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Hill Stations in Kerala

Synonymous with lush greenery, Kerala has some of the best hill stations that can make their counterparts of the north, a run for their money. The geography of the state speaks of the hill stations, which are settled on the high altitudes of the western ghats. Blessed with a tropical fauna, these highlands greatly add to the exotic appeal of the state.

Some of the best hill stations in Kerala include Munnar, Vythiri, Devikulam, Lakkidi, Kalpetta and Idukki. With an average height that stays close to 1500 m, these bautiful hill stations of Kerala are the storehouse of natural splendors that include sprawling plantations of coffee, tea, rubber and spice. These hill stations not only serve a blissful family vacation, but are also the magnets of adventure.

Trekking, hiking and mountaineering are amongst the prime adventure activities that can be enjoyed here.

Here are the Top Hill Stations In Kerala For A Rejuvenating Experience in Summer

Attappady Hill Station

Located on the north eastern section of the Palakkad district on the northern portion of the state of Kerala, also known as "God's Own Country", is one of the most popular tourist destinations of Kerala, the beautiful hill station of Attappady. Surrounded by lush green, undulating hills, the beautiful region of Attappady is a definite must visit if you are planning a trip to Kerala.

Located amidst the picturesque slopes of the Western Ghats, the pristine beauty of Attappady is further accentuated by the many rivulets of the Bhavani River, which murmur softly as they flow along the several twists and turns of the mountainous terrain of the one of the most uncorrupted hill stations of India.

You are planning a holiday in Attappady, you can also enjoy the famous hospitality of the region in the various hotels and tourist lodges of Attappady.

How to Reach Attappady

By Air: Coimbatore is the nearest airport to the hill station of Attappady and is located around 55 km from Palakkad, which in turn is just about 40 km from Mannarkkad.
By Rail: The nearest railway station to the quaint hill station of Attappady is at Palakkad, from where you can reach the green slopes of Attappady by a number of options of transportations. Attapaddy is around 40 kms away from Palakkad.
By Road: Attappady is well- connected to almost all its neighboring districts by smooth roads and an efficient system of local transport.
 

DeviKulam Hill Station

The ancient land founded by the legendary mythological figure Rishi Parashuram, blessed with emerald backwaters and gold and silver beaches is Kerala- God's own country. With the Arabian Sea on the west and the Western Ghats on its east, Kerala is a treasure trove of indigenous cultural practices and art forms that have mesmerized people all over the world. Be it the age old Kathakali or the newly rediscovered Mohiniattyam or the knowledge of Ayurveda. Basking in the generosity of the sun and rain the climate of Kerala supports a lush vegetation including the famous spices and a wide array of wildlife unlike anywhere else in the country. This miraculously unspoiled serene wilderness is all nature lovers' paradise and rapidly gaining momentum as a popular tourist hub in and around the country. Though shadowed by the fabled beauty of the beaches and backwaters, the hill stations in Kerala on the Western Ghats are the repository of a different kind of wealth displayed in oblivion and irrespective of human interest. Huddled among green slopes of rubber and tea plantations, Devikulam is an idyllic trekker's paradise. Hidden safely away from the pollution and also the crowd of the city, the crystal transparent atmosphere around Devikulam beckons you with the promise of an exotic ingenious holiday.
About Devikulam

Located 16 km south west of Munnar at an altitude of 1800 m, Devikulam meaning the lake of the goddess, derived its name from the goddess Sita . Legend has it that Sita and her husband lord Rama , from the Ramayana , came down to frolic in the mountain lake here. That lake has been christened Sitadevi Lake after the goddess. The emerald waters of the lake hidden behind green slopes, gives you reason enough to believe and know why the goddess chose this place of many others- she must have mistaken it for heaven.

Tourist Attractions:

  • Sitadevi lake
  • Tout fishing in the lake
  • Pallivasal waterfall
  • Tea plantations
  • Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Mangalam Devi temple
  • Marayur sandal forests

Accommodations Available at Devikulam

The Govt. owned Guest House at Devikulam ensures comfortable stay in the midst of the misty slopes of the Western Ghats.

How to Reach Devikualam

Devikulam can be reached from both Kottayam and Kochi. The distance from Kochi is 149 km (4 hr drive) and that from Kottayam is 132 km (4 ½ hr drive).

