Offbeat Locations – Meghamalai (Near Madurai)

If you have frequently visited Ooty, Kodai, Chickamagalur & Coorg and are looking out for some offbeat new location for the upcoming long weekend – then checkout Meghamalai (Cloud Mountain). This has been on my bucket list for a few years and after visiting the sister property at Talayar (Near Munnar) we finally made it here last week. (Jan – 2019)

Where is Meghamalai Located 

Its a beautiful location nestled in the Western Ghats between Kerala & TN. the Meghamalai wildlife sanctuary is a continuous forest stretch that merges with the Periyar Tiger Reserve. At altitudes between 4500 – 5500 feet it is one of the few untouched natural landscapes in S India.

How do we reach Meghamalai

We took a night train to Madurai, reaching at 7.30 AM . From here it is a 150 Km 3 1/2 hr drive to Meghamalai. The roads are excellent ( Except for the last 5 Km which can both be an adventure or a disaster). The 1st 100 Km are at sea level thru fertile plains studded with windmills. After Chinnamannur, the last 50 Km is an ascent – but the drive is smooth and fast even up the winding roads. The drive from Bangalore would be over 9 Hrs. The estate manager sends a 4 wheel drive jeep for the last 5 Kms stretch.

What is the name of the property in Meghamalai 

There is only 1 Property here. The Briar Tea Estate company has 4500 acres of Tea Estate and in the midst of this picturesque valley are 3 Tea Bungalows – Cloud Mountain, Manalar & Sand River. These bungalows are from the 1940 – 50’s era. Cloud Mountain is a 3 Bedroom Bungalow  and the others are 2 Bedroom Bungalows. The rooms are large and spacious and they come with a dining room , front room, a large sunny garden and excellent views.

Room rates start from Rs 5000/- night for a couple and includes breakfast. Lunch and Dinner are home cooked tasty meals and are charged at a very reasonable rate of Rs 200/- person. Each property has a designated caretaker. Over the last few trips I have been holidaying at Vintage Bungalows and I am really enjoying the space and ambience of these places compared to a hotel. There is 24 by 7 hot water, a TV , and Tea and sconces can be ordered any time. The challenge to some may be that there is only BSNL Network available and the Wi Fi spot is near Cloud Mountain.

How do you spend time here 

This is a place to enjoy Soulitude and to relax and chill. I like such places. We did a small trek to a View point and they have a wildlife naturalist who can take you on 3 hr treks. We also drove down to a pristine clear waterfall. The Tea Estate is surrounded by forests and wild animals are sighted very frequently as they come down to drink water from the Dam Lakes. (There are 5 Dams in the area generating Hydro electricity). Elephants, Leopards, Bears, Wild Boar, Wild Dogs, Langurs and Bisons are prevalent in the area.

The water in the lake is fresh and pure rain water and the lakes are full from July – Feb. They dry up in summer and with the rains in May – June start filling up again.

This is a great place to go on long walks, read a book , enjoy home cooked food, sleep in the afternoon and gaze at the star studded sky at night. Kerala is only 20 Km away (As the crow flies) and from a View Point you can see the Makara Jyoti at Sabarimala.

They do prepare Non veg dishes but most of the food cooked is S Indian Rice / Roti / Sambar / Rasam / Curry.. ). If your kids are looking for Pizza and Pasta they may be disappointed. If you are in a group you can request for a camp fire / barbecue to be set up. The staff had an excellent attitude and were on their toes, service was wonderful.

Which is the best time to travel to Meghamalai

October – January is probably the best time. By Feb the water in the lakes would have started drying up. Without the lakes full of water you are losing 50% of the charm. This is the time when they are busy. They are also very busy in May because of the school holidays. In January the weather was pleasant – all you needed was a fleece and a wooden cap in the morning.

Contact Details for the property 

Details area available at the following URL : http://teabungalows.com/meghamalai/

Video of the Property and nearby areas

 

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