Bored of life and yearning to get away for a couple of days? Why not go for a short trip to a hill station and come back refreshed?!
India, our most beautiful country, has no dearth of fabulous hill stations, beautiful beaches, backwaters, and more. Let’s get ready for a wonderful journey through the most picturesque and pristine hill stations in India – it would make for the most wonderful vacation of your life!
So here I am just raring to go… Are you?!
Shimla tops my list of beautiful hill stations, and might as well be the best hill station of the tour. Mother Nature has blessed Shimla with all the natural bounties that one can think of. The green hills of Shimla with snow capped peaks beckon you from afar and you are bowled over by the sheer splendour of the place.
This stunning place with its chilly forests of pine, oak and rhododendron was once the summer capital of the British Raj. For me, Shimla is all the more fascinating, thanks to its remnants of colonial heritage, colonial buildings and its railways, which are truly historic and unique!
Be it a sunrise or the sunset, the panoramic views of Shimla from the Scandal Point and the Viceregal Lodge are sure to leave you spell-bound.
The chilly weather, snow-covered mountains, natural valleys – Shimla has it all! A perfect place to indulge in sports and activities on the top of white Himalayas, Shimla gives you the thrill of ice skating, trekking, mountaineering, skiing, river rafting, para-gliding, fishing, and what not in adventure sports.
So what say people? Shimla is always the best…
Image by roman korzh via Flickr
Romance is in the air when you think of beautiful Manali – the Switzerland of India.
A hill station with soothing and charming beauty, Manali is not just a honeymooner’s paradise, but for adventure freaks a well. Set in the beautiful canvas of nature, with the mighty Himalayas as a background, Manali for me is a true gem to look out for!
Right from the stunning snowy peaks to the alluring valleys, the breezy pine forests and the jade green meadows, Manali has always been a haven for tourists the world over.
For the adventuresome, I would definitely recommend Manali, as you can take part in exciting activities like camping, rock-climbing, Heli-skiing, Paragliding, water rafting, bike (motorcycle) tour, jeep safari and horse riding.
So if you haven’t visited Manali yet, what are you waiting for? Just get, set and go…
Image by Cloé Prudhomme via Flickr
Now for the paradise in God’s own country, Kerala!
Breathtakingly beautiful Munnar is sheer romance and a haven of peace and tranquillity!
The sprawling tea plantations give an impression of one large patch of green in varied hues with tantalizing glimpses of valleys and lakes. The ever changing Skyscape showcases beautiful hues of blue, shades of orange, gray, and of course the white fluffy clouds.
The spice laden breeze of the plantations sets the mood for adventure and romance at Munnar. The Eravikulam National Park, the Mattupetty Dam & Reservoir, the waterfalls, trekking & Paragliding are the main attractions of Munnar. Just round off your visit with a jaunt to the Echo Point where the mountains shout back to you, returning your screams and calls with their echo.
While at Munnar, check out the plantation tours where you get a chance to harvest tea, watch it being processed, and buy some as well!
Image by Nikky Stephen via Flickr
Lying in the lap of the rolling Himalayan Mountains with Mt. Kanchenjunga is towering over it, Darjeeling certainly takes away your breath! Be prepared to be charmed by the beauty of this quaint hill station!
The misty hills and clouds playing hide and seek with the sun, scenic waterfalls, deep valleys and green landscape, certainly make Darjeeling the best! Places to visit are the botanical gardens, monasteries, Rangeet Valley passenger ropeway cable car and the zoo.
Being one of the best stops for mountain sports and adventure, you can choose from water rafting, kayaking, trekking, rock climbing, jeep safari trips, flying in an air balloon, Paragliding, and motorbike riding here.
And don’t forget to enjoy the spectacular, unforgettable journey on the famous toy train in Darjeeling.
The Queen of Hill Stations – Ooty, has always been a dream come true for the traveller in me!
Nestled in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu, Ooty – the honeymooner’s paradise, is one of the most amazing hill stations in South India, mesmerizing people with her natural beauty! The clear blue sky, the white clouds touching the mountain peaks, the ever green forests and valleys, lakes, rocks, waterfalls, view-points, tea gardens – what more can you ask for?
The unspoilt beauty of Ooty makes it a destination not to be missed! Riding to the top on the famous Nilgiri Mountain Railway, visiting the Botanical garden, Dodabetta Peak and boating in the Pykara Lake are definitely on my Ooty to-do list!
