Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu and among the most important Indian cities. It has with a rich background that can be traced to ancient times, when the Cholas and the Pallavas ruled over it.
In modern times the city has served as an important economic as well as industrial hub. However, the climate that looms over Chennai can become hot and humid owing to the fact that the city is located on the thermal equator.
Luckily, there are a variety of hill stations that surround Chennai that people can visit to beat the daunting Chennai heat. Here are our picks for the top hill stations to visit when in Chennai
Hill Stations Near Chennai: Within 300 kilometres
Yelagiri is an idyllic hill station located in the northwest region of Tamil Nadu. The hill station is enveloped by some bodies of nature like lakes, valleys, hills, orchards and rose garden that simply add to the aesthetic beauty of the place.
Yelagiri is also a hub for adventure activities like trekking and hiking that are conducted in its vicinity. Yelagiri is also known for the summer festival celebration it conducts with utmost fervour.
- Distance From Chennai: 230 kilometres
- Places to Visit: Jalagamparai waterfall, the Punganoor Lake and Park and the Swamimalai Hills.
2. Horsley Hills
Horsley Hills is located at the foot of the Eastern Ghats and is one of the most sought after hill stations in Andhra Pradesh. The hill station is named after W D Horsley, who was a British era district collector. The collector was so captivated by the beauty of the place that he decided to make the location his summer retreat and constructed a bungalow for the same reason.
- Distance From Chennai: 279 kilometres
- Places to Visit: Tirupati, the Governor’s bungalow and the Forest bungalow
3. Kolli Hills
Kolli Hills is one of the hidden gems of Tamil Nadu. The hills are located in the Eastern Ghats, standing at 1300 metres above sea level. The mountain ranges and its surrounding areas have always been aloof from the commercial tourism one sees at most hill stations.
The best time to visit the hills is during the monsoon season when the entire valley is covered with a green hue.
- Distance From Chennai: 358 kilometres
- Places to Visit: The coffee plantations in the area
Hill Stations Near Chennai: Within 500 kilometres
Yercaud is in the heart of the Shevaroys Hills in the Salem district of Tamil Nadu. Due to its beauty, the place is regularly called the jewel of the South. The place is known for its rich and diverse flora and fauna that leave most onlookers mesmerised.
Yercaud has a pleasant climate that remains cool even during the summers. It is one of the highest hill stations in Tamil Nadu.
- Distance From Chennai: 367 kilometre
- Places to Visit: Yercaud Lake, National Orchidarium, Bear’s Cave, Pagoda Point and Fairholme Bungalow.
Sirumalai is a hilly region located in the Eastern Ghats. The hills are located 1600 meters above the sea level and are known for the varied flora and fauna that grows on the hillside. Accessing Sirumalai can be a little cumbersome since it is not very well connected by road.
Only truly dedicated people can reach Sirumalai but once there it can be an experience like no other. The Dindigul Rock Fort is a popular trekking location that most adventure enthusiasts visit while on their trip to Sirumalai.
- Distance from Chennai: 465 kilometre
- Places to Visit: Dindigul Rock Fort
Hill Stations Near Chennai: Within 600 kilometres
Kodaikanal is one of the most visited hill stations in Tamil Nadu. It is popularly known as ‘The Gift of the Forests’ owing to the massive forest that surrounds the hill station. The hill station lies in the eastern region of the western ghats.
The surrounding meadows and grasslands of Kodaikanal are filled with Acacia, Cypress, and Eucalyptus trees. Since the hill station is located at such high altitude and its proximities to the water bodies, the temperature of the region hardly ever goes above 25 degrees.
- Distance From Chennai: 527 kilometre
- Places to Visit: Bryant Park, Coaker’s Walk, Kodaikanal Lake
7. Palani Hills
Palani Hills is located between the Western Ghats mountain range and the neighbouring Annamalai Range. The hills are enveloped by some dense vegetation that makes it a natural habitat for the wild animals found here.
