Lesser known hill stations around Ooty

Since the time travelers have been exposed to the beauty of hills, the hilly town of Ooty has always topped the list. The erstwhile colonial settlement evolved into the most sought-after mountainous hamlet in South India. But with time, other settlements evolved and were discovered by the adventurous tourists. Yet, very little is known about these scenic locales around Ooty.

For a comprehensive itinerary, you can reach Ooty first and then head to each of these surrounding hill stations, one spot at a time. It is easily accessible from the major cities of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The distance from Bangalore to Ooty is 278km and takes about six hours to cover. Or, if you are already in Tamil Nadu, you can travel from Coimbatore to Ooty by car, which is barely a three-hours’ drove.

Kotagiri Hills

At barely an hour’s drive from Ooty, you will head into Kotagiri Hills. Located at a distance of about 30 KM from Ooty, this the oldest and largest (in size) hill resort of the Nilgiris. An earlier summer retreat for the British officials, Kotagiri is a treat for the sore eyes. The forested hills and bluffs, flanked by steep cliffs, loom over the habitats below. The town offers offbeat accommodation options from eco-resorts to tree houses and nature camps. Longwood Shola offers great camping and picnic options with trail walks. The solitarily standing Rangaswamy Pillar makes for the great vantage point for the surrounding views. From exploring the tea plantations, forests, to the riveting Elk Falls, the hill town of Kotagiri will indeed be a place to remember.

Yercaud

About five hours from Ooty and four hours from Coimbatore, you would find the ‘Hidden Jewel of South India’. Yercaud, also translated as ‘Lake Forest’, is a picturesque hill station in the Salem district of Tamil Nadu. At 5,000 feet above the sea, the town is a highlight of the Eastern Ghats. For a unique experience of a hill station, explore Yercaud in its natural abundance. The dense forests of teak, sandalwood and silver oaks, are also home to a wide species of animals, birds, and insects that make this a natural sanctuary. Visit the Killiyur Falls or the Botanical Garden. Or spend a relaxing day at the Emerald Lake, surrounded by greenery and boutique resorts. Take a tour of the coffee and spice plantations, orange orchards and other tropical fruit farms, and refresh your senses with the fruity and spicy aromas. If you are traveling in May, then don’t miss the Yercaud Summer Festival, celebrated for seven days with a flower show, village fair, and boat races.

Coonoor

At roughly an hour’s drive from the town of Ooty, you can reach Coonoor. Also called the Darjeeling of Nilgiris, for its exquisite view of the hills, Coonoor is the second largest hill towns of Tamil Nadu. Yet, untouched by the bandwagon of commercial tourism. Though a part of Tamil Nadu, the town of Coonoor has a very distinct culture of its own. This historic town is quirky and quaint in its own way with traces of colonization, natural trails, mountainous weather, the lush tea plantations and hospitable locals. From its 100 years old tradition of food, art, and culture, blended with the contemporary lifestyle, Coonoor is indeed an alluring hill station that needs to be explored and discovered.

Ketty Valley

Just outside Ooty town, at a distance of about 4 KM, you will discover the Switzerland of Nilgiris, with terraced landscapes, and lush green grasslands. Ketty Valley is a paradise for nature lovers and photographers. Unlike many other hill stations, Ketty Valley is relatively quiet and away from the touristy activities, which makes this is a truly relaxing place. Take a ride on the Ketty Valley train through the dense deciduous forests and verdant valleys. If you’re heading from Bangalore to Ooty by car, we recommend stopping at Ketty first.

This summer, definitely head to Ooty, if you must, but don’t forget to visit these exotic locations, hidden from the populist views but absolutely worth exploring.

Explore Offbeat Destinations in India: Vagamon

Vagamon or Wagamon is a sleepy little hill town in the south-east corner of Kerala. Yet another idyllic locale in God’s own country, Vagamon partly occupies the Kottayam district and partly the Idukki district of the state. Not more than 1100 meters above sea-level, you would find this cozy hamlet to be your perfect place of serenity, far from the maddening crowd of cities. Perched on the hills of the border of two major districts and blessed with natural wonders, Vagamon offers great opportunities for eco-tourism. Head to Vagamon this summer – book a Cochin taxi service to travel there with ease.

