On top of the Ambanad Hills
Past Thenmala and Pathimoonnukannara Bridge on Kollam-Sengottai National Highway, we turned left from Kazhuthurutty. Then we crossed the railway gate on Sengottai metre gauge. The high ranges start as we turn right near the rubber factory of Harrison Group.
Kazhuthurutty River was flowing down as a stream of crystal clear water, revealing the bed of pebbles under. Even as we proceeded a bit further, the climate started to change. We started to feel the cool breeze. Along the way we could see small cascades and the greenery of tea estates. This is the only tea plantation area in Kollam district.
We reached the entrance of Ambanad estate. The entrance fee to estate is Rs 100 and Rs 20 respectively for adults and children. Near to the entrance is a temple in Tamil Nadu style. A church and a mosque are also there in the same compound. Turning left, we proceeded towards the estate office and factory. The wind smelled of cloves. “We must come again when it flowers,” Nawas, my companion, said.
In front of our eyes was a world of lush greenery with a variety of plants and trees including nutmeg, orange, guava, sapodilla, mango and rambutan. Here one can enjoy the views of the valley with unending stretches of hill ranges, the Western Ghats standing tall as a rampart in the eastern side and the Achankovil Forest. Other attractions are three ponds, viewpoints that open up to nature, Kudamutti waterfalls, British bungalows and pedal boating.
For night stay, two rooms are available at the estate bungalow for a rent is Rs 2500 and an additional Rs 250 for food. Spending a day here, watching the sunrise and sunset, will be an unforgettable experience. It is also an ideal place for honeymoon. A trip can be planned including Palaruvi, Thenmala Ecotourism, and Kuttalam in the itinerary.
The Ambanad Estate was established by the British. The factory set up by them is still here. British machinery is used in the factory even today. The attires of managers and employees also remind us of those bygone days. The factory and estate belong to Travancore Rubber and Tea Company. In the factory, we can see the various stages of tea production.
The whole experience leaves you with a refreshed feeling of having a good tea.
(Translated by Mary Deepa David K.)