Home to seven distinct mountain ranges, India offers a remarkable palette of the outdoors. From the serene glamour of the Western Ghats to the sheer magnitude of the Himalayas, the mountains of India are as legendary as they are diverse.
Tucked within these towering altitudes, are several of India's famous hill stations. These urbanised centres have hosted travellers, adventure-seekers and summer-weary city-dwellers for years and have come to become India's most visited destinations. These hill-stations are a retreat in themselves and are also base for exploring the wilderness of the mountains.
The famous hill stations in India offer a refuge from the oppressive heat and mayhem of city life, with each one seemingly more beautiful than the other.
There are numerous Indian hill stations that could be perfect for your summer sojourn. So, for some real detoxification, pack your bags and start climbing the hill stations of India.
Here is a handpicked list of 30 hill stations in India that promise crisp air, intoxicating sceneries and blissful tranquillity. So get packed and going.
1. The mesmerising landscape of Srinagar
The beautiful capital of Jammu and Kashmir is the perfect choice for a summer getaway. The serene lakes and houseboats will ensure you have a pleasant stay.
Most of the gardens here have a typical Mughal influence as they were built by Mughal emperors. Srinagar is also home to the country’s largest tulip garden. A visit in April will give you the chance to attend the tulip festival here.
2. The magnificent views of Nainital
Nainital in Uttarakhand ranks high on the list of best hill stations in India, if simply for its natural setting amidst a valley containing a pear-shaped lake and magnificent views from surrounding mountain peaks. Nainital lies in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand and surrounds the famous Nani Lake.
This hill station was patronised by the British during their rule in India. A beautiful summer retreat, it is known the serene Naini Lake. For tourists who want to experience the buzz of a city, a visit to The Mall – a strip which has a number of good restaurants, hotels, markets and shops. A forest walk or a ride on a horse could be your way of relaxing. You could even take a boat ride on the lake. Be sure to read reviews and recommendations before visiting any of the top hill stations of India. With plenty to do and see and a cool climate that lasts for most part of the year, Nainital hits a chord with tourists from all over. This is one place that seems to attract locals and tourists not just in season by round the year. Perfect for a romantic trip with your spouse or a family outing, Nanital has much to offer its visitors. Some of t he places to visit there are the Naina Devi Temple, get wild at the Govind Ballabh Pant Zoo, eat to your heart’s content at Tiffin Top, get a glimpse of the night sky at the Astronomical Observatory or simply go boating on its famous lake. Nanital is well connected so getting there isn’t an issue nor is staying there as one has a number of budget, standard and luxury hotels to choose from.
3. The adventure and tranquility of Manali
A famous honeymoon destination in India, Manali provides a stunning view of the Himalayas. You can be assured of experiencing a blend of adventure and tranquillity – the perfect recipe for a summer vacation. Situated in Kullu Valley, it is surrounded by pine forests and the mighty Beas River. Manali offers a beautiful retreat in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh.
It is mostly hailed for being one of India’s topmost skiing destinations and holds the greatest attraction for summer and winter sports. Manali is truly a treat to visit during the summer months. The place is calm and bewitching as described by those who have been here. Nestled in Himachal Pradesh, this is one spot that is resplendent with temples and adventure sports. From mountain skiing to snow biking and more, you can get to try a lot of activities in this snow covered region. Some temples that should feature of your ‘must visit’ list are Hadimba Temple and Manu Temple. The Tibetan monasteries cannot be missed and the Vashist Hot Water Springs should be seen at least once. The Solang valley and Rohtang Pass are some other attractions worth travelling to and seeing. A prome honeymoon destination, Manali is the starting point for the Leh –Manali Highway. You should do all the shopping that you can at Mall Road. Staying there is not a problem as there are many hotels within your budget. Luxury hotels are also available for tjose who wish to spend more. A popular skiing destination in India, Manali woos you with its still beauty and scenic splendor. Lying at an altitude of 6,726 ft in the Beas River Valley, the place has recently become one of the greatest tourist attractions providing umpteen opportunities for summer and winter sports.
