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| Last Updated:: 27/01/2016

Hill Stations

 

 

| Eco Tourism    | Hill Stations   |

SOUTH KERALA HILLS

 

Ilaveezhapoonchira

Location: 55 km from Kottayam, 20 km from Thodupuzha

This is a picnic spot located in the midst of the beautiful hillocks near Kanjar. It is easily accessible from Palai in Kottayam district. Surrounded by three enchanting hillocks - Mankunnu, Kodayathoormala and Thonippara.This makes place ideal for trekking.

Ponmudy

Location: About 61 km from Thiruvananthapuram city, South Kerala.

Altitude: 915m above sea level.

Located within a short driving distance of Thiruvananthapuram, Ponmudi is an enchanting hill resort with narrow winding pathways and cool green environs. Along with a beautiful array of mountain flowers, exotic butterflies and small rivulets, Ponmudi offers excellent opportunities for trekking. With its tea estates and mist covered valleys Ponmudi is a fast developing hill resort with cottages and dormitory accommodation facilities.

Agasthyakoodam

Location: 70 km from Thiruvananthapuram.

Attractions: Rare herbs and medicinal plants.

The Agasthya forest is believed to have been the abode of sage Agasthya, a character from mythology. Trekking trails and thick forests around here. Agasthyakoodam, the spectacular peak in the Western Ghats rises to a majestic 1890 m in the form of a sharp cone. A haven for rare herbs and medicinal plants, its slopes are a breathtaking sight when they transform into colourful glades of the 'Neelakurinji', a flower which blooms only once in twelve years. Women are not allowed up the peak. The aboriginals here believe that sage Agasthya, a mythological character who lived here was a confirmed bachelor, hence they dislike the presence of strange women. The season from December 2'nd week to February is advocated for trekking for which a forest pass has to be obtained from the Wildlife Warden, Forest Dept., P.T.P.Nagar, Thiruvananthapuram.

Maniyamkunnu

The majestic mountains here that slope down to meet the beautiful valleys below are truly spellbinding.

Charalkunnu

This picturesque hill station offers a panoramic view of the nearby valleys. A camp house on the hill provides comfortable lodging.

Nelliyampathy

           From the town of Nenmara in Palakkad district, the cloud-caressed peaks of the majestic Nelliyampathy hill ranges are a sight to behold. The height of the hills ranges from 467 m to 1572 m. To reach Nelliyampathy, one has to take the road starting from Nenmara that proceeds to the Pothundy Dam. There are about 10 hairpin bends that have to be negotiated on the way to Nelliyampathy. 

           The Pothundy Dam is a picturesque locale with facilities for boating and is a nice option as a picnic place. As the Ghat road winds its way up to Nelliyampathy, at certain places there are viewpoints from where the vast stretches of Palakkad district are visible with its extensive paddy fields forming a verdant carpet. It also offers a splendid view of the Palakkad Gap, which is a geographical phenomenon in the Western Ghats formation in this region, bringing into view, parts of the adjoining State of Tamilnadu. The hills of Nelliyampathy are also well known for its orange cultivation.

          The bio-farms located here are a major landmark as one proceeds up before reaching the topmost point at Palagapandi estate. Not far away from Palagapandy is Seethakundu where one can have a fantastic valley view and a 100 m high waterfall providing an added attraction. From Palagapandy, one can trek or go by jeep to reach Mampara; another breathtaking vantage point at Nelliyampathy. The area in and around Palagapandy estate has tea, cardamom and coffee plantations with adjoining hills allowing one to catch a glimpse of the wildlife in the form of Indian gaur, elephants, leopards, giant squirrel etc. and is also a paradise for birdwatchers.

Munnar 

        It is one of the attractions that contributed to Kerala's popularity as a travel destination among domestic and foreign travellers. Situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Muthirapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala, and perched about 1600 m above sea level, the hill station of Munnar once used to be the summer resort of the erstwhile British administration in south India.

       This hill station is marked by vast expanses of tea plantations, colonial bungalows, rivulets, waterfalls and cool weather. It is also an ideal destination for trekking and mountain biking. The phenomenon of once in twelve years occurring on the fabled hills of Munnar is attributed to the blooming of Neelakurinji or passionately called by botanists as 'Strobilanthes kunthianum'. The flower with 40 odd varieties bloom mostly in shades of blue, and thus in its name Neela in the local language stands for the colour blue and Kurinji the local name for the flower.

      Let us now explore some of the options in and around Munnar that would provide travellers ample opportunities to enjoy the captivating hill station of Munnar. 

