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Best hill station in India

Discussion in 'Travel advice' started by SarlaMangla, Dec 7, 2016.

  1. SarlaMangla

    SarlaMangla New Member

    I wanted to get an opinion from a wide range of people about which they think is the best hill station in India. For me I have only been to Shimla so I can not say much to which is the best one, but I know there are plenty of travelers out there to have been to many hill stations across the country and I would like to know what they think about the which the best one is.
    Please also mention why you think it is the best hill station in India.
     


  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hi there, welcome to the forum!


    Overview

    India is a very diverse country in different aspects, even on its tourist destinations. The country has a myriad of natural getaways, heritage sites and of course, lovely hill stations. With over a hundred hill stations to choose from though, which ones stand out? Well, it really depends on your interests, whether you like peaceful getaways or maybe adventure ones. Or maybe you're more of a person who appreciates natural sceneries and attractions which some hill stations also have. One thing that all hill stations have in common though is that they have pleasant climate almost all-year round. Some even have snowfall during the winter season. Hill stations exude a certain calm, especially the offbeat ones, that can rejuvenate one's spirit, perfect for people who come from busy cities.

    Best Hill Stations in India

    The most popular ones in the north...

    1. Manali (Himachal Pradesh) - Topping this list is a hill station synonymous with the state of Himachal Pradesh, Manali. With the glorious Beas river flowing within the hill station, along with the unparalleled views of the snow-capped mountains, Manali is as picturesque as the way hill stations are always described. The cool breeze of the wind and the utmost serenity of the hill station has rendered many tourists mesmerised. Not to mention the number of adventure activities that you can indulge in here. If you visit the hill station during the winter months, you can try out adventure activities in the Solang Valley, like skiing or sledding. If you visit the hill station during the summer months, you can visit the Rohtang Pass, which opens by the end of May. You can still enjoy snow even during this time when you visit this attraction. A number of all-year round attractions can also be visited, starting with the temples. There's the Hadimba Devi Temple, which has this traditional style of architecture, with its four-tiered roof and carved wooden materials. The Vashisht Temple is dedicated to Rich Vashisht, one of the seven sages of Hinduism. It even has a hot water spring that is believed to heal the illnesses of devotees. You must also visit the Manu Temple, the only temple in India dedicated to the Indian sage, Manu. If you're visiting the hill station during monsoon season, you can explore some if its waterfalls, like the Jogini Waterfalls, Rahala Waterfalls and Jana Waterfalls. Although slightly on the popular side, Manali has retained its pristine beauty and it's highly possible to find a secluded area even in the midst of peak tourist season.
    • Must visit attractions - Solang Valley, Rohtang Pass, Hadimba Devi Temple, Vashisht Temple, Manu Temple, Jogini Waterfalls, Rahala Waterfalls and Jana Waterfalls
    2. Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) - Shimla, another hill station in Himachal Pradesh, also deserves a mention in this list. Once a summer capital for the British, the old colonial charm still prevails in Shimla. And despite being at the top list of every local and foreign tourist, the beauty of the hill station is still undeniable. The Viceregal Lodge, with its Victorian era style of architecture, is a sight that you cannot miss in the hill station. It was once the home for the British viceroys of India but has now been converted into a university. The Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex was once the cultural centre of the hill station, although only its theatre remains now. Still, it is one fine example of the British era style of architecture. Annandale, with its green landscapes, used to be a sports and cultural events ground for the British. Now though, the sprawling greenery is such a change of pace from the busy streets of Shimla, a must visit when in the hill station. There are also several religious attractions around the city, starting with the most famous one, the Jakhoo Temple. The bright red facade of the temple can certainly brighten the day of devotees and even the walk uphill leading to it is refreshing. A bit further from the city centre is a temple dedicated to Goddess Tara, the Tara Devi Temple. Since it is located in one of Shimla's peaks, the Tarav Parvat, you need to climb a bit to reach it, but you'd be rewarded by a commanding view of the city once you reach the temple itself. Taking you back to the bygone era but also has its fair share of modernity is the hill station of Shimla. No wonder it is one of the most popular hill stations in India today.
    • Must visit attractions - Viceregal Lodge, Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex, Annandale, Jakhoo Temple and Tara Devi Temple
    3. Ladakh (Jammu & Kashmir) - Ladakh is a very popular tourist destination in the Jammu & Kashmir state yet still doesn't see as much tourists as other hill stations. Perhaps this has something to do with the remoteness of the hill station, where you have to go through several high passes just to reach it. Or perhaps this has to do with the fact that the roads leading to Ladakh remain closed during the winter months because it gets blocked by heavy snow. As such, the landscapes of the region remain highly untouched by commercialism. But keep in mind that the landscapes here are quite different, it's the place where barren lands prevail and where civilisation is quite few. A number of ancient monasteries line the hill station, starting with the Sankar Monastery. This is a Buddhist monastery dedicated to the deity, Dukkar, represented by a thousand arms and feet. The Namgyal Tsemo Gompa, perched on top of a hillock, is also a must visit. You can easily recognise it due to its bright red facade. Built around the 14th century, the temple holds a most revered three-storey statue of the Maitreya Buddha. Another Buddhist monastery, the Spituk Monastery, was built around the 11th century and is dedicated to Goddess Tara. Believed to be the only mosque in the hill station is the Jama Masjid Ladakh, which has a pure white facade with accents of brown. Although fairly new, it is regarded sacred by Muslims around the region. Moving away from the religious sites around Ladakh, we go to the historical sites, beginning with the Leh Palace, a palace that exudes royalty in a different kind of sense. It was Sengge Namgyal who built this palace but it stands in ruins now, it might not be as grand as palaces of the other states but it stands witness to the once royal era of Ladakh. Finally, the Hall of Fame is an important attraction of the hill station because it highlights the soldiers who died during the Indo Pakistan War. If you have the time, you can also explore some other places close to Ladakh, like the Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso.
    • Must visit attractions - Sankar Monastery, Namgyal Tsemo Gompa, Spituk Monastery, Jama Masjid Ladakh, Leh Palace, Hall of Fame, Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso
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    Leh Palace (Image from Make My Trip)

