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A to Z Hill Stations of India

With over 20 mountain ranges across its length and breadth, India has no dearth of picturesque hill stations. While some are already popular and hence crowded, oth­ers are quaint and serene. Out of about 1000 hill stations of the country, this list covers 125, whether crowded, less-explored or totally off the beaten path. Some more have been covered in the pictures only. We hope this list would satiate the travel thirst of our readers by giving them an exhaustive list of hill stations to escape to when they get tired with the din and bustle of city life. Visit these hilly retreats during summer to beat the scorching heat, or go there to enjoy the heavenly beauty during the monsoons or winters to get the best of the ethereal charm.

A

Almora, Uttarakhand

This hill station in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand is the perfect meeting ground of culture, history, heritage and natural beauty. The dreamy place abodes some important temples like Nanda Devi, Asht Bhairav and Rudreshwar Mahadev Temple and it is a pilgrim site as well. Shaped like a horse shoe, this town is famous for its pre-British period heritage. It was well known as place where people came to gain health.

Auli, Uttarakhand

Yet another sought after hill station of Uttarakhand is Auli. Snow clad peaks, gorgeous views of glaciers and the longest cable car ride in Asia, are what make this hill station special. It is a popular skiing destination as well. Surrounded by coniferous and oak forests and Nandadevi and Nar Parvat mountains, the town is also blessed with other nearby attractions like the Valley of Flowers, Badrinath temple and unique alpine flora and fauna that includes red foxes and snow leopards. One can reach Auli from the nearest airport of Dehradun.

Araku Valley, Andhra Pradesh

This beautiful place in the Eastern Ghats in the Visakhapatnam district is also known as the ‘Food bowl of South India’. Coffee plantations, hills enveloped in green woods, caves, waterfalls and beautiful landscape cut into half by serpentine hill roads makes this a much sought after holiday destination. Tourist attractions like Sangda Waterfalls, Dumbriguda Fall, Katiki Falls, the Ananthagiri hills, the Tribal Museum and Borra Caves are not to be missed here. Vishakhapatnam is the closest Airport and the place can also be reached by road and railways.

Aru Valley, Kashmir

For those who enjoy rural settings of Pahalgam, the sounds of gushing Lidder River and galloping horses, pitching a tent in Aru Valley will certainly amplify pleasure. From waking up amidst misty mountains in the morning and taking an early morning stroll across the valley, to going for horse riding or trekking, there are ample opportunities for pleasure of tourists. Photographers can click photos incessantly here. Nearby tourist attractions include Betaab Valley, Baisaran and Chandanwari. Aru is also the starting point of expeditions to Kolahoi Glacier and Sonamarg.

Andretta, Himachal Pradesh

Located only 17 km from Palampur and 44 km from Kangra, Andretta is a small village in Himachal Pradesh for artists and art aficionados. It was promoted as an artist’s paradise and drew the attention of film makers, painters and other eminent personali­ties. There is a theatre and a Pottery and Craft Society here. With Dhauladhar Mountains and lush green forests surrounding the place, it is also a perfect destination for nature and bird lovers. There are around 550 species of birds found here. Andretta can be reached by a car from Palampur or Kangra.

Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh

With an elevation of 1,048 m, Amarkantak is a decent place to visit if you are looking for a hill station. It is however more popular as the meeting point of the Vindhya and Satpura Ranges from where the River Narmada originates. It is a sacred place for the Hindus. The town is also surrounded by rich flora.

Askot, Uttarakhand

If you want to spend your holidays in a hill station on the Indo-Nepal Border, Askot is a good option. Rather lesser known, and hence retaining its pristine beauty, Askot is one of the best destinations Uttarakhand has to offer. Located in the Kumaon region, Askot is blessed with surreal beauty that is composed of emerald mountainous views, rhododendrons, dense vegetation and a wildlife sanctuary that is home to the endangered Musk Deer. While for nature lovers there is so much here, for adventure lovers also there are many interesting activities to engage in. There are extremely challenging trek routes along the Dharchula Range up towards the Kailash and Mansarovar. Askot is also a base point for many short treks that offer spectacular views. The hill station is situated 54 km from Pithoragarh and one may hire a cab from Pithoragarh to reach here.

Aizawl, Mizoram

Aizawl is one of the oldest cities of north eastern India and is culturally very significant. Located at an elevation of 1,130m, the city overlooks the Tlwang and Tuirial rivers. The hill station is an indigenous home to some of the primitive and ethnic groups in North East India. Mizo festivals like Chapchar Kut is a good time to visit the place. It may be noted that even Indians need an Inner Line Permit to visit the state of Mizoram.

Amboli, Maharashtra

Located in the Sahyadri Hills of Western India, Amboli is an eco tourism hotspot with abundance of flora and fauna. The major tourist attractions of Amboli are the ruins of the historic Mad­havgadh Fort, Amboli Waterfalls, the Shirgaonkar Viewpoint, the caves and nearby Hiranya Keshi temple. This Maharashtrian hill station is located 690m above the sea level and is tucked away in a remote corner, away from the humdrums of the world. This is the last hill station of Maharashtra and is geographically close to the state of Goa. The best way to reach here is by road or train. The nearest airport is that of Dabolim in Goa which is located only 108 kms away.

