Kottagudi village, Kottagudi, India
Top station Kottagudi Reviews
In memory of the great Top station. Apr 05, 2015
Driving through mountains on the Dhanshkodi to Cochin Highway from Madurai for about 160 kilometers we reached the hill station of Munnar.The only way to reach Munnar is by road either from Cochin from Kerala state or from Madurai, Theni,Bodinayakanur in Tamilnadu State.We took the Theni Bodi route and reached Munnar to stop a while to get some first hand information as to the places of interest around town and heard of one good attraction in the Tamilnadu side of the maountains about 37 Kilometers from town.To tell you about Munnar it was a British town built over tribal forest territory.The British thereafter felled forest tree cover and planted tea.Munnar was their head quarters and was bountifull in climate, sufficient with manpower bought in from Tamilnadu and also suffecient in water and other natural resources. "Moondru" in Tamil and Malayalam means three and "aaru" means river..I guess the name of the town Munnar denotes the confluence of three rivers about 10 kilometers from the hill.The British built a dam here and it surely was a very resourceful move as the waters became a stable resource to the inhabitants and also fed the wild life sanctuaries sheltering wild animals such as Tigers, Panthers, Leopards, Elephants, Bisons,and many kinds of deers especially the "vara aadu" or mountain goat.
The British constructed a mono rail which transported the tea stock from Munnar to Kottagudi.From there on the stock was transported down the moutain to the valley by a Rope way to a village called Kurangani from where it was transported inland to be exported oversees.So much of history is told behind the making of Tea that the world was sipping at homes, hotels and at social gatherings.
Hoping on and off from my car at places of interest along the silent valley, my colleagues and myself,first got down at Madupatti dam took a few pictures with the waters of three perennial rivers confluenced into a dam as the back drop and later crossed over to drive towards Kottagudi village,Top staion.The drive of about 27 Kilometers from the dam held pleasant views.Leaving Kerala state we arrived at the village in the Tamil nadu and the roads were partially damaged and traffic was stopped at a forest clearing were we parked our automobiles.Walking along a mud road we reached the spot which once housed the Rope car carriage cabin station.Sadly we found no remnants of the mono rail tracks or staion except the broken down floor and the foundations of the rope carriage way station;bearing witness to the eventful business history.Sipping lime tea in one of the shanty tea stalls we were given to understand that none of this legacy remained after the British left India and after the mountain roads were developed better by the government of India to suit heavy transport.However what was consoling was the fact that Top station now attracts a large number of tourists.The point called Valley view was a clearing among the mountains from where one could view the lush green silent valley.Camping and forest treks are all offered for a price.Hunting is strictly phrohibited.For day trippers an enterence fee is collected to climb down a steep forest trail of about 120 meters to stand over a tip of the mountain to get a panaromic view of the forest, valley and the Tamilnadu district of Theni.In summer the valley is suppossd to bloom with blue Kurinji flowers and may be they would seem to look like a valley of lavenders;I thought to myself.There are a varierty of smaller animals and birds we were told.However we got see a huge eagle all black in color which on being spotted took flight further into the forest,but nothing more.It was misty that day as we enjoyed the weather and the view until a sudden drizzle cut short our visit.
Heading back we were all amazed at the mist and mystic beauty surrounding Top slip.The excitment of the trip never seemed to fade as a tinge of sadness floated in our minds about the missing history.Wondering if whatever we had seen of whatever remained was so beautiful; how nostalogic would it have been;had only some physical remains of the history of the introduction of tea plantations,the transportation mono rail and the rope car would have potrayed,had it only been thoughtfully preserved for the sake of fraternity.
Well thats the story over my cup of tea,that I tell you,with a slice of lime,which is written in memory of the great Top station and I hope you would enjoy reading it,maybe better,while sipping your own cup of tea.
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