Flanked between the lush Western Ghats and the scenic coastline Kerala has nearly over 50 hill stations both popular and off the beaten track that make great holiday destinations with cheap flight tickets to get to your dream place. The densely forested hills, sprawling tea estates, spice, coffee and rubber plantations, sparkling streams and beautiful waterfalls beckon visitors year after year to bask in nature’s bounty. Choices are aplenty, and each destination has its very own charm and scenic locales.
The most popular touristy hill stations are no doubt Munnar and Thekkady. Idukki, Vythri and Malampuzha also prove ideal for holidayers looking forward to a quiet and relaxing break. The many temples, wildlife sanctuaries, waterfalls and rivers in these destinations ensure that there is fair share of activity and sightseeing opportunities for tourists. For a truly offbeat hill station holidays, there are quite a quaint and beautiful destinations such as Ranipuram, Malakkappara, Kalpetta, Vithura, Gavi and others that prove more ideal, especially for short escapes from the din of the cities.
Apart from these destinations, let’s check few others that are equally scenic and captivating.
Sprawling spice plantations, misty horizon covered in greenery, pristine blue skies, thick vegetation interspersed by rivers and waterfalls are but a few spectacular scenes common in Wayanad District. A couple of resorts here offer comfortable accommodation from where tourists can check out several local attractions such as the picturesque Kuruva Island set amidst tributaries of the Kabini River, Soochippara Waterfalls, Vythri village resort and Chembra Peak, Pakshipathalam (deep caves with unique plant and animal life), and Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary (the largest reserve for elephants in the entire country). Lakkidi is yet another beautiful hill station in the Wayanad District replete with luxury resorts. Setting out on foot is the best way to explore the local landscape.
Winter, Spring and early Summer are most ideal for a visit here.
Located just off Thiruvananthapuram, Ponmudi is a haven for adventure seekers and nature lovers, for the breath-taking scenic settings – winding roads amidst rolling verdant hills, tea gardens, valleys, rivers, wild flowers and colorful butterflies make trekking and hiking a pleasure.
Tourists can opt to visit the Deer Park and Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary, swim in cool waters of River Kallar in Golden Valley and arrange for a guided trek (with Forest Dept.) up the trail to the Meenmutty waterfalls. First three months of the year are ideal to explore Ponmudi
The Agasthyamalai Bio Reserve which spans Shendumey, Peppara and Neyyar Wildlife sanctuaries has been declared a UNESCO heritage site since March 2016. The Agasthyakoodam peak, second largest in Kerala, close to Ponmudi, offers excellent trekking opportunities (January-March) to adventurists but Government passes required to traverse the region. Trekking route “Neyyar-Agasthyakoodam” however is not open to public.
Vagamon is a calm and picturesque setting that is quite ideal for those looking to unwind and relax in the lap of nature and simply watch time go by. Meandering roads, tall mountains, sprawling expanses of greenery and high waterfalls make a perfect setting to sit back and meditate. Tourists can enjoy Paragliding at Mundakayam Ghat, witness unique caves and rock formations at Thangal Para and visit an idllyic Dairy Farm at Kurisulmala when holidaying in Vagamon. Visit to the Illikal Peak, Maramala Waterfalls, Poonjar Palace and the Meenachil River will also prove quite rewarding. Vagamon makes a great Summer holiday destination.
- Silent Valley
The Silent valley is a jewel in the crown among the multitude of spectacular hill destinations in Kerala. Visit can choose to stay over at the treetop resort to completely blend with the setting or opt for luxury accommodation at the base of the Silent Valley National Park, which still has managed to retain an eco-friendly setting. Plan a trip any time between December and April for the best experience.
Entry into the park, which houses rare species such as Lion-tailed Macaque, Hairy Winged Bat and Giant Malabar Squirrel, needs special permission, however the local resorts can arrange for a tour of tribal villages and plantations. This is a great place for Bird-watching as well.
Yes, it can get challenging to choose one particular hill station from this appealing lot, but then there will always be another time, for this environment is addictive!