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Top 10 Hill Stations in India

India is home to some of the spectacular mountains ranges such as Himalayas, Kanchenjunga, Kumaon and Pir Panjal that have enthralled domestic as well as foreign tourists, nature lovers and honeymoon couples for decades now. The British discovered some of major hill stations such as Shimla and they eventually developed into popular summer retreats. Presently, the best hill stations in India facilitate winter sports, gondola rides, trekking and toy train journeys. World class resorts and hotels offer comfortable accommodation and is also another reason for you to opt for a hill getaway.


ShimlaDiscovered by the British, it is the present capital of Himachal Pradesh and is popular as Queen of the Hills. The first summer home came up in 1822 and then tourists began to flee the heat by spending even a month here. The 12 km long ridge, known as the Shimla Ridge is a bustling hub of tourists. Shimla Mall Road, Lakkar Bazaar and the Shimla-Kalka Railway line are the main attractions of the place. This track is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List and has 103 tunnels. At the end of the Mall Road is Shimla Christ Church, one of the oldest structures here. The architecture is particularly impressive. Local mountain treks, skiing and paragliding are prominent tourist activities here. The Naldehra Golf Course is 25 km from Shimla and lies at a height of 2050 meters. Treat yourself the local cuisine at some of the state's best restaurants in Shimla.


DarjeelingThe green meadows, valleys of tea gardens and the stunning backdrop of Kanchenjunga peaks make Darjeeling one of the top hill stations in the country. Thousands of tourist visit every year mostly between October-January. Though snowfall is a rare occurrence, Darjeeling is famous for its beautiful landscape and excellent weather. Mount Kanchenjunga is the third highest peak in the world. The Darjeeling-Rangeet passenger ropeway is the longest of its kind in the continent. You can explore the tea gardens, taste the delicious momos and enjoy the toy train ride uphill. Darjeeling remains best accessible from New Jalpaiguri via Kurseong or Sikkim. Bagdogra Airport is the nearest air base. Avoid visiting during the monsoons!


ManaliAnother prominent Himalayan retreat in Himachal Pradesh, Manali is accessible from Shimla and Kullu or via the Rohtang Pass way. The best time to visit Manali is June to October. The Rohtang Pass remains close from November-May. Manali features the perfect blend of tranquility, dense forest, rivers, beautiful resorts and adventure sports. Pony and yak rides are also popular on the Kullu Valley. The Beas River flowing past Manali offers rafting opportunities. This hill station is also an important base for trekking to the Beas Kund and Chandrakhani Pass. Tourist attractions in Manali include Hidima Devi Temple, Maa Sharvani Temple and Vashist hot springs. You can travel to Solang Valley, Rahala Waterfalls and Rozy Falls that are15-18 km drive from Manali. The Manali Gompa is an important Buddhist establishment.


MunnarThe only and picturesque hill station in Kerala is Munnar. It was also the erstwhile summer resort for the British Raj just like Shimla. This charming range on the Western Ghats is well known for its thriving flora and fauna, sublime climate and sprawling tea gardens. The dense pine, oak and sandalwood forests also add to the charm of the place. It is a good place to have a glimpse of rural Kerala. Scenic attractions of Munnar comprise the Blossom Park, Atukkad Waterfalls and the Mattupetti Dam. The Eravikulam National Park remains of the best places for wildlife enthusiasts. At a short distance from Munnar town, Kundala Lake is another major stop over. Bird watching and picnic can make your day here.


OotyThe British called Ooty, now Nilgiris, as their summer headquarters. This hill station in Tamil Nadu that is accessible from Bangalore, Mangalore and Mysore. The peak season in Ooty is between April-June and the hills remain crowded. To see seasonal flowering, you should visit during September-October. December-February often register extreme cold temperature. The smaller hills here are covered with eucalyptus trees and the tea gardens are worth a visit. Ooty Lake and the Government Botanical Garden remains the main draw for tourists who spend hours in these two spots. The lake facilitates boating and offers scenic views of the nearby mountains.


Nainital Nainital is the most visited hill station in Uttarakhand. It is a part of the Kumaon Hill region and well known for its emerald beauty, lakes and landscape rejuvenating the senses of the travelers. The Naini Lake, Mall road and St John's Church are top places to visit here. You can opt for an excursion to Bhimtal Lake, Naina Devi Temple and the Nakuchia Lake as well.


GangtokGangtok is the capital of Sikkim and one of the acclaimed hill stations in the country. The picturesque landscape, market places and ancient monasteries will make your visit here a memorable one. The snow-capped Kanchenjunga Peak has clear views from Gangtok city. With a dominant Buddhist culture, Gangtok is replete with natural attractions and is known as the Switzerland of the East. Some of the fascinating places to see in and around Gangtok are Enchey Monastery, Doprupchen Monastery and Do-drul-Chyorten gompa. The flower show of Gangtok is famous among tourist visiting during March-April.


GulmargThe famous ski resort of India, Gulmarg is situated in Jammu and Kashmir. Experience the highest gondola ride in the world, drive around in sledges and play in the snow while you are vacationing in Gulmarg. The ski season in Gulmar begins in mid-December during the Christmas Eve drawing thousands of tourists. Photography is another interesting activity for naturists. You can see the LOC and Nanga Parbat region from Gulmarg peaks. It is freezing cold with temperatures falling below minus almost throughout the year!


ShillongShillong is dubbed as the Abode of Clouds and is the capital of Meghalaya. The undulating hills, waterfalls, dense pine forests and small hamlets make Shillong a lovely hill station to visit. A series of waterfalls and lakes will be part of your sightseeing tour here such as Elephant Falls, Wards Lake, Umiam Lake, Beadon Falls and Sweet Falls. Among the cultural attractions are Butterfly Museum, Don Bosco Museum and a golf course.


KodaikanalKodaikanal is a sought after hill station in Tamil Nadu having easy accessibility from Bangalore and other parts of Karnataka. Falling on the Palani Hill range, the pleasant climate here offers you the ultimate charm of a hill station. Kodai Road to the hill station is a drive of around 80 km. It is popularly referred to as the Princess of the Hill Stations. The Berijam Lake, Silver Cascade waterfalls, Bryant Park and Kodai Lake are popular tourist places here. The Kurinji Flower is in bloom here once in every 12 years and the blue hue in the valley was last seen in 2006.