THE HEAVEN OF INDIA -
"JAMMU & KASHMIR"
The valley of Gulmarg, a large meadow about 3-sq-kms in area, stands at 2,730 meters, 56-km south west of Srinagar. The name means 'Meadow Of Flowers' and in the spring it's just that, a rolling meadow dotted with countless colourful Bluebells, Daisies, Forget Me Nots and Buttercups. The valley itself is about 3-km long and up to a km wide. All around are snow-capped mountains, and on a clear day one can see all the way to Nanga Parbat is one direction and Srinagar is another. It's a popular day trip from Srinagar to Gulmarg, although many people extend their stay or use it as a base for trekking. The road from Srinagar rises gently towards the lower slopes of the range, passing through rice and maize fields.
Best Time To Visit: In Summer - May to September
In Winter - Nov to February
The capital of Jammu and Kashmir and the largest city in the state, Srinagar (1,730m) is famous for its canals, houseboats and Mughal gardens. The city itself is quite unlike most other large Indian cities for here you are much more in Central Asia than on the sub continent. It's a city full of intriguing alleyways and curious buildings. A place where it's very easy to spend a few hours simply wandering - particularly along the old city streets near the Jhelum river.
Best Time To Visit:In Summer - June To Early Nov
In Winter - Dec To Feb
With all its beauty at a hill station, it is a charming plateau at 2, 024m. The meadow is surrounded by dense woods and lush greenery of Pines. Tracks lead to pockets where time stands still and calm prevails. Picturesquely situated at a high altitude, there are good bridle paths passing through wooded lanes and fascinating scenery link Patnitop with Kud and Batote. There are three, gushing, ice-cold freshwater springs in the area, which are said to have medicinal properties. The complete tourist circuit covers Jammu-Katra-Vaishno Deviji, Kud-Sanasar, Patnitop-Gourikund, Sudmahadev, Mantali, extending upto Latti-Dhuna.
Best Time To Visit:Summer- May To June
Autumn-September To October
Winter - December To March
THE LAND OF HILL
STATIONS - "HIMACHAL PRADESH"
Located in Himachal Pradesh at an altitude of 1220m. Kullu was once known as Kulanthpitha, which means the end of the habitable world. Beyond rose the forbidding heights of the Greater Himalayas, and by the banks of the shining river Beas, lay the fabled 'Silver Valley'. The mountain-scapes remain spectacular whether in brilliant sunshine or in the haze of the mist. The 'Silver Valley' has nature's treasures that lie carelessly scattered as flowers on the high meadows. The town of Kullu has long been a centre of faith. In the 17th century, Raja Jagat Singh installed here an idol of Lord Raghunathji, which he brought from Ayodhya. As a mark of his penance, he placed the idol on his throne and it became the presiding deity of the valley.
Best Time To Visit: Mid-May To Mid-October.
Situated at an altitude of 2,050m. The Kullu valley has an ancient town in its lap called Manali. Surrounded by towering peaks at an arm length, Manali's major asset is its proximity to the snowline. It is a flourishing orchard industry, a popular honeymoon destination and trailhead for numerous treks as well as a great countryside ideal for adventure sport lovers.
Best Time To Visit: May To October.
Lahaul and Spiti, situated at an altitude of 6,500 mtrs are two remote Himalayan valleys of Himachal Pradesh lying on the Indo-Tibet border. Strange, exciting, primitive, these valleys are incomparable in mountain scape, in the rugged beauty of their rocky escapements and the splendour of their snow covered peaks. Best Time To Visit: Lahaul- Mid June To Late October / Spiti- August To October.
Shimla is situated at an altitude of 2,159m. Shimla has been blessed with all the natural bounties, one can think of. Dwelling on a panoramic location, the hilly town is surrounded by green pastures and snow-capped peaks. The spectacular cool hills accompanied by the structures made during the colonial era create an aura, which is very different from other hill stations. Best Time To Visit: April To August & December To January.
This hill station spreads over five low-level hills at the western edge of the Dhauladhar range, just east of the Ravi River. The picturesque town is interspersed with the colonial-era buildings, low roofed stalls and hotels. The pine-covered slopes around it are intersected with paths and treks, which are ideal for short undemanding walks.
Set against the backdrop of the dramatic Dhauladhar mountains, Dharamsala is perched on the high slopes in the upper reaches of Kangra Valley. Dharamsala over looks the plains and is surrounded by dense pine trees and Deodar forests. A nearby snowline with numerous streams and cool healthy atmosphere makes the surroundings very attractive. Dharamsala is a busy bazaar town and has established itself as the travellers base camp, who come to explore the nearby mountains.
