Every hill station in India has its own story and attractions to offer. We give you our pick of the best hill stations in India to explore. \n
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Darjeeling: An endless expanse of tea plantations, against a backdrop of the majestic Mount Kanchenjunga, is the first thing that welcomes you when you reach Darjeeling. The highlight of this hill station is the Darjeeling Himalayan toy-train journey, which is an uphill ride from New Jalpaiguri town, at 228ft above sea level, to Darjeeling, at 2,200ft. Covering a distance of 80km in roughly six hours, this train is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
Coonoor– One of the premier hill stations in India that has survived the ravage of time, Coonoor, in the Nilgiri Hills, is covered in tea estates. With excellent accommodation and dining options, you can definitely treat yourself to a satisfactory holiday. You can also try taking a ride on the quaint toy train that comes out from Nilgiri Mountain Railways, which still runs partly on steam locomotives. The rail extends from Coonoor to Ooty, and gives you a bird’s eye view of the region’s most beautiful areas, including the cantonment area of Wellington and the woody region of Lovedale.
Shillong: Meghalaya’s capital, which is set in the Khasi Hills, offers thrill seekers the ultimate music experience. you should time your trip in the months of May, when you can enjoy the Bob Dylan Tribute concert, held by Lou Majaw & Friends, or in November, during the Autumn Festival. You can also visit the Shillong School of Music, the Cloud 9 club at Hotel Centre Point, or the Club Tango, in Police Bazar, where you can enjoy live performances by fantastic artists every day
Gulmarg: With powder-soft slopes and the backdrop of the Himalayas to welcome you, Gulmarg is one of the best hill station in India to go skiing. With excellent infrastructure and stellar hotels to stay in, it’s easy to see why Gulmarg counts itself as a premier hill station in India. With ski gear available for rent, you can also look at taking up a course at the Indian Institute of Skiing & Mountaineering, with fees starting at Rs. 5000.
Bir-Billing –The experience of paragliding awaits you when you come to Bir-Billing. Both experienced and novice paragliders can come here, nestled away in the Dhauladhar mountains, in Himachal Pradesh. And why wouldn’t you, when you have the chance to soar among the clouds at almost 11,500ft.
This hill station in India is a great place to start your tryst with flying as you can go tandem with a skilled instructor. After taking off, you will be treated to snow-capped peaks, expansive tea gardens and Tibetan monasteries glistening in the distance.
Rishikesh - While Rishikesh is known for it’s yoga getaways and all things holistic, there is so much more in this town. This hill station in India, apart from being known for its soul searching pursuits, is also a world-class destination for river-rafting. Tucked away in the foothills of Uttarakhand’sGarhwal Himalayas, the mighty Ganga, which flows through Rishikesh, offers Grade III and IV rapids!
The stretch from Shivpuri to Ram Jhula has the biggest rapids in the area, and aptly holds the moniker, Roller Coaster and Double Trouble. Getting to this destination will take a half an hour drive from Dehradun’s Jolly Grant Airport; cabs are available to rent at the airport. If you’re driving from New Delhi, five hours away by road,
A mere eight hours from New Delhi, lies Mussorie, one of the best hill stations in India. This Garhwal town in Uttarakhand has always been the preferred holiday spot for celebrities and politicians like the Nehru family. Those with a love for literature will also know this hill station to be the muse for a number of writer Ruskin Bond’s lyrical short stories.
A perfect destination for hiking, nature lovers can start their journey along lanes lined with pine trees, trails that lead up to gushing waterfalls and into oak-scented woods. You can even pack a picnic and go for a day-long trek to some of the beautiful wild life estates here, which are home to several species of birds, including the elusive Mountain Quail. Getting here will take you a two-hour drive from New Delhi.