If mountains make you scream with joy and a waterfall is what soothes your eyes, India is a perfect destination for you. Just glide into some of the top hill stations in India and be ready for an unforgettable holiday with your family and friends or a romantic getaway. A journey to serene and beautiful hill stations in India makes most of its visitors speechless while others describe it purely awesome!
14 Popular Hill Stations in India
1. Nainital, Uttarakhand
Situated in the outer Himalayas in between the Kumaon hill is one of the paradises in India named Nainital. The lush green forests along with snow-capped peaks of Deopatha, Naina and Ayarpatta is a place for nature lovers. This one of the top hill stations in India has a pear-shaped Naini lake, an ideal town for adventure seekers, local wildlife, camping, paragliding, kayaking, river rafting and lots more. Though, I believe this place is great for photographers who seek to capture some of the ethereal beauties of nature. Do not forget to visit some of the city’s prime attractions such as the Mall Road, Naini Lake, Naina Devi Temple, Nainital Zoo, Tiffin Top, Bhimtal lake and Jim Corbett National Park.
2. Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
This is yet another one of the highly loved hill stations in India which is nestled amidst snow-capped mountain and rhododendron, oak and pine forests. Shimla is the place where you can find many colonial-era structures along with a historic toy train that charms history lovers. Shimla was founded in the 18th-century and had served as the ‘Summer Capital of British’ when Britishers ruled India. To envisage the legacy, you can visit the Viceregal lodge that preserves beautiful Jacobethan-like buildings which have some ancient artefacts and paintings dated back to Britishers rule in India. Do visit the Ridge, Neo-Gothic style Church, Lord Hanuman temple named Jakhoo and Mall Road from where you can buy souvenirs. Additionally, the beautiful and natural landscape of the hill station can make you indulge in various recreational activities such as ice-skating, paragliding, camping, and short hiking.
3. Manali, Himachal Pradesh
Nestled in the banks of river Beas, lush greenery and Himalayas, Manali is one of the hill stations in India that is regarded as a prime destination for backpackers and adventurer. Many recreational activities are enjoyed by the visitors throughout the year that includes skiing and trekking. For history lovers and photographers, there is a Pagoda-shaped temple named Hadimba, Manu temple, Museum of Himachal Pradesh and Folk Art along with a few Tibetan monasteries. If you want to just relax your body and mind, visit Vashisht Hot water springs.
4. Darjeeling and Mirik, West Bengal
Darjeeling is one of the hill stations in India that is located at an altitude of 2,042 metres in the Himalayas region. The endless slopes of the tea plantation in Darjeeling along with snow-capped mountains is a must-see for a picture-perfect postcard feeling. You can explore various tea estates in Darjeeling, Kanchenjunga peak and Tiger hill for spectacular views. The city also has a beautiful Buddhist monastery and meanders running through the botanical gardens. Do not forget to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Toy train ride which passes through the Batasia Loop and War memorial.
Visitors visiting Darjeeling visit Mirik too which is another hill station in India famous for its spectacular beauty. Some of the famous sites in Mirik that can be added to your travel list includes Mirik or Sumedu lake, Deosi Dara, Devisthan and Ramitay Dara. In Mirik, you may find various adventurous activities to do such as horse riding, boating, and paragliding. To reach there, all you need to do is take a cab drive from Bagdogra airport or New Jalpaiguri railway station.
5. Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir
Needless to say, Srinagar is the Summer Capital of India which is located in between the Kashmir valley, on Jhelum River banks. Srinagar is also known as ‘Venice of the East’ since it preserves historical artefacts and has a fascinating culture. Many recreational sights make Srinagar one of the most sought-after hills stations in India, especially for photographers and travellers. If you visit Srinagar, do visit Mughal gardens, beautiful mosques and temples in the city. At the heart of Srinagar, you may find Dal Lake that is famous for its floating garden, houseboat and floating vegetable market. You can enjoy a shikara ride of Dal Lake and if you visit in April, do attend a popular festival celebrated by the locals, Tulip festival that features cultural and million blooms programs with Kashmiri dance and cuisine.
6. Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir
Popularly known as the Meadow of Flowers, Gulmarg is not less than a fairy-tale land and is arguably one of the most picturesque hill stations in India. Gulmarg is also called a skiing destination in India and has the longest cable car in Asia. This place is a paradise for adventure seekers and ones who loves winter sports such as snowboarding and heli-skiing. For land activities, you can enjoy golfing, trekking and camping. Some of the major city attractions include the Golf course, Gulmarg Gondola, Maharani temple, Shark fin and St Mary’s Church.
