There is a certain charm about snowy hills and cool breeze that make your cheeks red and eyes glow hold. It's a beautiful feeling to wake up in the morning to the sight of snow-capped mountains, hot coffee and white ground. There's a sense of comfort in getting cocooned in the white and bright of a hill station.
Our beautiful and dynamic country is blessed with quite a few such pretty sights and spots to behold. There's a lot to unravel and a lot to explore in those perched at a distance spots. Here’s a list of first 10 out of 50 best hill stations in India, that you just can not miss.
1. Darjeeling: The Prettiest Hill Station in India
Spread at the foothills of Kanchenjunga, this best hill station boasts of rich green tea-plantations spreading like a carpet on the hills, pines and orchids. There's the joyful toy train trotting at the hills and the old world colonial aura with a dash of modernity. Darjeeling magnanimously portrays the rich colonial era with crisp smell of tea brewing all throughout.Best time to visit Darjeeling:
This place is at its pleasant best, cool and dry in the summers, between the months of April to June. It's the perfect season to visit and explore the place. There's the golden glow to the picturesque settings and cool breeze to compliment your tea. Tourists and couples also cherish visiting this place in the winters, between the months of October to December. Though, snowfall is rarely seen, it's chilly here nonetheless.How to reach Darjeeling:
Bagdogra Airport is the nearest airport to Darjeeling. Flights run directly from Delhi, Guwahati and Kolkata to Darjeeling. A little on the relaxed side, the regular bus services from Siliguri to Darjeeling is also made available. The nearest railway station to Darjeeling is at New Jalpaiguri, which connects place to major Indian cities.Must see in Darjeeling:
The major tourist and traveller attractions are: Kanchenjunga Mountain, Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, Peace Pagoda, Tiger Hill, Chowrasta, Passenger Ropeway, Happy Valley Tea Estate, Mahakal Temple, Ghoom Monastery, Darjeeling Toy Train.Famous delicacy in Darjeeling:
Sael Roti is a Nepali Dish savored in Darjeeling. It can be consumed with meat curry or potato. Some people also prepare it sweet.Also Read: Best Honeymoon Destinations in India
2. Valley of Flowers: Hill Station in India You must not Miss
Encased in the west Himalayan region, this beautiful land of colors and snow is a treat to the eyes and the olfactory senses too. The route to this pretty place is studded with glaciers, woods and descending waterfalls. Changing hues and features, all throughout the year, the valley stays both snow-covered and brimming with colors on various parts of the year. The waters of Pushpawati River divides the valley into two parts. A charming give away to the travellers and botanists, this place is a sight to savor for the visual senses. It is hence, a UNESCO World Heritage Site also.Best time to visit Valley of Flowers:
The Valley of Flowers is only open from the beginning of June to the beginning of October. It stays covered in snow for the rest of the year. The most apt time to visit the place would be between mid-June to mid-August. The first showers of monsoon blooms up quite a few flowers in the valley. The valley changes shades and hues as the seasons pass and temperatures flow.How to reach Valley of Flowers:
The nearest airport to this place is at Dehradun, which is connected to most major cities of the country. The nearest railway station to the valley of flowers is Rishikesh. It is connected to Govind Ghat, from whereon, you have to trek to reach the place. You can also drive till Govind Ghat, after which you need to commence on a 16 km trek to the valley.
Must see in Valley of Flowers: Valley of Flowers National Prak, Fauna and Flora, Hemkund Sahib, Nanda Devi National Park
Famous delicacy in Valley of Flowers:
The delightful gold streaked Kesar Halwa is a must have when you visit the valley. It's a blend of ghee, spices and sugar. An absolute treat!
