Every year, the eco friendly environment, scented tea gardens and magnificent landscapes of these hills attract tourists from all parts of the world. The Cardamom hills are under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for the selection as the World Heritage Site.
Etymology of Cardamom Hills
The cardamom spice is grown in abundance at a higher elevation in the cooler areas of the Cardamom hills and thus the name is derived. The elevation also supports the growth of pepper and coffee.
Location of Cardamom Hills
The Cardamom hills are located in the southern tip of India encompassing the Western Ghats. The hills cover an area of about 2,800 sq. km of mountainous terrain with deep valleys, and include the drainages of the west flowing Periyar, Mullayar and Pamba rivers. The hills conjoin the Anaimalai Hills to the northwest, the Paini Hills to the northeast and the Agasthyamalai Hills to the south as far as the Aryankavu Pass. Western part of the Cardamom hills is in the south- central region of Kerala, consisting of about 26 percent and the other part of the hill extends till Tamil Nadu with an area of about 74 percent.
Climate of Cardamom Hills
The daily average temperature of the Cardamom hills during winter is 15 degree Celsius and 31 degree Celsius during summer. In the eastern side in the Srivilliputtur Wildlife Sanctuary, the annual rainfall of 2,000 mm to 3,000 mm in Periyar decreases to less than 1,500 mm. On the western side, two- thirds of the precipitation is received during the southwest monsoon from June to September. The areas also receive rainfall from the northeast monsoon between the months of October and December and from pre-monsoon showers between April and May.
Peaks in Cardamom Hills
Mentioned below is a list of peaks in the Cardamom hills:
Attractions of Cardamom Hills
The Periyar wildlife sanctuary, which is, located in the low-lying Cardamom hills form an important centre of attraction. Here, the Periyar Lake which is an artificial lake covers an area of 5,500 hectares. The sanctuary occupies 777 sq km, out of which the forests cover an area of 360 sq km. The forest vegetation is semi evergreen, the grasslands are typically Savannah and 171 species of grass and 143 species of orchids are present in the sanctuary.
Animals include Gaur, Wild Boars, Sambar Deer, Bison, Barking Deer, Wild Dogs, Lion Tailed Macaque, the Nilgiri Langur, Bonnet Langur and Tigers and the bird species include Hornbills, Storks, Woodpeckers, Kingfishers, Cormorants and Darters.
There is also the Cardamom Hill Reserve, which comprises of about 15, 721 acres and is bordered by the Tamil Nadu border to the east, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary on the south, the Periyar River on the west, and Bodimettu, Chokkanad and Muthirapuzha to the north. The rain forest of the hill reserve are a natural wildlife corridor to Periyar National Park from the Anaimalai Hills and Palani hills of Tamil Nadu and is the catchment area of 6 major hydro-electric projects in Idukki District. Currently, it is situated in the Idukki District of Kerala.
Trekking in Cardamom Hills
The Cardamom hills offer fine scope for adventurous activities like trekking. The trekking exercise leads one through the beautiful valleys, wildlife parks and dense forests and through the fragrant tea plantations.
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