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Munnar by Road from Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore | 4 Scenic Routes!

Written by Poorna & Brinda

Munnar is in news. For right reasons as this is the year of Neelakurinji. Without any hesitation, we would say Munnar is mesmerising. Lovely greenery, beautiful waterfalls, pristine lakes, awesome view points…..all these makes Munnar a place for anyone who loves outdoors.

We always feel the best time to be in Munnar is during monsoon if you are comfortable with rains. If not, then you should go there immediately after the rains. This is the best time to visit Munnar when nature is at its best. It is soothing green everywhere. Waterfalls are at their glorious best. Streams with crystal clear waters. Cascades everywhere! Lakes brimming with water.

With Neeelakurinji flowers blooming between August and October, Munnar is the place to go!

If you are driving to Munnar, it can be reached by four spectacular routes. We give you all details here on how to reach from three southern cities –  Bangalore to Munnar, Chennai to Munnar and Hyderabad to Munnar.

Please click on the pictures to see them in larger size.

Route 1 – Bedazzled by Bodi Ghat!

Munnar

Lovely mountains on Bodi ghat

Munnar

Peaks soaring into the sky!!

Munnar

First sight of Munnar valley!!

Munnar

Colourful tea village!!

Munnar

Chinnakanal Waterfalls in Monsoon

The route via Bodinayakkanur is very picturesque. Especially during monsoon and immediately after that. As soon as you leave Bodi, you will start climbing. The winding roads offer beautiful views of the plains below. The road is curvy but there are not too many hairpin bends. You will see mighty hills with peaks rising to sky!

Once you cross Theni, you will see greenery all around. This is a beautiful countryside. Enjoy your drive as you climb up the Bodi Ghat. You will get many photo opportunities. Stop and experience the nature at its best. Enjoy the drive.

Bangalore to Munnar

  • Route Bangalore – Salem – Dindigul – Theni – Bodinayakkanur – Munnar
  • Google map – https://goo.gl/maps/stBokGmZ8E82
  • Distance – 553 KMs
  • Time – 10 Hours
  • Road Condition – Very Good
  • Suggested stops
    • Breakfast – Though there are many options for breakfast between Bangalore and Salem, if you are leaving around 6 AM, then the best place to have breakfast will be Assai Dosai Saravana Bhavan (See map) which is on the highway. You can’t miss it.
    • Lunch – If you are a non vegetarian, then we recommend that you eat or pack Biryani in famous Talappakatti Restaurant in Theni (See map) . If you are packing biryani, you can stop over at any lovely place on the ghat and have a picnic lunch. If you are a vegetarian, Theni will be a good place to break for lunch. There are many good restaurants in Theni on the highway.

Chennai to Munnar

  • Route –  Chennai – Villupuram – Tiruchirapalli – Theni – Bodi Ghat – Munnar
  • Google Map – https://goo.gl/maps/R46EWfaGL7n
  • Distance – 583 KMs
  • Time – 12 hours
  • Road Condition – Very Good
  • Suggested stops
    • Breakfast –You will find many places on the Chennai – Trichy highway for breakfast.
    • Lunch – If you are a non vegetarian, then we recommend that you eat or pack Biryani in famous Talappakatti Restaurant in Theni (See map) . If you are packing biryani, you can stop over at a lovely place on the ghat and have a picnic lunch. If you are a vegetarian, Theni will be a good place to break for lunch. There are many good restaurants in Theni on the highway.