    4. Nainital (Uttarakhand) - Nainital, due to its proximity to Delhi, is yet another popular hill station but this time, in the state of Uttarakhand. It is famously known as the City of Lakes but the Naini Lake is probably its most popular lake attraction. A boat ride amidst the lake, especially during early morning or late afternoon, is a must. If you can book a hotel room with a view of the lake, you can enjoy seeing the lake even at the privacy of your own window. Just nearby the lake, there's the Goddess Naina Devi Temple, quite unmissable with its bright red facade. It is dedicated to the local deity, Goddess Naina and is one of the oldest temples in the hill station. For clearer views of the mountains, you can trek to reach the view points of Naina Peak or Tiffin Top. A fun activity that both the adults and little ones can enjoy is riding the Nainital Ropeway, where you can get a bird's eye view of the hill station. The ride would end at the Snow View Point, where the snow-capped mountains can be clearly seen from. For those who love wildlife, head on over to the High Altitude Zoo, where you might be lucky and spot the elusive snow leopards. Otherwise, a wide variety of wildlife awaits you here, where you can spot other animals like deers, tigers and red pandas. Finally, the Eco Cave Gardens, a collection of artificial caves mimicking that of the appearance of natural ones, can also be explored and enjoyed by the whole family. To put it simply, Nainital is a very family-friendly hill station, a place where adventure activities can fit even those who aren't too physically fit. And even then, it's also acceptable to just enjoy the views in the hill station and not partake in the adventure activities around.
    • Must visit attractions - Naini Lake, Goddess Naina Devi Temple, Naina Peak, Tiffin Top, Nainital Ropeway, Snow View Point, High Altitude Zoo and Eco Cave Gardens
    5. Mussoorie (Uttarakhand) - Last on this first section is Mussoorie, fondly referred to as the Queen of the Hills. With a number of natural attractions, Mussoorie is yet another good hill station option in the northern part of India. Perhaps its top natural attraction is the Kempty Waterfalls, falling at a height of over 1,300 metres. It looks even more ferocious just after monsoon season but is visited by tourists any time of the year. Swimming in the small pool under the waterfalls is also permitted plus there's separate changing rooms for males and females too within the vicinity of the attraction. If sightseeing is more of your thing, you can start with the numerous temples around the hill station. The Tapkeshwar Mahadev Temple is regarded holy by many devotees of Shiva. The temple is located amidst a forest and the shivalinga is located inside a cave, with water dripping exactly upon it. The Jwalaji Temple is dedicated to Goddess Mata Durga and has wonderful views of the mountain ranges as well. Several peaks also line the hill station, like Gun Hill, Lal Tibba and Cloud's End, where you can get unobstructed views of the Himalayan ranges from. The Mussoorie Lake is a favourite amongst families as they can enjoy a scenic boat ride amidst it. Finally, you cannot miss visiting the Happy Valley, where a community of over 5,000 Tibetan monks can be found. You can find not only a Buddhist temple here, but also schools, handicraft shops and residential areas.
    • Must visit attractions - Kempty Waterfalls, Tapkeshwar Mahadev Temple, Jwalaji Temple, Gun Hill, Lal Tibba, Cloud's End, Mussoorie Lake and Happy Valley
    The most popular ones in the south...

