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Summer holiday destinations in India

Discussion in 'Travel advice' started by Yogita, Dec 13, 2016.

  1. Yogita

    Yogita New Member

    I know winter has only started, and people are yet to go on their winter holidays, but I am someone who plans well ahead and have decided to choose a destination for my 2017 summer holiday.

    I have been to Nainital, Mussoorie, and Manali, and I don't want to visit these places again. Please suggest some summer holiday destinations in India which are different and you think would be good to visit for some fun and good sightseeing.
    Mallika likes this.

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, @Yogita, welcome to the forum!

    (Images from Wikimedia, Shankar S., Wikimedia and Wikimedia)


    Winter season is going to be over soon and summer season would be fast approaching. With the onset of the warmer climate, many people seek respite from the numerous hill stations around the country. Of course, the most popular ones would be very crowded and difficult to enjoy. Thankfully, there are many more hill stations around India, unexplored, uncrowded and teeming with pristine beauty. But aside from hill stations, there is one more type of destination suitable to be visited during summer season and that is wildlife sanctuaries, sometimes referred to as national parks. Just like the hill stations, there are many popular wildlife sanctuaries around India that you can explore. For both of these categories, we would be listing the most unexplored destinations around India, to further enhance your unique vacation experience.

    Summer Holiday Destinations in India (Offbeat Places Only!)

    Of pleasant climates and lush greenery...

    1. Shoja (Himachal Pradesh) - A short distance away from Kullu, about 68 kilometres, is the hamlet of Shoja. This hill station is little known to tourists and remains one of Himachal Pradesh's hidden gems. During the summer months, from March to April, temperatures here are mild, usually not exceeding 25°C. This is also the season when the whole hill station is covered in different hues, from the surrounding flowers, plants and trees. Since Shoja is not that touristy yet, there are no proper hotels in the region but there are plenty of guest houses you can stay in. With the home-cooked meals, your stay would not only be enjoyable, it's also quite comfortable, almost like home. Shoja is a trekker's haven too as there are many trails that you can do around the hill station. The most popular is that of the Jalori Pass trek, a two-hour trail which takes you around the pristine jungles of the region. At the end of the trek, you would be greeted by a small lake, known as the Serolsar Lake, surrounded by small rocks, and a small temple revered holy by locals. Make sure you bring shoes with good grip and even a raincoat as the pass is notorious for its sudden rainfalls. Further trek from the pass can take you to the Raghupur Fort, although mostly in ruins, the views of the Himalayan ranges here are very stunning. Also approachable by trekking is the Waterfall Point, about 1.5 kilometres away from Shoja proper. The waterfall surrounded by lush jungles is a sight to behold especially when it is full of water. Shoja truly takes you back to simpler times, with its wooden homes, views of the natural environment and adventurous treks.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Jalori Pass, Serolsar Lake, Raghupur Fort and Waterfall Point
    2. Mukteshwar (Uttarakhand) - For those wanting to escape the city life, Mukteshwar, barely 50 kilometres away from Nainital, is a good option. Because it is located quite closely to the City of Lakes, Mukteshwar remains under the shadow of Nainital. The best thing about Mukteshwar is that it has a number of tourist infrastructures, some tourists as well, but it is not as chaotic as other hill stations still. Summer is the best time to explore the hill station as it is savaged by heavy rains during monsoon. Summer temperatures don't exceed 26°C so you can enjoy sightseeing all around the hill station. The highest point of Mukteshwar, the Chauli Ki Jali, is also its most popular attraction. There are two approaches to reach the peak, one is from the Mukteshwar Bazaar and the other is from the KMVN Tourist House. The former offers you views of the rocky outcrops itself with the distant mountains while the latter takes you directly to the rocky outcrops where several adventure activities like rappelling and rock climbing can be done. From the latter, you can also trek to reach the Mukteshwar Dham, where a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva can be found, known as the Mukteshwar Mahadev Temple. The Bhalu Gaad Waterfalls is also approachable after trekking for about 1.5 kilometres. The trek is more satisfying though than the end point especially when you visit during summer. Last but not the least is the Mukteshwar Inspection Bungalow, where you can enjoy the views of the Himalayan ranges, best visited around sunset or sunrise. Shy away from the famous hill stations of Uttarakhand and explore the marvellous beauty of Mukteshwar instead.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Chauli Ki Jali, Mukteshwar Dham, Mukteshwar Mahadev Temple, Bhalu Gaad Waterfalls and Mukteshwar Inspection Bungalow
    View from Chauli Ki Jali (Image from Trek Earth)

