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Best summer holiday destinations in India

Discussion in 'Travel advice' started by NikkiLal, Dec 20, 2016.

  1. NikkiLal

    NikkiLal New Member

    I will be visiting India in summer 2017, and I know that during that time in India the temperature is very high. Our stay in India will be for four weeks, and we are looking to go to some of the best summer holiday destinations in India, and need some help in finding out which ones they are.

    We aim to visit at least 3-4 destinations.

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hi there, welcome to the forum!



    Summers in India can be very hot, especially when spent around the low lying plains of the country. Temperatures hover around the low to the high 40°C. In the south and in the west, April is usually the hottest month while in the north, May is usually the hottest month. What can be the reasons though why one should visit India in the summer season? Well, for one, crowds are lesser, which means that you can explore the region to your heart's content. To lure tourists in, air fare rates and accommodation rates are also quite lower. And oh, the presence of stalls selling amazingly sweet mango juice, coconut juice or lassi can help to cool off the weary traveller. For all these reasons and more, travelling to India during the summer might not be a bad idea at all, especially if you know which places to go to.

    Best Summer Holiday Destinations in India

    To escape the heat...

    1. Pahalgam (Jammu & Kashmir) - Summers in Pahalgam are very mild, with temperatures not usually exceeding 20°C. Pahalgam is mostly known to Hindus as a pilgrimage site, as the Amarnath yatra commences in this region. But before the yatra season begins in the monsoon season, Pahalgam can be considered a great summer destination too. With the backdrop of the Himalayan ranges, the Lidder River flowing through the hill station and unending meadows with grazing herds of cattle, awe-inspiring views are everywhere when in Pahalgam. Pine forests also surround the hill station, which makes it seem surreal, like you're in another country. This is Pahalgam, where travellers become poets and where the clouds kiss the peaks. There are many grasslands around Pahalgam but one of the most popular ones is the Baisaran Hills. Dubbed as the mini Switzerland of Pahalgam, the uncanny resemblance of the meadows to the famed country is very evident. Only reachable by a pony ride, as it is a five-kilometre distance from the city proper, you'd enjoy the thrilling experience even more. Betaab Valley, formerly known as Hagan Valley, looks quite picturesque in summers too, covered in different hues due to the flowers, the meadow would mesmerise the onlooker. In some parts of the valley, the river passes through which makes it even more captivating. Also approachable by a horse ride is the Aru Valley, yet another mesmerising grassland, with views of the mountains behind and small streams all around. It is actually the last point for trekkers who want to indulge in the challenging Kolahoi Glacier trek. Enclosed within three mountains is the Tulian Lake, only reachable by trekking or a pony ride. Some trekkers even camp in the lake banks to fully experience a natural getaway. The ice cold water of the lake, the snow-covered peaks and just the scenic view are sure to make you want to stay here longer. Let the beauty of Pahalgam take your breath away, as the valley of shepherds make you appreciate nature, even just a little bit more.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Lidder River, Baisaran Hills, Betaab Valley, Aru Valley, Kolahoi Glacier and Tulian Lake
    Pahalgam (Image from Gayatri Priyadarshini)