4. The colonial grandeur of Shimla
What was first known to us as Simla, is now Shimla. The name may have changed slightly, but the beauty of this hill station in India remains unchanged and unchallenged. The British named Shimla as their summer capital during their reign. It now stands as the capital of Himachal Pradesh and is a beautiful place to visit. This exceptionally cool and quaint town is surrounded by mountains and forests. The colonial buildings and the railway here are some of the best highlights. Christ Church, famous for its glass-stained windows, is among the town’s most popular landmarks. Also make a visit to Viceregal Lodge which is situated on Observatory Hill. A historic walking tour around the town, adventure sports or even short hikes around the vicinity will help occupy your time. It is among the most famous hill stations in India.
To the north of India, this capital city of Himachal Pradesh is a tourist magnet. Used by the British as their getaway during the summer time, this place is known for its adventure sports like ice skating. The place reeks with colonial architecture and the buildings have names of Anglo-Saxon influence. Getting there shouldn’t be a problem as the place has its own airport and flights operate from major cities. With that being said, the best way to soak in the beauty would be a road trip! There are a good number of hotels and budget resorts to stay at. When you are there, you must make it a point to go and visit the Christ Church, Viceregal Lodge and the Shimla State Museum. The place flaunts an array of buildings and monuments that represent English Colonialism. If you wish to go temple hopping, try the Tara Devi and Shoolini Temples. For shopping, there can be no better place to go to than Mall Road. This place turns white during the winter months making it a sight to behold. Having highlighted quite a few, Shimla makes it to the top of our list of hill stations in India.
5. The captivating beauty of Ooty
Tamil Nadu boasts of the lush greens of Ooty, also known as Udhagamandalam. Ooty in Tamil Nadu is perfect for a summer escape from the hot climate of the plains. The peak season witnesses a large number of tourists. However, it is the best time to visit the town. Ooty's botanical garden has an annual flower which should not be missed. You could also go boating on Ooty Lake, or trek Dodabetta Peak for spectacular views of the Nilgiri hills. Nestled deep within the Nilgiri hills is what is known as Queen of all hill stations. Ooty’s captivating beauty far surpasses that of any other hill station in India. It’s what makes it one of the most celebrated hill stations in India.
The place is set amidst sprawling mountains, great lakes and dense forests where eucalyptus trees grow in abandon, and tea estates carpet the hill-sides. Drive 80 kilometers from Coimbatore and one will reach this hill station in the Nilgiri hills that offer relaxation, unperturbed. Misty mornings, cool afternoons and cozy evenings are what one gets to experience here. There are many activities like bird watching and trekking that one can make the most of, but the ideal activity would be to simply unwind. Burrowed deep within the bosom of the Nilgiri hills is the Queen of all hill stations. Immaculate as the white of snow and mesmerizingly beautiful, Ooty takes top spot when it comes to the top 10 beautiful hill stations in India. The place is a picturesque representation of looming mountains, great lakes, dense forests abounding in eucalyptus trees and miles and miles of tea gardens.
6. The undisturbed scenaries of Tawang
The spectacular view of the Himalayas and the pristine lakes mark this place a few hundred kilometres from Guwahati. This is not a very popular tourist destination and thus is even better for people seeking peace and more adventure. The Goi Ichen is the pinch of thrill here if you are into trekking. Other than that, the beauty of nature from any of your resort rooms, walking along places covered with snow and camping here are activities enough to fill you with pure bliss. Veiled among the innumerable hills of the Himalayas is Tawang at a distance of 500 kms from Guwahati.