Abbott Mount, Uttarakhand

This quaint mountain top hamlet in the Kali Kumaon region of Champawat District of Uttarakhand houses some British style bungalows. The snow-capped cliffs of the Himalayan Range of mountains can be viewed from here. A whiff of fresh air wel­comes tourists here. Tucked away in a remote corner of Uttara­khand, Abbott Mount is perfect for a relaxing holiday away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The best way to explore the place is on foot. From this place one can see an ancient cricket in the distance as well as some village in Nepal.

Achabal, Jammu and Kashmir

The beauty of the state is well known far and wide. Achabal, in the Anantnag district, is one of the lesser explored places in the state. It is home to one of the most stunning gardens in the state – the Mughal Garden that was once the retreat for Noor Jahan, the Chief consort of Mughal Emperor Jehangir. Another attraction here is the beautiful waterfall of Aharbal, located a little away from the main town. One can also consider trekking to the lush meadows of Kungwatar. To reach Achabal one can take a cab from Srinagar or Anantnag.

B

Bomdila, Arunachal Pradesh

Located in the West Kameng district of this state in north eastern part of the country, this is a place known for its sheer pristine beauty. The town provides views of the Kangto and Gorichen Peaks. The Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary is located closeby and those visiting here can easily make trips to the forest areas as well. 70 km from here is a 17th century monastery called the Lhagyala Monastery. The beauty of this place was pictured in a Shah Rukh Khan starrer Bollywood movie ‘Koyla’.

Banjar Valley, Himachal Pradesh

A rather quaint destination in a state that is full of well known hill stations, Banjar Valley has many things to offer to tourists. It is however, not just one town, but has many small destina­tions. The main attractions here are the town of Banjar and the villages of Jibhi, Shoja and Chaini. At Jibhi one can stay by the riverside and enjoy unlimited trout fishing and getting drenched in a beautiful waterfall. Shoja is a quiet hamlet with incredible mountain views and the Jalori Pass which is a little away. The Pass is the beginning point of a trek for the high altitude Serol­sar Lake. Chaini is known for the Chaini Fort. To reach the valley one can take buses from Delhi or Chandigarh up to Aut. From Aut one can take the bus up to Banjar Valley.

C

Coonoor, Tamil Nadu

Of the three hill stations in the Nilgiri hills, Coonoor is the quainter one and perhaps more pristine due to its virgin and unspoilt beauty. Its botanical gardens, tea and coffee plantations are to die for. That apart, for the adventure aficionados trekking paths leading to outside of the town is a big attraction.

Chikmagalur, Karnataka

Located at the foothills of the Mullayangiri Range, Chikmagalur is often referred as the ‘Coffee Land’ of Karnataka. Away from the din and bustle of city life, a holiday in this region brings the much needed respite. The place is dotted with many hills and mountains and offers an unforgettable experience to visitors. The nearest airport is at Mangalore.

Chikhaldara, Maharashtra

This lesser known hill station in the Amravati district of Maha­rashtra has a reference in the Mahabharata. It is believed that it is here that Bheema killed Keechaka and threw the body into the valley below. Important attractions here include the tiger sanctuary, Tribal Museum, botanical gardens, Kitchakdari, Sema­doh and Shakkar lakes, the Gavilgad Fort and Narnala Fort and a few viewpoints like the Hurricane Point, Prospect Point and Devi Point. The place is rich in wildlife and abodes panthers, sloth bears, sambar deers, wild boars and wild dogs. Chikhaldara can be reached by train from Akola.

Chopta, Uttarakhand

This is a more known hill station of Uttarakhand and is often called the ‘Mini Switzerland’ of Uttarakhand. Forming a part of the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary, Chopta is especially popular with adventure-seekers and trekkers. It serves as the base for trekking to Tunganath. The majestic Himalayas serve as the backdrop of this pristine hilly retreat and paints a divine beauty around. The pristine beauty of the place beckons you to visit here again and again. The nearest airport is at Dehradun.

Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya

Meghalaya, the abode of the clouds is home to Cherrapunjee, once known as the rainiest place on earth. Today it is more known for its waterfalls, nearby caves and living root bridges. Located in the Khasi Hills of the state, a 2 hours’ drive from the capital city of Shillong, this place casts a magic spell on its visitors with its misty climate.

Chaukori, Uttarakhand

Situated in Pithoragarh district of the state close to the Indo-Nepal border, Chaukori is a paradise for nature lovers. It sits at an elevation of 2010 m and is 173 km away from Nainital and makes for a perfect day trip from the latter. Towering Himalayan peaks like the Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot and the Panchauli form the background of this hill station. The place is known for its tea plantations.

Chatpal, Jammu and Kashmir

In this age of technology invasion, if you want to visit a place with the old world charm, Chatpal seems like the best choice. There is no electricity here, but that does not stop the place from being a paradise. It is so cold here that even during summer one needs layers of blankets to sleep comfortably. Apart from enjoying the surreal beauty of the place, trekking to the nearby Thimran village past apple orchards, walnut and oak forest is an option. One can take a cab from Srinagar to reach here.

Chail, Himachal Pradesh

Located 44 km from Shimla and 45 km from Solan at an elevation of 2,250m, Chail was once the summer retreat of the Maharaja of Patiala. It famously abodes the highest cricket ground in the world and also has dense forests. Apart from the scenic beauty here, one can enjoy adventure activities like Burma bridge, rope walk and rock rappelling at Chail. The nearest airport is at Chandigarh.

