Monday, August 24, 2015

Kolukkumalai

Kolukkumalai
Kolukkumalai(கொழுக்குமலை) is a small village/hamlet in Bodinayakanur Taluk in the Theni District of Tamil Nadu. It is home to the highest tea plantations in the world with the tea grown here possessing a special flavour and freshness because of the high altitude. 


Kolukkumalai is about 7,000 feet (2,100 m) above sea level and lies some 32 kilometres (20 mi) from Munnar. The hill top village is accessible only by jeep and it is about a one and a half hour journey from Munnar town. The exact location of Kolukkumalai is in Theni district (Tamilnadu). The approach road is via Suryanelli in Idukki district of Kerala.
Located high on the slopes of Meeshapulimala, Kolukkumalai is arguably the estate with the highest grown tea in the world! Started in the early 1900s the estate produces tea using the orthodox method in the time tested tea factory. Little has changed here since the colonial planters left leaving behind their legacy of one of the best quality tea you can get in South India. 

Though known for its special orthodox tea, Kolukkumalai Estate is now venturing into another of its unique products; nature, great mountain views and excellent opportunities for walks in the hills. Kolukkumalai gets a fair number of day visitors to enjoy the spectacular sunrise over the Palani hills, its cool climate and of course visit to the factory where tea is still made using the orthodox method. What most day visitors miss is the opportunity to walk the hills above the estate and maybe a trek up Meeshapulimala, an imposing peak at an elevation of 2640meters (8661 feet) above sea level! 


Accommodation facilities are available at the guesthouse on estate in simple but tastefully refurbished by workers. Kolukkumalai is an ideal spot to be for anyone looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Munnar town and enjoy life on a tea estate, as it originally was. 
Kolukkumalai is accessible only be jeep or on foot across the mountains. Kolukkumalai is a paradise for nature lovers with a variety of flora and fauna endemic to the area and opportunities to walk up its slope for some spectacular scenery of the peaks and swirling clouds below.
Kolukkumalai is about 7,900 ft above sea level and you can have some excellent views of the far off plains in the bordering State of Tamil Nadu. The distant hills slipping in and out of the mist is a captivating sight.  


The rolling acres of tea are an experience in itself for the visitors. Take a lovely stroll on the pathways in the plantations. The more adventurous can take a walk down a fairly steep and narrow bridle path leading to the plains. Only with awe can you hear that this route was once the only option for the estate workers to carry tea chests down and bring provisions to their residence.
Kolukkumalai Tea Estate
The estate, located on Kolukkumalai Hills, is around 31 km from Munnar and takes almost 52 minutes to reach by Jeep. The place is popular for growing special flavoursome teas. It has an old tea factory, built in the mid 20th century, which still uses traditional technique of tea production. Visitors can sip different flavours of tea and buy fresh tea from the factory outlet. 
About 7130 ft from sea level, Kolukkumalai is the highest organic tea farm in the world.  The tea factory is old, still keeps machinery from the British rule times and is mostly a showpiece for visitors.

Factory staff takes you around, shows the machinery and explains the process of making organic tea.

Go on a guided tour through the factory. The two-storied building, built in the 1930s, with its wooden interiors and aroma would present you some time-tested methods of tea processing. Here tea is processed in the traditional method, which is different from the more popular CTC (crush-tear-curl method). Tea lovers will be pleased to sip different varieties of tea from the tea tasting centre here. Those wanting to take home the flavour can buy fresh packets from the outlet attached to the factory. There are different varieties to choose from like the Broken Orange Pekoe (BOP) and the Flowery Orange Pekoe (FOP). Get some tips from the salesmen on how to extract the different tastes. 






In addition to tea production, the hill is famed for panoramic views of the rolling hills and fresh air. At sunset, you can behold spectacular views of Kodaikanal town.
The estate was the Southern Tea Competition winner of the Golden Leaf India Awards 2005.
Opening & Closing Time
07:00 am – 06:00 pm
Open all days, except Sunday
Entrance Fee:Rs. 75 for Adults
Sun Rise
Seeing sun rise from Kolukkumalai is quite an experience. You will have to arrange the jeep and the driver early. If you are staying at Munnar, have to start by 4 A.M. The journey takes 2 hours roughly.