It is exceptionally striking, especially the Shonga-Tser Lake formed during an earthquake here. Pangang Teng Tso is also a lake ideal for boosting your photography skills. Your imagination will flow free with all the remarkable spots with even remarkable sights. And if you enjoy trekking at hills, then let this place be an icing to your occasional hobby, as you try to surmount Goi ichen! The experience all in all will be challenging, and a note to the historical geeks- The sixth Dalai Lama was born at the Tawang monastery set here, nearby which is the Jang Falls that will take up a day of your appreciation. Accommodation might be a problem, but basic lodges with the usual facilities are many including a government guest house. Also needed is an Inner Line Permit which is easily accessible from any of the 3 locations of Guwahati, Kolkata or Delhi.
7. The lush green Chikhaldara
With its tranquil foggy cover, Chikhaldara will make your stay worth every penny you spend to get there. Though it's not a destination where you seek out a lot of adventures like the Himalayan Hill Stations, but a place of immense peace, beauty and tranquility. There is greenery all around and a lot to see as well. The main attractions here are the Shakkar and Kitchakdari lakes. Also beautiful are the remains of the Gawilghar Fort. There is also a wildlife museum as well as a wildlife sanctuary at this beautiful hill station.
The best way to reach this place is by a bus from Amravati. A few recommended places to catch up on would be Kitchakdari, Shakkar lakes, Gawilghur fort, the innumerable temples open all around and finally a wildlife museum, tiger sanctuary and viewpoints, that can be sighted almost everywhere. Barely 100 kms from Amravati it is the closest to Mumbai- 750 kms only. Accommodations and hotels are available in scarce, but given that they stay empty most of the time, you won’t have a difficulty lodging here.
8. The exotic beauty of Yelagiri
This too is not a place with gripping adventure like Tawang or Leh, but it is a place with great natural beauty. This place is not as popular as many other hill stations of South India such as Ooty.
This is reason enough for you to visit it till it is away from the crowd’s eye. The exotic beauty which looks marvellous from one of the few watch points, the Punganoor Lake and the park for walking are all very beautiful.
9. The rushing waterfalls of Shimoga
This is one of the best hill stations in the Western Ghat region but is still not very popular. This gives you a chance to spend some very peaceful time out here amidst the beautiful sceneries and waterfalls of the place. The Jog Falls look awesome when in full force and the Kodachari Peak is nice too. The temples and caves around are other attraction for you to explore. Mysore might be the only one on your ‘to visit hill stations in Karnataka’ list like many, but you can’t just skip Shimoga once you’ve heard of it. Abode to plentiful waterfalls, Jog Falls are the most notable. During the monsoons, when the flow is the best, you can just sit and stare at the fall for hours straight. Kodachari is a nearby heritage site with its peaking ecosystem and diverse vegetation that will leave you amazed at the beauty of this underrated hill station.
Sagars is another fall lying around Jog falls. Talaguppa, also pretty near Jog Falls will cough up three admirable temples to mesmerize you with. Finally, ending the list of never ending places to charm you with in Shimoga is Agumbe, a hill station lying on its own with its own set of environmental assets to brag of. Having plenty of hotels, living here for a day or two won’t be a difficulty in any way at all.
10. The hidden gem that is Haflong
This is one of the most beautiful hill stations in India. North- East is already incomparable when it comes to scenic beauty and hill stations. This is like a hidden gem which shines more than many others. The Haflong Lake is the most attractive point here and there are also other places of interest here. The airports of Guahati and Dimapur are close but if you want train connectivity, you get it from Lumding or Dimapur. Based in the North East Indian state of Assam, Haflong will let you play around up close and personal with the fog and clouds.
Much like all the hill stations of Assam, Haflong is high on greenery and falls more in the category of lofts. When you’re here, you ought to take time off to see the nearby Halflong lake, which is probably the most scenic of the spots here. There are many viewpoints spread everywhere, which will remind you again of what a perfect hill station should look like. The Guwahati airport is close by and so is the rail station, though it is a troubling process getting here by train. Driving isn’t so bad in itself, with the clean roads and stretched mountains. Lodges here aren’t many, so take a note of the two best ones- Landmark Hotel and The Tourist Lodge.
11. The attractive terrain of Pelling
The most famous place in Sikkim is the capital city of Gantok, which is also a beautiful hill station but if you are more of a traveller, this is perfect.
