Kannan Devan Hills, a quaint tea sanctuary in Kerala, India is a beautiful place that is the perfect getaway from the madness of the fast paced world we live in today.
Tea lovers are bound to be fascinated by the vast expanses of visually attractive tea estates. Behind every sip of freshly brewed tea is the labor of love of hundreds of tea pickers who toil endlessly to bring the best varieties of Indian tea to their tea table. Kerala, a beautiful state in the southernmost tip of India, is world famous for its sprawling tea, pepper, cashew nut and rubber plantations.
A recent tourist attraction that has been much talked about amongst Kerala’s tea estates is the picturesque Kannan Devan Hills. Set in the rolling mountains of the Western Ghats, this piece of heaven is the perfect place for a romantic getaway from the madness of your daily, urban routine. A conglomeration of scattered tea estates, the Kannan Devan Hills Plantation Company (KDHP) threw open its doors to tourists in the year 2005.
Collectively called the Tea Sanctuary, this unique property has excellent bungalow accommodation in estates surrounding the beautiful tea county of Munnar and provides an opportunity for tourists to explore the plantations at their leisure. A city dweller myself, I jumped at the prospect of vacationing at the quaint Tea Sanctuary of Kannan Devan hills.
The century old KDHP, in the high ranges of Kerala’s Idukki district, is South India’s largest tea company spanning an area of 55,000 square hectares. The bungalows associated with the estate are reminiscent of its colonial past. Once home to the British sahibs and their leisurely lifestyle that included hunting, angling, tennis and golf games, these bungalows provide classy accommodation with personal waiters, cooks, housekeepers, exquisite gardens and recreation areas, all vintage style. It appears that these estates have turned out to be a popular honeymooner’s destination in the recent past. All accommodations are situated at driving distance from the city, Munnar with Parvathi and Sevenmallay being 5 miles from Munnar, Chokkanad (8 miles), Kanniamallay (7 miles), Yallapaty (41 miles) and Southaparai (45 miles).
My journey began with a short flight to Kochi and then a drive of nearly 100 miles in the dead of the night to Yallapaty. Thanks to the punctuality (or the lack of it) of low-priced airways, I was running 6 hours behind schedule. I was supposed to enjoy the drive during the daylight hour but ended up driving in the dead of the night. The journey in the middle of the night didn’t offer anything exciting except for a roadside tea kiosk located at a major traffic intersection. When I finally reached the estate property, I settled down in a palatial room with a view of the plantations a few hours before dawn.
The next morning, Abbas, my host at the tea sanctuary, greeted me with a cigarette in one hand! Originally a Bangalorean, Abbas narrated my itinerary for the next three days. Invigorated by a fresh hot cup of tea, we drove towards Top Station and Kundaly golf club. The weather was just picture perfect until the time we approached the golf course. The south eastern monsoon broke down heavily on us. I was glued to the windshield in an attempt to take in as much of the scenic beauty of the surroundings as I possibly could.
The drive by itself was rather bumpy and it was hard to find a stretch of twenty yards without a pothole. In the end, it was well worth it as the drive led us to a gorgeous 9-hole golf course. The grass was not exactly well groomed but the place was a good location for a movie shoot. I had the rare opportunity to watch a heroine swaying to a tune amidst the downpour, a sight that people would have killed to witness in bigger cities.
Click here to continue reading: The Luxurious Wilderness of Kannan Devan
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