The rolling High Ranges of the Western Ghats, on the eastern border of Kerala, have always protected it from mainland invaders. The hills also play an important role in determining the climate of the State – they intercept the thick clouds rolling in from the Arabian Sea at the onset of every rainy season. The resulting precipitation ensures copious rainfall from June well into October – the edavapathy, and again, from November to February – the thulavarsham.
The beauty of these green hills is unique to Kerala. Vast areas of the region are given over to plantations of tea, coffee and spices. Little wonder then, that the British built sprawling bungalows, cottages and churches that reminded them of good old England. Places such as Nelliyampathy, Peermede and Munnar are steeped in nostalgia with a history that harks back to the days of the Raj. Peermede was once the favorite retreat of the ‘Maharaja of Travancore’, Munnar boasts of the country’s highest tea plantation at Kolukkumalai. Most of the old planters’ bungalows have now been converted into resorts and hotels. The hilly region abounds in wildlife sanctuaries, rivers and valleys and is a popular destination for trekkers. This is especially true of the district of Wayanad, which offers a variety of trekking trails.