Pelling is not as developed as Gantok but a perfect place for some trekking and photography. The Kanchenjunga Range is best viewed as well as explored from here. Other attractions include the Changey and Kanchendzonga Falls and the Pemayangtse Monastery.
12. The dense forests of Idukki
This is one of the very beautiful hill stations in India. It is an extremely non-popular place with extreme scenic beauty. You get the experience of driving through dense forests to reach the lake here, which is the best attraction apart from the general sceneries. Being last on this list does not make Idukki any less attractive. Often cited as one of the most gorgeous districts of South India – well technically Kerala, it still hasn’t been found by many tourists yet, but the count is setting in. The view that it can mesmerise you with includes a drive through the forests with the wild animals by your side.
Say the word and and you will see a herd of elephants walking by. And not to mention there’s a dam and lake to indulge in. Private transportation is likely the best suggested means of communication here and the government has put up lodges at competitive prices.
13. The Khasi Hills of Shillong
Shillong, a hill station in the state of Meghalaya is yet another place that one must visit. Also known as the ‘Abode of Clouds’ the Khasi hills in Shillong holds a place of everlasting beauty in the capital state of Meghalaya. It is one of India’s prime hill stations, having earned the distinction of being referred to as the ‘Scotland of the East’ by early European settlers. Can the ‘Scotland of the East’ be left out? Surely not! From classic to rock music, local pubs and tasty food, this place is in a league of its own. The nearest airport is in Guwahati and from there either a 2-hour road journey or a 30-minute ride on a helicopter can get you here. The Police Bazar and Ward Lake are famous spots here. This place is the best way to round up our list on top hill stations in India.
Shillong has earned the distinction of being called ‘The Scotland of the East’ and rightly so. Flowing waterfalls, beautiful lakes and gentle hills make up the beauty of its landscape which is best viewed from atop Shillong Peak.
14. The meadows of Pahalgam
Lying at an altitude of 7,200 ft, this popular hill station in Jammu and Kashmir is surrounded by an aura of bewitching beauty that will leave you reeling from its splendour.
Once a favourite place for shooting Bollywood films, Pahalgam still woos tourists with its naturally endowed scenic beauty.
15. The tea plantations of Munnar
Munnar in ‘God’s Own Country’, Kerala rides high on its popularity of being the best, if not one of the best hill stations in India. Munnar is a picture of sublime tranquility with mist covered mountains and vast stretches of tea and coffee plantations that are a beauty beyond compare.
Munnar with its sprawling expanse of green carpeted tea and coffee plantations surrounded by gentle rolling hills teeming with wildlife is the ideal destination for honeymooners and wildlife lovers. Experience paradise on earth when you visit this hill station.
16. The picturesque hills of Dalhousie
Another beautiful destination in Himachal Pradesh is the hill station called Dalhousie. Named after the British General, Lord Dalhousie, this hill station once a summer retreat for the British, still retains its popularity. Situated at an altitude of 2,400 metres, Dalhousie spans across five hills and is one of the most picturesque hill stations reflecting plush green hills dotted with ancient Hindu temples and Scottish and Victorian architecture as seen in its quaint bungalows and modest churches.
The place stands at an altitude of 2700 metres. Many temples dot the area which is famous for its Tibetan Market, Sardar Bazar and Gandhi Chowk. You can also pay a visit to places like Kalatop, Panjpulla, Khajjair and Karelanu. The Village Lohali is a place can cannot be missed. So get packing and make your way to this place as soon as you can. You will thank us for including this place on our list of hill stations in India in summer. The Dalhousie Cantonment is another great tourist attraction.