    2. Valparai (Tamil Nadu) - During summer, temperatures in Valparai range between 16°C to 22°C. While Tamil Nadu is known for its other hill stations of Ooty, Coonoor or even Kodaikanal, there's this hidden gem that not many travellers know about. What really sets Valparai apart is that it is not only a hill station, it's also an eco-tourism and plantation destination. You're not only greeted with views of the rain forests, you also have plantations and rich wildlife surrounding you. En route to Valparai are about 40 hairpin bends, though manageable, they also provide one with rare opportunities of spotting wildlife like lion-tail macaques and Nilgiri tahrs. There are many dams around Valparai as well but the most visited one is the Sholayar Dam, located just before you enter the main town itself. This is one of Asia's largest dams, with a bright red colour, that stands in contrast to the clear, blue water. With the surrounding greenery, this dam provides one with the best picture perfect moments. Further away from Valparai is the Nallamudi Viewpoint, offering one a view of the tea plantations and nearby villages. In the summer, you get a clear bird's eye view of the surroundings so don't miss this spot. The Balaji Temple, surrounded by the Periya Karamalai Tea Estate plantations, is another must visit. Its location amidst forests and plantations make the temple dedicated to Lord Balaji even more serene. However, it requires a bit of trekking to reach, since it is located upon a hillock that cannot be approached by vehicles. To truly experience the rural life, you can stay in one of the many guest houses around the hill station. There are a few hotels but nothing beats staying in a guest house, especially as warm hospitality is given to you.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Sholayar Dam, Nallamudi Viewpoint and Balaji Temple
    Festivities to enjoy...

    3. Ungma (Nagaland) - Ungma, located in Mokokchung, is the birthplace of the Ao tribe of Nagaland. It is regarded as the oldest village in the municipality, wherein the Ao tribal people settled first before being dispersed in other areas of the region. During the month of May, usually from the first to the third day, the Ao tribe of Ungma celebrates the Moatsu Mong Festival. This festival is very fun and enjoyable, as after a long year of harvest and reaping, the tribal people rest and indulge in festivities for the first three days of May. The three main features of this festival are music, dance and food. The women dress in their best attires too, prepare the food and serve the men by providing the meals and wine. The festival also has the ritualistic Sangpangtu, a bonfire-like event wherein both men and women sit around the lit fire and join in the music and story-telling. There are also foretellers that predict what will happen for the succeeding year of harvest. Ungma is easily approachable from Mokokchung, barely five kilometres away. On its own, Ungma is a small village that won't require more than a day to explore. The Ungma Baptist Church is around a hundred year old and has a simple ambience to go with the surroundings. Small houses that the local tribes reside in make for nice excursions too. The Old Log Drum is also worth visiting, this is used to alert the tribal people of any emergencies that occur in the village.
    • Festival - Moatsu Mong Festival
    Moatsu Mong Festival (Image from Tourism Nagaland)

    4. Thrissur (Kerala) - The Thrissur Pooram is celebrated every year in Thrissur, either in April or in May. What exactly is the Thrissur Pooram? Every year, about 10 temples, including the Vadakkunnathan Temple, participate in this festival. To simply describe the Thrissur Pooram, it is the main festival of all festivals, where other temples unite, along with their deities, to ultimately pay their respects to Lord Vadakkunathan, a form of Lord Shiva. Interestingly, the festival is fairly new, as compared to the Aarattupuzha Pooram, also of Kerala. But because of some mishaps, the Thrissur Pooram was organised and suddenly became one of Kerala's grandest and largest festivals. It is a very vibrant festival, where fireworks, decorated elephants, ornamental fans and colourful umbrellas dominate. It has attracted Hindu devotees and even non-Hindus to the city of Thrissur over the years. Throngs of crowds flock to the region during the festival season. Thrissur itself is very varied when it comes to its attractions, there are temples, beaches and even waterfalls that you can explore after the festival. Aside from the previously mentioned temple, other religious sites that are popular here are the Paramekavu Bhagavathy Temple and Thiruvambadi Krishna Shrine. The Snehatheeram Beach is fairly small but attracts a huge number of locals, especially on weekends. It's also fairly clean although there are no activities that you can do here. The Athirappilly Waterfalls is about 35 kilometres away from Thrissur proper but a nice excursion. Even on summer, the waterfall has enough water to enjoy and it's mildly developed so that there are seating areas and food stalls for the refreshment of tourists.
    • Festival - Thrissur Pooram
    Get your tan on...

