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.

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