Kollukumalai

Weekenderz – with a tagline the Week never ends without us!  Thought about a bike trip during the weekend there was no hardcore bike trips happened since an year. The last one was on Aug 13-15, 2011 at Megamalai!. This year also I thought of the same dates..  Unfortunate I didn’t deserve it!

Day 0 ( 7th sep)

As soon as the invite is out, people register and started bugging with clarifications.. like what time will be back on Sunday where are we going where will we stay etc…  also last minute drop outs… And finally when we assembled in front of Chennai Trade Center, Nandhambakkam at 8.30 PM on Friday,  There were 9 people accommodated in a 2 bikes and  a car. Another couple of bikes were waiting for us near Vandaloor Zoo.

I was there in the car! We crossed vandaloor zoo at 9.15PM picking those 2 bikers.. Totally 4 bikes flying in front and the car is doing the sweep job! It started raining when we were crossing villupuram..  The bikers didn’t mind at all.. and kept on riding in the same phase. The first pitsop for tea was near Ulundurpet. Noticed that all were dressed rainproof anticipating the rain.

Day 1 ( 8th sep)

Reached Samayapuram toll gate at 3.00 AM in the morning and picked another biker there. Took a break in the highway for about 15mins.. Couldn’t prolong mosquitoes were urging us to get lost from there. Moved from there towards Dindugal. As everyone started feeling sleepy… took a break for about an hour and started again.

Now Sathya who has been driving the car wanted to be on a bike… and I started driving the car.  Out of josh drove fast without seeing the bikers were having the tea.. we moved ahead.. and got lost. We have to come back to be on track. The route was hectic with lots of deviations due to lots of road work under progress.

Saw a pumpset working on the way and stopped the car. All of us brushed and got refreshed. Had biscuits and started driving.. Reached Theni around 10AM. Awesome breakfast with yummy poories and hot dosas..  Our stomachs are filled.. and need to fill the vehicles.. As we are not sure about the availability of the fueling stations ahead..  felt better to fill all the vehicles.

Proceeded further.. 11 am.. Reached the forest base camp and completed the procedures.. Here started our roller coaster ride with 17 hair pin bends and too narrow ghat roads of devikulam… having all possible ups and downs… likewise we had a cool drive to reach the top by enjoying the beauty of Gods own Country.

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Here comes our first point! .. Between the bends and beautiful ghat road, we reached Chinnakalur Waterfalls… they were really spectacular, had a quick site view and small photo walk by our lenmen and again made a quick move to Munnar…

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Time for lunch.. After having light food, bikers started to their next View Point ‘Top Station’… which is main abode to the highest tea plantations of India. Unfortunately, people in the car couldn’t make it… But, all of our bikers have enjoyed it.

Meanwhile, to look at the campsite arrangements for the night stay, we again we reached Suryanelli. Of course it was a difficult hunt and finally settled with a resort which had provision for cooking too. Where the Food arrangements are been made by our Master Chef Sahaya Joseph.That’s how the day ended and we rested our tired bodies and souls in the comfort room while couple of fellow adventurers slept with their sleeping bags.

Day 3 ( 9th sep)

On Sep 9th, Its still 4a.m… everyone  started getting ready and few ppl were still nagging on the bed and trying to see out of the window.. Its too dark and nothing was visible.. Our day started before the sunrise. we started our day with loads n loads of excitement… It’s really feast to  eyes boarding in 2 jeeps we have started our way to kolukumalai, really scary and slippery ghat roads with no proper way… Should be thankful to the jeep driver who took us safely to the top of the hill..

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All the way!.. Nothing visible beyond 10feets.. fully covered with mist and darkness… quite scary experience .. apart from that,  the cool breeze and soothing silence of the mother earth was more enjoyable..

Atlast we reached on top…not able to  differentiate between the sky and the space around us…felt like we are on top of clouds.. Had a good stretching exercise in the early morning, by climbing up… but was not soo long  then  our lens man sharpened their angles to have some great clicks..

Had a great time over there.. and then moved to Tea Factory which is the world`s highest organic center…  All the machinery were more than a decade old and we still functioning……Where in we have seen how the tea powder is prepared from Tea leaves.. Meanwhile, we enjoyed the tasty tea that has been served..

I doubt there will be 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 flavor and freshness, thanks to the high altitude which 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.

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The sprawling plantations and an old tea factory lend an old world charm to this place. Went 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 flavor, 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). Got some tips from the salesmen on how to extract the different tastes.

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.

It was more 4 hours since we hired the jeeps and they jeep drivers started urging us. Returned back to suryanelli. Vacated the resort packed up the things..  here started our return journey. As we have spent more time on top of the hills.. we missed our breakfast.

It was again a roller-coaster ride downwards.. Reached the base camp..  Could really envy the bikers driving pride in the down hills.. as the car was little difficult to handle. Crossed the kerala borders and entered Tamilnadu back. Had a wonderful lunch at Theni again.. Proceeded the ride..

Reached Trichy by 6PM and bid good bye to Harisathiyan. Stopped somewhere near Villupuram for dinner.. and finally bid good bye to the bikers at Chengalput toll gate by 12.30 am. It was a memorable trip after a very long time!

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  1. Once again nice work jothi… good work..am sure ur planning to be travel writer some day.. i loved when the mosquitos wanted u to get lost ,, liked that line. Nice pics dude.. I assume Sahaya is always with sack of coal and wire mesh… great one complete coverage what u have done no nonsense.

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