    6. Ooty (Tamil Nadu) - So first in this section is none other than Ooty, Tamil Nadu's most recognised and popular hill station. The best way to reach the hill station? None other than by railway, through the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, designated as n UNESCO World Heritage Site. The train would take you around the most scenic landscapes from Mettupalayam until Ooty, covering several bridges and tunnels, overlooking the stunning mountains in the south. Even the train itself is quite charming, with its blue wagon-like facade and wooden windows. Around Ooty though, there are many more sights that can captivate you entirely. The Botanical Gardens, teeming with lush greenery and a wonderful array of colours from its flowers, is a must visit when in the hill station. Established around the middle of the 18th century, the gardens can be visited all-year round but it is during summer that the plants here blossom fully. For boating activities, you have a choice between the manmade Ooty Lake or the similarly picturesque, Pykara Lake. For trekking lovers, you can reach the Doddabetta Peak, where you can view both the hill station and distant mountains from. With a number of high end hotels around, it's also the perfect excuse to splurge and just have a relaxing getaway, away from the hustle and bustle of the city life.
    • Must visit attractions - Nilgiri Mountain Railway, Botanical Gardens, Ooty Lake, Pykara Lake and Doddabetta Peak
    7. Coonoor (Tamil Nadu) - Also on the same state of Tamil Nadu is Coonoor, a beautiful hill station not as frequented as tourists unlike the former. But it's not because the hill station doesn't have scenic landscapes or attractions, but only because it is only recently that it has gained a spot as a tourist destination in the state. If you want a less commercialised hill station, Coonoor might suit you well. Sim's Park is Coonoor's version of Ooty's Botanical Gardens, where lush greenery is bountiful, along with a small artificial lake wherein guests can enjoy boating. Both Dolphin's Nose and Lamb's Rock provide excellent views of the mountains of the south. The only waterfalls in the hill stations, Laws Waterfalls, can be viewed from Dolphin's Nose but can also be trekked to access it directly. The trek would take you through dense forests and numerous wildlife, perfect for adventure seekers. If you want more adventure, trek to reach the Droog Fort, a fortress believed to have been built by Tipu Sultan. The trek would take you around tea plantations and the last climbs are a bit uphill. While the fort is largely in ruins, the journey to get there is every bit as picturesque and worth it.
    • Must visit attractions - Sim's Park, Dolphin's Nose, Lamb's Rock, Laws Waterfalls and Droog Fort
    8. Munnar (Kerala) - Kerala, as a state, is generally filled with scenic views of the mountains and overall, lush greenery. When it comes to the state's hill stations, there's no doubt that Munnar steals the limelight. Within the hill station, varied landscapes would greet you, from towering waterfalls, to grand tea estates, to scenic peaks and even abundant wildlife. Although both are manmade, the Mattupetty Dam Lake and Kundala Dam Lake, have quite adventurous boating activities that you can indulge in. Not only that, the gushing water along with the views of mountains can take all your worries away. If you have the courage to do so, indulge in an ice cold bath in the Lakkam Waterfalls or maybe just view the Attukal Waterfalls from a distance, if you're not up for much of an adventure. Top Station has the best views of the mountains, so you can enjoy clicking away when in here. Then there's Photo Point, where you can get spectacular views of the tea estates surrounding the hill station. And finally, for wildlife and nature spotting, you can try out two places. First is the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, where you can indulge in nature trails and possibly see some wild elephants. The second one is the Rajamalai National Park, a part of the Eravikulam National Park, where the endangered Nilgiri tahr can be spotted.
    • Must visit attractions - Mattupetty Dam Lake, Kundala Dam Lake, Lakkam Waterfalls, Attukal Waterfalls, Top Station, Photo Point, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and Rajamalai National Park
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    Top Station in Munnar (Image from Christopher Soghoian)

