Hill stations are prominent features of India tours and extremely popular among travelers. Boasting of the likes of Himalayas, Vindhya, and Aravalli mountain ranges, the country has a number of impressive hill stations. The British rule resulted in about 50 of the 80-odd hill stations in the Indian subcontinent. These stations were developed by the British to escape the heat during summers. Many Indian rulers also built hill stations for leisure. Here’s a list of five most scenic hill stations in the country:-
- Darjeeling, West Bengal
- Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir
- Nainital, Uttarakhand
- Manali, Himachal Pradesh
- Mussoorie, Uttarakhand
1. Darjeeling, West Bengal
Darjeeling, renowned for its massive tea estates, is a beautiful town and a hub of West Bengal tourism. Offering pristine views of the imposing Mount Kanchenjunga, Darjeeling over the years has been one of the most popular and romanticized hill stations in India. An early morning drive to witness the sunrise from Tiger point offers breathtaking views of the great mountain. The historic toy train ride, the cable car ride, Senchal Lake, Ghoom Monastery, the Observatory Hill, Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, and Himalayan Mountaineering Institute are some of the many wonders of this elegant town. Darjeeling is also a heaven for adventure enthusiasts with top-notch white water rafting, paragliding, trekking and camping etc options available.
2. Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir
One of Bollywood’s most famous shooting locations, Gulmarg is paradise on earth. It offers stunning views of the snow-clad Himalayan range. Gulmarg is as mesmerizing as a hill station could be. It is a popular ski destination one of the best in Asia. Other winter sports like tobogganing, snowboarding, and heli-skiing also bring travelers to Gulmarg. The Gulmarg Gondola, world’s second highest operating cable car system at almost 4,000 meters above ground level, carries people to Mount Apharwat which hosts these sports. Situated at an altitude of 2,650 meters, the Gulmarg Golf Course is the highest green golf course in the world. The town also offers some great jewelry, pashmina, and souvenir options.
3. Nainital, Uttarakhand
Situated in the Kumaon range in Uttarakhand, Nainital is a picturesque town known as the ‘Lake District of India’ and one of the highlights of North India tours. One of the most popular honeymoon destinations in India, the town also offers a wide range of activities for the solo traveler. Adventure lovers have parasailing, horse-riding, kayaking, canoeing, and rock climbing to look forward to. Other popular tourist spots are Sher-Ka-Danda Ridge, Tiffin Top Mountain, Guano Hills, Gurney House, Naina Lake, and Nanda Devi Temple. The ropeway ride to Sher-Ka-Danda Ridge offers spectacular views.
4. Manali, Himachal Pradesh
Another popular destination for nature and adventure lovers, Manali is renowned for its snow-clad peaks and lush forests. This town based in the Kullu Valley offers an impressive array of activities and is the jewel in the crown of Himachal Pradesh tourism. Trekking, rock climbing, camping, heli-skiing, rock climbing, trekking, and rafting are among the most sought-after sports here. Tibetan monasteries, Solang Valley, Rohtang Pass, Hidimba Devi Temple, Bhrigu Lake, Pandoh Dam, Manali Sanctuary, Beas River, and Great Himalayan National Park are worth exploring in this beautiful town.
5. Mussoorie, Uttarakhand
Mussoorie, located about 35 kms from Dehradun, offers a glittering view of the Doon valley and Shiwalik ranges in the south and the Himalayas in the north. The town is famous for nature walks. The bustling Mall road, the cable car rides up to the Gun Hill, the views from its highest point Lal Tibba, the Kempty falls, and Lake Mist are some of Mussoorie’s many attractions. It is also called the ‘Gateway’ to Yamunotri and Gangotri Shrines of Northern India.