With hill ranges like Himalayas, Aravali, and Vindhyas, India sets a perfect backdrop for hilltop towns, or also popularly known as Hill stations. It were British that settled these hill stations for getaway from scorching temperatures of plains, to some place that had their native climate. If you haven’t visited these gems of hills, you are missing an amazing experience. If you have, then you must visit other of these. All of them have a different charm and way of life that will astound you. Here we have created a list of best hill stations in India, that you must visit.
Shimla – Undoubtedly The Queen of Hills, this beauty is adorned on a ridge in foothills of Himalayas. In winters it appears to have worn a white blanket, and in summers it gives chill to visitors. Most of action here takes place at Mall Road, which the center of Shimla.
But you got to be aware that vehicles are not allowed in the central part of Shimla, so you better be ready to walk a lot if you intend on exploring the mall road and neighboring spots. The markets and the eateries in Shimla are quite popular, so do indulge.
Mussoorie – It has Doon valley to its south and Himalayas to the North. It never fails to surprise, and has even hooked widely acclaimed writer Ruskin Bond with its beauty. Mall Road, Kempty Fall, Lal Tibba, Camel ride, cable cars, are just few highlights to enjoy here.
Just near to Mussoorie is Dhanaulti, which can be accessed easily by road and worth seeing there are eco parks. It also is home to two more waterfalls, Jhari Pani Falls, Bhatta Falls which lie between Dehradun and Mussoorie, are also must visit.
Darjeeling – Overly popular with Indians for its Tea Plantation Estates, this beauty has perfect backdrop of one of tallest peaks Mount Kanchenjunga. Its toy train might be slow but allows you catch up with scenic beauty. Monasteries, hills, lakes, gardens are must see.
The colonial era architecture here is also worth the admiration. Singalila Ridge in Darjeeling also offers trekking opportunities. Japanese Peace Pagoda here is must visit, and one must also indulge in Mountain Biking. When in Darjeeling do go on a tea estate tour.
Ooty – This gem is located in the scenic Nilgiri hills. Here too you can enjoy rides of toy train. There are gardens, avenues for boating, great landscapes set with tea plantation, and Dodabetta Peak for breath taking views of the Nilgiri. Ooty’s beauty is not to be missed.
The colonial era bungalows here are a sight to behold. Botanical Garden here is another must visit. If you are travelling with kids you can also indulge in horseback riding. Mudumalai forest sanctuary is nearby and can also fit in the itinerary of nature enthusiasts.
Shillong – Also popularly known as Scotland of the East. Monsoon season brings a whole different life to Shillong, and will give you an ecstatic experience. It has one of largest golf course in Asia. It has waterfall, gardens, forests, and great dining scene.
Shillong has many christian churches, and remains of the bygone colonial times. The most popular market of Shillong is Police Bazaar, which is situation at the intersection of seven busy streets. In Shillong you can also catch up with rock music in some of the live music venues.
Gangtok – It was an independent kingdom, till it joined India. Still celebrates a unique setting in nature that makes it too beautiful to resist. Attractions include Cable Car, gardens, Lakes, popular markets, waterfall, sanctuaries, adventure, and monasteries.
Like the mall roads of other hill stations, it also has a Mahatma Gandhi Road, MG Road, which houses some of the best restaurants, shops, outlets of the town. To enjoy the scenic beauty of Gangtok city, walk along the road to Raj Bhawan. Rumtek Monstaery is also must visit.
Kodaikanal – This one is secluded and perfect for Peaceful holiday. It is full of flora and fauna, also with orchards of pear trees. Attractions include Guna Caves, Kodai lake, Green valley View, and waterfalls. It’s also known for homemade chocolates, and herbal tea.
For a little fun one must also visit the Echo Point, from where if you shout anything, it echoes, like shown in the movies. Cycling around the Kodai Lake and boating in the Kodai lake is another favorite of travellers. One can also take up the dolphin’s nose trek, it is very scenic.
Gulmarg – It is Ski heaven for all adventure sports lover. In summers which transforms into a great site for various treks. It also has highest Gondola in the world which is a great attraction for travellers. It has fabulous range of flora n fauna, and also a golf resort.
Fir kids pony rides are just perfect, while for serious adventure sports seekers Heli skiing can be a great option. You can also visit the various Pashmina Shawls market to buy some Kashmiri clothes for friends and family. Also carry woolens while travelling to Gulmarg.
Munnar – Tea enthusiasts you should not miss this one. Tea plantations are delight to eyes with real action behind the cup you have at home. It also has avenues for adventure sports like trekking and rock climbing. Waterfalls, scenic valleys will just sooth you further.
The Kannan Devan brand of tea which is marketed by Tata is grown here. A blue flower, Neelakurinji, which only blooms in every 12 years is found here. Munnar is also home to the highest South Indian peak, Anamudi. Munnar Elephant Safari is also must have experience here.
Matheran – Favourite hill station of Maharashtrians, has something that will give you hope for future, that all vehicles are banned inside including bicycles. Apart from Clean and Fresh air, there are dense forests, trekking avenues, caves, lakes, and hill points.
Matheran is known for its lush greenery which becomes even more scenic post monsoon. Panorama Point, Heart Point, Monkey Point, are some popular touristy spots. Horse riding is another very popular activity in Matheran, apart from walking while enjoying surroundings.
Coorg – Also popularly known as Scotland of India, is overly popular for coffee and spices plantation. It is home to serene beauty, and attractions include waterfalls, national park, Monasteries, Lake, and palaces. Climate remains pleasant throughout the year.
Abbey Falls, Nagarahole wildlife sanctuary, Pushpagiri wildlife sanctuary, Madikeri Fort are some of the popular touristy spots in Coorg. When in coorg adventure sports is must, so indulge in trekking, mountain biking, white river rafting, and rock climbing.
Coonoor – It’s much quieter than its other counterpart Coorg. Again in Nilgiri Hills, and is famous for its tea and coffee plantations. Attractions include Lamb’s rock, Law’s falls, Taj garden Retreat, Sim’s park, trekking avenues, hiking routes, and bustling local markets.
If you are in Coonoor then tea plantation tour is a must do. The process of tea making will surely captivate you, and different types of tea flavors can also be enjoyed during tour. Trekking can be some serious business in Coonoor but even more fun will be to ride toy train.
Manali – This is the place that will keep you hooked and take you off your seats. Popular for adventure sports like trekking, paragliding, rafting, and skiing, it is set to give you thrills. Other attractions include Rohtang Pass, Solang Valley, Monasteries, and Mall Road.
It is estimated that Manali is home to around 1000 hotels and guesthouses. Yes it can get crowded at times, but it worth all the pain. Hot water bath in Manali and nearby Manikaran are quite popular. River rafting in Kullu is a perfect fun stop while coming to Manali.
The Mountains are calling and, I must go!