Continuing from our series on trending places for Summer Getaways in India, today we shift our focus to Southern part of India. Like the top summer getaway destinations in North India, the top destinations in South India are also mostly hill stations. Yes, once again the popular destinations are the ones that most of us would be familiar with. There are, however, 2 hill stations in Kerala that seem be slowly becoming popular among travelers. While most of these locations are trending as Summer Getaways, some of the requests for itinerary planning have been received by us for the Monsoon period as well.
The following are the usual suspects that find mention among travelers:
With the day temperatures in early 20s, Munnar is the most sought after tourist destination for both domestic and international tourists. In-fact, you may struggle to get accommodation in Munnar or may have to pay a premium to get a room. We recommend that you look for places in Adimali, Poopara, or Marayur as well to find accommodation at affordable rates. The top 5 attractions are the wide expanse of Tea Gardens, Top Station, Echo Point, Mattupetty Dam, and Kundala Dam Lake.
Coorg (Kodagu), Karnataka
While many would forewarn you to not visit Coorg after mid may as the monsoon sets in, many would also encourage you to experience Coorg during the monsoon season. Between April to mid May, you will get some relief from the intense heat however, the monsoon after mid May makes the place even more picturesque. Dense forests, steep mountain ranges, coffee plantations and lush green valleys make Coorg a very attractive destination. Top 5 attractions are Namdroling Monastery, Talakaveri, Abbey Falls, Dubare Elephant Camp, and Iruppu Falls.
About 280 kms from Bengaluru, the beautiful hill station of Wayanad is thronged by tourists for its lakes, forests, waterfalls, caves, and temples. The daytime temperatures are manageable (especially for Indians) at around 34°C and the evening temperatures are extremely pleasant at around 20°C. The Top 5 attractions are Banasura Sagar Dam, Chembra Peak, Lakkidi View Point, Edakkal Caves, and Pookot Lake.
About 260 kms away from Trivandrum, Thekkady is the perfect hill station for those who want to explore nature and wildlife in its full glory. It’s in-fact the location for Periyar National Park is known for the wild elephant, deer, and bison that come down to the lake to drink water. It’s also famous for its evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, and for the Savannah Grasslands. The place is best explored by Boat Cruise and Elephant Rides. The Top five attractions are the Periyar National Park, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Periyar Lake, Periyar Tiger Reserve, and Kadathanadan Kalari & Navarasa Kathakali show.
One of the least commercialized hill stations in India, Kodaikanal is the place to be during summers if you love trekking and want to get immersed in the scenery that includes waterfalls, wooden slopes, and the exotic purple Kurinji blooms. The temperature remains pleasant and hovers mostly around 20°C due to the elevation at which the hill station is situated. The Top 5 attractions are Kodaikanal Lake, Coakers Walk, Pillar Rocks, Berijam Lake, and Pine Forest.
In case you’re a North Indian like I am, you may/may not have heard of Munnar/Coorg but would’ve surely heard of Ooty as a popular summer getaway and the Queen of Hill Stations. Ooty is known for its forests, lakes, dams, gardens, and historical buildings. With the temperature hovering around 20°C throughout the day, the weather remains perfect for tourists to head out, at anytime during the day. Top 5 attractions are the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, Botanical Gardens, Pykara Lake, Rose Garden, and Shooting Point.
Less Explored/Offbeat Locations
A couple of less explored/offbeat locations that travelers have been inquiring about are Vagamon & Ponmudi. Surprise, Surprise! these are also Hill Stations in Kerala that are increasingly becoming popular tourist destinations:
Situated about 1100 meters above the sea level, the hill station of Vagamon is a perfect Summer Getaway. In-fact the day temperature ranges between 10°C and 25°C makes Vagamon’s cool climate a perfect escape from summer heat. The place is particularly beautiful with its valleys, green meadows, pine forests, tea estates, and waterfalls. The top 5 attractions are the Pine Forests, Barren Hills, Vagamon Kurisumala (Cistercian Monastery), Vagamon Lake, and Vagamon Falls.
Located only about 55 kms north-east of Trivandrum, Ponmudi has a pleasant climate all through the year making it another perfect summer getaway. It’s also a romantic getaway for its Golden Valley, mountain flowers, and colorful butterflies. The place is also thronged by trekking and hiking enthusiasts, especially for Agasthyarkoodam – the highest peak of the Western Ghats. The Top attractions are Golden Valley, Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary, Echo Point, Meenmutty Falls, and Agasthyarkoodam.