This tea estate in India was started in the 1900s by a Scottish planter! And now it is the world’s highest tea estate right here in a country that is crazy about chai!
This place in Kerala is known for its mesmerizing views at a jaw-dropping height of 8100 feet and also for its products. Being the highest tea estate in the world, which is surrounded by beautiful mountains, Kolukkumalai lies 35kms away from Munnar, barely 90 minutes away.
At the estate’s centre, there is a factory which was constructed 70 years ago. It offers a beautiful view of the ‘Kodaikanal’ hill station which is in Tamil Nadu and is visible from the tea estate due to its magnificent height. During the nights, the view is mesmerising.
The Britishers constructed this factory in the 1930s and since then the ways here have not seen any change. The Kolukkumalai was the 2005 Southern Tea Competition winner of the Golden Leaf Awards in India.
Till today, in spite of the advancement in technology, their belief lies in the traditional techniques of tea making. The old process is a 7 step one which includes withering, rolling, sieving, fermenting, drying, extraction of the fibre and then grading. The machines over here are also not changed they proudly have kept the stamp display of 1940’s.
On reaching the estate after touring the process of how the tea is made you’ll learn a lot about this part of India. A woman working here collects nearly 30kgs of leaves every day and for all the people working here, the estate provides healthcare, schooling for their children and the accommodation for their families along with their salaries. The 2 best varieties of tea here are the Broken Orange Pekoe and the Flowery Orange Pekoe. Visitors also have the facility of ‘Make Your Tea’ programme.
The most comfortable way to reach the ‘Kolukkumalai’ tea estate is to hire a jeep from Suryanelli, a town out of Munnar city, from where there is a 14 km ride with bumpy roads which will nearly take 1hour 10 mins.
Don’t miss out on this experience the next time you are in Kerala.
Preview Photo: flickr.com