Kolukkumalai is a small village on the border of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. At an altitude of 7130 ft or 2170 m above sea-level Kolukkamalai Tea Estate is the highest tea plantation in the world. The Kolukkumalai Tea is known for its distinct flavor and freshness. The plantation produces 12 tons of tea every month.
Kolukkumalai is a small village in Theni District. Tourists are mesmerized by the sunrise over Palani Hills. The breeze in the hill station has a distinct and fresh aroma as it is situated in Munnar at 8,000 feet above sea level, drawing visitors for both its uniqueness and panoramic views?
Get yourself relaxed or boost your adrenaline, either way, Kolukkumalai gets it all right for you. Let it be a friends trip or family trip or maybe even a solo ride to get away from the rush of life, you can get it done correctly at Kolukkumalai, cost-effectively. At the highest tea estate in the world, feel the happiest. Get Ready for Kolukkumalai!
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How to reach Kolukkumalai?
It just takes about 90 minutes to reach Kolukkumalai from Munnar.
The 35-km journey takes around 90 minutes. Munnar is well-connected by a network of highways to major cities in South India. The tea estate is accessible by jeep only.
The highway is smooth throughout, but the last few kilometers to the hill station are bumpy. The road is picturesque. You can take a break and soak in the view of mist-covered hills, tea shrubs, and numerous waterfalls.
The Kolukkumalai tea estate is located thirty-five KM outside Munnar is built above the Tamilnadu’s plain, atop the precipitous ridge. Munnar is well connected to cities in both Kerala and Tamil Nadu by the means of roads, thus you won’t find any difficulty in reaching the destination. You can opt for either a public transport facility or private picks to travel.
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What makes Kolukkumalai special?
Kottagudi Plantations manages Kolukkumalai Tea Estate and was awarded the Golden Leaf Award by the Tea Boards of India and the USA for its excellent quality of tea way back in 2005. Be it a family trip, a school friends’ reunion or solo bag packing, Kolukkumalai never fails you. With nature’s unparallel beauty and views, Kolukkumalai offers the best travelling and tripping experience of all time. Relax, enjoy, have fun and have lots of entertainment at Kolukkumalai.
1. The highest organic tea estate in the world
What makes Kolukkumalai unique and famous is its tea estate and the quality of tea and the highest organic tea plantations in the world, Kolukkumalai tea estate is one of the oldest tea plantations producing signature tea using orthodox methods. This tea estate is one of the few places in the world where leaves handpicked early in the morning are rolled, cooled, fermented, dried in the machines that display the labels of British Manufactures in the 1940s and then hand-packaged for distribution.
Remarkable, the tea of the Kolukkumalai estate, puts light on the traditional method of tea production; taking you back to the 1900s when colonial planters started the estate. The quality of the tea increases as the altitude increases. No better reasons can be given as to why this tea is the best in kolukkumalai tea estate. Being the highest tea plantation in the world, Kolukkumalai estate delivers the best tea of all times as no chemical fertilizer is used. The waste generated from processing the tea leaves is recycled as fertilizer. The wet fog which engulfs the region provides enough moisture for the plants to thrive and rain is not needed, unlike other tea plantations.
The estate is established during the colonial period. Located at Kottagudi Village, in Tamil Nadu at the Bodinayakkanur Taluk, Theni District, the total extent of the Estate is 220 hectares. In these 220 acres, tea plantation is done in 81 hectares and the remaining is rocky and barren lands. The culture of tea picking and processing was found during the colonial period and still continues to be a masterpiece in tea production.
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2. The natural view is absolutely stunning and beautiful
With breathtaking views and an unbeatable climate, Kolukkumalai offers the best experience for travellers and visitors. Kolukkumalai is best known for its diverse variety of flora and fauna. The scenic beauty and the views are mesmerizing along with the wonders of nature. The estate provides eye captivating view of the Nilgiris. It is a delight to a nature lover. The waterfall adds to the beauty of the place and gives scenic pleasure to the visitors.
Kolukkumalai is definitely one of those places in Kerala that leaves a long-lasting experience. A year-round visit is ideal for Kolukkumalai as the place calms the eyes and soul and it has a captivating beauty all year long. Known for its scenic views and fresh air, Kolukkumalai is one of the most unexplored places in Kerala and is a real eye captivator and breathtaking place Peace is guaranteed for your body and soul with the lush green tea estates spread across igniting mesmerizing views for the eyes.
3. Have adventures with nature
Visiting Kolukkumalai offers wonderful experiences and the tour packages available are exactly what you are looking for. From off-road jeeping to campfire, the Kolukkumalai offers wonderful entertainment choices. The destination is famous for trekking and other adventure sports. The climb and ride are bumpy but it is worth the while. Some of the famous activities at Kolukkumalai are rock climbing, trekking and rappelling.
With bumpy rides and hard roads, Kolukkumalai offers the best spot for travellers who love adventure and sports. Trigger up and amplify your trip at Kolukkumalai with three-day trekking. Trekking from Kolukkumalai to Meesapulimala and then down to Munnar. This will beat your adrenaline rush and guarantee you the adventure you have been looking for. You can also hire tents at Silent Valley from KFDC.