7. Munnar, Kerala
Munnar is the crown jewel of Kerala and one of the most charming hill stations in India. The place is popular for its tea plantations, winding lanes, misty hills and mountain peak views. You can visit tea gardens and the Tata tea museum to watch how tea is processed. They provide samples for tasting freshly processed tea plucked from the tea garden. For adventure enthusiast, Munnar has trekking facilities to reach one of the Southern India highest peak, Anamudi. You can go rock climbing or paragliding, discover a rose garden near Mattupety lake or explore the town of Devikulam.
8. Mussoorie, Uttarakhand
Yet another one of the popular hill stations in India situated in Uttarakhand state is Mussoorie which is a short drive away from Dehradun. This hill station is nestled in the Himalayan foothills and is a popular destination among travellers since the colonial era. From natural beauty to snow-capped mountains and lush green forest to a waterfall, the place has plentiful for visitors and adventurers. You can indulge yourself in many sports activities like rappelling, zip-lining, trekking and boating. Some of the major attractions include Mussoorie lake, Kempty Waterfalls and Jharipani along with Camel’s Back Road that has a rock formation like a camel’s hunched back. The highest mountain peak in Mussoorie is Lal Tibba. Do travel above the mesmerising Doon valley with a cable car that travels some 400 ft above the area.
9. Ooty, Tamil Nadu
Ooty is one of the most famous travel destinations in South India. Nestled amidst the Nilgiris hills, this one of the spectacular hill stations in India has breath-taking landscapes, mountains, lakes and tea plantations that can keep you busy for days. Go for trekking or involve in activities like boating, ambling and hand gliding. For nature lovers, Ooty has a Botanical Garden which homes some exotic and rare plants along with a rose garden that has more than 3,600 rose varieties. For architecture enthusiasts, this hill station has many colonial-style cottages and for culture lover, there is a Wax Museum, St Stephen church and Tea Museum.
10. Mount Abu, Rajasthan
Probably, the only hill station in the desert land of India is Mount Abu which is a perfect getaway for the ones who suffer sweltering heat in the summers. This place is visited by tourist throughout the year particularly the ones who want to get close to nature and move away from the modern world noise. This hill station in India has pristine trekking trails, picturesque lakes, hilltop temples, lush greenery, ancient forts and beautiful mountain views that make Mount Abu an ideal place for travellers, outdoor adventurers and history lovers.
11. Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh
At an altitude of about 1,487 in the Kangra Valley is one of the hill stations in India that is divided into two parts, Mcleodganj and Dharamshala. The two parts are separated due to a village named Ganchen Kyishong. Many travellers and family vacationers visit Dharamshala and Mcleodganj during the summers. Though you can visit the hill station during winters also to envisage snowfall. Some of the major attractions in Dharmshala includes Cricket Stadium, Bhagsu Falls, Monolithic Rock temples, Chamunda temple, Naam art gallery and Triund hills. Just like other top hill stations in India, Dharamshala has many picturesque views along with adventurous activities to keep visitors busy. You can reach Dharamshala easily from cities like Chandigarh, Delhi and Ambala through bus or by train.
12. Auli, Uttarakhand
One can describe Auli simply by the word ‘awesome’. This one of the most beautiful hill stations in India is a great place to travel in summers to escape the heat and to enjoy adventurous activities. Like Gulmarg, Auli offers many opportunities like skiing, trekking and river rafting. You can trek passing Gorson Bugyal and Kuari Pass or enjoy the mesmerising views of the Neelkanth and Nanda Devi mountains. If you visit Auli between April to June, visit Nanda Devi National Park and for the months, June to October, Valley of flowers is an ideal location. Other than this, you can visit Chenab Lake, Auli artificial lake and Chattarkund throughout the year.
13. Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh
One of the most beautiful tourist destinations in Himachal Pradesh and the best hill station in India is Dalhousie. The place offers a panoramic view of the Dhauladhar Mountains, Dainkund Peak, Bakrota hills, and Alla. You may find many cosy hotels and places to stay in Dalhousie which makes this hill station perfect for honeymooners. Adventurous Things to do in Dalhousie includes trekking, boating, watching wildlife at Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary and horse riding.
14. Coorg, Karnataka
Coorg is yet another popular hill station in Southern India and well-known for its coffee plantation. The tranquil landscape and picture-perfect sights make Coorg a favourite among honeymooners. This place has cold weather with a cosy hotel tailored for romantic couples. Adventure seekers can trek, do fishing, camping, heritage site tour, river rafting and quad biking besides visiting places such as Dubare Elephant camp, Coffee plantations, Irupu falls and Madikeri Fort among many others.