Karnataka, the meeting point of several cultures across the globe, a canvas painted with the emotions of millions of people from various corners of the world or the reminiscence of a bygone era, offers a lot to its visitors! Be it the glimpses of history, royalty or the ways to escape the scorching heat of the summer, this Indian state offers all of these to its guests.
When it comes to hill stations, the state offers some of the picturesque and wholesome hilly retreats in the country. Listed below are some of the scenic and ideal hill stations that can be easily reached from across Karnataka:
Some of the best hill stations in Karnataka:
1) B R Hills
Image credit: Toufeeq Hussain
A favoured escape amongst Bangaloreans, BR Hills welcomes you with balmy weather, nature thrills and a tryst with the jungle. Plopped in the YelandurTaluk of Chamarajanagar district, this is among the salubrious hill stations in Karnataka and is also known as Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary.
Sprawling on an area of 540 sq km, it reflects the splendour of eastern most part of the Western Ghats. Another golden feature of the place is that it was declared as the protected tiger reserve under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
Best time to visit: June - November, December - March
Attractions: Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple, BRT Wildlife Sanctuary and Big Champak Tree
Activities: Trekking, Sightseeing, Elephant and Jeep Safaris
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The 'land of coffee' or Chikmagalur stands gracefully on the Mullayanagiri Range. Scenic landscapes, captivating hills, lush coffee plantations and salubrious nature of this hill station makes it for a pleasant getaway in Karnataka. While its appealing hills peaks entices trekkers, adventure buffs and nature lovers, its pleasant climate makes it an ideal escapade for regular holidayers.
Also known as the 'younger daughter's town', peace and tranquillity that exists in this hilly retreat makes it one of the highly visited hill stations in Karnataka.
Two of the most sought after destinations in Chikmagalur are:
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Fringed by the picturesque Baba BudanGiri Range, Kemmanagundi was once the summer retreat of the Maharaja of Mysore. Misty appeal, serene ambience, lush plantations, colourful gardens, stunning waterfalls and the splendid views of the hills and mountains of this place make it for an ideal hiking destination. It is indeed one of the most hiked hill stations in Karnataka and Chikmagalur as well.
Image credit: Praveen
Also known as the 'horse faced mountain' due to its shape, this is the third highest peak in Karnataka. Known for its fascinating trekking trails, charming climate, pictorial waterfalls and rich bio-diversity, it has also been declared as one of the National Parks in India.
However, while opting for trekking in this region, the trekkers should follow certain rules and guidelines laid by the local forest department. It is one of the eco-sensitive areas in Chikmagalur and the visitors should abide by all the possibilities to retain its beauty.
Best time to visit: September-May
Attractions: Baba BudanGiri Range, Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary & Reservoir, Kalasa, Hebbe Falls and Khandya
Activities: Trekking, Nature Trails, Waterfall Visits, Hiking, Homestays and Plantation Tours
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Gracious and appealing in its own way, Coorg or 'Kodagu' is known for its mesmeric beauty and charm. Situated on the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats, this enchanting hill station is adorned with aromatic spice plantations, lush paddy fields and never-ending patches of coffee plants.
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The colourful cultures and traditions of the locals, who are known to great warriors, are truly delights to witness and enjoy. Moreover the homely ambience of Coorg never allows the visitors to feel the pinch of being away from home. The source of the Krishna River, it is also one of the adventure hubs in Karnataka; enthusiasts from across the country visits Coorg for trekking, hiking and other similar adventure activities.
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Best time to visit: Throughout the year
Attractions: Abbey Falls, Madikere Fort, Tadiyandamol Peak, Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary and Dubare Elephant Camp
Accommodations: Coorg homestays
Activities: Trekking, Cycling, Hiking, Mountaineering, Waterfall Visits and Plantation Tours
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Image credit: Mylittlefinger
A quaint hamlet in the Shimoga district, Agumbe is one of the pictorial hill stations in Karnataka. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is located around 357km from Bangalore and 643m above the sea level. While the whirly terrains of Agumbe add to its magical beauty, its lush and undulated greenery makes it for a salubrious holiday destination. Also known as the 'Cherrapunji of the South', this scenic Karnataka hill station is also a splendid destination for trekking, nature photography and several other activities.
Best time to visit: October - February
Attractions: Koodlu Theertha Falls, Sunset Point, Agumbe Rainforest Research Station, Wildlife and Avifauna
Activities: Forest Trails, Waterfall Visits, Nature Trails and Trekking
5) Horsley Hills
Image credit: Karthik Tripurari
A hill station near Karnataka, Horsley Hills is known for its magnificent beauty, picture-perfect mountains and verdant outlooks. Named after a British official, this hilly retreat is often linked with the folklores of a tribal girl who was raised by the elephants.
According to the legends, she had the magical powers of healing the sick and sufferers, and after her sudden disappearance, the locals built a temple in her memory. And thus Horsley Hills got its name as 'Yenugu Mallamma Konda' in the past. But after its discovery, it was renamed after its discoverer.
Best time to visit: December-March
Attractions: Gangotri Lake, Gaalibanda, Horsley Hills Museum and Highview Seeing Place
Activities: Trekking, Zorbing, Rappelling and Nature Trails
6) Yelagiri Hills
Image credit: McKay Savage
Once a private property of the Zaminder Family, Yelagiri is now counted amongst the alluring hill stations in Karnataka. Situated at a height of around 1,410m above the sea level, it is such a retreat where you can indulge in several activities, relax amidst the pristine nature or can just laze around doing nothing at all!
