Top 15 hill stations of IndiaWith the highest mountain ranges in the world, the Himalayas, running north to east and the stunning Aravalli and Vindhya ranges flanking the western and central parts, the hill stations in India offer some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. From the misty valley of Coorg to adventure-packed Manali, here are some of India’s most-loved hill stations.
Darjeeling, West BengalSurrounded by infinite slopes of emerald-green tea plantations and set against a backdrop of jagged white Himalayan peaks, Darjeeling is nestled away in the northern regions of West Bengal. A journey on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway fondly known as the ‘Toy train’ is a great way to explore and soak in the magnificent surroundings of this hill station.
Shillong, MeghalayaThe capital city of Meghalaya, Shillong sits amidst the Khasi Hills. One of the most charming hill stations of India, it’s famous for receiving the highest rainfall in the world and for its dynamic music scene—being home to the country’s favourite Blues band, Soulmate and India's most popular blues man, Lou Majaw.
Coorg, KarnatakaSpread out on the Western Ghats, the misty valley of Coorg is enveloped in emerald landscapes and acres of coffee, tea and spice plantations. Fondly referred to as the ‘Scotland of India’ due to its verdant beauty and pleasant weather conditions, Coorg is a major centre for spice and coffee production. So, just back and watch the fog roll by.
Ooty, Tamil NaduEstablished as a summer retreat by the British and nicknamed ‘Snooty Ooty',Ooty is a visual delight filled with pretty cottages, fenced flower gardens, thatched-roof churches and terraced botanical gardens. Venture a few kilometres out and you'll find yourself surrounded by greener, quieter areas dotted with an abundance of pine trees.
Coonoor, Tamil NaduSmaller and quieter than its neighbour Ooty, Coonoor is nestled in the Nilgiri Mountains and is surrounded by rolling hills and tea and coffee plantations. The ride on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway’s quaint toy train—from Coonoor to Ooty—covers the region’s most scenic spots including the cantonment area of Wellington.
Manali, Himachal PradeshWith mountain adventures beckoning from all directions, Manali is the perfect destination for those looking to unwind. Backpackers come to hang around in the villages near the main town and adventure tourists come for trekking, paragliding, rafting and skiing. About 53 km away from Manali is the famous Rohtang Pass which offers breathtaking sights of glaciers, peaks and valleys.
Munnar, KeralaSprawling tea plantations, picture-perfect vistas and winding lanes make Munnar a favourite amongst Indian hill stations. Although the town itself is forever alive with activity, wander a few kilometres out and you’ll be engulfed in a thousand shades of green.
Nainital, UttarakhandAn erstwhile summer retreat of the British, Nainital is a small town settled amidst Uttrakhand’s Kumaon range. There’s a busy town bazaar and a web of walking tracks around the forested hillsides, which have enticed travellers since pre-independence days to retreat to Nainital.
Srinagar, Jammu and KashmirThe scenic splendour of Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir has attracted people to this hill station since time immemorial. Famous for its charming houseboats, historic gardens and a mild summer climate, Srinagar rests in the Kashmir Valley along and around the banks of the Jhelum River.
Matheran, MaharashtraShady forests, criss-crossing foot trails and breathtaking lookouts define Maharashtra’s most loved hill-station, Matheran. Motor vehicles are banned within Matheran and getting up to the town is half the fun of going there. Arrive on a narrow-gauge toy train that chugs along a 21 km scenic route, or trek up the scenic path that makes its way through train tracks and hillsides.
Shimla, Himachal PradeshSnow-capped Himalayan peaks and green pastures surround Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh. Spectacular hills blend with structures from the colonial era and the town’s lower bazaars flow with local life and shops selling souvenirs, fabrics and spices.
Mussoorie, UttarakhandOffering stunning views of the green Doon Valley and the distant white-capped Himalayan peaks, Mussoorie—located 34 km from Dehradun—is popularly known as the ‘Queen of the Hills’. You can walk up and down the famous Mall road, or sit and admire the mist-covered hills from Mussoorie’s highest point called Lal Tibba.
Wayanad, KeralaWayanad’s landscape combines epic mountain scenery, rice paddies, bamboo trees spiky ginger fields and rubber, cardamom and coffee plantations. Encompassing a part of a forest reserve, this quiet district in north-eastern Kerala is home to a variety of animals, including tigers, elephants and sloth bears.
Tawang, Arunachal PradeshA heady mix of religion, history and nature, Tawang is one of the least discovered towns in Arunachal Pradesh. Dotted with Buddhist monasteries and mystical gompas on one end and a war memorial on another, it begins to work its magic on travellers the moment they ascend the hills.