Kanan Devan Hills Plantations Company's Mile Stones
1 Our History
The first European to visit these hills was the Duke of Wellington in 1790. The ‘Planting Opinion’ of 1896 records that the Duke, then Col. Arthur Wellesley, was dispatched by General Meadows to cut off the retreat of Tipu Sultan at Kumaly gap. Tipu’s intelligence, however, forewarned him of this move and Wellesley was ordered to retrace his steps
It was nearly 30 years later that Lieutenants Ward and Connor of the Madras Army and seconded to the Great Trigonometrically Survey located the mountain peaks of the High Range, and in particular, the Aneimudi and the Chokanad.
In 1877 Henry Gribble Turner and A.W. Turner came to India for shikar, reached the mountains by a pass called the Bodimettu and guided by the local hill men, the Mudhuvans, eventually reached the summit of the Aneimudi and saw the grandeur of these hills with commercial advantage formulating in their minds. Before their expedition ended, they obtained a ‘Concession’ of approximately 227 sq. miles from the Poonjar Raja of Anjanad. Small holders then began to purchase plots of these lands and planted a variety of crops ranging from cinchona to coffee and sisal to tea, and eventually these planters formed themselves into the North Travancore Land Planting and Agricultural Society Limited in 1879.
In 1895, Sir John Muir, Baronet of Deanston, Scotland bought over the deeds of the Concession for further development. In 1900 the Concession area became vested with the Kanan Devan Hills Produce Company Limited, of which the Finlay Muir held a large interest, and the area started to develop very rapidly along more commercial lines, the main crop becoming tea.
2 1877: John Daniel Munro
1877: John Daniel Munro, an officer of the Independent Kingdom of Travancore and designated Superintendent of the Cardamom Hills, makes an application to the Poonjar Chief for the grant of the property called Kanan Thevan Anchanatu Mala on payment and obtains from the Raja the first Pooniat Concession Deed.
3 The first tea is planted
1880: The first tea is planted in Parvathi Estate (a part of today’s Sevenmallay Estate) by A. H. Sharp.
4 Kanan Devan Hills Produce Company
1896: The Kanan Devan Hills Produce Company is formed in the Kanan Devan Concession territory. Estates outside the Concession territory but within the High Range are owned by the Anglo-American Direct Tea Trading Company, also a subsidiary company of Finlay Muir & Co. Ltd.
5 First Hydro-electric Power House
1900: The Kanan Devan Hills Produce Company constructs the first Hydro-electric Power House at Pullivasal – one of the first in India. In the same year the Korangani – Top Station ropeway was also established to transport goods from the plains to the Hills and tea to the plains in turn.
6 Factories functioning
1915: About 16 fully equipped factories function on the estates. Transport of leaf from the field to the factory is by bullock-cart, which is to be replaced by tractors in the years to come.
7 Ropeway for transportation
1926: The Kundaly Valley Ropeway for transportation of tea and goods was completed at a cost of Rs 7.61 lakhs! The company started a Veterinary Department in the same year to improve the condition of the cattle in the High Range.
8 Collaboration with the Tatas
1964: James Finlay & Co. enter a collaboration with the Tatas for establishing an Instant Tea Factory in Nullatani Estate. It is the world’s largest Instant Tea Factory outside USA.
9 Tata's Take over Bussiness
1976: Tata’s purchase the complete business interests in India of the Finlay Group and Tata-Finlay Limited is born.
10 Eravikulam area as a National Park
1978: The High Range Game Preservation Association, the predecessor of the present day High Range Wildlife and Environmental Preservation Association, persuaded the Central Government to declare the Eravikulam area as a National Park – the only National Park of its kind in India, perhaps in the world, where an NGO actively and effectively collaborates with the Government in the joint management of the National Park.
11 Asia’s largest Super Tea Factory
1983: Tata Tea comes into being and sets up Asia’s largest Super Tea Factory in the mid-eighties at Chunduvurrai Estate.
12 Fully automated tea factory
1990s: Tata Tea sets up a fully automated tea factory at Madupatty. The company also starts organic tea cultivation in Chunduvurrai Estate, with organic tea manufacture facility at Yellapatty Factory.
13The first and the largest participatory management company
2005: Kanan Devan Hills Plantations Company Private Limited (KDHP), the first and the largest participatory management company in India with more than 12500 employees as shareholders took over the majority of tea plantations in Munnar from Tata Tea Limited, w.e.f. April 1st, 2005.
Inauguration of India’s first ever Tea Museum
2005: Inauguration of India’s first ever Tea Museum was done along with the formation of KDHP. Officially known as the Tata Tea Museum, it is also popularly known as KDHP Tea Museum.
14 KDHP ventures into a diversification
2006: KDHP ventures into a diversification project under Kundaly Nature Extracts, with the aim of becoming an agri-corporate. KNE was started with the intention of cultivating medicinal and aromatic plants and extraction of oils, and subsequently the scope of operations included production of concretes and absolutes of floral crops such as Rose Damascena, Acacia Decurrens, Tube Rose, Jasmine Sambac, etc.
15Brand Ripple Tea
2010: While primarily being a B2B player, KDHP launches its consumer brand Ripple Tea for distribution in retail outlets across Munnar.
2010: Supported by high offtake and local popularity owing to quality and tourism, Ripple Tea simultaneously expands to retail distribution across Kerala.
16 Rainforest Alliance Certifications
2012: KDHP takes a big step forward towards sustainably grown teas by getting certified by Rainforest Alliance. This is in addition to the USDA Organic certification for 300 acres of its plantations at Top Station and Fairtrade certification (Chundavurrai estate) since 2009. KDHP Teas obtain Trustea cerification in 2014.
17Launch of its e-commerce portal
2015: With Ripple Tea’s success in Kerala, Ripple Tea goes national with the launch of its e-comm portal www.shop.kdhptea.com for distribution across
2018: Ripple Tea ventures into branded retail outlets with the launch of 3 ChaiBazaar outlets across Munnar. 17 factories and packaging units of KDHP gain FSSC 22000 and/or ISO 22000 certification.
19Franchise models for Chai Bazaar
2019: KDHP takes a stride further in its branded retail outlet venture through a franchise model for its ChaiBazaar stores and opens an outlet in Kumily (Kerala, India)
20Global Tea Championship 2019
2019: Ripple Tea wins big at the Global Tea Championship 2019 Fall Hot Loose Leaf Tea Competition held at Boulder, Colorado, USA. KDHP’s Ripple White Tea bagged the Silver Medal and was ranked No 1 in the Loose / White tea category.