The sun is shining in all its glory which means it is time to escape to cooler climes and chill as you escape the heat.
The weatherman has predicted a rough summer this year and if you are looking to beat the heat, we list some handpicked locations that are off the beaten track to help you cool your heels.
Valparai, Tamil Nadu
Located 3500 feet above sea level in the Western Ghats on the Anamalai mountain range, this place is home to tea estates and offers undulating landscapes of well-manicured tea gardens for as far as you can see. In fact, the area also has coffee, cardamom, and cinchona trees. Reaching Valparai needs you to navigate several hair-pin bends and the surrounding area is a habitat for elephants and leopards. Lookout for the endemic Nilgiri Tahr, lion-tailed macaque and wild boar when here. Avian enthusiasts will love this place as you can see three kinds of hornbills here; The Great Hornbill, the Malabar Pied Hornbill, and the Grey Malabar Hornbill. Make sure you look around as well and pit stops at the Upper Sholayar Dam, Nirar Dam, Aliyar Dam, Monkey Falls and more. May sees a three-day summer festival with lots of food, fun, games, flower shows, folk, and tribal dances.
Kotagiri, Tamil Nadu
One of the lesser-known towns in the Nilgiris beyond Ooty and Coonoor, Kotagiri has a quaint charm at 5900 feet above sea level. The tea garden filled terrain is far removed from the hustle and bustle of its neighbouring towns and the cool climes with green meadows and lush plantations makes Kotagiri an ideal town for a leisurely vacation. When here take the time to visit the majestic Catherine falls, Elk falls, Doddabetta range and Rangaswami pillars that allow you to experience the majestic beauty of the Nilgiris. For a spot of adventure hit the Kotagiri–Kodanad trail for a long trek amidst nature. A stop at John Sullivan Memorial is recommended as it is a small museum that captures some of his memories.
Read the full story that first appeared in Spice Route’s May 2023 issue here: