Hiking - Destination

Trekking in South India: Amazing Offbeat Southern Trails

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India is a vast stretch of beauty. From the abode of the Himalayas to the Andaman waters, from the Western Ghats to the Eastern Valleys, the country of peacocks has every facet of Mother Nature’s grace. With such abundant natural views, India can very well be called a trekker’s paradise! While any nook of India is a piece of land with individual history, culture, and beauty, we are, here, discussing the amazing options for trekking in South India.

If you are trekking this weekend and want to explore South India then keep reading for destination checklist.

Best Trails for Trekking in South India

South India Mao
Map of South India (source)

Trekking in South India is fairly easy than the other parts of the country. The terrains are not very high and treks are mostly doable by anyone who is fit and willing to explore.

Trekking in Karnataka

Delicately edged by the Arabian coastline, Karnataka is growing as a high-tech hub. To escape from the toxicity of the IT life, here are some beautiful trekking destinations around Bangaluru.

Makalidurga Trek

Makalidurga Trek
The Makalidurga Trek Awards You with This View of Hillocks (source)
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Approximate Duration: 4 to 6 hours
  • Best Time to Visit: October to March

Situated at a distance of 59 kilometres (approximately) from Bangalore city, Makalidurga is a popular trekking destination near Bangalore. A hill fort which also makes for a great night trekking destination in South India. Individuals with photography passion are often seen wandering about this place as it presents fantastic views of some of the best sunrises and sunsets in the country.

Tadiyandamol Trek, Coorg

Tadiyandamol Trek
Tadiyandamol Trek in the Lap of Coorg (source)
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Approximate Duration: 4 to 6 hours
  • Best Time to Visit: October to March

Tadiyandamol is the third highest peak in Karnataka. And hence it is a delight for all trekkers- beginners and experts alike, to see some of the best vistas of nature. With an elevation of 1,748 metres at the max., this trekking in South India involves hiking through shola forests, making it a good forest trekking experience in South India. Tadiyandamol is a perfect trek for beginners because it offers enchanting views from the top and yet, the trek is not too demanding. Thus, it could be an ideal weekend getaway.

Nishani Betta, Coorg

Nishani Betta
The Valleys of Nishani Betta (source)
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Approximate Duration: 3 to 4 hours
  • Best Time to Visit: July to March

Better known as Nishani Motte, the Nishani Betta trek can be best described as a tranquil trekking experience. Enclosed by coffee plantations and lush green hills, the Nishani Motte peak is a lesser unknown spot for trekking in South India and thus its beauty is still fresh. A part of the Brahmagiri mountain range, the trek is quite easy to be undertaken even by young kids. If you are looking for a monsoon trekking destination in South India, then the Nishani Betta Trek will not fail you.

Narasimha Parvata Trek, Agumbe

Narashima Parvata Trek
A Peek from the Narashima Parvata Trek (source)
  • Difficulty Level: Difficult
  • Approximate Duration: 8 to 10 hours
  • Best Time to Visit: October to March

This is one of the challenging treks in South India. The Narasimha Parvata Trek requires trekking expertise as well guidance of the locals. This choice of trekking in South India not only has certain degree of technicality involved but also includes encountering camouflaged King Cobras! The trail walks through rainforests so be cautious as to not get lost in the wilderness.

Livingit Tip:
Please sign up with a local tour/ trek operator and only then undertake this thrilling trek.

Yedakumeri-Donigal Trek (near Bangalore)

Yedakumeri-Donigal Trek on the Yore Rails (source)
  • Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate
  • Approximate Duration: 7 to 8 hours
  • Best Time to Visit: Monsoons

If you have done most of the mountain trail trekking and looking for some uniqueness, then do the Yedakumeri-Donigal Trek. This one doesn’t follow a mountain trail but a railway track (!) between Mangalore and Bangalore. The trekking is along the abandoned meter gauge railway line between Donigal and Yedukumeri which is 17 km long and takes almost 8 hours to complete. On the way, there is mesmerizing scenic greenery greeting you at every step. The route is also a part of the Western Ghats.

Trekking in Kerala

Nestling below Karnataka is land of palm-lined beaches and backwaters- Kerala. More famous for the aromatic things such as coffee and spices, Kerala is also bestowed with some marvellous sights.

For trekking in Kerala, check out these spots:

Chimmini, Thrissur

Chimmini, Thrissur
Chimmini Tek is a Walk in the Wildlife Sanctuary of Thrissur (source)
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Approximate Duration: 3 to 4 hours
  • Best Time to Visit: October-March

How about doing a trek in a wildlife sanctuary? Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Well, if so then this one ought to fit the bill.

Chimmini is actually a wildlife sanctuary in the district of Thrissur, Kerala located about 12 km away from the town Amballoor. Established in the year 1984, the sanctuary is a huge attraction for bird watchers. At any time of the year, one can spot about 160 species of birds. It is also home to 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. Besides the trekking, other things to do here include bamboo rafting.

Chembra Trek

Chembra trek
Chembra Trek Leads to the Heart Lake (source)
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Approximate Duration: 3 to 4 hours
  • Best Time to Visit: September to February

One of the most well-known destinations for trekking in South India is the Chembra Peak in Wayanad. It is situated at 2,050 metres above sea level, which makes the peak the highest one in the Wayanad district. Encircled by tea estates, the summit offers enthralling panoramic views of the region. However one has to take permission from the Meppady Forest Office before undertaking the trek. Also, note that overnight camping is forbidden as there is a threat from wild animals.

Learn all the details for  The Chembra Peak Trek in Kerala: The Crown Jewel of Wayanad

Meesapulimala Trek

Meesapulimala Trek
Cottom Clouds Tickling the Eight Hills of Meesapulimala (source)
  • Difficulty Level: Moderately Difficult
  • Approximate Duration: 9 hours
  • Best Time to Visit: September to April

The Meesapulimal peak exists at 2640 meters above the sea level and is located in the Idukki district of Kerala. A hotspot of biodiversity, the place has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site. A one side of the trek is near about 15 km and gives breathtaking views of rainforest, grasslands, and wildlife. The entire stretch consists of eight peaks spread like “moustache” and the Rhodovalley is named due to the red rhododendron trees that bloom here.

Check out the details for Meesapulimala Trek: Trek to South India's Second Highest Peak

Paithalmala Trek

Paithalmala Trek
Meadows of Paithalmala (source)
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Approximate Duration: 2 to 3 hours
  • Best Time to Visit: June to October

Another Kerala peak that is a paradise for trekkers and photographers. The Paithamal peak, aka Vaithamala, is 1371.6 meters above sea level. It is in the Western Ghats and near the Kodagu forests. The Paithamala peak and the surrounding expanse features a wide biodiversity that causes wonderment among visitors. The forest department has built an observatory at the hilltop which provides a exclusive views.

Best Treks in Tamil Nadu

Famous for Dravidian-style temples, Tamil Nadu has some incredible trekking destinations that are just a trekker’s delight.

Nilgiris Green Lake Trek (Ooty)

Nilgiris Green Lake
The Mesmerising Ooty Valleys (source)
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Approximate Duration: 6 to 8 hours
  • Best Time to Visit: September to March

Surrounded by enchanting forests, rolling hills and charming meadows, the vast Green Lake in the Nilgiris is a sight to behold. It is possibly one of the best trekking places in Tamil Nad that involve walking through thick vegetation composed of pine, bamboo and eucalyptus trees before reaching the lake. After a good look of the Green Lake, remember to explore the areas around the lake for lovely panoramic views of the entire region. If you want to undertake forest trekking in South India, you should begin with this hike.

Learn the details for Nilgiri Trekking: Trek to the Blue Mountains of Tamil Nadu

Perumal Trek, Kodaikanal

Perumal Trek
The Serene Stretch of Perumal (source)
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Approximate Duration: 5 to 6 hours
  • Best Time to Visit: January to May

Standing at a distance of 11 kilometres from Kodaikanal, the Perumal Peak is one of the highest peaks in the Perumalmalai hills, a part of the Western Ghats. The trek cmmences at the Neutral Saddle, a spot close to the Perumal Mallai Village. Trekkers will find themselves walking through the clouds to you reach the hill's  summit. Kodaikanal is located at a distance of approximately 525 kilometres from Chennai, the state capital. If you are searching for best trekking places near Chennai, you can consider heading over for the Perumal Trek over a long weekend.

Kolli Hills

Koli hills
The Dramatic Falls of Koli Hills (source)
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Approximate Duration:
  • Best Time to Visit: July to December

These hills are based in the Namakkal district of Tamil Nadu and are featured prominently in classical Tamil literature. The hills are about 1000-1300 meters, covered with evergreen forests. The best part about this place is that it is less crowded and pollution-free – the perfect destination for a true, calming vacation. However, the trek would need good planning as lodging and eating options here are limited.

Best Trek in Andhra Pradesh

Although popular for beaches like Ramakrishna and Rishikonda lining the Bay of Bengal, Andhra Pradesh is also bestowed with a few elevated regions to attract the hiking enthusiast.

Talakona Waterfalls Trek, Tirupati

Talakona Falls
The Rapid of Titupati- Talakona Waterfalls (source)
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Approximate Duration: 6 to 8 hours
  • Best Time To Visit: September to February

At a distance of 64 kilometres from Tirupati, the gorgeous Talakona Falls are situated in the Sri Venkateswara National Park. Cascading from a height of 270 feet and falling dramatically into a deep valley, the waterfall is the highest one in the state of Andhra Pradesh. There are many routes that lead to the waterfall and you can choose one as per your trekking experience. Some of the routes are best left to experts while some can be undertaken even by kids.

Antarvedi to Karavaka, Antarvedi

  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Approximate Duration: 2 days
  • Best Time To Visit: October to April

The Antarvedi to Karavaka trek is a unique one; instead of hiking up a mountain, you will be trekking along a beautiful coastal region. Undertaken over a period of two days, this trek also includes camping under thousands of stars. Now that’s one exhilarating trudge every trekking lover needs to be a part of. Note that during the trek, swimming in the waters is not allowed because the sea as well as the terrain near it is unpredictable.

Nagalapuram Hills

Nagalpuram Hills
The Clear Waters of the Nagalapuram Hills (source)
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Approximate duration: 1 day
  • Best Time to Visit: September to December

Located in Andhra Pradesh, the trekking entrance here is about 20 km 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.

Jindhagada Trek

Jindhagada trek
The Exquisite Sunset from the Jindhagada Peak (source)
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Approximate duration: 1 day
  • Best Time to Visit: September to December

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.

And those were the spendid spots for trekking in South India. Let us know your favourite, if any?