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hill stations in India

If the last two years have turned you into a mindful and slow-paced traveller, you are not the only one. The pandemic has changed the way we travel. As a result, rare experiences and offbeat places have found their takers. If you are looking forward to a peaceful summer holiday in the mountains, we’ve got your back. How about planning a mountain vacay to lesser-known hill stations in India where you could be one with nature?

Lesser-known hill stations in India for a peaceful summer getaway

Doodhpathri, Jammu and Kashmir

Also known as the Valley of Milk, Doodhpathri in Jammu and Kashmir makes for a great alternative to the touristy Gulmarg. The bowl-shaped valley is blessed with gorgeous alpine meadows dotted with pines, firs, and deodars. Nestled amidst the backdrop of the snow-clad peaks of the majestic Pir Panjal range, Doodhpathri is located at an altitude of 8,957 feet above sea level. You can reach here after a two-hour drive from Srinagar or trek from Yusmarg. The grassy meadows of Doodhpahtri are perfect for camping, so carry your tents and equipment.

Barog, Himachal Pradesh

Situated in the Solan district, the quaint and picturesque hill station of Barog is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Kalka- Shimla Railway. Being located at a distance of only 300km from Delhi, Barog makes for a nice offbeat summer getaway. When here, seek peace at the Dolanji Bon Monastery, camp amidst nature at the Barog Camping Grounds, walk through history at the fascinating Suketi Fossil Park, and visit the beautiful Jatoli Temple. To savour the best views of the hill station, visit Choor Chandni Peak. Perched at the height of 3,650 metres above sea level, the mountain peak is popular among trekkers, nature lovers, and landscape photographers.

Raithal, Uttarakhand

Sequestered in the Garhwal Himalayas, the remote village of Raithal is flocked by seasoned trekkers, who choose it as a base for the popular Dayara Bugyal trek. Untouched by commercial tourism, Raithal welcomes you with mist-clad green hills, ancient temples, and gorgeous traditional houses. Enjoy soulful nature walks in nearby villages like Natin, Dwari, and Gorsali. Plan a trek to Barso village and spend time with the locals. You must also visit the Someshwar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and the Saturn God. Raithal is also known for its rural empowerment initiative, The Goat Village. The project aims to offer affordable accommodation in earthen wood cottages, tents, and villas.

Yercaud, Tamil Nadu

A quaint hill station in Tamil Nadu, Yercaud is known as the Jewel of the South. Here, farms teeming with coffee and aromatic spices, and colonial structures offering history lessons, call for walking trails. The stunning Yercaud lake is surrounded by lush, verdant gardens. Boating and strolling by this lake comes highly recommended. The Anna Park houses a host of flora and organises an annual flower show during summers. For stunning views, head to the Lady’s Seat. There are also a host of fruit orchards and coffee and tea plantations to visit. Don’t forget to sample freshly-harvested avocados here.

Chikaldhara, Maharashtra

 

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Located in Maharashtra’s Amravati district, Chikhaldara is considered the state’s only coffee-producing hill station. Heavenly brews aside, the quaint retreat is surrounded by beautiful lakes, plunging waterfalls, mesmerising viewpoints, and exotic wildlife like barking deer, chousingha, and sambar deer. The former colonial hill station is guarded by the towering Satpura Range. When here, carve out time to visit the Narnala Fort, Tribal Museum, and Semadoh lake. You must also include the Gawilgarh Fort in your itinerary. If wildlife is what you love, head to the Melghat Tiger Reserve for a memorable safari.

Haflong, Assam

 

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Lush landscapes, cotton clouds, rolling green valleys, and magnificent hills are just some of the reasons that make Assam‘s Haflong worth visiting. Enjoy boating at the marvellous Haflong lake to dissolve all your weariness, or host a little picnic in the lap of nature with your loved ones. Head to the scenic town of Maibong, situated 48 kilometres away from Haflong. This quaint little place is replete with hills, waterfalls, and historical relics. Another must-visit attraction is the Panimoor Waterfalls. You can also plan treks to the villages around the waterfalls to discover the distinctive lifestyle of the villagers of the area. You may also fancy a trek to the Borail hills and enjoy a breathtaking view of the Barak valley.

Pelling, Sikkim

 

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Home to India’s first skywalk, Pelling in West Sikkim will charm you with its lush valleys, crisp air, and incredible views of the Khongchendzonga. Popular attractions here include the 17th-century Sanga Choling Monastery and Pemayangtse Monastery. History buffs would love to visit the ruins of the Rabdentse Palace. Another major attraction in Pelling is the recently-opened skywalk. Overlooking the 137-feet-tall statue of Chenrezig, which happens to be the fourth tallest statue in the northeastern state, the skywalk gives a panoramic view of the mighty Himalayas, the statue, the stairs leading up to it, and the golden prayer wheels on both sides.

Yelagiri, Tamil Nadu

Blessed to have consistent pre-monsoon-like weather, Yelagiri is truly a paradise for bikers and road trippers. This lesser-explored hill station is underscored by rolling hills, charming lakes, and verdant gardens. A visit here includes trekking rocky terrain to get to Jalagamparai falls, going on walks by the Punganoor lake, and testing your mettle with ziplining and rock climbing. The Vainu Bappu Observatory is another popular attraction. Head to the Swamimalai hills, the highest point in the region, for breathtaking views. You must also visit the Velavan Temple, dedicated to Lord Murugan. To enjoy local delicacies, visit the in-house restaurant at Sterling Yelagiri. 

Chaukori, Uttarakhand

This kaleidoscopic hill station is a traveller’s delight. The tiny hamlet of Chaukori is known to offer striking views of the Nanda Devi peak. Surrounded by rolling tea gardens, Chaukori is home to unspoiled terrains, deodar and pine jungles, and aromatic fruit orchards. This quaint village is also ideal for nature enthusiasts as it boasts breathtaking views of Panchchuli peaks. The picturesque hill station is home to several age-old temples. Must-visit temples in Chaukori include Mahakali Temple, Kapileshwar Mahadev Temple, Arjuneshwar Temple, Nag Mandir, and Ghunsera Devi Temple.

Mirik, West Bengal

If you are looking forward to a slow-paced holiday to beat the sultry city, ditch Darjeeling and head to Mirik. Blessed with spectacular views of the Khongchendzonga and sprawling tea plantations, Mirik offers rewarding nature trails. The centre of all attractions here is the pristine Samendu Lake. A short walk from the lakeshore takes you to the Shiv and Singh Devi temples. There are two Buddhist monasteries too. Soak in the old-world charm in the narrow alleys of the Mirik Bazaar, trek to the gorgeous Orange Valley, and explore the verdant plantations of oranges, tea, ginger, and cardamom. Rang Bhang and Manju are other major attractions in Mirik.

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