Kolukkumalai tea plantation
The name “Kolukkumalai” comes from two Tamil words – “kolu”, meaning “pair of tea leaves with a bud” and “malai”, meaning “mountain.” Much of the tea from these Munnar tea plantations is exported from India. The 500-acre plantations are spread across Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Strolling on the plantation paths is a pleasant experience. The adventurous lot may try to walk down a steep and narrow bridle pathway that once used to be the only way for estate workers to bring home anything from the plains. The life of the people is simple and revolves around these plantations.
Kolukkumalai tea estate visit
The National Highway 49 takes you to Kolukkumalai Tea Estate in Munnar via Devikulam, Chinnakkanal and Suryanelli. Many tour packages include a Kolukkumalai plantation visit including a walking tour around the estate. You need to get a vehicle pass at the entrance of Kolukkumalai Tea Estate.
Located at a height of about 8000 feet from the sea level, Kolukkumalai is one of the most popular adventure-trekking spots. Trekking up the rugged mountain terrain, don’t miss the magnificent mountain landscape and panoramic views. On the Kolukkumalai route, there are plenty of viewpoints that provide breathtaking views of Munnar Hills and the Anayirangal Dam reservoir. The Kurangani-Kolukkumalai-Meesapulimala route is a 20 km trek route that takes you through lush plantations of eucalyptus, tea, arecanut, coffee and more.
The Periyankal Falls is also on the way. On your way is an Echo Point, which is said to echo a loud sound at least five times.
Wear strong shoes to manage the terrain and prevent leach attacks. Warm clothes and ear protection are also a must. It is advisable to take a guide, who will not only explain the culture and day-to-day life of Kolukkumalai inhabitants, but also guide you through the rugged terrain.
Kolukkumalai jeep safari
Kolukkumalai jeep safari takes you through the Kannan Devan Hills’ plantations, beautiful valleys and spice plantations. It is a wonderful experience to have a closer look into the lives of the plantation workers in the countryside. Once you reach the peak, it is astounding to get a bird’s eye view of the plains of Tamil Nadu. The jeep safari is usually a full day tour of the hills, its plantations and its old tea factory. Make sure that you take snacks and water as there are no shops in the area.
You must have a powerful vehicle to drive up the steep hill. The path is literally rocky, so be prepared for a zigzagging bumpy ride. A hired jeep safari is the best option, as your driver would also be a good guide to explore the region.
Kolukkumalai tea factory
There is an old two-storied tea factory called Orthodox Tea Factory, which was built in 1935. It is adorned with wooden interiors and adds its own charm to the plantation hills. You can take a guided tour of the factory to have a look at the tea processing method. The factory still uses the traditional processing method, which is entirely different from the modern CTC method. There is a tea tasting center where you can sip several tea varieties to get some insight into the rich range of flavors. Don’t miss the factory outlet that sells fresh tea packets.
Kolukkumalai hotels and resorts
The Green Jungle Holyday Resort, Bodi Mettu and Club Mahindra Lakeview are among the best accommodations near Kolukkumalai Tea Estate.
Rose Gardens Home Stay, Highlands Cottages, The Eastend, Dew Drops and Sisiram Cottage are other accommodations in the area.
You may also stay at Munnar, Vandiperiayar or Theni, the towns nearest to Kolukkumalai.
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Worth the adventure!
Great experience, I must say. In fact I was a bit hesitated to visit Kolukkumalai hearing about the not-so-smooth journey to reach there, but lucky that I changed my decision and decided to give it a try. Now I'll count it as a must-visit place in Munnar. The jeep ride is not that easy, but just enjoy it. Awesome!