    5. Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) - Embrace the heat and reach the beaches of Visakhapatnam. With temperatures reaching the high 30°C marks, sometimes even up to 40°C, you can enjoy the warm climate and sunny vibe. There are many beaches around Visakhapatnam and the good news is, despite being a cosmopolitan city, these beaches remain clean. The Rama Krishna Beach is not suitable for swimming, because it has an uneven sea bed and rocky shores. However, it is one of the liveliest beaches of the city, with tons of restaurants, hawkers and vendors lining the shores. It's a beach with a long coastline, so sunrises and sunsets are best viewed from here. A bit further from the centre of the city is the Rishikonda Beach, which is surrounded by a hills on one side. Numerous beach shacks line the shores but it's generally less crowded than the former beach. About an hour away from the city centre is the Yarada Beach, one of Visakhapatnam's best beaches. It has golden sands and clear water that makes it suitable for frolicking around, the waves are a bit rough though. Make sure you bring your own beverages and snacks as the beach is still underdeveloped. The black sand Bheemunipatnam Beach is another must visit, about an hour away from Visakhapatnam too. At one side of the beach, the Gosthani River merges with the Bay of Bengal, which is quite a sight to behold. The virgin Kondakarla Ava Beach is the best bet for those who want a serene and unpolluted beach experience. It is far from the city centre, still isn't that commercialised and you can enjoy the views of the local fishermen here as well. A destination teeming with natural beauty, apart from its beaches, Visakhapatnam is the perfect place to get that much coveted tan on.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Rama Krishna Beach, Rishikonda Beach, Yarada Beach, Bheemunipatnam Beach and Kondakarla Ava Beach
    6. Ganpatipule (Maharashtra) - This beach destination in Maharashtra is little known to foreign tourists. Summers can be very hot here though reaching the high marks of 30°C. However, the beaches of Ganpatipule are known for their fine, white sandy shores and clear bluish waters. The Ganpatipule Beach is the main beach, located right at the heart of the village. With its white sands, vibrant vendors and lots of activities going on, this beach is a favourite among the locals. There are boat rides and sea bikes that the little ones would certainly enjoy. Nearby is the Ganpatipule Temple, which is thronged by pilgrims all throughout the year. About six kilometres away from Ganpatipule, on the way to Ratnagiri, is the white sand Arey Ware Beach. In contrast to the former, this is more serene and quiet, plus notably very clean. The water is not that deep and isn't plagued by rough waves too so very suitable for swimming. Make sure you bring your own food and beverages plus a small blanket to sit on as there are no facilities within the beach itself. Last is the Malgund Beach, just four kilometres away from the main beach of the village. This is considered as the virgin beach of the region, with tons of crabs, sea shells and star fishes around its shores. Sunsets are best enjoyed here although facilities are very limited so do bring your necessities.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Ganpatipule Beach (Ganpatipule Temple), Arey Ware Beach and Malgund Beach
    Arey Ware Beach in Ganpatipule (Image from Konkan Seas)

    Wildlife to explore...

    7. Ranthambore National Park (Rajasthan) - Located in the Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan is the Ranthambore National Park. This is one of the best wildlife spotting national parks in India. Beware though as temperatures can go beyond 35°C during summer here. But with these temperature, spotting animals can be easier, especially as they venture out of their hiding spots and into the watering holes of the national park. The national park is well-known for its high number of royal Bengal tigers. There are over 60 tigers in the national park, having one of the highest tiger densities in all the national parks of the country. There are ten zones in the national park, and although allocated randomly to visitors, zones one to five have the highest tiger sightings. Leopards, sambars, hyenas, rhesus macaques and wild boars also reside in the national park. Because Ranthambore is a popular wildlife reserve, there are tons of lodges outside of it that guests can stay in. Some are even around the buffer zone of the national park, so it's not uncommon to spot wildlife from your room's window.
    • Must Spot Animals - Royal Bengal Tigers, Leopards, Sambars, Hyenas, Rhesus Macaques and Wild Boars
    8. Sundarbans National Park (West Bengal) - Infamous for their man-eating tigers, the Sundarbans National Park is another must visit wildlife sanctuary in the summer season. These elusive man-eating tigers can be hard to spot but summers, with temperatures reaching 40°C, might make them come out more. More than the wildlife, the stunning landscape of the Sundarbans would mesmerise you. It is designated as an UNESCO World Heritage Site because it has the world's largest mangrove forests. As you are boating amidst its mangrove river, try to spot the crocodiles, gangetic dolphins and other aquatic species residing in it. Some rare animals such as the fishing cats, Indian grey mongooses, flying foxes and pangolins also reside in the national park. The landscapes of the Sundarbans National Park is unlike any other in the country and even the wildlife here are quite different. An experience like no other, even at the peak of the summer heat.
    • Must Spot Animals - Man-Eating & Swimming Tigers, Crocodiles, Gangetic Dolphins, Fishing Cats, Indian Grey Mongooses, Flying Foxes and Pangolins
    Sundarbans (Image from Sankara Subramanian)

