KERALA: GOD’S OWN COUNTRY
Brood over crystal clear water. Add brackish lagoons and parallel lakes on the Malabar coastal lines. Is this all that you can ponder about when your soul is quenching over the resplendently alluring Kerala? If yes, then shed that clichéd notion. Now, put exhilarating trekking trails and waterfalls to feed your hungry soul. Sprinkle this vividness with tea planted hills and wildlife sanctuaries. Finally, wholesome Kerala is ready to be gorged down.
From around half a ton scenic hill stations embellishing the state, picking only 5 is no mean task! Truth be told, I really tried giving my best shot to jot down the below mentioned list.
The spice-scented plantations adorning this hill station in the Periyar forest is very assuredly going to leave you aghast. With plethora of vagaries in the name of treks and mountain walks, the wildlife reserve has much to offer. Lying in the Idukki district, from boat cruises on the Periyar lake to plantation tours and elephant rides, Thekkady is spoilt for choices. Mangala Devi Temple, Murikkady, Chellarkovil and Kumily are some of the places that shall comprise the ‘must visit’ section of the bucket list of the eleutheromaniacs.
The most sought after hill station in South India held the unique distinction of being the summer resort of the erstwhile British imperialists. Situated at an altitude of 6000 feet above sea level, the town is laden with unceasing tea plantations. In the rain shadow village lying in the eastern side of the Western Ghats, hails Marayoor, also known as the hub of sandalwood trees. Neelakurinji, an exotic flower that blooms once in 12 years increases the mesmerisation thousandfold. Nilgiri Tahr(caprine ungulate) in the Nilgiri hills and Kundala lake are the bountiful beauts. With placidity reigning the ambience, this place is undoubtedly one of the finest destination to head on to.
Malyali word ‘Ponmudi’ runs parallel to “golden peak” in English. Located in the capital city of Kerala, the hill station rests at an elevation of 945m above sea level. Layered with the enchanting arrays of mountain flowers, exotic butterflies and tiny rivulets, the place is emerging as a sought after travel destination at an impressive pace. Agasthyakoodam is an abode of rare medicinal herbs, and is the highest peak of the district. Peppara wildlife sanctuary, deer park and golden valley are some of the pristine locations that will leave you convoluted with the problem of plenty.
Located at the crest of serpentine Thamaraserry ghat pass, Lakkidi is an idyllic destination to gaze at monkeys frolicking through the Vythiri roadside with a heavy chain anchored to the ground and tied around the stout branches of the tree. This lush green vantage point offers mind boggling views of cliffs and valleys. Lakkidi boasts of tranquillity at a height of 700m above sea level. Expensive resorts in the vicinity have led the way in industrialising tourism as flocks of foreigners loll in serenity.
The small hill station was named after Sufi Saint Peer Mohammad. Wide vistas of tea and cardamom interspersed with silver cascades, sculptural rocks and meadows are what makes Peermedu, a delightful experience. Peeru hills, Grampi, Pattumala and tribal settlements in the area make the view panoramic. With a proportionate amalgamation of religious harmony and landscapes, kuttikkanam is an undeniable spot for the adrenaline junkies.
Lost your breath? Want something for your parched throat? Perhaps, just gulp down the endemic coconut water and savour the indigenous meals on a banana leaf!
The perpetual chains of hills in kerala are a guaranteed monotony breaker where the air is redolent and a whiff of freshness propagated everywhere. Paradise is certainly the permanent suffix of this state. I am not sure which gods live in this paradise. Smallest, largest, biggest, rarest or oldest but these superlatives surely reside here.