The trekking to Kolukkumalai starts from the Kurangani Village. Hiking past the Kurangani hills from the Kurangani village gives you spectacular views and surrounds you with a cold breeze. Entering the forest, you will be covered with a jungle canopy and it is going to be green all around until you reach Kolukkumalai. Around 50 hairpin bends have to be crossed to reach the destination. No, there are no shortcuts! By the end of the trail, you can witness a unique altitude of pine trees, portraying nature beautiful as ever. As you reach the destination, relax and enjoy the wonderful tea of Kolukkumalai and the warmth of the place with birds chirping all around.
4. Never miss the sunrise at Kolukkumalai
Being at Kolukkumalai offers the best benefit of Sunrise. It is magnificent and breathtaking and it leaves you in a wonderland. Watching the sunrise at such a high altitude gives a different and heartwarming feeling for the viewers and is a total pleasure to your eyes. If at Kolukkumalai, never ever miss out on the sunrise. Start your day with the mesmerizing Sunrise at Kolukkumalai and ensure that your day is as lit as the sunrise. It is the perfect treat for your mind and soul.
Best season to visit Kolukkumalai Tea Estate
If you are planning to visit Kolukkumalai, it is always necessary to go at the best season. Though it is a year-round visiting area, certain weathers make the place even more beautiful! The best time to visit Kolukkumalai is from September to November and December to February.
September to November is the exclusive season because Neelakurinji blooms at this time of year. Neelakurunji blooms once in 12 years and it is dominant in Munnar. Visiting Kolukkumalai during dawn is ideal as you can witness the scenic beauty of nature and the land transformed into a carpet of beautiful flowers. The most covered morning in the valley makes it an absolute paradise and is a delight to the viewers’ eyes.
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While travelling in this season, if you’re allergic to pollen or bees, make sure to take necessary precautions and medications. When you are at Kolukkumalai, be careful not to damage the plants or the biodiversity. Harsh consequences will be faced by people who violate the rules and tend to harm or disturb the flora and fauna. Do not pick flowers.
Visiting Kolukkumalai from December to February will let you feel the coolness and chill of Munnar. The winter dips the temperature of the place below zero and it is the coldest at Kolukkumalai from December to February.
If you have made up your mind to visit Kolukkumalai during the winter, do not forget to take heavy woollen clothes, scarves and mittens. It is a basic necessity. You need to protect yourself from the cold to enjoy the place. Preparing yourself for the bone-chilling cold lets you enjoy the beauty and the climate of Munnar the most. The cold encourages adventures and adrenaline rushing activities. To enjoy nature at most beauty and fun, make sure you pack up all the necessary outfits and accessories.
Things to do at Kolukkamalai Tea Estate Munnar
You can go for a drive around the Kolukkamalai Tea Estate. The estate has a scenic view of the plains of Tamil Nadu and the green western ghats in Kerala.
You can spend a night in the tea estates. Kolukkumalai Tea Estate has turned its old staff quarters into a guest house. You can explore the estate and watch the majestic sunrise and sunset. You can even set your tent on the estate and have a unique experience of camping surrounded by aromatic tea shrubs.
Ideal for travellers who love heights as Kolukkumalai estate is the highest tea estate in the world. Since 1900, the tea factory at Kolukkumalai functioning at a height of 7900 feet. The plantation produces an average of 12 tons of tea per month and is spread over 1000 acres of land. The tea you consume is always collected by hand. Hardly any machines are used in the process of tea making in the Kolukkumalai estate. 60kg of tea leaves is gathered per day which is later on consumed into 15kg of consumable tea. Each plant is harvested once every 7-15 days during its best growing period.
The British built the tea estate in the 1930s. The colonial-era factory still uses age-old methods to process and package tea. It is known for traditional methods of tea production timed back to the 1900s. The estate is known for delivering excellent tea.
Kolukamalai Tea Estate is a popular destination for school or college excursions, honeymoons, family and friend holidays, or solo trips. Whether you are looking for adventure or a relaxing break, you can have an easy and affordable trip.
The Kolukkumalai tea estate is a world-famous tea manufacturer and also a remarkable tourist place. Known exclusively for the tea estate, Kolukkamalai is the highest tea plantation in the world with its own exquisite and traditional mode of tea collection and production.
Little into the History Of Kolukkumalai Tea Estate
What makes Kolukkumalai special and famous is its tea estate. Established during the colonial period, the estate still has the legacy of the founders. In 1838, the British started the cultivation of tea in Kolukkumalai using the seeds imported from China. The tea plantation in India was developed with the help of the British between 1893 and 1945. The estate was built up from 1920 to 1927 by the British. From 1927 to 1932, the planting of tea was done. By 1936, the tea factory was completed.
The tea cultivation in India rapidly grew after the Independence. The tea plantation developed to equal up to the plantations in Kenya, Sri Lanka and China. Today, South India is one of the pre-eminent tea industries in the world. India is the 4th largest exporter of tea in the world and the 5th largest producer of tea. The contribution of the Kolukkumalai tea estate in making India into the top list of tea manufacturers is great. The legacy of tea production during the colonial period remains.
