Sunday, March 7, 2010

Kolukkumalai : Tea so High and Grape so Dark

Kolukkumalai – Kambam
             This was in the draft section for long, and the trip was actually a part of another one which happened on 8th August 2009. We were at Munnar Govt.Guest house, one fine after noon, planning how to spend the hours left. Kolukkumalai was the decision and we started off by half past two. Drove to Chinnakanal and took a left deviation for Sooryanelli village. At Sooryanelli had discussions with the Jeepwalas and finally chose Mr.Kishore, who agreed to carry us for Rs.550. Left our vehicle by the wayside and boarded Kishore’s four wheel drive

             Kolukkumalai is known to be the highest place in the world to have active tea plantations. There is a Tea processing unit at the top which was established during the british regime, and they still use the same original machinery. The track winding up Kolukkumalai is a bumpy one and it takes around one hour to reach the top. The evening drive along the mist covered elevated plantations, above the clouds, was refreshing.             Once at the top, where the Jeep stops, the view around will never disappoint the visitor. We had the Kolukumalai peak on one side, Munnar top station and the adjoining Kodai hils, plus Meesapulimala for our eye’s pleasure.              The tea factory is a beautiful old fashioned, three storied building, in the midst of the greenery and we walked down to it.                 They served us hot aromatic tea of different combination. After the tea, we were taken for the factory tour. I had been exposed to tea making process earlier, but this one stood apart for the fact that, apart from the crude machinery erected during the early 19th century, the remaining part was still manual.        Spent around an hour, in and outside the factory and bought freshly prepared tea from their outlet. Got out by around 6 in the evening and returned to the base after the spine breaking return drive. Back at Munnar by 7.30 PM.

           This small post is just to bring it to the notice of ordinary Munnar visitors, that there are places easily accessible and less polluted, to spend half a day, apart from the regular Eravikulam – Mattupetty – Top station run. 

                       We were not planning to visit any regular tourist spots of Munnar and we thought of a different path, for our return journey to Trivandrum, , via Bodi- Kambam - Kumili - Mundakkayam - Pathanamthitta, as we had enough time. Off by 10 AM, via Chinnakanal, Devikulam and took a left turn from Pooppara. The hair pin curves start at Bodi Mettu, and the TN roads this side are well maintained, making the drive a pleasure.             After the descent took a right turn at Bodi , for Kambam – the left goes to Theni. There were many vine yards along the way, near Kambam, and we paid a visit to one.             Had a stock of fresh grapes and grape products from their store and proceeded to Kumili. At Kumili by 2 PM, had lunch and headed along KK road, in a hurry to reach home, as early as possible. 

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  1. Great trip guys thanks for the info on kolukkumalai,best reference for these parts of the world..

    Just great in rediscovering the lost road from munnar to kodai its enchanting ....Anoop


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