Hyderabad to Munnar

  • Route – Hyderabad – Bangalore – Salem – Dindigul – Theni – Bodi Ghat – Munnar
  • Distance – 1102 KMs
  • Route map – https://goo.gl/maps/NGK8dYXwKJz
  • Time – 18 hours
  • Road Condition – Very Good
  • Suggested stops
    • We recommend doing this over two days. Else, one would miss the spectacular vistas of mountains after Theni as it would be night.
    • One can start from Hyderabad and stay in Salem – which has excellent stay options – for the night on day 1 and reach Munnar by afternoon on the next day.
    • Breakfast on Day 1 – There are many restaurants on the outskirts of Hyderabad on highway for breakfast.
    • Lunch on Day 1 – We always stop at Dashmesh Punjabi Dhabha after Pamidi ( See route map – next to HP Petrol bunk) for Lunch. Excellent food in typical dhabha style!
    • Breakfast on Day 2 – One can have breakfast at many highway restaurants between Salem and Karur bye pass.
    • Lunch – One can have late lunch in Munnar.  If you are non vegetarian, then we recommend that you pack Biryani in famous Talappakatti Restaurant in Theni.

Route 2 – Ultimate joy of driving on Udumalpet ghat!

Munnar

Spectacular Thoovanam falls as seen from Highway!

Munnar

Thoovanam falls

Munnar

Lakkam waterfalls

Munnar

Karimutty Waterfalls

View from Talaiyar valley view-point!

As soon as you leave Udumalpet, it is a blissful driving. The driving on the hair pin bends on Udumalpet ghat is exciting indeed! Add to that lovely landscape along the way.

You will get a chance to see many lovely waterfalls like Thoovanam Waterfalls, Lakkam Waterfalls and  Karimutty waterfalls on the way. You can take a small deviation to go and see Amaravathi Dam.

Don’t miss to see lovely views of Chinar wild life sanctuary from Chinar Watch tower. Enjoy the beautiful vistas from Talaiyar view-point.

Bangalore to Munnar

  • Route – Bangalore – Salem – Udumalpet – Munnar
  • Distance – 477 KMs
  • Route map – https://goo.gl/maps/GNfpScht2Lk
  • Time – 10 Hours
  • Road Condition – Very Good
  • Suggested stops 
    • Breakfast – Though there are many options for breakfast between Bangalore and Salem, if you are leaving around 6 AM, then the best place to have breakfast will be Assai Dosai Saravana Bhavan (See map in route 1)
    • Lunch – One can have late lunch at Munnar. If feeling hungry, then the best place ti break for lunch is Udumalpet. Kickgrass or Hotel Annavasal. We suggest you pack the food and eat it on the way at one of the waterfalls.

Chennai to Munnar

  • Route – Chennai – Villupuram – Tiruchirapalli – Karur – Udumalpet – Munnar
  • Distance – 596 KMs
  • Route Map – https://goo.gl/maps/YGvkwyzqbxA2
  • Time – 10 Hours
  • Road Condition – Very good
  • Suggested stops 
    • Breakfast – You will find many places on the Chennai – Trichy highway for breakfast.
    • Lunch – One can have late lunch at Munnar. If feeling hungry, then the best place ti break for lunch is Udumalpet. Kick Grass or Hotel Annavasal. We suggest you pack the food and eat it on the way at one of the waterfalls.

Hyderabad to Munnar

  • Route – Hyderabad – Bangalore – Salem – Udumalpet – Munnar
  • Distance – 1063 KMs
  • Route map – https://goo.gl/maps/J4bmfCZ9tyw
  • Time – 18 hours
  • Road Condition – Very good
  • Suggested stops –
    • We would recommend doing this over two days. Else one would miss the spectacular vistas of mountains after Udumalpet as it would be night.
    • One can start from Hyderabad and stay in Salem – which has excellent stay options – for the night on day 1 and reach Munnar by afternoon on the next day.
    • Breakfast on Day 1 – There are many restaurants on the outskirts of Hyderabad on the highway for breakfast.
    • Lunch on Day 1 – We always stop at Dashmesh Punjabi Dhabha after Pamidi (next to HP Petrol bunk) for Lunch (see map). Excellent food in typical dhabha style!
    • Breakfast on Day 2 – One can have breakfast at many highway restaurants between Salem and Erode bye pass.
    • Lunch – One can have late lunch in Munnar.

