8 Hill Stations to Visit Near Karnataka, India
Kodaikanal is a nature-rich hill station that beckons nature lovers and photographers alike | © sathish_artisanz / pixabay
Looking to break free from the hectic urban lifestyle and reconnect with nature? Karnataka boasts some of the beautiful hill stations around, bestowed with serenity, pristine natural beauty, pleasant weather and scenic views. Here’s our pick of the best.
Dubbed the ‘Queen of Hill Stations’, Ooty is a picturesque hill station complete with lush tea plantations, quaint red-roofed cottages, beautifully landscaped gardens, scenic lakes, thick forests, misty mountain ranges, and colonial charm at every nook. Nestled in the Nilgiri mountains, this beauty appeals to everyone from nature lovers to recreation seekers and history buffs. Visitors can wander along the tree-lined streets and gaze at the historic structures, including St. Stephen’s Church, which is perhaps the oldest church in the region, dating back to the 19th century and boasts Gothic architectural style.
The beautiful outdoors will enthrall not only adventure enthusiasts with its many activities, including trekking, hand gliding and boating, but also photographers, as every turn reveals spectacular beauty. Other must-visit places include Botanical Garden that is famed for its 20 million year old fossilised tree trunk along with a variety of exotic and indigenous plants, flowers and shrubs, Tea Museum, and Thunder World (theme park). Don’t miss riding the famous toy train that takes you through nearby picturesque hamlets of Coonoor and Mettupalayam.
Panoramic view of Ooty | © Big Eyed Sol / Flickr
A charming hill station located at an elevation of 1,111 meters, Yelagiri Hills boasts a spectacular landscape with picturesque mountains, cascading waterfalls, pristine lakes, flower orchids and rugged terrains. Must-do activities include boating at the Lake Punganoor, and trekking to the Jalagamparai Waterfalls, where water plunges 15 meters down through rocky cliffs and visitors can soak in its beauty while bathing in the waters. Besides, it is worth meandering through the spectacular Nature Park, which features 12 acres of tranquil beauty. An unmissable spot is the Swamimalai Hills, which is the highest point in the region and can be reached by trekking. A particularly appealing feature of these hills is that they are cake-shaped forming a sturdy base at the bottom as well as a high peak that offers a bird’s eye view of the area. There are several ancient temples also in the area that are worthy of a visit.
Yelagiri Hills | © Avinash Singh / Flickr
Nestled at an altitude of 1,290 meters, the Horsley Hills enchants travellers with its picturesque scenery encompassing lofty hills, mighty rocks, and thick vegetation of exotic trees and a variety of plant species. The verdant landscape is perfect for adventurers who can engage in activities, such as trekking, zorbing, rappelling and hiking. Those looking for a laid-back experience can revel in the unparalleled beauty at the Gangtori Lake, which is encircled by dense eucalyptus trees, or take a leisurely stroll along the Gali Bandalu, a rocky hill that offers majestic vistas of the valleys around. The area is rich in wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled for sloth bear, Sambar deer, yellow-throated bulbul and wild boar.
Horsley Hills, Andhra Pradesh, India
Located at the southern end of the Deccan Plateau, Wayanad is an enduringly popular hill station with nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. The paddy fields, scenic waterfalls, lofty ridges, dense forests, diverse wildlife and Western Ghats make it a visually appealing destination. The key points of interest include Meenmutty falls and Soochipara waterfall, which is perfect for rock climbing; Chembra Peak, especially notable for its heart-shaped lake atop the hill; Banasura Dam that is famed for its picturesque vistas of the mountains in the backdrop; Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary, and Ekkadal Caves known for the prehistoric carvings of human figures.
Chembra Peak | © Karkiabhijeet / Wikimedia Commons
Nestled in the Eastern Ghats at an elevation of 1,300 meters, Kolli Hills is a tiny hill station that is unspoilt by mass tourism. This may come as a surprise considering the area is majestically beautiful; brimming with lush greenery, diverse flora and fauna, and ancient temples. Visitors can partake in adventure activities, like trekking or hiking, while those seeking peace and serenity may explore the centuries-old Siddhar Caves, which is said to be the abode of sages who practised natural healing and traditional medicine. Make sure to visit the Arapaleeswarar Temple that dates back to 1st century CE and stands as a testimony to the stunning Dravidian architectural style. Should you stay for a while, explore the nearby picturesque towns, such as Puliancholai, Salem and Madurai that are perfect for adventurers and spiritual seekers alike.
Kolli Hills, Tamil Nadu, India
Situated in the Western Ghats, Munnar has captured the hearts of travellers from across the world with its salubrious weather, peaceful atmosphere, fresh air and abundant natural beauty. For outdoor lovers, there is a plethora of recreational activities in and around the area, including trekking, parasailing, camping, boating and rock climbing. For nature lovers, take a relaxing stroll through the aromatic tea and spice plantations. One of the best attractions is the Anamudi Peak that is set at an elevation of 2,695 meters, offering unbeatable views of the rolling hills and valleys. One must also visit the Tata Tea Museum to learn about the tea processing and sample fresh tea picked straight out of the tea garden. At any time of the year, this hill station is a great place to explore!
Munnar, Kerala, India
Often referred as the ‘Jewel of the South’, Yercaud is an idyllic hill station, typified by its evergreen forests, sprawling coffee plantations and diverse flora and fauna. A typical tourist itinerary here includes touring the coffee plantations, trekking the Yercaud hills, wildlife spotting, and nature lovers and photographers will love a boat ride on the Emerald Lake, which is surrounded by lush greens and cloud-peaked hills.
Yercaud, Tamil Nadu, India
Dubbed the ‘Princess of Hill Stations’, Kodaikanal is a perfect retreat for those looking to be one with nature – in solitude. From scenic lakes and waterfalls to lush forests, the hill station boasts diverse scenery that will appeal to photographers and nature lovers alike. The location also provides lots of recreational activities, from trekking to rock-climbing, horse riding, boating, forest walks, and more for those who like to enjoy the open air. Must-visit attractions include Kodai lake (an artificial lake), dolphin’s nose (a flat rock at an altitude of 2,000 meters offering beautiful views of the area), Berijam lake and Kodaikanal Solar Observatory.
Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India