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The territory of Munnar

Munnar is a town located in Kerala state in the southern Western Ghats in South India. The name is often used to refer to the whole tourist area of Idukki District of which the town forms a part. Munnar panchayat of Devikulam block is the largest in the district with an area of 557 km². The name of Munnar is believed to be derived from the Tamil words Munu (three) and aaru (river), referring to the town's strategic location at the confluence of the Muthirappuzha, Chandavurai and Kundaly rivers. The area is surrounded by vast jungles and remains wet and cold during most of the year. The Mattupetty Dam is nearby. The people of Munnar share the culture and traditions of Kerala and their Tamil neighbours.

The territory of Munnar was previously almost entirely occupied by the Tata Tea company, one of the Tata Group of companies, who had obtained it on lease from the Travancore royal family.following TATA's withdrawal from the plantation sector the plantations have been handed over to a consortium that goes by the name of Kannan Devan Hills Plantation Corporation Ltd.Today TATA is concerned only with marketing of the tea produced under the brand name Kannan Devan.

Many residents are employed in the tourism business. In 2000, the Government of Kerala declared Munnar as a tourist spot. This has helped in attracting more tourists to this beautiful hill resort. Several protected wildlife areas in the area attract many tourists who support the many hotels, restaurants and transport businesses in Munnar.

Munnar has an ancient history and prehistoric relics discovered around the area point to Stone Age civilization. However the written history begins from the 10th century onwards. 

In Tamil, the word Munnar means three rivers and as it is at the confluence of three mountain streams, the name is apt. In the year 1790, the Duke of Wellington became the first European to visit the area and the Tamilians (known as 'Muthuvans') also migrated to Munnar and nearby places during this period. 

In the early 19th century, the headman of the villages of Anchanad, Kannan Thevar, held lands to the north of the high ranges, which belonged to the local Rajah of Poojar. 

In 1877 said Poonjar chief, a subordinate of the Maharaja of Travancore, leased 588 sq. km of land around Munnar to a Mr. J D Munro, a British lawyer cum tea planter. This tract, henceforth called the Kannan Devan (Kannan Thevar) Concession Land, was completely undeveloped, largely unexplored, and covered with thick jungle. 

Thus Mr. Munro had a huge task ahead of him, but succeeded in clearing it all for tea production and the plantation still exists to this day. (According to records however, the first tea sapling was planted by A.H. Sharp at Parvathi, part of the present Sevenmullay estate, which then consisted of 20 hectares (50 acres) of cleared land in the surrounding jungle.) 

In 1895, Messrs Finlay Muir & Company bought Munro’s land and almost 100 years later in 1976 Tata-Finlay Ltd. purchased it. Then in 1983 James Finlay Group sold their remaining share holdings and the company became known as Tata Tea Ltd., the largest integrated tea company in the world. 

Although many years have passed, this area still grows tea (a lot of it) and the remaining surrounding jungle remains largely untouched offering a wonderful resource for a true Indian adventure like no other with numerous sightseeing activities and in the areas more recent history, hotels, to accommodate the visitors who now flock to this popular spot in the hills.

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