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3. Dehradun: The Favorite Summer Getaway
Dehradun perched at the Shivaliks and a gateway to Kedar Nath, is one of the oldest cities in India. A quite serene town, with not much buzz, smiling faces and lush green boulevards, it also opens up to the Garhwal region. The pleasant weather is much relished here and so are the exquisite pristine distant hills graced with the greens.Best time to visit Dehradun:
The place looks and feels best between July to September. After being washed with some mild rain, the place lightens down and feels cool throughout. It's the perfect weather to go out and explore the place. The whole place becomes very attractive, hence.How to reach Dehradun:
The capital city of Dehradun has its very own airport. It's called the Jolly Grant Airport. It's connected to quite a few major cities of the country. An extensive network of National Highway, State Highway and Motorable Roads connects Dehradun to the major roads of the country. Dehradun Railway Station is one of the major railway stations of the country. It's connected to most of the capitals and metropolitans.Must see in Dehradun: Tibetan Buddhist Temple, Forest Research Institute, Robber’s Cave, Tapkeshwar Temple, Sahastradhara Heights, Landour Bazaar, Bharat Mata Mandir, Doon Valley, Mahasu Devta Temple, The Kalinga War Memorial, Ram Tal Horticultural Garden, Jwalaji Temple
A must savor delicacy is the Jhangora Ki Kheer. It's a local sweet dish prepared with milk, dry fruits and Jangora, which is a local cereal.
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4. Ooty: Most Popular Hill Station of India
Source: Photo by Hemant meena
Hailed as the "Queen of Hill Stations", Ooty can be overwhelmingly energising. There's hustle bustle and busy, while there's tall pines in what looks like english country lanes. The celebrated miniature train makes the journey here all the more romantic and scenic. Encrusted in the Western Ghats, it's dotted with tea and coffee plantations. Worked upon extensively by the British. This is a place to behold and a paradise where the roads snake upwards all throughout the town.Best time to visit Ooty:
Ooty is celebrated all through the year but the best time to visit is between the months of April to June and September to November. In the summers the weather is usually very pleasant and one can go out for touristy sightseeing and strolling. Cool and chilly winds blow by during the winters. It's perfect for a day of walks and exploration.How to reach Ooty:
Coimbatore has the nearest airport to Ooty, which is well connected to the other major Indian cities too. A flight from Bangalore Airport is also preferable as it is highly accessible too. Bus routes are also highly convenient. You’ll get both air-conditioned and state buses running on this way. The nearest railway station is at Mettupalayam. It's connected to quite a few other major cities, to take you from there to Ooty.Must see in Ooty: Tribal Research Centre, Thread Garden, St. Stephen's Church, Rose Garden, Nilgiri Library, Pykara Lake and Pykara Falls, Doddabetta Peak, Avalanche Lake, Shooting Point
Ooty Lake, Annamalai Temple, Wax World Museum
Enjoy homemade chocolates, with Ooty tea and Ooty varki in the city. Varki is a sweet dish made of wheat flour, sold massively at street shops and other shops in Ooty.
5. Gangtok: Famous Hill Station from Eastern Himalayan Range
Once an important point of trade between India and Tibet for traders, Gangtok is perched between the furry clouds. It's a cosmopolitan, advanced town, which offers its tourists all sorts of amenities like hotels and fine dine etc. It boasts of the country’s first litter and spit free zone, where there's hardly any traffic and hence you can stroll around and carry out your tasks at convenience. The city flows down in tiers to spread across the steeping slope of the hill. Gangtok is one of the quickly developing and gradually sprawling place with a lot to offer to the modern tourist. The route to Gangtok is graced by the River Teesta, which provides scenic views and sights to behold.Best time to visit Gangtok:
The most suitable time to visit Gangtok is between October to June. It's a pleasant time when the sun doesn’t hurt much, the weather is cool and the place feels soothing. Winters, thus, are the best time to visit Gangtok.How to reach Gangtok:
The nearest airport to Gangtok is in Bagdogra, West Bengal. A two hour road journey from there, drops you to Gangtok. The nearest railway station is in New Jalpaiguri in Siliguri. The station is well connected to major cities of the country. The roads are well maintained, and tourists from nearby cities like Kolkata, Kalimpong and Darjeeling visit the place by road.Must see in Gangtok: Yak ride in Tsomgo Lake, Ban Jhakri Falls, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Enchey Gompa, Damodar Ropeway, Himalayan Zoological Park, Ganesh Tok, Sikkim Bhutan Trek, Kanchendzonga Market, White Memorial Hall
Khapse is a traditional sweet dish of the North East. It's made of red millets and is fibrous and healthy. This dish is very rich in iron.
