India’s landscape is more diverse than most countries. It has almost every variant possible, from deserts to rainforests. Thanks to this diversity, you can find many hill stations throughout the country. Hill stations are towns that are located at high elevations and have valleys around them. The temperatures at these places tend to be significantly lower than those of their counterparts nearby. While most of the hill stations in India are concentrated in the northern reaches of the country, you can find some of the top hill stations scattered in the other regions as well. With their cool climates, these are very popular getaways with Indian travellers. Here are some of the best hill stations in India. 

1. Ooty: The Queen of Hill Stations

Great for: Couples, Friends, Family

Located in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Ooty or Udagamandalam is situated at the height of 2,240 m and is a popular honeymooning destination in India.

 CC 2.0 / Navaneeth Kishor

To reach Ooty, you can catch the 100-year old mini-train of Nilgiri Railways from Coonoor and see the landscape spread out in front of you. The Ooty Lake is an excellent place for a romantic boating experience; they even have special boats for couples.

If you’re looking for an off-the-beat experience, you must visit the forest walk, which takes you right into the bowels of a lush green forest. Avalanche Lake, which was formed by an avalanche is a great place to find a lot of biodiversities, especially butterflies. Do not miss out on visiting the vast tea estates that you will find all around the town; the tea of Ooty is very famous, and you can get to see it processed here!

Best Time To Visit
Best Time To Visit: The best time to visit Ooty is during the winter, however, the temperatures are cool during summers too.

Where to Stay
Where to Stay: Some of the great hotels here are Sinclairs Retreat Ooty or Hotel Lakeview.]

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Best Hotels in Ooty

Getting There
Getting There: There are direct buses to Ooty from Chennai. However, you can also catch a flight to Coimbatore, which is just 85km from Ooty.

2. Munnar: The Kashmir of South India

Great for: Family, friends

This hill station in Kerala used to be a resort during the British Raj and today is a tiny town in the Western Ghats. Known most for its sprawling tea estates, Munnar is always lush green and cool throughout the year.

 Munnar – CC by 2.0 / Bimal K C

You can find thousands of tourists coming here regularly to escape the harsh climates around during summers. If you’re a fan of national parks, you must visit the Eravikulam National Park, which also houses the highest peak in South India, the Anamudi Peak, which resembles an elephant’s head and literally means the same in Malayalam.

No visit to Munnar is complete without a trip to the scenic Mattupetty Dam where you can even spot elephants in the lush environs around the lake. You could also visit the Top Station and Echo Points which are located further down from the Mattupetty Dam and get some fantastic views of the valley below shrouded in clouds.

Best Time To Visit
Best time to visit: Munnar is beautiful during monsoons and cool during winters. From June to February is the best time to visit this place.
Where to Stay
Getting There
You can catch a train to Aluva from most places in Kerala and then drive to Munnar.

3. Shimla: City With India’s Only Natural Ice Skating Rink!

Great for: Couples, Family, Adventure Sports Lovers, Friends

The capital city of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla, is a hill station in itself and it used to be a small town and a retreat for the officers of British Raj. Today, it is a flourishing city and has many attractions for you; it is also among the few hill stations near Delhi.

From the royal Rashtrapati Niwas with its Jacobethan architecture to the historic Jakhoo Temple, Shimla has something for everyone to see.

If you fancy shopping, a visit to the Mall Road, which is the prime shopping area of the city, is a must. Apart from the Rashtrapati Niwas, there are many other buildings like the Christ Church which date back to the British Era. If you’re visiting this city during the winters, you can also go to the largest natural ice skating rink in South Asia.

 

Best Time To Visit
Best Time To Visit: Shimla is covered in snow during winters and is lush green during summers, For snow enthusiasts, November to February is great while for adventure junkies, March to June is the best time.
Where to Stay
Where to Stay: Check out WelcomHeritage Woodville Palace and Hotel Willow Banks. There are lots of other hotels here!

Hotels in Shimla

Getting There
Shimla is connected by road to major cities in North India. The closest airport is Jubarhati.

4. Kodaikanal: The Most Peaceful Hill Station In Tamil Nadu

Great for: Couples, Friends, Family

Kodaikanal is a hill station in Tamil Nadu and is smaller than Ooty but thanks to less urbanisation, it remains in its pristine form. 

 Kodai Lake

The Kodai Lake is situated right in the middle of the town, and you can go boating here or rent a cycle and explore its circumference at your own pace.Moreover, you could head over to the Bear Shola Falls by taking a small walk through the forest nearby. The famed pine forests of Kodaikanal will bring you into a different world altogether.

If you have ever wanted to be above the clouds, the Moir Point and Silent Valley Viewpoint are great options. Do not miss out on visiting nearby Vattakanal Valley, it is simply surreal.

Best Time To Visit
Best Time To Visit: Winter is the best time to visit Kodaikanal between months of November and March. Monsoon is a great time too between July and November.
Where to Stay
Where to stay: The popular hotels among the tourists are The Carlton or Sterling Kodai Lake.

More Hotels in Kodaikanal

Getting There
 Kodaikanal is well connected by road to Chennai and other major cities of Tamil Nadu. The closest airport is Madurai which is 116 km away.

Air Tickets to Madurai

5. Matheran: A Hill Station Sans Vehicles

Great for: Couples, Family

This hill station near Mumbai serves as a peaceful retreat for the city folk and can be reached by a 100-year old mini-train.

 CC 2.0 / Arpan Bhowmick

The best part about Matheran is that no vehicles are allowed in the town, making it the only hill station in Asia to have such a rule. With absolutely no noise pollution by cars, you can expect your holiday to be unforgettable here. An absolute treat to visit during the monsoons, Matheran has some fantastic valley-view points like Echo Point, Louisa Point and One-Tree Hill Point.

The Charlotte Lake is a serene retreat too. All places around the town can be accessed on foot or horses, and the entire area is covered in canopies, making it one of the most beautiful hill stations in the country. During monsoon, you can spot many tiny streams form all around the place too.

 CC 2.0 / SHIBA 007 CC 2.0 / SHIBA 007

 

Best Time To Visit
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Matheran is during monsoon when the hills around are lush green between July and October. You can also visit it during winter when the climate is cool between November and February!
Where to Stay
Getting There
Matheran is located close to Mumbai and is also accessible through the Mumbai Suburban Railway network from where you can then take a mini-train to the hilltop.

While planning your trip to these places, do keep in mind the time of the year and the different routes by which you can reach them, each of these will hand you a completely different experience.

Feature Image: Western Ghats seen from Munnar / CC 2.0 / screaming_monkey