Top 20 Hill Stations in Kerala
Kerala stirs in me the Howard Carter instincts again and again for one reason or the other! While researching on Kerala for some of the best places for holidaying, I came across to the actual number of hill stations that this state has and it amazed me. A state best known for its beautiful backwaters and bewitching coastal destinations have a refined collection of hill stations. If numbers are to be believed, there are more than 50 hill stations that dot the state… and they are what this time my Howard.C instincts have urged me to focus on. In order to keep things simple and interesting, I have picked the best 20 hill stations to visit in Kerala; these destinations are known for their pristine beauty and salubrious climate. The list further forks into two where the famous destinations battle it out with offbeat hill stations. Here is the list:
Famous Hill Stations in Kerala:
Situated at the confluence of three rivers, Munnar is one of the famous hill stations in Kerala. Located at an elevation of about 1600m above sea level, this hill station is known for its unparalleled shades of green. The rolling tea-planted hills and the mist above them often offer a beautiful picture indeed! Munnar is an ideal place to relax, as it is serene and beautiful…. It can be called the natural spa of Kerala. Don’t just settle only for the excursion in the city, as there are several places that dot Munnar with gorgeous landscape. Pothamadu (6kms), Devikulam (7kms), Pallivasal (8kms), Attukal (9kms), Nyaymakad (10kms) and Mattupetty (13kms) are some of the must visit places around Munnar. Most of these places boast great scenic beauty, waterfalls, trekking trails, lakes and dams. There are also many exhilarating places near Munnar like Top Station, where the famous Nilkurinji blooms once in 12 years, Marayoor, which is known for its abundant sandalwood, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and Eravikulam National Park that offer great view of the diverse wildlife of South India.
Explore the wild side of Kerala at Thekkady. Another beautiful hill station from the pocket of Idukki District, Thekkady is an excellent place to get rejuvenated. Far from the maddening crowd of the city; enjoy an uninterrupted holiday amidst the lush flora and diverse fauna that is enveloped by green rolling hills. Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to many elephants, is one of the prime attractions in Thekkady. Elephant safaris and the boat cruise on the Periyar Lake are great attractions in the wildlife sanctuary. Trekking is yet another activity that you would enjoy the most in Thekkady and Kurisumala is one such great trek. Mangala Devi Temple, Pandikuzhi, Vandiperiyar and Ramakalmedu are the must visit places in Thekkady for you.
A summer destination, Vagamon is situated 1200m above sea level. Marked by the lofty green mountains, cascading waterfalls, pine forests and the meandering roads cutting through the mountains, Vagamon is an ideal place to find solace and peace of mind. Far away from the confines of bustling city noises, this hill station can be a great weekend getaway. You can visit Vagamon and enjoy some quiet time; the perfect environ gives you opportunity to practice meditation as well. Go to the famed Meenachil River, which has been mentioned by Arundhati Roy in her masterpiece ‘God of Small Things’. Also witness the majestic Illikal Peak, Poonjar Palace and Maramala Waterfalls in Vagamon.
Located about 61kms away from Thiruvananthapuram, Ponmudi is a small picturesque hill station in Kerala. Pleasant climate, superlative landscape with ravines, rivers, mountains and forests to accompany, Ponmudi proves to be one of the best hill stations in Kerala. At Ponmudi, you can enjoy trekking and hiking, especially at the Agasthyarkoodam, which is the highest peak of the district. The view of the sprawling tea gardens mesmerizes every traveller here. A little less explored, Ponmudi is an excellent getaway for the nature lovers. Outstanding views and soothing weather, there can’t be anything better than just being in Ponmudi! Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary, Deer Park, Golden Valley and Meenmutti falls are some of the places that you must visit in Ponmudi.
After a hectic week in the office, all one wants to do is to escape to a serene place, where the natural beauty and the pleasant climate relaxes one’s nerves and offer a rejuvenating experience… well Lakkidi in Wayanad district is just that. Truly a paradise on earth, Lakkidi boasts of lofty green mountains and a tranquil environment. What makes this place special is a number of luxury resorts that have been set up here for a comfortable and pleasant stay. A small hill station that it is, you have a good chance to explore the entire place on foot. The salubrious climate is an added benefit along with stunning landscape and serenity in the valley, where you have the opportunity to bask.
