Kolukkumalai Tea Estate

Kolukkumalai Tea Estate, Kottagudi: Hours, Address, Kolukkumalai Tea Estate Reviews: 4.5/5

Kolukkumalai Tea Estate
Points of Interest & Landmarks
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Kolukkumalai tea is one of the premium tea in South India. Kolukkumalai is the World's Highest Elevation Tea Plantation. Our Kolukkumalai Tea has been a winner of the "Golden Leaf" award given by UPASI (The United Planters' Association of Southern India) for the best quality Tea. Contrary to the other usual CTC tea produced by the other plantations, we are using Orthodox methods to process the tea leaves.
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
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The area
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2 within 5 kms
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639 reviews
Very good

Noida, India18 contributions
Chinnakanal to Kolukkumalai - An Unforgettable journey !
Mar. 2020
Heaven on Earth - Kolukkumalai :

Even after spending close to 30 years in Delhi, we have never decided to settle in this capital city due to various reasons – blame it on the extreme climate or the boring life inside the flats and apartments or the high crime rates…. So whenever we get an opportunity to travel, we would never miss it – be it alone, or with my better half or with our friends..
I called up Vincent - my childhood friend (who is practicing in the Cochin High-Court) in one of those boring days from my office and discussed about taking a short break to beat the boredom and we decided to travel to “Kolukkumalai” from where one can trek upto “Meesapuli Malai” which hosts one of the high altitude tea-plantations in the world. We are normally lone travelers and did various trips in my old “Wagon R” in the past. This time Vincent got a relatively new car and we decided to take Beena, Vincent’s wife along-with my father and father in-law for the trip.
I landed at the Cochin International Airport in the wee hours of March 6 2020. I started the journey from Delhi after a hectic weekend day at my office to catch the evening flight – now a days there are a few night flights from Delhi which reach Cochin in the late hours and all these flights are jam packed with passengers who wanted to take advantage of night travelling and getting a “full length day” the next day.
Angamali Railway station is just 15 minutes drive from the Airport. Some times the drivers will take a short cut thru a railway crossing which may take an additional 5 minutes in case the crossing is closed for passage of the trains. I took a Uber to the Railway station @ Rs. 350/- (Airport Taxies charge Rs. 550) and waited for “Guruvayur Express” which will drop me at Kayamkulam – the station near to my home early morning. It was the beginning of the Covid 19 scare and I deliberately avoided the blankets and sheets offered by the train attendant. I set the alarm on the “Rail Yatri” application and got into a deep sleep forgetting the surroundings….
The train was late by around 30 minutes and arrived at Kayamkulam Station in the early morning of 12th March. I called up Shyju – (a good Samaritan who stays with my father who is alone for the last few years after my mom’s sudden demise) Shyju did not respond to my call initially as he was in deep sleep inside the car giving me some anxious moments at the deserted station in the night…. He called me back after some time and we reached my home after 15 minutes. I took a bath before going to the bed to wash away the hectic day and went into a deep sleep.
After around 4 hours sleep, I got up early morning and got ready by 6.00 at my first floor room. Downstairs, my father and father in law – despite of their age (around 80) were ready by 6.30. Vincent promised me to pick-up us by 6.30am and as usual he was late by almost an hour and half ! making me slightly frustrated and angry.
So, we started our journey from Kattanam (my hometown) at 8.00 towards Chinnakanal. Google map calculated 5.30 hours for the journey of around 170 kms. From Kattanam via Erumeli, Wagamon, Nedungandam and Kattapana. The problem while travelling thru this route is the difficulty in finding good restaurants till we reach Mundakayam or Neungandam. Many of the restaurants are seasonal in nature and will be operational only during the Sabarimala Season which is from November to January every year. We reached Ranni by 9.15 and found a small restaurant for breakfast. It was an average breakfast with limited offerings like Kerala Paratha and Appam. Since there are only limited options on this route it is better to have something from the options available en-route. We resumed our journey after a 30 minutes break and crossed Erumeli in another 30 minutes. The route from Erumeli to Wagamon is very scenic and slightly adventurous. The gorges near Wagamon are very deep and the sudden mist that appears on the road makes the journey enchanting and equally dangerous !.
From the Wagamon round about we took the route for Nedungandam and reached Nedungandam by 1.00 pm. Nedungandam is one of the hill towns in the Idukki District having lot many shops on either side of the road selling provisions, textiles bakeries, spices etc. We decided to have our lunch here as chances of getting good food is less when you are climbing up the hills. We resumed our journey at around 2.00 pm after having lunch. After Nedungandam, you will be welcomed by the fresh tea plantations on either side of the road. Tourists who crosses this town towards munnar, stop and take a few pictures before proceeding further. We also stopped for a while for taking some beautiful snaps of the plantations.. People who see the plantations for the first time will be awestruck at the beauty of the plantations and the way its maintained. In between the tea plantations, you will see lots of cardamom plantations which gives a different beauty to the landscape. More than 60% of India’s cardamom is grown in Kerala – mainly in Idukki District. The place Kumily is the largest cardamom market in the world. The Cardamom plants are planted below big trees which gives shade to the plants.
