How committed are you to making the summer of 2021 a memorable one? No one wants to die from choking on this highly contaminated air; believe us, if Oxygen were a human, she would already have planned an escape to some pristine hill station in North or South India!
India has a plethora of hill destinations, some of which are well-known, others of which are less well-known, and still others that are yet to be discovered, all of which can provide a welcome respite from the devilish domain of city life. I’m sure you’ve visited several famous hill stations in North India now though, but have you ever tried to do anything completely different? No, so make this summer of 2021 count! Plan a trip to a less known hill station in India, and you’ll be able to kill summer like a BOSS.
This summer, check out some of the lesser-known hills.
1. Kanatal, Uttarakhand
This scenic hamlet, nestled among coniferous trees, lush foliage, and sun-kissed mountains at an elevation of 2,590 meters, is undoubtedly stunning. Surkanda Devi temple (which is dedicated to the goddess Sati) and Tehri Dam are two famous tourist attractions. There is more to do for thrill-seekers, from jungle safaris and wildlife spotting in the Kodai forest to an 80-feet deep valley passage, rappelling, adventure camping, and trekking via the jungle trails. If you want to get a feel for local village life, stay at one of the several homestays or Pahadi houses.
2. Coonoor, Tamil Nadu
Coonoor, in Tamil Nadu, is a picturesque hill station that attracts far fewer tourists than Ooty and Kodaikanal. Coonoor, which is 20 kilometres from Ooty, is famous for its Nilgiri tea. The Nilgiri Mountain Rail, Sim’s Park, the ghat routes to the east and west, the Nilgiri hills, and several beautiful waterfalls and lakes all attract tourists. The landmarks at Dolphin’s Nose, Lamb’s rock, and Canning seat are among the other attractions in Coonoor.
Plantations of cardamom, tea, and oranges can be seen by visitors to Nelliyampathy. The winter scenery at Nelliyampathy is truly unforgettable, with a pleasant mist surrounding all along the way, such as the hills. Other places to visit in the hill station include Kesavanpara, Manalaru Estate, Pothundy Dam, and Mambara. Nelliyampathy, also regarded as ‘Poor man’s Ooty,’ is located 60 kilometres from Palakkad, Kerala.
4. Turtuk, Ladakh
Turtuk, a mystical destination, is located on the Shyok River’s bank, framed by the Karakoram Range’s mountains and lined with barley fields and stone houses. Anyone interested in ancient Tibetan and Indo-Aryan cultures should visit this place. One can stay inside one of the homestays here and get a good idea of what this place is like, but before you know it, their homes will feel like yours. Turtuk also has a small museum with eclectic artefacts from the Yagbo Dynasty of the Baltistan zone, such as an ancient snow leopard trap and a lapis lazuli-encrusted sword.
5. Gurez Valley, Kashmir
Gurez, which is divided from Pakistan by razor wire, is situated on the Indian side of the border and is known for its breath-taking natural beauty, which includes the glistening Kishenganga River, lofty snow-capped mountains, sparse wooden homes, and acres of meadow. Gurez is nothing short of fairy-tale land, where you would not be worried about oblivious visitors. Even currently, in some parts of the valley, staying in the homes of the locals, who are among the friendliest people you’ll ever meet, is your only choice for lodging.
6. Sani Village, Jammu and Kashmir
Sani is a small hamlet located a few kilometres from Padum, the Zanskar region’s administrative centre. It is another of those places whereby time has stopped. The locals, on the other hand, continue to plan well for the long winters, and the crop is harvested easily in the summer.
Expect a warm welcome in the home of the locals in Sani, who could also provide you with a comfortable stay at a low cost, including meals. As a show of hospitality, you are invited to participate in their festivities and thus are served their locally brewed Chang. Life is slow in Sani, but it does have a lot to give, especially concepts like how simple life can be a gift in today’s world.
7. Dharamkot, Himachal Pradesh
This cute little hill station, located above Mcleodganj in Himachal Pradesh, is situated right on top of a hill. It is hidden away from Dharamshala’s commotion. There are a few quaint little village homes and guesthouses spread throughout the area. Vipassana, Tushita, and Dhamma Sikhara are three of Dharmkot’s well-known meditation centres. Triund has long attracted visitors due to its slow pace of life and hiking opportunities. Take considerable time in the cosy cafes here and gorge on a selection of freshly cooked continental food while you are here. Stock up on fruit wines, which are readily available in local supermarkets.
8. Mainpat, Chhattisgarh
Have you heard of the Tibetan community in the hills of central India? You might have toured the gompas of Sikkim, Dharamshala, or Ladakh, as well as the monasteries of Bylakuppe in Karnataka. It was a lucky break for Mainpat. The Thank Shedupling Monastery, which contains old thangkas, sculptures, and a solar heater that heats water and boils rice in under 30 minutes, is the main attraction for the 2,000-strong population. Visit Mehta Point, Tiger Point, and Jaljali while you are there.
9. Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh
Ziru is a less well-known hill station in India that has enchanted visitors with its enchanting beauty. It is so beautiful that UNESCO has proposed adding it to its list of World Heritage Sites. It is situated on Arunachal Pradesh’s deepest altitude and is home to the old Apatani tribe. The tribe has a distinct and colourful community, and members are frequently seen with facial tattoos and nose plugs. If you do decide to go hiking, there is a lot to read here. This hill station is famous for the Ziro Music Festival, which attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world every September.
10. Pabbar Valley, Himachal Pradesh
Leave crowded Shimla behind and travel 131 kilometres to Rohru, Himachal Pradesh’s most beautiful destination. Rohru is the start of an exciting summer vacation for you, because there is only magic ahead of you to enjoy, though fact, my friend, is well behind you. Envision the Pabbar River, gurgling and frothing as it winds its way through a lush valley of meadows, trees, and apple orchards. The valley is abundant in trout fish, providing ample opportunities for fishing and angling. Do you like hiking? The Chanshal Pass Trek and the Kuper Valley Trek, which pass through some of Pabbar’s most scenic spots, will be ideal for you.