Hill Stations of Western Ghats of India8:43 PM
Hill Stations of Western Ghats of India:
Western Ghats of India is a UNESCO World Heritage Site spread across most of the western coast of India, starting from Sahyadri mountain range of Maharashtra, Western ghats of Karnataka, Nilgiri mountain range of Tamil Nadu and the Western Ghats of Kerala. The western ghats have many popular and breathtaking hill stations. Here is the list with highlights of some of them.
Although less popular among the tourists but is certainly less explored and part of it is still untouched. Mandalpatti is located in Coorg district of Karnataka state, about 30km from Madikeri city. It falls under the Pushpagiri range of forests, so any trekking beyond the forest office needs permission from the forest officials. Only four wheel drive vehicles can make it to the summit, one can also hire jeeps from Somwarpet or Madikeri town. The Panoramic views of the Shola grasslands surrounded by the forest is a delight for your eyes and senses. Best time to visit is post monsoons and early summer, Sep-Nov and Jan-Mar.
|Road to heaven, Mandalpatti|
Kudremukh National Park is spread across Chikkamagaluru, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts of Karnataka state. It is also a Tiger reserve, so entry and exit from the national park and monitored and controlled by the Forest dept. Kudremukha peak is about 1,892 m above sea level and is third highest peak in Karnataka.
The best way to experience Kudremukha is to ride from Kalasa to Sringeri via the old KIOCL mining area, you come across many roadside waterfalls including the more popular Hanumanagudi waterfalls and a slight deviation to the beautiful Sirimane waterfalls.
|State Highway, Kudremukh|
Udhagamandalam or Ooty is one of the most popular and commercialised hill station of Western Ghats, it's home to many tourist attractions and is famous for sightseeing. It is the capital city of Nilgiris District of Tamil Nadu state. Ooty is part of the Nilgiris mountain range and its highest peak dodabetta is at 2,623 m ASL.
The landscapes of Ooty are mostly covered with slopes of grasslands, tea estates and fancy trees. An excursion to Avalanche Lake can be a more thrilling experience than the usual sightseeing places.
Coonoor is about 20km from Ooty, and is second most popular hill station in the Nilgiris District of Tamil Nadu state. It is located at an altitude of 1,850 m ASL and is popular for the tea estates. Dolphins nose is the top attraction of Coonoor.
|Tea estates on Dolphins Nose Road, Coonoor|
Kodagu or Coorg is one of the most popular hill stations of South India. Kodagu is a district in Karnataka state, Madikeri is the headquarter of Kodagu district. Kodagu is famous for coffee estates and waterfalls. The most popular waterfalls are Abbey Falls, Iruppu Falls, Mallalli falls, and Chelavara falls.
Kodagu is heaven for trekking, popular trek routes includes the Brahmagiri Trek and Tadiyandamol trek which is also the highest peak of Kodagu at 1,750 m ASL.
|Lower Mallalli Falls, Coorg|
Wayanad is a district in Kerala state with its headquarters at Kalpetta. At an altitude of 2,100 metres, Chembra Peak is the highest peak in Wayanad. The most popular activity in Wayanad are the trekking expeditions, Chembra Peak trek being the most popular, Pakshipathalam trek and Banasura Trek are other popular treks in Wayanad. The landscapes of Wayanad are mostly covered with tea estates.
|Sun rise through the Chembra peak, Wayanad|
Located in the western ghats of Karnataka, Yellapur is a town in Uttara Kannada District. Although it is not a typical hill station and is at an elevation of about 541 m ASL. Yellapur near Sirsi is home to many tourist attractions which are less explored and untouched of nature. Yellapur and Sirsi have many beautiful waterfalls including Sathodi falls, Magod falls and Vibhuti Falls. Apart from waterfalls it is home to other popular destinations including the rock formations of Yana, sunset point at Jenukallu gudda, pristine backwaters of Kodasalli, and the shiva lingas of Sahasralinga.
|View of the valley from Jenukallu Gudda during sunset, Yellapur|
Lavasa is a planned hill station on the sahyadri range of Western Ghats located in Pune district of Maharashtra state. Lavasa being a controversial hill station for its deforestation reasons, is beautifully designed and built to target specific class of tourists.
Lonavala is a hill station in Pune district of Maharashtra state. Lonavala and Khandala are located on the Mumbai-Pune highway. Most popular tourist attractions include the Lion point and Tiger falls, Lonavala Lake, Rajmachi Point, and Lohagad Fort. Both the hillstations Lonavala and Khandala are just 3km apart at an elevation of 624 m to 550m ASL. At Khandala the valleys are more steep and descends suddenly more than 500 m towards Mumbai. Due to the vicinity to the two major cities Mumbai and Pune, these hill stations are usually crowded.
|Waterfalls at a distance as seen from the Lion point, Lonavala|
Mahabaleshwar is one the most popular hill station of Maharashtra state located in Satara District. This part of Sahyadri range of Western Ghats is usually covered with mist and is visited round the year except during monsoons. The temperature suddenly starts dropping as you pass through Panchgani towards Mahabaleshwar and also the clouds start covering towards Arthur seat. The highest peak being the Wilson/sunrise point at 1439 m ASL. There are over 50 tourist attractions and viewpoints in Mahabaleshwar, most popular are the Needle Hole/Elephant point, Kate’s point/Echo point, Venna Lake, Pratapgad fort, Mahabaleshwar Mandir and Elphinstone point.
|Chiseled like layers of the valley from Malcolm point near Arthur seat|
Both hill stations Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar are located about 20 km apart. Though Panchgani is less cooler and misty when compared to Mahabaleshwar, it has some beautiful landscapes. Popular attractions include the grasslands at Harrisons Folly, horse riding at Table land, Krishna river valley view at Parsi point, and the delicious foods of Mapro garden.
|View from Harrisons Folly, Panchgani|
Apparently the smallest hill station of India located in Raigad district of Maharashtra state. Matheran is part of the Sahyadri range of western ghats at an elevation of about 800m ASL. Its proximity to major cities Mumbai and Pune have made it a very popular hill station. Best time to visit is during monsoons and post monsoons, which is between July-Oct. rest of the year it can be warmer and dusty, unlike Mahabaleshwar.
|Valley view and the toy train track as seen from the panorama point, Matheran|