Situated at an elevation of about 1300m above sea level, Vythiri in the Wayanad district of Kerala is known for its scenic beauty. The green-clad rolling hills, the cascading Kabini River and rich avifauna makes Vythiri a perfect holiday destination in Kerala. The undulating mountains give a great trekking opportunity and you can even enjoy rafting, boating and angling activities along with contemplating the majestic landscape beauty of the place. However, the main attractions in Vythiri are temples and Neolithic age Edakkal Caves.
The aroma of spices tantalizes you, as you step in to the mesmerizing Idukki city. The high mountains that accompany the picturesque setting of the city and the meandering Periyar, Thalayar and Thodupuzha River that dot the periphery of Idukki, makes this destination the most beautiful hill station in Kerala. Literally meaning ‘Narrow Gorge’, Idukki on the contrary has way too much to offer to its visitors. It is the best place to spend an active holiday with trekking, hiking and exploring the nearby places. The main attractions of Idukki are Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary, Idukki Arch Dam, Waterfall at Keezar Kuthu and the sprawling tea and spice plantations. A rich natural repository and a pleasant climate await you at Idukki for offering unparalleled holiday experience.
The green shades of Kerala is something that are exclusive to the state, from the sprawling forests to the interspersed tea, coffee and spice plantations, the shade of green differs and becomes attractive in its own ways. One such destination with a different tone of green is Peermedu. A small hill station named after Sufi Saint Peer Mohammed, Peermedu is an unforgettable experience. Known for the tribal inhabitance, you have a good chance to witness the lifestyle of these ancient tribes in Kerala. Kuttikkanam, Thrissanku Hills, Peeru Hills, Grampi (5 km from Peermede) and Pattumala are some of the best places to visit in and around Peermedu
A beautiful hill station from the pocket of Palakkad district, Malampuzha is known as a great family holiday destination. You can plan a great holiday with your family here as the place has something for everyone, right from the fun-filled amusement parks to rock gardens, ropeway to fish-shaped aquarium, it caters to all entertainment needs of family members. Take a bird’s eye view of this beautiful place as you tuck yourself for aerial tour here. The sculpture of Yaskshi (an enchantress) and rock garden created by Padmasree Nek Chand Saini are the main attractions of Malampuzha.
A delight to the nature lovers, Mattupetty is known for its sparkling lake and Rolling Meadows. At a very short distance from beautiful Munnar, Mattupetty also boasts of sprawling tea gardens and undying natural beauty. Do not forget to visit the cattle shed here, as Mattupetty houses over 100 varieties of high yielding cattle, and it well could be an entirely different experience altogether for any visitor here. Boating in the Mattupetty Lake and trekking to nearby places are the activities that you can enjoy along with exploring the wide vistas of green landscape.
The Lesser-Known Hill Stations in Kerala
Often we don’t try to push our limits and stick to things and situation that we are familiar with; however, once the border of limits is crossed, you tend to see a better life coming to you. Similarly it is with travel, once you push yourself beyond the limits of known and step to the zone of unknown, you will be able to unearth better landscape, environment, adventure and opportunities. One such destination beyond the known is Ayyampuzha in Ernakulam district that boasts of serene environment and timeless landscape. Dotted with brooks and covered with lush forest this place is like heaven on earth. You will enjoy trekking on the beautiful trails in the Chelikandam forest that further leads to Athirappilly waterfalls. Ayyampuzha is the home to many birds offering the nature lovers another great reason to be here.
Gavi in the Pathanamthitta District is like a dream come true! A perfect holiday place in Kerala, Gavi is a paradise for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Beside basking in the glow of this hill station, there are so many things that you can do in Gavi like trekking, wildlife watching, bird watching, staying in tree house, camping and safari in the forest and boating in Kochupampa and Gavi lakes. You can also hike to Sabrimala Temple View, stroll in the sprawling spice garden and visit the cardamom factory situated in Gavi. It is one of the best destinations for summer vacations in southern India, as it remains cold in the summers and offers a great deal of opportunities to engage visitors.
