from Vijayawada. Without any detours or stops, it will take around 3 hours to hit the city. Rajahmundry is known as the cultural capital of Andhra Pradesh, and it is said that the language Telugu originated in Rajahmundry. Dindi is a panoramic village in Rajahmundry that is known for its virgin backwaters. The lakes, lagoons and rivulets extend a perfect welcome to a soothing getaway. Dindi is still not hugely popular and so the pristine beauty is still not ravaged.
Rajahmundry is on the banks of the river Godavari. To truly enjoy the beauty of Godavari, one must go on a boat ride from Rajahmundry to Papikondalu. Along with the balmy river breeze, you can enjoy the teeming wildlife from the surrounding hills. After driving for 3 h 21 min from Rajahmundry, and a distance of 191 km, you will reach Vizag.
Final Destination – Vizag
Vizag is beatified with beautiful hills, tranquil beaches and natural valleys. It is surrounded by three hills namely Sri Venkateshwara Konda, Ross Hill and Dargah Konda, each of them dedicated to different religions of Hinduism, Christianity and Islam, respectively. The city is named after Lord Vaishaka. Vizag was a part of the Kalinga Empire, which was ruled by revered kings like Ashoka. During the 18th century, the Dutch colonized Vizag. Here's are the places to visit in and around Vizag.
Araku Valley is an enthralling hill station, located on the hills of Anantagiri. It is at a distance of 112 km from Vizag. At a height of 3200 feet above the sea level, Araku valley is famous for it charming weather, salubrious streams and beautiful waterfalls. Araku has 19 native indigenous tribes and offers a wonderful insight into their culture and traditions. Experiencing Dhimsa, which is a folk dance, is a must do in Araku Valley.
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Borra caves are made from stalactite and stalagmite formations. Borra caves bear a religious and historical significance. There is a Shivalinga and an idol of Kamadenu deep inside the caves that the locals worship religiously. In 1807, the Geological Survey of India found Paleolithic implements in these caves that were at least a million years old.
This beach on the Bay of Bengal is known for its taintless sands and crystal-clear waters. There is a Memorial that is dedicated to the soldiers who laid down their lives in the 1971 Indo Pak War. There is a VUDA park, a submarine museum, a Kali Temple and many eateries and restaurants dotting the beach. It is a lovely experience to sit by the beach and enjoy a plate of hot bajjis, whilst watching the sunset.
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Submarine museum is located on the Ramakrishna beach. It houses INS Kurusura, a Soviet built submarine that was demilitarized in 2001. The submarine is displayed with all its arms and fittings on the beachfront.
Dolphin’s Nose & Port
A rocky headland, around 174 metres in height, Dolphin's nose gets its name because of its resemblance to a Dolphin's nose. There is a huge lighthouse on the top of the rock, which beams a powerful stream of light.
Erra Matti Dibbalu (Red Sand Dunes)
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This is a Geo heritage site and is known as the Grand Canyon of India. Many tourists visit this place during the Kartik Masam and eat vana bhojanalu. There is a great threat of the red sand dunes being levelled and slowly washing away.
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This hill offers Hill houses and humongous statues of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. There is a park called Floral Watch that is built like a watch. There is a rope car service that allows access to the hill, offering great views of Vizag and the beaches.