Is there any better place to have a refreshing cup of tea than the hills of Kolukkumalai, which are home to the highest tea plantations in the world? And the tea grown here has a special flavour and freshness, thanks to the high altitude.
The sprawling plantations and an old tea factory lend an old world charm to this place. Go on a guided tour through the factory. The two-storied building, built in the 1930s, with its wooden interiors and aroma would present you some time-tested methods of tea processing. Here tea is processed in the traditional method, which is different from the more popular CTC (crush-tear-curl method). Tea lovers will be pleased to sip different varieties of tea from the tea tasting centre here. Those wanting to take home the flavour, can buy fresh packets from the outlet attached to the factory. There are different varieties to choose from like the Broken Orange Pekoe (BOP) and the Flowery Orange Pekoe (FOP). Get some tips from the salesmen on how to extract the different tastes.
Kolukkumalai is about 7,900 ft above sea level and you can have some excellent views of the far off plains in the bordering State of Tamil Nadu. The distant hills slipping in and out of the mist is a captivating sight.
The rolling acres of tea are an experience in itself for the visitors. Take a lovely stroll on the pathways in the plantations. The more adventurous can take a walk down a fairly steep and narrow bridle path leading to the plains. Only with awe can you hear that this route was once the only option for the estate workers to carry tea chests down and bring provisions to their residence.
Kolukkumalai is about 38 km from Munnar. The hill top is accessible only by jeep and it is about one and a half hour journey from the Munnar town.