Champhai, Mizoram

Located in the Indo-Myanmar border, Champhai is also known as the ‘Rice Bowl of Mizoram’ because it has the big­gest stretch of plain land used for rice cultivation in the state. Surrounded by hills on all the sides, this hill town in Mizo­ram, some 200 km from Aizawl, is a visitor’s delight. It offers stunning panoramic views of the Myanmar Hills. The place is inhabited by different tribal groups, and is a good cultural experience too.

Coorg, Karnataka

Located in the Western Ghats, Coorg is one of the scenic and pristine hill stations in Karnataka. It is a popular weekend get­away for wearied city dwellers from Bengaluru and Mysore. Embraced with lush evergreen forests, alluring waterfalls, pleasantly flowing streams and rivers, holidays in Coorg spell a sojourn of natural beauty, peace of mind and enjoyable times. The culture and cuisine of Coorg are also not to be missed. The nearest airport is at Mangalore.

Champawat, Uttarakhand

Bordered by the enchanting mountain ranges and the majestic Kali River, this serene hill station is one of the least crowded destinations in Uttarakhand, and hence serene. The place provides scenic views in Champawat. The nearest airport is at Pantnagar.

Chamba, Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh has many hill stations and Chamba is one of them located at a height of 996 m above sea level at the meeting point of River Ravi and River Sal. The place is home to many ancient temples that attract pilgrims. The Suhi Mata Mela and Minjar Mela are important events to get acquainted with the culture here. The Pathankot airport is the nearest airport at a distance of 120 kilometres. From there one can take taxis to reach Chamba.

Chirmiri, Chhattisgarh

The lone hill station of the state of Chhattisgarh in this list, Chirmiri deserves special mention. The place is more known for its coal mines than for anything else. However the hill station is blessed with picturesque views around which tourists can enjoy. One also finds here a Sjri Jagannath Temple that was built in the style of the Jagannath temple at Puri by workers coming to work here from Odisha. Apart from this there are a few other temples in and around Chirmiri.

D

Dhanaulti, Uttarakhand

Located 24 km from Mussoorie, Dhanaulti is a quaint hill station on the foothills of the Garhwal Range of the Himalayas. The place attracts the travellers looking for some solitude. The eleva­tion is 2,286 m above sea level. While the nearby Mussoorie is crowded with tourists, those coming to Dhanaulti find the much needed respite in its laid back pace.

Darjeeling, West Bengal

Located in the Himalayan foothills, Darjeeling is one of the most revered destinations of eastern India and is a craze with tourists from all over India. Tea gardens, UNESCO World Heritage listed Mountain Railway, churches, monasteries and parks make it a place worth visit at least once. One of the biggest highlights of the place is the view of Mt. Kanchenjunga, one of the tallest peaks in the world. The nearest airport is at Bagdogra.

Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh

Nestled amidst the picturesque coniferous forests of Himachal Pradesh, Dharamshala is the abode of the snow-clad peaks, spectacular landscapes and stunning views of the Himalayas. It is famously the home to His Holiness Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-exile. It has an elevation of 1,450 m and is the starting point of several treks around the Himalayan Range. It is a centre for Tibetan Buddhism and is a favourite place for foreign tourists.

Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh

Spread across five hills near the Dhauladhar Mountain Range with an elevation of about 2,000 m, this hill station was the summer retreat of Lord Dalhousie, the British Governor General of India. The place is dotted with many colonial era buildings that add to its heritage look. One can trek up the Dainkund Peak to reach the Pholani Devi temple. Satdhara Falls, Kalatop Khajjiar Sanctuary, Subhash Baoli etc. are some of the important attrac­tions of the place. The nearest airport is at Kangra.

Daringbadi, Odisha

Also called the ‘Kashmir of Odisha’, Daringbadi has an elevation of only 914 metres but temperature in winter often reaches sub zero, thus making it a popular winter destination. Coffee and black pepper plantations, a number of waterfalls and viewpoints are the major attraction of the place.

Dharamkot, Himachal Pradesh

This is a tranquil hill station atop the hill above Mcleodganj in the Kangra region of Himachal Pradesh, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. This place is more known for its meditation centres and slow-paced life. It is also a starting point for the trek to Triund. The cafés in Dharamkot are known for their pancakes, lasagnas, pastas and hummus. Fruit wines and apple cedar from here are also popular. The nearest airport and railway station is at Kangra.

E

Elapeedika, Kerala

This is a small village located at an elevation of 1000 m above the sea level in the Western Ghats. It is the highest place in the Kannur district and provides a breathtaking view of the Arabian Sea. At the Periya Pass here Pazhassiraja’s force and East India company had fought a battle.

Elappara, Kerala

This is a village in Idukki village with an elevation of 1000 m. Its cool climate and tea plantations draw a lot of visitors. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and Mullaperiyar Dam are not far from here.

G

Gulmarg, Jammu & Kashmir

The most popular and liked skiing destination in India, Gulmarg, which means ‘meadow of flowers’, is located 52 km from Srina­gar. This place was once the summer retreat of kings like Yousuf Shah Chak and Jahangir. Gulmarg is truly a white beauty. Besides skiing and ice-skating, you can also chance a ride on the second highest cable car in the world. The nearest airport is at Srinagar.

Goeche La, Sikkim

At an elevation of 4,940 metres, this is a Mountain Pass in the Himalayan Range. The southeast face of the third highest mountain in the world, Mt. Kanchenjunga, is visible from here. Goeche La serves as the base camp for those climbing the Mount Kanchenjunga.

