Top Station: Where The High-Altitude Tea Estates Are Guarded By The Blue Peaks

The Place

Set at an altitude of over 6100 feet, Top Station faces the sky-jutting blue peaks of The Western Ghats. It is surrounded by some of the highest tea estates in the continent. The slopes around Top Station are home to the unique Neelakurunji flowers which blossom once in twelve years, but when they do the whole area receives a fresh blue coat.

The Journey

The most convenient way to reach here is taking a 35 km drive from Munnar. As you begin your ascend, you cut through some expansive tea-covered slopes dotted with eucalyptus groves and several times you descend into the picturesque valleys. And you also zip by various water reservoirs where you can stop if you wish. But it is the final leg that really gets etched into the memory for you glide through what are the highest tea estates in the continent. Tea is spread over slopes that are so steep that you wonder for a moment how challenging it would be to pluck tea leaves here. The background comprising of the mighty blue peaks adds to the beauty of these slopes.

The History

Top Station was a place of significance for the tea trade in the colonial times. There was a railway station near Top Station for monorail which brought tea chests here from Kundalai valley. An aerial ropeway was installed here to transport the tea chests arriving via monorail to a village downhill. The remains of the ropeway system can still be spotted. In the beginning of the 20th century, the monorail was replaced by a 24 inch gauge railway system. None of these exist today and the place is like a vantage point for most of the travellers and for some it is a trekking destination.

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