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South India Travel - Travelling in South India

South India Travel

The mountain region (Western Ghats), which extends from Vindhyas to Cape comorin,running almost across the western side,has some of the most beautiful hills in the world. Also home to numerous exotic species of wildlife and rare flora,this range nurtures the plains with rivers. Travelling in south India involves touring many a tourist destination along this Ghat region.


Chiefly,the river Kaveri,originating in Kudagu,an exquisite sleepy region,which flows across all the four south Indian states (another reason for internal strife),is the blood line for the farmers and people alike.Nilgiris,Yercaud,Palani hills,Munnar,and Anaimudi (the tallest peak of the range)are part of this range.


The tallest peak in south India is Anaimudi (The tuft of an elephant)located in Kerala state. This is where you will find the rapidly declining animal (ibex) pictured left, that looks like a cross between a goat and a deer,but with the extra ordinary capability of moving in the face of sheer cliffs that would make a seasoned mountaineer green with envy.


These animals are (called as 'Varai Aadu'in Malayalam) near extinction. Once these mountain animals flourished in the western ghats, but in the last few decades- the increase in human population and the gradual decline in the rain forest cover have almost wiped them out.



Nilgiris

Rightly called as the 'Queen of Hills',this blue mountain (has even a Train named after this hills - Blue Mountain Express) extends across a district (Nilgiris Dist). As a person who still cherishes memories of my school days in the hills of Nilgiris,I strongly feel that life will not be complete with out a visit to the following places:


The road leading from Mettupalayam,at the base of the hills, to Ooty is broad and travel can be pleasant with only around 15 hair-pin bends.Compare this with the road to Geddai,which boasts of over 30 narrow hair-pin bends.The stretch from Wellington to Ooty has grassy slopes,alternating with Eucalyptus trees reaching up to the skies,enervating one with their characteristic fragrance.


Incidentally,Indian Railways boast of 2 mountain trains built by the Swiss.The NMR (Nilgiris mountain train) is around 100 years old and offer an exquisite view of the hills and the ride can be enchanting.The little train meanders through a magical woodland interspersed with a few tunnels.


The combination of mist and vapour emanating from the woods render a bluish tinge to the hills.Ootacamund (ooty),Coonoor and Kotagiri are the large towns,nestling atop the mountainous region.Kotagiri, a quiet town at the 'right' altitude,offers almost a steady temperature throughout the year.


Nilgiris has the ideal climate and soil to nourish and sustain a bewildering range of flowers and plants. Our old house boasted of 9 types of Roses .They needed little attention other than regular watering. Stay close by and imbibe the atmosphere, cherish the long walks in the 'English country side' and pick up ample supplies of Eucalyptus oil from the Co-operative stores (where you get genuine fragrant oil).This pungent oil can alleviate muscular pains and decongest running noses.Add 2 drops of this aromatic oil to your hot bath and luxuriate - for a lasting relief to body pain.


Visit a couple of dams,wonder at the tall trees in Sims park (coonoor),feast your senses on the flowers in botanical garden (ooty)and be prepared to walk long distances to explore the nooks and corners of these parks,if you love nature. Nilgiris is noted also for premium tea plantations and you will find a Tea factory almost at the drop of a hat.


Plums and valberi are the favourite seasonal fruits.Most of the villagers (the local 'badagas' tribes )tend to their field where they grow tea,potatoes,cabbages and a host of other vegetables,unless otherwise distracted by the film crews and the ever increasing tourists.


Gudalur,a small town at the borders of Kerala,Karnataka and Tamilnadu will lead you to the Mudumalai Wildlife sanctuary. A night stay in the Government guest house,Abayasaranalayam (Refuge of the Innocent),can fill you with wonder with the sounds of the Wild animals. From a perch,watch the frolicking gazelles,ride in an elephant in to the deep forest


In nearby Bandipur sanctuary,ride with the forest rangers's vehicles to explore the Karnataka jungle.


Hogenakkal

Kaveri river enters Tamilnadu through this 'Grand canyon' ,about 85 km from Dharmapuri.The cascading water falls into the valley,gouging out intricate shapes in the surrounding rocks.In some places,the raging waterfall throws up enough water spray to cause rainbow most of the time.As a tourist resort,this spot may not present much by way of comfort.


The roads are poke-marked,narrow and dusty.Bathing in the waterfalls of various sizes might rekindle the spirits. Nearby,small pavement vendors will offer freshly-fried fresh water fish which would be most welcome after a long soak in the rapid waters.


