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Beyond the ordinary: An evening in the Highest Tea Estate of the World

At an elevation of a staggering 8000 feet above sea level, this small hamlet is located 35kms from the beautiful town of Munnar in the Theni district of the bordering state of Tamil Nadu. A surreal place that offers breathtaking views, the Kolukkumalai Plantations must be on every nature lovers bucket list!

Although a back breaking jeep drive to the top, the panoramic views from Kolukkumalai are definitely worth the pain one must endure. The estate was established in the early 1900s and the tea grown here possesses a special flavor and freshness owing to the altitude.

The tea factory here produces tea the old school way through tried and tested methods. This vintage orthodox production process produces sought-after, high quality tea, which is made by very few factories around the world. 

How to reach Kolukkumalai?

The drive to Kolukkumalai is about 15kms of some serious off-roading that begins from the plantation gates of Suryanelli and goes through the Harrison Malayalam plantations, to the top.

No private vehicles are allowed beyond the gates and the only mode of transport is the jeep service that is run by the plantation.

Why? You'll understand once you start the drive.

The 1 hour jeep journey is certainly not an easy one and only gets bumpier with every climb. Definitely do not recommend this one for families travelling with newborns, senior citizens or anybody with back problems. 

So, is Kolukkumalai worth all this pain?

If I had a chance to do it again, I'd do it, without a doubt! Probably would want to make it for the sunrise this time. The plantations are famous for the surreal sunrise views as the sun makes its way through the bed of clouds. A guide that accompanied us showed some pictures of the sunrise, definitely a morning that I want to experience.

But, for those who can't make it for the sunrise, Kolukkumalai is absolutely scenic through the day. Of course, you'll have to make it hours before sunset to catch the last jeep ride to the top.

As the jeep takes you on a bone-breaking ride through the plantations, with every curve, the views only get better! Acres and acres of endless greens and cool air with the scent of fresh tea.

Ah, Bliss! Absolute bliss. 

From the last point where the jeeps stop, it's a 10 minute hike to the top. The best 10 minutes of my life. The fact that this place is an offbeat destination in Munnar only makes it better! 

Away from the crowds, just you, in the clouds. 

Only when you go there will you understand what I mean. The views are absolutely incredible from up here! Valleys of green, Theni at a distance, and Meesapulimala standing tall!

As you walk further down, you will reach the sunrise point or Singapara - Lion rock. Singapara gets its name from its structure that resembles a lion roaring, and its placement is such that the sun appears to come out of its mouth during sunrise.

Depending on what works for you, you can make Kolukkumalai a day trip or an over-night one that's perfect to catch the sunrise. For adventure lovers, there is a zip line here as well that flies you right across the plantations. 

The Kolukkumalai Plantations are a must-visit for nature lovers and the ones looking to explore beyond the touristy locations. Perfect for honeymooners looking to do something different, families on an adventure, or basically anybody looking for a slice of heaven.

God's own after all :)


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