India's Scotland and Andhra's Ooty: Must-visit hill stations in South India

India's Switzerland and Andhra's Ooty: Must-visit hill stations in South India

Most travellers love high-range travel. When we get images of the snowy valley and the steep slopes, it is usually Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh that comes to our mind. But there are similarly stunning places down south as well.

Yercaud, Tamil Nadu

Photo: Ganesh Palanivel/shutterstock

Yercaud is the queen of the hills of Tamil Nadu. Located in the Eastern Ghats as part of the Shervarayan Hills, Yercaud is one of the most sought-after destinations after Ooty and Kodaikanal.

Famously known as the 'Gem of the South', this place is rich in forests and mountains. Yercaud's climate is said to be reminiscent of the Himalayan weather. Popular as the "Poor man's Ooty" Yercaud is one of the low-cost hill station destinations in India.

One of the biggest attractions of this place is the Yercaud lake which is called the big lake. The lake, which is located in the heart of Yercaud, surrounded by lush greenery is a sight for sore eyes. Boating and other facilities have been added for visitors. Other attractions include Anna Park, situated next to Lake. It is a typical park used to host the "Flower Show" in the month of May. The "Japanese Park" inside Anna Park is a must-see. There is a bear's cave situated about 7 feet below the ground level and contains a deeper gorge which is believed by the local people to lead up to the cave situated in the Shervaroyan Temple.

Also, visit the botanical gardens and Killiyur Falls which is 3 km from the Yercaud Lake and should be visited after the Southwest or Northeast Monsoon. Lady's/Gent's & Children's Seat is a natural rock formation in the form of a seat where reportedly a white English Lady spent her evenings viewing the magnificent beauty of the hill. And finally, there is the Pagoda Point that lies on the Eastern side of the Yercaud hills and is also known as Pyramid Point. Today there is a Rama Temple that lies between this Pagoda.

Coorg, Karnataka

Coorg, Karnataka. Photo: Sankar Nair/shutterstock

This hill station positioned on the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats is known as the 'Scotland of India'. Coorg, also known as Kodagu is a place you can enjoy all throughout the year, thanks to its weather which remains pleasant all through the year. This is a popular destination for adventure seekers and nature lovers alike.

Coorg is a beauty with evergreen forests, plains, snowcapped mountains, coffee, and tea plantations. It is located at an elevation of 900 m to 1715 m above sea level. Kodagu is home to a number of luxury resorts. River rafting is available on the Barepole River and the Cauvery River. When the coffee blooms, Kodagu is loaded with the aroma of the whole coffee flower. Madikeri is the region's centre point with all transportation for getting around starting from here. On a visit to Coorg, cover the beautiful towns like Virajpet, Kushalnagar, Gonikoppal, Pollibetta, and Somwarpet, and experience the beautiful concept of "homestays" to make your experience more memorable! Do visit talakaveri, abbey falls, rajas seat, and Madikeri fort. Mallalli falls located in the foothills of Pushpagiri, around 25 km from Somwarpet in the Western Ghats region of Kodagu is another must-visit spot.

Araku Valley, Andhra Pradesh

Photo: Hamzaah/shutterstock

This is a welcome diversion from Andhra's humid climate, apart from its picturesque beauty. Araku Valley because of its cool climate is known as Andhra's Ooty. It is located at an elevation of 600-900 m above sea level. The beauty of the coffee plantations and the descent and ascend through the mountain passes is also a unique experience for the tourists. On the way through the mountain pass, the road is densely woody on both sides. Due to its cold climate, the Araku Valley is often compared to the Himalayan region.

Araku valley is mainly inhabited by tribals and the Tribal Museum is one of the main attractions here. It houses tribal handicrafts and several artifacts depicting the lifestyle of tribal people. The tribal dance known as Dhimsa dance with tribals dressed in colorful attire is a must-see for visitors coming to Arakku. Araku is also known for its coffee plantations and boasts of manufacturing India's first tribal growers' organic coffee brand. Another major attraction of Araku valley, Padmapuram Gardens is widely visited by tourists coming to Araku. The hanging cottages are one of the top attractions of Padmapuram gardens. The garden has a wide variety of beautiful plants and flowers and the toy train ride around the garden is quite popular among the kids.

Peerumedu, Kerala

Peerumedu is a small hill station on the way to Thekkady. Situated at an elevation of 915 m above sea level, this place is famous for its pleasant climate and scenic beauty. The tomb of a Sufi saint named Peer Muhammad is located here. The place is named after him. The main attractions of the place are the beautiful small waterfalls, meadows, and pine trees. Panchalimet, Parunthu Para and Vagamon can be seen on the way to Peerumedu. The place is rich in thrilling trekking routes. If you are looking for a beautiful trekking trail or an ideal spot for picnic, Peeru Hills is just the right place. Located 17 km from Peerumedu, Pattumala comprises of several attractions including rolling peaks, beautiful tea gardens, and small streams. The place houses two tea gardens namely A V Thomas and Co. and Harrisons Malayalam. Peerumedu is a lush green picturesque town where, coffee, tea and cardamom are grown in abundance. Make sure you take some varieties of each product back home to savor the flavors of the town later.

Ooty, Tamil Nadu

Ooty, popularly known as the 'Queen of Hill Stations, is one of the most popular summer destinations in South India. The Nilgiris Mountain Railway is the main attraction of Ooty. The journey by heritage train is unforgettable. It is one of the steepest trekking destinations in Asia. Ooty Lake is one of the most refreshing and beautiful places to visit in Ooty. It lies at a distance of approximately 2 km from Ooty city in the green hills of the Nilgiris district. The stunning lake is spread over an area of 65 acres, and its foundation was laid down by John Sullivan who was the collector of Coimbatore in 1824. Deer Park is located at a distance of just 2 km from the Ooty and is a major tourist attraction in the town. Ooty Rose Garden is a mesmerizing garden in the heart of the town of Ooty, in Tamil Nadu. It is also known as the Jayalalithaa Rose Garden, the Nootrandu Roja Poonga, and the Centenary Rose ParkOotty will always feature on top of every Malayalee's favourite holiday destination for its proximity, climate, and sheer beauty of the place.

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