(i)Eravikulam National Park: One of the main attractions in and around Munnar is the Eravikulam National Park. Located about 15 km from Munnar, this park is famous for its endangered inhabitant - the Nilgiri Tahr. Spread over an area of 97 sq. km., this park is also home to several species of rare butterflies, animals and birds. A great place for trekking, the park offers a magnificent view of the tea plantations and also the rolling hills caressed by blankets of mists. The park becomes a hot destination when the hill slopes here get covered in a carpet of blue, resulting from the flowering of Neelakurinji. It is a plant endemic to this part of the Western Ghats which blooms once in twelve years. The last time it bloomed was in 2006.

             One of the main attractions in and around Munnar is the Eravikulam National Park. Located about 15 km from Munnar, this park is famous for its endangered inhabitant - the Nilgiri Tahr. Spread over an area of 97 sq. km., this park is also home to several species of rare butterflies, animals and birds. A great place for trekking, the park offers a magnificent view of the tea plantations and also the rolling hills caressed by blankets of mists. The park becomes a hot destination when the hill slopes here get covered in a carpet of blue, resulting from the flowering of Neelakurinji. It is a plant endemic to this part of the Western Ghats which blooms once in twelve years. The last time it bloomed was in 2006. 

(ii)Anamudi Peak: Located inside the Eravikulam National Park is the Anamudi Peak. This is the highest peak in south India standing at a height of over 2700 m. Treks to the peak are allowed with permission from Forest and Wildlife authorities at Eravikulam. 

(iii)Mattupetty: Another place of interest, located about 13 km from Munnar Town, is Mattupetty. Lying at a height of 1700 m above sea level, Mattupetty is known for its storage masonry dam and the beautiful lake, which offers pleasurable boat rides, enabling one to enjoy the surrounding hills and landscape. Mattupetty's fame is also attributed to the dairy farm run by the Indo-Swiss Livestock Project, where one would come across different high yielding breeds of cows. Mattupetty with its lush green tea plantations, rolling grasslands and the Shola forests is also ideal for trekking and is home to a variety of birds. 

 

(iv)Pallivasal: Pallivasal, located at about 3 km from Chithirapuram in Munnar is the venue of the first Hydro-electric project in Kerala. It is a place of immense scenic beauty and is often favoured by visitors as a picnic spot. 

(v)Chinnakanal: Near the town of Munnar is Chinnakanal and the waterfalls here, popularly known as Power House Waterfalls, cascade down a steep rock 2000 m above sea level. The spot is enriched with the scenic view of the Western Ghat ranges. 

(vi)Anayirangal: When you have traveled about seven kilometers from Chinnakanal, you reach Anayirangal. Anayirangal is 22 km from Munnar, is a lush green carpet of tea plants. A trip on the splendid reservoir is an unforgettable experience. The Anayirangal dam is surrounded by tea plantations and evergreen forests. 

(vii)Top Station: Top Station, which is about 3 km from Munnar is at a height of 1700 m above sea level. It is the highest point on the Munnar-Kodaikanal road. Travellers to Munnar make it a point to visit Top Station to enjoy the panoramic view it offers of the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. It is one of the spots in Munnar to enjoy the Neelakurunji flowers blooming over a vast area.

(viii)Tea Museum: Munnar has a legacy of its own when to comes to the origins and evolution of tea plantations. Taking account of this legacy and to preserve and showcase some of the exquisite and interesting aspects on the genesis and growth of tea plantations in Kerala's high ranges, a museum exclusively for tea was opened some years ago by Tata Tea in Munnar. This Tea Museum houses curios, photographs and machineries; all of which have a story to tell on the origins and growth of tea plantation in Munnar. The museum is located at the Nallathanni Estate of Tata Tea in Munnar and is worth a visit.

Pullumedu

          The winding journey to this hill along the Periyar River, offers a stunning view of hills draped in lush greenery. Velvet lawns and rare flora and fauna add to the beauty of Pullumedu. The famous Sree Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala and the Makara Jyothi illuminations at the shrine are visible from here. 

Dhoni

       15 km from Palakkad, It takes a three hour trek from the base of the Dhoni hills to reach this reserve forest area with its small, beautiful waterfall. 

Ramakkalmedu

        Located in Idukki district of Kerala, Ramakalmedu is about 40 km from Thekkady, which is one of the popular wildlife destinations in Kerala. Traveling on the Thekkady-Munnar road, one can reach the captivating hills of Ramakalmedu in the Western Ghats, which is about 16 km from Nedumkandam.The place gets its name from the impressions of the feet found on the rock surface here, which is believed to be of Rama, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, as told in the Indian epic Ramayana.

        Ramakalmedu is noted for its verdant, cool hills and also for the panoramic and picturesque views of villages in the neighbouring state of Tamilnadu, which is towards the eastern side of the Western Ghats. A noticeably tall, pillar-like rocky structure, about 300 m high and facing east is another attraction here. 

