If on one side, the sunkissed shores cast a mesmerising spell, on the other, the verdant hills echo a beautiful tune. The state of Tamil Nadu is ensconced in beauty, with the peaks of the Eastern and Western Ghats running along the borders on one side. Even though Ooty and Kodaikanal have captured everybody’s imagination, several offbeat hill stations perched on these verdant slopes herald a unique experience that turns into an unforgettable memory with time. Away from the cities and quietly sitting among the clouds, these hill stations give every traveller the luxury of slower days and quieter moments with a hint of adventure.
The beautiful Kolli Hills, located in Namakkal district, are wrapped in silence and abundant beauty. At 1,200 metres above sea level, Kolli Hills offers stunning views from every angle. The slopes, blanketed in green, are also a fertile ground for many kinds of medicinal herbs. A trek to Agasa Gangai waterfalls is the best way to begin collecting the countless memorable moments found here. The caves of Bogar and Agastya also wait to be explored nearby. Seasoned trekkers can also venture deep within the forest to discover the Korakka Siddha and Kalaanginatha Siddha caves. The view from the Selur viewpoint, considered one of the highest points in the hills, is just as stunning.
Best time to visit: June to October
Derived from two words–Yeri meaning lake and Kaadu meaning forest–the sleepy hill station of Yercaud in Salem district, surrounded by the towering Shevaroys hills, lives up to its name. For plant lovers, Yercaud certainly is a paradise. Here you can tour the beautiful orchidarium at the Government Botanical Garden and spend hours strolling the sprawling coffee, fruit and spice plantations. You must also visit the Bear's Cave for a snippet of Yercaud's culture and history. Encircled by hills, the Big Lake is also a beautiful spot to enjoy a day out boating across the calm waters. Located just 3 km away, the Kiliyur falls also paints a breathtaking view. However, the Pagoda point, also known as the Pyramid point, is the most famous viewpoint where you can witness the splendid view of Attur and Ayothiapattinam.
Best time to visit: October to June; In May during Yercaud Summer Festival
Hidden between four mountains, Yelagiri is a sleepy hill station where travellers can venture through the less-travelled trails and soak in its abundant beauty. The Jalagamparai waterfalls catch the most attention with their splendid beauty, rewarding the 5 km journey upwards until reaching the waterfall. Those who enjoy trekking must also follow the trail up to Swamimalai hills. Even boating across Punganoor, an artificial lake, is an experience worth treasuring. In case you are fascinated by starry skies, a visit to the telescope observatory is also a must.
Best time to visit: November to February
This small hamlet, hidden 7,130 ft above sea level in the Theni district, is known to be the world's highest tea plantation. Established in the early 1900s in the Kurangani region, the Kolukkumalai tea estate proudly stands by its history as the factory continues to produce tea by following the traditional methods introduced decades ago. This lends freshness and flavours difficult to find elsewhere. Even though the hills are serene and silent, there's a bit of thrill reserved for adventurers. The tea estate lies at the end of a winding and challenging trail, fit to be embarked on only via four-wheelers. Therefore, for fans of off-roaders, a trip to Kolukkumalai is an exhilarating affair.
Best time to visit: September to March
Also located in Theni district, Meghamalai's Tamil name, “Paccha Kumachi,” perfectly captures its essence as it translates to "green hills." Falling from an impressive height of 150 ft, the Suruli waterfall is the most popular attraction. Its beauty has also been translated into the earliest Tamil epic, Silappathikaram. The falls also cloak majestic caves featuring Indian rock-cut architecture. However, to explore the unabated beauty of the hills, you must spend time strolling around the tea estates and coffee plantations.
Best time to visit: October to February
From trekking to birdwatching, there’s a lot to uncover in Nilgiri hills’ second-largest hill station. For travellers, the quiet hills of Coonoor offer just the right blend of adventure and calm. While stunning views await at every turn, don’t pass on the chance to trek to Lamb’s rock. Just a little ahead of Lamb’s rock lies Dolphin’s nose–another majestic point that promises stunning views of St Catherine’s Falls against the orange sky during sunset. The hill station is bestowed with abundant flora and diverse species of birds and animals. Even though bulbuls, babblers and robins are not hard to spot as they soar across the bright blue sky, at Sim’s Park, nature lovers can experience the region’s biodiversity all in one place.
Best time to visit: October to March
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