Tamil Nadu is one of the most popular destinations for adventure and travel. The state's surreal beauty and charm have always enticed us with its attractions, such as magnificent temples and summer getaways. On the other hand, there is a plethora of yet-to-be-discovered hidden gems. While Ooty, Valparai, and Kodaikanal have always grabbed the limelight, here are five lesser-known but pristine hill stations that will certainly leave you spellbound:
Kolukkumalai is a tiny hamlet in Bodinayakanur Taluk in the Theni district of Tamil Nadu. What makes this place special for travel? Well, the Kolukkumalai tea plantations are believed to be one of the highest quality leaves in the world and possess a unique flavor and freshness due to the high altitude. The picturesque splendor and refreshing aroma of these tea plantations will soothe your senses. The weather here is pleasant all year round, but the best time to visit here would be during March and May.
One of the main attractions in Kolukkumalai is the world's highest tea estate. Atop the hills, there is an old, must-see organic tea factory. Founded in 1919 during the colonial period, this factory has always followed the traditional tea-making techniques. The factory's secluded yet gorgeous location, along with the old-school methods it currently employs, takes you back in time and makes you believe in simplicity. A trip here would be incomplete without a warm cup of lemon tea, brewed with the highest quality tea leaves.
After visiting the tea estate, you can also plan a stay at a campsite nearby. A stay here is enjoyable, and depending on the season, it would be a fair deal to spend the night camping below the stars. It's truly a remarkable sight to behold how the sun rises and these mountains come to life.
Yelagiri is a quaint little hill station located between the towns of Vaniyambadi and Jolarpettai in Tamil Nadu and dates back to the British colonial days. The hill station delivers an experience that will soothe your soul and leave you thoroughly refreshed. Here, you can browse through a luxuriant orchid and rose garden, take a shower in the breathtaking waterfalls, and ride a boat in the lake, where nature's splendid beauty can be seen at its best. Rife with exotic and tropical flowers and beautiful waterfalls, SRL Rose Garden and Water Falls is where gorgeousness coincides with exploration - an utterly wondrous experience. The ideal time for visiting this location is from September to November.
While absorbing the breezy weather here and the tranquility that abounds in its atmosphere, you might also appreciate a range of exhilarating adventure activities to do here, such as trekking, rock climbing, paragliding, and boating. Also, a visit to the Nilavoor Cliff Viewpoint will give away the stunning panoramic view of the majestic mountains surrounding you.
Once you get to the top of Yelagiri, the Nature Park would be the perfect destination for those who wish to sit back, and unwind amidst the awe of nature. The Park is located adjacent to Punganoor Lake and is home to a diverse range of native flora. Another highlight of the Nature Park is a waterfall, where you can even step in for a splash or head to the musical fountain, which gleams in bright colors. And finally, Yelagiri’s highest point, the Swamimalai Hills, awaits spectators with some of the most scintillating views and has amazing treks and trails.
The exotic Kalvarayan Hills, one of the major attractions in Kallakurichi district of Tamil Nadu, is a boon to all avid trekkers and adventure seekers. Part of the Eastern Ghats, the altitudes of these hills vary; the northern segment, known as the Chinna (small) Kalvarayan hills, is around 2700 ft, whereas the southern ones, known as the Periya (Big) Kalvarayan hills, are around 4000 ft.
There are plenty of places to see surrounding these hills. The evergreen forests, also known as "Sholas," are really a natural beauty. Besides, Megam Falls, Periyar Falls, and Gomukhi Dam will entice you to explore with enthusiasm. The sparkling Periyar falls are more like seasonal falls where the water cascades down into a small pool. The smaller Megam Falls generate the sound of gushing water deep inside the hills and will make you calm and composed while taking a splash. The biggest dam in the Kalvarayan hill area, the Pappanaikan Patti dam, should be on your must-visit list. To grasp the true beauty of this hill station, one must visit during the monsoon or post-monsoon seasons. The best time to visit Kalvarayan Hills is from July to February.
In the Yercaud area of Salem district in Tamil Nadu lies these magnificent hills known as Servarayan (anglicized as Shevaroy) hills. People drive through here often, but only a few halt, to appreciate this alluring beauty. With dense forest, tall peaks, and lush green meadows, the Servarayan Hills are one of the most beautiful places you can visit. The Solaikaradu peak, which is located in the southern part of the Eastern Ghats, is also located in the Servarayan Hills range.
Yercaud Lake, also known as the Emerald Lake, is one of the most stunning naturally created lakes found across Tamil Nadu's hilly regions. This lake is surrounded by a wonderful garden and looks like a fairy-tale location. Motorboats and rowboats are available for hire. You will be ecstatic to witness the superb sunrise after a day of hiking and camping in the hills. There are numerous iconic coffee estates to see in this area. While they are not particularly vast or spread out across many acres, they are pleasant little spots where you may get a sense of nature.
Yercaud Hills, as a hill station, enjoys beautiful weather throughout the year. The best time to visit here, however, is from October to December.
Sirumalai is a hilly region in the Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu. Standing tall at a height of more than 1600 m and with captivating landscapes all around, Sirumalai has been gaining popularity in the last few years. The rich flora and fauna, along with the ambient weather, make it so alluring. If the enchanting landscapes aren't enough for you, there are several places to visit in and around these mountains.
Sirumalai lake is one of the most beautiful spots, surrounded by tall, lush greenery that adds to its appeal. It looks mystical, especially during dawn and dusk. This lake also offers boating facilities where one can slowly glide over the calm waters of the lake. You cannot miss the observation tower, located on the seventeenth hairpin bend, which showcases jaw-dropping views of the whole valley.
The Silver Hill at Agastya Puram is the tallest peak in Sirumalai. According to local legends, this peak was once made entirely of silver. While it is now a hill with stones and lush green trees, speckles of silver glitter can still be seen in bright sunlight. There are a lot of hills in this region, and one of the most famous is the Sanjeevani Hills. Legends say, while Lord Hanuman was flying with the whole Sanjeevani Mountain on his way back from the Himalayas to Sri Lanka, a boulder fell here. Now that piece is known as the Sanjeevani Hills of Sirumalai. The best time to visit Sirumalai is from December to March.