Nothing beats the joy of vacationing in an enchanting mountain town with plenty of nature to explore – try out our selection of 5 unexplored hill stations!
Often termed as an obvious choice for the avid traveller in India, especially in these days of social distancing, hill stations in the subcontinent are known to offer some of the best vacations ever. Mountain lovers enjoy the diverse landscape of mountainous regions and the almost mystical ambiance that surrounds them.
India’s topography primarily comprises the Himalayan mountain ranges in the north, the Satpura in the west, and the Nilgiris in the south. So vivid is the country’s hill segmentation that a traveller never runs out of options, be it an adventurous holiday in nature’s toughest terrains, a leisure family vacation, or just an escape from the city blues.
Here are five pristine hill stations fit for holiday getaways of almost every kind.
KEYLONG, HIMACHAL PRADESH
A 100km from ManaliliesKeylong, the remote yet enchanting environs of the true Himalayas. The scenic hill station is reputed as one of the major offbeat tourist destinations in Himachal Pradesh. Situated at a height of around 3340m, Keylong documents itself as an unspoilt canvas that has mountains with white tops, rough pedestals covered in lush greenery, and gurgling narrow streams.
The place is also dotted with numerous Buddhist monasteries (Khardang, Shashur, and TyaulGompa) that are renowned for their architectural excellence, and hence, one more reason to skip the rough Ladakh for Keylong.
Keylong is counted as being among Lahaul’s prime centres for cultural exhibitions and is best visited in the months around July. It is during this time that the town goes into a celebratory mode with different fairs and extravaganzas. The Pauri festival, Chaam Dance, and burning of the devil are among the popular festivities at Keylong one can hope to be a part of in the summer months.
TAWANG, ARUNACHAL PRADESH
A true epitome of the mesmerizing Himalayas, Tawang, in the extreme east of India, is a perfect sojourn for urban travellers who long for peace and tranquility. The region is blessed with scenic marvels, known to cast a magical spell over its travellers. To begin with, it comprises the mighty Gudpi and Chong- Chugmi mountain ranges, the crystal blue Tawang Chu River, and the glacial lakes, which allure migratory birds in large numbers during summer.
Nestled in the eastern corner of the country, Tawang shares its borders with Tibet in the north and Bhutan in the southwest and has Buddhism as its prime influence. The hymns and chants from the monasteries are melodious and like a breath of fresh air.
Monasteries in Tawang are in abundance and can be seen at every nook and corner while strolling around the town. They depict the religious history of Tawang, which primarily dates back to the 17th century. A notable example is the spectacular ‘Tawang Monastery,’ which is the largest of its kind in India and the second largest in the world.
While most hill stations are best visited during summer, Tawang gets its major share of tourism in winter. As the cold season approaches, the region gets completely covered in a milky white blanket, making it a hub for snow lovers and adventure sports.
Away from the cacophony of Mumbai and Pune in Maharashtra, Matheran is a picturesque hill station that serves as a perfect weekend getaway for city dwellers. The hill station resides at an elevation of around 2,600 ft above sea level and is a declared eco-sensitive region. It is due to this fact that automobiles are completely banned in the vicinity of Matheran. And thus, commuting within Matheran is done only through the miniature train service.
Cruising uphill, the train ride offers panoramic views of deep gorges with roaring waterfalls. Once at the top, the view gets more enticing as the lush greens of the Deccan Plains and the Western Ghats contain the whole valley below. There are a total of around 38 tourist points, each having its trail backed by breathtaking surroundings. The most prominent of these are One tree hill, Porcupine Point, Monkey Point and Louisa Point.
Getting to Matheran is no hassle at all as this tiny hill destination stays well connected through state highways. To experience the best of Matheran’s natural beauty, tourists are advised to make their travel arrangements during the monsoon
KODAIKANAL, TAMIL NADU
Tamil Nadu’s most suitable response to the Himalayas in the North is Kodaikanal in the Palani Hills – an absolute respite from the heat-soaked plains of the state. The topography of Kodaikanal, includes green meadows, dense forest cover, and pristine lakes, all enveloped in a blanket of mist.
The hill station’s history dates back to the 19th century when British officers, in order to seek refuge from the tropical heat, made their habitat on the hills. This set off a popular precedent and the place was soon transformed into a popular tourist destination.
Today, Kodaikanal is an ideal sojourn, offering attractions like the Bear Shola Falls, Coakers Walk, Kodai Lake, Bryant Park, and Dolphin’s Nose to help urban travellers unwind far from the madding crowd. Travellers can also indulge in activities like boating, horse riding, cycling, and trekking to make the best of their Kodaikanal experience.
GULMARG, JAMMU AND KASHMIR
Another refreshing discovery by the British, Gulmarg, in the Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir, stands out as one of India’s premier tourist destinations. Gulmarg, which translates to ‘meadow of flowers,’ offers the ultimate in ‘nature mixed with adventure’ for thousands of discerning travellers every year. The best part about Gulmarg is that it’s an anytime destination and is not limited to the change of seasons.
Springtime cloaks the region with a lush green mantle, while winter brings its own milky white magic. The seasons bring a host of opportunities (summer and winter adventure) to explore the mystical terrains of Gulmarg.
The hill station is also renowned for its Gondola rides (cable car), which offer breathtaking views of the surrounding Himalayas and the pristine town of Gulmarg.
Read More: Discover Your India