    3. Kotagiri (Tamil Nadu) - Venture away from Ooty and reach Kotagiri instead, just 35 kilometres away from the Queen of the Hill Stations. While Ooty is flocked to by many tourists all over the country and the world, Kotagiri remains under the radar of most people. But on every aspect, it's a match to Ooty's beauty, with the verdant tea plantations, views of the hills, small streams, colourful flowers and of course, pleasant climate. Summers are very pleasant here with temperatures not exceeding 30°C. About 17 kilometres away from Kotagiri is the Kodanad View Point, a vantage point where you can have panoramic views of the hill station, surrounding mountains and valleys, all in one place. Sunsets and sunrises here are very awe-inspiring. The Catherine Waterfalls is just seven kilometres away from Kotagiri, although you have to trek the last kilometre to reach the waterfalls itself. The trek takes you through tea plantations and there are some downhill climbs so it's not that suitable for the elderly. The waterfalls might not be as huge or as tall but the surrounding greenery is enough to make you fall in love. Last is the Rangaswamy Peak and Temple, located a bit further away from Kotagiri. You can approach it via road but the last three kilometres require a bit of trekking. The trek takes you through tea plantations and small villages, which are all very picturesque. The peak offers a view of the entire hill station and you can also visit the ancient temple, with a huge granite roof, located in it.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Kodanad View Point, Catherine Waterfalls and Rangaswamy Peak &Temple
    4. Cherrapunjee (Meghalaya) - Even in the midst of summer, it's not uncommon for Cherrapunjee to experience rainfall. After all, it's one of the wettest places on Earth! Even temperatures during the summer don't exceed 23°C here so it's very much a relief from the heat of the plains. Blessed with natural beauty and scenic attractions, Cherrapunjee is another destination to add in your must visit places during summer. The hill station is widely known for its Living Root Bridges. If you're not familiar with these bridges, these are actual trees, sliced in half to release its roots that would then reach the other side. Once the tree reaches the other side, it attaches to the soil and becomes then a living root bridge. However, it takes many years before the bridge can be used and becomes sturdy. Some of the living root bridges around Cherrapunjee are hundreds of years old. The Double Decker Living Root Bridge is quite stunning, comprised of two levels, this also stands as the hill station's most famous attraction. A number of waterfalls also surround the hill station. The Nohkalikai Waterfalls can be viewed from a distance, one of the region's highest waterfalls. However, it can be completely hidden in mist during cloudy days. The Seven Sisters Waterfalls are a series of seven waterfalls located within close distance of each other, you can view them from a distance. For the adventurers, you can visit the Mawsmai Cave, wherein you can trek and explore the different limestone formations inside it.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Living Root Bridges, Double Decker Living Root Bridge, Nohkalikai Waterfalls, Seven Sisters Waterfalls and Mawsmai Cave
    Living Root Bridge in Cherrapunjee (Image from Satish Krishnamurthy)

    5. Kalimpong (West Bengal) - Darjeeling is West Bengal's pride when it comes to hill stations. But if you are courageous enough to venture out of the known and ordinary, you can explore the lesser known hill station of Kalimpong instead. Much like Darjeeling, the hill station has wonderful views of the Kanchenjunga mountain ranges. Temperatures here don't exceed 30°C during summers so you can explore this hamlet as much as you'd like. A number of natural attractions and monasteries can be found here. For the clearest view of the Kanchenjunga mountains, head on to the Deolo Hill. The view point itself is a treat to the eyes, with its lush greenery and colourful flowers. It's vibrant too, offering a number of activities like paragliding and horse riding for guests, plus there are many food stalls and even a small park within the place. The Cactus Nursery is run by a private institution but holds a wide collection of cacti, more than you can imagine. Entry fee is very nominal and you can then enjoy photography inside the nursery. The Durpin Monastery is located upon a hillock with the same name, and here, you can view the distant mountains as well. The chanting of the monks along with the ringing of the bells add to the serenity of the place. The Thongsha Monastery is Kalimpong's oldest monastery, built around the end of the 16th century. It is a very vibrant but small monastery, where you can watch little monks enjoying the surroundings. Last but definitely not the least is the Lepcha Museum, a private museum owned by Shri Sonam Tshering Lepcha. If you're lucky, you might be able to have a little chit chat with the man himself. The museum holds a number of artefacts related to the unique culture of Lepchas.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Deolo Hill, Cactus Nursery, Durpin Monastery, Thongsha Monastery and Lepcha Museum
    Of wildlife and rugged terrains...

