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Meghamalai Hills

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The name 'Meghamalai' literally means 'Mountain shrouded in Clouds' - but is fondly extended to mean a 'Kingdom where the clouds meet the mountains'. Meghamalai is another English mountain retreat - though not as high or popular as Ooty or Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu. Meghamalai is one of the picturesque hill stations in South India, although it is known and seen by few people. It is also known as 'Paccha Kundru' meaning 'green peaks'.

Meghamalai, the less known tourist attraction is located in the state of Tamil Nadu, at about 85 kms from Thekkadi in Kerala, right on the Thekkadi – Madurai Interstate Highways. Meghamalai is in the Theni district of Tamil Nadu and situated at a height of 1500 meters above sea level. It has a sedate weather all around the year with day time temperatures of about 25 degree C.

What once was just a group of plantations is today one of the largest tea plantations owned by Hindusthan Lever Limited and run successfully by the Woodbriar group. This hill station has abundant cardamom and tea plantations.

Travel to Meghamalai Hills

Meghamalai is flanked on one side by Periyar Tiger Reserve and on the other by the proposed Meghamalai Wildlife sanctuary. Road to Meghamalai is filled with pot holes, has 18 hair pin bends and can be narrow in many places. A SUV/MUV type vehicle would be advisable in this region. Meghamalai is about 50 km from Theni. Chinamannur and Thekkady are within about an hour's drive. Silver Mountain - or 'Velli Malai' is at the crest of Meghamalai with undulating tea plantations and cloud kissed hills. Food availability is scarce with just about a tea stall here unless you stay in the cottages.

Home to several rare species including birds, flora and mammal life, wild Gaurs and elephants can be commonly sighted across the plantations in Meghamalai. Reptiles, butterflies, and birds abound here. Meghamalai also hosts the endangered Grizzled Giant Squirrel.

With rolling tea hills, still waters and rising mountains, painted forests; Meghamalai is astoundingly beautiful and it can leave the visitor stupefied by its sheer charm.

A savvy visitor can do many things at Meghamalai, besides walking for miles across the lake across undulating hills. Chances are you may walk past an elephant skull to a waterfall or simply sit on a grassy cliff and have a close communion with nature and mountain peaks around.

Holiday in Meghamalai

  • Go for wildlife sightings, treks and picturesque walks.

  • Indulge in games like billiards, table tennis or just laze around

  • Sit around a bonfire, camp on the mountains or cliff and bathe in the waterfall.

  • Visit the tea estates at the Highways, Manalaar and Cloudlands, the three largest of the tea estates found here.

As mentioned earlier, the dense Meghamalai forest is a home to a large number of animals, including leopards, elephants, gaurs, deer, wild boars, the Nilgiri Langur and Tahr, sloth bears, macaques, and hundreds of species of birds. Therefore wildlife spotting is popular here.

Since the mountain is covered extensively with cardamom, coffee and pepper plantations, a visit to plantations can be planned. A visit to the six major dams at Meghamalai is another tourist activity. Ferry services and pleasure boat rides are available.

Other activities at Meghamalai could be jeep drive across the plantation, picnics on the grassy hills, a visit to the tea factory, barbecue and bonfire, or just go and enjoy the club facilities. Bird watching is popular here. Photographers can also capture an assortment of subjects in this wonderland.

Staying at Meghamalai

Meghamalai is by and large unexplored due to restrictions of access with its pepper, cardamom, cinnamon plantations and coffee and tea estates here. Staying is a problem in Megha malai for the budget visitors. Woodbriar cottages are expensive - but well appointed with fireplaces, morning tea and coffee, hot water, library, home cooked meals, telephones and facility for playing games like table tennis. Other Homestay options are rare. Staying in Theni or Cumbum may be the easier option if you have your own transportation.

The Meghamalai Falls is a great tourist attraction. It starts from the Suruli River which originates from the Meghamalai hills. This aesthetically gorgeous waterfall is active throughout the year and it takes the shape of a twin falls making it awesome to watch. As many as six small dams have been constructed on the hills.

Meghamalai Hills