Meghamalai in Tamil Nadu state got its name from having its head in the clouds – quite literally! Meghamalai means ‘Mountain in/of the clouds’ and when you’re visiting in the monsoon, you can see the mist rolling over vibrant greens of tea gardens and browns of exposed land, making them disappear before your eyes.
The result is magical if you’re just chilling, but quite frustrating if you’re on a sightseeing expedition. When I was on my way to Briar Tea Bungalows in Meghamalai to write for Lonely Planet Magazine India, our driver-cum-guide pointed to his left as we were carefully traversing slushy roads, saying ‘This is the Highwavys Dam’. And I could see….nada, nothing, just a white wall of mist! On the way back, I got to see not just this dam, but also the stunning vistas of Mannalar Dam’s catchment area. As the Suruli river winds its way through the Varushanad range at Meghamalai in the Western Ghats, it passes through a network of dams and tunnels. They’re set in the hills dotted with tea plantations, forest land, tiny churches and temples called ‘kovils’, and tea workers’ living quarters. Nearly 6,000 acres of the tea plantation land, which seems like almost all of Meghamalai, belong to the Woodbriar Group. It’s no wonder then that the only good accommodation up in the hills is also owned by it.
In this story published on Page 64 of Lonely Planet Magazine India’s August 2016 issue, you can read more about Briar Tea Bungalows and the Meghamalai experience.
The magazine has a link to the Meghamalai story on their website, – click here – but I’ve put it up here on the blog too in case the link doesn’t work when you visit. Do refer to the issue for the fact file on getting there, tips, ‘Good to know’ info, as well as other wonderfully evocative articles on Europe, where the LP team has, as usual, sniffed out local secrets for readers.
Refer to page no. 64 in LPMI’s August issue