Are you aware of this petty hill station called ‘Manjolai’ located just 70 km from Tirunelveli? I will show you a video of it that will knock you out. The small Manjolai hill station with a maximum altitude of around 5000 feet is charming. Covered in thick mist most of the time with frequent rains and poor visibility, Manjolai hills will capture your attention if you are a nature lover.
Location of Manjolai:
Manjolai hill station is located in the western ghats amidst several tea estates and reserve forests. From Tirunelveli town, you have to first go to Ambasamudram, a small town near Tirunelveli. The distance is 40 km between the two towns. From Ambasamudram, Manjolai hill station is 30 km away on the route to Manimutharu dam.
Road to Majolai Hill Station:
The road is definitely in bad shape; the ride will be bumpy. However, the displeasure will be negated by the picturesque hills on either side of the road. Rarely, you will spot another vehicle or another human being when you drive through misty reserve forests dotted with tea plantations.
What to see in Manjolai Hills?
Just nature, buddy, at its silent best, can be seen and enjoyed at this small hill station. There are no big tourist attractions such as a lake or zoo. However, you can find hidden waterfalls, gurgling mountain streams, and wildlife that is literally wild.
Peacocks in Manjolai:
You can see hundreds of peacocks on your way up to this hill station. At some points, you can even feed them. If you have a natural flair for bird watching, you will be screaming all the time during your drive through dense forests as and when you spot beautiful birds of the western ghats.
Trekking through the Mundunthurai Tiger Reserve
The famous Mundanthurai tiger reserve and the reserve forests of Manjolai have scenic trails for walking. The flora and fauna will be noteworthy to focus your attention. You are likely to come across herds of elephants and bison.
Manimuthar waterfalls and dam.
The beautiful Manimutharu dam and the gentle waterfalls will fall on your drive to Manjolai hill station.
Tea Estates of Manjolai Hills
A handful of tea estates found scattered on the Manjolai Hills. You are allowed to walk through the tea plantations and have a chat with the tea workers.
These tea estates must have their own guest house but I don’t know whether they are open to the public for a stay of one or two days.
The entrance to the Manjolai Tea Estate and Manimuthar Tea Estate is located a bit deep inside the plantations. You can take a leisurely walk around the tea gardens and seek permission to see the working of a tea factory.
Other places of interest in and around Manjolai Hill station:
- Singampatty Zamin
There is a palatial bungalow inside the farm (zamin) that is open to public booking. It is an option to stay in the Manjolai hills.
- Kudiravatti Viewpoint
I think this the only official tourist landmark with a sign board. You can climb a short flight of stairs and take a nice aerial view of the Manjolai Hills. The panoramic view is breathtaking.
- Varakkattai Observation point
- Banatheertham Waterfalls
It is a place for tea estate workers’ staying quarters. The road to this scenic place is good.
- Upper Kodayar Dam
- Agasthiyar Falls (papanasam falls)
This is a very popular tourist spot near Tirunelveli located at the beginning of your drive to Manjolai Hills from Ambasamudram town.
- Dasan Pool
A small natural swimming pool with crystal clear water.
Food and Stay in Manjolai Hills:
You can consider them as not available in spite of a few Government guest houses that are always taken by the bureaucrats.
You may find one or two small tea shops in Manjolai but that’s all you get to drink. Therefore, it is advisable to carry your refreshments when you drive to Manjolaihill station.
Moreover, you can stay in comfortable hotels in Tirunelveli city and make a day trip to Manjolai Hills.
You need to take permission from the Forest Department to enter the reserve forests. Alcohol and plastic strictly prohibited inside the forests.
I once had been to the famed Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve. No, I did not spot any tiger but the forest and the Manimuthar river flowing through it are to be seen to admire the rustic beauty of the whole scenario.
The wild birds’ call and the sound of crickets are still ringing in my ears.