You would be thankful to find that this hill town is still untainted by the ill-effects of commercialization, making this place retain its originality.

Reaching Vagamon

Vagamon is situated about 100km from Cochin, which is also the nearest airport. So you can take a flight if traveling from any major city. From there you can hire a cab or rent a car till Vagamon and travel down the hill highway. It is a fulfilling experience with endless views of the hills and vales and the winding roads cutting through the mountains and dense forests. Alternatively, you can also take the train till Kuttikanam at 22km or Palai at 33km.

Exploring Vagamon

The rolling hills enveloped under blankets of greenery, the steep slopes, the velvet countryside makes for a much-needed relaxing holiday with your friends, family or special someone.

Wake up to the view of the morning mist veiling the valleys – a picture perfect setting that can bring you instant joy. The lush valleys, expansive meadows dotted with wildflowers, dense pine forests and waterfalls are indeed bliss for all your senses. Such a scenic landscape comes with abundant options to explore and experience this homestead in its own way.

You can choose from any of the adventure activities like trekking, paragliding, mountaineering and rock climbing. Did you know that Vagamon is a paragliding hub for flyers? Paragliders from different parts of India and abroad join the International Paragliding Festival which is held in the months of January and February every year.

Other recommendations in Vagamon

Vagamon and its three hills- Thangal, Murugan, and Kurisumala reflect complete religious harmony, with Hindu, Muslim, and Christians- all cohabiting in the same place.

The Kurisumala Ashram is a spiritual center but also holds ample natural beauty. If you are so inclined, you can visit this abode of peace. Otherwise, the area is surrounded by vast tea-estates and natural lakes.

Head to the Murugan Hill near the Thangal Para. A temple dedicated to Lord Murugan sits atop the hills and enshrines an old stone carving.

 

Walk through the Vagamon Meadows. These undulating hills and sloping landscapes engulf a lake, which renders a painting like a scene. For photographers, writers, and other creative souls, this location is indeed inspiring.

Explore the pine forests. This is where lofty pine trees stand in rows and make this dense forest eerily beautiful.

You can also visit the Mooppanpara canyon, a V-shaped canyon that serves as a viewing point for the surrounding. A short trek through the hills and forests will take you to the summit.  It is here that you can get a stunning panoramic view of the town below.

There’s also the Ulipponi Wildlife Sanctuary. Though known as a natural habitat for flora and fauna, this location of Vagamon works as a great picnic spot or a day trip to just absorb nature. You can also take a boat ride on the lake located in the sanctuary. There are a lot of exotic flowers and orchids that grow in the wild and add vibrancy to the place.

Laid back and sleepy, yet uplifting with nature’s bounty, the scenic town of Vagamon needs to be explored more. After all, nature gives us these wonders only to cherish, isn’t it? Book a taxi service in Trivandrum and head out to Vagamon for a perfect idyllic holiday.

A food Trail in Shimla

Beyond the scenic landscape, cool alpine weather and line of pine forests, there’s a side to Shimla which is explored but not talked about. Being the largest city in Himachal, Shimla has attracted people from all cultures and regions of India and abroad.

A melting pot of various Indian and international cuisines, Shimla brings you a wide array of delectable delicacies to the table, literally! From simple roadside shacks, legendary cafes to fine dining the ‘queen of hills’ has something for every food lover. But as they say, if you really want to know a place, you must eat with and like the locals. Book a Chandigarh to Shimla taxi and embark on this culinary trail to sample the best of Shimla’s local food.

Let’s start with the morning chowdown at Krishna Bakers. The oldest bakery of town, Krishna bakers lays down freshly baked bread and pastries of all kinds. As is the case with most old bakeries of hill stations, Krishna’s menu has never changed over the years. And so has their recipes. The highlight of this place is the fresh-off-the-oven, tender chicken bun.