By 3.15 we have reached “Anayirankal Dam” road and decided to visit the Anayirankal reservoir which can be reached thru the property of Harrison Plantations for which one need to pay entry fee. Since it was evening time and there was some waiting time for the boating activities, after spending around an hour, we decided to reach the hotel – Sterling Resorts by 5.00 pm. We completed the check-in formalities within 10 minutes of arrival and got into our rooms for refreshing ourselves. Sterling has a beautiful property at Chinnakanal which is neatly maintained. The cottages are built on the downhill just beside the forest. It’s an ideal place for people who want to rest on the lap of the nature for a few days… Even though the journey was more than 6 hours including the breaks, the elders with us did not show any form of fatigue throughout the journey.
The evening was pleasant with temperature around 20 degrees. We enjoyed the glasses of whiskey which washed away all the tiredness of the long journey.
The next day – we three – Vincent, Beena and myself went out for morning walk and to book the jeep for “Kolukkumalai” visit. Some of the tea shops opposite to Sterling was already open and we enjoyed the morning tea from one of the tea shops. I always like the tea served at the local tea stalls in Munnar and surroundings for it’s unique taste. The tea is made of tea dust and is strong in nature. The tea which is brewed thru the samovar enhances its taste a lot. After the tea, Vincent brought the car and we set out to the Suryanelli town for morning walk. After parking the car on the roadside near the post office, we went for the walk thru plantations on either side and clear blue skies above us. The tea plantation workers stay inside the plantations in small clusters called “layams” in Malayalam (small stables or similar) Since it was a Sunday, many of the workers were having off and they were getting ready for going the temples and churches nearby. While walking thru the plantation, we met this lady – Kanchana - Beena started talking in Tamil and she was eager to understand the lives of the plantation workers. Kanchana is widow of around 30 years and have two kids of ages 15 and 13. Her husband died a few years back due to heart attack now she has to take care of the kids with an average income of Rs. 200/- per day for an eight hour job. Life is actually tough for the tea plantation employees and they get into a trap which they find it difficult to break due to lack of other opportunities nearby. Beena took note of the phone no. of Kanchana and promised to be in touch with her in future. After spending nearly two hours in the plantation, we returned to our rooms and got ready for the “Kolukkumalai” drive after finishing our breakfast briskly.
“Muthu” owner cum driver of the jeep was ready at the entrance of the hotel and we started our journey to one of the highest tea plantation in the world. The rate for the journey is 2000 rupees which is pre-fixed and printed and pasted in front of the hotel to avoid any arguments or bargaining between the visitors and jeep drivers. Muthu is a good talkative driver who has his Tamil routes. His parents and forefathers were plantation workers and Muthu bought this second hand Police Jeep some years back for a lakh and half rupees thru auction. He does repair of the jeep himself to save cost. Since the road towards Kolukkumalai is only rubble road, the tyres get damaged very fast after a few thousand kilometers and need to be replaced. Kolukkumalai peaks need to be reached thru Harrison Plantations and the jeep rent need to be deposited at the entrance of the plantation. The driver will collect the money on return from the gate (Harrison plantations charge some amount for using their property). I seated myself on the front seat of the jeep to take some pictures en-route. Both the parents were seated on the side seats with Vincent and Beena backing up them to prevent any fall from the jeep when it climbs up the hill. The route to the peak is so narrow that only one jeep can go at a time. The turns are so sharp that some times Muthu has to reverse the car and turn it again before climbing up. En-route there were many jeeps returning from the peak for which giving side was a difficult task. Some times the tyres of the jeep were almost on the edges of the road which I thought will take us down to the deep valley below. The beauty of the Kolukkumalai drive are these rough paths and sharp turns and the risks it offers on the way !. We reached the peak within an hour and Muthu parked the jeep at one corner of the peak. After walking some steps towards a view point, we asked our parents to wait there and we continued our walk to the “Lion rock” which is a lion shaped natural formation.
Thank God ! it is a clear day and the mist coming from the depth were getting disbursed within seconds of appearance due to the strong winds coming from the depths of the valley. At one side of the peak, the depth is more than a Kilometer and you need to hold your breath to balance yourself on the narrow strip of land. Cumbum and Theni - the hamlets under Tamil Nadu are on this part of the peak. On the other side which is under Kerala, the beauty of the valley opens up in front of you when the wind blows and mist is vanished. This is one of the most beautiful scenes I have ever experienced in my travels so far. The neatly cut tea plantations play hide and seek with the misty clouds as the wind blows. We posed near the lion rock for a photo op. Vincent put his hand onto the mouth of the rock and stood carefully on the edge against strong winds coming from the depths - A minute diversion will be very fatal and irreversible !. Some of the other visitors didn’t opt for the photo after looking into the depths. After spending almost two hours at the top we started our descent. My parents were waiting impatiently for us near the parking area – thanks to the group from Cochin who spend time chatting with them.
On descent, Muthu hardly put the engine running and controlled the descent with his breaks and gear box – Thanks to the manual operations of the Jeep ! (no power breaks – no power steering) Hats off to this guy for his guts !. On the way to the hotel, we stopped for a late lunch at “Appunnoos Hotel” which serves the best food on the Chinnakanal – Sooryanelli route. We started the return journey from Sterling at 4.00 pm reached Kattanam by 00.30 hrs. next day.
Written April 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Nellore, India48 contributions
Oldest tea estate with good views and yes definitely with good leaves....!!
Apr. 2019 • Family
One should definitely go there and experience the making of tea ☕️, with those traditional methods ... and sip some hot tea ....!!
Written March 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

