Even regular visitors to Munnar will get surprised by the stay at Anamudi Shola Methap Stone House, a cottage perched virtually above a sea of mist. The place is on the border of Shola forest, which is a national park in Kerala.
There are two cottages at Anamudi Shola – one is made of wood and the other is built with stone. It is the only such accommodation facility in Munnar and probably in Kerala, too.
The journey starts
A trip to Anamudi Shola begins from Munnar town. From there, take the road to Top Station and pass the Eco Point, Mattupetty Dam, and the grassland where wild elephants often come to visit. Then enjoy the sights of Kundala Dam, where a pleasant ride on 'sikara' boats awaits travellers. From Kundala, an 8-km forest path takes visitors to Anamudi Shola.
The condition of the stretch is bad, but it is motorable. The road is flanked by hills and tea gardens. The ideal time to negotiate this stretch is between afternoon and dusk, when the scenery can be enjoyed best. Earlier, this was an easy route from Munnar to Kanthallur, but now travel is not allowed beyond the check-post at Anamudi Shola.
Anamudi Shola is often referred to as one of the most scenic spot among the hidden destinations in Munnar. The location of Anamudi Shola, one among the five pristine shola national parks in Kerala, is between Kanthallur and Kundala Dam.
On the edge of the forest, the Forest Department has arranged two cottages for travellers. While the wooden house is called 'Methap,' the other one is termed 'Stone House.' Both are built on top of a small hill which offers a panoramic view of the sea of mist below during the morning hours.
The key of the cottages are available at the check-post, where the travellers' vehicles can be parked. A path to the right leads uphill and a short walk to the top takes visitors to the cottages. There is a watchtower beside this path, from where thick greenery can be observed.
In olden days, Adivasi folk and residents of Keezhanthur, near Marayur, took this route through dense forest to reach Munnar town. Though vehicles plied along this road in the past, the authorities have banned entry completely now. Even trekking into this forest is not allowed.
A night in Methap
During the night hours, a fine breeze and chilling weather awaits guests at Methap. The cottage is strongly built, with an attached bathroom, another room and a sit-out. Electricity is provided by solar energy.
The wooden and stone houses are located some distance away from each other. A stay at both cottages is interesting but Methap offers a more enchanting experience.
Right in front of the cottages are rolling hills and valleys where mist is a permanent presence and guests can enjoy spending the night right next to a forest.
Wake up early in the morning and you can watch the sea of mist forming below. Rush to the watchtower with the camera and you can shoot an amazing sight – the mist that has spread all the way to the hills far beyond.
The trip to Anamudi Shola ends with a light breakfast.
Things to note
The route to Anamudi Shola is via Munnar and Kundala Dam
The package for two adults can be availed at Rs 2,000 in one cottage
Children above the age of five are charged Rs 500 each
Check-in time is 3 pm and check-out 10 am
For booking, log on to www.munnarwildlife.com
Food is not included in the package
However, in case guests buy essential items from Munnar town, cooks are available at Anamudi Shola to prepare meals
Nearest town is Munnar and the nearest inhabited place is Kundala
Consumption of alcohol is banned at Anamudi Shola
Remains of food and plastic items should not be thrown on the premises
Visitors should not disturb wild animals like bison that regularly venture into cottage grounds
Carry essential medicines while travelling to Anamudi Shola
Also remember that mobile phone coverage is very poor.