Gravity defying mountain peaks, spectacular landscapes, rolling hills of verdant hues and gentle cool breeze caressing your face – summer brings with it annual trips to higher altitude, away from the city’s bustle and a chance to escape from the dreary routine of everyday life.
Officially known as Kodagu, the hill station of Karnataka is known for breathtaking scenery and adventure activities for tourists. Not only famous for its spice and coffee plantations, the place also gives a chance to explore wildlife, experience treks, admire the falls and give adrenaline a boost with various activities.
Located 4km from the heart of the city, Abbey falls provides a mesmerising view of the cascading water which joins the Kaveri river. They were earlier called the Jessie falls by the Britishers in memory of the daughter of Madikeri’s first captain. The hanging bridge on the side gives a breathtaking view of the falls. One can also catch a glimpse of coffee and cardamon plantations on the way to the falls.
The Nagarhole National Park offers a diversity of flora and fauna. The park boasts of almost 270 species of birds: Oriental White Backed Vulture, the Greater Spotted Eagle and the Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon. Widlife enthusiasts can also spot tigers, Indian bison, Asian elephants, Russell’s vipers and Indian rock pythons here.
Coorg offers a variety of options for the adventure lovers. One can experience the thrill by white water rafting in Kithu-Kakkatu River in Upper Barapole. As the water gushes through the water, the rafters experience fascinating rapids like Morning Coffee, Grass Hopper, Ramba Samba, Wicked Witch and Big Bang. A jump in the water with help of the guide mid-way is sure to make for a memorable experience. A trek through the lush green forests and numerous streams and rivers is a must when you visit Coorg.
A beautiful hill station situated on a plateau, Saputara, also known as the ‘abode of serpents’ resides in the midst of the Dang Forest region of the Western Ghats. The region gets its name from the serpent god revered by the local tribes here, and are known for their traditional dances. At an altitude of approx., 3,000 ft above sea level, Saputara offers sweeping views of the lush landscape and is blessed with consistently pleasant temperatures year-round. Visitors can drop by any time of the year. Be it in the peak of summer when the plains are drenched in sweltering humidity, or during the breezy monsoon. Saputara offers a beatific floral environment during summer, rolling mists of rain laden clouds and a fresh, vibrant ambience, and a nip in the air during winter.
The only hill station in the state of Gujarat, Saputara is home to an artist village that has tribal artefacts on display and for sale, and visitors can even try their hands at fashioning some themselves. One of the best parts of this quaint town is the Saputara Lake that offers ample opportunities for boating, and other recreational activities. Another must-do activity is ropeway from Governor’s Hill to Sunset Point, that serves a thrilling and magnificent view of the valley. Along with a multitude of gardens, do visit the Honey Bees Centre that though may be on a small scale, offers visitors an educational tour while selling natural honey.
Apart from the Hatgad Fort, a little way off from Saputara, Nashik is a good place to stop by and enjoy the vast vineyards, while sipping on the locally made wines of global repute.
Ootacamund, Tamil Nadu
Ootacamund, Ooty or Udhagamandalam, as it is known officially, is a popular hill station. The town is situated in the heart of Nilgiri Hills along with the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. A part of the biologically rich and ecosensitive Western Ghats, it has over 90 species of mammals, 300 species of birds, and vibrant flora and fauna. The weather in this hilly town is quite pleasant, offering a great escape from the heat of the plains.
When in Ooty, visitors must take a trip on the Nilgiri Mountain railway, a streak of bright blue toy train that slowly chugs along the mountainside. From rice fields to rugged terrains, through tunnels and over bridges, passengers can get lost in reverie with the idyllic rhythmic movement. A visit to the Tribal Museum is highly recommended, as it showcases the lives and artefacts of the local Todas, and other tribal groups of Tamil Nadu and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Famous for Nilgiri Tea, visitors can also take a trip to the tea plantations and learn more about the process from leaf to cup. The Ooty lake, covering an area of 65 acres, offers boating facilities that is quite popular with tourists. Surrounded by Eucalyptus trees, beautiful gardens and an amusement park, this is sure to be popular with the kids. From Fernhills Palace to umpteen temples and churches, mountain peaks to conquer and visit the parks and waterfalls, there is much to do and see when in Ooty.