Meghamalai,(மேகமலை) popularly called High Wavy Mountains, is a cool and misty mountain range situated in the Western Ghats in Theni district, Tamil Nadu, near Kumaly Idukki District, South India. It is a place of natural beauty dotted with cardamom plantations and tea estates. The place is situated at an elevation of 1,500 m above sea level and it is rich in flora and fauna. This area, now mostly planted with tea, includes Cloudlands, Highwavys and Manalaar estates, the access to which is now largely restricted. It still includes large untouched remnants of evergreen forest.
Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary:
There is a long-pending proposal with the Tamil Nadu Forest Department to establish the Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary on 600 km2 of forest in the division. Priority tasks in the sanctuary should be the control of poaching and the use of pesticides, the elimination of ganja (Cannabis sativa) and the cultivation and scientific management of watersheds. The Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary can be an excellent buffer to the Periyar Tiger Reserve and Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary and can immensely strengthen conservation in the southern Western Ghats, the range of hills south of the Palakkad Gap.
Wildlife includes: Oriental honey buzzard, Great pied hornbill Indian brown mongoose, Jerdon's palm civet, White-bellied short-wing, Black-naped monarch, Pied thrush, Gaur, Tiger, Leopard, Asian elephant, Mouse deer, Ghatixalus asterops, Raorchestes beddomii, Raorchestes ponmudi, Nyctibatrachus sp., Ramanella triangularis, Ramanella montana, Calotes grandisquamis, Dravidogecko anamallensis, Salea anamallayana, Kaestlea travancorica, Kaestlea laterimaculata, Uropeltis madurensis, Uropeltis liura, Calliophis nigrescens, Large-scaled pit viper and the enigmatic Hutton's pit viper.
Tea Estates and Dams:
Highwavys is a view point that will afford a wonderful view of the entire mountains range of Varusanadu Hills. There few large private tea, spices and coffee plantations all around, notable include The Highwavys Estates owned by The Woodbriar Group, Ananda Plantations, Ponsiva Plantations and Feildmede Estate have the largest holdings of plantations in Meghamalai, an artificial lake and plenty of scope for making leisurely walks. Kardana Coffee Estate is situated in the High Wavy Mountains at 9°42′N 77°24′E.
Six dams on the hill and originating place of Suruli Theertham (Suruli Falls near Cumbum town) are popular attractions for tourists. From Manalar dam, one can view the deep Cumbum Valley and the villages of Theni district. The Department of Tourism has planned to introduce boat or ferry service to enable tourists to enjoy the pristine beauty of the hill.
The places, Upper manalaru, Maharaja mettu and Iravangalaru are fringed by forests with rich flora and fauna.
Vellimalai (Silver Mountain, 1,650 m) area is a heart of Meghamalai. Silver-lined clouds seem to rest gently on green hilltops and nestled somewhere in this region is the place where the river Vaigai originates. This lovely place will give an opportunity to see wild animals and aesthetically and scientifically managed tea gardens. this is near periyar tiger reserve.
The Meghamalai Falls (called as Clouds land fall) occurs on Suruli River originating in the Meghamalai Hills. The special feature of the falls is that water is flowing down 190 feet through twin falls round the year. Frequent visits by elephants, spotted deer, gaur and other wild animals at dawn and dusk are a feast to the eyes. Forest Department officials have plans to assist tourists to view those wild animals.
Meghamalai mountain range can be approached two ways—from Theni via Chinnamanur and from Andipatti via Kandamanayakkanur. Both Theni and Andipatti can be easily accessed by road from Madurai and Dindigul. Theni, which is 76 km from Madurai. The approach via Chinnamannur is more scenic. Only forest lodges and panchayath rest house are available at the hill top. Prior reservation and permission is an absolute must. If looking for a night stay here, you can make room reservation from the forest check-post located 3 km from Chinnamannur on way to Meghamalai. Must reach the check-post at least before 5 PM, if you are looking for a night stay in Meghamalai. Day-trippers may stay in a number of moderately priced hotels in Theni, Chinnamanur and Andipatti. Distance from Madurai 130 km.Of late guest houses and coffee estate home-stays are available in Meghamalai and can be booked on the internet.
The website for Mehamalai has a warning against travelling there in June and July. Meghamalai mountain range can be approached two ways-from Theni via Chinnamanur and from Andipatti via Kandamanayakkanur. Both Theni and Andipatti can be easily accessed by road from Madurai and Dindigul. Theni, which is 76 km from Madurai. The approach via Chinnamannur is more scenic. Only forest lodges and panchayath rest house are available at the hill top. Prior reservation and permission is an absolute must. If looking for a night stay here, you can make room reservation from the forest check-post located 3 KM from Chinnamannur on way to Meghamalai. Must reach the check-post atleast before 5 PM, if you are looking for a night stay in Meghamalai. Day-trippers may stay in a number of moderately priced hotels in Theni, Chinnamanur and Andipatti. Distance from Madurai 130 km.