6. Mount Abu: Only Hill Station in Rajasthan
Situated in the Aravalli Hills,it is graced with the title of the only hill station in Rajasthan. Famous for its lush greenery, it is perched at top and titled as the summer capital of the state. It's abundant in waterfalls, lakes and rich flora. It is probably this natural scenic beauty which keeps this place so cool. It's quite a spiritual place which is famous for its Delwara Jain Temples and was home to saints and hermits too. It's quite a hit with honeymooners also.
Also Read about best places to visit in RajasthanBest time to visit Mount Abu:
Mount Abu makes for an evergreen destination, but the best time to visit it would be between November and March. It's totally on you as to how you wish to spend your vacation that this place treats you.How to reach Mount Abu:
The nearest airport to Mount Abu is in Udaipur. It is connected to most major cities too. Both government, state transport and private buses run to Mount Abu. You can opt for air-conditioned, luxury or volvo buses to reach your destination. Mount Abu hails its own railway station, which is connected to all the metro cities of the country.Must see in Mount Abu: Delwara Temples, Universal Peace Hall, Nakki Lake, Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, Sunset Point, Mount Abu Treks, Government Museum, Adhar Devi Temple, World Renewal Spiritual Museum, Boat Hire, Raghunath Temple, Mother India Monument, St. Saviour’s Church
Ghewar is a sweet dish which is quite famous amongst the tourists in the city. It's a popular dish made up of rounded cakes of wheat flour with sugar syrup poured on it. Some say it tastes alot like cheesecake!
7. Dalhousie: Abundance of Natural Beauty
This beautiful hill station is located atop 5 hills, in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh. There's abundance of natural beauty and pleasant climate. It is gracefully studded with snow-capped mountains on all fours. As goes the name, it has quite a few Victorian styled mansions scattered throughout. This hill station was known for its peaceful and serene aura. That’s precisely what attracted people towards it.Best time to visit Dalhousie:
Dalhousie is at its elegant best in the summer season, from March to May. You could go out for strolls, sightseeing, nature walks and relaxing in the lap of boulevards, stroked by cool breeze.How to reach Dalhousie:
If you plan to visit Dalhousie by air, you could visit the nearby airports of the various surrounding cities. The nearest one is in Pathankot, which is solely connected to New Delhi. The second nearest airport is in Kangra district. This airport is a well connected one and experiences both domestic and international traffic. The journey via bus may take sometime, but the good thing is that the roads are in good condition and are well connected. New Delhi makes a good on-set point to it. Also, the view outside gets scenic. The most convenient and light on the pocket mode to visit Dalhousie is through trains. The nearest railway station is at Pathankot.Must see in Dalhousie: Dainkund Peak, Chamera Lake, St. John’s Church, Gandhi Chowk Shopping Plaza, Sach Pass, Ganji Pahari, Garam Sadak, St. Patrick’s Church, Bara Pathar Temple, Rang Mahal, Panjpulla
Mittha is a sweet dish prepared during the festivities in this region. It's a local sweetmeat made of sweet rice.
8. Nainital: Famous Among Indian and International Visitors
Source: Photo by Ishrat Khan
Meandered around a deep green lake Naini, which forms its namesake too, this place was discovered and built up by the Brits. There's plenty of homestays on the forested hills that surround the lake. The roads and paths sashay and criss-cross across the hills. This forms for one of the most famous spots for touristy in India, both for the local and international crowd. This jewel of the Himalayas is blessed with lush greenery and clear lakes which make it quite an attractive tourist destination.Best time to visit Nainital:
This gold of a place is full with tourists throughout the year. The best time to visit is between the months of March to June. Summers, thus constitute the best time to visit Nainital. You could go for a boat ride in the pleasant weather and enjoy the scenic beauty of this beautiful place.How to reach Nainital:
Nainital lags behind when it comes to air connectivity. The nearest airport is at a distance of 65 km at Pantnagar. Most of the air traffic include private flights, few commercial flights are operational here. Nainital is excellent when it comes to bus connectivity. It is connected to most major cities and spots from here. The nearest railway station is at Kathgodam, at the foothills of Kumaon. Trains from quite a few neighbouring cities stop by here.
