About Top Station
Located around 32 kms from Munnar, often called the ‘Kashmir of South India’, Top Station is a sight worth witnessing! It is the highest point of Munnar, and derives its name from being the uppermost railway station in the Kundala Valley, the ruins of which can still be seen from the Munnar Tea Museum.
The 5500 feet high destination is a blissful viewpoint for a panoramic visuals of the Western Ghats and the beautiful valley of Theni in Tamil Nadu. Once you’re at the peak, you almost feel like you can reach out and touch the clouds, making this point truly ‘Heaven on Earth’! Top Station is also popular for its abundant foliage and the Neelakurinji flowers which bloom once in twelve years, adding a blush blue, vibrant look to the destination.
Being in Munnar, Top Station is also famous for its sprawling tea gardens, where you can take a stroll and learn about the cultivation process from the locals.
Originally, Top Station was a trans-shipment point for delivery of tea between Munnar and Bodinayakanur. Being the terminal of the Kundala Valley and the upper terminus of an Aerial Ropeway route, lent it the name Top Station.
This station was built in 1902 between Munnar, Kundala and a low point in the crest of the hills with a monorail goods carriage system being installed along the route. Six years later, in 1908, a 24-inch gauge railway replaced the monorail.
On these tracks, the tea chests that arrived at Top Station from the Kundala Valley were transported by a ropeway, 5 km downhill to the south to Kurangani, Tamil Nadu. The tea was first shipped by cart to Bodinayakanur, then by rail to other places in India and lastly by ship to England.
The remains of this ropeway station and Kundala Valley Railway can be seen from the Munnar Tea Museum.
How to Reach Top Station
From City Centre-
Reaching Munnar Top Station from the town’s city centre is fairly simple. You can hire a private car, book a taxi, or board the local bus that’ll drop you off right to your destination.
Best Time to Visit Top Station
With a favourable climate that generally varies between 3°C to 30°C throughout the year, Munnar’s Top Station is considered an all-season destination. But the best months to visit are October and November and then again from January to April.
During these months the town is lush and replete with beauty, especially at the summit. Most routes are open at this time of the year, so navigating is convenient and all sightseeing spots are easily accessible around Top Station. In December, if it gets too chilly, reaching the top might get difficult, while during the monsoon, roads are slippery and reaching the peaks can get tedious.
What Not to Miss at Top Station
Places to Visit near Munnar Top Station
Munnar offers abundant beauty, but here are some must-visit places:
1. Mattupetty Dam :
Located in the Idukki District near Munnar, this dam was built amidst the mountains to conserve water that would generate hydroelectricity in the region. It is famous for bringing in revenue to the state by generating a good amount of power, while the panoramic view of the mountains and the fast-flowing waters of the dam add charm to the attraction.
2. Punarjani Village :
Take a cultural trip as the locals of the simple village perform traditional Kathakali and Kallaripetu for you. The ticket is approximately Rs. 250/- but the graceful dances are definitely worth the buck.
3. Munnar Tent Camp :
If you’re travelling all the way to Top Station, you ought to spend a day trekking and the night in a tent through camping. Gaze at the starlit sky, indulge in a scrumptious barbecue, sit by a bonfire or go horse riding for a truly adventurous experience.
4. Echo Point :At an altitude of 600 metres, Echo Point is a beautiful place with magnificent views of the lake and mountains. Shout out something fun and wait to hear your voice reverberate through the mountains and travel back to you.
Things to do near Munnar Top Station
When on a trip to Munnar Top Station, make sure you visit the following destinations:
1. Kolukkumalai Tea Estate
With the reputation of being the ‘highest tea estate’, Kolukkumalai stands tall at an altitude of 8000m above sea level. The panoramic views of the estate are lush green and away from the bustle of city life, which adds to the beauty of the destination. Most of the locals here can be found working on the estate, sorting and packing an array of teas.
2. Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including thorny dry forests, grasslands, deciduous forests, and shrub forests. Here, you’ll spot anything and everything including medicinal plants, animals like the Grizzled Giant Squirrel, the White Bison, the Saw Scaled Viper, birds like Yellow-throated Bulbul, fishes, and insects. You can also participate in the cultural and ecotourism activities that the sanctuary conducts.
3. Nyayamakad Waterfalls
A waterfall that roars as it gushes down from an extensive height of 1600 metres, Nyayamakad is a great stopover for a picnic with your loved ones. It’s a place for serenity, a point to relax at while driving down to another destination, or simply for a beautiful photoshoot amidst nature’s bounty.