Start in the morning for a 'parisal' ride - a round wooden frame - coracle,clothed in hide,with a capacity to carry about 4 adults.


This parisal or coracle will take you in a round trip of the water ways,which at times,can mean a short walk across rocky outcrop to reach the other side.The boatman will carry the parisal over his head to cross the rocks. Early start is advised as a complete trip can take around 2 hours.


If you have soaked up in water long enough and need a quiet hill resort to cool your heel,try Yercaud,near Salem,not far from where you started. In this idyllic hills with coffee plantations and fruit trees,one can find peace and solitude.


Kodaikanal

National Highway 45 (NH45) will take you to Dindigul,about 400 kms from Madras,which will be the starting point for this travel laden with spices... If your idea of holiday translates to a boat ride in a hill resort,long walks in sloping meadows far away from the maddening crowds,Kodai as Kodaikanal is called in the local parlance, will be ideal.


This little hills resort located about 690 km from Madras is another quaint mountain resort located in the Western Ghats. Not as crowded as Ooty is, Kodaikanal offers cool respite from the sweltering heat of the South. Nearer to Madurai, Kodai has an exquisite garden,lake and even a paved pathway (Coaker's walk) for a leasurely stroll, imbibing the pine-scented air.


Thekkady

Drive on through Theni,Kambam and Kumuli,(about 4 hours drive) to reach Thekkady,where Periyar wildlife sanctuary is. A boat ride in the river might entitle you to steal glimpses of Elephants swimming in the river, dragging their calves. Shop around for varieties of spices to add to your culinary expeditions in Kumuly,kambam region.


Most of the Indian spices are grown in this region. Another half a day's journey will take you to Munnar,( confluence of three rivers in Malayalam)an exclusive hill station almost owned by a private Industrial house 'Tata Tea' which implies hills sprouting green 'carpets' of tea plantations.


As is usual,in this western ghats, Tea bushes need to be punctuated with silver oak trees.Being in the western part of South India,monsoon rains can be torrential during rainy season.


Unlike Ooty's tall peak Doddapetta, Anaimudi -the tallest peak in South India, near Munnar, does not have a road leading up to it.You will have to trek about 8 km to reach the peak,from the road.



Search through our pages on India

South India Travel,Travelling in South India South India Travel - Information on South India Travel

South India Tour,South India South India Tour - Grand Canyon of Asia

Karnataka Tourism Karnataka Tourism - Land of exquisite architecture in Temples and History

Pattadakal Pattadakal - Ceremonial site of the early Western Chalukyan kings

Bandipur National Park Bandipur National Park - Paradise for wildlife.

Bannerghatta National Park Bannerghatta National Park - Animals in their natural habitat.

Jog Falls Jog Falls - highest waterfalls in India

Qutb Shahi Tombs Qutb Shahi Tombs - Persian and Indian architectural style

Fort St Angelo Kannur Fort St Angelo Kannur - 500 year old European built Fort

Bekal Fort Bekal Fort - Old Fort near Kasargod

Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary - Jagaru Valley Wildlife Sanctuary

Sharavathi Wildlife Sanctuary Sharavathi Wildlife Sanctuary - Sharavathi Valley

Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary - Sanctuary near Kannur

Coorg, Medikeri, Mercara Coorg - The Scotland of the East

Kudremukh Kudremukh - Face of a Horse overlooking the Arabian Sea

Santa Cruz Basilica Cochin Santa Cruz Basilica Cochin - 500 year old Basilica near the Arabian sea

Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours - Tallest Church in Asia and the biggest Church in India

St. Andrews Basilica Allepey St. Andrews Basilica Allepey - Fair skinned Father of Miracles

Basilica of Our Lady of Vallarpadam Basilica of Our Lady of Vallarpadam - Basilica in an Island

Velankanni Basilica Velankanni Basilica - Lady of Health Shrine near the Bay of Bengal

Our Lady of Ports Cathedral Ernakulam Our Lady of Ports Cathedral Ernakulam - Cochin boasts of 4 Basilicas

St. George Basilica Angamaly St. George Basilica Angamaly - Basilica for a Roman Soldier who slayed Dragons

St. Mary  Queen of Peace Basilica Trivandrum St. Mary Queen of Peace Basilica Trivandrum - Syrian Malankara Church

Holy Redeemer Basilica Trichi Holy Redeemer Basilica Trichi - Mother of Perpetual Help

Poondi Madha Basilica Poondi Madha Basilica - Lady of Lourdes

St. Mary's Basilica Bangalore St. Mary's Basilica Bangalore - Miraculous statue of Our Lady

