Why do you love mountains? Many of you must have a long list of answers, while some of you have none. The fact is mountains actually don’t need reasons to be loved. Mountains always have been mysteriously affecting to the entire surroundings, be it any place of world. In the end, it’s all about how we experience that amazing journey to mountains, and how we live the magical feeling at the top of mountains! Mountains are the best path-showers to all living creature, the way they remain constantly unchanged in their supreme form of nature. As they are abode to abundant lives and existences, they never leave us unsurprised from their enchanting beauty.
That’s why someone has said rightly- Not just gods were living in the mountains, but mountains are a god itself.
I always get goosebumps whenever I go back to every mountain journey I had, and remind it with a fresh remembrance. With the same feeling, I am going to make you acquainted with one totally different kind of mountain peak this time. This place is going to ruin your usual imagination of one mountain, because it’s something you never thought of in your dreams even. But at the same time, it’s going to feed your curiosity to visit such kind of destinations as soon as possible. It would be potent enough for the orgasm of your wanderlust being, and what could be better than it?
Kolukkumalai is a small hamlet nestled at the top of undulating Palani hill range, which is famous for its unaffected beauty. It treasures world’s highest tea-plantations that have been well preserved since British time.
Now you can imagine a place, where all rugged mountainous slopes are studded with beautiful green tea-estates, making veins of the place visible in the form of tiny alleys. Well, it’s natural to get lost in such notions as it’s always nature that touches our senses with such depth.
You must be guessing about its’ exact location now, right? It is in India. But it is not in Northern or Eastern part of country, which are usual homes to mighty peaks along with Himalayas. This place is located in South India, which is generally famous for its’ serene beaches, and cultural grandeur. But only you will know, if you go!
Having altitude of 8000 ft above the sea level, this place is situated at Kerala and Tamilnadu’s border. To be precise, it falls in Theni district of Tamilnadu, bordering the Idukki district of Kerala. The famous holiday destination-Munnar is very close to this place, and that’s why it has got its identity silently among travellers. I never have seen such beautiful landscapes from the peak. I mean so fresh, so green, so symmetrical, and so comely from all sides. Due to all tea-gardens placed like a green earth-sheet over the land, you could literally witness a distant view of Munnar valley. It’s surely a pure delight to traveller’s heart.
THE ROAD TO DESTINATION!
The place can be reached either by trekking or driving though a single road. The road bringing to this destination is so scary and thrilling. It starts from Suryanelli, which is the biggest colonial tea-estate area. Only jeep is allowed on that road with a fix timing and fix rate, which is settled by local administration.
I can’t say it a road though. It’s just a rough cobbled way fitted with various sized stones. This makes it worst, or you can say best for your adrenaline rush. And imagine, you are going there during darkness of early morning time. Most of the jeeps leave in early morning at around 4.30 or 5 am as sunrise over the peak is must whoever goes there.
THE MAGICAL SUNRISE!
Once you reach at the peak, you will start getting real feeling of thrill. It’s like you are touching the sky from a peak where you will be standing. The sunrise is so dramatic here as you could see the entire movement of sun appearance over the star-studded sky in morning. The view of appearing the sun from the cloud-clad horizon is so soul-stirring that you end up confused either you are witnessing mountains, or top of sea surface.
Various sized peaks of Palani hills play with horizontal sunrays and clouds perfectly, which creates one exceptional abstract of nature. That’s a sight of beauty, a beauty of nature’s play which everyone wants to behold. Cool breeze, hazy surroundings, dazzling sun movement, speedy clouds, green slopes etc. are enough to make you just sit there for a while. What could be better than being a dancer with fellow clouds around? Only a hungry person can understand this who wants to get soaked in beauty of nature.
During upside journey in the early morning, you won’t get idea of a road through which you are going. But when you come back via same rough road during day time, you get to know how breath-taking road it is! It is passing and turning through endless stretch of tea-gardens from down to upside, totally surrounded by verdant estates. This would be one of those moments of life which you can never describe in mere words.
THE INTERESTING HISTORY!
The history of this place is so rich, and that’s what makes this place stand with a pride. This place was set up by the Britishers in early 1900s as a tea-production hub. The colonial tea-maker factories were so famous around the world for its tea at that time. Because as situated at such altitude, the freshness and fragrance of tea remains totally outstanding than others. The surprising thing is, everything from colonial time is still kept intact in this territory. The ancient method of tea processing, curl-tear-crush (CTC), is still used in local factories. Along with strolling around the tea-gardens while enjoying the fragrance of it, you could also visit the tea-factories for seeing the entire processing.
This destination is perfect for everyone who want to have some relaxing time with a proper hug to nature. A peace is residing here with its purest form, and you don’t need to search it or find it. You just have to feel it. The beauty, location, history, and uniqueness makes this place as well as this place’s tea so eminent around the world. Who on the earth doesn’t like to have a cup of tea at world’s highest tea plantation point?
You can pitch your own tent over the peak according to your wish. But proper staying options are very less at the top of Kolukkumalai. There is only one three bedded guest house run by the tea-estate itself, whose name is “Kolukkumalai Mountain Hut”. You need to book it in advance though. The property has nice valley view, and also they serve good food for customers.
Otherwise there are a lot of options for staying at downside. Suryanelli, Devikulam and Chinnakanal are place where many homestays, hotels and exotic resorts are located. You just need to choose according to your choice and budget. And at the end, Munnar town is not even far.
HOW TO GET THERE!
Cochin International Airport, which is also known as Nedumbassary Airport, is the nearest airport. It’s around 140 away from this place, and 110 km from Munnar town by road.
Another nearby airport is Madurai international airport, which is 140 km far from Munnar and well connected by NH-49. You can also reach here by getting down at Coimbatore airport, which is just 200 km far.
There are so many railway stations nearby to this destination. Bodinayakkur is the nearest railway station, falling 50 km away from this place. There are many others like Aluva-137 km, Kodai-127 km, Theni-66 km, Andipatti-82 km, Maduari-142 km, Ernakulam-130 km, and Kottayam-140 km. It’s better if you get down in Kerala side so that you can good frequency of buses from respective destinations.
Road connectivity up to Munnar or up to Suryanelli is very good. There are frequent bus services from Kochi and Theni to Munnar. You need to book a cab or personal vehicle from this place to Suryanelli. Ahead of this place, you have to take a local jeep from hill-base of Suryanelli, which costs 2000 for going to peak. It’s around 20 km rugged road over the mountain ghat, and you will be at the top.