Guest Post – Top 10 Hill Stations of India

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While most people will know of India’s famous beach spots and bustling cities, India’s hill stations offer lush mountain getaways for much needed respite. From forested valley views to lush green tea, coffee and spice plantations the hill stations are high altitude towns typically used as summer retreats to escape from the heat of the cities.

With opportunities to explore great trekking trails and discover culture and history they make a well worth addition to any Indian itinerary. Here are ten top hill station retreats to choose from.

 

1.       Ooty – With an impressive title of ‘Queen of Hills’, Ooty or Udhagamandalam has been one of the most popular hill stations of India for a long time. The summer capital during the British regime, Ooty has many attractions such as the Botanical Garden, Tribal Research Museum, Race Course, Doddabetta view point, Thread Garden and ofcourse the charming hill toy train.

2.       Coonoor – The lesser visited but even more beautiful neighbour to Ooty, Coonoor is often missed by regular holiday goers, making it even more peaceful. Sprawling tea gardens and wonderful views of the valley below is what makes this land of the ‘Todas’ so special. Lamb’s Rock, Laws falls and The Dolphin Nose Viewpoint and ofcourse some tea tasting lies in store for you!

3.       Shimla – North Indian city dwellers always head one of the most loved hill stations, Shimla, for summer holidays. The bustling mall road, horse rides and misty evenings bring back memories for many. Shimla lives in the glory of its aristocratic occupancy by the British. Soak in the legacy and indulge in activities like a trip to the Jakhu Temple and Kufri

4.       Dharamsala – An abode of serenity, Dharamsala is home to exiled Tibetan leader, His Holiness Dalai Lama. If you are getting in touch with your spiritual self, visit the Norbulingka Institute, Aryan Yoga and Reiki Centre, the Namgyalma Stupa and the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, or alternatively enjoy splendid trekking and Himalayan views.

5.       Coorg – Coffee lovers should book tickets to India’s coffee capital. An assortment of food, hiking trails, cultural interactions and activities make Coorg one of the most visited tourist spots in South of India.  Don’t miss the Dubare Elephant Camp for the chance to get up close and personal to these gentle giants.

6.       Manali – The gateway to vast stretches of Ladakh, Manali is the most charming hill station of Himachal Pradesh. Old Manali has been on the travel map for hippies for the many decades and is growing in popularity. Try some great food and find odd things to shop for in the Old Manali Market. Adventure sports like Zorbing and Paragliding can also be done under expert supervision. For a religious infusion, visit the Hidimba Temple.

7.       Munnar – The land of tea gardens and cloudy valleys, Munnar is the proud hill station of the otherwise coastal Kerala. Tea and spice plantations make a wonderful backdrop to your holiday. Long walks, some tea picking and tasting & mild treks are some of the things that will keep you busy. The Tea Museum, Top station, Echo Point, Rajamalai, Chinnakanal and Anayirangal are some of the places one can visit.

8.       Srinagar – The lakes, shikaras, floating flower markets and the beautiful Kashmiri locals add to the glamorous set up of Srinagar, at the base of the Himalayas. Srinagar offers plenty of opportunities for rest and relaxation. Visit the Shankaracharya Temple, Hazratbal Shrine and the Mughal Gardens.

9.       Wayanad – Tropical climate, lush green vicinity and a diverse flora and fauna await you at the North East edge of Kerala. One of the most picturesque forested regions in India, Wayanad is perfect for wildlife and bird-watching enthusiasts. Stay amidst the green expanse and fill your days with long walks, mild treks & exploring the spice and coffee plantations.

10.   Yercaud – Centrally located from important cities in both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, Yercaud is nestled in the Shevaroy Hills. About 4970 ft above sea level, Yercaud is a perfect getaway from the heat of Chennai. Visit the Yercaud Lake, Killiyur Falls, Bear’s Cave, Lady’s Seat and the Pagoda Point to pack your days with fun.

 

This feature was written by Mahindra Homestays (http://www.mahindrahomestays.com/) who have homestay accommodation available in all these hill stations and can help plan a full itinerary. On their website there are destination guides available for all these hill stations with information about sights to see and the best time to visit.

 

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