Another plus is the clear view of the valleys in morning sparkle. Have a flask with some hot drinks and some snacks / food. Thought of having a memorable breakfast at the summit? Bear in mind that the factory opens only at 10 A.M.
If the weather is bad, the mornings are going to be misty. So sun rise tours are not a good choice during rainy season.
Facts
Location: Belongs to Tamil Nadu in the border of Southern Central Kerala.
District: Belongs to Tamil Nadu. On Idukki border.
Nearest towns: Suryanelli at 8 kms, Devikulam at 23 kms and Munnar at 32 kms.
Bus Station: Munnar at 32 Kms.
Food Options: Carry own food and drinks, nothing up the hill. Limited choice at Suryanelli and Devikulam. More choice of restaurants at Munnar.
Accommodation Options: 3 bed room Guest house atop Kolukimalai. A few resorts at Suryanelli, Chinnakanal and Devikulam. More choice at Munnar.
Best time to visit: Avoid heavy rains and very foggy days, as views get obstructed.
Nearby Attractions: Chinnar Wildlide Sanctuary, Marayoor, Manavan Shola, Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kumali, Munnar, Devikulam, Peerumedu, Eravikulam National Park, Mattuppetty, the Arch dam, Idukki wildlife sanctuary, Anamudi, Eco Point, Top Station, Waterfalls of Cheeyappara, Valara, Thommankuthu, Keezharkuthu, Attukal and Chellarkovil, Carmalagiri elephant walk, Anachal, Malankara reservoir, Mangala Devi Temple, Meenuli,  Kundala dam  and Kalvari Mount.
Accommodation
The only place to stay at Kolukkumalai is the three bed room Guest House run by the Tea Estate. Need to book in advance.
Suryanelli, Chinnakkanal and Devikulam are beautiful locations, with resorts and home stays. Suryanelli has the added advantage of being in the base of the hill.
The positive for Munnar is that it has the most number of resorts, hotels and home stays to choose from.
At Kolukkumalai the only available option is the Kolukkumalai Mountain Hut (a decent 03 bedroom nicely renovated factory worker's house with attached toilets). This guesthouse has a nice view of the valley and they serve nice food too. You will get more details about the accommodation and facilities from their website www.kolukkumalai.in and you can contact on info@kolukkumalai.in or call them at +91 94470 31040It is better to book in advance since this place has only limited rooms and they also will arrange jeep for the transfer from Suryanelly to Kolukkumalai and vice versa and treks and walks @ Kolukkumalai & Meesapulimalai.
Connectivity
By Air
Cochin International airport also known as Nedumbassery Airport and CIAL is the nearest airport. It is 110 km away from Munnar by road.
Madurai International Airport which is 140Km from Munnar by (National Highway 49).
By Land
The nearest railway station is Aluva, 110 km. Ernakulam is 130 km kottayam 140km and Madurai is 135km you can get the direct regular buses to Munnar First Bus starts at 6AM.
Bodinayakkanur Railway Station are the very nearby railway stations to Kolukkumalai.
How ever Sivakasi Rail Way Station is major railway station 86 KM near to Kolukkumalai 
Munnar is best connected to this place. From Munnar, take Devikulam Road. After Devikulam, continue along Kochi - Dhanushkodi Rd (Munnar – Kumily Hwy) and deviate left to Chinnakanal – Suryanelli Rd., the small town before the Kolukkumalai Hills. From there you need a Jeep (which you can hire locally and will cost you less than INR 700) for going uphill. Kolukumalai is about 12 kilometer away from Suryanelli and the Jeep will take more than one hour for covering this 12 kilometer ghat road.
Near By Air Ports
·         Madurai Airport 153 KM
·         Kochi Airport 133 KM
·         Coimbatore Airport 203 KM
Near By Railway Stations
·         Aluva Railway station 137 Km
·         Kodai road Railway station 127 km
·         Bodinayakanur Rail Way Station 50 KM
·         Theni Rail Way Station 66 KM
·         Andipatti Rail Way Station 82 KM
·         Usilampatti Rail Way Station 105 KM
·         Madurai Rail Way Station 142 KM

5 comments:

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Hotel Sakthi Tower said...

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ilamurugan said...

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Kolukkumalai Mountain Hut said...

Dear Ilamurugan

The blog that you have above is interesting but the pictures that you have taken from our site needs to removed as it is a copywrite violation. The pictures that we have on our website are those taken by professional photographers and not for open use. The pictures that I am referring to are those taken from our website www.kolukkumalai.in. If you require some pictures then do drop us an e-mail on info@kolukkumalai.in and we can forward you some that are for open use.

Thanks/Kolukkumalai Mountain Hut