The mercury has already started soaring high. Days are parched and evenings are getting sultry. Most of us are dreading the onslaught of April and the ensuing months already. But there is one flicker of hope at the end of the long tunnel. Since summer vacations will soon set in, it is time to plan a trip to a hill station. Shimla, Manali, Ooty, Yercaud and Munnar are all done and dusted by most of us. Here is a guide to pristine hill-stations, that haven’t been bitten by the tourism bug.
The North-East is probably the most unexplored part of India. There are so many beautiful hill stations located in the area. The name of Sikkim immediately makes us think of Gangtok. But you should head to Pelling after spending a couple of days in Gangtok. Pelling is not as well developed as Gangtok, and it’s smaller, but it is more serene and closer to nature. It is also the starting point for some excellent treks, and the town itself has a few stunning view points that can rival Gangtok. Yes, you heard it right! Visit the Pemayangtse monastery, Changey and Khangchendzonga waterfalls and Khecheopalri Lake. The best way to get to Pelling is to grab a taxi from Siliguri or from Gangtok.
As mentioned earlier, North-East is a treasure trove of beautiful places to explore and they are most accessible during the summers. If you are looking out for a pretty place to spend your vacation, you should just chalk out a plan for Haflong. It is the only hill station in Assam and home to warm locals, mostly the colourful Assamese tribes. If your travel dreams are made of blue rivers and clouds grazing the green hills covered with varieties of flowers, then Haflong is one place this can turn into reality. The top attraction here is Haflong Lake, which takes the beauty of the place a notch higher. There are other options like paragliding, trekking and boating at Haflong. If you have time in your hands do take the short excursion to Jatinga village, famous for its migratory birds and blue orchids and Maibong, where you can delve into local history and architecture amongst the ruins of an ancient kingdom. You can drive down from Guwahati to Haflong and take a road trip of your lifetime.
While Uttarakhand is famous for housing hill stations like Nainital, Mussoorie and Almora, the state also has a relatively lesser known quaint little hill station, Kausani (different from Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh!). It will bowl you with its scenic splendor and its spectacular view of the Himalayas. Flanked by the rivers Kosi and Gomti, this small town sits atop the Pingnath Peak. The area is full of dense pine forest, tea gardens and affords a breath taking view of the Himalayan peaks of Trishul, Panchchuli and Nanda Devi. Major attractions around Kausani are the temple town of Bageshwar situated at the confluence of the river Sarayu and Gomti, the Gandhi Ashram and the Rudradhari falls and caves. It has often been referred to as Switzerland of India. To reach Kausani take a train till Kathgodam and then either a taxi or bus to the hill station.
Tosh, Himachal Pradesh
Most of us would have visited either Shimla, Manali during summer breaks with family or headed to Kasauli with friends during college years. But Himachal abounds in small and picturesque towns and villages. One such unexplored little village is Tosh at the end of the Parvati Valley. Tosh is situated at a height of 7,874ft and leads to the beautiful Pin Parvati Pass. The Tosh River here is an offshoot of the Parvati River. Himalayan trekking in Tosh valley will take you through gorgeous meadows and streams leaving you breathless. Begin from Barsheni and hike up to make pit stops at Buddhaban and the Tosh Village. What sets this trekking tour apart is that you can choose to pursue the tracks that lead to the challenging Animal Pass or choose the steady easy climb to the Tosh Glacier. Both views offer exquisite vistas of the picturesque mountains, valleys and landscapes filled with snow. It is connected to the rest of the world through a wooden bridge. But once you go there, you might feel you’re in a different era altogether. Shimla railway station is located 107 km from Tosh and is the closest option to reach there.
This one is probably closer home and the most secluded hill station on the Western Ghats. It is ethereal and absolutely captivating. It is a true picture of nature’s bounty – landscapes dotted with waterfalls, swaying palms and lush paddy fields make for picturesque locales. The rivers Tungabhadra, Sharavathi, Varada and Kumudavathi inundate the luxuriant greens of the region. The place also has massive historical relevance. Shimoga was ruled by the great Indian dynasties of the Kadambas, Gangas, Chalukyas, Rastrakutas, Keladi and Vijaynagar kings. It reached its pinnacle during the rule of Shivappa Nayaka around 1600 A.D. The enchanting natural scenery of hills, hillocks and green dales, rivers and streams, dense forests, flora & fauna, forts, temples and historical places, sandalwood and spices, add to this mouth-watering cuisine of the place and you surely have the perfect place to spend your summer.
Cover image source : india.com