Gangtok, Sikkim

Gangtok, the capital city of north eastern Indian state of Sikkim is cosseted by some of the highest peaks of the Himalayas. Pristine beauty and awe-inspiring location of this hill station make it an ideal place to enjoy ropeway cable ride and river rafting. The city is full of monasteries, parks, gardens and other tourist attractions. The nearest airport is at Bagdogra.

Gurez Valley, Kashmir

Located in the interiors of Kashmir, Gurez Valley is blessed with ethereal beauty and is often dubbed to possess one of the most beautiful scenes in all of Kashmir. Situated very close to the Indo-Pakistan border, Gurez boasts unparalleled natural beauty of which the scintillating Kishenganga River, the lofty snow-capped mountains, sparse wooden houses and acres of meadow are part of. The locals here thrive on homestay facilities provided to tour­ists. Gurez Valley is situated 123 km from Srinagar and can be reached from there by car.

H

Horsley Hills, Andhra Pradesh

Located in Andhra Pradesh around 140km from Bangalore, Hors­ley Hills is quite a mystical hill station. According to the legends, this vicinity was once inhabited by a miracle girl, who had magi­cal power of healing. Named after W.D. Horsley, this place is also a popular ground for adventure activities like zorbing, rappelling and trekking.

Haflong, Assam

This is a quaint little hill station in Assam and can be reached by rail or road from Guwahati. Bright green surroundings, blue rivers and clouds grazing the blue hills that are covered with around 2 lakh varieties of flowers is what aptly describes Haflong. It is home to warm Assamese tribes and tribal culture flourishes in this place. Haflong Lake, Maibong and Jatinga Village are tourist places to visit here. Adventure lovers have options like paragliding, trekking and boating. From October to April is the best time to visit.

I

Idukki, Kerala

A lesser explored place in Kerala, Idukki is just a bus, or train ride away from Kottayam. Lakes, dams, tea plantations and the Eravikulan Wildlife Sanctuary are the main attractions here. The best time to visit is from October to February. The best way to get here is by private vehicle so that one can enjoy the drive through picturesque forests with sight of elephants from time to time.

Imphal, Manipur

Having a mere elevation of 786m, it is not among the highest hill stations of north eastern India for sure, but definitely one of the most beautiful and important. The Kangla Fort, which is now in ruins, was once the seat of the local rulers. The other attractions here are a historic polo ground, museum and temples.

J

Johar Valley, Uttarakhand

For trekkers this is the best destination. Difficult terrains, cold climate even in summer and picturesque views make it so. The Milam Glacier can be reached crossing the Johar Valley. One can camp at villages like Pungdeo, Bogudyar and Martoli, from where one has majestic views of peaks, closeness to the temple of Nanda Devi Temple and warmth of hospitality of the locals. River Gori Ganga cuts through beautiful gorges, lush meadows and dense forests in Johar Valley making it a rare beauty.

Jogindernagar, Himachal Pradesh

Named after the ruler of Mandi, Raja Joginder Singh, this quaint hill station is often called the ‘Powerhouse of India’. The mountain ranges surrounding this place house three of the most effective hydro-electric power plants in India. While nature is at its best here, one can also take part in adventure sports like paragliding and trekking.

Jhalong, West Bengal

Located near the Indo-Bhutan border, this is a small hill station by the Jaldhaka River. This village in Kalimpong District is only 99 km from Siliguri and 77 km from Jalpaiguri. Jhalong is often also referred to as Jaldhaka, after the river. The Gorumara National Park, Jaldapara National Park etc. are close by. The first hydro-electric project in India was developed here and this is one of the major attractions. Jhalong is also a birders’ paradise.

K

Kullu, Himachal Pradesh

Located at an altitude of 1,230m, Kullu is one of the most cap­tivating hill stations in India with an abundance to visit. It is on the banks the River Beas and has a bundle of adventure activities like paragliding, camping under the starry nights and so on. The landscape here is composed of green woods, majestic hills and shimmery rivers.

Kalimpong, West Bengal

Perched atop a ridge above the Teesta River at an elevation of 1,250m on the Himalayan foothills, Kalimpong is a delightful experience. Dotted with colonial era buildings, churches, monas­teries and parks, this hill station has a lot to offer to tourists.

Kufri, Himachal Pradesh

Located in the Shimla district on the foothills of the Himalayas, Kufri is a paradise for travellers. The hypnotic charm of the place with lush greenery and the snow clad hills around coupled with its chilly climate makes it a favourite with couples. In winter the place gets a white snow cover making it a sought after destination for activities like skiing and tobogganing. In summer trekking and hiking are the more popular activities. The closest airport is Jubbarbhatti Airport near Shimla (20 kms).

Kotagiri, Tamil Nadu

In Kotagiri one can witness the Nilgiris changing its colour. While the Nilgiris are known as the ‘Blue Mountains’, at Kotagiri it turns green. Endless patches of tea plantations are responsible for the change in appearance of the hills. The nearest airport is at Coimbatore.

Kohima, Nagaland

The capital city of Nagaland is a hill station with an elevation of 1,444m and was founded by the British in the later half of the 19th century. It is home to people from various Naga tribes. The Kohima Cemetery which is a WWII memorial is by far the most popular attraction here. Other attractions include museums, churches, viewpoints and the Heritage Village that is a little drive away.