Peermedu

Location: About 40 km from Kumily, Idukki district, Central Kerala.

Peermede is a lovely hill station at 915 m above sea level. It is an ideal retreat in the Western Ghats and a choice break for tourists en route to the Periyar Tiger Reserve. Sprawling gardens of tea, coffee, cardamom, rubber and eucalyptus lying side by side with natural grasslands, pine forests and waterfalls make this an ideal summer resort. The summer palace of Rajas of erstwhile Travancore is today an important monument here. Peermede and its surroundings are suitable for trekking, cycling and horse riding. Kuttikanam a place for adventure tourism and trekking is just 3 km from Peermede.

Another attraction here is Thrissanku Hills, about 4 km away. The rolling hills, the lovely landscape and the gentle breeze make this a choice spot for long walks. The hills offer a breathtaking view of the sunrise and sunset. 

Rajamala

        About 15 km from Munnar, the famous hill station of Kerala, is the beautiful Rajamala. The natural habitat of the Nilgiri Tahr (Hemitragas hylocres), the Eravikulam - Rajamala region is now home to half the world Tahr population estimated at around 1300. But the Tahr is only one of the reasons to make a visit to Rajamala. The picturesque beauty of this mountain will make you want to tent here forever. 

Mattupetti

       Cradled by the undulating plantation hills of Munnar, and not far away from the Anamudi peak is Mattupetty. Situated in the famous hill town of Munnar, Mattupetty located 13 km from Munnar is situated at a height of 1700 m, and is a delight for nature lovers. Mattupetty offers many fascinating sights to relish. Besides the lush green tea plantations, and the rolling grasslands, the Shola forests in and around Mattupetty are ideal for trekking and are habitat to a variety of birds. Rivulets and cascades crisscross the terrain here, which again adds more attraction to the place.

          One of the main attractions in Mattupetty is the beautiful lake, and the Mattupetty Dam, which are ideal picnic spots. The District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC), Idukki provides boating facilities in the Mattupetty Dam. Speed launch, slow speedboat and motorboats are available on hire. Other nearby places of interest includes the picturesque Kundala tea plantations and the Kundala Lake.

        Of all the main attractions at Mattupetty is the dairy farm, run by the Indo-Swiss Livestock Project. The dairy farm is a unique one of its kind with several varieties of high-yielding cattle being reared. 

Vilangankunnu

Location: 7 km from Thrissur

This is a beautiful hill which is a good picnic spot.

Pattumala

         This silken hill, in Peermede in exhilarating Idukki, has charms like no other. The lofty peaks, the little streams and the green expanse of the tea plantations give the hills an ethereal beauty. An early morning walk through all this breathtaking loveliness might make you want to repeat the immortal lines; Bliss was it that dawn to be alive! At the top of a hill is the Velankanni Matha Church, a famous pilgrim center, which is built entirely of granite. Pattumala is also home to two of the biggest names in the tea production sector. 

Vagamon

        Vagamon Hill,is one of the most beautiful hill stations in Kerala is engulfed by three hills. It is from here one can see the green grass covering the hills and the smooth lawns like silk carpets with the fresh mountain air - make Vagamon Hill the most sort after tourist destination. Beautiful flowers, bluish brown hills, cotton mist, meadows, breathtaking view all of it can be enjoyed in the enchanting land of Vagamon Hill. Adventure enthusiasts can enjoy trekking on the mountains, para gliding and rock climbing. Have fun on the boat ride on the lakes or one can sit on the banks or hours and watch the sun go down. If lucky the tourists may spot wild animals like the elephants, wild buffalos and deer. 

Vattavada

         Located about 45 km east of Munnar is the serene village of Vattavada. At Vattavada, in comparison to other regions in Munnar, instead of tea plantations, it is the predominance of vegetables that occupy the terraced slopes and valleys of Vattavada.  

         The scenic hilly tract of Vattavada is at an altitude of 6500 feet above sea level, and is a refreshing experience, which is yet to come under the constant gaze and the footprints of visitors. The place receives plenty of sunshine and the winter temperatures never dip below unbearable levels. Besides the slopes of vegetable fields, one could also find forest patches, interspersed with eucalyptus and conifers. The area also teems with bird life and also other winged beauties like butterflies in various colour, size and shape.

         Vattavada could be taken for a place significant for trekking. Here, an avid trekker would get options to explore many adjoining locations. Some of the trekking routes starting from Vattavada include the ones going to Kodaikanal, Top Station, Mattupetty, Kanthaloor and Meesapulimala. Most of these treks offer enough excitement in terms of negotiating the terrain as well as enjoying the floral and faunal wealth on its course. Visitors could also engage in activities like mountain jeep safari, mountain biking, jungle camping etc. offered by private operators in the region.  

