All of us have a bucket list; of places we want to visit, the crazy stuff that we wish to do at least once before we die. Leaving the crazy to be decided by you in your moments of an adrenaline rush, we have crafted a list of some of the top hill stations in India that you must visit once. Add the ones you feel beckon the traveler in you, to your list and then pack your bags to start ticking the boxes on it. Hill stations are topping the travel charts everywhere, what with temperature soaring every day without a pause. But then, you wouldn’t want to go to ones like Shimla, Mussoorie or Nanital; hill stations receiving huge footfalls but losing their charm because of the same. This list has places all over India, some of which are yet untapped but are resplendent with scenic beauty to the hilt.
- Chail– Hills shrouded with a cloudy blanket, is the first sight that welcomes you in Chail. Located at a height of 2250 above sea level in Himachal Pradesh, the place appeases every kind of traveler. So, there is the nature lover who sits in the balcony of his hotel room, watching the mountains. And then there is the adventurous kind who is busy trekking and horse riding while in Chail. For the wildlife admirer, there is the Chail Wildlife Sanctuary and the Himalayan Nature Park in Kufri, a satellite town to Chail and equally bestowed with nature’s bounty.
- Gulmarg-Dotted with snow clad mountains and long stretches of flower-bearing meadows, Gulmarg is the haven for someone with a desire to witness nature’s artistry at its best. Set in the Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir, the place will satiate your childhood desires of having a snowball fight to the fullest. The melange of breathtaking ambiance and a whiff of adventure is what make Gulmarg a hill station that you must visit once. The place is home to the oldest skiing resort and Asia’s largest cable car project, the Gulmarg Gondola. If you are an adventure junkie, Gulmarg is the place that should find a place in your travel diaries.
- Leh-Encompassed by two of the world’s mightiest mountain ranges, the Great Himalaya and the Karakoram, Leh is nature’s gift to mankind. The hilly town is perched in the eastern parts of Jammu and Kashmir, at a height of 3,505 m above sea level. With a landscape that needs no filter on any apps to reflect it’s splendid and magnificent scenery, Leh captures the essence of a hill station to perfection. Gorging on out of the world momos and instant noodles throughout the day is also a part of adventure here and is sure to give you a foodgasm. For the bravehearts, there is always the thrill of traversing the winding paths of Leh Ladakh on a bike.
- Dharamshala– Abode to the Dalai Lama, Dharamshala is a mystical land of sorts. Fringed with cedar trees on the edge of the Himalayas, this hill station embraces the Indo-Tibet culture and heritage. Whether you are on your honeymoon or on an adventure trip with your friends, Dharamshala offers a scintillating sensory exhilaration to one and all. The silence of the monasteries reconnects one’s soul to nature. Namgyal Monastery which is one of the top attractions of Dharamshala houses almost 200 monks. Awaken the yogi in you by practicing some Kundalini yoga in the idyllic Himalayas or take the famous trek from Mcloedganj to Triund
- Idukki and Munnar– Curating a list of the hill stations in India, without the inclusion of one from God’s own country Kerala, would be a blasphemy.A not so clichéd choice, Idukki vows you instantly with its pristine beauty and serenity. The place is a treasure trove of sanctuaries, tea gardens, and spice plantations. With its panoramic view, a sojourn in Idukki relaxes the mind and the soul. You are bewitched by the place through its quiet surroundings, broken only by the sound of water of the Idukki dam. This arch dam is the largest in the country and takes its place of pride along with Anamudi, the highest peak in India, south of the Himalayas. Most densely populated hill station of Kerala, Idukki makes you fall in love with it instantly. In the Idukki district, itself is Munnar, a canvas painted with scenic mountains, rolling hilltops, tea and coffee plantations. The subtle aroma of fresh tea leaves hangs in the air, making you reach out for that fresh cuppa while soaking in the beauty of the plantations and foliage covered peaks.
- Shillong-Popularly known as the ‘Scotland of the East’, Shillong in Meghalaya enthralls you with its hills, cascading waterfalls, and a periphery lined with pine trees. Numerous lakes, waterfalls and the city’s love for music have put it on the radar of the avid travelers. A hill station with the attributes of a metropolitan, Shillong offers a cultural extravaganza to its visitors. From rock climbing, rappelling, paragliding, river rafting to trekking, there is a wide array of adventure activities to indulge in. Blessed with an abundant rainfall due to its proximity to Cherapunjee, Shillong is rampant with greens.
- Mount Abu– Like a mirage in the midst of the desert, Mount Abu is the only hill station in Rajasthan. Diametrically different from a typical hill station, the place is nestled in the Aravalli Range. Resonating with a myriad of myths and legends dating back to the Rajput era, Mount Abu has a colorful history. The hill station is also frequented by members of the Jain community to pay homage at the famous Jain temples in the area. With a moderate climate all year round, this hill station is forever bustling with tourists. Add to the thrill of your trip by renting a motorbike and exploring the place with your partner in crime.
Let loose the traveler in you now and bike away to Leh or pack your yoga mat for Dharamshala. Bon voyage!