Best Time To Visit: Mid-May To Mid-October
Chail is situated at 43 km higher then Shimla it was created by Maharaja of Patiala who was banned from Shimla on account of a mild romantic flutter at scandal point on Shimla's Mall. He created his own 75 acres Himalayan resort, which has now become a prominent tourist spot. Chail is set amidst tall cedars & stately oaks. When trekking through forest you are sure to meet barking deer & the highly endangered kaleej pheasant. And when tired, sit down & be refreshed by dazzling views of the Choor Chandani Peak
KUFRI & FAGU
Situated at 8,602 ft 17 km away from Shimla guarded by the vast expense of ancient cedar forests, bring back memories of day long picnics, horse riding & languorous walk during lazy hazy summer hols. Mahasu peak the highest point in Kufri ,makes a challenging hike.When the sky's a cloudless blue , watch the views of snowy clad peaks of Badrinath & Kedarnath The hills come alive with shouts of young voices throwing snow balls on each other during winter season .Kufri also provide finest ski slopes thus attracting ski expertise from all over the country.
This tiny Raj-era retreat is at height of 7,047 ft, 10 km north of Shimla. Mashobra was the first choice of British officials and their families who wanted proximity to as well as privacy from Shimla. Decades after they left, their indulgence still marks Mashobra's stylish properties Two of the village's most prominent structures, The Wildflower Hall and The Retreat are delight to stay having world class facility.
"SHILLONG" - THE HEAVEN OF MEGHALAYA
Perched at an altitude of 1,496 m, this lesser known hill station is also called the "Scotland of the east". The charms of Shillong begin to work gradually but effectively. The road snakes up through lush green forests, seeping into the senses like heady wine. Even before the effect of Umiam Lake wears off, Shillong spreads out with its lush green undulating hills, cottages tucked in its folds with a sprinkling of old world cathedrals and churches and localities with quaint names like 'Laitumkrah', 'Sunnyhill', 'Lachumiere', 'Mawalai', 'Nongthymiah' and 'Pokseh'. The legends might have vague roots but there is no disputing that nature has been more than partial where Shillong is concerned. Towering pines and gurgling mountain streams, awesome waterfalls that go by the name of Elephant, Crinoline, sweet falls, and the twin Bishop and Beadon. Then there are lakes and gorges and caverns that all combine to make Shillong a tourist's delight.
PACHMARHI - MADHYA PRADESH
At an altitude of 3,555 feet, surrounded by Satpura hills is located the summer capital of Madhya Pradesh- Pachmarhi. As a hill station this place has been untouched and unexplored. The natural beauty of Pachmarhi has remained unexploited and is lesser known to the foreign tourists. Geographically Pachmarhi is a group of waterfalls. Apart from the ancient temples and buildings, this place is known for its naturalbeauty. Though Pachmarhi has no comparison with the hill stations of the Himalayas still it carries a charm of its own which is unique to this place.
MOUNT ABU IN RAJASTHAN
The only hill station in Rajasthan, Mount Abu huddles among the rocks on a 1,220-m granite table mountain at the far southwestern end of the Aravalli hills. It is built around a lake and is surrounded by forested hills. According to a legend, the place derives its name from Arbuda, a serpent who descended to the spot to rescue Shivas bull, Nandi. Besides having all the features of a pleasant hill resort, Mount Abu is also well known for the famous Dilwara temples and many more archaeological remains. There are interesting treks and picnic spots, romantic royal retreats of the various erstwhile families of bygone Rajputana and some relics of the Raj period. The scenic landscapes include gigantic blocks of rocks in weird shapes, an array of coniferous trees, flowering shrubs, lovely lakes and the cool climate much in contrast to the arid environs of the state.
HILL STATIONS IN UTTARANCHAL
Almora is one of the most beautiful places in Kumaon region in Uttaranchal. Almora is very virgin hill-station and is full of scenic beauty. It appears that Mother Nature has spread and blessed this place with her pure love. Nestled in the lap of nature this region has small houses built on the slopes and splendour of this place are added colourful attire of the natives. Just besides city flows the Koshi (Kaushaki) and Suyal (Salmali) rivers.
It is located at a height of 2,500 meters in the green Himalayan range. Due to its location and beauty Mussoorie is considered as the best hill station in the northern region. In 1820 Captain Young from the British army was influenced by the beauty of this place and made this place as his residence. The name, Mussoorie, is derived from plants of 'Mussoorie' which were found in abundance here. The modern bungalows, malls and well-laid gardens, which are located on the small hills around the area, are enough to attract any tourist.
A small town in the hills of Kumaon, Nainital is a lovely hill station surrounded by mountains on three sides. Once this area had many lakes and it was called the City of 60 lakes or 'Chakta'. Most of the lakes in the region have disappeared and whatever remains is just a glimpse of what they might have been in the past. Today the life of Nainital revolves around the lake of Naini. But there are few other lakes around Nainital, which are equally beautiful and attractive as the Naini Lake.
