A journey through past and present of Munnar

Centennial souvenir revisits Munnar’s history post-1924 flood, featuring writings, photos, and memories of the iconic hill station

Updated - July 09, 2024 07:12 pm IST

Published - July 09, 2024 07:08 pm IST - IDUKKI

Centennial, a souvenir prepared by the alumni association of Munnar Government High School in Idukki.

Centennial, a souvenir prepared by the alumni association of Munnar Government High School in Idukki. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Centennial, a new book in the form of a souvenir, presents a vivid journey through the past and the present of Munnar hill station, popularly known as the Kashmir of southern India. The souvenir was officially released at a function at the Idukki press club on Monday.

Crafted by the alumni association of the Munnar Government High School, the souvenir brings back the memory of a devastating flood that washed away most of Munnar hill station in July 1924. On the hundredth anniversary of the flood, the souvenir aims to recreate the memory of the flood.

The souvenir republishes the writings of managers of tea plantations of that period, featured in the book History of The High Range. Published in 1930, this book by Violet A. Ff Martin, wife of A.F.F. Martin, one of the first managers in the early Kannan Devan Hills Plantations (KDHP), describes the relentless rain starting on July 15, 1924, and its severe impact on Munnar’s plantation sector. A four-page section, The 1924 Cyclone, details the rescue operations during the flood.

In his article, writer and journalist M.J. Babu describes how the 1924 rains affected Peerumade, Malabar, and other areas. The publication also explores how Munnar transformed after the flood. The railway line was replaced first by a ropeway and later by a lorry service. The Kannan Devan Company’s head office moved from Mattupetty to Munnar after the flood. Mr. Babu also elaborates on the souvenir itself.

The souvenir includes memoirs from Munnar residents — former Tamil Nadu DGPs Walter Issac Dawaram and Lathika Sharan, and former Munnar doctor Sulochana Nalappattu. It features historical photographs of Munnar, from the first Kundala Valley light railway to the Munnar ropeway, captured by Param Jyothi Naidu during the catastrophic “Great Flood of 1924”.

Concise history

M.J. Babu, president of the alumni association, explained that the souvenir offers a concise history of Munnar’s past. “Most of the new generation don’t believe that a monorail service was once operational in Munnar hill station. Through this souvenir, we describe the past and the present condition of the hill station. It will provide a brief history of one of the first plantation towns in Munnar,” said Mr. Babu.

“The souvenir also describes how a plantation town evolved into a popular tourist destination over the years,” added Mr. Babu.

At the function, press club secretary Jaise Vattappallil released the souvenir, and Munnar Government High School alumna and retired deputy collector K.M. Khadeeja received the first copy.

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