It’s a well-known fact that sunrise at Munnar is something that can be called ‘pure magic’.
Anyone who has ever experienced a sunrise at Munnar will agree with the same. It’s quite an experience to wake up at 4am in the morning just to climb a mountain, wrestling the freezingly cold temperature and a steep climb; all this trouble for that spectacular moment of a divine sunrise. It could easily qualify as a person’s ultimate life-goal!
Though Kolukkumalai is in Theni (Tamil Nadu), the easiest gateway is through Munnar (Kerala). The journey to the top of the peak starts from Suryanelli, a resort town 7km away from Kolukkumalai. From here, you can hire a jeep from the taxi stand. If you are someone with a sensitive stomach then just be careful not to throw up because the climb is purely offroad. Just try to enjoy it even if you don’t prefer it!
If you are into trekking, and not in a hurry to reach the top, then you must opt for the Meesapulimala trek. It’s a 2-3 hour long trek beginning from the Suryanelli tea estate, all the way through the popular Meesapulimala, to Kolukkumalai at the other side. It’s a great trekking experience as you get to absorb the scenic brilliance of the Nilgiris, on the way to the top.
Camping at Kolukkumalai Tea Estate
Kolukkumalai is not just famous for the sunrise. It’s also home to the highest tea plantations in the world.
There are multiple camping sites at the tea estate that offer different camping packages which include camping, sunrise trek, campfire, non-vegetarian dinner, breakfast, and of course, the inevitable Munnar tea. The tea grown here possess a special flavour and taste.
The Singapara is a rock in Kolukkumalai which resembles the face of a lion. It’s placement is such that during the sunrise, the sun seems to come directly out of its mouth. The natural cuts on the rock perfectly demonstrate a lion with its mouth wide open.
There are lots to explore near the camping site, and the nights are always alive with campfires and great food.
Climb to the Top
The climb to the top of the peak begins at 4 in the morning. Be prepared to feel miserable when you wake up, especially if you are not a morning person. Add to that a 45 minute steep and slippery trek to the top in an extremely cold climate. The only option you have is to endure it all, trying to convince yourself that ‘it’s going to be all worth the effort’.
Finally, when you do reach the top….it’s going to be all dark! What’s the fun if you reach and see the sun right away? You have to wait for it, and as you wait, you will see a crimson glow line at the horizon. It would elaborate itself with each second, until finally the sun makes the grand entrance. Bit by bit, ray by ray, you will see the sun come out.
They flow with the wind, literally giving that ‘floating above the clouds’ kind of feeling. The tapered tips of the mountain peaks constantly peeps out through the flowing clouds, completing the view.
It’s an unmatchable moment capable enough to arouse a profound sensation within us which must be experienced at least once in a lifetime.