    9. Araku Valley (Andhra Pradesh) - Andhra Pradesh's pride when it comes to hill stations is Araku Valley. While there are not as many tourist attractions here, Araku Valley has this pristine beauty, surrounded by mountains and coffee plantations. You can certainly just relax when in the hill station but you also have some options when it comes to adventure places. About 35 kilometres before the Araku Valley is the Borra Caves, one of the largest caves in India. The stalagmites and stalactites formations here are very old, certainly worth a visit for the natural history lovers. While in here, make your way to the Ananthagiri Hills, close to the caves. This peak has many coffee plantations, waterfalls and other natural sceneries that can melt even the hard-hearted individuals. There's also the Katiki Waterfalls, located close to the caves but require an hour of trekking to reach. It is a very picturesque waterfall, with water descending from two levels. The trek takes you through lush jungles and even passing through a railway line. Although slightly smaller, the Dumbriguda Chaparai Waterfalls is worth visiting because it doesn't require any trek at all. You can enjoy the water cascading from a small rock too. A place that children would enjoy is the Padmapuram Botanical Gardens, which was once a vegetable garden for the soldiers of the world war and has been converted into a small park for tourists. Finally, since the hill station is home to many tribes, you can know more about their history and culture through the Araku Tribal Museum.
    • Must visit attractions - Borra Caves, Ananthagiri Hills, Katiki Waterfalls, Dumbriguda Chaparai Waterfalls, Padmapuram Botanical Gardens and Araku Tribal Museum
    10. Coorg (Karnataka) - What better way to end this section but with the famed Scotland of the East? Coorg, with its similar landscapes as the country of Scotland, is Karnataka's claim to fame when it comes to hill stations. Also known as Kodagu, or even Madikeri, this hill station has a number of natural attractions to keep you busy for a few days. The Iruppu Waterfalls, approachable by a steep short walk from the parking lot, is first on the list. The waterfall is greatly maintained and even has a platform so you can enjoy swimming in its small pool. Another one is the Abbey Waterfalls, about seven kilometres away from the centre of the hill station. It is also approachable after a short walk from the parking lot and has a bridge giving you a full view of the waterfalls. If you want a thrilling trek, you can reach the Chelavara Waterfalls although make sure you are careful as the water here is very deep. The views are stunning though especially after the monsoon season. For wildlife lovers, there's the Nagarhole National Park, where you can spot tigers, deers, sloth bears, leopards and gaurs. It is best visited though during the summer when animals are easier to spot. And finally, there are numerous trekking trails around Coorg, like the Tadiandamol Peak, Brahmagiri Hill and Mandalpatti.
    • Must visit attractions - Iruppu Waterfalls, Abbey Waterfalls, Chelavara Waterfalls, Nagarhole National Park, Tadiandamol Peak, Brahmagiri Hill and Mandalpatti
    The most popular ones in the northeast and west...