    6. Keibul Lamjao National Park (Manipur) - Before summer officially ends, make your way into the Keibul Lamjao National Park, located in Bishnupur in the state of Assam. Be enthralled by the one-of-a-kind landscape of the national park, thereby known as the only floating national park, not just in India, but in the whole world. This distinction is due to the floating vegetations, known as phumdis, around the Loktak Lake, incidentally also the largest freshwater lake of the country. But that's not all, the national park is the home to the last remaining species of the sangais, also known as the brow antlered deers. It's very rare to spot these majestic animals but they are quite well-known for their almost dancing like gaits, as they make their way into the phumdis. As of recent estimates, only about 90 sangais reside in the national park, a number that is quite low as compared to the previous years. Other animals that you can spot in the national park are sambars, hog deers, Assamese macaques, marbled cats, golden cats and Himalayan black bears. A boat ride amidst the lake and a walk in the phumdis can be the most exhilarating experiences in one's life.
    • Must Spot Animals - Sangais, Sambars, Hog Deers, Assamese Macaques, Marbled Cats, Golden Cats and Himalayan Black Bears
    7. Manas National Park (Assam) - Thinking of going to the Kaziranga National Park in Assam? Stop your tracks and take a detour into the Manas National Park, also located within the same state. Unlike the former, Manas National Park is not in most tourist circuits for Assam. Manas National Park is also not as developed as the former so there are lesser tourist infrastructures here but that only means that the landscapes and wildlife here are more natural. The park has the Manas river flowing within it, which serves as its boundary for the Bhutan counterpart of the national park. Summers are perfect for exploring the national park as you can easily spot wildlife as they venture into the different water holes of the region. The national park though is home to a wide variety of animals like the Indian rhinoceroses, royal Bengal tigers, clouded leopards, golden cats, sambars, Asian elephants and Asian water buffalos. Recently, new species of reptiles were discovered in the national park as well, which means it's a thriving home for a wide variety of animals. You can opt for a jeep safari, a boat safari or even a trek within some areas of the national park.
    • Must Spot Animals - Indian Rhinoceroses, Royal Bengal Tigers, Clouded Leopards, Golden Cats, Sambars, Asian Elephants and Asian Water Buffalos
    Manas River (Image from Wikipedia)

    8. Satkosia Gorge Wildlife Sanctuary (Odisha) - Odisha might not be as well-known when it comes to its jungles but the Satkosia Gorge Wildlife Sanctuary proves that it has something to offer for the wildlife enthusiasts too. This wildlife sanctuary is newly established, having been designated as a sanctuary just in 2007. Unlike other sanctuaries though, there are no throngs of crowds here and the place is well-managed. It is truly a place where you can enjoy the chirping of the birds, the gurgling of the river and the untouched beauty of the greenery around. A number of crocodiles reside in the swampy areas of the sanctuary like the Indian crocodiles and mugger crocodiles. If you're up for it, you can take a thrilling boat ride amidst the river and spot some of the crocodiles sunbathing under the sun. Hidden in the jungles of the sanctuary are animals like leopards, nilgais, mouse deers and sloth bears. If you're brave enough, you can also try camping in Tikapada, nearby the river banks itself. Trekking is also allowed as long as you request for it prior to arriving in the wildlife sanctuary.
    • Must Spot Animals - Indian Crocodiles, Mugger Crocodiles, Leopards, Nilgais, Mouse Deers and Sloth Bears
    9. Namdapha National Park (Arunachal Pradesh) - This little explored national park close to the town of Miao in Arunachal Pradesh had also made it to the list. Perhaps it's the hassle of reaching the place, there are patches of non-existent roads, or maybe it's the need for an entry permit before accession the national park, that makes it one of the most unexplored sanctuaries in the country. The best feature of the national park is its wide variety of landscapes, owing to the different altitudes of the specific areas here. It is not only diverse, it is also very large, even being the third largest national park in the country. Since the region is savaged by monsoon rains, the best time to explore it is during the summer season. Wildlife that resides in the park are comprised of Asiatic black bears, musk deers, Indian bisons, leopard cats and Assamese macaques. It is also notable because it is home to the big four cat species, namely, common leopards, royal Bengal tigers, clouded leopards and snow leopards. Spotting these animals might be quite difficult though as the coverings in the national park are very dense. Birds though are more easily spotted so do bring your binoculars when visiting the place.
    • Must Spot Animals - Common Leopards, Royal Bengal Tigers, Clouded Leopards, Snow Leopards, Asiatic Black Bears, Musk Deers, Indian Bisons, Leopard Cats and Assamese Macaques
    Bird in Namdapha (Image from Wikimedia)

    10. Phawngpui National Park (Mizoram) - Last on the list is the Phawngpui National Park, located in Lawngtlai in the state of Mizoram. This national park also goes by the name of Blue Mountain National Park, as the distant mountains remain covered by clouds giving it a bluish appearance. During summer, temperatures here remain below 30°C so it's mild enough to enjoy the terrains of the national park. The highest peak in the state, the Phawngpui Peak, is located within the national park too. A number of rivers, waterfalls and grasslands occupy the vast area too, giving the national park a very varied landscape. The park is home to rare species of birds which double in number during migratory season. During summers, chances of spotting animals such as gorals, barking deers, sambars, tigers, leopards, rhesus macaques, stump-tailed macaques and Asiatic black bears are higher. You would enjoy the serenity of the Phawngpui National Park, away from the commercialised national parks of other regions.
    • Must Spot Animals - Gorals, Barking Deers, Sambars, Tigers, Leopards, Rhesus Macaques, Stump-Tailed Macaques and Asiatic Black Bears

    The summer heat shouldn't stop you from exploring India. There are places where you can either escape the heat or embrace the heat, so it's your choice. You also don't have to go with the crowds as there are plenty of unexplored places around India that would fit those who want to try out something different. Enjoy life, explore India and make sure you bookmark this page for future reference. Good luck!