We are taking you to Munnar, hundred and fifty kilometers east of Cochin, nestled within the Western Ghats of South India. Munnar was once part of Tamil Nadu, it was Tamilians who lived here, and you could still hear people talking Tamil here. Centuries back, Munnar was dense forests, home to birds and wild beings. The kings used to enter the Western Ghats for hunting and it was a great source of timber for the Kingdoms. There were a very few tribal communities who lived in these wild forests.
Introducing Tea as a crop
The Scotts introduced tea as crop in Munnar, they found it be very successful. The British unutilized this potential, and introduced as a viable cash crop across the hills. It was not too late; all trees of Munnar and the surrounding hills ranges were cut down for planting Tea in Munnar and this gave way to many estates in the high ranges. Tea Plantation in Munnar, gave jobs to men and women, Estate bungalows and factories processing tea were raised. That gradually introduced Munnar as Tea town and slowly an industry was built here.
During the post independent era, the British industrial houses and traders sold their tea estates to Indian business houses of which the TATAs are the prominent one. Today most of the Estates of TATAs are owned by the Employees. The estates still operate the old fashioned way, how the British used to run it. The Estate bungalows are still residents of Manager.
Talayar Estate Bungalow and “Brew you own Tea”
One of these estate bungalows built around seventy five years back is the Talayar Estate Bungalow. Few years back the Estate Bungalow underwent a refurbishment and is now open for guests. Within the Talayar estate you have the Talayar Estate factory which is opened to the guests to visit. They offer an interesting program called “Brew your Tea in Munnar” which means, you puck the leaves, let it dry, process it, taste it and finally have it. This is a very experiential program where you really learn the processing of tea starting from Plucking the leaves till they reaches your supermarket shelves. Rest is for you to Experience.
Written By Benjamin John