HILL STATIONS IN ASSAM
It is located 84 km away from North of Silchar, Assam. In the lush hilly terrain lies this lovely lakeside resort, which is Assam's only hill station. It is the name of variety of orchids, one of them being the rare Blue Vanda. Haflong Lake is situated in the heart of the hill station is a picturesque area. The Jatinga village unravel the mystery of the flocks of little migratory birds crashing to death on still dark nights.
Best Time To Visit: Aug - Nov
UMRONGSO / UMRONGSHU
It is located at the borders of Assam and Meghalaya, 112-km away from Haflong. This hill station is blessed with the natural backdrop of North Cacher Hills region. For the sake of enjoying this alluring journey, one should travel from Haflong Hill to Umrangshu and from their via Jowai to Shillong hill. Near Umrangsu, there is a hot water spring (Garampani), which is believed to possess medicinal properties.
THE BEAUTY OF HARYANA
Adventure Tourism is very popular in Haryana. Adventure Sports like Rock Climbing, Trekking, River Rafting, and Parasailing are such events held in different places in the state. The enthralling ride in the air under Parasailing and Para Gliding may stop your breathe before you land. Pinjore Aviation Club is a famous name for Parasailing rides for years. The rock climbing at “Damdama” is an unforgettable experience for any one going for the same. Canoeing or kayaking in the river Yamuna from Panota Sahib to Hathnikund is really enthralling.
On the opposite hillside of the Pinjore valley, 45 kms from Chandigarh lie the Morni Hills, past the township of Panchkula. Past sleepy hamlets and cultivated terraces, one witnesses the calm altitudes of the Morni Hills, on chugging up a hill climb of above 3900 ft. with wilderness all around. Situated in the lower reaches of the Shivalik range, Morni is ideal for a holiday with its cool climate, beautiful natural vistas and myriad opportunities for trekking, rock-climbing and other adventure sports.
Best time to visit: September to March.
THE ONE & ONLY HILL STATION
IN SIKKIM : GANGTOK
Gangtok, the "Lofty Hill" or the "Hill made flat to build the Gangtok monastery in 1716". Gangtok is a city, which, till one sees it, one would believe exists only in picture-story books. In the mystery-laden mists prayer flags whip in the breeze; wheels spin in the hands of Lamas mumbling invocations to God, in the distance are the snows, on the streets amidst brightly painted pagoda roofed houses, lined with friendly smiling people are silver, silk and spice and jewellery to gladden an maiden's heart, from across the seven seas are gadget and goods to delight the collector of "imported goods', while directly overlooking the city is the hill Lukshyma, the 'Mother of Pearl' citadel of the magic mountain, Khang-Chen-Dzod-Nga. An air of enchantment hangs over the city, indeed the whole valley; the mysticism, the stupas, the monasteries reach out as soon as one has crossed the border. While across the hills and valleys comes the sounding of the long trumpets by robed lamas.
COOL RETREATS IN WEST BENGAL
It is the dreamland of the East; it has been a popular hill station since the British period. Darjeeling is surrounded by lofty mountains. Except for the monsoon months and if weather is clear then the Kanchenjunga peak can be seen. Down below in the valley flow the rivers swollen by rain water or melting snow. Darjeeling is a fascinating place rich in natural beauty and surrounded by the Buddhist monasteries. Its beauty surpasses any other hill station. The toy train coming from Siliguri is some thing, which is liked by the elders and the children equally. The real fun in coming to Darjeeling is on the toy train. It takes six to seven hours to cover a distance of 82 kms and the slow speed gives you enough time to watch and appreciate the beauty which nature has provided it. This train passes through the Forests, waterfalls, over deep valleys and through the mountains and tunnels.
A small but bustling town in the Himalaya foothills of West Bengal- Kalimpong is at an altitude of 1250 meters. This bazaar town was originally a part of Bhutan but later it was taken over by the British and finally it became a part of West Bengal. Kalimpong is famous for its monasteries, Churches and a private library for the study of Tibetan and Himalayan languages, culture etc. This place also has the Sericulture centre and the orchid nurseries and of course the place provides some beautiful sights of the Himalayan range. Though not all travellers visit this place, which demands some attention. The journey from Darjeeling along the Teesta River is very interesting.
It is 52 kms from Siliguri and 55 kms from the nearest Airfield of Bagdogra. Mirik is being developed as a new hill station in the mountains. Mirik is surrounded by tea estates, orange orchards and cardamom plantations. Mirik has all the facilities to fulfil the needs of a tourist, it is surrounded by forests, flowers and is a very peaceful place which attracts the tourists automatically. This fast developing as a tourist paradise. This place is 5,800 feet above the sea level and has very thin population of 10,000 people. Mirik has not yet acquired the hustle and bustle of the regular hill station and is from pollution. Thus the little time spend here is enough to refresh you.