Now that those Nimbus clouds have rolled in, and the skies look ready to burst, lovers of the monsoon season will be looking forward to the change in weather and cooler temperatures.
The world looks cleaner and greener, even hard-core dieters will cheat and have piping hot pakkoras with their chai and perhaps everyone will be planning a getaway in their minds.
So, why not make a little holiday of it? Take a weekend trip to one of India’s many hill stations – there’s almost definitely one close to the city you live in.
Located just 230 km from Chennai, Yelagiri is the perfect place to go. The climate is cool, and the place itself is still considered off the beaten track. It may not be as developed as some of the more popular hill stations around – such as Ooty or Kodaikanal – but work is ongoing to transform Yelagiri into a haven for adventure sports such as paragliding and rock climbing.
It may be a little difficult to get to if you aren’t planning on driving there, but Horsely Hills is one of the least explored hill stations near Bengaluru. Named after the British Collector, WD Horsley, who built his home there in pre-Independence India, the tiny hill station is an oasis in greenery in an otherwise dry and barren area.
Look, we know it’s become a bit of a meme these days, but there’s plenty of good reasons why tourists flock to Lonavala from Pune. And one of them is their world-famous chikki. If you don’t have much of a sweet tooth and you’re tired of all the rest and relaxation on offer here, check out Tiger Point – a cliff-top with a sheer 650m drop which offers a stunning view of the surrounding area – or the nearby Bhaja caves, if you’re a history buff.
The Buddhist Bhaja Caves near Lonavala make for a wonderful day trip
Most Hyderabadis know the place very well as it’s a favourite amongst trekking enthusiasts and nature lovers. While you’re there, check out the Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple if you enjoy being around heritage buildings, or trek to the nearby Nagasamudram Lake, which offers stunning views during monsoon.
What’s so great about Panchgani is that while it remains pleasant through the year, it’s wonderfully chilly in the monsoons. Come afternoon and it will feel like the clouds have descended to Earth as the fog rolls in throw your hotel windows. Founded by a British superintendent by the name of John Chesson in the 1860s, the once uninhabited area in Maharashtra has become one of the most famous hill stations in India. If you’re feeling a bit peckish, take a tour of one of the many strawberry farms which continue cultivations almost throughout the year.
It’s a bit of a drive at approximately 600km, but Darjeeling ought to be your top choice of hill station if you’re in Kolkata. Famous for its tea and tourism industries, Darjeeling is at a significant elevation above sea level which allows its climate to stay pleasant throughout the year. And if you’re going, make sure you take a ride on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to Ghum, which is India’s highest railway station.
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is also called the “toy train” for its tiny size
There are references to this famous hill station dating back to the ancient Puranas, in which this region has been called Arbudaranya, which eventually ended up being shortened to Abu. Located on one of the oldest mountain ranges in India, Mount Abu is also home to a spectacular wildlife sanctuary, which is incredibly rich in flora and fauna species. If you’re considering a trip here but you’re on a budget, check out the Dharamshalas which house tourists for as little as rupees 700 per night.
The North of India really is spoiled for choice when it comes to stunning hill stations. Nainital, located in Uttarakhand and often referred to as the ‘Lake District of India,’ is a popular destination. If you’re one of those who believe that the mountains are calling you, this is one place you surely shouldn’t miss for its scenic mountain views and lush greenery. If you’re travelling with children, head to the Nainital Zoo to see the snow leopard and Himalayan Black Bear, and then Eco Cave Garden to teach them more about the Ecosphere.
Like this article? Also read: The Most Beautiful Cities, As Seen from Space
Cover Image Courtesy: Shutterstock.com; Images via T photography / Shutterstock.com