    11. Mahabaleshwar (Maharashtra) - Due to its closeness to Mumbai and Pune, Mahabaleshwar is a preferred weekend getaway from locals of these cities. Its serenity and being the country's supplier of over 80% of its strawberries are the trademarks of the hill station. The hill station has a number of attractions unique of their kind as well. Starting with India's very own Grand Canyon, Arthur's Seat gives one a full view of the valleys below. It is very surreal especially if you visit the place just before the sun rises. The Elephant's Head Point is yet another view point in the hill station, wherein there's a rocky outcrop resembling the head of an elephant. The Savitri river can be clearly seen from the Elphinstone Point, another view point about three kilometres away from the first one. Then, we have the Lingmala Waterfalls, comprised of a small and big section of waterfall. Both can be accessed directly through an easy trek but you can only swim in the smaller waterfall. You can also indulge in boating activities in Venna Lake, a manmade lake built around the 18th century. There are also many temples around the hill station but the one revered most holy is the Panch Ganga Temple, where you can find the origins of the five rivers of Krishna, Koyana, Venna, Gayatri and Savitri close by.
    • Must visit attractions - Arthur's Seat, Elephant's Head Point, Elphinstone Point, Lingmala Waterfalls, Venna Lake and Panch Ganga Temple,
    12. Darjeeling (West Bengal) - Noted for its tea industry and views of the Himalayan peaks, Darjeeling was once a sleepy village in West Bengal. Word spread about the undeniable beauty and pleasant climate of the hill station, which has made it one of the top destinations in the state. Darjeeling is postcard perfect, the views of the rolling hills, verdant mountains and the rural homes are all what you have in mind when you think of a hill station. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, designated as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, runs on steam engine, only a few of their kinds in the world. Uniquely enough, the train ride can give you a view of the distant mountains but at the same time, takes you closer to small houses and shops around the railway line. You can also visit the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, where a variety of animals endemic to the region can be spotted. Some of the endangered animals that you can spot here are the snow leopard and the red panda. On the other hand, the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, located just close to the zoo, has a museum showcasing some stories about mountain expeditions in the region. From Tiger Hill, you can have a clear view of the different ranges of the Himalayas, even the Kanchenjunga. Finally, don't give the Happy Valley Tea Estate a miss when in here. Aside from the guided tour of the estate, you can buy fresh teas as souvenirs from here too.
    • Must visit attractions - Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Tiger Hill and Happy Valley Tea Estate
    13. Gangtok (Sikkim) - More than being a hill station, Gangtok is also a centre for Tibetan Buddhism, with the numerous Buddhist monasteries located within its premises. Perhaps we can qualify Gangtok as a hill station with pleasant climate but has more manmade attractions more than natural attractions. If you are a devout Buddhist or maybe just interested in visiting different kinds of religious sites, Gangtok has many to offer to you. The Ranka Monastery, located up on a hillock, requires a bit of a climb to reach. It has a wonderful dark red facade with accents of gold. While the interiors are very simple, the collection of ancient Tibetan paintings along with the chanting of the monks are awe inspiring. About 11 kilometres away from Gangtok proper is the Hanuman Tok, also perched on a hillock, with wonderful views of the Kanchenjunga. According to legends, this is where Lord Hanuman rested while on his way to Lanka, hence a temple was built here to commemorate his journey. There's also the Enchey Monastery, a temple under the Nyingmapa sector of Buddhism. It is also famous because the site where it stands was blessed by Lama Druptok Karpo, a famed monk known for his flying power. The Do Drul Chorten Stupa has a golden dome on its top, surrounded by over 100 prayer wheels. According to local legends, the statue of Buddha here is growing every year, hence the need to cut a hole on the top of the stupa. Finally, about 2 and a half hours away from Gangtok, you can also visit Nathu La, a high altitude pass and border between India and China. There's a memorial here, the Nathu La Martyr's Memorial, dedicated to the soldiers who lost their lives during the Sino Indian War. You can also visit the New Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir, a memorial for Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir, a brave soldier who died while escorting mules into the border. Gangtok, a hill station, full of religious and patriotic sights for the tourists.
    • Must visit attractions - Ranka Monastery, Hanuman Tok, Enchey Monastery, Do Drul Chorten Stupa, Nathu La, Nathu La Martyr's Memorial and New Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir
    14. Shillong (Meghalaya) - Shillong is Meghalaya's capital and also its most popular hill station. It's one of the few places where you can cover its attractions by foot, which is truly good exercise for your heart as well. While Shillong is the state's most progressive and developed city, it isn't that chaotic or busy as other capital cities of different states. About 17 kilometres away from Shillong is the Umiam Lake, also known as the Barapani Lake, a picturesque and serene lake created after the damming of the river of Umiam. You can indulge in boating around the lake or simply having a picnic beside it with your loved ones. There's a small children's park nearby, the Lum Nehru Park, that you can also visit if you have little ones with you. In Shillong itself, there's the Ward's Lake, a small lake which also has some boating facilities. For some adventure, you can trek to reach the Elephant Waterfalls, a collection of three-tiered waterfalls which all have small pools in between. There is a lot of climbing involved though so it's not that suitable for smaller children or elderly people. The Sweet Waterfalls can only be viewed from a distance but it's best to capture its beauty after monsoon season, when the water is more than just a trickle. Last but not the last, the Laitlum Canyons can give you a clear view of the valleys and rivers below along with the views of the mountains from a distant. You can also spot here a small ropeway used by the locals to transport some of their necessities from the village below.
    • Must visit attractions - Umiam Lake, Lum Nehru Park, Ward's Lake, Elephant Waterfalls, Sweet Waterfalls and Laitlum Canyons
    15. Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh) - Blessed with both natural and manmade attractions, Tawang is located in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh. It has only been recently that the hill station has been gaining popularity as a tourist destination and although it requires some permits to enter, it's all worth it. Natural attractions like mountains and lakes surround the hill station but it also has a number of manmade ones like monasteries and even a memorial. On your way to Tawang, you'd go through Sela Pass, or simply Se La, a high altitude pass which gets covered in snow during winter. There's a small lake here, the Sela Lake, which also gets frozen during the peak of winter season. The Bumla Pass, or simply Bum La, is located about five kilometres away from Tawang and has a border area between China and India. Although the area itself is barren, the views of the Himalayan peaks from here are breath taking. You can combine a trip to the pass and to Madhuri Lake in a day. The lake was formed after an earthquake, surrounded by peaks and overall greenery, it's another cannot be missed sight in the hill station. Of course, you must also visit the Tawang Monastery, the second largest Buddhist monastery outside of Tibet. Built around the 17th century, even from a distance, the monastery looks quite majestic, perched on top of a hillock. Don't forget to visit the museum within its premises showcasing artefacts gathered from Tibet itself. Finally, do visit the Tawang War Memorial to give your respects to the brave soldiers who died during the war between India and China in 1962.
    • Must visit attractions - Sela Pass, Sela Lake, Bumla Pass, Madhuri Lake, Tawang Monastery and Tawang War Memorial
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    Tawang Monastery (Image from India Trotters)