Taste the Best Tea in the world
This is an unavoidable destination on the bucket list of tea lovers. The best thing about visiting Kolukkumalai is the tasting of the estate’s tea. The tea of Kolukkumalai estate is well known for its traditional methods of tea production which is timed back to the 1900s.
The quality of the tea increases as the altitude increases. No better reasons can be given as to why this tea is the best. Being the highest tea plantation in the world, Kolukkumalai estate definitely delivers the best tea of all time.
Make your Tea
The Kolukkumalai tea estate lays out an excellent programme for the visitors, named “Make Your Tea”. It gives them the opportunity to pick, select and process their own cup of tea.
The visitors can also buy fresh packets of tea from the estate, like the Flowery Orange Pekoe and the Broken Orange Pekoe.
Enjoy the Tea Collection Process
Tea lovers, it’s that one place you should not miss out! Well known for the tea and the estate, Kolukkumalai has its own traditional and orthodox method of tea production and collection. The old and unique process of tea collection and tea leaves production is what makes the Kolukkumalai tea a signature one. Being here, you can see and enjoy the traditional methods of tea collection and making.
From withering to fibre extraction, the process was developed during the colonial period. The legacy remains. The tea leaves are dried partially, allowing the walls of the leaf to break and wither. About 50% of the leaf walls are withered in this process. In a rolling device, the tea leaves are then broken up. This facilitates the collection of smaller particles to be collected and sieved. The larger particles are broken and rolled until the acquirement of the desired size.
The tea leaves are then allowed to oxidize on a clean cement floor. The process removes the green colour of the leaves. The shade of the tea leaf becomes coppery and the leaves become aromatic. Once the oxidation process is done, a heated conveyor belt is used to dry the leaves. The tea is ready for consumption at this stage. The final step is fibre extraction. This is performed to remove small debris and sort the tea leaves into different grades based on their size.
The tea collected from the processes is then packaged and ready for sale all over the world. You can clearly understand the step by step process of traditional tea making by visiting Kolukkumalai. It is one of the unique opportunities travellers can get.
Neelakurunji is a flower that blooms once in 12 years and is found in the Munnar region, the flower blooms from September to November. The hill station looks spectacular at dawn as you witness the terrain transforming into a carpet of colorful flowers. The mist-covered valley looks picturesque.
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Winters are cold at Kolukamalai, and temperatures can fall below zero. Do not forget heavy woolens, mittens, and scarf. You can enjoy exploring the beauty and weather of the hill station.
Kolukkumalai Tea Estate Entry Fees and Timing
Touring companies offer a host of adventure activities like camping, trekking, and safari, and costs can vary.
A visit to the tea factory costs Rs. 100. It is open from 7 AM to 6 PM. The factory is closed on Sunday. There are no restrictions on visiting the tea plantation.
It takes 3 to 4 hours to visit the tea estate completely. You can explore the estate, visit the factory, and take pictures from various viewpoints. If you plan an overnight stay, you will witness the spectacular sunrise and sunset.
The hills offer a unique view as clouds and mist shift in and out of the valley. You can trek along with the plantation and enjoy the majestic sights from the viewpoints.
You can take some magnificent photographs while you explore the estate.
Learn more about tea plantations. The tea estate still uses traditional methods to produce tea instead of the mechanized CTC methods. Tea leaves go through a withering, rolling, oxidation, and drying process. After fiber extraction, the tea leaves are sorted and packed. A guided tour of the organic tea factory will take you back in time.
Kolukkamalai Tea Estate offers visitors a unique program called Make your Tea. You get an opportunity to pick, select, and process your cup of tea. You can sample different types of tea at the tea tasting center and buy a variety of exotic teas at the factory outlet.
Tips while visiting Kolukkumalai Tea Estate
- Avoid the visit if you or someone in the group has back pain or any health issues. Pregnant women and the elderly should avoid it.
- Carry toiletries, medicines, and touch if you plan to camp or stay.
- Carry bottled water and snacks.
- Wear comfortable shoes.
- Wear warm clothes.
- Do not damage plants and local biodiversity. There are heavy fines involved.
Kolukkumalai is absolutely worth the cost of the visit!
Family trips, School or College excursions, Friend’s reunions, honeymoon, solo rides- let it be anything. But Kolukkumalai serves the purpose cost-effectively. Getting away and travelling is what people love the most and it is sometimes quite expensive but Kolukkumalai packages and tours are affordable and you definitely get to enjoy the place and its features. Live to the most with a budget trip to Kolukkumalai and get the best experiences.
Adventure, fun and relaxing, it is all easy and affordable at Kolukkumalai. With no compromise on the experience, you get your tour done right at least cost. You can get a great experience starting from a budget of INR 2000 and above. It is always a delight at Kolukkumalai that the reward outweighs the expense. Yes! The experience and beauty of Kolukkumalai are worth the money and more. Like it is said, life is a climb, but the view is great!