Travel Tips

  • The climate is mild with a slight chill after nightfall so carry cotton shawls and jackets
  • If you want to fish in the lake seek permission from Tata Tea
  • Enjoy treks along the hill slopes away from the metal road
     

Idukki Hill Station, Kerala

The ancient land founded by the legendary mythological figure Rishi Parashuram, blessed with emerald backwaters and gold and silver beaches is Kerala- God's own country. With the Arabian Sea on the west and the Western Ghats on its east, Kerala is a treasure trove of indigenous cultural practices and art forms that have mesmerized people all over the world. Be it the age old Kathakali or the newly rediscovered Mohiniattyam or the knowledge of Ayurveda. Basking in the generosity of the sun and rain the climate of Kerala supports a lush vegetation including the famous spices and a wide array of wildlife unlike anywhere else in the country. This miraculously unspoiled serene wilderness is all nature lovers' paradise and rapidly gaining momentum as a popular tourist hub in and around the country.

Though shadowed by the fabled beauty of the beaches and backwaters, the hill stations in Kerala on the Western Ghats are the repository of a different kind of wealth displayed in oblivion and irrespective of human interest. Nestled among the low hills of which a large part is a reserve forest, the virgin hill station of Idukki is one of the most popular in Kerala.
About Idukki

At an altitude of 750 to 2500 m above sea level the landscape at Idukki is scarred by the rivers Periyar, Thalayar and Thodupuzhayar. The name Idukki is derived from the word idukku meaning à narrow gorge' in Malayalam. The low green hills at Idukki make way for the meandering rivers to gurgle past its slopes. A sprawling 1500 sq. m area at Idukki is taken up by Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary which is home to an amazing range of wildlife. The Idukki district notably supplies about 66% of Kerala's power consumption. The hydroelectric project at the Idukki Dam offers a sizeable contribution. This dam is the world's second and Asia's first Arch Dam.With its aroma of its famous spices and the moist green hills Idukki is ready to get you drunk with its abundance.

Tourist Attractions in Idukki

  • Idukki wildlife Sanctuary
  • Tea plantations
  • Spice plantations
  • Idukki arch dam
  • Waterfalls at Keezar Kuthu

Accommodations Available

There are a host of luxury and budget hotels at Idukki to suit your purpose. Some of the hotels are:

  • Taj Garden Retreat
  • Michael's Inn
  • Carmellia Haven

How to Reach Idukki:

Idukki is very well connected via road to other places in Kerala and outside. The NH 49 and state highways 13 and 33 pass through the district. The nearest rail and air terminal is at Madurai 140 km away.

Travel Tips:

  • Undertake excursions to the sanctuary for wildlife viewing
  • Enjoy elephant rides
  • If you visit the place at winter carry woolen garments
  • Arrange picnic at Keezar Kuthu.
     

Malampuzha Hill Station

Being the base on which the longest river of Kerala, the Bharathappuzha flows over the green undulating slopes of the Western Ghats, the beautiful hill station of Malampuzha is a must visit while on a Kerala Tour. Sleepy and straight out of a picture book, a visit to Malampuzha promises to be the dream vacation you have always desired.

Home to several tourist attractions, it is hardly surprising that the quaint hill station of Malampuzha is today one of the most popular tourist destinations of Kerala. If you are planning a holiday in Malampuzha, make sure you visit the following tourist attractions of Malampuzha:

  • The Malampuzha Gardens
  • Snake Park
  • Children's Park
  • Reservoir
  • Garden House
  • Japanese Garden
  • Hanging Bridge
  • Sculpture Of Yakshi
  • Ropeway
  • Road Train
  • Telescopic Tower
  • Rock Garden
  • Fantasy Park

How to Reach Malampuzha

By Air: Coimbatore is the nearest airport to the hill station of Malampuzha and is located around 55 km from Palakkad, which in turn is just about 40 km from Mannarkkad. If you are traveling to Malampuzha from Cochin the distance that you have to traverse is around 160 kms while Trivandrum is located at a distance of around 382 kms away from Malampuzha.
By Rail: The nearest railway station to the quaint hill station of Malampuzha is at Palakkad, which is just around 5 kms away from the main city of Malampuzha. Palakkad is one of the most important junctions of the Southern Railways.
By Road: Malampuzha is well- connected to almost all its neighboring districts by smooth roads and an efficient system of local transport. The region is also well- linked to several districts of Tamil Nadu by well- maintained motor-able roads. A number of bus services also provide service to the region, connecting Malampuzha with a number of other cities like Trichur, Guruvayoor, Cochin, Calicut, Kottayam and Trivandrum.
 