1 contribution
Kolukkumalai estate
Nov. 2019
Visited here during our vacation at native. We bought tea dust from here. Beautiful place also the tea was tasty...
Written December 21, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Soumyajit Saha
Kolkata (Calcutta), India399 contributions
Kolukkumalai Tea Estate
Jul. 2019 • Solo
Kolukkumalai Tea Estate is located in south India. It is one of the best Tea Estates in India. One must visit this place.
Written October 12, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ajo kurian
Thekkady, India52 contributions
Like a heaven
May 2019 • Friends
Heavenly place, heavenly view, heavenly experience. That's the way it should be described. Only thing is the visitors who make it dirty plastic as well as other wastes. The place is nature's gift a very well place to relax away from the city
Written July 1, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

2 contributions
excellent place
Apr. 2019
Kolukkumalai is wonderful at early morning. You have to be there at 6 am at least. One should know that car will not go there. At Suryanelli the town down you have to park your car and hire a jeep from there as the road is with humps and jumps. If you stay near Munnar town like Chithirapuram or Eeticity where a lot of beautiful home stays and Farm houses are , They will arrange jeep for your trip from their place example If you stay in Munnar Farmhouse They will arrange jeep excusively for you, make you wake up at 3.30 am , take you to Kolukkumalai to see the wonderful view. You will feel to stand over fog as endless mist is under your feet. Further walking is needed to reach Meesappulimala . One should be careful and keep in mind that DO NOT TRAVEL WITH SMALL CHILDREN eg. below 10 years of age as jeep journey from Suryanelli to Kolukkumalai is very difficult and after walking children would become very tired. Very old people also better avoid this trip. But youngsters it is amust visiting place Amazing, amazing!!
Written May 8, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

kamal a p
Alappuzha, India792 contributions
Singapara rocks
Apr. 2019 • Couples
Stayed at black eagles camp then trekked for almost 45 min to reach the singapara
Where we enjoyed the sunrise breathtaking view
Looked like a tiger/lion face with musthache
Can spend some time therw
Written April 14, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates15 contributions
Heard of Orthodox Tea??
Aug. 2018
Well, you need to go to this place, silently located, far from pollution and fast life, an age old factory and the product of the place - yes, the Orthodox tea, said to be high quality naturally produced tea, free from pesticides or any other harmful chemicals. You need to visit this place, bouncing your way in a jeep through a rough road, can call it an off-road track. You will love it...
Written March 23, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sinjana .
Bengaluru, India100 contributions
Unparalleled beauty of nature
Nov. 2018 • Friends
Kolukkumalai is a small village in the Theni district of Tamil Nadu at the border of Idukki district of Kerala. So, technically it is a part of Tamil Nadu but Munnar (in Kerala) is the most popular gateway to Kolukkumalai tea estate. To reach Kolukkumalai you need to hire a jeep from the gate of Suryanelli tea estate from where the 9 kilometers of crazy off-roading will begin. It is the HIGHEST organic tea estate in the whole world!
Written March 21, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Seattle12 contributions
know what you're signing up for
Mar. 2019 • Couples
5 stars:
-lovely views
-very nice historic facility

1 star:
-6 hour round trip journey
-of that 6 hours, ~1.5 hours is a very very jarring jeep ride. i cannot adequately convey how intense that part of the ride is
Written March 17, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Kolukkumalai Tea Estate is open:
  • Sun - Sat 12:00 a.m. - 11:59 p.m.
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