Must see in Nainital: Naini Lake, Snow View Point, Tiffin Top & Land’s End, Rock Climbing & Trekking, Raj Bhavan, Nainital Boat Club, Embassy, Nainital Zoo, Horse Stand, Mountain Magic, St. John’s Church, St. Francis’ Catholic Church, Cable Car, Jama Masjid, Naina Devi Temple
Famous delicacy in Nainital:
Arsa, is a dessert which is sweet in taste and mainly prepared for special occasions like weddings etc. It's prepared with rice, jaggery and mustard oil.
9. Mussoorie: Wonderful Hill Station in Uttarakhand
High on the highs of Uttarakhand, this place is fondly called the "Queen of Hills" and is a favorite tourist spot as well as hill station for people in and around Uttarakhand. It overlooks the Doon valley and the distant silhouettes of the Himalayas. This popular hill station also took its shape in the Raj Era, and hence, the architecture of that time is visible in its churches, libraries, monuments and the overall layout of Mussoorie. It could pan out to be a holiday camp as well as a honeymoon spot for tourists.
Also read about Lesser Known Facts About UttarakhandBest time to visit in Mussoorie:
The most welcome time to visit this place would be in the summers, that is between April and June. This is the perfect time to blow some much needed steam off when the sun blazes. If you wish to catch the snowfalls, visit this place in the winters.How to reach in Mussoorie:
The nearest airport is the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun. It offers to & fro and regular connectivity with New Delhi. Mussoorie is well connected with all the major bus routes through state, public and private transports. Except for the heady sickness that some may have, the views and the journey along are a treat in itself. The nearest railway station is in Dehradun and it has trains from all over the country stopping by, daily.Must see in Mussoorie: Gun Hill, Imperial Square, Jawahar Aquarium, Trek Himalaya, Camel’s Back Road, Christ Church, Radha Krishna Temple, Vinod Kumar Antiques Shop, Jwalaji Temple, Everest House, Tibetan Market, Jama Masjid, Nanda Devi Alpine Trek, Kempty Falls, Mall Road
This place prides itself on the forever fresh chocolate barfi. It's an exquisite diamond shape sweetmeat, that tastes delicious and chocolaty with milk component and stays fresh for long.
10. Manali: Most visited Hill Station in India
Source: Photo by Rajarshi Mitra
Encircled by high peaks is this lush green beautiful valley that beckons tourists to itself all throughout the year. Apart from being the cozy honeymoon destination that it is, it also hails backpackers from all over the country, that find connection in hippie villages and outlets. It also gives the adventure bug’s soul a much needed rejoice with an array of fun adventurous activities that it has got to offer. While the old Manali is laid back with just the right amount of services at disposal, the place in general is brimming with tourists and festivities, with a dash of crisp cool air and ice to gobble.Best time to visit in Manali:
Manali is an exquisite destination that stays lively and lit throughout the year. While the summers offer the much needed respite from the scorching sun, the winters see this place decked in a layer of sparkly white snow.How to reach in Manali:
The closest airport to Manali is in Bhuntar. It's connected to Delhi and a few other domestic airports. A prepaid cab or taxi will hail you outside the airport. Due to the high altitudes, flights get cancelled too. Manali is well connected to nearby cities and towns through a well managed network of local, state run and air conditioned buses. The journey could stretch and hence, comfortable lodging in buses is advisable.Must see in Manali: Solang Valley, Hidimba Devi Temple, Manikaran Gurudwara, Van Vihar National Park, Jogini Waterfall, Solang-Nullah, Manu Temple, Jana Falls, Beas Kund, Bhrigu Lake, Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa Monastery, Rahala Falls, Rozy Falls, Arjun Gufa, Jamula Temple
A very famous sweet treat of Manali is the sweet rice, which is served with raisins and dry fruits. Cooked by "botis" or brahmins on special occasions, it's a treat of its own.
With summer just around the corner as we enjoy the bloom of spring, let’s just say we need to plan a vacation soon. India is blessed with all sorts of beautiful seasons, with all their perks and charms. There's quite a few more exquisite locations from all parts to be followed!
So, until next time, stay tuned!
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