    Offbeat is the way to go...

    9. Chopta (Uttarakhand) - With temperatures ranging between 20°C to 30°C during summers, Chopta is an ideal getaway for those who want to escape the heat of the plains. If you're up for an adventure, Chopta is the base for many treks. But first, about its landscapes, which won't disappoint as well, surrounded by the Himalayan ranges and forests of deodar and pines, Chopta is as breath taking as any other commercial hill station, if not more. Because it is part of a wildlife reserve, Chopta has unending patches of greenery, more so in the summer season. It is also popular for the trek to reach Tungnath Temple, an important pilgrimage for the Hindus. The Tungnath Temple is the highest Shiva temple in the world, approachable by a four-kilometre trek from the main town. Many trekkers also enjoy the trek to reach the Deoria Tal, a small but picturesque lake in the region. With the backdrop of the mountain, it's the best spot for a comfy picnic. For the more adventurous ones, you can try trekking to the Chandrashila Peak, one of the highest points of the hill station. But even for non-trekkers, you can partake in small nature trails in the forests around Chopta.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Tungnath Temple, Deoria Tal and Chandrashila Peak
    Chopta (Image from Sorabh Solanki)

    10. Chikmagalur (Karnataka) - Kudremukh has very pleasant summer temperatures not even exceeding 30°C. As compared to the hill stations of say, Shimla or Manali, Chikmagalur isn't as crowded. With numerous coffee plantations, the scent of the fresh coffee beans would entice you. The hill station is surrounded by different peaks or hillocks, which make it all the more attractive. Waterfalls and temples are the main tourist attractions here, along with the peaks that provide one with trekking adventures as well. The highest peak in the hill station is Mullayanagiri Peak, approachable by a winding road, and by an uphill climb by foot. The view of the valleys below are all worth and as a bonus, there's an ancient Shiva Temple that you can visit as well too. The Sree Veeranarayana Temple is little known to many Hindu pilgrims but boasts of a Hoysala-style temperature, with many carvings to captivate the devotee. It is dedicated to the three forms of Lord Vishnu, namely, Narayana, Venugopala and Yoganarasimha. Approachable only by government-operated jeeps is the Hebbe Waterfalls, this is a pristine waterfall in the region. The last 100 metres are trekked by foot before you reach the natural beauty of the waterfalls. Finally, the trek to reach the Kudremukh Peak is another must do activity. It takes you around small streams, forests and wildlife. You do need prior permission though before undertaking in the trek.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Mullayanagiri Peak, Sree Veeranarayana Temple, Hebbe Waterfalls, Kudremukh Peak and many more

    To escape the heat or to not escape the heat, that is really up to you. Fortunately, whichever you choose, you have tons of destinations to explore around India. While this list might be limited, they serve a great purpose of lessening your options because India has a lot to offer. These places are not the usual hill stations nor summer destinations as well. Though popular, these destinations are still less crowded than the usual destinations during summer in India. So good luck and I hope this helps you!