History of Munnar
It is difficult to know the early history of Munnar. Early inhabitants of the area were members of the Muthuvan tribe community. It remained unexplored and wild until the second half of the 19th century when planters from Europe began to plant there. Enjoy the best Places to visit in Munnar. Live in the Best hotel in Munnar. Take a vacation at the Top resort in Munnar. Consider the best travel route From Kochi to Munnar.
Munnar was first known outside of India in the 1870s when John Daniel Munro, the British Resident of Travancore then-Travancore kingdom, visited the area. Munro, who visited Munnar to settle the border dispute between Travancore state and Madras state, literally fell in love with the beauty of the area. Although the Munnar region was under the control of the Travancore Kingdom, it was still the jenmam country of the Poonjar royal family. The land was a "jenmam" land, and the royal family had absolute power over it as the landlord.
Munro was very interested in plantations. He found the Kanan Devan hills, which had high potential to produce plantation crops, out of the many hills in the area. Munro spent no time at all visiting the Poonjar Palace, where he met Rohini Thirunal Kerala Varma Valiya Raja, affectionately known as Kela Varma Raja. Kela Varma Raja trusted Munro as an entrepreneur and agreed to lease Kanan Devan Hills for a handsome sum.
Poonjattil Koickal Rohini Thirunal Kathil Varma Raja leased the Kanan Devan hills, which cover approximately 1,36,600 acres, to John Daniel Munro in 1877 for Rs. 3,000 with a Rs. security deposit. 5,000. Enjoy the best Places to visit in Munnar. Live in the Best hotel in Munnar. Take a vacation at the Top resort in Munnar. Consider the best travel route From Kochi to Munnar.
Munro founded the North Travancore Land Planting & Agricultural Society (NTPSA) in 1879. The society members began to cultivate various crops in different parts of the region, such as sisal, cardamom and cinchona. These crops were abandoned after tea was discovered to be the best crop for the area. A.W. Turnor was the first person to begin cultivation.
It was not Munro and Turnor who began tea cultivation in Munnar. A.H. Sharp (1880), a European planter, is the one who deserves credit. Sharp planted tea on 50 acres of Parvathy land, now part of the Seven Mallay estate. Finlay Muir & Company, James Finlay and Company Limited, entered the fray in 1895 and purchased 33 estates. These estates were managed by the Kannan Devan Hills Produce Company, which was founded in 1897.
Setback For Planters
The disastrous monsoon of 1924 caused a serious setback for Munnar's plantations. Flooding and heavy landslides literally changed the landscape in many places. It caused significant damage to property and the loss of life. Although it was difficult for the residents, they were able to restore normalcy in just a few months. Many estates were involved in large-scale replanting.
Tatas Are Allowed To Enter
The Tata Group and Finlay entered into a 1964 collaboration, which led to the creation of the Tata-Finlay Group. Tata Tea Ltd. was established in 1983. The Kannan Devan Hills Produce Company Pvt. Ltd. was formed in 1983. Ltd. was created and Tata Tea transferred ownership of its plantations to the new company. Tata Tea employees own a stake in the company.
Munnar's New Hope: Tourism
The plantation industry "discovered" Munnar in the 19th century. It was rediscovered by the tourist industry in the second half of the 20th century. Travelers from all over the globe began to flock to the hill station at 1600m above sea level. It retains much of its colonial charm and has many hotels that welcome visitors. Every year thousands flock to the area for its virgin forests, rolling hills and scenic valleys, as well as numerous streams, waterfalls, tea plantations, lush greenery, and winding pathways. Enjoy the best Places to visit in Munnar. Live in the Best hotel in Munnar. Take a vacation at the Top resort in Munnar. Consider the best travel route From Kochi to Munnar.
Poonjar Royal Family
The Poonjar royal family is a key part of Munnar's history. This royal family was the custodians for the virgin hills of Munnar for a long time.
The Poonjar Royal family's history begins in Tamil Nadu, where they fled a brutal struggle for power. Manavikrama, a powerful king from the Pandyan Dynasty, ruled the Madurai Kingdom long ago. Madurai was not only a strong kingdom but also a center of arts. Madurai Meenakshi was revered by the Pandyan kings. It is believed that the sanctorum of this temple was built during the reign of the Pandyas.
After Madurai was attacked by the Chola dynasty, and after a fierce battle the Pandyas retook their kingdom. Madurai's recapturing was marked by spectacular celebrations. After the festivities, everyone fell asleep, and Viswanatah, a general among the Pandyas, opened the gates to the enemy at night. He had sided with Cholas.
The Chola army launched a brutal attack on the asleep soldiers. Manavikrama's immediate family were safely evacuated from the fort by a minister through a long, secret tunnel. They had managed to withdraw a large portion of their fortune, which included jewelry, gems, and gold. They found their way to Palghatusserry, the present-day Palghat. They stayed for a short time in the home of a Brahmin. The King Manavikrama was his guest, and the Brahmins became concerned about the Cholas' disapproval and requested that they leave. Enjoy the best Places to visit in Munnar. Live in the Best hotel in Munnar. Take a vacation at the Top resort in Munnar. Consider the best travel route From Kochi to Munnar.
Manavikrama then moved to Vanneri which is now part of Thrissur. He built a home there and some of his former subjects visited him afterwards. They were Theni, Uthamapalayam, and Kumbam's poligars. Manavikrama was not interested in their support for the king's return to Madurai. The poligars did not abandon hope of the King's return, even though they returned. In anticipation of the King's change of heart, they built a palace in Mele Goodalloor.
Manavikrama became increasingly anxious about Vanneri as time went by. He was then approached by Elangallur king (present-day Edappally). The friendship between the royal heads led to Alanganallur king marrying Manavikrama's daughter. As a token of his affection, the Elangallur King gifted the Ernakulam area in his principality to the queen.
Manavikrama, who had found solace in the support of a wealthy relative, didn't survive long. Kulasekhara, Manavikrama's eldest son, took over family affairs after Manavikrama died. The prince was an ambitious gentleman who wanted his family to be redeemed. He made arrangements for the Goodalloor palace to regroup his loyal Poligars. Enjoy the best Places to visit in Munnar. Live in the Best hotel in Munnar. Take a vacation at the Top resort in Munnar. Consider the best travel route From Kochi to Munnar.
The young prince was not as generous as he thought. After the death of the chieftain, he learned that the kingdom Poonjar was up for sale. Poonjar was located opposite the Goodalloor hills ranges, so it was only natural that the prince had an interest in the area. The prince purchased the Poonjar region of Madurai from the Thekkumkoor royal family, using the fortune that his family had brought back from Madurai. Aditya Varma (the Thekkumkoor King) sold the land and installed Kulasekhara in the role of Poonjar king.
Kulasekhara was a passionate devotee of Madurai Meenakshi temple. He built a temple to the goddess at the banks of Meenachil River, which flows through Poonjar. Soon, a grand palace and fort were also constructed. The idol at the temple is believed to be the original Madurai Meenakshi idol, which King Manavikrama brought with him.
The Pandya rulers were generous and respected their subjects. Although their original title was Perumal (male members), they adopted Raja and Thampuratty as their titles for the female members. Enjoy the best Places to visit in Munnar. Live in the Best hotel in Munnar. Take a vacation at the Top resort in Munnar. Consider the best travel route From Kochi to Munnar.