10 Spectacular Hill Stations to visit in South India

We have always heard about the beauty of the hill stations in North India. Each time somebody speaks of South India, our mind conjures up all vivid visuals of people conversing in regional languages, the hot weather, dosa and sambar, south indian cinema, all typical of the metropolitan cities  such as Chennai and Hyderabad. You can't help but let your mind wander amidst the nuanced expressions of performers of various arts and the overwhelming divinity of its temples among other clouding thoughts. But sometimes it helps to let our feet wander too, to experience the responsive rendition of the color green, indulge in the adventure and soak in the beauty firsthand. Gyspyshack brings you the ten most beautiful hill destinations in South India, which are no less important than landing on the moon!! 

#1 Araku Valley (Andhra Pradesh)

 

Image Source: Flickr

This vast natural embrace encompasses all nature lovers, solo travelers and families alike. Enter the presence of stalactites and stalagmites of the beautifully lit Bora Caves in the Ananthagiri Hills, cave in with the bats and the golden geckos that reside there. Hike to the Katiki Waterfalls and give your pumping adrenaline another rush. Witness the awe-inspiring leucistic tigers (white), menacing gharials, animated macaws and silent egyptian vultures at the Indira Gandhi Zoological park or live in the serene hanging cottages of Padmapuram Gardens abundant with flower gardens, eucalyptus, pine and other trees. Water ski or go wind surfing at the Rishikonda Beach or just sunbath in the quietness. And while you’re at it, don’t you miss the rich tribal tradition showcased artistically at the Araku Tribal Museum!

#2 

  • Horsley Hills (Andhra Pradesh)
  • Image Source: Indiatourism4u.in

    Covered with dense vegetation contributed by eucalyptus, gulmohar, jacaranda trees, Horsley Hills is an adventurous ride with its well-managed Environmental Park (a mini eco-system in its own), the Highview seeing place that would give you the top-of-the-world feeling as you watch the sun set for the dusk, the pristine lakes – Gangotri and Mansarovar and even a 148 year old old eucalyptus tree christened Kalyani. Feel the cool winds gush as you set on to descend more than a thousand feet at Gaali Banda (Wind Rock), practice archery or go rappelling or cross the Burma Bridge or even roll downhill and scream your lungs out in exuberance inside a human-sized orb, a sport called Zorbing.

    #3 Ponmudi (Kerala)

    Image Source: www.indoasia-tours.com

    Referred to as The Golden Peak, Ponmudi is worth every glitter that the yellow metal unveils. Take a dip into the Kallar River adorned with rounded pebbles and boulders or sight the creatures of elegance at the Deer Park or trek along the vast wilderness. You may have to be a local to get on the Palliyodams (snake boats) at the Aranmula Boat Races held every August and September, but watching the skilled men row with synced precision, participating in their chants and singing with the locals requires no such visa. With its lush green life contributed by dense forests, orchids, tea bushes and gardens, Ponmudi is a pleasure to the senses. No wonder it is home to many rare and endangered birds and butterflies.

    #4 Nandi Hills (Karnataka)

     

    Image Source: Flickr

    Nandi Hills provides tourists with a historic backdrop through the Gandhi House, Nehru Nilaya, Tipu Sultan’s summer palace and fort, a location called Tipu’s Drop which is reportedly the place where the great sultan condemned his prisoners to death by throwing them off the cliff. For those who crave the bird’s eye view of wonder, Nandi Hills has its exhilarating (4500 feet above sea level) Paragliding sessions too. Indulge yourself on a wine tour at Grover Vineyards via wine tasting sessions in an air-conditioned cellar and learn a thing or two about vineyard cultivation, the wine formation and fermentation process.

    #5 Ooty (Tamil Nadu)

    Image Source: Flickr

     Ooty, a part of the Nilgiri Hills, thrives with tourists and never seems to disappoint you with its lush green botanical gardens, cupid struck rose gardens, mesmerizing lakes like the Avalanche where you could camp with your loved ones or just get hold of a fishing rod and go trout fishing. Appease your growling tummies with a meal in a boat house at the Pykara Reservoir. Trek with your friends to the Doddabetta Peak (one of the highest peaks in South India) and even take a trip to the Wax World Museum located close to the Ooty lake and let yourself loose in the company of waxed statues of Gandhi, Lokmanya Tilak, Mother Teresa and other great socio-political personas.

    #6 Munnar (Kerala)

    Image Source: Flickr

    With its tranquilizing boat rides at Mattupetty and white noise like waterfalls at Chinnakal to soothe your mind, Munnar doesn’t just slow down to impress you. Head on to the Top Station 1700m above sea level and let your eyes marvel at the neighboring Tamil Nadu. For the tea lovers out there, Munnar gives you more than just fragrant tea plantations - the Tata Tea Museum that houses the growth of its tea estates with artifacts and photographs.

    #7 Kolli Hills (Tamil Nadu)

    Image Source: Flickr

     Ever thought of rappelling down a waterfall with the water’s rushing sound soothing your ears and the smell of wet rocks invigorating your senses? Situated near Arapaleswarar temple is the Agaya Gangai (a 300 ft waterfall) where this thought could be made possible. Kolli Hills has its botanical gardens, environment-friendly cottages, the Tampcol medicinal farm, the Seekuparai/Selur Nadu viewpoints and with quirks like the Aatukal Soup which is said to cure joint pain, arthritis and cholesterol (made from vegetable tubers found in the forests) is nothing short of a joy ride whether alone or accompanied.

     #8 Coorg (Karnataka)

    Image Source: Flickr

     Coorg doesn’t lag behind with its scenic viewpoints, be it from the Raja’s Seat (a place where the Kings would watch the sun) or the hanging bridge opposite the magnificent Abbey Falls. Go rafting in the white river Barapole and be soaked with adrenaline. There is something for motor riders too - quad biking, where you can ride your heart out around coffee plantations. One can even go fishing or crabbing at Valnoor or ride on elephants at the Dubare Elephant Camp. Walk into Tibet by visiting the Namdroling Tibetan settlement (the second largest settlement outside Tibet) lively with its monasteries, flea markets and camps.

     #9 Coonoor (Tamil Nadu)

    Image Source: Flickr

    Trek to Lamb’s Rock to gaze at the tea and coffee plantations or to Lady Canning’s Seat where Coonoor overwhelms you with its view of the Nilgiris. Climb upon the rock shaped like a Dolphin’s Nose and enter the soothing lighthouse it holds only be spellbound by Catherine Falls and the Nilgiri Hills. Rejuvenate your spirit with trekking, hiking and bird-watching or try your hand with golf at Wellington’s Golf Course, a spectacle of emerald green land.

    #10 Kodaikanal (Tamil Nadu)

    Image Source: Flickr

     Relax on a boating trip or be enthralled with boat pageants & vivid flower shows at the star-shaped Kodai Lake. You could even opt for a bicycle ride or a horse ride around the lake exploring and driving your senses crazy with the lush green hills view and the rich flora that drapes the lake’s sides. Have a closer look at the vast green landscape, its dams, valleys and villages through the Telescope House. Or step onto Coaker’s Walk, a path that runs along the steep southern slopes and maybe if you’re lucky enough you’d experience the rare Brocken Spectre phenomena (your shadow on the clouds with a halo ring). Kodaikanal even houses a Solar Observatory calling out to the science enthusiast in you.

     

    Article by: Jerome Gonsalves


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