Hills

The Hills

The rolling High Ranges of the Western Ghats on the eastern border of Kerala, have always protected it from mainland invaders. The hills also play an important role in determining the climate of Kerala – they intercept the thick clouds rolling in from the Arabian Sea at the onset of every rainy season. The resulting precipitation ensures copious rainfalls from June well into October – the edavapathy, and again, from November to February – the thulavarsham.The beauty of these green hills is unique to Kerala.

Vast areas of the region are given over to plantations of tea, coffee and spices. Little wonder then, that the British built sprawling bungalows, cottages and churches that reminded them of good old England. Places such as Nelliyampathy, Peermede and Munnar are steeped in nostalgia with a history that harks back to the days of the Raj.

Peermede was once the favorite retreat of the Maharaja of Travancore, Munnar boasts of the country’s highest tea plantation – at Kolukkumalai.Most of the old planter’s bungalows have now been converted into resorts and hotels. The hilly region abounds in wildlife sanctuaries, rivers and valleys and is a popular destination for trekkers. This is especially true of the district of Wayanad, which offers a variety of trekking trails.

The hills stations of Kerala offer the visitor the most spectacular views of nature. Centered in the highland area of the Western Ghats, the hill stations of Kerala are dense in vegetation and provide natural habitat to exotic wildlife. Rising to an average height of 1520 meter, the tropical forests ranging across the Ghats are rich with flora and fauna. Alluring to ones senses is expansive, loamy plantations of tea, coffee, rubber and fragrant cardamom. Crisscrossing meandering roads, ravishing rivulets, splendid springs and wondrous waterfalls, the hill stations of Kerala offers an exclusive touch unique from any other in India. A visit to these hills after the monsoon rains is pleasure unlimited. The hill stations of Kerala are dense in vegetation and provide natural habitat to exotic wildlife. The undulating paths, the rich variety of flora and fauna available, the beautiful gorges and valleys and the sparkling silver streams that skip and dance through the rocks, the settling clouds that one can walk through and the fresh plucked green tea, brewed hot – this is the irresistible lure of the land. The hill stations also are idyllic locations for trekking, rock climbing and other adventurous activities. Hill stations of Kerala are also the source of the famous spices of Kerala.

Hill Stations

Anamudi : (110 km from Thekkady) It is the highest peak in South India and towers over 2695 meters. It is the highest point in India outside the Himalayam Mountain Ranges.Anamudi,together with the Eravikulam Park ,is home to one of the largest surviving population of Asian elephants, Gaurs and the Nilgiri Tahrs.It is very near to the famous hill station Munnar and is an ideal spot for trekking. 

Agasthyakoodam : This is the second highest peak in Kerala which has a height of 1900 meters above sea level. Blessed with a lively wildlife, the forest of Agasthyakoodam is an abode of rare medicinal herbs and plants. The Agasthya forest is believed to have been the abode of sage Agasthy, a character from mythology. Trekking trails and thick forest around here. 

Chembra Peak : (14 km west of Kalpetta) at 2100 meters above sea level,Chembra is the highest peak in Wayanad and is ideal for trekking. 

Devikulam : (7 km from Munnar) This idyllic hill station with its velvet lawns, gorgeous flora and fauna and cool, tranquil mountain is rare experience. 

Lakkidi : (55 km east of Kozhikode and 5 km south of Vythiri) Lakkidi,the gateway to Wayanad,is situated 700 meters above mean sea level, at the crest of the Thamarasseri Ghat pass.

Nelliyampathy : (75 km Southeast of Palakkad) This fascinating hill station is at a height of 467 to 1572 meters above sea level. At least 10 hairpin bends have to be negotiated on the Ghat road that passes through the breath taking evergreen forest of the Western Ghats. 

Peermede : (915 – 1100 meters above the sea level) This famous plantation town takes its name from Peer Mohammed – a Sufi Saint and close associated of the erstwhile royal family of Travancore. Plantation interspersed with cascades, sculptural rocks, meadows and mist – cloaked hilltops make Peermede unforgettable. 

Ponmudi : (61 km from Thiruvananthapuram) Ponmudi is located at a height of 915 meters above sea level. This is an idyllic hill resort with tiny, winding pathways and cool, green, wooded environs.

Munnar : (Altitude 5000 – 8000 ft above the sea level and rainfall  - 275 cm) Munnar is situated at a commingling of three mountain streams,Mudrapuzha,Nallathanni and Kundala,1600 meters above sea level. This hill station was once the summer resort of the British in the South India. Among the exotic flora found in the forest and grasslands here is the Neelakurinji. 

Pythal Mala : (65 km from Kannur) This enchanting hill station, situated 4,500 feet above sea level near the Kerala – Karnataka border, is rich in flora and fauna. It is a 6 km trek to the top of the hills. 

Ranipuram : (85 km from Kasaragod) Ranipuram is famous for its trekking trails and varied vegitations.Situated 75 meters above sea level this area was formerly known as Madathumala.The extensive forest of Madathumala merge with the forest of Karnataka.Ranipuram in its natural beauty is comparable to Ooty.Wild elephants can be seen wandering on the top of the mountain. 

Vagamon : (25 km from Peermede) Spectacular sights make Vagamon a perfect holiday retreat. A curious blend of religious mysticism and European legacies, this hill village is a haven of tranquility. The chain of three hills, Thangal Hill, Murugan Hill and Kurisumala, is a mark of religious harmony. 

Vythiri : (10 km from Kalpetta) This distinctive ecological and geographical features of Vythiri provide a unique charm and an enchanting challenge for hikers, trekkers and nature lovers. Its fascinating scenery and wonderful climate creates an unforgettable experience.

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 Published on 24/01/2015

 

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