India, a land that is blessed with bountiful scenic locales, has a multitude of hill station, each more mind-blowing than the other that choosing a destination can become a bit of a chore. Never fear, we aim to fill this space with information that will allow you to make an informed choice or blindly just pick one and go for it!
For those of us who have read stories from Ruskin Bond want to be a part of this seemingly idyllic world and can satisfy this need by vacationing in hill stations. Mussoorie, referred to as the queen of hill stations, in Uttarakhand is among the top hill stations in India. Apart from the breath-taking panorama on offer, you as a tourist could take cable car rides, ride horseback to the highest point in Mussoorie or trek along Camel Back road. Nainital, is another of the set of glorious hill stations in Uttarakhand. The town of Nainital is built around Lake Naini which is a site of religious importance. This colonial hill station is one among the best hill stations in India and attracts a multitude of Indian and foreign tourists every year. If you find yourself in Nainital you can trek unto Naini Peak, visit the eco cave gardens and catch a glimpse of some rare and endemic animals in the Nainital Zoo. Other attractions include cable car rides, a visit to the Naina Devi temple and the Mall. Uttarakhand is home to approximately 30 major hill stations, all of them breathtaking and provide you, the tourist with plenty of activities to do. These hill stations near Delhi are easily accessible even by buses.
There are several places in Himachal Pradesh that can be ranked among the top 10 hill stations in India. In the town of Manali, you can trek through or drive through the Rohtang Pass, or ice skate, or paraglide; the activities are plenty. What one cannot get enough of is the sheer beauty of this hill town. Shimla is another colonial era town where you can be part of the 'heritage walk' from Scandal point, appreciate colonial era architecture through the numerous themed walks that you can participate in and absorb the solemnness of Christ Church.
Jammu and Kashmir
Some of the most beautifully remote hill stations in India lie in Jammu and Kashmir. The town of Phalagam is renowned for its trout fishing, several trek in idyllic landscapes and the annual pilgrimage to Amarnath caves. Gulmarg is famous for its ski slopes, cable car rides and exquisite golf courses. Gulmarg is renowned as the only heli-skiing resort in Asia. Patnitop is home to a number of picturesque spots ideal for trekking or picnics. The slopes of Patnitop are also suitable for skiing during winter.
As we move further South through the length of the country, there are plenty of other famous hill stations worth visiting. Among hill stations in Maharashtra, Panchgani reminds one of the bygone colonial era. With the Krishna River flowing on one side, this beautiful hill station will keep you occupied in marvelling the fine colonial architecture or resplendent Parsi homes or enjoying sunset picnic at Table Land. Colonial era summer capital town of Mahabaleshwar is easily accessible by car. Tourists in Mahabaleshwar can enjoy boating and fishing in Venna Lake, horseback rides to get around Mahabaleshwar, plenty of colonial era architecture and artifacts to marvel at and gawk at some spectacular scenery as viewed from Wilson, Elphinstone and Lodick points among various others.
Among the best hill stations in Karnataka situated in the western ghats, Chikmagalur is the most sought after destination with a trek to Kudremukh peak in every visitor's to do list. In chikmagalur you can cycle, trek, picnic, pitch tents to camp outside at nights. Agumbe, located in the Shimoga district, is rich in rainforest and visitors can trek through the forests hoping to catch a glimpse of the majestic King Cobra. The cream of the hillstations in Tamil Nadu are Ooty, Kodaikanal, Yercaud, Conoor and are all present on the western ghats and popular tourist destinations. Some of the popular hill stations in Kerala are Wayanad with Muthunga wildlife sanctuary which houses the largest population of elephants in Kerala, Munnar with Eravikulam National Park, Vagamon, Silent Hill, Idukki and Thekkady, home to Periyar Tiger Reserve.