The place is also famous for adventure activities like camping, mountaineering, bird watching and rock climbing that are conducted in this region. Palani Hills is a haven for nature lovers and should be on all of their bucket lists.
- Distance from Chennai: 530 kilometre
- Places to Visit: Berijam Lake
Coonoor is another hill station located in the Nilgiri mountain range in Tamil Nadu. It is the second largest hill station in the state and is situated at a height of 1800 meters above sea level. The town serves as a meeting point for several trekkers and hikers who begin their trek into the Nilgiri Hills.
Coonoor is also famous for the Nilgiri tea it produces and has massive amounts of tea estates.
- Distance From Chennai: 531 kilometre
- Places to Visit: Sim’s Park, Doorg Fort, Dolphin’s nose and Lamb’s rock
Kotagiri is a quaint town in Tamil Nadu. The town has been mostly untouched by the general populous and remains unknown to most people. The town is inhabited by the Toda people who descended down from the nearby Nilgiri Mountains.
The people here are artisans and experts in terracotta and pottery. You will find many shops sell the handicraft items based on this theme.
- Distance From Chennai: 538 kilometre
- Places to VIsit: Kondana viewpoint, Rangaswamy Peak, and the Elk falls
Meghamalai is a town that looks like it has been pulled out of a fairytale. The town, surrounded by boundless greenery, has a number of tea and cardamom plantations. The town is a completely non commercialized nature reserve and even has a wildlife sanctuary in its vicinity.
The town is a haven for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike. The Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary is also located next to the town and gives you the opportunity to view exotic animals like gaur, deer, sambar wild boar and porcupine.
- Distance from Chennai: 554 kilometre
- Places to Visit: Suruli Falls, Manalar Reservoir
Ooty is a hill station that is enveloped by the vast Nilgiri mountain range. Ooty came into existence when it was annexed to serve as a tropical resort retreat for the Madras Presidency. The perpetual cool climate and the aesthetic beauty makes Ooty the perfect getaway from the daily hustle and bustle of the city life.
- Distance From Chennai: 558 kilometre
- Places to Visit: The Government Botanical Gardens, Ooty Lake, Stone house and the Nilgiri Mountain Railway.
Munnar is a famous hill station that lies in Kerala in western Ghat. Munnar is famous for the extensive tea plantations. The entire locale and landscape of Munnar will remind you of the Nilgiri hills, which is why the town is also known as the Nilgiri of Kerala.
Munnar is perhaps best known for the Neelakurinji flower that blooms every 12 years and covers the hills of Munnar in a bluish tinge. The next time the flower bloom is between August 2018 to October 2018.
- Distance From Chennai: 574 kilometre
- Places to Visit: Anamudi Peak, tea plantations
Valparai is the located in the Anamalai range of western ghats of Tamil Nadu. Valparai is known for its dense forests and has access to many protected wildlife reserves. To reach the town you need to pass through some hairpin bends. Valparai is home to the Chinnakallar Falls where you can take a leisurely dip. Valparai is also known for its grandiose streams and some very inviting waterfalls.
- Distance From Chennai: 582 kilometre
- Places to Visit: Chinnakallar Falls
Madikeri is situated in the Sahyadri Mountain range in Karnataka. The hill station lies in the Kodagu district and lies at an elevation of 1000 meters above the sea level. Madikeri is blessed with a tropical climate but remains pleasant for most of the time.
All of Madikeri is surrounded by the misty hills of the Sahyadri range and is a quiet serene location for those wish to get away from the noise of their daily lives.
- Distance From Chennai: 585 kilometre
- Places to Visit: Rajas seat, Madikeri Fort, and Omkareshwara temple
Visiting a hill station can help you reconnect with nature and also provide the much-needed break that you deserve. It can also relieve stress that you face with living in a busy city like Chennai. So the next time you looking to visit hill stations around Chennai, do check out our list and let us know of your experiences in the comments section below.