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The state of Kerala in India is known as 'God's own country' for its immense beauty and charm filled with backwaters, lagoons, beaches and hill stations. This is the reason why Kerala is rapidly progressing in the tourism department as most of the tourists prefer to visit Kerala during their vacations. It is also cheaper than most of the other tourist places. There are numerous hills and hill stations in Kerala which add to the natural beauty of the state. Most of these hill stations are located on the Western Ghats which run along the entire length of Kerala. These hill stations are also largely becoming popular among the tourist attractions in Kerala.
Hill stations of Kerala
1. Munnar hill stations - Munnar is one of the most popular hill stations of Kerala and also South India. It is located on the Western Ghats in Idukki district of Kerala. It is a confluence for three rivers namely Muthirappuzha, Nallathanni and Kundaly rivers. Munnar is a mesmerizing place located at 1600 m above sea level. It is also known as the Kashmir of the South because of its beauty and charm which can be compared to those of Kashmir situated in the north of India. Most of Munnar is covered with tea and coffee plantations and even the rest of the place is filled with lush greenery. In this wonderful place, tourists are able to understand and watch the nurturing of tea plantations right from the process of manufacturing till it is packaged. The place not only caters to nature lovers but it can be exciting for adventure lovers too with waterfalls and some trekking spots. With its beautiful sceneries and calm and serene atmosphere, it is a hot spot for honeymooners.
Read more about the sight seeing attractions in Munnar
2. Ponmudi hill stations - This is a another calm and serene hill station of Kerala which is located almost 61 kms away from Thiruvananthapuram city. It stands at a very high level of about 1000 m above sea level. Ponmudi hill station lies on the Western Ghats parallel to the Arabian Sea and is one of the best places for trekking and hiking in Kerala. The Motta peak is one of the most famous trekking places here. The word 'Ponmudi' stands for 'golden hair' or 'golden crown' which represents the sun's golden rays that emits from the peak of the hills. The ambience of this hill station is simply spectacular and is perfect for nature lovers who have a spirit for adventure. Ponmudi is a very quiet place which allows one to relax and rejuvenate the body from their tensions. The place is free from any pollutions. Nevertheless, Ponmudi is very exciting too as it offers many opportunities for trekking through the valleys and cottages around the hills. The place is abundant with natural springs and is a great picnic spot. Every year the Aaranmula Boat Race which is held in the months of August and September is hosted by Ponmudi hill station. One of the most famous attractions in this region is the Golden Valley which is a fascinating point to view the entire region. Ponmudi is also filled with plantations of tea, rubber, pepper and cardamom.
3. Rajamala - Rajamala is another beautiful hill station of Kerala. It is located 15 km from Munnar hill station. It is a natural habitat of the rare Nilgiri Tahr. This animal species resembles an antelope and is on the verge of extinction and can be found in abundance in Rajamala. Almost half of the world's Nilgiri Tahr's have their home here in Rajamala. There is a sanctuary called Eravikulam National Park in this area. Other than the endangered Nilgiri Tahr, many other species of rare animals, birds and insects can be found in Eravikulam National Park. Rajamala is a great location for trekking having a wide variety of flora and fauna. It also houses the famous flower Neelakurunji which blooms only once in twelve years and when it blooms, the slopes of the hills are covered in a carpet of blue colour. Needless to say, this sight can make one breathless.
4. Trishanku and Peeru hills - Trishanku hills is located 7 kms away from Vagamon, on the way to Kuttikkanam and Peermedu. These hills are simply spectacular and is always covered in a carpet of lush greenery. The view from the top of the hills is very beautiful. Every year the Kerala Tourism group arranges a para gliding competition which is held in Trishanku hills. It is a perfect spot for trekking and also for long drives on a four wheel vehicle. The unique feature of these hills are that its slopes are very gentle which helps to make trekking easier. The Peeru hills are located near Trishanku hills and gets its name from Peer Mohammed, the Sufi saint, who had spent his last few days in this place. From the Peeru hills, one can see never ending stretches of land. The view of the sunset in the evenings is simply too awesome. These hills are also popular as picnic spots. Some of the other attractions in this region include the mausoleum of the sufi saint, the summer palace of the Travancore royal family kings and the residence of the Diwan. One could not get a better place to unwind and go for long walks along the hills.
