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15 Revitalizing Hill Stations Near Chennai

Also known as Chennapattanam and the Detroit of the East owing to its automobile industry, Chennai is the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Formerly known as Madras, the city is located by the Coromandel Coast by the Bay of Bengal. From ancient times the region came under the rule of the dynasties of southern India such as the Pallavas, the Cholas and the Pandya till the 13th century AD. The region later came under the rule of the Nayaks appointed by the Vijayanagara kings who granted a piece of land to the British East India Company who established a colonial town and artificial harbor around fort St. George in the 17th century. Today Chennai stands as an important industrial town and economic center with numerous tourist attractions. However, Chennai lies on the thermal equator and is plagued by a hot and humid coastal climate. It becomes essential for the people in Chennai to find a refuge from the burning coastal plains of Chennai. Here’s the list of the best hill stations one can visit near Chennai.

1. Yelagiri

yelagiri-hills
Photo by Ashwin Kumar, CC BY-SA 2.0

(Distance from Chennai – 230 km approx.)
Yelagiri is located in the state of Tamil Nadu and is a picturesque hill station surrounded by lakes, valleys, green hills, rose gardens and flowery orchards. The origin of the hill station goes back to the time of the British Raj who developed it as a summer retreat. It is a great place if you love eco sports like trekking and hiking along with the colorful summer festival held around the end of May every year. The Jalagamparai Waterfalls, Punganoor Lake and Park and Swami Malai Hills etc. are few of the major attractions there.

2. Horsley Hills

(Distance from Chennai – 279 km approx.)
Horsely Hills are a popular Hill Station in Andhra Pradesh located in the hills of the Eastern Ghats. The place is named after W.D. Horsely who was the British collector of the region. He was so impressed by the beauty of the hills that he chose the spot for his summer bungalow that is now used by the Governor of Andhra Pradesh as his residence. The hills have been a popular retreat for the people who visit Tirupati during the summers. The hills are also in close proximity to the Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary.

3. Yercaud

yercaud-hills
Photo by Thangaraj Kumaravel, CC BY 2.0


(Distance from Chennai – 367 km approx.)

The hill station is located in the Salem district in the state of Tamil Nadu in the Shevaroys hills of the Eastern Ghats. Yercaud is located at an elevation of 1,515 meters above sea level and is also nicknamed, the jewel of the South. It is famous for is enchanting surroundings and a large variety of flora and fauna. Temperature never goes beyond 20 degrees Celsius during the summers making it a popular summer retreat. Yercud Lake, National Orchardarium, Lady’s seat, Serveroyan Temple, Bear’s cave, Pagoda Point, Fairholme bungalow and Heaven’s ledge etc. are the various attractions one can visit in Yercaud.

4. Kolli Hills

kolli-hills-valley
Photo by dilli2040, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

(Distance from Chennai – 358 km approx.)
The Kolli Hills are a famous hill station in the state of Tamil Nadu. Located at an elevation of 1300 meters above sea level, the hill station is a part of the Eastern Ghats range in India. Kolli Hills are almost entirely untouched by any kind of commercial tourism activities and offer a clean, lush green environment to its visitors. The terrain is mostly covered by coffee and tea plantations with several paddy fields and jackfruit trees. The town gets even more picturesque during the monsoons when the valley is streaked with several streams.

5. Kodaikanal

(Distance from Chennai – 527 km approx.)
Known as the second most important hill station in Tamil Nadu after Ooty, Kodaikanal is also known as ‘The Gift of the Forests’. The hill town is located in the eastern spurs of the Western Ghats and is situated at an elevation of 2,133 meters above sea level. It is surrounded by Eucalyptus, Acacia, Cypress and Pear trees with flowery meadows and grasslands. Due to the high elevation the temperature in Kodaikanal never goes beyond 25 degrees during the summers and is home to several eye catching natural attractions.

6. Ooty

(Distance from Chennai – 558 km approx.)
Ooty is located amidst the blue misty mountains of the Nilgiris in the state of Tamil Nadu and is one of the most popular hill stations in Southern India. The region was originally inhabited by the Toda tribal peoples and was later annexed by the British. Ooty is situated at an elevation of 2,240 meters above sea level and due to its high elevation enjoys a perennially cool climate. The British introduced several trees and herbs to the region and later developed it as a summer resort for the Madras Presidency. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway, Government Botanical Gardens, Rose Gardens, Ooty Lake and Stone house etc. are the various not to be missed attractions in Ooty.

7. Coonoor

coonor-hills
Photo by Akhilesh Ravishankar, CC BY-ND 2.0

(Distance from Chennai – 531 kilometers approx)
Another hill town located in the Nilgiris, Coonoor is the second largest hill station in Southern India and in the state of Tamil Nadu. Located at an elevation of 1,850 meters above sea level, Coonoor is popular for being a starting point for the trekkers and hikers who venture into the blue mountains of the Nilgiri hills. Coonoor is also known to be the chief producer of the Nilgiri Tea and is surrounded by tea gardens, valleys, flowery meadows and provides panoramic views of the Nilgiri hills through its marvelous viewpoints. Sim’s Park, Doorg Fort, Dolphin’s nose, Lamb’s Rock, Katary Falls and Law’s falls must definitely be visited on your trip to Coonoor.

