Planning a summer vacation in a hill station in India? Here are our recommendations for the best offbeat destination in the hills, from Kashmir to Kerala.
Tranquillity, picturesque views, a sense of adventure and a lot more — hill stations across India have much to offer. The tourist season is set to peak in May and June, so here are some offbeat destinations that you can head to in April, one of the best months to visit the mountains, for that perfect break from your hectic schedule:
1. Yercaud, Tamil Nadu
Located on the Shevaroys Hills of the Eastern Ghats in Tamil Nadu, Yercaud is known as the ‘jewel of the south’. The place includes a reserve forest, rocky hills, and a lake. It is known for its cool temperatures, which seldom exceed 29 degree celsius. This hill station has plenty of coffee, orange, pepper, banana, and pear plantations.
Must visit spots: Lake, Lay’s Seat, Killiyur Falls, Pagoda Point, Arthur’s Seat, Kaveri Peak and Servarayan Temple
2. Ponmudi, Kerala
Situated in the capital district of Thiruvananthapuram, Ponmudi is a popular hill station in Kerala. The place is replete with trekking trails, as well as rare flora and fauna like mountain flowers, wild orchids and exotic butterflies. One of the longest and toughest trekking trails of the state, Varayadumotta, is located in this hill station and covers 18 km on one side. Prior booking is required to trek through this place, which is open only for a few days in a year.
“Travellers, especially those who love bike rides, will definitely love Ponmudi. The roads are very narrow and have 22 hairpin curves to reach the place,” wrote a Tripadvisor user.
Must visit spots: Kallar River, Meenmutty Waterfalls, Tree House View Tower, Varayadumotta
3. Kokernag, Jammu & Kashmir
The Kokernag Spring, which gushes from the misty hill covered in evergreen pine trees, is a sight for sore eyes. In addition to this, a terraced garden and botanical garden, with delicately maintained flower beds of different varieties, as well as hues covered and protected with beautifully pruned evergreen shrubs are also found here. It was developed during the rule of Bakhshi Ghulam Mohammad.
Must visit spots: Kokernag Garden and Spring.
4. Mechuka, Arunachal Pradesh
Located at a height of 6,000 feet above sea level, Mechuka is also known as the Forbidden Valley of Arunachal Pradesh, because it became accessible by road only a decade ago. The place is located 29 km from MacMahon, a line that separates India from China. Mopin, an agricultural festival celebrated by the Galo tribe of the state, is another speciality of the place.
“The valley is just amazing. Lots of places for trekking/ walking amid nature. We visited during the Mopin Festival. Their culture and tradition is worth watching,” wrote a user on Tripadvisor.
Must visit spots: Mechuka Adventure Festival, Siang River, bamboo bridges, Old World Monastery,
5. Lambasingi, Andhra Pradesh
Otherwise known as the Kashmir of Andhra Pradesh, Lambasingi is the only place in South India that receives snowfall during winters. This lesser-known destination is rich with towering hills, tall green trees, and dense forests. Lambasingi is a paradise for adventure seekers with many activities including trekking, mountain biking, hiking and camping.
Must visit spots: Thajangi Reservoir, Kothapalli Waterfalls, Susan Garden
6. Barot Valley, Himachal Pradesh
This low-key picnic spot is a perfect weekend getaway with family or friends. It offers trekking, trout fishing, and nature camping. The average temperature of this place is close to 16 degrees Celsius, which provides a cosy climate all through the year. This hidden gem in Himachal was initially developed for a hydel project over the Uhl River, and later became a tourist spot.
“Peaceful, absolutely clean, raw nature, dream-like landscape with Uhl river flowing all along,” wrote a user on Tripadvisor.
Must visit spots: Uhl River, Nargu Wildlife Sanctuary, Barot Temple, Chuhar Valley
7. Yuksom, Sikkim
This historically important place in Sikkim is known as the ‘meeting place of three lamas’. This is because three monks came from Tibet and selected Phuntsog Namgyal as the first King of Sikkim and gave him the title Chogyal, which means ‘religious king’. It is also the gateway to the Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve, the base for some of the most fascinating treks through the high mountain region. The place is ideal to understand the local culture and traditions of the state. There are many trekking spots and adventure activities here.
Must visit spots: Dubdi monastery, Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve
8. Mangi Tungi, Maharashtra
This is a famous holy place for pilgrimage and is also known for its hills. It is a twin-pinnacle peak with a plateau in between, and tourists must climb around 4,500 steps to reach the peak, where several important monuments of immense historical and religious value stand.
Must visit spots: Mangi Tungi Temple, Salher Fort, Statue of Ahimsa
9. Perumedu, Kerala
Known for its picturesque views, Peerumedu is one of the most popular hill stations of Kerala. The town derives its name from a Sufi saint named Peer Mohammad, who is said to be linked with the royal family of Travancore. The town is replete with vast stretches of coffee, tea, cardamom, rubber and eucalyptus plantations, and is also famous for its rare flora and fauna.
Must visit spots: Grampi, Peru Hills, Thrissanku Hills, Pattumala, Parunthumpara
10. Raithal, Uttarakhand
This quaint village is popular among trekkers, as it is the base camp to Dayara Bugyal, known for high alpine meadows. Raithal provides an impeccable experience of trekking and village tourism, with key attractions including the traditional houses, culture, and view of the Himalayas.
Must visit spots: Panchpura, Someshwar Temple, the Incomplete Sun temple, Goat Village
(Edited by Divya Sethu)