Due east of Kumarakom, Kottayam, and Kochi, this cool mountain town, thick with spice plantations, sits at 3,000 feet above sea level in the Cardamom Hills, midway between Kochi and the temple city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu. The hills are home to a range of wildlife, including (rarely spotted) tigers, as well as acres and acres of cardamom, cloves, allspice, vanilla, cocoa, and coffee. Most hotels and resorts are in Kumily town, about 4 km (2½ miles) from the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary at Thekkady. Due to the high elevation, you don’t need a room with air-conditioning here.


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