Image by Thomas Jude via Flickr
Mesmerising Nainital in Uttarakhand is one hill station you really can’t miss!
Nainital, the city of lakes has an unmatched charm of natural beauty! The flowers valley, magnificent lakes and the dreamy weather conditions… do you need anything more in life?
For me, Nainital has all it takes for a hill station visit – amazing water sports and rides, most romantic tourist places, best hill resorts, lots of adventure and fun activities like yachting, kayaking, parasailing, horse riding, and a wild safari tour in Jim Corbett National Park. The Naina Devi Temple, China Peak, Sattal, Bhimtal, Naukuchiatal, Corbett National Park, Snow View Point are the other places of interest to look out for.
Image by Mohamed Majid. via Flickr
Kodaikanal, touted as the ‘Princess of Hill Stations’, never ceases to amaze me! Nestled on a plateau in the upper Palani hills of Tamil Nadu, Kodai is magical; you have to see it to believe it!
Beautiful Kodai has always remained a popular romantic destination for newlyweds! For me, the star shaped Kodaikanal Lake is just the place to go for dreamy rides and the Coaker’s Walk winding through Kodai offers a really stunning panoramic view of the plains.
Byrant Park, the Pillar Rocks, Guna Caves, the Silver Cascade and the Dolphin’s Nose make Kodai all the more beautiful!
Image by east med wanderer via Flickr
Tucked away in the Western Ghats is Matheran – Maharashtra’s most loved hill-station!
If your idea of paradise is a place without the hustle and bustle of motor vehicles, then Matheran is where it is! Covered by white clouds and green valleys, Matheran is truly a gift of nature! As the only place where motor vehicles are not allowed in India, Matheran remains unspoilt and pollution free.
Matheran can be reached by riding on the narrow-gauge toy train that chugs along a 21 km scenic route, or trekking up the scenic path on the hillsides. The best time to visit Matheran is during the monsoon when the nature is at its best.
You can spend long hours just trekking the shady forests, criss-crossing foot trails and visiting breathtaking lookouts like Sunset Point, also known as Porcupine Point, Alexander Point, etc.
So if you are on the lookout for unspoilt natural beauty, Matheran is your best bet!
Mussoorie, a popular hill station in Uttarakhand and a favourite honeymoon spot for many, is in the foothills of the grand Garhwal Himalayan ranges.
Mussoorie is known to be the ‘Gateway’ to the Yamunotri and Gangothri – two major shrines of North India, and has an unworldly peace surrounding it.
For me, the winding roads, the mystic air, the serene coolness of Mussoorie is definitely worth a visit! The sheer beauty of the place takes us away from the cacophony of our everyday schedules and gives life a new meaning!
The Kempty Falls and the Gun Hill are places to look out for panoramic views of Mussoorie.
Just soak in the charm and appeal of this hilly retreat in any season and you’ll feel as fresh as a dew drop.
Image by Parveen Singh via Flickr
“If there is a paradise on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here.” – Amir Khusrau
Truly said, I should say…
Srinagar is one of my favourite hill stations, as here I feel the true colours of nature are at their best! Sitting gracefully on the banks of the Jhelum River in Srinagar, the capital of Jammu and Kashmir, is a tourist’s delight! With its cool mountain air, the mesmerizing lake and greenery all around, I still count on Srinagar as the best bet for a honeymoon destination.
In this scenic hill station, you can feel and experience the joy of being one with nature. The serene lake beckons you with its quiet solitude and you’ll find a ride on the quaint houseboats quite relaxing. Go snow skiing in the mountains and bring back memories that last a lifetime.
The Mughal Gardens of Srinagar charm you with their spell bounding beauty. Every year, the Tulip Festival is celebrated in Srinagar during the month of April. The presence of all these lakes and gardens has defined Srinagar – a land of gardens and lakes!
I hope you enjoyed this little trip we took through the top 10 hill stations in India. Be sure to visit one of these destinations on your next vacation.
Image by Rambonp love’s all creatures of Universe via Flickr
Sunu Phililp is the Inbound Marketing and Creative Head for Paradise Holidays, Cochin – a Kerala based tour operator. She loves reading, exploring new places and trying out new cuisines!