Jungle Book Dreams: 5 Road Trips To Explore The Best Of Western Ghats
A 1200 km long mountain range with endemic flora and fauna interspersed with green plantations and splendid hill stations- the Western Ghats of India hide many gems of destinations.
Recognized as one of the world’s eight “hottest hotspots” of biological diversity and as a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site, the place attracts various kinds of travelers every year and offers them an experience like no other.
To slowly familiarize yourself with these mountain ranges, here is a list of some destinations you can visit to explore the best of the Western Ghats.
Top 5 Road Trips To Explore The Best Of The Western Ghats:
1. Madikeri, Coorg (Karnataka)
If you’re someone who dreams of reconnecting with nature and in turn yourself during the upcoming getaway, then Coorg is just the right destination for you. Lush green landscapes.
Aromatic tea and coffee plantations. Magnificent waterfalls. Mouth-watering cuisine. Misty hills. Exotic flora and fauna. Be it the food lover in you or the curious geographer, the wandering traveller or the nature enthusiast- Coorg is a gem that attracts thousands every year, leaving them with no other option other than to pay a visit to the place.
Alternatively known as the ‘Scotland of India’, Madikeri is a picturesque hill-town in Southern India. Framed by the Western Ghats range, it is an extremely beautiful plantation town with rich culture and warm locals. With its haven of dense forests, misty peaks, magnificent waterfalls and soothing streams- it offers a heavenly retreat from a cluttered life.
You can spend the day walking around Chikli Hole or stay at cozy homestays and meet great hosts. You can try the amazing cuisine or go waterfall-hopping, spending a day mesmerized by all the beauties. A trip to Coorg is the relaxing long drive that will put you in a good mood.
Places to visit: Madikeri Fort, St. Mark’s Church, Omkareshwara Temple, Abbey Falls, Raja’s Seat, Golden Temple (Namdroling Monastery)
2. Mahabaleshwar (Maharasthra)
Mahabaleshwar is a hill station in India’s forested Western Ghats range, south of Mumbai. The beautiful hill-station has something to offer to everyone.
For the adventurous spirits, you have the option of going jungle trekking in unique hamlets like Tapola. To calm your spirit and encounter a soothing ambiance, you can ride a shikhara in the Venna Lake, as you watch the sun paint a million hues on the blue canvas. If you are a history buff or want to take a trip down the nostalgia lane, you can always visit popular heritage sites like Pratapgad Fort and the Mahabaleshwar Temple. To get some picture-perfect frames for your Instagram posts, elevated viewing points, such as Arthur’s Seat or nature’s beauties like Lingmala Waterfall provide the perfect muse.
The famous strawberries of Mahabaleshwar, the centuries-old forts, the soothing rivers, and culturally rich temples- be it a nature-lover, a budding photographer; an artist searching for inspiration or a frequent trekker, Mahabaleshwar, its scenic beauty and its mountains offer a home to everyone. Once you get a taste of this place, you would not want to come back.
Places to visit: Wilson Point, Babington Point, Connaught Peak, Rajpuri, Arthur’s Seat, Town Bazaar, Parsi Point
3. Mollem (Goa)
When I say Goa, you’d most likely think of bachelorettes, wild parties, beaches, and road trips. Goa is the go-to destination for most people when you want to enjoy all the benefits of the modern world and have the time of your life. Very few people associate Goa with a place that can help one seek spirituality, oneness, and proximity to nature.
However, Mollem is a small village in Goa that serves the purpose of breaking all these predetermined notions. Situated in South India on National Highway 4 near the border with Karnataka in the foothills of the Sahyadri Mountain range at the beginning of Anmod Ghat- Mollem is a place that introduces you to stunning waterfalls and rich, wild forests.
It is the primary entry point for Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park. If you plan to visit Goa anytime soon, you cannot miss out on the opportunity to visit this place. The sanctuary spread over an area of 240 sq. km, it is home to an impressive diversity of flora and fauna and ancient temples. It takes you to the breath-taking Dudhsagar Falls. A drive through this forest will certainly rejuvenate your senses and make you look forward to the next day, even more.
Places to visit: Mollem National Park, Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary
4. Kalpetta,Wayanad (Kerala)
Kalpetta is the main town in Wayanad and one that attracts travelers every year but hasn’t been affected by excessive commercialization yet. It is all about its beautiful countryside, magnificent waterfalls, green landscapes, tea-gardens, and rich flora and fauna. Wayanad literally means ‘Land of Paddy Fields’ and brings out the true beauty of Kerala. It is the ideal place to be in for a serene drive amidst beauty of a kind.
Places to visit: Banasura Sagar Dam, Meenmuthy Falls, Soochipara Falls, and the Kanthapara Falls
5. Coonoor (Tamil Nadu)
Coonoor is one of those unexplored gems that will leave you spellbound. Completely surrounded by Nilgiri Hills, the region is mainly known for its tea plantations and mystical beauty.
To get a taste of Coonoor, drive through the beautiful roads hugging the hills with a mesmerizing view of tea plantations around you. Drive to Kotagiri or Ooty or head up into the hills and take the toy train or the century-old mountain railway up the hills.
Places to visit: Hidden Valley, Lamb’s Rock, Sim’s Park, Law’s Falls
The Western Ghats never cease to surprise with something new each time! The next time you visit any of these places, we are sure you will discover something new on your way as well!
Hey! I'm Gauri. Sagittarius by birth, clumsy by choice. An engineer turned writer. Loves animals tolerate humans. Has a thing for pizza and old books. Expertize in awkward conversations and creepy smiles.
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