    If you're tired of the usual hill stations...

    16. Chitkul (Himachal Pradesh) - Chitkul, a tiny hamlet in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, is not a well-known hill station to many tourists. It has remained under the radar of most people primarily because it is located so close to the Indo-Tibet border. In fact, it is the last inhabited village just before the Indian side of the border. While it is underdeveloped as a tourist destination, the landscapes here are stunning, untouched by any form of modernisation or commercialism. The views of the distant mountains, the blooming fruit orchards and the open meadows are some of the most pristine that you would see in your life. And while there are no proper hotels around the hill station, you can interact with the locals directly by staying in one of the several guest houses here. You can even visit the Baspa River or pitch your own tent on its banks for a real rural and wildlife experience. A small temple, Goddess Mathi Temple, can also be visited although it remains closed during day time and only opens during early morning or early evening. Finally, for an adventurer, you can trek to reach the Indian Tibetan Border Check Point from the centre of the village. Chitkul, rightfully called the Crown of Kinnaur, is an unforgettable hill station, a place like no other that would remain in your heart forever.
    • Must visit attractions - Baspa River, Goddess Mathi Temple and Indian Tibetan Border Check Point
    17. Kausani (Uttarakhand) - India's very own Switzerland, Kausani, is another off the beaten track hill station, but this time, in Uttarakhand. It is here that you can have panoramic views of some of the Himalayan ranges. Yet Kausani, unlike other hill stations in the state, remains uncrowded and serene. The hill station is perfect for a short getaway because it has only a few attractions, which you can complete in maybe a day or two at the most. An ancient Shiva temple, the Baijnath Mandir, draws Hindu pilgrims to the hill station. The temple features a rock-cut style of architecture which can be traced back to the 9th to 11th centuries AD. While the main shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva, there are smaller shrines dedicated to other Hindu deities, which mainly feature a Nagara-style of architecture. The Anasakti Ashram is dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi and you can find a few rare photographs of the freedom fighter here. Aside from that, the views of the Himalayan ranges are great from here as well. There are also a couple of treks that you can do around the hill station. The Rudradhari Waterfalls and Caves require a four kilometre trek through lush jungles. There's an ancient Shiva temple, the Rudradhari Temple, that you can visit as well at the end of your trek. And finally, for those seeking for a real adrenaline rush, you can indulge in the more difficult treks for the Pindari Glacier and the Sundar Dhunga Glacier.
    • Must visit attractions - Baijnath Mandir, Anasakti Ashram, Rudradhari Waterfalls and Caves, Rudradhari Temple, Pindari Glacier and Sundar Dhunga Glacier
    18. Yelagiri (Tamil Nadu) - While Tamil Nadu has a number of hill stations, you rarely hear of Yelagiri being talked about. It is a trekker's paradise though without the hassles of crowds nor noises. If you want to go completely offbeat when in Tamil Nadu, venture into an adventure into the hills of Yelagiri. A place that the whole family can enjoy is the Punganoor Lake and Park, where you can indulge in different boating activities. It is very picturesque though, surrounded by views of the nearby mountains. Beside the lake is a small children's park with some swings and slides that the little ones can enjoy. Another must visit here is the Jalagamparai Waterfalls, which is located about 30 kilometres away from the hill station. The waterfalls look more beautiful and in full glory when it is just after the monsoon season. If you're up for an adventure, you can trek to reach the peak of the Swamimalai Hills, the highest peak in the hill station. The trek usually starts from the lake, about a three-kilometre long trail, which even the little ones can enjoy. Finally, you can also visit the Velavan Temple, the hill station's prime attraction, dedicated to Lord Murugan. It is a very simple temple, actually complimenting the simplicity of the hill station, there is no grand architecture or carvings here. However, the views from the top, approachable after a 70-step climb, are very much worth it.
    • Must visit attractions - Punganoor Lake and Park, Jalagamparai Waterfalls, Swamimalai Hills and Velavan Temple
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    Punganoor Lake in Yelagiri (Image from Manish Chauhan)