       The local populace of Vattavada has a significant number of tribals. Their way of life, art forms, language, natural remedies are some of the other interesting aspects that could be of interest to visitors coming to Vattavada. 

Thrisanku Hills

Location: 4 km from Peerumede, 1/2 km from Kuttikanam

The rolling hills, the lovely landscape and the gentle breeze make this an ideal spot for long walks. The hills offer a breathtaking view of the sunrise and sunset.

 

NORTH KERALA HILLS

 

Nilambur

The Teak Plantation in Malappuram

Location: 40 km from Malappuram town, Malappuram district, north Kerala.

Nilambur is renowned for the oldest teak plantation in the world, the Conolly's Plot, just 2 km from town. The place is also noted for its tribal settlements, the world's first Teak Museum, vast rain forests, waterfalls and ancient kovilakoms - residences of maharajas. The teak plantation is named after H.V. Conolly, the Malabar District Collector during the British rule, who was instrumental in planting teak in the entire Nilambur area. Chathu Menon, a forest officer under Conolly, organised the hectic task of planting the saplings. Chathu Menon was laid to rest in the teak garden in Conolly's Plot.The oldest teak tree, Kannimari, is a rare attraction at the Conolly Plot. The plot extends across 2.31 hectares beside the Chaliyar river at Aruvakode, where a country boat ferries visitors across. Four kilometres away from the town, on the Nilambur - Gudallur road, stands the world's first Teak Museum. The museum is a sub-centre of the Kerala Forest Research Institute. Arranged in the two storeyed building are exhibits, articles and details of historic, aesthetic and scientific value, which give information on all aspects of the teak to visitors. Nedumkayam, just 18 km from Nilambur town, is noted for its rich rain forests. From the wooden rest house built here by the British, elephants and deer can be seen. One has to get permission from the Forest Department to enter the forest zone. Heavy restrictions are imposed in a measure to save the existing forest land. A half hour journey from here, through the dense forests, by jeep takes one to Mancheri, the home of the Cholai Naikars, a primitive tribe. 

Ranipuram

The Teak Plantation in Malappuram

Location: (85 km from Kasaragod town) Situated 750 m above sea level, Ranipuram is famous for its trekking trails and varied vegetation - evergreen shola woods, monsoon forests and grasslands. This area was formerly known as Madathumala. The extensive forests of Madathumala merge with the forests of Karnataka. Ranipuram in its natural beauty is comparable to Ooty. Wild elephants can be seen wandering on the top of the mountains.

Wayanad

Area: 2132 sq. km

Population: 671, 195 (2001 census)

Altitude: 700 - 2100 m above sea level

A bio-diverse region spread across 2,132 square kilometers on the lofty Western Ghats, Wayanad is one of the view districts in Kerala that has been able to retain its pristine nature. Hidden away in the hills of this land are some of the oldest tribes, as yet untouched by civilization. And the very first prehistoric engravings in Kerala discovered in the foothills of Edakkal and around Ambukuthimala bear testimony to a prehistoric culture dating back to the Mesolithic Age. Strikingly scenic, it is known for its sub-tropical savannahs, picturesque hill stations, sprawling spice plantations, luxuriant forests and rich Cultural traditions. A holistic confluence of wilderness, history and culture, Wayanad is located on the southern tip of the magnificent Deccan plateau. 

Vellari Mala and Iringal 

 

(i)Vellari Mala: Verdant, rolling landscape, with numerous brooks, cascades and breathtaking waterfalls, Vellari Mala offers is a true abode for you to unwind and to immerse in the whiff of its limitless fresh air. River Kanjirapuzha, a tributary of the River Chaliyar, meanders through the rocky terrain, creating cascades and breathtaking waterfalls at many points. The land's beauty and topography is truly a trekker's paradise and is also an ideal picnic spot for people of all age group to have a good time.

 

(ii)Iringal: The famous son of Iringal, Kunjali Marakkar went on to become the trusted admiral and commanded the Zamorin's fleet and thwarted the efforts of Portuguese vessels trying their best to make a landing on the Kerala coast. The birthplace of this valiant admiral of the Zamorin is situated on the southern bank of the Mooradi River. Today, Keralites remember his valour and selfless service rendered for his motherland with lot of reverence.The Department of Archaeology took over his birthplace for preserving and also to give an opportunity for generations to come and pay respect to one of Kerala's valiant sons.

 

Reference

http://www.keralatourism.org/destination/hills

Economic Review 2010

Dept. of Tourism, Govt. of Kerala - http://www.keralatourism.org/