Kurseong, West Bengal

Located 32 km from Darjeeling at an elevation of 1,450m, Kur­seong is the land of ‘White Orchids’. It has pleasant climate all year through and is a sought after hill resort especially with the people from West Bengal. Kurseong is known for its beautiful tea plantations, churches and boarding schools, but is equally famous for the spooky Dow Hills which is said to be the most haunted place in India.

Khajjiar, Himachal Pradesh

Located gracefully atop a plateau at an elevation of 1,920m, Khajjiar is called the mini Switzerland of India. The region is cov­ered with lush greenery and cedar forest. Khajjiar was unknown to the rest of the world until 1992 when the Vice Counsellor and Head of Chancery of Switzerland visited this hill station and praised it. Attractions here include the 12th century Khajji Nag Temple, high altitude Khajjiar Lake and Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary.

Khandala, Maharashtra

Located atop the Bhor Ghat in Maharashtra, this hill station is one of the most celebrated summer retreats in the country. It is also popular for trekking and hiking. It became more famous after the song “Aati kya Khandala” in Aamir Khan starrer movie ‘Ghulam’.

Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh

Established during British rule as a colonial hill station, Kasauli sits at an elevation of 1,800m. Lined with scenic pine and oak plantations, the colonial architecture of this quaint hill station offers a unique charm of India’s pre-independence era. Kasauli can be reached by road from Chandigarh which is the nearest airport.

Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu

Located in the Dindigul district of the state, Kodaikanal sits at an elevation of 2,133m. Surrounded by lush green forests, grassy hills, waterfalls and granite cliffs, Kodaikanal is often known as the ‘Gift of the Forests‘. It is also said to be the ‘Princess of Hill Stations’ and has a lot to offer to tourists including the star-shaped Kodaikanal Lake, Berijam Lake, Coaker’s Walk, Pillar Rock and Guna Caves.

Kanatal, Mussoorie

A town within a town, Kanatal is located inside Mussoorie but isn’t at all like it. At Kanatal one is surrounded by pine forests, lush greenery, apple orchards, flower gardens, waterfalls and small temples hidden away. For foodies and nature lovers it is the quintessential town to visit.

Khati, Uttarakhand

Trekking to Khati is a popular activity, although largely this is still a much unexplored hill station. Khati is the last inhabited village on the way to the Pindari Glacier and is the base for the trek to it. The hill station is lined with oak forests and rhododendrons making it a breathtaking experience.

Kausani, Uttarakhand

Popularly known as ‘Switzerland of India’, Kausani is a place from where one can feast the eyes on mesmerising view of Himalayan peaks of Trishul, Nanda Devi and Panchchuli and the Someshwar valley, Garur and Baijnath Katyuri valley below. Surrounded by dense pine woods and tea gardens, Kausani is also a great place to spot wildlife. Situated at an elevation of 1,890m, natural beauty of Kausani is heavenly to say the least. Apart from that there is not much to do here except to see Anashakti Ashram and Pant Museum. The nearest airport is at Pantnagar.

Kaza, Himachal Pradesh

This is a high-altitude cold desert on the banks of the Spiti River with an elevation of 3,650m above sea level. The terrain here is similar to that of Tibet or Ladakh. Buddhist culture pre­vails here and the town is accessible from Kinnaur as well as Lahaul Valley. Less frequented by tourists due to rough terrain, Kaza mainly attracts mountaineers, adventure junkies and trek­king enthusiasts. Tangyud Monastery, Kibber Village and Key Gompa are some of the most prominent attractions here.

Kibber, Himachal Pradesh

At an elevation of 4,205m, Kibber is the highest village in the world, located just 18 km away from Kaza and lies in proxim­ity to villages like Komic, Langshu and Hikkim, which are base camps for many treks. Due to very difficult terrain, the hill sta­tion sees very less tourist. The allure of barren and the majestic mountains besides the overwhelming silence of monasteries adds to the charm of this place. There is a wildlife sanctuary here that is home to Himalayan wolf, Tibetan wild ass, snow leopard, Tibetan woolly hare and blue sheep among others.

Kokernag, Jammu and Kashmir

Some 60 km from the tourist hub of Pahalgam is situated the lesser known yet beautiful hill station of Kokernag. If you love Mughal Gardens, you will be happy to know that Kokernag has the biggest garden in Kashmir. Asia’s largest trout fishery is also located her. One can go there and learn about breed­ing this species of fish. Kokernag can be reached by cab from Pahalgam or Srinagar.

Keylong, Himachal Pradesh

Keylong is on the picturesque Manali-Leh Highway, at an elevation of 3,080m. Located on the banks of the Bhaga River, it is often thronged by the tourists during the Manali to Leh motorcycle expedition. In the month of July, tourists can witness its annual celebration which is full of fun, colours and merriment. The nearest airport is at Bhuntar.

L

Lansdowne, Uttarakhand

A quaint hill station, situated at an altitude of 1,706m above sea level, in the Garhwal district, Landsdowne is blessed with a pleasant climate all around the year. The place has a cover of thick oak and blue pine forests and also provides visitors pristine views and peaceful environment. Adventure lovers can indulge in activities like trekking and nature walks, bird watching, boating and paddling.

Lonavala, Maharashtra

Thanks to Bollywood, Lonavala, a hill station on the Sahyadri Range, is one of the most popular hill stations in India. It is also known as the ‘Jewel of Sahyadri’. Resting at an elevation of 622m above sea level, this place is bestowed with a pleasant climate throughout the year. Visitors may indulge in activities like trekking, fishing and picnicking apart from sightseeing. Lonavala can be reached by road or train from Mumbai and Pune.

