When the British ruled, the area belonged to Madras Presidency – without the distinctions of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It was in the early 19th century that travellers used to come from Madurai and nearby areas of Tamil Nadu. At that time, it wasn't called Munnar, but Anchanad – named after Kannan Thevar - the headman of the villages.
In 1877, the Poonjar Raja gave Englishman J.D. Munro about 500sq.km of land. He converted them into tea plantations. Later, spices plantations also came up. The Kanan Devan Tea Estate must the most famous of the lot. Even though you see many tea and spices plantations now, resorts and holiday homes have taken over. People from all over the world come to Munnar – for holidays, on honeymoon and leisure.
The abundance of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in and around Munnar has made it famous as a popular adventure sports location. Trekking, hiking, paragliding, waterfall rappelling, rafting and jungle safaris are great activities to indulge in. you can spot or learn about animals such as Nilgiri Tahr, Nilgiri langur, sambar, elephant, gaur, and lion-tailed macaques on a trek. The highest peak in south India, Anamudi, is located in Munnar. It is 2,695m high.