Basilica of Our Lady of Snows Tuticorin Basilica of Our Lady of Snows Tuticorin - Miraculous Statue of our Lady of Snow

Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Puducherry Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus - Eglise De Sacre Coeur

Santhome Basilica Santhome Basilica - Houses the relic of St.Thomas

Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption - St.Mary's Church

Divine Retreat Center Chalakudy Divine Retreat Center Chalakudy - Potta Ashram

Church of Our Lady of Angels Church of Our Lady of Angels - 400 year old Church

Basilica of Our Lady of Snows Pallippuram Basilica of Our Lady of Snows Pallippuram - 500 year old Basilica

St.Lawrence Basilica in Attur St.Lawrence Basilica in Attur - Miracles in Attur

Infant Jesus Shrine Infant Jesus Shrine - Roman Catholic Shrine in India

Chikmagalur Trekking Chikmagalur Trekking - Heady mix of Coffee and Waterfalls

Kodachadri Hills Kodachadri Hills - Mountain Peak in Shimoga

Kabini Resort Kabini Resort - Forest retreat a few hours from Bangalore and Mysore.

Kemmanagundi Kemmanagundi - Undulating meadows, gurgling brooks, rolling mist

Hampi Hampi - Evokes visions of poetry in stone

Mangalore Mangalore - A triangular city with a summit to the South.

Mysore Palace Mysore Palace - City basking in the glory of past Kings

Hyderabad Travel Hyderabad Travel - City of Nizams

Vishakapatnam Vishakapatnam - Serene lakes, Cool beaches

Golconda Fort Golconda Fort - Military Architecture

Charminar Charminar - Qutb Shahi Dynasty

Kodaikanal, Kodaikanal Tour, Kodaikanal Hotel Kodaikanal - South India's better known hill stations

Kerala Tourism, Kerala Tour,Kerala Kerala Tourism - God's own Country

Alappuzha, Alleppey, Alleppey Boat races, Alappuzha Backwaters Alappuzha - Palm fringed canals, lazy lagoons and water locked towns.

Kumarakom Backwaters Kumarakom Backwaters - Idllyic relaxed backwater setting

Mattanchery Palace Mattanchery Palace - Palace in Kochi

Munnar Munnar - Emerald green tea estates.

Silent Valley Silent Valley - Sairandhrivanam, meaning forest in the valley.

Wayanad wildlife sanctuary Wayanad wildlife sanctuary - Holiday Resorts, Ayurvedic Rejuvenation centers and more.

Poovar Island Poovar Island - Holiday in Poovar

Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary - Highest peak in Karnataka

Cochin Travel Cochin Travel - Gateway to God's own Country

Belur Hoysala Temples Belur Hoysala Temples - Poetry in Stone

Chola Temples Chola Temples - Revisit the past glory of the mighty Cholas

Madurai Meenakshi Temple Madurai Meenakshi Temple - One of the Biggest temples

Tirupati temple Tirupati temple - Lord of the 7 Hills

Rameshwaram Temple Rameshwaram Temple - Sethu Yathra

Swamimalai Temple Swamimalai Temple - The Son who taught his Father

Guruvayur Temple Guruvayur Temple - Bhuloka Vaikunta

Sabarimala Temple Sabarimala Temple - Makara Jyothi

Padmanabha swamy Temple Padmanabha swamy Temple - Ananthasayanam

Thiruvannamalai temple Thiruvannamalai temple - Padal PetraSthalam

Saradamba Temple Sringeri Saradamba Temple Sringeri - Sringeri Temples

Ranganatha Swami Temple Ranganatha Swami Temple - Largest Temple in the World

Udupi Krishna Temple Udupi Krishna Temple - Kanakanakindi

Vaitheeswaran Koil Vaitheeswaran Koil - Prime center for naadi shastra

Sripuram Golden Temple Sripuram Golden Temple - Temple of Gold

Srikalahasti Temple Srikalahasti Temple - Kailas of the South

Kanchipuram Temple Kanchipuram Temple - Ancient Pallava built Temple

Palani Temple Palani Temple - Temple dedicated to Tamil God

Thiruchendur Murugan Temple Thiruchendur Murugan Temple - Part of the 6 Abodes of Murugan



South India, Kodaikanal in Western ghats South India Tour, Nilagiri Tahr in Anaimudi

South India Travel, Nilgiri Mountain Train Botanical Garden in Ooty Elephants frolic near River Periyar Falls in Hogenekkal Kodaikanal Lake
South India Travel