Munnar Hill Station, Kerala

Green and surrounded by the serenity of spectacular hills, the beautiful hill station redefines nature like never before. A part of "God's Own Country", Kerala, the beautiful hill station of Munnar is one of the most popular tourist destination of India, drawing a wide variety of people with the lure of her picturesque landscapes. Thus, whether you are a newly wed couple planning a honeymoon in Munnar or just planning a holiday in Munnar with your family, this beautiful district promises to charm!

The district of Munnar is characterized by being the confluence of three rives, the Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala, which in turn gives the district its name as the word Munnar means "three rivers" in Tamil. Clean and pure, the district is also home to the famous Neelakurunji plant, which blooms only once in 12 years.
 

Nelliyampathy Hill Station

Imagine walking through softly undulating, lush green hills, while the wet and moisture laden winds sweep through your hair, welcoming you to one of the most beautiful hill stations of India with a gentle, loving caress... welcome to Nelliyampathy, one of the most exotic tourist destinations of Kerala.

Known for its rich plantations of spices and coffee as well as its rich evergreen forests, Nelliyampathy is a heady mix that is sure to please all the tourists to this beautiful land. As waterfalls cascade through the majestic slopes of the Sahya Ranges and mesmerize you while you travel amidst the rustling leaves scattered throughout this beautiful land, be ready to be swept off your feet by the magical charm of Nelliyampathy, perhaps the loveliest of the un-spoilt hill stations of Kerala.
How to Reach Nelliyampathy

By Air: Coimbatore is the nearest airport to the hill station of Nelliyampathy and is located around 55 km from Palakkad, which is in turn around 75 kms away from Nelliyampathy.
By Rail: The nearest railway station to the quaint hill station of Nelliyampathy is at Palakkad, which is just around 55 kms away from the main city of Nelliyampathy. Palakkad is one of the most important junctions of the Southern Railways.
By Road: Nelliyampathy is well- connected to almost all its neighboring districts by smooth roads and an efficient system of local transport. The region is also well- linked to several districts of Tamil Nadu by well- maintained motor-able roads. A number of bus services also provide service to the region, connecting Nelliyampathy with a number of other cities like Trichur, Guruvayoor, Cochin, Calicut, Kottayam and Trivandrum. Palakkad, located around 75 kms away from Nelliyampathy takes around two and a half hours to reach this quaint hill station.
 

Pakshipathalam Hill Station

A trekker's paradise and one of the most uncorrupted hill stations of India, the pristine beauty of the quaint hill station of Pakshipathalam promises to sweep you off you your feet while on a visit to Pakshipathalam. Located around 7 kms to the north eastern portion of Thirunelli, Pakshipathalam can only be reached by trekking. A haven for several rare and exotic species of birds and animals, the lush, green deciduous forests of Pakshipathalam were once the meditating area for countless rishis or saints of ancient India.

Today a wildlife lover's paradise, a trip to Pakshipathalam is a must include in your tour itinerary of Kerala, drawing countless tourists to its lands with the lure of rich natural beauty. One of the major centers of eco tourism in Kerala, Pakshipathalam is also located close to Kuruvadweep, an island which is renowned for its perfect ecological balance. Known for possessing the best soil for the growth of rare species of orchids and a number of other examples of flora, a trip to Kuruvadweep is a definite must include while on a holiday in Pakshipathalam.
How to Reach Pakshipathalam

By Air: Kozhikode is the nearest airport to the hill station of Pakshipathalam with its airport called the Karipur International Airport being located around 55 km from Pakshipathalam.
By Rail: The nearest railway station to Pakshipathalam is at Kozhikode from which the only way of accessing this quaint and historic hill station is by trekking.
By Road: The only way of reaching the slopes of Pakshipathalam is by trekking.
 

