Hidden Hill Stations In South India That Are Summer Goals


As the summer gets hotter and hotter in India, people are escaping to the north in search for cool winds and some chill. Little do they know that the hills of the Western and Eastern Ghats provide a cloak of pleasant weather throughout the year (excluding a few monsoon months).

So, if you have been planning your summer vacations and are dead tired of considering the same old towns on the Himalayan foothills, then give these hill stations in south India a shot this time.

Where: Palakkad, Kerala

(c) Rajesh

Photo of Nelliyampathy, Kerala, India by Sreshti Verma

The Nelliyampathy hill range that stretches across the Palakkad district of Kerala is a gem of the Western Ghats that you can visit from the town of Nenmara. The hills of Nelliyampathy go as high as 5,000ft, and the best places to view its expanses are the Pothundy Dam and any of the several viewpoints on the Ghat Road. You can go boating at the lake formed by the Pothundy Dam or make your way to the vast tea estates and orange plantations that Palakkad is famous for. Just 8km from Nelliyampathy is Seetharkundu, where you can trek to a 100m high waterfall of the same name.

How to reach: The nearest airport to Nelliyampathy is Coimbatore International Airport (55km away) and the nearest railway station is in Palakkad (56km away). If you are driving, then take the road from Nenmara towards Pothundy Dam.

Where to stay: Palakkad Heritage and Misty Valley

Where: Wayanad, Kerala

(c) Ashwin Kumar

Photo of Lakkidi, Kunnathidavaka, Kerala, India by Sreshti Verma

Home to the mighty Thamarassery Ghat Pass, Lakkidi is considered the gateway to Wayanad and one of the highest spots in the Western Ghats. Other than visiting the nearest town of Vythiri, which is just 5km from Lakkidi, you can also check out Pookot Lake, a freshwater lake spread across 15 acres. Lakkidi is also renowned for its proximity to the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, where you can spot endangered and rare animal species such as lion-tailed macaque and Indian shag. There is a popular legend of the chain-bound ficus tree, which is said to hold the spirit of a tribal youth named Karinthandan, who was killed by a British officer after he unveiled the hidden trails of Western Ghats to him.

How to reach: The nearest airport to Lakkidi is Calicut International Airport (70km away) and the nearest railway station is in Kozhikode (40km away). If you are driving, then take the Thamarassery to Lakkidi Ghat road, which is part of NH 212.

Where to stay: Lakkidi Village

Where: Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh

Lambasingni is a small hidden village in Visakhapatnam, which is lovingly called the 'Kashmir of Andhra Pradesh', as in winter it can go as low as 0° Celsius here. Because of the elevation and the dense green forests around Lambasingni, the village never gets too hot and is therefore a habitat for several rare plants and flower species. Other than being the coldest place in Andhra Pradesh, Lambasingni is renowned for its coffee around the country! Definitely visit the coffee plantations if you are here. Just 27km from the town are the majestic Kothapally Waterfalls, which you will have to hike to reach.

How to reach: The nearest airport to Lambasingni is Visakhapatnam International Airport (107km away) and the nearest railway station is in Chintapalle (19km away). If you are driving, then take the NH5 from Vizag.

Where to stay: There isn't much information available on the internet about guesthouses in Lambasingni that you can book online, but visitors assure the availability of homestays once you reach the place.

Where: Travancore, Kerala

(c) Jan J George

Photo of Vagamon, Kerala, India by Sreshti Verma

Located along the Kottayam-Idukki border of Kerala, Vagamon is a small plantation town in Travancore, which is still hidden from widespread mainstream attention. Other than having breathtaking ravines and rivulets spread across undulating green hills, Vagamon is also a great paragliding destination. The meadows of Vagamon provide an ideal location for paragliding and Kerala Tourism even organised an International Paragliding Festival here, which welcomed glider pilots from all around the world in 2016. If gliding is not your thing, then trek to any of the three hills in the area: Thangal Hill, Murugan Hill and Kurisumala Hill.

