8 Pristine Hill Stations to Visit in India Before the Crowd Gets There.
Are you planning a hill station summer vacation with your family this year? Are you thinking you of the popular, but run-of-the-mill spots that everybody throngs to every year? Well, think again. There are other equally scenic and invigorating spots, which are not very well-known. And their very obscurity is a boon, because they are untouched by the human influence. Given below is a list of hill stations where you can enjoy the unspoiled splendors of nature. In solitude, like it should be:
1. Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh: At an altitude of over 3,000 feet, Tawang is one of the most scenic spots in eastern India. Relatively off radar of the regular holiday crowd, it straddles Tibet on one side and Bhutan on the other. The main tourist attraction is the Tawang Monastery, the biggest Buddhist monastery outside Lhasa but you can also go rock climbing, paragliding and river rafting. The summer months are the ideal time to visit Tawang.
2. Chikhaldhara, Satpura Mountains, Maharashtra: This quaint little spot is not only scenic and relaxing, it is refreshingly isolated. There are the clear and calm waters Kitchakdari and Shakkar lakes, set in beautiful surroundings, for a picnic or leisurely strolls, or the Gawilghur fort for a historical sojourn. You can visit the surrounding temples for a bit of art and culture. There is also a wildlife museum and a tiger sanctuary apart from vantage viewpoints. There are regular buses from Amravati about 100 kilometers away.
3. Yercaud, Tamil Nadu: Yercaud comprises of a small group of hills at 1,515 meters above sea level about 25 kilometers from Salem. It is a less frequented hill station because it is cut off from the Western Ghats and is consequentially more economical then the more popular and crowded Ooty and Kodaikanal. Yercaud is more suitable as a honeymoon destination than a family hill station given its parks, gardens, romantic walks, forested slopes and low residential density. Once you’re done marveling at the rock formations, the Servarayan Temple makes a beautiful day trip.
4. Haflong, Eastern Himalayas, Assam: Northeast India is full of breathtaking vacation destinations, if more people choose to discover the region. Haflong is one such hiss station where you can sit with your head literally in the clouds. The Haflong Lake is probably the most beautiful site, but a number of spectacular views, will vie for your attention and preference. You can get there fairly easily by flights from Guwahati and Gimapur; there is rail connectivity a well, but a drive from the capital city can be a memorable experience.
5. Kausani, Uttaranchal: Lesser known by the holiday crowd, Kausani offers the best views of the Himalayan peaks Nanda Devi, Panchchuli and Trishul. At nearly 1900 meters above sea level, a visit to Kasauni is like holidaying in ring side seats to a scinitillating 300-kilometer panorama of the Himalayas. The hill station has a dense cover of pine trees and is strewn with tea gardens. The place is so remotely scenic that the only things to see are Anashakti Ashram and the Pant Museum. The best time to visit this Swiss-like spot is between March and May.
6. Idukki, High Range District, Kerala: Idukki is one of the most beautiful places in south India, but surprisingly undisturbed by tourists. You may as well enjoy its pristine natural beauty while the solitude lasts. Apart from the breathtaking view points, there is a dam on a lake and various other scenic spots. The best way to get to Idukki is to drive through the forests, with signs telling you to watch out for elephants. There are government buses but the way the cliff side turns are negotiated will scare you out of your shoes.
7. Chopta, Garhwal Himalayan Range, Uttarakhand: The state is renowned as home to some of the most picturesque hill stations in India. And Chopta qualifies as one of the finest but is yet relatively unknown. It is a must for trekkers, and the views you get definitely make the exercise worth it. The place is some 4000 meters above sea level so the winters can get pretty cold and snowy. You can either drive there or take a bus to Rudraprayag and hire a taxi from there. Most peoples’ best option for lodging is the Magpie Jungle Camp.
8. Ponmudi, Kerala: This is the most under celebrated hill stations as far its scenic splendour goes. A place of spectacular sunrises against the surrounding hills, it is a photographer’s delight, as the shutterbugs will soon find out once the word spreads. But till then, you are free monopolise nature’s glory. The river Kellar runs through the town and its shimmering crystal clear waters are always within view. Other places of interest are fresh water springs, a deer park, a biological park and a wildlife sanctuary. The nearby Meenmutti Falls is a beautiful picnic spot. The best months to visit Ponmudi are between October and March.