Lavasa, Maharashtra

It is the first ever planned hill station in India, and not a gift of the colonial rule. It was built in the style of an Italian town called Portofino. This yet-to-be completed hill station is located near Pune and is a private property.

Lepchaghat, West Bengal

Located in wilderness at an altitude of about 6967 feet above sea level, Lepchajagat is a quaint little mountain village which is charmingly beautiful, to say the least. The village lies on a hill slope amidst rhododendron and oaks forests. The best thing about the place is that although it is a mere 19 kms away from Darjeeling, and easily accessible by a 45 minute journey by road, this hilly village has somehow quite miraculously been able to maintain its tranquil atmosphere.

Landour, Uttarakhand

6 km from Mussoorie, one finds Landour, a cantonment town that has an old-world vibe. Abode to the famous author Ruskin Bond and others including Allan Sealy and Colleen Gantzer, Landour’s connection to the literary world is not unknown anymore. The laid back lifestyle here attracts tourists here. One can take a walk or rent a bike to explore nearby attractions like Kempty Falls, Dhanaulti, Surkanda Devi or Chamba.

Lava, West Bengal

This hill station is located only 34 km from the more popular hill station of Kalimpong. It has an elevation of 2,140 meters and is popular for being the entry points of the Neora Valley National Park and the Jelep La and Rechi La Passes. Located about 670 kms from Kolkata, this place brings the much needed respite to the city dwellers from the heat and hustle and bustle.

Lolegaon, West Bengal

Located at an altitude of 1,675m at the extreme end of a Himalayan ridge, about 24 km from the more popular hill station of Lava, Lolegaon is a small picturesque village. From here one can have beautiful views of the Singalila Range, the Kanchenjunga and Tiger Hill.

M

Matheran, Maharashtra

Located 800m above the sea level, Matheran is known for its mild climate, Neral-Matheran heritage toy train ride and colo­nial era architecture. Motor vehicles are banned inside this pris­tine hill station and you arrive by the train and inside the place, commuting is either on foot or on horseback. The viewpoints offer panoramic views of the Western Ghats mountains.

Munnar, Kerala

Located 1,600m above the sea level, Munnar in Kerala is a picturesque hill station. Also called the ‘Green Capital of India’, it is laced with scenic mountains, rolling hilltops, tea and coffee plantations, and is a true cradle of nature that befits fairy tales and fantasies. The nearest airport is at Kochi.

Mount Abu, Rajasthan

Famous for being the only hill station in Rajasthan, Mount Abu rests on a rocky plateau on the foothills of the Aravalli Range. The place is surrounded by forests and lakes and has many as­sociated myths and legends. It offers respite to travellers from the heat of the desert around.

Mussoorie, Uttarakhand

Often called the ‘Queen of Hills’, Mussoorie rests at a height of 1,880m above the sea level. It is located at a distance of 35km form Dehradun. The serenity of the place, its pristine beauty, panoramic views of the Doon Valley and an exhilarat­ing ropeway cable ride, are some of the attractions Mussoorie has on offer.

Manali, Himachal Pradesh

One of the top skiing destinations in India, Manali is known for its alluring beauty and splendour. Located at an elevation of 2,050m beside the Beas River Valley, Manali is popular with honeymooners and sports lovers alike. The snowy blanket of Manali in winter is a heavenly sight. Paragliding in these beau­tiful hills of Manali is a popular activity.

Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra

Located on the Western Ghats at an altitude of 1,353m, Ma­habaleshwar, with its tranquil and evergreen ambience, used to be the summer capital of Bombay. The hill station is also known as the ‘Land of Strawberries’. Mahabaleshwar can be easily reached both from Pune and Mumbai.

Mirik, West Bengal

One of the many hilly jewels of West Bengal, Mirik is all about natural beauty and splendour. Located mystically amongst the hills of Darjeeling, this small hill town offers a tranquil holiday experience ornamented with prismatic views of the Mt. Kanchen­junga. Surrounded by lush and evergreen pine forests and exotic gardens, the Sumendu Lake is the main attraction of Mirik.

Morni, Haryana

The sole hill station of Haryana, Morni is a village on the Morni Hills and is popular with tourists. The attractions here include the Bhim Taal and Draupadi Taal lakes, Morni Fort Museum, Garhi Kotaha Fort, Masoompur Fort, a waterfall, a pheasant breeding centre, herbal forest and the ruins of an ancient temple. Morni lies about 45 km from Chandigarh and 35 km from Panchkula.

Mahendragiri, Odisha

One of the seven famous Kulagiris in India, Mahendragiri is the second highest peak of Odisha and located 51 km from Berhamp­ore. It is mentioned in the poetry of Kalidasa. It is mainly visited during the Shivaratri festival.

Mashobra, Himachal Pradesh

Mashobra is a quaint little town connected to Shimla via Hindu­stan-Tibet Road, the historic road built by Lord Dalhousie way back in 1850. Not frequented by tourists often, this place is apt for a relaxing holiday. Thickly wooded with oak, rhododendron, Himalayan deodar and cedar trees, Mashobra is ideal for a crea­tive break for artists.

Munsiyari, Uttarakhand

A beautiful hill station at an elevation of 2,298m, Munsiyari is extremely popular with adventure-seekers. Deeply forested with rhododendron, cedar and deodar trees, this place offers beautiful views of snow-capped Himalayan ranges. It is a starting point of many treks including the popular trek to Namik Glacier.

