Most of the hill stations in India were developed by the British, around a central mall, to rest from the oppressive heat of summer. Many have picturesque lakes as their focal point, which makes them excellent places for boating activities. One thing is for sure, that there will be no shortage of things to do in any of the hill stations in India. And to add to the adventure, it is possible to take a toy train to some of the hill stations. You will find hill stations throughout India.
If you are planning to visit India you can also take the Palace on Wheels train to explore the beautiful destinations.
Here we mentioned 10 of the most popular hill stations in India are:
Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, delights visitors with its lovely lakes and relaxing houseboats. In fact, lakes and gardens are in such abundance there is that Srinagar is often referred to as the “land of lakes and gardens.” The gardens have a clearly Mughal influence, as many of them were cultivated by Mughal emperors. Asia’s largest tulip garden is located in Srinagar, with a tulip festival held every April. Srinagar is a great place to visit if you are a golf lover, as there are a number of courses there.
Manali, Himachal Pradesh
Manali, with its relaxing Himalayan backdrop, offers a mixture of tranquility and adventure that makes it one of the most popular destinations in northern India. You can do as little or as much as you want there. Located in the Kullu Valley of Himachal Pradesh, it is a magical place surrounded by pine coolbosque and the Beas scrambled river, which give it a special energy.
The Nainital Hill station, in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, was a popular summer retreat for the British during the time they ruled India. It has an emerald, serene lake and action filled strip called The Mall, full of restaurants, shops, hotels and markets. Enjoy one of the many forest walks, explore the surroundings on the back of the horse or relax in a boat on the lake.
Mussoorie, located about an hour from Derahdun in Uttarakhand, is a weekend destination for North Indians, as well as newlyweds. One of the reasons for Mussoorie’s popularity is that it has a large number of facilities specially developed for tourists. Take a cable car to Gun Hill, enjoy a beautiful walk way behind the camel, have a picnic at Kempty Falls or ride a horse to Lal Tibba (the highest peak in Mussoorie) .Mussoorie also offers a magnificent view of the Cordillera del Himalayas.
Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
Shimla used to be the summer capital of the British Raj when they ruled India. Now it is the capital of the state of Himachal Pradesh. This wonderfully cool and charming city stretches along a mountain ridge, surrounded by forests of oaks, pines and rhododendrons. It is very famous for its colonial-style buildings and historic railroad. The ancient church of Christ, with its beautiful stained glass windows, is one of the most emblematic of Shimla. Another is the Viceregal Lodge on Observatory Hill. This can be seen on a historical tour of Shimla . There are lots of adventure sports and short walks on offer in the vicinity as well.
If you like tea, a visit to Munnar, in Kerala, is a must! The region is famous for its extensive tea plantations. Kundala tea plantations, which line a picturesque lake, offer the best opportunity to see the selected and processed tea and taste fresh tea directly from the gardens. The area has been blessed with the natural beauty of foggy hills and forests full of wildlife and exotic plants. Adventure lovers can trek to Anamudi, the highest peak in South India, explore Eravikulam National Park or go rock climbing and paragliding.
Ooty, Tamil Nadu
Founded in the 19th century by the British as the summer headquarters of the Madras government, Ooty is now a relaxing place to escape the summer heat in Tamil Nadu. If you travel during the high season in April and May, be prepared to be crowded though! Ooty’s most popular attractions include the 22-hectare government Botanical Garden (a flower show is held there every May as part of the Summer Festival), boating on Lake Ooty and climbing Dodabetta Peak for an excellent view of the hills of Nilgiri.
Darjeeling, West Bengal
It is also famous for its Darjeeling tea gardens. In addition, it has been blessed with an impressive view of Mount Kanchenjunga, the world of the third highest peak. Some of Darjeeling’s most popular attractions include historic toy train, monasteries, botanical gardens, a zoo, and the Darjeeling-Rangeet Valley cable car passenger cable car (the longest cable car in Asia). Darjeeling is a wonderful place to stroll and explore markets, villages and tea plantations. Don’t visit during the monsoon season though – the region is one of the wettest places in India!
Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu
Isolated Kodaikanal is located 120 kilometers from Madurai in the Palani hills of Tamil Nadu. Its name means “Forest gift”, and you will find many deflora and wildlife varieties there. Orchards of Pear trees and charming buildings with gable roofs, will welcome you when entering the city. There is an annual horticultural demonstration at Bryant Park Botanic Gardens in May, waterfalls, where you can enjoy a picnic next door, boating on the lake and lots of walking trails. Herbs and aromatherapy oils are some of the most interesting things to buy in Kodaikanal, with eucalyptus oils, being particularly popular.
The closest hill station to Mumbai in Maharashtra, Matheran offers plenty of trails and viewpoints. The only thing about her and what makes her so special is that all vehicles are prohibited there – even bicycles. It is a relaxing place to rest away from any noise and pollution. Get there by taking the scenic toy train and then riding around.