From being amazed by a heart shaped lake to diving in a natural water pool – these offbeat trekking trails in South India might just be the answer to your backpacking cravings. So go on, enjoy the scenes, the adventure, and of course, the thrill.
1. Chembra Trek
The Chembra Peak is in Kerala and is 2,100 meters above sea level. It is a part of the Wayanad hill ranges in the Western Ghats which is very close to the Nilgiri hills in Tamil Nadu. Here, you would require permission from the forest office for trekking. The trek is ideal for first-timers and the average time required for one side is 3-4 hours. Any time between September and February is suitable for the trek and the heart-shaped lake en route to the peak is one thing you should not miss. However, overnight camping is not allowed at the peak as there is a threat of lurking wildlife.
2. Chimmini, Thrissur
Chimmini is actually a wildlife sanctuary in the district of Thrissur, Kerala about 12 kms away from the nearest town Amballoor. The best time to visit is between October and March. The sanctuary was established in the year 1984 and is a huge attraction for bird watchers as it houses about 160 species of birds. You can also see several insects, including the largest moth in the world – Atlas; the largest butterfly of India – Southern Birdwing; and the state butterfly of Maharashtra – the Blue Mormon. You can also go for bamboo rafting here, besides the trekking.
3. Kolli Hills
The hills are based in the Namakkal district of Tamil Nadu and they feature prominently in classical Tamil literature. They are about 1000-1300 meters in height and the mountains are covered with evergreen forests. The best part about this place is that it is pollution free and not crowded at all – the perfect destination for a true, calming vacation. You might need to plan ahead though, since lodging and eating options here are limited.
This peak, 2640 meters above the sea level, is in the Idukki district of Kerala. The place is a hotspot of biodiversity and has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site. A one side trek is approximately 15 kms and will take about 9 hours to complete. The best time to trek is from September to April and you will require permission from the forest department for the same.
5. Nagalapuram Hills
Located in Andhra Pradesh, the trekking entrance here is about 20 kms away from the actual town and most trekkers are expected to leave their vehicles in the village of Arai. It is a two day trek and a guide for the trip is highly recommended. The waterfalls which is considered a natural water slide and a 40 feet deep natural water pool form an attraction for all swimmers. It also has a dense forest cover to cater to an adventurous spirit.
6. Paithalmala Trek
Located in the Kannur district of Kerala, this peak is 1371.6 meters above sea level. It is in the Western Ghats, specifically near the Kodagu forests. It is a paradise for photographers and trekkers will surely enjoy the biodiversity of the place. There is also an observatory made by the forest department at the hilltop which provides a spectacular view.
7. Perumal Trek
The peak is in Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, and forms an ideal trek for beginners. It is a fairly small trek with around 4 hours of hiking in ascent, and you don’t need any permission. But the time also depends on the amount of the breaks you take. The best time for the trek is January to May. Apart from being enthralled by the scenic beauty of Kodaikanal, you will get an amazing view of the Nilgiri Hills.
8. Jindhagada trek
The peak is in the Araku valley in the state of Andhra Pradesh. It is a part of the Eastern Ghats and is the tallest peak of Andhra Pradesh. You will get to explore the coffee plantations here and a green spread over the valley.
9. Yedakumeri-Donigal Trek
This one is unique as it is not a mountain trail but a railway track between Mangalore and Bangalore. The trekking trail isbeautiful scenic greenery greeting you at every step.
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