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Nainital, Uttarakhand

A Himalayan resort town, Nainital as a hill station needs no introduction to tourists. Resting at an elevation of 2,084m in the Kumaon region, the town of Nainital is tucked within hills and mountains. Among the tourist destinations here, the Nainital Lake is a popular boating destination. For those willing to have a view of the town from above and of the Nanda Devi Peak, there is a cable car option.

Nelong Valley, Uttarakhand

Nelong Valley lies in the Gangotri National Park and was historically part of Indo-Tibet trade route. It presents a desert landscape like that in Ladakh. The unexploited natural beauty here makes it a destination to visit. However night stay here is not permitted and permission of the DM’s office in Uttarkashi is required even for visiting. But once here, one realises that the place is worth all these extra efforts.

Netarhat, Jharkhand

Set at an elevation of 1,070m, Netarhat town in the Latehar district of Jharkhand is known for its sunrise and sunset views. It is the highest point of Chhotanagpur Plateau and is also called the ‘Queen of Chhotanagpur’. A day trip from Ranchi is the best way to enjoy the place. The hill station brings respite to the state that is otherwise depried of mountains.

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Ooty, Tamil Nadu

The scenic beauty of Ooty makes it one of the most celebrated hill stations of South India. Nestled deep within the Nilgiri Hills, this quaint hill station has been traditionally a delight for the honeymooners, family holidayers and nature lovers alike. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway which is a UNESCO World Heritage can be experienced here as Ooty is one of the stations it connects. Tea, coffee and cardamom plantations, botanical gardens and parks make it a must visit destination.

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Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh

This hill station is often called ‘The Queen of Satpura’ and happens to be the only hill station of the state. Located at an elevation of 1,100m, this hilly retreat is popular for its scenic beauty, picture-perfect outlook and the tranquil ambience. Shar­ing history with the Hindu epic Mahabharata, Pachmarhi offers many tourist attractions like Dhurgarh, Sunset Point, Sangam, Silver Falls and several caves.

Pelling, Sikkim

Located about 2,100 metres above sea level, Pelling is a perfect amalgamation of natural beauty and spirituality. It offers the most stunning views of the Himalayas and Mt Kanchenjunga. The Pemayangste and Sanga Choling monasteries are the high­lights of the hill station as is Pelling’s scenic beauty, its waterfalls, the Khecheopalri Lake and its historical architecture. Pelling, being the base camp for a number of interesting trekking routes, is popular with mountaineers.

Pahalgam, Jammu & Kashmir

Another hill station that needs no introduction, Pahalgam is situated at an altitude of 2,740m. Be it honeymooners, pilgrims, family holidayers or friends, Pahalgam is a top destination for all. There is a mountain trail running from here to the Amarnath Cave temple. The nearest airport is at Srinagar.

Ponmudi, Kerala

Ponmudi is nestled at an elevation of 1,100m and is home to acres of tea gardens, national parks and rivers. The quaint hill station offers excellent views of dramatic sunrise from the hill tops. Tea gardens, crystal clear waters of the Kallar River and fresh water springs are its biggest attractions. There is also a deer park, a wild­life sanctuary and a biological park here. Ponmudi is a shutterbug’s paradise.

Peora, Uttarakhand

A quiet hamlet in the lap of Kumaon region of the Himalayas, Peora is a birdwatchers’ paradise near Nainital. The elevation of the place is 1,997m. It is surrounded by sal, pine, oak, kaphal and rhododendron trees. It is possible to taste locally grown apple, plum, peach or apricot.

Pangi, Himachal Pradesh

This is one of the remotest places in this list. In the Chamba tehsil of HP exist this hidden beauty where reaching is a challenge itself. But once there, one realises that it was worth all the pain. The lush green Pangi valley, having an elevation up to 3,400m, is as unex­plored as it can be. The place has a unique fragrance due to some rare Ayurvedic herbs and plants. One can trek from here to the Sach Pass (4,400m). But it must be remembered that Pangi Valley is only for the brave-heart and physically fit people.

Palampur, Himachal Pradesh

Located in the Kangra Valley of Himachal Pradesh, Palampur is embraced by gazing peaks, tea plantations, striking pine forests and other natural marvels. While the Dhauladhar Mountains at the back of Palampur offers a picture-perfect background, the narrow yet intriguing terrains leading to the town makes it more enchant­ing and a must-visit hill station.

Pabbar Valley, Himachal Pradesh

About 131 km-drive from Shimla is Rohru in the Pabbar Val­ley, which marks the beginning of an unforgettable experience for visitors. Lush green valley with meadows, forests and apple orchards greet you. The valley is also rich in trout fish giving visi­tors ample opportunity to go fishing and angling. Trekkers also have the option of trekking to Chanshal Pass and Kuper Valley. Apart from Rohru, two other important places to see in Pabbar are Hatkoti and Jubbal. Reaching Pabbar Valley from Shimla by private or public transport is easy.

Panchgani, Maharastra

For those who want to witness and experience how flourishing the colour green can be, Panchgani is a must visit. Discovered during the British era, this tranquil hill station is located in the Satara district of Maharashtra and is guarded by five different hills. The place has an elevation of 1,293m and is replete with tourist attraction in the form of ancient forts and viewpoints.