Be it the enchanting beauty of this hill station or its winding roads, its rugged terrains or the salubrious climate, this hill station proves to be an ideal destination for all the classes of travellers.
Best time to visit: November-February
Attractions: Swami Malai Hills, Jalagamparai Waterfalls, Telescope Observatory and Punganoor Artificial Lake
Activities: Trekking, Nature Walks, Boating and Paragliding
Accommodations: Yelagiri resorts
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Image credit: Riju K
The 'Jewel of the South' or Yercaud is known for its surreal climate, fascinating hills and evergreen forests. Perched at a height of 1,515m on the Western Ghats, this scenic hill station near Karnataka is located in the Salem district of Tamil Nadu and can be easily accessed from Bangalore.
Rich in flora and fauna, Yercaud is also a wonderful place to witness and explore the undulated beauty of the nature. One can also spot some of the wildlife species like deer, bison, squirrel, mongoose and birds like bulbul, swallow, kites and others.
Best time to visit: October-June
Attractions: Lady's Seat, Botanical Garden, Killiyur Falls, Pagoda Point and Wildlife
Accommodation: Yercaud resorts
Activities: Sightseeing, Trekking and Nature Trails
8) Kolli Hills
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Tucked away from the hands of commercialisation and nestled amidst evergreen and flourishing greeneries, Kohli Hills in Tamil Nadu is also one of the popular hill stations around Karnataka. Situated on the Eastern Ghats, the journey to the top of the hills is an enthralling experience in itself!
Comprising of 70 hair pin bends, this way to the hilltops makes for an exhilarating as well as exciting experience. In addition to the mystical beauty and appeal, this hill station is also a popular pilgrimage site for the Hindus.
Best time to visit: February-December
Attractions: Akash Ganga Falls, Arapaleeswarar Temple, Cave House, AgayaGangal and Boat House
Activities: Trekking, Boating, Hiking and Nature Trails
Image credit: Adam Jones
Nestled deep in the Blue Mountains or the 'Nilgiris', Ooty is amongst the most sought after hill stations in Karnataka and in the country too. Quaint and alluring in its own way, this hilly retreat is also known as the 'Queen of Hill Stations'.
Adorned with the beauty of misty mountain peaks, salubrious forest ranges and a pleasant climate al through the year, Ooty has also retained its old world appeal in the most serene and lively ways.
Best time to visit: Throughout the year
Attractions: Botanical Garden, Doddabetta Peak, KamrajSagar Dam, Mudumalai National Park and Emerald Lake
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Activities: Trekking, Angling, Boating, Nature Trails and Sightseeing
Accommodation: Ooty Resorts,Ooty homestays
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Image credit: Vinayaraj
Away from the grip of urbanisation, Wayanad is situated at the tip of the Deccan Plateau. While the Western Ghats add to the enchanting beauty of this hill station near Karnataka, its evergreen paddy fields and forests credits it as one of the greenest place in the country.
Wayanad's lofty mountain peaks, rugged and uneven terrains, rivers and wildlife attracts a large number of adventure buffs, nature lovers, regular holidayers and honeymooners from different corners of the globe.
Best time to visit: October-May
Attractions: Edakkal Caves, BanasuraSagar Dam, Kuruva Island, Chembra Peak, and Pakshipathalam Bird Sanctuary
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Activities: Trekking, Nature Trails, Caving, Wildlife Tours, Cycling Tours and Boating
Accommodations: Wayanad homestays
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Serene, alluring and salubrious, Kodaikanal is often called the 'Gift of the Forests' and the 'Princess of Hill Stations'. Situated 7,200ft above the sea level and on the upper Palani Hills of the Western Ghats, the popular and indigenous way of 'terraced farming' adds to the beauty and appeal of the Kodai valley. The region also boasts of its handicrafts, chocolates, postcards and locally prepared eucalyptus oil.
Best time to visit: Throughout the year
Attractions: Kodaikanal Lake, La Salette Church, Murugan Temple, Pillar Rocks, Coaker's Walk and Bear Shola Falls
Activities: Boating, Waterfall Visits, Forest Walk, Trekking, Rock Climbing and Horse Riding
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Home to the never-ending patches of tea and spice plantations, Munnar is indeed one of the greenest hill stations in India. While the winding roads leading to this hilly abode add more splendour to Munnar, its rolling hills, serene ambience, salubrious weather, challenging yet fascinating terrains and the misty outlooks make it one of the alluring hill stations arround Karnataka.
Located 1,700m above the sea level on the Western Ghats, this retreat is situated on the KannanDevan Hills in Kerala and it also shares an age-long tryst with tea culture in India.
Best time to visit: August-May
Attractions: Anamudi Peak, Eravikulam National Park, Lock Heart Gap, Mattupetty and Pothamedu
Activities: Trekking, Tea Plantations Tour, Wildlife Spotting, Trout Fishing and Waterfall Visits
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In addition to the scenic appeal, the hill stations in around Karnataka are known for their wholesome ambience that is suitable for all the classes of tourists. Whether on a quick weekend getaway, family vacation, corporate outing or travelling alone, these hill stations will add fun and excitement to your holiday!