5. Ramakkalmedu hill station - Ramakkalmedu hill station is situated in Idukki district 16 kms from Nedumkandam on the Thekkady - Munnar Road. These hills stand elevated about 3500 feet above sea level. It is yet another enchanting hill station with rolling lush greenery hills and great views from the top of the hills of the beautiful villages of Bodinaykannor and Cumbum that lie on the eastern slope of the Western Ghats. These villages are actually a part of Tamil Nadu which means that the top of the hills gives a view of Tamil Nadu towns and villages. One can just imagine how beautiful the place would look from the peak in the evenings when the towns are illuminated with lights. The place is completely natural with very less human interference and is still kept in the unspoilt form. The climate in Ramakkalmedu is pleasant throughout the year regardless of the season and time of the year. Cool winds blow all the time at a speed of 35km per hour. Due to this abundance in uninterrupted high velocity winds, it is the first place in Kerala which has a wind energy farm placed in it. The word 'Ramakkalmedu' stands for 'Land of Rama's stone' meaning that it is believed that this is the place where the Hindu god Lord Rama kept his feet to search for Ravana who had kidnapped Rama's wife Sita. Ramakkalmedu is a beautiful tourist location but it is yet to be developed as it does not provide any of the basic facilities which a tourist would look for on a vacation. This is mainly because there is basically no need for a person to stay overnight in these hills as the entire sight seeing can be finished in one day itself. News has it that the Hollywood actor Leonardo Di Caprio has visited Ramakkalmedu and commented that 'if there is a paradise on earth, then it is here'. Some of the attractions in Ramakkalmedu hills includes a statue of Kuruvan and Kuruthi located at the top of the hills, natural caves, bio farms and Vilikelkkappara.
6. Agasthyakoodam - It is also known as Agastya Mala and is one of the highest peaks in the Western Ghats. The highest peak is at 1868 m. This peak has a mythological story behind its creation and is the most varied and unidentified ecological unit in India. The peak can be reached only by trekking and with prior permission from the Forest Department and is a paradise for people who love the wilderness. The mountain acts as a border between the states of Kerala (Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts) and Tamil Nadu(Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari districts). Many varieties of flora and fauna including rare herbs and medicinal plants can be witnessed in this place filled with lush greenery. The famous flower Neelakurunji is found here. There is a pilgrimage centre which abodes the Hindu sage Agastya (one of the seven rishis of Hindu Puranas) and many devotees go to the place to offer their pujas and prayers to the huge statue of Agastya which lies on top of the peak. The rare and beautiful flower Neelakurunji, a flower which blooms only once in twelve years, can be found on these hills. Unfortunately, women are not allowed to climb up the peak of Agasthyakoodam hills. This is because the aborigines here believe that the sage Agastya was a confirmed bachelor and so he would not like the presence of women around his abode.
7. Echo Point at Munnar - This is a mountain peak from which the natural echo phenomenon takes place. It is located 15kms from Munnar. The Lock Heart Gap also lies close to Echo Point which is a great place for trekking.
8. Mattupetty - Mattupetty is a hill peak which is situated at a height of 1700 m above sea level located about 13 km from Munnar Town. The Mattupetty Lake and Dam are perfect locations for picnicking. One can relax and enjoy a picnic with family and friends in the midst of the lake and tea plantations. Some of the attractions in Munnar are the Indo Swiss diary farm project, the Shola forests which is ideal for trekking and homes a variety of birds, Kundala tea plantations, Kundala lake and dams. The lakes offer splendid boat rides. One can see different high yielding breeds of cows at the Indo Swiss diary farm.
9. Pandikuzhi hills - Pandikuzhi hills are located 5kms away from Thekkady. It is a perfect picnic spot as well as a great place for trekking. Its flora, fauna and streams lie in between the Chellarkovil and Tamil Nadu border.
10. Nelliyampathy hills - Nelliyampathy hills is located near Nenmara in Palakkad district of Kerala. The height of the hills reaches upto 1572m. A number of hairpin bends will be experienced on the way to Nelliyampathy. The Pothundy Dam lies close to these hills and is a picturesque location with boating facilities and picnic spots. On the way to Nelliyampathy, there are bio farms and huge tea plantations. A unique feature of the Nelliyampathy hills are its orange cultivation. There are also many hotels and resorts on the way. At the topmost point, there is an estate called Palagapandi estate which has plantations of tea, cardamom and coffee. A number if wild animals can be viewed from this estate which includes elephants, leopards and Indian gaur. On the road to the top, one can also view the Palakkad gap from which parts of Tamil Nadu state can also be witnessed. Some of the other attractions near Nelliyampathy hills include Seetharkundu which is a beautiful valley, and a huge 100m waterfall.