Leave all the trappings of urban life behind as you journey in to the heart of tea country. With every winding turn and hairpin bend, your breath slows down. The fresh air is soothing as is the view of lush scenery in myriad shades of green. An overall sense of calm engulfs you as you are humbled by the sheer beauty of the undulating landscape.
In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, vast areas of the Western Ghats were identified for planting. Forests were cleared to make way initially for spices & coffee and eventually tea. And this led to the building of colonial styled bungalows intended for planters, their managers and families. The Sinna Dorai bungalows: Anamalai, Mangorange & Kadame are examples of these; clusters of residences named after the assistant manager or ‘Sinna Dorai’ in the local parlance of a typical South Indian tea plantation.
Experience the authentic life of a planter in a charmingly unhurried world without wi-fi, infinity pools, television and mile long buffet meals as you are welcomed in to a bygone era where people had time for each other. Wake-up gently to birdsong, venture out on bracing morning walks in the company of butterflies and possibly a serendipitous brush with wildlife in their habitat, partake a lazy afternoon tea in wide sunny verandas and savour delicious home-styled meals served with the gracious hospitality estate homes are renowned for.
Do as little or as much as you want to. Sit and watch the rain. Pick up a book from the well-stocked library. Play board games. Sunrise and Sunsets are glorious events in themselves, watch as they paint the skies in hues of pink and yellow and inky blue. Retire for a restful night’s sleep in one of the elegantly appointed rooms in these heritage homes.
The Anamallai Hills is a mountain range in the Western Ghats that extends into Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Ananmallai translates into Elephant Hill; from the Tamil/Malayalam word 'Ana' meaning elephant and 'mallai' meaning hill. The Sinna Dorai bungalow in the Anamallai’s is of 1940’s vintage. This six-bedroom bungalow stands amidst acres of organic tea fields overlooking the Roti Kadai (literally Bread Shop) valley, the location of the first bakery in the district. The Sinna Dorai bungalow in Valparai dates back to 1896. The tea estate is expansive and cultivates 555 acres of organic tea and 1,215 acres of conventional tea.
There is plenty to see and do around Valparai. The Anamallai’s are home to an abundance of wildlife and a safari can be a rewarding experience with the chance of seeing panthers, gaur (Indian bison), wild boar, malabar squirrels, hornbills, scarlet minivets and notably the lion-tailed macaque. A night drive under the spectacular starry skies offers a great contrast. Make your own tea in one of the tea factories on the estate, learning the process of picking the leaves by hand and the method of CTC: crush, tear and curl. Walks, picnics and drives to see local sites like the Monkey falls, Balaji temple, Sholayar dam, Chinna Kallar, and Grass hills can be arranged locally.
Plantations in the Nilgiri - Wayanad district were first opened in 1845 by Mr. James Ouchterlony. The initial attempts at coffee failed due to pest infestation and salvation came in the form of a gold rush in 1874, when as many as 41 companies were floated in England to prospect for gold in the area. This boom was short lived and the focus shifted back to coffee and by 1916 tea was being exclusively planted in the estate.
Not much is known about the origins of why the area is called Mango Range except for the rather large mango tree near the Peria Dorai’s (Manager’s) Bungalow. The Sinna Dorai bungalow dates back to 1918 and its three bedrooms stand in its original form in the 2,500 acre Carolyn Estate.
Relax on the veranda or the garden and lose yourself to the mountains. Once you have soaked in your picturesque surroundings, and explored the tea estate you may fancy an immersion in the natural history of this region in the form of a visit to the nearby Mudumulai and Bandipur National parks. And you may just chance upon a herd of elephant, known to roam freely in this region.
The Myddleton family were the first recorded owners of Kadamane Estate. They attempted to grow cardamom, pepper and later, coffee, all with little success. The property was hence sold to the Earl of Warwick and was intended to be used as his hunting grounds. But in never was, nor did the Earl ever visit. His agent, a Mr. Edge, was given the responsibility of selling the property, which he successfully did on the 26th July 1927 to Tea Estates India Ltd. The new owners began clearing the forests and planting tea.
The Kadamane bungalow (Kadu meaning forest & Mane meaning house) was built in 1930 as a twin house for the two Sinna Dorais who planted all the tea that surrounds it and has nine rooms. The estate covers 1,000 acres of tea, a factory, two churches, a temple, a hospital and vast areas of forests and grasslands.
If you love the rain, Kadamane is the place for you as rainfall is measured by the metre. One of the highlights of your stay in Kadamane, is a 4 x 4 ride of a lifetime on unseen trails, through the grassland or through streams, and across boulder-ridden thoroughfares. Visits to the tea plantation and factory as well as walking and hiking with picnics are also a possibility.
The Sinna Dorai bungalows are easily accessible from both Bengaluru and Kochi and combine well with other RARE properties like Malabar Escapes as well Pepper Trail in Wayanad and Dvara Siruvani. to form part of a longer Southern India exploration.
This has the most gorgeous location, look and service! In the midst of tea gardens, close to a forest with beautiful rooms and fantastic service! We have been here before and we will keep visiting...
Bungalow by all means with spacious and tastefully furnished rooms- spacious bathroom, high raise ceilings, sit outs, common reading room etc. We stayed for 4 full days with my kids. Generally, we...
Stayed here for 2 nights in December. Everything is good here except the repetition of non-veg dishes for 2 days which we felt is a bit of disappointment. Other than this, no issues at all. May be...
Nearest Airport : Coimbatore International Airport
Nearest Railway Station : Coimbatore Railway Station
Nearest Bus Station : Valparai