Rhapsody in the hills of Kerala: Top Six Getaways

Indus Holidays

Explorer Team


Beyond the famed sun kissed pristine beaches and tranquil backwaters, Kerala also offers rolling high ranges of the Western Ghats along the eastern edge of the state. These dense forests, biodiversity, meandering roads and intense waterfalls gave the Western Ghats in Kerala the distinction of being identified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The hills are also the source of the much coveted spices and medicinal herbs of Kerala. 

This write-up will feature the worthy hill experiences Kerala has to offer.

Mountaineering, trekking and bird watching are among the range of adventure activities you could indulge in at the untouched natural hills of Kerala. Totally different from other destinations in Kerala, the hills of Kerala have a quaint charm of their own.
 

Munnar

Photo by: Marvelous Kerala


Munnar leaves a different kind of colonial legacy, a land scape radically altered to emerald sheen hillsides to satiate the British Empire’s appetite for tea. At 1600 m above sea level, the endless tea gardens, kick back boat cruises and spots like echo point have always captured the imagination of the honeymooner and family vacationer. 

With its spectacular landscape, rare flora and fauna and picture postcard hamlets no wonder it tops Trip advisor’s popular travel destination in India list!

For the adventure enthusiasts, challenging trek paths like meesapulimala have given memorable experiences. Otherwise, the tea museum with its tea making process and colonial artefacts are interesting as well as educative. For the wildlifer, Eravikulam national park gives them the best chance to spot the endangered Nilgiri tahrs which are happy to approach the pathway and mingle with the visitor. All in all, Munnar is popular hill experience in Kerala well worth your time!

The highest altitude tea garden in the world @ Kolukkumalai

Rs.2000

Per person

Kolukkumalai Tea Estate

If you are adventurous enough to get to some of the least explored parts of Munnar – honeymooner or adventure traveler, this is for you!

Venue: Punnamada Backwaters in Alleppey, Kerala

Date/Timing: August 13, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Duration:4 hours

You will probably have the craziest 4 X 4 off-road experience as you take a bumpy ride, but we promise you it would be totally worth it

Activities

Up here on top, you will visit Asia’s oldest tea factory which still uses antique Scottish machinery

You will be served with aromatic tea of different combinations, as you enjoy the unspoilt vistas

Experience sunset or sunrise here depending on the time you make it here. 

Spend time exploring the estate, with beautiful organic tea gardens. The area being secluded, it is a beautiful setting without hordes of tourists around.

Visit nearby plantations or go for a private trek.

If you are in Munnar, this place is not to be missed. A half a day exploration on a jeep with permission in the estate is all that is required. Interested?



Wayanad

Photo by: Kerala Tourism


You will take a picturesque drive through the hill highway passing 9 hairpin bends of the Thamaraserry Churam to reach here. Hidden away in the hills of this land are some of the oldest tribes, who are yet untouched by civilization. Nature is at her sparkling best with spice gardens, forests, wildlife, waterfalls and natural dams to keep you engaged. 

Rest your eyes on wayanad’s natural splendour, give a breath-taking sight for sore eyes and believe

For travellers the range of experiences in include the surreal ancient carvings of Edakkal which take you to a different era altogether, stays in a tree houses and tucked away plantations retreats, the best of trek paths and wildlife experiences. Fine dining at Edakkal’s natural cave restaurant would be an idea for the honeymooners. When it comes to adventure sports, camping,  Bamboo rafting or cycling Wayanad will not disappoint with its range and unspoilt destination charm.
 


Vagamon

Vagamon is a mountain of heritage as the famous destination of 3 holy hills – Kurushumala (Christians), Murugan mala (Hindus) and Thangal para (Islamic). For travellers, Vagamon is about the beautiful rolling hills, the perfectly terraced tea plantations and factories, pine forests, famed trek paths. Come in March and it is the international paragliding festival here, with travellers from all over the world coming to partake in the event with hill to hill gliding. 

Kerala’s famed paragliding destination, with rolling hills and pine forests, Vagamon makes for a hill vacation sans the hordes of travellers

Vagamon’s outskirts are also famous for the origin of the river Meenachil made famous by Arundhati Roy in her book “God of small things”. A vacation in Vagamon is a journey in a less-explored but naturally blessed landscape. Come here if you are looking for a quiet hill holiday sans the crowds. Being a famous film shooting spot, don’t be surprised if you meet up with a film unit here!
 

All in a day @ Thenmala Ecotourism 

Located at equal distance (2 hours by road) from both Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram, at a height of 500m above sea level, Thenmala’s natural canvas of flora and fauna and vast tracts of forests attract adventure seekers and nature lovers with equal vigour. Thenmala which means honey-hills is a destination planned with minimum damage being done to the fragile ecosystem of the area.

Step into nature’s playground at India’s first planned ecotourism destination - Thenmala. 

If you are an adrenaline junkie walk a sway bridge, do river crossing or go mountain biking. Spend quality family time at the musical fountain, befriend a deer or visit the sculpture garden. You can also purchase a sapling relevant to your birth star at the Nakshatravanam over here.  Whatever you do don’t miss the elevated walkway. Come, have a whale of a time!
 


Nelliampathy

You drive upwards from Nenmara, half an hour way is the Pothundi mud Dam, the view is splendid. From here you negotiate 10 –odd hair pin bends through ghat road and awesome green forests. A dam made of mud, jaggery & quicklime, Manalaroo Estate (the highest yielding Tea estate in India), government run orange and vegetable farms and cliff views from where you can see a third of Palakkad. There is a lot to see and absorb! 

Mountain mist, cool winds, smell of earth, sounds of forests and a lot of greenery - welcome to the cloud-caressed peaks of Nelliampathy. 

Located south of Palakkad and locally known as ‘Poor man’s Ooty’, Nelliampathy has everything that any hill station can offer you that to sans the crowds. It is an ideal destination for the traveler who wants a quiet calm holiday in lesser explored Kerala!

If you are planning for heading to the hills, this short trip might catch your fancy.



Negotiating wilderness @ the Agasthyakoodam trek

We are talking about a 28 km lifetime trek up to the 2nd highest peak in Kerala (1890 m). Wonder how it feels like negotiating 80 degree inclination climb of rocks, experiencing sunrise and the sky forming a backdrop to the crest of the mountains or going through Muttidipara where your nose will hit your knees when climbing? Agasthyakoodam is believed to be the palace where sage Agasthya meditated in total solitude so it is also a spot of spiritual importance. 

Are you the kind of person who gets the kicks experiencing wilderness and testing your body’s endurance in the forests? This is for you

These mountains have tribal settlements, rare birds and rare medicinal plants which are protected and therefore a visit permit is necessary to enter. Jan-Mar it the best time to go for what is arguably the most challenging trek in Kerala (2 days). Dreaming already?

Note: Women are not allowed here. Plan well in advance as only limited passes are issued for this trek that too on specific days.
 


Tailpiece:

A journey in Kerala is complete only by experiencing the hills. So what caught your fancy? Let us know, we will be glad to help you on a trip to the hills of Kerala and spice it up with some lovely experiences.
 

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