Goofa & Ashiana: For a cozy dinner with the view of the hills, head to the Goofa & Ashiana. Quite a quirky name, this place offers two dining areas- the basement seating (Goofa) and the garden seating (Ashiana). Maintained by the tourism department, this restaurant is a family favorite and is quite on the fancy side.

Indian Coffee House: Wash down your carbs with a cup of hot Indian filter coffee. One of the oldest coffee houses in India, the Indian Coffee House is also a popular stop for strawberry jelly and fresh cream.

Embassy Ice Cream: All meals must end on a sweet note. And as they say, there’s always room for dessert. And for desserts, there’s nothing better than Embassy Ice Cream. The rainbow-colored façade of this shop quite matches with its colorful recipes. Treat yourself with a hearty serving of sundae loaded with fresh fruits, jellies, and candies. Or a simple scoop of house-made ice cream, topped with fancy goodies can make your day!

Alfa: For the fancy foodies, Alfa does not look inviting. But once you leave your hang-ups and focus only on their specialties, you would forget where you are and why you are there. Don’t forget to try their kheema samosas, sinfully greasy but heavenly, house burgers and melting sundaes.

Sita Ram and Sons: Ever had a Chhole Bhature with a twist? Sita Ram and Sons does just that to your favorite Punjabi dish. Tender and cottony soft bhature, which are more like thick puris, served with a handsome portion of slightly sweetened chhole- every reason for you to gorge on.

Bihari Lal Sharma Chathouse: Yes, the mention of cool and crunchy chat in a cold hill station might not sound very inviting. But Shimla sees quite a harsh summer for its location. And that’s the time, you would love to visit Bihari Lal Sharma. Their creatively made fruit chat and tangy panipuris are sure to beat the heat and leave a zing to your taste buds.

Aunty’s Kitchen: Though small in number, the town has quite a Chinese-Tibetan influence. The heritage Chinese restaurants are living examples of their coexistence. One such place is Aunty’s Kitchen. Running as a family-owned eatery since 1975, this place will leave you spoilt for choice of your favorite Chinese delicacy. Their 25 varieties of soups to choose from, we can bet you will have a long dinner here.

Beekay: Yet another bakery cum café that smells of old world charm. Sample their salami burgers and you are sure to come back for more.

Tibetan Food Corner: Known for kurkeys, the traditional Tibetan dish, this eatery is your go-to place for authentic Tibetan fare. Believe it or not, this food joint is the only Tibetan restaurant serving kurkeys in the country!

If you’re planning on visiting Shimla this summer, be sure to book convenient Delhi to Shimla cabs so you can head to each of these amazing eateries that picturesque hill station has to offer.

Parwanoo – A paradise undiscovered

For the city dwellers of Delhi, Chandigarh and neighbouring towns in Haryana and Punjab, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to a quick weekend getaway. Nature’s bounty along the Himalayan foothills of Himachal Pradesh make for abundant options of exploring. Parwanoo is one such surprise package of a place.

Image source: Wikipedia

How to reach Parwanoo

Bordering the Panchkula district of Haryana, Parwanoo is located at 35km from Chandigarh and is easily accessible from Amritsar, Kalka, Pinjore, and Shimla. For a more exciting journey, you can take the Kalka-Shimla heritage railroad. This is one of the most scenic routes in this region, cutting through the mountains via tunnels, crossing cliffs and around the winding slopes. The nearest station, at Taksal, is about 4km away from the town center. If there’s a road trip on your mind, the best way to get to Parwanoo is to book a taxi service in Chandigarh.

Things to do in Parwanoo

Apart from its economic recognition, being on the Shivalik Range, Parwanoo holds the quintessential Himalayan beauty. The landscape remains snow-clad most of the year, which allows you a cooler escape from the sultry city summers.

Ever since travelers started exploring the mountains, lakes and the natural wonders of Parwanoo, this quiet hamlet opened up to discovery and exploration.

