Kolukkumalai – Adventure Outing for US Client Visits to Kerala

Posted On: March 19, 2015

Tourists try to cut tea leaves.

If you live in Kerala and work in Infopark or in central Kerala and a foreign client is about to visit, you may be wondering, 

“What kind of things may my US client like to see in Kerala?” 

How about a weekend trip to Munnar and up into Kolukkumalai? 

I will be sharing some of my experiences traveling there quite a while about (more than 10 years ago) in this post. Do keep in mind if you will take foreign clients here, do ask them in advance if they are open to adventure. If the roads to the top are still very rustic, bumpy and undeveloped, some may have a weak stomach. It’s good to ask in advance to assure they will enjoy their time more than worry about getting sick! 

My experience going to the “World’s Highest Tea Plantation” 
In one of my first visits to Kerala in 2008, we went to Kolukkumalai. The translation of this word means bumpy (kalukku) mountain (malai). It is on the border of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, accessible through Munnar. 

Though Munnar is one of the most popular sight seeing places to take your US or foreign clients, if time permits, please take them to Kolukkumalai. Of course, we went back in 2006. Back then, it was pretty much untouched by tourists. I am not sure of the situation now. This post will show some videos I took back during that outing to Kalukkumalai. 

Take note that if this location is on the itinerary for the US client, please educate or talk to him or her about what to expect in advance. Some people may get sick driving up hills, heights and bumpy roads as these are not so common in most parts of the USA. Some people going up this hill (foreigners and Indians alike) get car sick as well as uneasy from the bumpiness and height combined. Take care. 

Up the Bumpy Hill….
This ride is NOT for the faint of hearted. The seat in the Jeep was very thin, and the road is very rocky and bumpy. It was not a smooth ride. Hold your hats, people! Do not carry a lot of luggage or things with you as you will do all you can to keep yourself inside the vehicle. The video does some justice to the bumpiness, but you must experience it to really know it. (The image of the video will change once it is played.)

High Tea, Anyone?
Maybe the term ‘high tea’ came from here! Going up this incline today in a Jeep is not so easy, but just imagine going up this incline in the 1800s without motorize vehicles and building a tea plantation! Not at all an easy feat. And, at 8,000 feet above sea level, High Tea happens without being said!

Hitting play on the video below will show some of the machinery inside the tea factory and how tea is made at one of the highest tea factories in the world.

Living and Working in India as a Tea Picker
All tourists get a chance to try their own hand at picking tea leaves using the gadgets the local tea plantation workers use. It’s no easy task! It takes coordination and patience, both of which require a particular mindset! On the way down the hill, we had a chance to try our own hand at this, as shown in the photo at the start of this article. 

The Bumpy Roads Don’t End at the Bottom of the Hill
Though you may be at the end of the incline, the bumpy roads continue through the villages back through to Munnar, as seen in this below video.

Advice for Hosting Foreigners in India
At the start of this article, I suggested to inform clients that this place would be on their itinerary in advance. I stress this again. I am sure that once some get to the start of the hill and see what’s in store, they may chicken out (not want to do it). There are many reasons for this. Some clients could have heart or other medical conditions that require them to avoid such kind of excursions. It may be ideal to plan some of their outings and itinerary before they come to India, and speak to them about these excursions over the phone outside of status review meetings. 

Also, always ask your clients about their ability to handle spicy food and food allergies. Food allergies are no joking matter. Some foreigners could go into shock, stop breathing, and have to be hospitalized after eating something they are allergic to. Take care. 

Jennifer Kumar helps your India offshore teams plan for successful India visits through training and consulting with your management and employees who will be interacting with the client. Contact her for more information. 

Related Posts: 

More photos of our trip to Kolukkumalai  
Training for Onsite Visits 



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