It was not so early in the morning and the temperature must have been in the 20’s. I was on the bed with my eyes half-open, wondering if I should get out or just go back to sleep. Of course, the latter wasn’t necessarily a good idea considering that every time I closed my eyes, I couldn’t stop thinking.
I can’t say that the thoughts were fictitious ergo there was no running away from it. It was all happening in my life and I was just looking for a reason to get away from them temporarily. I managed to pull myself up and found my way to the living room which lead to the porch and eventually the entrance of the guesthouse.
As I approached the door, I noticed that the sunlight found it’s way into the netted enclosure that was the porch. It wasn’t enough a reason to open my eyes but when I did, I found myself in the courtyard surrounded by trees. Then there was the overwhelming petrichor in harmony with the sound of birds chirping early in the morning.
The horizon was embellished with tea plants- looked enough to meet the demands of a country that runs on chai. It was without a doubt, the most beautiful view that you could wake up to. It is what I needed to accentuate a near-perfect getaway from reality. I was staying at a guesthouse deep inside a tea plantation; it was part of the weekend experience curated by Ripple tea Munnar.
Kanan Devan Hills Plantations Ltd. (or KDHP in short) took over from Tata Tea Ltd. and has been producing high quality factory-fresh varieties of tea under the brand name Ripple Tea. Ripple as a brand was started in 2010 and its manufacturing and distribution business is spread across India. Ripple’s CTC (or “crush, tear, curl” ) and green tea products are acknowledged to be of distinguished flavour, quality and is well appreciated.
Ripple Tea consists of some of the finest CTC (or “crush, tear, curl” ) and Orthodox Teas, Green Teas, Organic Teas and Flavoured Teas. The Brand has today managed to cover a large portfolio with teas grown by it, which is preferred by the locals and visiting customers who buy the tea from Munnar and all over Kerala.
As part of the experience that was curated by Ripple tea, we visited their tea factories to get a closer look at how their tea is processed. We then got a chance to sample some of the factory-fresh tea at the adjoining outlet. The #RippleTrails experience spanned over a couple of days, during which we stayed at their “Tea Sanctuary” bungalows.
To talk about the variety of tea available on their e-commerce platform would be a joke- there is so many to choose from. I, for one, loved their Ripple Premium Leaf Tea which made the perfect cup of black tea (maybe add a tinge of lime). Ripple Premium Leaf Tea has a unique combination of refreshing taste, rich aroma and superior strength.
“We have a variety of flavours of tea for the consumers to choose from. Something for everyone”Mr. K Mathew Abraham, Managing Director, KDHP Co. Pvt. Ltd.
Apparently, most black teas are produced using the CTC method and they are characterised by a rich red-brown colour when boiled using the Indian method. I suggest you visit their online website and have a look at the variety of tea they have to offer. On their website, you will also find a description of each product and their “level” of “flavour” and “strength”. If that doesn’t help you decide, just pack your bag and head to Munnar.
I mentioned earlier about staying at their “Tea Sanctuary” bungalows– these are heritage properties; some more than a century old. The idea is to offer guests the experience of reliving the lifestyle of the pioneer planters. They have about seven of them- each located within tea plantations on the slopes of the hills of the High Ranges at altitudes between 4000 and 7000 feet.
The Bungalows are two/three bedroom and are quite spacious. Not to mention, the view from these bungalows are both stunning and surreal. We stayed at the Chokanad (East) and Arivikad East Division bungalows. The former is about 6 km from Munnar city and the latter- about 17 km. If I have to talk about the food served at the bungalows, just one word- local and delicious. For lunch and dinner, we were served chapatti, rice, chicken curry, dal, couple of vegetable stir-fries and the all-essential papadum.
For breakfast, we could choose between having bread toast with jam, butter and eggs (however you’d like it) or the usual South-Indian dishes like idli, vada, dosa with tomato and coconut chutney. They have free Wi-Fi which is very helpful because not every customer would have BSNL as their cellular operator. The caretakers at the bungalows are impeccable and they make you feel at home. The bungalows also have solar-powered water heaters if you’re sceptic about the cold winters. Almost all of the bungalows even have a fire-place; some of them have one each in the bedroom too.
We were also invited to visit and dine at heritage clubs that were a 100 years old- each special in its own way. The High Range Club is a charm of a bygone era- the club’s interiors scream of colonial ambience preserved for more than a century. It is without a doubt, the perfect place to unwind with your family. These clubs also have a golf course and several activities you can indulge in- both indoor and outdoor. These are clubs that you will have to enjoy responsibly and also accept wholeheartedly the dress code which is being followed for decades.
The other heritage club that we visited was the Kundale club which was barely bigger than a cabin but has a beautiful golf course as far as the eye could see. Unlike, the High Range Club, Kundale club does not have any rooms, but it does have a small kitchen that can cater to simple meals. It also boasts of a clay tennis court with the best view that one can get. They said when you are golfing in Kundale club, the only distraction would be from the chirping of birds.
I got a lot of messages- asking about a recent picture (on Facebook & Instagram) of me sitting on a rock almost knee-deep in the middle of a river. Well, that picture was taken at Gravel Banks- it is a cabin by the river which is owned by the KDHP Tea Company. It is an exclusive location that I was invited to as part of the Ripple Trails experience. At Gravel Banks, you can indulge in amazing outdoor experiences like Angling or just simple fishing.
A visit to the Ripple Tea Museum, tea factories, Tea Sanctuaries, 100 year old heritage clubs, a cabin by the river… who would have thought all of this could be done in 48 hrs. Well, we did and it was all a part of the #RippleTrails experience. To Raji, Sanjith and Jayapaul atten– who in spite of their hectic schedules were able to show us around Munnar and more. They made us feel like residents of this beautiful hill station on the Western Ghats- an experience centered around Ripple Tea.