A quick trip to Parwanoo calls for these touristy activities:

Ride over the Timber Trail

Image source: Wikipedia

When in the mountains, a view from the top gives you a refreshing perspective. A cable car ride across the Timber Tail gives you a 360-degree view of the entire Shivalik range. But just to be cautious, this activity is not for the faint-hearted. For a nominal price, this 1.8km ride lasts for about 10 minutes and takes you to the top of the Timber Trail at the resort of its namesake.

Enjoy the magnificence of the Kaushalya Valley, from a height of 5,000 ft above the sea level. A trip to Parwanoo would be incomplete without this scenic cable car ride and photographing the birds’- eye view of the landscape.

Discover Dagshai

About 28 KM from Parwanoo, lies the old settlement of Dagshai. Established by the East India Company in 1847, this timeworn cantonment town, still displays traces of its colonial past. The highlight of this town is the Dagshai Church, an ancient church built under the British rule. The colonial architecture reflecting sheer brilliance adorns the church’s façade and interiors.

The old-world charm of its construction never fails to enthrall the tourists and admirers of ancient art. Though there are no accommodation options here, Dagshai makes for a good day trip and picnic destination.

Visit the fruit orchards

If you are anywhere in Himachal, you will not be spared from the intoxicating aromas of apples, plums, and peaches. And probably because the economy of Parwanoo was based on fruit-based industries, the orchards became a fun-filled destination for tourists. The orchard tours will be a treat to your eyes as well as to your taste-buds. The array of reds, orange, crimson and green are indeed like a page out of a picture book. Indulge yourself in samples of fruit jellies, jams, pickles and other goodies to mark a memorable end to your orchard exploration.

Explore the Gorkha Fort

For history enthusiasts, a visit to the Gorkha Fort would be of great interest. About 16 KM away from Parwanoo, the Gorkha Fort sits on a hill in the village of Subathu. It was established by the Gurkha army chief Amar Singh Thapa to fight the British troops, this fort is a testament of strength and power. There is a museum associated with the fort, preserving exhibits dating back to 1815.

Once a somnolent little settlement, this hamlet has grown to become a trending destination for Himachal Tourists and still needs to be explored. If you’re exploring hill stations around Delhi or Chandigarh, we highly recommend adding Parwanoo to your list. Book a Shimla taxi service to get to Parwanoo and explore some of the other quaint towns and hill stations on offer in Himachal Pradesh.

A Historical Exploration of Pachmarhi

Panchmarhi, is a hill station in Madhya Pradesh. Standing at an elevation of 1067m above the sea-level, amidst the Satpura mountain range, Panchmarhi is the only hill station of Central India. It is often fondly called the ‘Queen of Satpuras’, owing to its sheer natural beauty with waterfalls, rugged landscape and dense forest cover. The highest point on the mountains is Dhupgarh, at 1352meters. The entire hill town and its natural resources collectively form the Panchmarhi Biosphere Reserve. If you’re planning a trip to Pachmarhi some time soon, we recommend booking Bhopal to Pachmarhi cabs.

Image source: Wikipedia

History of Panchmari

If you are a history enthusiast, the existence and development of Panchmari would be of intrigue.

Etymology

Local story has it, that the Pandavas were residing in the forests of this region, in the thirteenth year of their exile. Eventually, they built the caves to make it a safe abode. Thus, the name got derived from Panch- five and Marchi- caves.

Indian mythology

Though mythological, the story of Panchmarchi still holds true, with all the five caves standing atop a hill and have attracted visitors for generations. The beauty of the caves lies in its structure and is now a protected place. All the five caves were cut out of a single sandstone and grouped around. The location of the caves makes for a great location to get a clear view of the mountains and valleys below.

From an archeological standpoint, these caves are said be of the Mesolithic era. An excavation in 1935 revealed painting on the walls of the caves. The motifs and symbols depicting the lives of hunters and gatherers speaks of ancient humans of that time, settled in this region.