You may be unaware of this place but Athirapally cannot go unnoticed. The place though is known for its great waterfall, which is also compared to the greatness of the Niagara Falls. If you haven’t been to this place then it is time that you should! Athirapally is one of the best places to visit in monsoon in Kerala. The place is in fact so beautiful that the veteran director Maniratnam have shot a couple of scenes of his movies like Guru, Dil Se and Roza at Athirapally Waterfalls. You indeed will be able to see the full-fledged beauty of the waterfall cascading with immense might. Athirapally is situated in Thirussur district and houses a scenic combination of scenic landscape and small streams. It is an ideal place for nature enthusiasts and is one of the best places for photography tour in India.
A delightful place to be at, Charalkunnu in the Pathanamthitta district is a small scenic town. Known to offer splendid view of the neighbouring valleys, Charalkunnu is a place where you would like to linger longer. The famous shades of green covers the landscape here as well with the azure River Pampa flowing through it. It is the perfect place to break the monotony and settle for a quiet time and some peace of mind. You have the choice of trekking and cycling your way around Charalkunnu, where you can discover the magic of nature. Kumbhavuruthy Waterfall and Perunthenaruvi Water Falls are the places of interest in Charalkunnu for you.
Less famous as a hill station and more famous as a Christian pilgrimage in Kerala, Malayattur is in fact a beautiful small village that must be visited for soul rejuvenation. A great escape, Malayattur in the Ernakulam district of Kerala offers splendid views of rolling hills and sprawling farms. As mentioned above, it is famous as the place where St. Thomas (Apostle of Jesus Christ) had fled to in order to save his life from hostile people seeking to kill him. It is believed that the Apostle prayed on this mountain. Therefore Kurisumudy in Malayattur has gained the attention of many believers from across the world. You can expect a soulful holiday experience at Malayattur with serene landscape and the presence of holy place like Kurisumudy here.
Although a bustling town, Kalpetta is surrounded by scenic lofty mountains and coffee plantations. A little towards the outskirts of the town and you are right amid a beautiful hill station! Blessed with immense natural beauty, Kalpetta attracts many nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. The availability of good resorts and affordable accommodation give travelers another reason to visit Kalpetta. Pookode Lake, Wayanad Ghat Road View Point, Meenmutty Falls and Chembra Peak are the major attractions around Kalpetta.
Situated on the banks of Iruvanjippuzha River, Thiruvambadi is a small scenic hill town. Replete with the best of nature, this hill station boast of gorgeous valley, waterfalls and mountains. Thriuvambadi is located in Kozhikode district of Kerala and has beautiful neighbouring places that can be trekked. Take time off to visit this spectacular place and enjoy the tranquil ambiance that this destination is famous for.
Malakkappara is also known as the Tea Garden Hill Station for the simple fact that an abundance of tea estates are found here. Beside the sprawling tea gardens that offer immense beauty to the town, Malakkappara is dotted with small streams and scenic natural spots. It is an ideal place for a photography tour in Kerala as it is an unexplored place; photographers have the benefit of capturing fabulous frames uninterrupted. Holy Land replica at Chalakudy and Annakayam are the major attractions around Malakkappara.
Vithura can be an excellent holiday destination as this small village is endowed with landscape that captivates the heart and the soul. Tranquil environment and soothing climate can be an exhilarating factor for you to visit this lesser known hill station in Kerala. Prominent tourist spots like Ponmudi, Peppara Dam, Meenmutty Falls, Bonacaud and Agastyakoodam are at a short distance from Vithura. A short drive from Vithura stands a majestic rock called Chittiparra, which is also close to Iruthalamoola. Chittiparra is considered as one of the best spots for rock climbing in Kerala. You can also visit the local kalaris (Traditional Martial Arts Schools) and one of the rubber plantation estates here.
Situated in Kasargod district in Kerala, Ranipuram is a beautiful hill station known mainly for eco-tourism. An unexplored destination that it is, Ranipuram has a repository of evergreen forests, avifauna and diverse wildlife. Like many hill stations of Kerala, Ranipuram also offers great opportunity for trekking and wildlife and bird watching. You can enjoy jeep safaris in the forests here and get an opportunity to sight elephants as well. The monsoon forest is another attraction along with butterflies in this hill station. Expect a fun-filled holiday experience at this off-beat destination in Kerala.
So, here you go; now you have even more options and destinations to visit in Kerala. Make sure you choose from one of these 20 hill stations in Kerala that can offer resplendent holiday experience. Most of these hill stations houses some great resorts and hotels but make sure you make all the bookings and reservations in advance to have a convenient and hassle-free trip! Veendum kaanaam!
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