The hilly haven of Munnar has long been one of the most loved and preferred holiday destination – mainly for its misty views and sprawling tea gardens all around. But, approximately 38kms from Munnar, across the border, in Tamil Nadu, lies one of the best kept secrets of this hill station – The hills of Kolukkumalai.
About 7130 ft above sea level, the Kolukkumalai hills are home to the highest organic tea plantations in the world and own the region’s oldest tea factory established in 1930.
Offering a spectacular view of the steep slopes of tea gardens all around, the Kolukkumalai hills are still not known by many because this hill station is not for everyone. Only if you are a true nature lover and ready to take the bone-rattling drive up the hills – you will be able to witness the glorious beauty of the undulating tea gardens with majestic mountains in the background.
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How to Reach :
Kolukkumalai is situated in Theni district of Tamilnadu and is accessible only by jeep due to bumpy road covering last 15 km up the hill. From Munnar It is about a 45 kms journey. To reach here from Munnar – you have to go to chinna-kanal and then Surya-nelli in Idukki district of Kerala which is 5 kms away and then hire a four wheel drive (4WD) vehicle to reach to the top of the tea estate. You can also hire a local jeep which will cost Rs. 1200 to Rs.1400 for 4 hours ride.
A drive through the town of Suryanelli takes you to sprawling tea gardens owned by Harrisons Malayalam Ltd. An entry fee of Rs.100/- for the vehicle is charged at this point and from here starts the bumby off-roading through a narrow and rocky path with a number of hairpin bends all the way up to the Kolukkumalai Peak.
Kolukkumalai Tea Estate in Tamil Nadu, Munnar
The drive through the rocks is bumpy and challenging and not so much fun especially for kids and seniors. You can however, get down from the jeep in-between to soak in the scenic beauty of the tea gardens encircled by majestic mountains and feel the moist touch of mist and take a lovely stroll on the pathways in the plantations. It’s an experience in itself.
Kolukkumalai Tea Estate Tamil Nadu Munnar
After one and half hours of bone-rattling drive you come across a board saying “Now ‘U R’ at 7130 ft.” the Kolukkumalai Peak. The view from this spot will literally take your breath away! The embrace of misty clouds with instantly make you forget the painful drive the moment it engulfs you in it’s arms. It’s beauty at it’s peak with spectacular views of the far off plains in the bordering State of Tamil Nadu with Tamil Nadu on one side and Kerala on the other end. The cool breeze and pleasant climate will soothe the mind and soul. You can spend some time watching the cloud-shrouded mountains slipping in and out of the mist and soak in the greenery and pleasant aroma around.
Kolukkumalai Tea Estate Munnar
Kolukkumalai Tea Factory Tour
2 kms downhill from the peak is a small tea stall near the tea factory. You can sip in a warm cup of tea before starting the tea factory tour. The tea factory is old and has ancient machinery. It is called Orthodox tea because teas is grown organically and it’s hand processed.
- The trip to Kolukkumalai is basically a full-day 8-9 hrs trip. Besides taking the jeep, one can also trek up to the hills.
- To watch sunrise from Kolukkumalai, you will have to book a jeep in advance and will have to start as early as 4:00 am coz it will take you approximately 2 hrs to reach.
- Carry some breakfast and warm drinks since nothing will be available there during the early morning hrs. The factory opens at 10:00 am . So be prepared.
There is a 3 bed room guest house run by the tea estate at Kolukkumalai which you need to book in advance. You can also stay at Suryanelli for the added advantage of being close to the hills.
Witness the gorgeous beauty of the tea gardens , play of the mist and fog and watch the panoramic views of the rolling hills from the top . Kolukkumalai hills is a must visit for every nature lover.
If you have any spine or backache problems or backaches keep away from this ride. Pregnant women, people with heart and other health issues, minors and senior citizens should not risk it as well.
Kolukkumalai Hills Munnar
Kolukkumalai Tea Gardens Munnar
Kolukkumalai Tea Gardens Munnar Tamil Nadu
Kolukkumalai Hills Munnar Tamil Nadu
Kolukkumalai Hills Munnar Tamil Nadu pics
Kolukkumalai Tamil Nadu pics