Image source: Wikipedia

Another legend has it – that the plateau area of Panchmari was a huge lake guarded by a giant serpent who terrorized the pilgrims visiting the sacred shrines of the Mahadeo Hills in the area. This angered Lord Shiva who threw his trident on the serpent and stuck him in a canyon, which took the shape of a pot. However, as a side effect, the wrath of Shiva dried up the lake and it became a plateau, which today is Panchmari. As surprising as it may sound, modern day botanists claim that any flora only exists around water bodies in this area.

Panchmari and its natural reserve also holds significance in Buddhist mythology. It is said that in the 1st century AD, this hill town became a shelter for Buddhist monks.

The East India connection

Because of its forest cover and discreet location, the British officials chose Panchmarhi to build a sanitarium. In 1870, under the supervision and patronage of Sir Richard Temple, the first building of the area-the Bison Lodge was built. The building became a military center after few years. Today, the site is a military museum, which attracts tourists and visitors from all over.

This hill-enveloped plateau was said to be precious to the British, because of its natural beauty and serenity. Hence, they never allowed urbanization or commercial development of the land and restricted construction of tall buildings. That is why, even today, Panchmarhi remains a quiet, and quaint little hill town in the heart of Madhya Pradesh.


How to reach

Panchmarhi is almost centrally located in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Thus, it makes for convenient access for tourists from Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur and neighboring cities. You can reach Panchmarhi by bus from any of these cities. It takes 5-6 hours if you book a Bhopal taxi and about 10-11 hours from Indore to reach this hill station. Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (MPTDC) run AC buses at regular intervals and are the most popular bus-line for this region. You can also opt for a train route to Panchmarchi. There is not railway station in the town and the nearest railhead is at Pipariya, about 47 Km from Panchmarhi.

As much as this hilly plateau is known for its historic connection, there are quite a few natural wonders to be found here. From a host of waterfalls to lakes, ravines and wildlife sanctuaries, Panchmari stays to be the most sought-after natural retreat of the heart of India.

A weekend getaway to Bhandardara

If you are living in the city of Mumbai or any of the surrounding towns, then a quick getaway over a long weekend becomes a must, to escape the chaos and madness of the urban jungle. Maharashtra is known for quaint little places spread across the state, where one can rent a car in Mumbai and go for a quick day trip or unwind for a couple of days. One such destination for a weekend getaway is the resort village of Bhandardara.

Nestled in the scenic district of Igatpuri, Bhandardara developed as one of the best and less commercial hill stations of Maharashtra. The village is home to the state’s highest peak, Mount Kalsubai. Embraced by natural lakes, waterfalls, flora and fauna, Bhandardara is the best retreat for the mind, body and soul.

Image source: Wikipedia

How to reach

The village of Bhandardara sits amidst the rustic ambience of Igatpuri, about 158Km from the city of Mumbai. You can drive down NH3 to reach the town or hire a cab for the weekend. There are also train services along Mumbai-Nashik rail road, which halts at Igatpuri Junction, which is about 45Km from bhandardara. You would need to hail a state bus or book a cab from there.

Best time to visit

There’s one ground rule about visiting the hill towns of Maharashtra: visit when the weather is cooler. And the best seasons of the state are undoubtedly monsoon and winters. That is when Bhandardara opens up to tourists in its full glory. So, if you are planning a trip, make sure you visit post monsoon, between the months of August to November, when the nature engulfs itself in all possible shades of green. Or, to experience the chills and colder temperatures, you can visit in winter months – between December and February.

Image source: Wikipedia

Top 5 sightseeing options

The complete charm of Bhandardara lies in its water bodies, verdant natural surroundings and the historic forts. If you’re heading to Bhandardara from Pune, we highly recommend booking a car rental in Pune so you can explore all these spots at your leisure. Here’s top 5 places to visit in Bhandardara:

Image source: Wikipedia

Wilson Dam: Built in 1910, this is the oldest dam ever built in India. The sluice gates controls the flow of the Pravara River, on which it is built, and thus renders a great view from the top. The dam area is also adorned by a garden at the base, around the river, where you can sit and enjoy the surroundings or take a leisurely stroll.

