The Most Popular Places to Trek in South India
If you’re looking for easy adventure, trekking is one of the best options. Trekking in South India is adventurous and thrilling, and it helps to be at peace nestled in the arms of beautiful, varied landscapes. Here’s some of the best trekking in South India that you should try on your next holiday to the country.
Chembra Trek, Kerala
Chembra Peak. Credit: Sankara Subramanian
Chembra is one of the most popular places to trek in South India. Standing tall at 2,100 meters above sea level, the Chembra peak in Kerala is a part of the Wayanad hill ranges in the Western Ghats. It is also very close to Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiris, or blue mountains. And if you’re in the market for monsoon treks in South India, this might just be our pick of the lot! Once catch here is that you need permission from the forest office to trek, but we can help you figure that out.
This 14-odd kilometre route isn’t too difficult, though it does get a bit trickier in the rains, and one of its star attraction is the heart-shaped lake that you will find en route. The trek is best done in the monsoon or winter months, and getting here isn’t difficult as it’s only about 20km from Wayanad’s district headquarters, Kalpetta.
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If you’re looking for a walk in the forests, consider the little-visited Chimmini, just two hours from Kochi. This wildlife sanctuary is located in Thrissur district, and is definitely an offbeat trekking destination in South India. Chimmini is home to 160 species of birds, making it great for birders. And several insects, including the largest moth in the world – the Atlas moth, the largest butterfly of India – the Southern Birdwing; and the state butterfly of Maharashtra – the Blue Mormon, will make your trek even more interesting. Well, that’s not all! You can also go for bamboo rafting here, to add more adventure to your trail. We recommend setting aside a whole day to really explore this sanctuary – pack a picnic and set out!
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Nagalapuram Hills, Andhra Pradesh
Looking for a longer, offbeat trek in South India? Why not explore the Nagalapuram Hills? This is a two-day trek, so you’ll need your tents, and having a guide with you is highly recommended. Your trail starts at the base village of Arai, and you’ll make your way along to a gorgeous waterfall, considered to be a natural water slide with a 40ft-deep natural water pool at its base – perfect to cool off in after the walking! These hills, a part of the Eastern Ghats, are also blessed with dense flora and fauna.
Like with most of South India, this trekking route is best experienced in the winter months, between November and February. It’s about 90km away from Chennai, and 70km from the spiritual town of Tirupati.
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Meesapulimala is UNESCO-certified World Heritage Site, and should definitely be considered if you’re planning a trek in South India. Sited in the Idukki district of Kerala, this peak is 2,640 meters above sea level, making this one of the toughest treks in South India. You need to be really patient and adventurous for this trek, as it is a 15km-long trail that will take about 9 hours to complete one way. An important thing to remember is that you require permission from the forest office to trek here. But the views itself make it worth your time, as you soak in the perfect blend of trekking and camping in South India.
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Perumal, Tamil Nadu
If you’re travelling with family and looking for an easy monsoon trek in South India, the Perumal peak might just be for you. This peak, in the popular town of Kodaikanal, offers a 4-hour trek, and is perfectly suited for beginners. And from the top, you’ll find scenic views over the Nilgiri hills, unless the clouds roll in and play spoilsport!
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