How to reach: The nearest airport to Vagamon is Cochin International Airport (75km away) and the nearest railway station is in Kottayam (64km away). If you are driving from Cochin, then take the SH14 to Vagamon, which will take you around 3 hours to reach.

Where to stay: Orion County and Chillax Vagamon

Where: Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh

Nestled between the mountains of Galikonda and Chitamogondi, the Araku Valley is a hidden hill station in Visakhapatnam. The area is home to tribal farmers who were the first harvesters of coffee in India, you find out more about the tribal history of Araku at the Araku Tribal Museum. Araku Valley is also surrounded by the stunning waterfalls of the Eastern Ghats. Just 30km away from the main town, you can visit the Chaaparai Waterfalls in Paderu, and if you have more time then also head to the Talimada or Anantagiri Waterfalls that are near the Anantagiri village.

How to reach: The nearest airport to Araku is Visakhapatnam International Airport (109km away) and the nearest railway station is in Araku (3km away). If you are driving from Visakhapatnam then it will take you around 3 hours via the Visakhapatnam-Araku Road.

Where to stay: Navara Natural Farm

Where: Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu

(c) Hari Prasad

Photo of Kotagiri, Tamil Nadu, India by Sreshti Verma

Tucked between Ooty and Coonoor is a quiet hill station of Tamil Nadu, Kotagiri. Speckled with tea plantations and picturesque misty mountains, Kotagiri is primarily visited by people for the various trekking routes it offers. Some of the most loved trails in Kotagiri are Catherine Falls, towards Kodanad and Longwood Shola. The Kodanad Point offers a great spot for photographing a panoramic view of the Western Ghats. Other popular attractions in the area are Elk Falls, Doddabetta Range and the Rangaswami Pillar.

How to reach: The nearest airport to Kotagiri is Coimbatore International Airport (76km away) and the nearest railway station is in Coimbatore (21km away). If you are driving from Mysuru then it will take you around 4 hours via the Mysuru-Ooty Road.

Where to stay: The Point or Hanging Huts Resort

Where: Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

Situated in the Western Ghats of Kerala, Ponmudi is a famous yet quiet hill station in the Thiruvananthapuram district. The route from Trivandrum to Ponmudi has approximately 22 hairpin bends, making it just the perfect destination for an exciting road trip. Other than being an ideal road trip destination, Ponmudi is also known for its trekking and hiking spots. Agasthyarkoodam, one of the highest peaks in the Western Ghats, is also found in this region. You can also visit the Meenmutty Falls (3km from Kallar Main Road) and the Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary.

How to reach: The nearest airport to Ponmudi is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport (60km away) and the nearest railway station is in Thiruvananthapuram (57km away). If you are driving from Trivandrum then it will take you around 2 hours via the Thiruvananthapuram- Ponmudi Road.

Where to stay: Hotel Raj Regency and Hotel Rohini International

(c) Balachand

Photo of Ponmudi, Kerala, India by Sreshti Verma

Where: Chikkamagaluru, Karnataka

(c) Riju K

Photo of Kemmannugundi, India by Sreshti Verma

The hamlet of Kemmanagundi was once the royal summer retreat of King Krishnaraja Wodeyar. This hill station in south India is blessed with natural wonders of Karnataka and is a haven for trekking enthusiasts. Kemmanagundi is home to the tallest, as well as the second tallest peaks of Karnataka. While Mullayanagiri, the tallest peak of Karnataka, is a destination in itself; Baba Budangiri is revered as an auspicious place and has a temple at its summit. The duo of Kallathi and Kalahasthi Falls falls just 10km from the town of Kemmanagundi. The water here cascades down 122 meters and the temple near it dates back to Vijayanagar empire.

How to reach: The nearest airport to Kemmanagundi is in Mangalore (150km away) and the nearest railway station is in Tarikere (35km away). If you are driving from Bangalore then it will take you around 6 hours via the Bangalore-Shimoga Road.

Where to stay: The Gateway Hotel KM Road and Kalaravaa Resort

Have you been to any of these wonderlands? Tell us all about your trip here, on Tripoto!

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