India is one of the most popular tourist destinations across the globe. One of the primary values of the Indian society is “Atithi Devo Bhava”, which means “Guests are equal to God”, making it one of the tourist-friendly destinations for Indians and foreigners alike. A land of great diversity, India has a plethora of vacation spots to choose from. Apart from awe-inspiring beaches, deserts, and forests, India boasts multiple hill stations.
The landscape of India is dotted with various mountain ranges like Himalyas, Vindhyas, and Aravallis, and each one has its own unique beauty. The presence of hill stations in our country dates back to the era of British rule. To escape the heat and humidity of the low lying regions, the British set up hill stations, where they would often go on vacations. The practice retained its popularity even after the British rule was over, and many more hill stations gradually emerged across the country. If you’re looking for a getaway to the hills, you might be confused about which hill station to visit. Sit back and relax, because we’re here to help you decide.
Here is a list of some of the best hill stations in India:
Featured in the movie “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani”, this lovely hill station is located in Himachal Pradesh. Mesmerising snow capped peaks, lush greenery and a chill in the air make Manali the perfect destination for a honeymoon.
Whether you’re looking for an adventurous escapade or a serene getaway, Manali has got you covered. It also boasts other tourist spots like Rohtang Pass, Mall Road, and many Tibetan Monasteries that are worth visiting.
If you’ve read anything by the renowned writer Ruskin Bond, Mussoorie is bound to be on your travel bucket list. Situated at the foothills of the Himalayas, this enchanting hill station in Uttarakhand is riddled with places to visit and things to do, which makes it a tourist favourite.
Kempty Falls and Lal Tibba are popular spots to visit, along with Mussoorie Lake. An evening stroll along the Mall Road will make you never want to leave.
Another gem in Uttarakhand’s long list of tourist destinations, Nainital is named after the Naini Lake, an eye-shaped lake in the region.
The narrow lanes of the bazaars, the multitude of adventure sports, and the breathtaking views are sure to keep you enchanted throughout your stay. The place also boasts several photogenic locations, and is perfect for a family trip or a honeymoon alike.
Shillong is popularly known as “Scotland of the East”, and truly lives up to the name. This city is the capital of Meghalaya, and is dotted with gorgeous rolling hills, lush forests, magnificent lakes and breathtaking sunsets.
Apart from various adventure sports and scenic beauty, the hill station is also a great place to explore the rich culture of Meghalaya and learn new things. Elephant Falls, Lady Hydari Park, and Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Culture are some of the places we highly recommend you to visit!
Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim, and is nestled in the lap of the Himalayas. Words can’t capture the beauty of this hill station. The Tsomgo Lake and peaks of Kanchenjunga make for awe-inspiring views that no camera can do justice to.
Quaint little shops offer a glimpse into the local handicraft, the bars and restaurants serve international and local cuisine, and there is plenty of opportunity for adventure sports. If you’re seeking respite from the hectic city life and want to hide away, this is the place for you.
Another beauty from the North East, Tawang is located in Arunachal Pradesh. A popular spot for Buddhist pilgrims, Tawang houses the biggest Tibetan monastery in the country.
It is also dotted with several pristine lakes, and has a ski lift, so you can catch a gorgeous aerial view of the place. Tawang is all about scenic beauty, fresh mountain air, and steep hills. Get lost here, and you are sure to find yourself.
Possibly one of the most popular tourist destinations in India, Shimla needs no introduction. The capital of Himachal Pradesh was once the summer capital of the British, who would spend summer holidays in this hill station.
The place is rich with Himachali culture, and you can explore the local cuisine or learn a few steps of the traditional ‘Nati’ dance. Shimla also boasts several colonial buildings, and the Mall Road is a popular spot for shopping.
It might be surprising for you to know that there are hill stations in the southern part of India. Munnar is known as the “Kashmir of South India”, and is situated in the state of Kerala. The hill station is home to scenic waterfalls, tea plantations, coffee gardens, and virgin greenery. A trek through the Eravikulam National Park is a must, where you can spot the Nilgiri tahr.
If you visit Munnar at the right time, you can also bask in the mesmerising view of Neelakurinji flowers, which bloom only once in twelve years.
Gulmarg translates to “Meadow of Flowers”, and the place truly does justice to its name. This hill station in Kashmir will remind you of your favourite Disney movie, with its captivating scenic beauty. In spring, flowers of various colours bloom across the place. The snowy slopes are excellent for skiing and trekking, making it a perfect spot for adventure seekers.
The Gulmarg Gondola is one of the highest cable cars in the world, and offers a bird’s eye view of Kashmir’s beauty in all its glory. A great option for families, friends, and couples alike, Gulmarg is certain to leave you speechless.
Dalhousie earned its name from Lord Dalhousie, a British viceroy who founded this place in the 1850’s as a summer retreat. This hill station in Himachal Pradesh is rich with Hindu and British culture, and is home to several temples and churches. It offers a spectacular vista of the snow capped Dhauladhar range, and the pristine river adds to the panoramic view.
Dalhousie is a great place to explore Himachali culture. The Mall Road offers a great shopping experience, and multiple items unique to Himachal Pradesh can be purchased as gifts and souvenirs.
Also known as “Queen of the Hills”, Darjeeling is a hill station in West Bengal. The place houses the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, also called the “Toy Train”, which makes for a lovely ride. Lush, evergreen forests dot the landscape of Darjeeling.
Tiger Hill, Ava Art Gallery, Rock Garden, Peace Pagoda and Botanical Garden make for some beautiful spots for pictures. Sip some world-famous tea while you bask in the panoramic view of the mighty Kanchenjunga, and you will never want to go home.
A hill station in Rajasthan seems impossible, but Mount Abu will make you forget that you are in the desert state of India. Rightly known as the Shimla of Rajasthan, Mount Abu lies in the lap of the Aravallis, and features lakes, forests, rivers, and a pleasant climate.
The hill station is home to many Hindu and Jain temples, the Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Achalgarh Fort. Visit with your family, friends, or significant others, and you are sure to experience a memorable time.
Located in Tamil Nadu, Kodaikanal translates to “Gift of the Forest” and is also known as the “Princess of the Hills”. Established by the British in 1845 as a summer retreat, the hill station has retained its popularity till date.
A sparsely populated region, it is the perfect place to escape the noise of the city and rejuvenate your senses. Must visit spots include Kodai Lake, Green Valley View, Dolphin’s Nose, and Kodaikanal Solar Observatory. The place also offers a great shopping experience, with handmade chocolates, herbal teas and coffee, spices, and herbal oils being the main attractions.
Auli is a delight to visit in summers and in winters. In the summertime, the place is a breathtaking green meadow full of flowers, while in wintertime it transforms into a white snowland straight out of a fairytale.
The snowy hills are excellent for skiing, and the cable car offers an aerial view of the place. The place also has a spiritual flair, and is believed to be connected to the Ramayana. The mountains of Nanda Devi and Neelkanth make for a fantastic view, while Vishnuprayag adds to the divine spirit of the hill station.
The Nilgiris have charmed tourists from all over the world, and Ooty is the best place to experience the beauty of the picture perfect landscape of the Blue Mountains. This hill station in Tamil Nadu is replete with places to visit and things to do.
A ride in the Nilgiri Toy Train is a must, and will bring out the child in you. Stroll in the bewitching Government Rose Garden, have a picnic on the banks of Ooty lake, or explore the local culture in The Tribal Museum—you will never get bored of the place.