4. Mukurthi National Park
The untouched beauty of Mukurthi, a sprawling, rolling grassland, will leave you mesmerised with its beauty. Amidst the grasslands are mixed forests and brooks bubbling with water, with a view of the dense Amarambalam forest below. The vibrant national park, dotted with flora is home to the Nilgiri Tahr, which sees umpteen tourists each year.
5. Periyar Tiger Trail
Traverse the tiger trails as you head out on a safari adventure that lets you explore the exotic wilderness that inhabits the forests. On this unique safari, you ditch the car rides, and walk across 25 kms, while staying overnight in tents. This is truly a one-of-a-kind experience that lets you get as close to nature as you can possibly imagine.
Other Essential Information About Top Station
Location: Located on the Munnar-Kodaikanal Road, Top Station is the highest point of Munnar. As you stand at the peak you’ll notice how beautifully Munnar’s charm is encapsulated by the view point at Top Station. Being approximately 32 kms from the heart of Munnar, Top Station can be travelled to by a tourist cab or bus or by hiring a private car.
Timings: Being a peak that necessitates a walk back and forth with not much development around, the ideal time to visit Top Station is between 6 am to 6 pm. At 6 am there is usually broad sunlight, so navigating the roads is easier. Make sure you head back from the peak before 6 pm, so you’re at the foot of Top Station before it gets too dark. Staying there late might be risky, but try to be there to watch the sunrise or sunset, to enjoy Top Station’s beauty at its best!
Entry Fee: Visiting Top Station and its viewpoint is open to all at no entry fee.
Height: Top Station lies at an elevation of 1700 metres (5500 feet) above sea level.
Photography Charges: Capturing the beauty of Top Station is absolutely free!Distance from city centre: Top Station is at a distance of 32 Kms from Munnar's city centre.
Places to Eat near Munnar Top Station
1. Guru’s Hotel: This is an unpretentious restaurant that’s well-known for its curries, especially the non-vegetarian variety. The quality of flavours and generous quantity of food at reasonable prices is the reason why Guru’s is frequented by tourists and locals. Even on the most crowded days the staff is warm and friendly which is worth appreciating.
2.Hotel Sri Nivas: If you’re keen on trying out local dishes of Kerala, Sri Nivas is a must-visit. Here you’ll find authentic South Indian fare including dishes like the ghee roast dosa, veg korma and the satisfying South Indian Thali.
3. Rapsy Restaurant: Rapsy makes for a quaint place to dine at, with its huge glass windows and a view of the sanctuary beyond. The place is packed, especially at lunch and dinner time with tourists and others lining up for the famous parathas and biryanis served here. This is a must-visit if you enjoy non-vegetarian delicacies.
4. Saravana Bhavan: A place that needs no introduction. Saravana Bhavan is a must-visit for traditional South Indian flavours, especially the sheera and filter coffee here which is absolutely divine.
Places to Stay near Munnar Top Station
Some of the best hotels and resorts to stay at near Munnar top station include:
1. The Only Place:
Situated in Vattavada, Kerala, The Only Place boasts of log cabins, garden views and a patio where guests can relax. The comfortable stay also includes a delicious Asian breakfast spread.
Distance from Munnar: 13 kms.
2. Nature Castle:
Equipped with a sprawling garden and offering views of bright green terrace farming, Nature Castle offers a homely stay in Kottakamboor, 8 kms from the popular Pampadum Shola National Park
Distance from Munnar: 13 kms.
3. Castillo De Woods:
Another great location tucked in Kottakamboor, Castillo De Woods is perfectly located right across the scenic sky-scaling mountains. There’s also an on-site hotel serving up some delicious dishes and a barbecue that you can opt for, especially on a cold night.
Distance from Munnar: 10 kms.
4. Hillon Resorts:
Half an hour away from the must-visit Munnar Tea Museum, Hillon Resorts not only caters to your taste buds with a plush restaurant, but it is one of the few resorts in Munnar to offer an outdoor swimming pool and a lounge area.Distance from Munnar: 45 kms.
Travellers' Tips before Visiting Munnar Top Station
Though Munnar’s Top Station can be navigated by road, a certain part of it might require an uphill climb. Here are tips that can come in handy on your trip to Munnar:
1. Wear comfortable shoes in case you need to walk around
2. Be firm on your feet and don’t go towards cliffs that might prove fatal
3. If you’re planning to trek, hire a guide who’ll show you around
4. Carry a cap, water bottle, and first aid kit, especially if you’re trekking
5. Make sure you carry a high-resolution camera to capture some wonderful photos of this picturesque tourist spot
6. Leave forests, hills, and trails by a certain hour, preferably before sunset, to ensure you’re safe.