17. The flower valleys of Gulmarg
Gulmarg, when transliterated means, ‘Meadow of Flowers,’ presents its visitors with a view that seems to be straight out of a fantasy book. Gulmarg is a sparkling valley of wild flowers which comes alive in the height of spring and summer. Winter sees this hill station transform into a popular skiing destination with plenty of winter sports to keep you entertained. Only in Gulmarg will you get to ride on the world’s second highest cable car in the world. The place is known for its golf course and the Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve, so do visit these places when you are there. If your eyes need some relaxation then the sight of daises, blueberries and many such flowers will take care of that for you. If you have skiing on your mind then yes, you are at the perfect place as Gulmarg offers much for skiers.
A visit to the meadow of flowers, or better known as Gulmarg is a great way to escape from the summer heat and give your family and yourself that much needed vacation. A beautiful golf course, ample of adventure sports and activities like snow skiing, gardens filled with beautiful flowers and an air that is healthy and refreshing, is what one can expect from the heaven like place, Gulmarg. It is a known fact that the place is very famous among tourists, thus making it all the more exciting for you to visit it. We have done our part by including this place on our list of hill stations in India in summer.
18. The stunning mountains of Chamba
The Chamba Valley in Himachal is a mysterious place dotted with a number of temples dedicated to Lord Narayan. Considered to be a paradise for those who love to connect with nature, Chamba provides one with an awesome view of all the mountains around the valley.
A must visit here is the Akhand Chandi Palace and Rang Mahal. You can also visit the Chamunda Devi and Champavati temples. A great place to visit, we had to include this on the list of hill stations in India.
19. The winter adventures of Auli
There is not just one word that can capture the beauty and tranquil of Auli. In summer, the place is a lush green meadow while in winter it is covered by snow and serves as a great spot of winter sports. The place has a religious significance attached to it as it is believed that Lord Hanuman rested here while on his quest to find the Sanjivini Booti. When here do take the cable ride and visit the Badrinath temple. You may also want to get a view of the artificial lake at Auli. We just had to include this place on our list of top hill stations in India.
Auli stands tall among the hill stations in India and is a beautiful destination to be visited both during the summer and winter months. The place becomes a paradise of green during the summer and a blanket of white covers its grounds during the winter. The place offers one an artificial lake for boating purposes and a cable ride over the hills that present a breath taking view of the terrain. You can also pay a visit to Gurso Bugyal and the temple of Badrinath. Auli is surrounded by the Nanda Devi and Neelkanth peaks that are a wonderful sight on a clear day. There are a few places to stay here, so you should make it a point to come visit Auli.
20. The comfortable beauty of Mussoorie
Nestled in the bosom of the Garhwal ranges is the beautiful Mussoorie, considered to be one of the top hill stations in India. Around 30 kilometres away from Dehradun, Mussoorie is referred to as the Queen of the Hills. The awesome view of the Himalayan Range that one gets to see from here is to die for thus propelling it as one of the top hill stations in India.
21. The perfect strolls in Dehradun
This place is found in the famous Doon Valley between the Rivers Ganga and The Yamuna, to its east and west, respectively. The place serves as a meeting point that branches out to many tourist and pilgrimage spots like Haridwar, Char Dham and Rishikesh. Beautiful landscapes and mild temperatures make this a hill station a must visit.
22. The quaint location of Kalimpong
A three and a half hours journey uphill from Siliguri, one will reach the hill station called Kalimpong. While other places have made it to the headlines, this hill station deserves a place on the list of hill stations in India. A three and a half hour drive from Siliguri, Kalimpong is a place bustling with tourists round the year. When there, don’t forget to visit Daelo and get a good view of the majestic Kanchenjunga. The famous Dr. Graham’s Homes School that covers an entire hill is located here. From Kalimpong, one can drive to Darjeeling and even Gangtok, two more hill stations that never fail to draw the crowds.
This is a famous tourist hot spot in North Bengal and is simply wonderful to get away to for a week or two. The climate is cool round the year and the place offers a great view of the towering Kanchenjunga Peak. There a number of quaint little villages to visit here. One can try Algarah, a quiet little town that is about 45 minutes from the main town of Kalimpong. Tourist attractions here are Lava Lolegaon (it actually snows here when the temperatures drop), Deolo and the famous school, Dr. Graham’s Homes. The market place is filled with stalls that sell local stuff. One must try their ‘titora’- dried fruits in chilli and tamarind powder, Nepali alu dum and sel roti and a plate of piping hot momos.