Route 3 – Kolorful drive from Kochi

Munnar

Huge stone formations near Adimali. Notice lovely cascade seen during monsoon!

Munnar

Cheeyyapara waterfalls – Lovely!

Munnar

Vallara Waterfalls

The drive from Kochi is short and sweet! Driving through lush green landscape it gives an opportunity to see two lovely waterfalls. Notice the huge rocky outcrops at Adimali.

If you are flying directly to Kochi, it is a good to take an early morning flight and land in Kochi by 10 AM. You can take a detour to Athirapally waterfalls ( see this map https://goo.gl/maps/gXt3zZu8wVq ) from Kochi and then come to Munnar for late lunch. Or have light snacks in Athirapally waterfalls. More details on Athirapally falls can be read in this post on this blog – Athirapally Waterfalls – Awesomely beautiful!

  • Route – Kochi – Adimali – Munnar
  • Distance – 127 KMs
  • Route map – https://goo.gl/maps/UKEaEUpAxKx
  • Time – 2 Hours
  • Road Condition – Very Good
  • Suggested stops – One can stop at Adimali for a cup of tea on the way

Route 4 – Spectacular drive from Thekkady!

Munnar

Karaimban Kuthu waterfalls in Periyar valley

Munnar

Captivating Kalvari mount!

Munnar

Idukki Dam

This route is for those who wants to club Thekkady with Munnar. Follow route No 1 above till Theni. From Theni, Kumili which is the Headquarters for Thekkady region is 58 KMs.

The drive from Thekkady to Munnar is a very picturesque drive. You can take small detours to see magnificent Kalvari Mount which provides a panoramic view of Idukki backwaters, Idukki dam, Karimban Kuthu Waterfalls on the way

  • Route – Kumili – Kattapana – Idukki dam – Munnar
  • Distance – 189 KMs
  • Route map – https://goo.gl/maps/ZaceM2ATNQ92
  • Time – 4 hours
  • Road condition – After the recent floods some parts of the road may not be in great condition.
  • Suggested stops
    • One can have tea/snack break at Idukki dam

Plan a road trip to Munnar. You won’t regret it. If you are planning to drive from your home to Munnar from any three southern cities, we suggest that you plan to go by route No 1 and return by Route No 2. This will help you to experience both the routes.

If you are flying to Kochi and then arriving in Munnar, we strongly recommend you to drive on Bodi Ghat till Bodinayakkanur and Udumalpet ghat till Udumalpet. The landscape is spectacular.

Lastly, due to recent floods in Kerala, the road conditions in the state including Munnar may not be great. It will be good to join a road trip enthusiasts group HVK Forum managed by H V Kumar, the doyen of road trip in India. You can get the latest updates on the road conditions in this very active group.

We strongly suggest that you download customised Routo app from H V Kumar. HVK as he is fondly called, provides you customised route maps, live support on the road trip and will also help you with hotel accommodation as well. Check out all details here.

Routo – The Right Route & Travel Support For The Motorist Traveller

Postscript

If you are planning to drive from Mumbai or Pune follow the route – Mumbai – Pune – Bangalore  as per this link  https://goo.gl/maps/2ztB6pkQH632 and then go via Route 1 or Route 2 as given above.

If you are planning to drive from Delhi then follow the route Delhi – Nagpur – Hyderabad as per this link  https://goo.gl/maps/7sh6pq8B3QM2

and then go via Route 1 or Route 2 as given above.

You don’t have to enter Bangalore or Hyderabad. Use NICE road to cross Bangalore city. In Hyderabad, use Outer Ring Road to cross the city.

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About the author

Poorna & Brinda

We are Brinda and Poorna from Bengaluru, the “Silicon city” or “Garden city” of India.

We travel together. We caught the travel bug 20 years back. On our honey moon, we traveled over the sea, in the train, by bus and in an aircraft! Our adventures probably started in that year. It continues, ever since.

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