Munnar, Kerala’s best-known hill-resort, is synonymous with lush tea plantations. The unique tea museum run by the Kanan Devan Hills Plantations Company Private Limited, the first of its kind in the country showcases the history of tea cultivation in Munnar since 1876 when tea was first planted in this tea plantation district. On display are several rare artefacts and curios as well as evocative photographs from an era long forgotten and of which few are aware. From the granite sundial made in 1913 by the Art Industrial School at Nazareth in Tamil Nadu that greets visitors at the entrance to the museum, the memorabilia preserved inside include an iron-age burial urn from the 2nd century BC that was exhumed in the 1970s, the original tea roller of 1905, the rotor vane (the old-time CTC type tea processing machine), the Pelton wheel used in the power generation plant that existed in the 1920’s and a rail engine wheel of the Kundaly Valley Light Railway that transported men and material between Munnar and Top Station during the early part of the last century.
The museum has a miniature tea factory attached to it where visitors are expertly familiarized with the nuances of tea cultivation and processing as well as tea tasting. Attracting tourists from around the globe, the visit to the museum an eye-opener, giving one an interesting insight into the evolution of Munnar’s famed tea plantations. The Tea Museum has had more than 2.5 Million visitors since its inception.