Palakkad Hill Station

Rich in history and blessed with a natural beauty that is hard to replicate, the quaint hill station of Palakkad remains, even today, uncorrupted by the advent of modernity. Palakkad is an important hill station of Kerala and a must visit while planning a Kerala Tour. Once considered to be the stronghold of the Marathas, this picturesque district is even today one of the most important districts of Kerala being home to what can be arguably referred to as the largest mountain pass in the world in terms of area. It is also one of the leading influences in the arena of plantation in Kerala, with its soft, green undulating slopes yielding some of the richest plantations of spices like cardamoms and cloves as well as coffee and tea. Thus, if you are planning a trip to Kerala, make sure you consider a visit to Palakkad as an important part of your tour itinerary.

Some of the important tourist attractions of Palakkad include:

  • Malampuzha
  • Dhoni
  • Loknayak J.P. Smrithi vanam and Deer Park
  • Mayilladumpara-Cholanoor Peacock Sanctuary
  • Kanhirapuzha
  • Mangalam Dam
  • Pothundy Dam
  • Meenkara Dam
  • Parambikulam
  • Chulliar Dam
  • Attappady
  • Nelliyampathy
  • Palakkad Fort
  • Killikurrussi Mangalam
  • Kottayi
  • Jain Temple of Jainmedu
  • Thiruvalathoor
  • Chittur Gurumadam
  • Silent valley
  • Meenvallam
  • Siruvani

How to Reach Palakkad

By Air: Coimbatore is the nearest airport to the hill station of Palakkad and is located around 55 km from Palakkad.
By Rail: Palakkad is one of the most important railway junctions of the Southern Railway in the subcontinent.
By Road: Palakkad is well- connected to almost all its neighboring districts by smooth roads and an efficient system of local transport. The region is also well- linked to several districts of Tamil Nadu by well- maintained motor-able roads. A number of bus services also provide service to the region, connecting Palakkad with a number of other cities like Trichur, Guruvayoor, Cochin, Calicut, Kottayam and Trivandrum. Palakkad is also well connected to the neighboring city of Ponnani.


Peerumedu Hill Stations

Named after a Sufi saint Peer Mohammed, Peerumedu is blessed with a history that forms one of its most important attractions. Located around 85 km to the east of Kottayam, the weather of Peerumedu is invitingly cool and moist, a perfect excuse for that weekend getaway to Peerumedu. The green slopes of the region are also the perfect place for newly weds to be if they are keen on a honeymoon in Peerumedu. Surrounded by rich plantations of tea, coffee, cardamom, rubber and eucalyptus, the entirety of Peerumedu is enveloped with a fragrance that is heady and delightfully intoxicating!

How to Reach Peerumedu

By Rail: The nearest railway station to Peerumedu is at Kottayam, located around 85 kms away from this un-spoilt hill station of Kerala.
By Road: A number of well - maintained roads connect Peerumedu to the other major cities of Kerala as well as a number of neighboring cities which actually fall in Tamil Nadu.
 

Ponmudi Hill Stations

Rolling at an altitude of 610 m, Ponmudi (meaning the Golden Peak in Malayalam) is the least haunted by tourists and therefore the most peaceful of all Kerala hill stations. Embellished with rapids flowing over the road, and misty peaks thronged by an exotic vegetation, Ponmudi is a hiker's and trekker's paradise. At a distance of 61 km (1 ½ hrs drive) from Thiruvanthapuram, Ponmudi offers to soothe your work worn mind and body to rejuvenation. Hike through the slopes of tea gardens to watch the pickers at work or fish in the emerald waters of the Kallar River to make the most of Ponmudi.

Tourist Attractions:

  • Spice plantations
  • Tea plantations
  • Echo Point
  • Agasthyarkodam peak (2000 m)
  • Aranamula temple
  • Golden Valley
  • Deer Park
  • Meenmutti Waterfall
  • Mini zoo to the north of Ponmudi Crest (Barasinghas can be spotted)

Accommodations Available
A small tourist guest complex perched among picturesque green slopes ensures comfortable stay at Ponmudi. Duke's Forest Lodge located between Thiruvanthapuram and Ponmudi amidst rubber plantations is also available.

How to Reach

Ponmudi is at a distance of 61 km north east of Thiruvanthapuram which house the nearest rail and air terminal. On the Thiruvanthapuram-Nedumangad-Chenkotta Highway after Agasthyakoodam and Golden Valley comes Ponmudi.