    19. Ponmudi (Kerala) - Ponmudi is a little known hill station in the state of Kerala, just about 55 kilometres away from Trivandrum. For a long while, the hill station was hidden because word has it that the roads leading to it were in very bad conditions. Fast forward to today, most of the roads leading to the hill station were repaired and it's only a matter of time before commercialisation takes it place. So why not experience this piece of paradise before it turns into a popular destination? A quick tip though, it's best visited just after the monsoon season, when the rains had made its way to the hill station and it's covered in thick greenery. One of the main attractions here, the Meenmutty Waterfalls, requires a trek of about two kilometres to access directly. While the trek takes you around dense forests, once you reach the waterfalls, be careful in bathing as the pressure of the water can be really dangerous. There's also the Golden Valley, a stream where you can bathe and enjoy the gushing of water. Its water is so clear that you can spot the golden specks of sands underneath it, hence the name. Finally, you can also visit the Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary, located on the outskirts of the hill station. You can spot wild animals like sambars, lion-tailed macaques and even elephants in here.
    • Must visit attractions - Meenmutty Waterfalls, Golden Valley and Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary
    20. Pelling (Sikkim) - We have come to the end of this list and it's Pelling, on the western side of the state of Sikkim. This is the best place in India to view the Kanchenjunga up close and clear. There are only a few sights around Pelling which can easily be covered in a day or two. Although there are a number of waterfalls here, the star of the hill station is the Kanchenjunga Waterfalls. Regardless of what season you visit, the waterfalls is full of gushing water. Its a clear milky white too, falling off a great height, amidst a cascade of rocks. Revered sacred by locals, the Khecheopalri Lake is another must visit. While Hindus believe that the lake is in the shape of Shiva's feet, the Buddhists believe that it is in the shape of Goddess Tara's feet. It's a fairly small lake and if you're lucky, you might be able to spot the rituals that the locals partake in while in the lake. The Pemayangtse Monastery, with its combination of white, red and yellow motifs is a sight to behold, especially since it is located on top of a hillock. Spread over three floors, the monastery also holds lost of artefacts related to Buddhism. Last is the Rabdentse Ruins, a collection of ancient structures from the second capital of Sikkim until the 18th century, which was Rabdentse. The ruins include an ancient palace and even a court area where the judge used to give his final judgment for crime makers.
    • Must visit attractions - Kanchenjunga Waterfalls, Khecheopalri Lake, Pemayangtse Monastery and Rabdentse Ruins
    Conclusion

    With the list above, you can now tackle the different beautiful hill stations in different parts of India. From the most popular ones, although a bit on the commercial side, and even up to the less popular ones, considered as offbeat destinations. It's really difficult to choose which is the best hill station in India as each one has their own charm and allure. As what has been mentioned, the best hill station depends on what your interests are, which differs for every person. But with the list above, at least you have a smaller range of options. Keep in mind though that India, being a very diverse country when it comes to its landscapes, have more hidden hill stations just waiting to be discovered. Have fun and enjoy finding out which hill station best fits you!
     

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