Idukki: The charm of monsoon weather is drawing people from across the country and abroad in good numbers to the hilly tourist town of Munnar though it's off-season. The gently shape-shifting mist along the slopes is an added attraction.
That said, the hotels and resorts in the town are not fully booked as in the peak season during Onam, Christmas holidays, and during January and February when the mercury plummets to zero, and further below in some of the areas.
Monsoon tourism has been slowly beckoning a considerable amount of tourists to the hilly town over the years, said tour operators Onmanorama spoke to.
“People from the United Kingdom are arriving in good numbers. Several tourists from north Indian states are also arriving in Munnar to get a feel of the monsoon and the misty setting. The tourists are either wearing raincoats or holding umbrellas as there is heavy rain often. This is also the best time to experience the mist. As rain clouds fill the sky, the hills and vast tea plantations are engulfed in mist; after the rain, the atmosphere slightly brightens up,” Munnar-based tour operator Anoop Jose said.
According to hoteliers, the rooms which are rented out at high prices during peak season are now available at very low rates. “However, in the past few years, the recurring heavy rains and floods in August adversely affected monsoon tourism as there would be safety concerns for tourists. Rain as such is not an issue, but if there are landslides, the tourist footfall during August will slump,” a hotelier said.
Rain 40 degrees
Munnar grama panchayat vice-president M Rajendran said Greens Munnar, an organisation of residents in Munnar, will be holding a one-day event at the Kerala Sports Council’s High Altitude Training Centre, Munnar on August 6 with the aim to give a fillip to monsoon tourism: a mud football penalty shoot-out game; more than 30 teams are expected to take part.
“Rain in Munnar falls with a 40-degree slant; we have named the event after the phenomenon,” he added.