If a green-and-wet short break is what your mind desires during monsoon, consult our picks of five classic rainy getaways in the south of India.
If you are tired of the sweltering heat in your city and are looking for an escape, if the idea of relaxing amidst nature excites you, or if you are just an avid trekker keen on exploring some new terrains in this monsoon season, then pack your trekking gear and head to the following destinations for a thrilling weekend getaway.
While you satisfy the trekker within you, also experience the thrill of spotting undomesticated wildlife, scout ancient caves and temples, explore spice trails in the forests or immerse in breathtaking views of the flowering meadows, peaks and lakes on the way.
Kudremukh peak lies in the Kudremukh National Park, which is home to several species of flora and fauna. You get to see spotted deer, wildfowl and peacocks amongst other wildlife creatures here. As it is a wildlife national park, camping is not allowed during the night and you have to return on the same day.
Before arriving at Kudremukh, you have to stop at Balagal Town and get the permit to trek from the forest department office. From there head to the Mullodi village, which is the starting point for the trek. The distance to the peak is about 10 km. Make sure that you pace yourself well as you will have to return on the same day. It is best to start this trek early in the morning so that you have enough time to rest in between. While there are many routes to reach the peak, the most recommended one is from the starting point called Shamse. You’ll come across a total of 10 water streams as you trek through the first set of the forest area. Definitely stop at the ‘Peace Tree’, which gives a breathtaking view of the far away meadows and peaks.
As the steep climb begins, you get your first sight of this iconic peak. A 30 feet high waterfall presents itself flowing from right below the Kudremukh Peak. Finally as you stand atop the peak, the 360 degree view of the meadows leaves you mesmerised. Spend an hour or so embracing nature before you begin your return.
Munnar, a hill town in the Western Ghats mountain range in Kerala, is synonymous with excellent trekking trails. It is an unparalleled experience, especially during monsoon to hike through high altitude rain forests, which hold great bio-diversity and endemism, great swathes of grasslands such as the Mathikettan Shola Rain Forest trek and the Meesapulimala trek.
The Mathikettan trek is an exciting and challenging route that begins in Munnar. It traces a path through the cardamom forests of Santhanpara where you get to walk through a high altitude cloud forest. Walk through a cardamom trail, which extends across these mountain ranges.
The Meesapulimala Trek traces a route through the Western Ghats, to one of the highest peaks in the area – the Meesapulimala Peak. You will get to see farmers at work and various tea and spice plantations. The challenging route lends chances aplenty to soak in the culture of the area.
Ananthagiri Hills, Telangana
The hill forests of Ananthagiri are a delight for first time trekkers as well as experienced ones. This famous range of hills can be found nearly six km away from Vikarabad, a town in the Rangareddy district of Telangana. From a two-hour hike to a three-day expedition, the hills are safe and an explorer’s paradise.
The forests may be thick, but they don’t run so deep that they pose a safety threat to inexperienced trekkers. There are two identified trekking trails that you can begin with. The first trail starts from Padmanabhaswamy Temple and the second, from halfa-km away in direction of Kareli. The drive to this trek’s starting point has sunflower fields and wonderful grassland.
While trekking, make it a point to scout out the ancient caves that have been here for centuries. The bathing ghats is another destination worth a visit. These forests are 90 km from Hyderabad.
Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu
Situated at a distance of eight km from the main city of Kodaikanal, the Dolphin’s Nose provides a bird’s eye view of the scenic landscape of the surrounding mountainous area. It is a flat rock jutting out of the mountain, overlooking a deep cliff, with its shape akin to that of the nose of a dolphin. Positioned at an elevation of 6,600 ft, the fascinating place is one of the central destinations for tourists visiting Kodaikanal. The 3-4 hour trekking trip to the Dolphin’s Nose can be completed in a span of six hours. Ideally, hire an experienced guide, well-versed with the terrain. The summit offers a panoramic view of the area below and on clear days, you might be able to spot the Periyakulam town as well as the Vaigai Lake. The trek isn’t a strenuous one and you might also take a detour to the small village of Vellagavi, which is on the same track.
Nagalapuram Hills, Andhra Pradesh
Nagalapuram is a small village in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. Located around 70 km south-east of the famous pilgrim spot, Tirupati, it is conveniently accessible by road. The actual trail, however, begins from the Arai village, which is about 15 km further away from the Nagalapuram village.
It is advisable to get a trekking/ camping permit by visiting the Nagalapuram town police. The Nagalapuram hills can be traversed from eastto- west or west-to-east, or trekking up and back the same path from the eastern/western side. It is an easy one-day trek with an approximate trekking distance of 13 km. Typically, it takes about 2-3 hours to ascend with a moderate pace. Trekkers have an option to camp if they wish to stay overnight.
Words: SHIBAJI ROYCHOUDHURY