Tea Plantation in Munnar: History and Varieties

Tea is undoubtedly the most consumed beverage worldwide, and the tea plantations in Munnar are among the most famous in the world. Here’s a closer look at the history of tea in Munnar and the different varieties of the tea plant.

Varieties of the Tea Plant

The tea plant, Camellia Sansis, has its roots in an area between India and China. There are three main varieties of the tea plant: China, Assam, and Cambodia, as well as several hybrids between them. The China variety grows as high as nine feet and can withstand cold winters, with an economic life of at least 100 years. The Assam variety is a single-stem tree ranging from 20 to 60 feet, and it has an economic life of 40 years with regular pruning and plucking. The Cambodia variety is a single-stem tree growing to about 16 feet and is not cultivated but has been naturally crossed with other varieties.

History of Tea in Munnar

Munnar is a hilly region located in Kerala, India, known for its beautiful tea estates and tea cultivation. The history of tea in Munnar dates back to the 1800s when a British resident named John Daniel Munro settled a border dispute between Travancore and the nearby states of Munnar. After seeing the beauty of the region, Munro decided to start plantations in Munnar. In 1879, Munro formed the North Travancore Land Planting & Agricultural Society, and they started cultivation on coffee, cardamom, cinchona, and later, tea. A European planter named A.H. Sharp started tea cultivation in Munnar in 1880. In 1895, Finley Muir and Company bought 33 estates in Munnar, and these estates were later managed by the Kannan Devan Hills Produce Company, formed in 1897. In 1964, the Finley group collaborated with the Tata group to form Tata-Finley group, and Tata Tea Ltd was formed in 1983. In 2005, Kannan Devan Hill Plantations Company Pvt Ltd was formed, and Tata Tea transferred all its rights to the company. Today, the company is the largest tea corporate in South India, with an annual production of around 21 million kg of tea.

Visiting Tea Plantations in Munnar

A trip to Munnar is incomplete without visiting the tea plantations. The Tea Museum in Munnar, India’s first-ever tea museum, is ideally located at KDHP’s (Kannan Devan Hill Plantation) Nallatanni Estate in Munnar. Here, visitors can have a journey through the tea history of Munnar. Guests can also taste or purchase the tea essence of Munnar and have a memorable trip to the tea valley of the Kashmir of South India.


Tea is a significant part of Munnar’s history, and the tea plantations in Munnar are famous worldwide. With its picturesque landscapes, tea plantations, and tea museum, Munnar offers a unique experience for tea enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

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