It was the start of summer. The climate was ready to show off its hotness. I was in search of destinations to go on a trip, but the summer had already started to roast every place out there. And then comes this paradise, made in heaven.
A shivering temperature at the start of summer. Finally, I got to a place, at the borders of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, The high peaks of tea plantations spread across the hills, The Kolukkumalai Tea estate.
Kolukkumalai – Where it is?
Situated at the border, Kolukkumalai is a place in Theni District of Tamil Nadu. The tip of Theni, that a few steps here and there in Kolukkumalai can make you move between states!
At an altitude of 7130 feet above sea level, Kolukkumalai produces one of the finest tea in India with a flavour of freshness. It is around 32 Kms from Munnar.
Due to the rugged and uneven pathway, Kolukkumalai can be reached only via Jeep from a Suryanelli, Idukki which is around 6 Kms, 2hours of liver and kidneys trying to come out of the mouth-journey or by taking a trek via Kerala named the Meesapulimala trek(will be covered in later blogs).
What to do in Kolukkumalai?
The Kolukkumalai tea estate is known for its sunrise viewpoint up above the clouds with a small 45 minutes trek from camping spot. Owned by the estate, they also offer camping packages which include Camping, Sunrise Trek, campfire, Dinner(NV), Breakfast and lots and lots of fresh amazing tea.
This place suits to be a great vacation place for families, friends or even solo travellers. Kolukkumalai is an amazing place to spend your weekend away from the hustling and busy life that you can even escape from mobile networks.
The best months to visit are from November to April.
How to reach Kolukkumalai?
Situated at the border, Kolukkumalai can be reached via Theni in Tamil Nadu and Munnar in Kerala, both being the easiest to commute. You have Public transports especially buses between Munnar and Theni with Suryanelli – the starting point to Kolukkumalai, in between them.
So any bus between them can help you reach Suryanelli and then Kolukkumalai estate from there.
Cost for the vacation
The trip to Kolukkumalai would cost you an approximate amount of 3000INR/head.
The camping and trek package will be around 1800-2000INR while the jeep ride from Suryanelli to Kolukkumalai will cost you 4000INR/Jeep(fixed) for to and fro transportation irrespective of the number of people.
Point to Note: Only Jeeps are allowed uphill and any other Vehicle will have a parking space in Suryanelli.
If not Jeep, you can go on a trek into the tea plantations of 6-8kms which will cost.
around 300INR/head for the permission.
Public Bus fares between Munnar and Theni depends on the bus which might range from 100-200.
So what are you waiting for? Start planning to make this weekend a naturally memorable one up above the hills with your people at a lower cost!
How was my trip?
Started by early morning in Trichy, I reached Theni in 4 hours and boarded a bus to Munnar from Theni. All alone travelling through the mountains interacting with different people.
The travel was amazing with picturesque views of green agriculture lands everywhere in Tamil Nadu, while mountains and risky roads and clouds in Kerala. As I reached Munnar the view of Anayirangal Dam along with lush green plantations, the Mountains in the background and the clouds floating over the mountains was just a mesmerizing frame to be held in our houses.
After reaching the stop near Suryanelli, I boarded an auto to Suyranelli and in another 20 minutes, I reached there. Met my new friends with whom I enjoyed the whole trip, and started the jeep ride.
It was well and good for around 15 minutes and then started the real thrill of bumps and rocks bringing our every internal organ out through the mouth. The Jeep ride was fully surrounded by the lush green, 106-year tea plantations planted in the British reign.
The speciality of the Tea plantation is that they grow for a hundred years only that it has to be cut then and there in order to get fresh soft leaves for better tea.
After the ride, come the borderline of the states and the Kolukkumalai Tea Estate. The camping site was set in a way to get the view of the Western Ghats and its plantations.
Tasted the tea of Kolukkumalai with its fresh aroma rising the soul from in-depth. After getting to know each other in the camp, we started to explore the place shivering all around.
Singapara is a rock in Kolukkumalai which resembles the face of a Lion. This is known for its view and its placement is like that during the sunrise the sun seems to come out of Lion’s mouth.
Pictures with green backgrounds were also so good that it can make great Display Pictures. XD
Then came the Dinner. A special appreciation for the Dinner at Kolukkumalai, with tasty, unlimited non-vegetarian food to fill your stomach and heart.
The campfire was set by then singing multi-lingual songs and getting the warmth of the fire surrounded by very low temperature. Tired but heartful people went to sleep in the tent so that they can wake up for the early morning Sunrise trek. No one until then knew that we were going to witness something beyond life the next morning.
Early morning before the sun was ready, we were ready, shivering with every part of the body possible, not feeling where my fingers are. Started the trek with no fingers literally, it was an easy and small trek to reach the Kolukkumalai Peak.
Slowly we were able to see the lines, the rays of sunlight, ray by ray the sun came outside giving me the best sunrise view ever. While the excitement didn’t stop with the sunrise, as next on stage was the clouds to perform. Moving with the flow of the wind like the clouds were floating everywhere moving up and into the mountains just like my life.
The beauty of the cloud show gives motivation to the lives of people who go with the flow. After all the excitement and picturesque, we trekked back down to have Unlimited Tamil Breakfast until the tummy gets full. And we packed our bags and started our ride back to our places.
This trip was not only filled with the rejuvenation of nature but also with the excitement of new people and their friendships.
Also, do check some other places to cover on your South India trip 😛