The Land of Temples is usually not where one would go looking at a shot of adventure, or for that hard-earned gratification and nourishing exhaustion of a long trek. But look closely and you will find hidden deep in the hinterlands, nestled cosily in the lush forests of the Ghats, the innumerable trekking getaways of Tamil Nadu. As they are virtually unknown and underexplored, these pristine sites are the spots where you can be one with nature.
Top Trekking Destinations in Tamil Nadu
Mudumalai: An abode of serenity nestled in Nilgiri Hills is the village of Mudumalai. Bordered by mountain ranges of the Nilgiris, Mudumalai promises an exceptional yet gratifying challenge of mountain trekking. The pristine air and silence of this remote hamlet will fill your lungs and mind as you scale the mountain to a scenic view. Located in the border of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, Mudumalai is easily accessible from both Ooty and Mysore.
Perumal Peak: A slice of heaven that can be touched only by a trek of approximately 7 km through some steep hills of Western Ghats. Perumal Peak is an astonishing destination for any adventure seeking wayfarers in search of a spot to get a break from the world and to be lost in the middle of a lake of clouds for a few hours. Being 18 km away from Kodaikanal, the peak can be reached easily
Kolli Hills: Named after the goddess who protected sages residing on the hills from the attack of demons, Kolli Hills is the ideal destination for those in search of an arduous trek and an enthralling view on the way. Often underexplored, Kolli Hills and its forests reveal the secret of Agaya Gangai waterfalls and Seekuparai and Selur Nadu viewpoints to only those who are daring enough to take on gruelling quests.
Yelagiri: A quaint little cluster of 14 villages dotting the hills of the Western Ghats - that is Yelagiri for you. The countryside, decked with rose gardens, offering views of lush green valleys, and awash with flower-scented breeze, is a favourite spot for trekkers. Numerous trekking trails through the woods will take you to treasures like the riveting view from Swamimalai and the mystic waters of Jalagampara Falls that the locals believe to have the power to cure various ailments. An adventurous expedition that exposes you to the unique and rare customs, traditions and architecture of the local tribes, and the beauty of Yelagiri will be an experience of a lifetime.
Doddabetta: 10 km away from Ooty lies Doddabetta, the summit of Nilgiris and the highest peak in Tamil Nadu. The grassy slopes of Doddabetta offer you a captivating view of the shola forests – an ecosystem unique to the Western Ghats. The trekking route through the reserved forests blesses the lucky with the prospect of spotting some rare species of flora and fauna. Approximately 10 km of easy-to-moderate difficulty level of the trekking will take you to the top of the peak where you can sit back and enjoy awe-inspiring scenery while watching the hazy clouds pass by.
Kalhatti: Just about 13 km away from Ooty town is the charming little village of Kalhatti. A 2 km trek from the village through eerie woods and rocks will take you to the majestic Kalhatti waterfalls. Believed to be the abode of Saint Agastya, Kalhatti falls will be an enchanting experience to anyone in search of a place to be in solitude and harmony with Nature. The soothing sound of the crashing waters and the rich silence of the woods make it an ideal spot for birdwatching.
If what you have in mind is a leisurely stroll through the winding roads and the eucalyptus groves, in order to cherish the picturesque landscape and to have a brief glimpse of the cultural history of Ooty, then head to Toda village. Approximately 6 km from the heart of Ooty town is Toda village, a settlement of the Todas who are the indigenous people of the Nilgiris. A walk through the pine forests and valleys will take you to the hamlet where the warm hospitality of the Todas will welcome you. From there the villagers will guide you to the Toda temples which were once used as dwellings. The sacred valley with its unique topography is awe-inspiring and commands utmost respect from visitors. Toda village gives a glimpse of the often-unexplored side of Ooty and its people.
Tiger Hill: Tiger Hill offers one of the most picturesque vantage points in Ooty with a breath-taking view of the valley. Tiger Hill, popular for its beautiful sunrise and sunset views, is just 6 km from the town centre of Ooty. It offers a panoramic view of the mighty hills of Doddabetta. A freshwater reservoir and a beautiful cave are just a few of the many attractions that await the trekkers.