8. Munnar

munnar-hills
Photo by Vinoth Chandar, CC BY 2.0

(Distance from Chennai – 574 kilometers approx)
One of the most famous hill stations in Kerala, Munnar is located in the Western Ghats at the confluence of three rivers. Munnar is famous for its terraced green hills covered tea and coffee plantations that greet its visitors with a welcoming aroma. The hill town is located at an elevation of 1,700 meters above sea level. The flora and fauna in Munnar is quiet similar to the Nilgiri hills and thus is often referred to as the Nilgiri of Kerala. The climate in Munnar never goes beyond 25 degrees during the summers and is quiet frequented by tourists looking for refuge from the tropical heat of the plains. Tea gardens, Mattupetty Dam, Lakkam Waterfalls, Lockheart Gap, Top Station, Anamudi Peak and Echo Point are few of the various attractions in Munnar.

9. Madikeri

madikeri-hills
Photo by smerikal, CC BY-SA 2.0

(Distance from Chennai – 585 kilometers approx)
Madikeri is located in the Kodagu district of Karnataka and is a popular hill station located in the Western Ghats or Sahayadri mountain range in India. The town is located at an elevation of 1,061 meters above sea level and the temperature rarely goes beyond 28 degrees in summers.
The town came under the rule of several south Indian dynasties, the sultans of Mysore and finally the British after the mid-nineteenth century. The town is surrounded with the lush green and misty hills of the Western Ghats and is a perfect place to spend a quiet holiday. Raja’s seat, Madikeri Fort, Omkareshwara Temple and several festivals are not to be missed attractions in Madikeri.

10. Araku Valley

(Distance from Chennai – 875 kilometers approx)
Located in the state of Andhra Pradesh, Araku Valley is situated at an average elevation of 902 meters above sea level. The valley is a part of the Eastern Ghats mountain range in India and is one of the most untouched and least polluted tourist destinations. The valley is surrounded by several mountains like Galikonda, Chitamogondi, Raktakonda and Sunkarimetta. The town is close to the Orissa state border and is famous for its premium coffee plantations.

11. Valparai

morning-view-of-valparai
Photo by Ashwin Kumar, CC BY-SA 2.0

(Distance from Chennai – 582 km approx.)
Valparai is located in the state of Tamil Nadu at an elevation of 1,193 meters above sea level amidst the Annamalai range of the Western Ghats.To reach the picturesque town, one must travel through some of the most enchanting hill passes with treacherous hairpin bends. Valparai is also known for its tea and coffee plantations and a perennially mild climate. The tea plantations are surrounded by several forests and give access to several protected wild life reserves.

12. Kotagiri

kotagiri-hills
Photo by Ramana, CC BY 2.0

(Distance from Chennai – 538 km approx.)
Located in The state of Tamil Nadu, Kothagiri is an enchanting hill station amidst the misty mountains of the Nilgiris. Unlike the other parts of the Nilgiris, which were inhabited by the Toda people, Kothagiri was the place of the Kota tribe who were traditional artisans and expert at terracotta and pottery. Being a small town, Kothagiri is largely unspoilt and remains relatively unknown to most people. Nevertheless, it is famous as being the first area in the Nilgiris which was settled by the British. Kodanda Viewpoint, Rangaswamy Peak, Rangaswamy Pillar and Elk Falls etc. are the various attractions in Kothagiri.

13. Meghamalai

megamalai-thoovanam-dam
Photo by Sivaraj.mathi, CC BY-SA 3.0

(Distance from Chennai – 554 km approx.)
Known for its lush green surroundings and cardamom and tea plantations, Meghamalai is located in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is also known as the High Wavy Mountains and is situated at an elevation of 1,500 meters above sea level. Meghamalai is a totally non commercialized nature reserve that is best visited between the months of October and March when the climate is the most pleasant and one can experience the cloudy mountains.

14. Sirumalai

sirumalai-hills
Photo by Paulthy, CC BY 2.0

(Distance from Chennai – 465 km approx.)
Sirumalai is a hill region located in the Eastern Ghats mountain range in the state of Tamil Nadu. The hills are located at an elevation of 1600 meters above sea level and are known for their diverse flora and fauna along with the enchanting natural surroundings. While the region is not properly connected by roads, its unpolluted and un-commercialized surroundings make it one of the most breathtaking nature getaways.

15. Palani Hills

palani-hills
Photo by Bikash Das, CC BY 2.0 

(Distance from Chennai – 530 km approx.)
Palani Hills are nestled amidst the Western Ghats mountain range and adjoin the Annamalai range on the West in the state of Tamil Nadu. The region is mostly covered with dense vegetation and form a part of the Palani Hills wildlife sanctuary. Several activities like Hiking, Camping, mountaineering, bird-watching and rock climbing are offered here. The forests are also a home to several wildlife species and natural attractions like waterfalls and green hills that attract several tourists throughout the year.

3 comments

  1. Hi,

    Bookmarking this site. Added to my wishlists!

    Thanks for the post.

  2. A good informative article. In fact there are 3 hill stations I thought did not exist. Thanks to the article I am including it in my wish list. There are a few suggestions to make this article more informative.

    1. The nearest railway stations, Towns and airport
    2. The weather in these places in Summer as summer is the time most of us do our vacations
    3. Informations on places to stay there

  3. Be it a family trip, honeymoon, office tour or simply a short journey with friends, hill stations in India are a favoured option. It is in these hilly retreats, you can soak yourself in good times, shed off the stresses of mind and attain peace of mind.

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