23. The fairytale-appeal of Darjeeling
The ‘dreamland of the east’ – Darjeeling is captivating. Blessed with waterfalls, beautiful terrain and surround by mountains, this place is perhaps the most famous hill station in Eastern India. When there, we beg you to try the food at Glennarys and Keventers. Both these places are iconic and have wowed the hungry for decades. It is no wonder that we have to add this place to our list of hill stations in India.
Surrounded by the magnificent Himalayas and aflush with tea gardens, Darjeeling is a picture of utter delight. Adding to its fairytale like appeal is its world famous toy train and overhead cable cars taking you to and fro.
24. The treasure trove of Gangtok
Gangtok with its impressive natural scenery and year-round temperate climate is a treasure trove of beauty waiting to be explored. Nestled within the higher peaks of the Himalayas it makes for a great summer retreat.
25. The welcome retreat of Mount Abu
Rajasthan’s only hill station is also one of the top 10 beautiful hill stations in India. It lies snug within the confines of the Aravalli range and is a welcome retreat from the sweltering heat of the desert.
26. The calming panorama of Dharamsala
Home to the Dalai Lama, Dharamsala looks resplendent with its dazzling landscape of dense coniferous forests, and snow-clad peaks in winter. A natural abode for rock climbing and trekking, Dharamsala offers adventure lovers plenty to look forward to.
27. The misty coffee-plantations of Coorg
Lying gracefully amidst the Western Ghats is the beautiful hill country of Coorg. Misty hills encompassing lush evergreen forests, acres of tea and coffee plantations, a bevy of orange groves, gentle flowing streams and striking waterfalls all but make Coorg an unforgettable memory.
28. The rolling hills of Lonavla
Mumbai's favourite summer getaway, Lonavla is a delightful little town to experience a thousand shades of green in a single vista. Surrounded within a sea of hills and valleys, this little hideaway promises an uninterrupted vacation in the lap of nature.
29. The untouched beauty of Araku Valley
A picturesque train-ride away from Vishakhapatnam, Araku is where the colours of nature paint the landscape in all the shades of green. Located on the Eastern Ghats, Araku Valley is the perfect hill-station getaway from Hyderabad and Vijayawada.
30. The lost roads of Pachmarhi
The legendary town of Pachmarhi has attracted tourists from around the country for the misty, green hills that are shrouded in legends and . Many places here are considered to be haunted, but that doesn't deter people for visiting this mysterious hill station in Madhya Pradesh.
These famous hill stations in India will take your breath away. Start planning now! A great way to escape from the sweltering heat of the summer months is by making your way to a great hill station. If a break from your daily life is what you need then visiting a quiet little town nestled high up in the mountains is what one would prescribe. Having been through the same phase in our lives, we thought that writing an Itinerary on the top hill stations of India would be of great help for man. Take the leisure of going through it. Hill stations in India are abundant, being a land of diversity, not just in religion or languages or food, it is no surprise that the country is home to quite the number of cold mountains. But if you’re just as tired of the crowded hill stations, there is no point of even thinking of a solitude vacation to someplace quiet. So, instead it’s a good thing that you’ve stumbled upon this list. These not so populated best hill stations in India wait for you to unravel their magnificence and bask in the scenery.
With summer around the bend, the best way to beat the heat, apart from spending your time at overcrowded beaches, is by heading away to a quaint hill station. Yes, the prospect of spending a few days nestled among lofty ranges, enjoying cool breeze and sipping cup after cup of steaming tea does sound fun and at the same time, relaxing. We would love to do the same, just put aside all work and get over to one such place. So, we present you with a list of hill stations in India in summer. A visit to these hill stations is a must if you love the numbing peace of the mountains and all the natural beauty that they have to offer.