The highlands of Kerala are brimming with natural wonders and tranquil landscapes. Road trips will involve gentle climbs into sprawling tea estates while in the backdrop, the forests of the Nilgiris are shrouded in monsoon mist. Intrepid travelers looking for an offbeat experience choose to hire a car and self-drive so they can enjoy the many interesting detours and stops along the way in total freedom. Here are some of the most alluring hill destinations in God’s Own Country.
Wayanad is still wild in many ways. Travelers can expect to come across wandering deer as they negotiate the country roads. Deeper in the hills, groups of Asiatic elephants roam through the forests and emerge in clearings as they look for waterholes. During the monsoons, the hills of Wayanad are shrouded in fog and mist, adding a mystical layer to this fascinating scenery.
A visit to Chembra Peak is always recommended. The summit is over 2000 metres above sea level and involves many splendid views along the way. The waterfalls of Wayanad are in their full glory during and right after the monsoon months. Soochippara Waterfalls is one of the most scenic of them. Visitors can also visit the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary which is home to Indian bison, tigers and bears apart from the famous pachyderms of Wayanad.
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Munnar offers a mix of sub-tropical and alpine scenery. It is the tea capital of Kerala and in the main town, one can learn about the growth of this industry at the Kannan Devan Tea Museum. One can also indulge in some tea tasting while studying the local history. Eravikulam National Park is a short drive away from the town. It is world famous for being the home of the Nilgiri Thar, a rare wild goat species found in the region. Nature enthusiasts can also head over to the Mattupetty Dam and enjoy the peaceful setting of the lake there.
Located just north of the state capital, Ponmudi is a local favorite for those who seek some fresh mountain air. There are many trails that will fascinate the avid hiker, filled with resplendent panoramas of the surrounding valleys. The Deer Park is a popular attraction here while a visit to the Meenmutty Falls is also recommended. The Kallar River meanders through the immensely pretty Golden Valley and there are many spots along the banks where one can take a pause and have a small picnic.
Exploring the hills on ones’ own terms is the best way to have a completely satisfying experience. Informed travelers usually rent a car in Kerala via the popular app-based Zoomcar platform. Apart from enjoying complete privacy and freedom, travelers get to choose from the latest models of hatchbacks, sedans and SUVs. 24/7 on-road support adds a much-appreciated security assurance.
From gushing waterfalls and verdant wilderness to quaint colonial structures, the many layers of Kerala’s Western Ghats will enamor inquisitive and adventure-seeking travelers. Get behind the wheel and be ready for pleasant sights and surprises along the way.
Disclosure: It is a guest post and all the opinions mentioned here are of the writer.
(Your Travel Guide)