High up in the Palani Hills of Tamil Nadu, a tiny hamlet of Vattakanal, or more locally known as Vatta, is a tranquil hill station surrounded by breath-taking cliffs and dense forests. Though it’s just a 7km uphill drive from Kodaikanal, the little town is completely devoid of pollution.

If you’re not one for adventure activities or a great nightlife, and just want to spend some quiet time in the hills, Vattakanal is a great choice. It’s best to stay in the lovely home-stays or hostels and give the resorts a miss, especially if you’re staying for long. It’s okay to go to Vattakanal without prior booking – just show up there and ask the locals for a place to stay, and they will help you with multiple options, including local homes.

Interestingly, it’s rather popular among Israeli travellers who flock here mostly in October and stay on till the end of the year. Which is why, the hill station is also known as ‘Little Israel’.

A downhill trek to Dolphin’s Nose – a narrow rock shaped like a dolphin’s nose, jutting out from the edge of the cliff, overlooking the valley below – is a must when in Vattakanal. The views from here are incredible on an especially clear day, owing to its glorious altitude of 6,600 feet. You could also get lost in the forests here or hike upto Vattakanal Waterfalls in the afternoon. Don’t forget to also explore Kodai Lake, where boating, kayaking and many other fun water sports is available.

The nearest airport is in Madurai (120km), followed by Trichy (150km) and Coimbatore (175km). From there, it’s a 4-5 hour drive to Vattakanal. You can also take an overnight bus from Bangalore, which arrives in Kodaikanal early morning and from where you can take cabs straight to Vattakanal, for a small fee.