A Capt. E G Windle M.B.E. had visited this area in 1896 and had applied for this block of land. Then on the 7th, or was it the 9th of February 1897, my predecessors Messer’s. Windle, Marsh and Congreve arrived at Paralai to begin planting coffee. The first house was built in the vicinity of my bungalow.
With the help from Moplah contractors they felled the forest and planted 50 acres in the first year. In the following years they experimented with cinchona, tea, cardamom and rubber!
Tea, it was decided, suited the area the best and today we have 555 acres under organic tea and 1,215 acres under conventional tea. The estate also has two factories and a hospital.
Mr. Congreve authored an interesting book about the early history of the district. Perhaps you can leaf through it in the library while enjoying a dram after sundown.
You can ride in a car from Coimbatore, an industrial city in the state of Tamil Nadu well connected by road, rail and air. Your chauffeur will zip past the town of Pollachi from where you will wind through 40 hair pin bends on the Anamallai Hills that rise to 1200 meters to reach the Parry Agro Tea Plantation at Paralai. Three and a half hours is all it takes, and the views are breathtaking.
If you choose to make an approach from the west through Kerala - Cochin or Kochi as it is now known is a convenient staging point that is well linked by sea, road, rail and air. The picturesque four-hour drive will take you through the town of Chalakudi, past the impressive Athirapally falls, which warrants a quick stop. Some lovely evergreen forests and across the state border into Tamil Nadu at the Sholayar Dam. The road meanders through elephant country and tea and coffee plantations to reach my bungalow at Paralai estate, where I am the Sinna Dorai.