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Kolukku Malai Top

Kottagudi, Tamil Nadu 625582, India

Viewpoints
1 Day Treks
Off-road Spots

About Kolukku Malai Top

The best place to view the sunrise, the beauty of tea plantations, clouds locked in valleys.


Kolukkumalai is home to the highest tea plantation in the world with the tea grown here possessing a special flavour and freshness of the high altitude. Kolukkumalai situates 2,170 meters above the sea level, offering one of the best sunrise view in the world to its visitors, show casing its valleys and tall peaks and tea plantations.

Exploring Kolukkumalai and its unique views

The road from Suryanelli to Kolukkumalai is one of the most uncomfortable yet scenic route in Kerala. The road is rugged with large boulders, sharp turns and steep slopes throughout. Only four wheel drive jeeps can reach the top and there are no other options to get to the top other than depending on the jeeps that are readily available from Suryanelli Town.

Keeping aside the bad condition of the narrow road, tea plantations sprawls the region in different patterns and sizes throughout the ascend to the top. There are old tea factories and housing complexes for the workers which pop up inside the plantation at regular intervals. 

It is windy and cold at the top in the early morning hours that changes to a warm climate as noon nears. There is a tea shack at the top which will make the visitors enjoy the incredible view of the sunrise, the great mountains and the cold breezes sipping a cup of tea. The whole valley will be filled with clouds well below the height of the Kolukkumalai top point. The clouds dance and move slowly with the wind as if they are trapped and trying to escape the ambush laid by the Western Ghat mountains that lay in all sides of the valley. The sun emerges slowly behind the clouds, in a breathtaking array of blue, orange, red, and yellow colours. The view is an absolute stunner, complete with the tall mountains with vertical face and a pointy peak on one sides of the valley. 

The Kolukkumalai tea estates and factories

The tea estate and the factories at Kolukkumalai were established by the British in 1930’s. The factory still uses the original equipment and processes the tea in an old fashioned way. Instead of the mechanised crush-tear-curl method of tea leaves preparation, the tea is handpicked, and then put through drying processes of withering and fermenting before it is graded. The tea brewed from these granules are more flavoured and light in colour. Visitors are allowed inside the factory premises where they can see the different methods of preparation of tea leaves and if it pleases - to buy one of the best tea available in the world.

The tea estates also offer mountain huts and guest houses for visitors to stay. If you decide to stay on one, then you can explore the tea plantations and hike up to the Kolukkumalai peak. For booking and more information on the various options available, checkout their webpage.

The trail to Meesapulimala

Meesapulimala is one of the popular peaks in Kerala. Standing at a height of 2,640 meters, it is the second highest peak in India outside of the Himalayan Ranges after Anamudi Peak. There is a hiking trail from Kolukkumalai to Meesapulimala through tea estates, stunted tropical montane forest and grasslands. The trail is generally closed as hikers cause a lot of damage to the protected areas, but do check with the locals while you are in Kolukkumalai if it is still open for visitors.

Getting to Kolukkumalai and best time to visit

Kolukkumalai is located in Theni District of Tamil Nadu State in Southern India, bordering Idukki District of Kerala State. The hill top village is only accessible through rugged and narrow roads by jeeps (or by hiking) from nearby Suryanelli Town (5 km). From Munnar, there are buses to Suryanelli (30 km). The nearest major railway station is in Aluva/ Ernakulam from where there are direct buses to Munnar. Aluva and Ernakulam are connected with most of the other parts of the country.

The place is open throughout the year but it is better to visit it outside the monsoon months (June to September). The place arguably offers one of the best sunrise view in the world, so it is highly recommend to plan your visit early morning. The sunrise happens usually between 5-6 AM. Reach Suryanelli by 4 AM as the journey to the top can take up 1- 1.5 hours.

Attractions near Kolukku Malai Top

Meesapulimala3.28km from Kolukku Malai Top

Hike through cloud cladded peaks and rhododendron valleys, experience the most beautiful sights of the Western Ghat Mountains.

Kurangani-Top Station Trail4.01km from Kolukku Malai Top

Kurangani hill station lies close to Bodinayakanur in Theni district of Tamil Nadu. This lesser known gem of a place amid the vastly explored Western Ghats also holds a precipitous ledge at the height point of 8782 ft.

Top Station Munnar5.9km from Kolukku Malai Top

Stay above the clouds, admire the beauty of the hills and the majestic sun emerging from the clouds in the morning.

Echo Point9.26km from Kolukku Malai Top

Situated at the bank of lake overlooking mountains, the place got it's name from the loud echo it makes.

Carmelagiri Elephant Park13.64km from Kolukku Malai Top

Ride on an elephant, watch them bathe, shower and eat. The mahouts will show you how the elephant communicates and obey their commmands.

Chokramudi Peak14.12km from Kolukku Malai Top

Three hours of a hard hike through tricky rock faces, breathtaking views, windy narrow paths. A viewpoint for an incredible sunrise.

Where is Kolukku Malai Top

Discover more attractions in Idukki, where Kolukku Malai Top is located

Idukki31 attractions

Into the clouds. Hill stations, waterfalls, tea plantations, high altitude peaks.

What visitors say about Kolukku Malai Top

Reached early morning to witness the incredible sunrise. It was drizzling so the great view with the clouds was missing. Still a great visit, worth the long ride from Cochin.
Second time at Kolukku Malai and the view is still breathtaking. This time there were not much clouds trapped in the valleys below so anyone who plans to go there, I will strongly suggest to visit in Jan to March (previously I visited in those months), the sunrise is one of the best in the world during that time. The roads to here are pretty much messed up. Full of boulders, and reachable only by jeeps from Suryanelli town. It takes more than an hour to reach the top, so if you want to see the sunrise, please be at Suryanelli by around 4.30 AM. Even though you can go to the top at anytime, the view might not be as nice as it is during sunrise. And if you are coming with elderly or kids or have any backaches, I will not recommend to visit the place. The roads are that terrible.

This was the very first visit to Kolukku Malai and it was incredible.

After the hour long totally bad road from Suryanelli town, reched the top and witnessed the most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen. Both sides of the top are extremely sloppy and in one side of it is a large valley that locks clouds in it. The sun rises up slowly behind the cloud turning the sky orange, red and slowly to blue of the skies.

It was very windy and cold, and the jeep ride from bottom of the peak is terrible but the view from top is so mesmarising. Although I returned again in October, the view was not so nice then. May be February is the best time to visit?