Arthur Dam: Shrouded by dense foliage of the Sahyadri Mountains, this calm and clear lake makes for perfect camping site, hiking trails or a ferry ride.

Ratangad Fort: All forts have their share of history and so does the 400 years old Ratangad Fort in bhandardara. It is said that the great Maratha ruler, Shivaji, had captured this fort from its intruders of his time. The naturally formed rock fort, tapers upwards in a narrow spire and is known as the ‘Eye of the Needle’. Step up the rocky elevation of the fort to experience the breathtaking views of the Sahyadri Range.

Kalsubai Peak: The highest peak of Maharashtra and the highest point on the Sahyadri Mountains, Mount Kalsubai stands tall at 5,400 feet from the sea level. Most travelers opt for a trek along the surrounding hills and reach the closest point. Do ensure that you have the right trekking gear and are well prepared for a toiling journey, since the terrain and elevation is challenging and physically demanding.

Randha Falls: The water-bodies of Maharashtra are in abundance and at their best during the rains. If you visit bhandardara in monsoon, then the Randha Falls is a sight you cannot miss. As the roaring Pravara River gushes down in torrents, down a 170 feet gorge, it creates a sight and sound that encapsulates the entire surroundings – a moment to cherish in solitude and capture forever.

Though most frequented by tourists, Bhandardara has still not lost its appeal and still remains a cherished retreat for the urban crowd. Just make sure you land there at the right time of the year and it can be the most magical place you would have seen.

Munnar: A tour of gorgeous plantations

The beauty of Kerala is not unknown to any traveler. With the golden sandy beaches on one side, to lush plantations and forested hills on the other, God’s own country is indeed a paradise for the true explorer. Nestled in the thickets of the Western Ghats and overlooking the 2,695m high Anamudi Peak, Munnar is the quaint little hill station, you would love to spend a few days at. Surrounded by rolling hills, dotted with tea estates, coffee and spice plantations, Munnar was established as a ‘resort town’ by the British. Wrapped in mountains, valleys and natural trails, this verdant locale makes for an idyllic destination for a short vacation or a quick break from the city. If you’re looking to fit both a day at the beach and a hill station getaway in a single trip, book a taxi from Kochi to MunnarTake a tour of the expansive plantations in Munnar and discover the mountainous side of this coastal state of South India.

Tea plantations

Munnar is a major district in South India that is synonymous to tea and is home to some of the highest tea estates in the world. Known as the ‘tea town’ of Kerala, Munnar produces fine blends of Assam tea- the most sought-after flavors across the globe. The tea estates here were established in the early 1800s under the British rule and has been catering to a big share of tea exports ever since. A trip to Munnar is not complete without a tour of the sprawling tea estates and tasting the most refreshing blends of tea you would have ever had. You can take the walking tour of the scenic tea gardens and immerse yourself in the serene ambience engulfing the entire region. Don’t forget to visit the Tea Museum – the first ever in India. Treasure the picturesque landscape and the richness of nature as you walk through the terraced tea gardens of Kannan, Kolukkumalai, Gruenberg, Windermere and more.

Spice Plantations

Smell the aromas of Munnar at its extensive spice plantations. After tea, Munnar ranks as a significant producer of major Indian spices from cardamom, cinchona, ginger, garlic, vanilla, pepper, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. As you walk through the thick foliage and smell the captivating essence of pungent spices and herbs, catch a glimpse of the local wildlife. Munnar’s spice plantation tours also include nature trail walks, bird-watching. You can also taste the flavors right at home, by indulging in a hearty meal at a local home. Don’t forget to pick up a few packs of freshly ground spices when you leave from here.

Coffee Plantations

A of southern India will not be complete without smelling the coffee, literally. Known for cultivation of finest blends, Munnar’s coffee plantations adorn its natural landscape. As you drive through the gardens of Windermere Estate and similar others, the intoxicating aromas of coffee will fill you up with contentment. The lush green plantations add to the serenity and peacefulness of this hill town. Make sure you get a taste of the local favorite beverage before you leave Munnar.

