Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Hill Stations of India

Topographically India is varied land comprises of mountains and plains. Out of India’s total land area, a fair portion is occupied by the mountains and hills. Great Indian Himalayas runs almost all through the northern part of the country. However, the western ghat range runs from Maharashtra to Kerala, Tamil Nadu and other parts of South India. The British East India Company developed a number of hill stations in these mountain ranges, which still flourish.

Far from the hustle and bustle of the cities, the hill stations of India provide a welcome break and take one close to mother nature. Hill Stations of India are famous worldover for their cool salubrious climate and their spectacular scenery. Every year thousands of tourists from all over the world visit the hill stations to enjoy the pleasant climate and getting rejuvenated by the rolling meadows and serene ambience. India is home to more or less around fifty hill stations, some of the popular hill stations are :

Darjeeling : Situated in the Indian state of West Bengal, Darjeeling is often referred to as the 'Queen of all hill stations.'Darjeeling is known for its pristine natural beauty, clean fresh air and year round present weather. Above all, you will be certainly pleased by the warm hospitality of smiling and welcoming local people. World's third highest pick mount Kanchenjunga lies very close to Darjeeling and provides clearest view. The toy train running between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling is a major attraction and you should not miss the adventurous journey. A World Heritage Site, the Darjeeling toy train takes you through the winding railway tracks,flanked by the lofty mountains all across. Other popular destinations in and around Darjeeling include Ghoom, Kalimpong and Mirik.

Shimla : Once the capital of British India, Shimla is now the capital of Himachal Pradesh. Set at an altitude of 2,196 mts above sea level, Shimla is one of the most popular hill stations of India. Of course, the British are no more here, but even today you can experience the bygone era in colonial structures here. With lofty snow-covered peaks all around flanked by pine, cedar, oak and rhododendron forests, the hill station makes a prefect base for a leisurely holiday. Shimla is easily accessible from India’s capital Delhi (343 km). Trains, Buses and Air services are available to Shimla from Delhi. Ridge, Lakkad Bazaar, St Michael's Cathedral, Institute of Advanced Studies and Tara Devi Temple are the main attractions of Shimla. Don’t forget to enjoy the toy train journey between Kalka and Shimla.

Manali : An important hill station of northern India, Manali is situated in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Literally meaning the abode of Manu or "Home of Manu", Manali boasts of cool atmosphere. Dotted with a number of temples, Manali is also treated as an important pilgrimage destination. If you are an adventure seeker, then Manali is a perfect place for you. Situated at an altitude of 2050 meters above sea level, along the banks of the river Beas provides excellent opportunities for a variety of adventure sports. Here you may enjoy the adventure sports like skiing, hiking, mountaineering, para gliding, rafting, trekking, kayaking, and mountain biking. Some of the attractions of Manali include Arjun Gufa,Hadimba Temple,Jagatsuhk, Kothi, Manu Temple, Monasteries, Rahala waterfalls, Rohtang Pass (3979 m), Solang Valley, Vashist Hot Water Springs and Temple.

Ooty : Ooty also called Udhagamandalam is one of the most popular hill stations of South India. Nestled amidst the lush green hills of the Nilgiris, Ooty was developed as a hill station by the British in the early 19 th century. Bestowed with a landscape perpetually enveloped in mist, Ooty’s beauty has a timeless appeal. Peaches and plum orchards, terraced tea plantations, and eucalyptus, pine and wattle lining the landscape, add more to the beauty of Ooty. Government Botanical Garden (2 Kms), Artificial Lake, Mini Garden, Doddabetta, Hindustan Photo Films, Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and Deer Park are some of the attractions of Ooty.

Nainital : Nainital, literally meaning the ‘city of lake’ is the gateway of Kumaon region of Uttarakhand state. A beautiful hill resort, Nainital is visited by thousands of domestic and foreign tourists. Flanked by the lofty peaks, Nainital provides a heaven like feel. Enjoy the boating in Naini lake, horse safari or reach to snow-view by ropeway. From the snow-view enjoy the spectacular view of the snow-covered Himalayan ranges. Some of the popular attractions around Nainital are Bhimtal (22 km), Khurpatal (12 km), Nakuchiyatal, Sattal, Kainchi, Kilbury (12 km), Ranikhet (63 km) and Kausani (120 km).

Mount Abu : Mount Abu, the only hill station of Rajasthan, is just like a green oasis in the barren desert scape. Set at the southern tip of the Aravali range, Mount Abu is covered with varied floral species that include coniferous trees and flowering shrubs. Gaumukh Temple, Dilwara Jain Temple, Adhar Devi Temple, Sunset Point, Honeymoon Point, Shri Raghunathji Temple,Museum and Art Gallery, Guru Shikhar(Highest peak), Nakkilake etc. are famous attractions of Mount Abu.

Kodaikanal : Kodaikanal lies 120 kms away from Madurai on the southern crest of the Palani hills. Set at an elevation of altitude of 2100 mt, Kodaikanal is surrounded by wooded slopes, waterfalls and precipitous rocky outcrops. Established by American missionaries in 1845, Kodaikanal is steeped in history. Even today you can see the relics and artifacts of the Paliyans who once lived in these hills in the Shenbaganur Museum. You can also see a few Paliyans near Kukal Cave.

Other Popular Hill Stations of India : Mussoorie (Himachal Pradesh), Almora (Uttarakhand), Khandala (Maharashtra), Lonavala (Maharashtra), Gangtok (Sikkim), Gulmarg (Jammu and Kashmir), Ladakh (Jammu and Kashmir), Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) Panchgani (Maharashtra), Mahabaleshwar (Maharashtra), Patnitop, Munnar, Dalhousie and Kufri.

1 comment:

  1. I think u missed out on Gangtok, i think most underated....try it....