Travel Tips

  • Beware of leeches, carry common salt
  • If you want to witness the Aranamula boat race, visit during Aranamula festival (August- September)
  • Trek to the tea plantations to watch the expertise of the pickers at close quarters
  • Carry warm clothing as the nights are chill
     

Silent Valley Hill Station

One of the prettiest hill stations in India, the Silent Valley is a must visit while planning a trip to Kerala. The Silent Valley is also one of the most important national parks and wildlife sanctuaries of India, with its natural beauty being the perfect background for the comfort of a number of rare species of flora and fauna. Much of the natural charm of the Silent Valley is still well preserved today, with the scenic landscape of the Valley also being home to a number of aboriginal tribes mainly led by the Kurumbar Tribes, who make the tour to the Silent Valley even more special by their rustic charm.

The scenic slopes of the Silent Valley are home to a number of rare species of birds, animals and plants which include:

  • Ceylon Frogmouth
  • Great Indian Hornbill
  • Nilgiri Laughing Thrush Or The Rufous-Breasted Laughingthrush
  • Long-Legged Buzzard
  • Red Winged Crested Cuckoo
  • Malabar Pied Hornbill
  • Nilgiri Laughing Thrush
  • Pale Harrier
  • Nilgiri Pipit
  • Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon
  • Nilgiri Flycatcher
  • Nilgiri Laughing Thrush
  • Black Bulbul
     

How to Reach Silent Valley

By Air: The airport nearest to the Silent Valley is at Coimbatore which is located around 55 km away from the hill station.
By Rail: The nearest railway station to the quaint hill station of Silent Valley is at Palakkad which is around 55 kms away from the Valley and is well- connected to the hilly slopes of Silent Valley
By Road: Silent Valley is well- connected to almost all its neighboring districts by smooth roads and an efficient system of local transport. One of the most convenient forms of transportation used in the region is the auto which travels along the following routes:

  • Coimbatore - Anakkatty - Mukkali - 90 km
  • Coimbatore - Palakkad - Mannarkkad - Mukkali - 120 km
  • Kozhikode - Palakkad - Mannarkkad - Mukkali - 120 km
     

Vagamon Hill Station

At an altitude of 1100 m and 65 km from Idukki district and 60 km from Kottayam Vagamon made up of the Thangal hills, the Kurisumala and the Murugan hills. Perched high among green tea plantations and gurgling streams, Vagamon or Wagamon ensures an exhilarating and soothing haven for trekkers and hikers. Strolling through he nature walks in Vagamon, you might come across elephants frolicking in pools juts like that. With a rich and varied range of flora and fauna Vagamon is ideal for all those seeking a travel experience with a difference.

Tourist Attractions:

  • Kurisumala (Christian pilgrimage)
  • Kurisumala dairy farm
  • Unique rock formation at Thangal para an Indo-Swiss project

Accommodations Available: The Vagamon Hideout- the SAJ Heritage hotel offers comfortable stay for tourists visiting Vagamon.

How to Reach Vagamon:

Vagamon is well connected by road to Kottayam, Palai and Idukki. A 2- 2 ½ hrs (approx) drive from any of these places will take you to Vagamon.

Travel Tips

  • The temperature remains between 10 degrees and 23 degrees centigrade. Carry adequate clothing
  • Trek to the dairy farm run by monks to witness the work there
  • Hike about nature walks; they have surprises for you in store.
     

Top station in Kerala

The idyllic hill station of Topstation is located at a distance of about 32 km from Munnar, on the Munnar-Kodaikanal Road in Kerala. This fascinating hill resort, as its unusual name suggests, is one of the top hill stations in Kerala. Lying at an altitude of 1700 m above sea level, Topstation marks the highest point on the Munnar-Kodaikanal Road.

A land of undulating hills and valleys, cool breezes, fresh and balmy air and hospitable people, Topstation is a land where tranquility is a breath of life. Unveil the magic of Topstation and enjoy an exotic holiday at this lush hill station.

Topstation is home to extensive tea plantations that flourish in the cool and soothing clime. The rare Neelakurinji (Strobilanthus) - the flower that blooms only once in 12 years, grows in this region, and features as one of the key attractions of the hill resort.

