Ooty, Kodai pass?, state’s hills beckon tourists


BANGALORE: As temperatures in the plains are heading skywards, there’s only one place that people are heading to beat the heat – hills.

But there’s a slight difference this time. While Ooty, Kodaikanal and Munnar are still hot favourites, their appeal has been declining with commercialisation and large crowds. Instead, travellers are exploring some of the state’s own nature destinations. “It looks like our hill stations are flavour of this season. Some of them are still unexplored and most of them do not have many tourists so people seem to be preferring them,” industry sources said. “Our campaign seems to be paying off. We have been advertising about the vast natural beauty and nature destinations that Karnataka has to offer. We have now also established fairly decent infrastructure in these places,” tourism commissioner Mahendra Jain said.

According to industry sources, though high-end travellers prefer to go out of the country during the summer vacation, a host of other domestic travellers, especially from North India, choose to come down South. “But more and more of them are choosing Karnataka’s hill stations to Ooty and Kodaikanal,” sources add.

For Bangaloreans, Nandi hills continues to be a favourite week-end destination, despite the bad facilities. For longer holidays, it’s either Kodagu and Chikmagalur are the preferred destinations, followed by the Western ghats. Both Kodagu and Chikmagalur district boast of thickly forested mountainous terrain and dense plantations, combining the aroma of coffee and spices. Kodagu is known for its misty hills and sudden fog which descends without a warning, while Chikmagalur is an explorer’s paradise, undiscovered by the hordes.

However, the younger and more adventurous lot are choosing off beat destinations along the Western ghats. “They combine hill stations with adventure activity like trekking, mountain biking, rock climbing and rappelling. Camping out is catching on and many prefer to take this route rather than staying in a hotel,”said a tour organiser.