The Epic Summer Road Trip: Exploring Hill Stations in South India


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Photo of The Epic Summer Road Trip: Exploring Hill Stations in South India by Neha Bhise Sadalge

With the arrival of the summer season in India; long sultry days of the mercury rising higher every day and sending scorching heat waves across the country are a common phenomenon. However, even with it being a testing time for many, it is a season most people look forward to for planning a holiday to escape the heat.

While there are many popular summer holiday destinations in India, with its calm and picturesque surroundings, South India remains one of the most popular destinations to plan a vacation this season. Even though, it is perceived by many to be hot and humid due to its tropical climate, it’s many hill stations make it the best destination to visit during summer. Guarded by the Bay of Bengal in the East and Arabian sea in the West, along with the stretch of Western and Eastern Ghats gives it the benefit of having everything from beaches to hill stations, historical towns and so much more.

The best part about these destinations though is that with the well-connected roads in this region, you can easily access all of them via a road trip. So, if you are thinking of taking a trip this summer, I suggest, pack your bags and visit some of these best hill stations in South India.

Route: Coorg- Wayanad- Ooty- Munnar

Total Distance: 483 km.

Destination 1

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Photo of Coorg, Karnataka, India by Neha Bhise Sadalge

With its intoxicating aroma of coffee plantations and rich flora and fauna, Coorg is one of the coldest places in South India. With its proximity to some of the biggest cities in South India such as Bangalore and Mangalore, it is the perfect place to start your road trip. Often referred to as the Scotland of the South, Coorg is a perfect blend of beauty and tranquillity. During your visit here, among the many places that you will get a chance to visit, one of the best experiences that travellers look forward to is waking up to misty and chilled mornings with beautiful valleys surrounding you.

Top Experiences: A heaven for nature and wildlife lovers, you can visit Dubare Elephant Camp which is a forest camp on the banks of River Kaveri and enjoy watching the elephants or feed them. With its variety of exotic species, it is also a favourite among bird watchers. Abbey Falls, Golden Temple, Madikeri Fort and Talacauvery are among the other must-visit places during your stay here.

Getting there: You can reach Coorg via Bengaluru (265 km.), Mangalore (160 km.) or Mysore (95 km.). From any of these cities, you can hire a private vehicle or take state transport buses which are available on a regular basis.

Destination 2

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Photo of Wayanad, Kerala, India by Neha Bhise Sadalge

Surrounded by lush greenery and spice plantations all around, Wayanad is a treat for the senses. A blend of culture and adventure, this town has a lot to offer every kind of traveller. You can explore the wildlife around you or visit tea and spice plantations found everywhere here. For trekkers, there are many trails with different difficulty levels leading to nearby mountains peaks such as Chembra. Being a part of the Nilgiri biosphere gives it a mix of waterfalls and scenic views.

Top Experiences: Make a visit to the Wayanad wildlife sanctuary or cool down at the Meenmutty waterfalls. You can also visit other popular attractions such as Edakkal Cave, Wayanad Heritage Museum, Lakkidi viewpoint etc. One of the most popular experiences in Wayanad though is to stay in a treehouse. With options starting as cheap as Rs.2000, there is no better place than Wayanad to stay in one.

Getting there: Wayanad is around 3.5 hours (125 km.) away from Coorg. You can take a state transport bus or reach via a private vehicle here.

Destination 3

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Photo of Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India by Neha Bhise Sadalge

Known as the queen of hill stations; despite its immense popularity, it remains one of the blissful places in South India. Situated in the Nilgiri range of hills at the Western Ghats, it has some amazing sunset and lookout points. With panoramic views of the nearby lush green gardens and serene lakes, you can view scenic surroundings for hours at end. With its English county lanes and colonial relics, it takes you back to the earlier era.

Top Experiences: Laid out in 1847, by the Marquis of Tweedale, the Botanical Gardens here are spread over 22 hectares at an elevation of 2400 metres above sea level. The Rose Park here is another popular attraction with acres of rose tunnels and creepers spread all over. You can also indulge in activities such as trekking, boating or picnic near the many lakes all over the town. A must do during your stay here is tasting some local home-made chocolates.

Getting there: Ooty is only 117 km. i.e. approx.3.5 hours from Wayanad. It is easily accessible via private buses or cabs available from Wayanad.

Destination 4

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Photo of Munnar, Kerala, India by Neha Bhise Sadalge

There cannot be a better place to end your journey than Munnar. Rightfully known as one of the most romantic hill stations in India, it is dotted with tea plantations and grand waterfalls. Catch a glimpse of tea leaves being plucked by hand in the many tea plantations or take a nature walk along the misty pathways. Munnar is the perfect place to unwind and relax in the lap of nature.

Top Experiences: Visit the Mattupetty dam for some fascinating sights or visit the Shola forests nearby for trekking and bird watching. For some cliched touristy fun, a popular attraction here is the Photo point which gives you the perfect background for a stunning picture. Other attractions that can be visited here are the Eravikulam National Park, Shooting Point, Forest Rose Garden and Echo Point.

Getting there: Munnar is located approx.243 km. away from Ooty. You can reach here via state transport buses or private vehicles.

Ending your Journey

From Munnar, the nearest airports are located at Cochin (110 km.) and Madurai (140 km.). Both these airports have connectivity with all major cities all across India.

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