When the Neelakurinji flower blooms, the valleys and meadows of Topstation are all painted in various hues of blue, presenting viewers with an incredibly beautiful sight.
You must visit Topstation to bask in the scenic mist-clad beauty, sprawling tea gardens, luxuriant forests and vivid cultural traditions. Top station also also delights visitors with spectacular views of the Tamil Nadu - Kerala border and the neighboring forests.

General Information about Top-station

Location - 32 Kms from Munnar
Altitude - 1700 m above Sea Level
Significance - Highest Point on Munnar-Kodaikanal Road

How to Reach

By Air: The nearest airport to Topstation is at Kochi, about 130 km away. This airport can be easily accessed by road from Munnar town (32 km).
By Rail: The nearest railhead is also at Kochi. Kochi is well connected by trains with major towns and cities in India.
By Road: Topstation is well connected by road to Munnar which is in turn accessible from most of the towns in Kerala and South India.

 

Vythiri Hill Station, Kerala

Imagine walking around soft undulating hills, surrounded by lush green plantations in a weather that is wet, cool and a perfect complement to the pristine ambience all around. Welcome to the Wayanad district of Kerala, a must visit while on a tour to "God's Own Country"! If you are planning a holiday in Kerala, make sure you include a trip to Vythiri, a beautiful hill resort tucked away amidst the green slopes of the Western Ghats in Wayanad.

Vythiri is located at a distance of around:

  • From Bangalore: 282 Kms
  • Kozhikode (Calicut): 60 Kms
  • Kalpetta: 15 kms
  • Karapura - 100 kms
  • Madikeri - 200 kms
  • Ooty: 140 kms
  • Mysore: 140 kms
  • Bandipur - 110 kms
  • Mudumalai - 110 kms

Accommodation Facilities at Vythiri

Combining the purity of a rustic ambience with all the modern comforts of today, the accommodation facilities at the Vythiri Resort are excellent and comprise of a number of accommodation options that are guaranteed to fit both your budgets as well as your tastes. The accommodation options include 6 double bedded rooms, 18 well-equipped cottages as well as 4 deluxe double bedded rooms, all of which are provided with almost all the necessary room facilities as well as some of the most spectacular views of the Wayanad region.

Dining Facilities at Vythiri

Providing its guests with the perfect taste of the cuisine of Kerala, the dining facilities at the Thinna or the in house restaurant of the Vythiri Resort in Wayanad are guaranteed to please the choosiest connoisseur.
Banquet and Conference Facilities at Vythiri

The banquet and conference facilities at the Vythiri Resort in Wayanad are excellent with the hotel possessing 2 banquet halls and providing the guests at the resort with the perfect ambience that guarantees to make their banquets and conferences the talk of the town for days to come.

Additional Facilitates at Vythiri

The additional facilities provided to the guests of the Vythiri Resort include the following facilities:

  • Serena Spa
  • Conference hall
  • Doctor on call
  • Ayurveda centre
  • Safe Deposit Lockers
  • Health Club
  • Travel Assistance
  • Swimming pool
  • Games Room
  • TV salon
  • Kids Play Area
  • Natural Pool
  • Coffee Shop
  • Multi Cuisine Restaurant


Wayanad Hill Station

Located in the north eastern section of the state of Kerala, the beautiful district of Wayanad is one of the most popular hill stations of Kerala. Surrounded by lush green, sloping plains of spice plantation, a trip to Wayanad is a must include if you are planning a Kerala Tour.

Wayanad is located on the summit of the Deccan Plateau on its southern side with the Western Ghats running through it. Blessed by nature with lush, tropical forests, undulating slopes through which a number of smooth flowing rivers run across and a climate that promises to charm, the serene hill station of Wayanad remains even today uncorrupted by modernity and thus, is generally regarded to be one of the most popular tourist destinations of Kerala. A definite must-visit while on a holiday in Kerala.

How to Reach Wayanad

By Air: The airport nearest to the Wayanad is at Kozhikode airport at Karippur which is well connected to the hill station by a number of transportation options.
By Rail: The nearest railway station to the pristine hill station of Wayanad is located at Kozhikode, which is situated at a distance of around 67 kms away from Wayanad
By Road: A number of excellently maintained roads connect Wayanad with its neighboring cities. These include the Kozhikode- Mysore National Highway No. 212, which passes through the middle of the district. However it is best to avoid these roads at night as they run through a region which is famous for its elephants!