When taking a leisurely stroll along the streets and winding pathways that adorn the hills of Kumily, you cannot help but notice the provocative aroma of various spices in the air. A host of different spices are grown in the spice plantations of Kumily. These include cloves, nutmeg, pepper, cinnamon and cardamom.
In order for spice plantations to thrive they must have a very cool climate and a high elevation from the sea level. Such conditions are in abundance at Kumily. Cardamom is one of the region’s major spices and the variety that is most commonly grown is called ‘Cardamom Small’ scientifically known as ‘Elettaria Cardamom’. These thick shrub-like plants grow at an altitude of 600 to 1200 meters from mean sea level (MSL). Kerala contributes about 70 percent of the national production of cardamom with the major chunk coming from the plantations of Kumily.
Pepper comes a close second to cardamom among the plantations of Kumily. The shapely leaves with the sunlight seeping through are a sight to behold when one take s a walk through one of these plantations. One should try these plantation visits as they allow the visitor to take in the natural beauty and appreciate the hard work that is involved in growing the spices that we so commonly use in our day to day lives. The peeling and drying of cinnamon and the painstaking task of hand-pollination of vanilla can be observed on such plantation visits. The aromas that tantalize our nostrils as the wind playfully sways the tiny flowers that grow at the base of these plants are also a treat to the senses.
There are hotels and travel agencies that conduct tours to spice plantations. Also there are some plantations in Kumily that have guest houses which tourists can use with prior reservations. Also nearby locations like Chakkupallam, Anakkara and Vandanmedu are known for their sprawling cardamom plantations.