India is infamous for its intolerable humid weather and the heat drives us all crazy, making us crave a cool escape. Our hill stations offer spectacular views, delightful hotels and resorts, activities for those who love outdoors, and most importantly, a respite from the humdrum of daily life back home.
What are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get set on a journey to the top 25 coolest hill stations to visit in India.
This is definitely a too honeymoon destination! Located in Himachal Pradesh, Manali is the epitome of lush green surroundings. Its cool climate attracts thousands of tourists every year. Food and shelter are easily available as this has now become a commercial hub.
Located in Uttarakhand at an average elevation of over 2,000 metres above sea level, the town is famous for a beautiful lake that has the shape of a pear. The place derives its name from the Hindi words Naina and Tal, which means the lake of the eye. This is a great place for adventure sports and trekking as well.
How awesome would it be to combine prayer and enjoyment in one trip? Badrinath is a great place to calm your mind and your senses. A pilgrimage centre cum hill station, this place is ideal for adventure sports as well. Don’t expect luxury stays here, though.
Another hill station in Uttarakhand, Ranikhet is a hill station town whose name means Queen’s meadow. This area was ruled by the British for a long time and hence, the town has striking features of British architecture. This place gets extremely cold in the winters, with snowfall being a typical feature.
Known as the Queen of the Hills, Mussoorie is an extremely picturesque hill station, famous for its connection with the popular writer Ruskin Bond. Dehradun and Rishikesh are located close by and warrant a trip if you’re planning to visit Mussoorie.
Located in Himachal Pradesh, this place once used to be the summer capital of the British. This region is also known for its exclusive ethnic culture. There are many tourist attractions to visit at this cool hill station, so you can be sure that you’ll never be bored.
Gulmarg, meaning the Path of the Flowers is a 3 km long valley in Jammu and Kashmir. During the spring season, you can see thousands of flowers blossoming in all their glory. However, during winters, the entire valley is covered in thick snow.
Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh is the spiritual capital of the Tibetans. Several monasteries can be found on these beautiful hills comprising Deodar and Cedar trees. The trip is incomplete without a visit to the nearby McLeodganj. There is also an international cricket stadium here.
Named after the British General Lord Dalhousie, this hill station is located at an altitude of over 2,700 metres in the scenic state of Himachal Pradesh. This place acts as a connecting point to the beautiful Chamba district. There are several places worth visiting in the area, including shopping markets and parks.
Famous as the dreamland of the east, Darjeeling, located in the Himalayan foothills in West Bengal is known for its lush tea plantations. It is also home to several captivating waterfalls and flowering hills. If you are planning to visit, make sure you don’t miss the amazing toy train ride.
Situated at an average elevation of 3,500 metres above sea level, Leh-Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir is like the Mecca for biking enthusiasts. The snow clad mountains and narrow roads make it a scenic and adventurous journey. The best time to visit would be between May and September.
At a height of over 1,650 metres above sea level, Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, presents a breath-taking view of the Himalayas and the Kanchenjunga like no other. The weather is something worth dying for no matter what time of the year it is. Temperatures are never known to cross 23 degrees, thereby making it a year-round favourite.
Sometimes referred to as the ‘Scotland of the East’, Shillong is the capital of Meghalaya. Several lakes and traditional villages lost in time welcome visitors at any time of the year. It is also home to one of the largest golf courses of the continent. Lakes, caves, canyons and peaks are found in abundance and are a boon to adventure junkies.
Surely you remember reading about this place in your high school textbooks? Cherrapunjee in Meghalaya receives copious amounts of rainfall, thereby earning itself the reputation of being one among the wettest places on earth. If you do not wish to be stuck inside your lodgings for whole days, Cherrapunjee is best avoided during the monsoons.
Located in Maharashtra, this place was once the summer capital of the British. Mahabaleshwar, a part of the Western Ghats range, boasts of evergreen forests abundant with flora and fauna. Mahabaleshwar is also known for its fruit plantations with the most popular fruit being strawberries.
Another hill station in Maharashtra, Khandala will forever remain in the memories of the people who have lived in the 90’s era thanks to the hit song ‘Aati Kya Khandala’. Apart from ghoomna and nachna, this place offers a lot in terms of natural beauty and scenic attractions.
A famous hill station in Maharashtra, the name of this place is derived from the fact that the area is surrounded by five hills. One can witness several homes of British and Parsi styles. The river Krishna flows majestically through the landscape, cutting through the five foothills.
World famous for its ‘Chikkis’, Lonavala in Maharashtra is home to several lakes, waterfalls and caves. Legend has it that Buddhist monks used these caves for meditation, especially the Karla cave. There are plenty of stay options for the budget traveller as well as those looking for luxurious resorts.
Moving South, Coonoor is located in the foothills of the Nilgiri mountains in Tamil Nadu. The place is famous for its tea plantations. The Kurunji flowers that grow here led to the place getting its current name. The place is a haven for birdwatchers and trekking enthusiasts.
Situated amidst the lush forests of Kerala, Munnar is a famous hill station that’s thronged by several people looking to escape the harsh summers of the south. The coffee estates and scenic valleys let you laze around amidst nature, even as the mist surrounding the valleys makes you dreamy and drowsy.
Coorg in Karnataka has earned the moniker of ‘The Kashmir of the South’ due to the fact that the landscapes offer breath-taking views of nature. There are tea, coffee and orange plantations spread out through the area. There is an elephant camp nearby as well as several Buddhist settlements. The place is famous for its pandhi (pork) dishes. You can expect a warm welcome as the locals are known for their generosity and friendliness. Rather than resorts, this place is abundant in homestays.
Idukki, a hill station in Kerala is famous for its exotic biodiversity. There are several species that are endemic to this area. There is a tiger reserve as well, which houses several animals. The place is like a book from history with its village-like atmosphere. There are several activities to be undertaken here. Do not miss a visit to the Idukki dam, which is a sight to behold!
Udhagamandalam, commonly known as Ooty is situated close to the borders of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. This hill station is a part of the Nilgiris mountain range. The tea plantations here are famous across the world. There is also a toy train ride that you must not miss. Being a proper tourist destination, there are several activities you can participate in while at Ooty.
Kodaikanal, often referred to as Kodai, is known for its herbal teas, homemade chocolates, flowering valleys and exotic oils. The place has earned itself a moniker of ‘Princess of the Hills’. Located in Tamil Nadu, this place has enough stay options for the budget and luxury traveller alike.
Another hill station in Tamil Nadu, Yelagiri is situated at an altitude of over 1,400 metres above sea level. The highest peak in this range is at a whopping 4,340 metres above sea level. The area is not as developed as a tourist spot, so finding places to stay or eat may be a bit difficult unless you have planned properly in advance.
Did we miss out any place? Have you been to any of these hill stations? Let us know your experience in the comments section below.