Enjoy the greenery, silence, and the nippy weather and forgo the stressful urban life for some time when you spend a few days in Munnar. If you’re looking for an extended break and a getaway from busy city life, we recommend you book a cab in Kochi.

Offbeat getaways in India: Cardamom Hills

Cardamom Hills, also known as the birthplace of spices is a mountainous area located in the southern India in the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. This place derives its name from the cardamom spice that is grown in massive quantities. Apart from that, Cardamom Hills is also famous for producing coffee, tea, bamboo, pepper, and teak. Cardamom Hills form a part of the Western Ghats covering 2,800 square kms of terrain filled with profound valleys that leave an aromatic scent of the spices which will definitely rejuvenate your senses. Such a unique offering attracts a lot of travellers from around the world.

It is indeed an incredible opportunity to know about the local flavours and to see the procedure that goes into the development of the spices. Since this area is a home to several tribes, you can see a lot of them working in the tea estates to earn their living.  Your tour to Cardamom Hills will also leave you with an unforgettable introduction to its exceptional culinary heritage, spice plantations, temples, the famed backwaters, wildlife, and incredible rural landscape.

The Periyar Tiger Reserve, a significant wild life Reserve with a breathtaking view was developed with an initiative to protect the big cats and is well-known for its rich wealth of flora and fauna. Apart from the tigers, this Reserve is a home to a number of other animals like samba, elephants, leopards, deers, etc. A boat cruise on Periyar Lake to spot different birds and animals also adds to the excitement. This place is famous for the mountain biking tour called as ‘The Cardamom Hills Cycling Trail’ that takes you through thick evergreen forests along the mountain roads with astounding delightful cardamom woods and spice gardens. Mudra Kathakali Centre, a place where a one-hour show features the former students of the Kalamandalam School should also be visited.  

Shopping antiques, organic products, books from a local shop named Red Frog is recommended. For the mountain lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, trekking activities are available in and around Cardamom Hills. A comparatively unexplored place worth visiting is the Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary that protects a number of rare species including Bengal tiger, Indian elephant, Nilgiri tahr, great Indian hornbill, etc.

Summer is the best time to visit Cardamom Hills as several animals venture out in search of water and can be easily spotted. Since frequent flights are not available to this place, it is not easily accessible by air. The nearest airport is Madurai at a distance of 140 Km from Cardamom Hills. No local railway station is available, so the closest option is Rajapalayam at a distance of 53 km from Thekkady. Travelling by road is the best option to explore the scenic terrain in an unhindered way. You can book a taxi from Madurai to Cardamom Hills for a comfortable journey.

#60DaysOfSummer – Staycation in Shimla

Shimla

If you need a break from work but don’t really want to travel too far to get that break, head to Shimla for a quick staycation in the hills. A hill station with an old-world charm and gorgeous resorts, Shimla makes a great destination for a weekend getaway.

The town has bunch of places to explore like The Mall, Viceregal Lodge and the Victorian building at the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies. Shimla is also the perfect place to start your journey if you’re looking to explore more of Himachal Pradesh. And if you find Shimla too crowded during the peak season, you can head to Summer Hill, a small town just outside of Shimla. The 5km trekking trail from Shimla to Summer Hill is picturesque and makes for a quiet adventure.

HOW TO GET THERE

Book a cab from Delhi to Shimla or from Chandigarh to Shimla.

#60DaysOfSummer – Yacht Ride in Nainital

Nainital Lake is one of the most gorgeous lakes in Uttarakhand and the perfect place to go boating. Take a relaxing yacht ride at the lake and soak in the view of the town from the water. Most boat and yacht rides in Nainital Lake last for about 45 minutes. You might want to plan your boat ride carefully and well in advance though, yachts at the lake run out very fast during peak season.

Apart from the boat rides here, you can take a cable car to Snow View Point where you can see most of the town and the lake. You’ll need to book your cable car tickets in advance so you can be assigned a time slot to take the cable car ride.

HOW TO GET THERE

Book a cab from Delhi to Nainital.