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Ranikhet, Uttarakhand

At Ranikhet one gets mesmerised by the breathtaking views of the majestic Himalayas. Surrounded by lush green woods, fields and hills, with meandering roads, Ranikhet is a sheer delight. The place also offers some activities for adventure-lovers. The nearest airport is at Pantnagar Airport and the nearest railway station is at Kathgodam.

Raithal, Uttarakhand

A small village in the Garhwal Himalayas, Raithal gives you the much needed laid back atmosphere to enjoy a relaxed holiday. Take a stroll, enjoy the breeze, bask under the sun, gaze at the picturesque mountains and lush forests and live in the mud houses with carvings and designs – that’s all you do here. If you want more activity, trek to the gorgeous Dayara Bugyal. From Uttarkashi one can take a cab to Raithal unless you are driving yourself from Chandigarh or Delhi.

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Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir

Situated on the banks of the Jhelum River, Srinagar is often referred as the ‘Kashmiri Venice’. One of the most romantic destinations in India, the mystical outlook of this place entices the visitors with its charm and beauty. Visit this piece of paradise and witness the mesmerising beauty of the Dal Lake and enjoy a Shikara rides to several gardens within the lake. Stay in a House­boat for a unique experience.

Shillong, Meghalaya

Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya is a true paradise to say the least. Popularly known as the ‘Scotland of the East’, it is a must-visit hill station in north eastern part of India. Rolling hills, salubrious ambience, alluring waterfalls, scenic beauty, beautiful lakes, a sprawling park, cool temperature, sumptuous food and cheerful people add to the heavenly beauty of the place.

Shimoga, Karnataka

With an elevation of only 569m, this hill station is the gateway to the Western Ghats and is hence called ‘Gateway of Malnad’. The place is replete with waterfalls and the Jog Falls is worth special mention.

Sirmaur, Himachal Pradesh

Sirmaur district that lies at a distance of approx 150 km from popular hill station of North India, Shimla, boasts being the Peach Bowl for the state. There are many temples to visit here. It is also a great trekking destination and the Churdhar Peak trek is a popular activity for the adventure-minded. Sirmaur can be reached by cab from Chandigarh and Shimla by public or private transport.

Sanasar, Jammu and Kashmir

An off the beaten path destination in the Jammu region, 20 km from the famous hill station of Patnitop, Sanasar is an unexploit­ed hill station. This place has vast expanse of meadow which takes you to tiny settlements with mud houses, farms, and streams. The locals are very welcoming. One can reach Sanasar from Jammu City.

Sani Village, Jammu and Kashmir

It is a village in the Zanskar Valley, located a few kilometres from Padum at an elevation of 3,700m. Time here seems to have come to a standstill. Visitors can stay in the houses of locals at a minimal cost and have local meals and locally brewed Chang (rice beer) as a gesture of hospitality. Local festivals and the Sani monastery are tourist attractions. To reach here cabs are avail­able from Kargil and Leh.

Saputara, Gujarat

Located at an altitude of 1,000m atop a plateau, Saputara is a picturesque hill station in the Western Ghats. Lush green forests, mountains, cascading waterfalls and serpentine roads makes it a dreamy destination. Over the last few years, it has emerged as an ideal tourist spot offering various fun and exciting activi­ties like boating, ropeway rides and several others. The nearest airport is at Surat and the nearest train station is at Bilimora.

Sonmarg, Jammu & Kashmir

Sonmarg or the ‘Meadow of Gold’ is one of the most mag­nificent hill stations in Kashmir at an elevation of 2,800m. The place is full of enticing glaciers and picture perfect alpine forests. It is a favourite ground for Golden Mahseer and Trout fishing. But entry to Sonmarg remains restricted in the winters due to excessive snowfall. The nearest airport is at Srinagar.

Sandakphu, West Bengal

Set at an elevation of about 3,700 meters above the sea level, Sandakphu is located 650 kms from the state capital of Kolkata. This destination is mainly popular with trekkers, mountaineers and ski enthusiasts. Being the highest point in the entire state, the place also provides view of four of the highest peaks of the world being the Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu and Lhotse.

Shimla, Himachal Pradesh

The capital of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla is indeed one of the most sought-after hill stations in India. Once the summer capital of India, it now serves as one of the main tourist destinations of the country. Be it the winters or the summers, Shimla always offers a pleasant climate and ample of sightseeing options to its visitors and other amazing activities like skiing, trekking and paragliding in the region.

Samsing, West Bengal

With an elevation of 920m above the sea level, Samsing is located not on a very high hill, but it is nevertheless one of the most beautiful hill stations of the state and is situated in the sought after Dooars area of the state, 640 kms from Kolkata. Lush green landscape, tea gardens and foggy weather makes it a dream getaway for city dwellers. The Neora Valley National Park is only 18 kms from here.

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Tirthan Valley, Himachal Pradesh

A leisurely road trip away from Delhi, this valley is known to be one of the most picturesque places in Himachal Pradesh. The Valley is located in the Kullu District and makes for the quintes­sential hill station getaway to connect with yourself and dear ones. Choose to live amidst nature at its rawest. This is where you do bonfires as you huddle up when the temperatures drop.

Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh

For the adventure enthusiast, Tawang promises to be a great site for paragliding, rock-climbing and trekking. Resting at a height of approximately 3,048 m (10,000 ft), Tawang is right in the middle of Bhutan and Tibet. It beautifully captures a mix of Buddhist and north eastern culture. It is one of most popular hill stations of the north eastern part of the country. The main attraction here is the Tawang monastery, the biggest Buddhist monastery in the world outside of Lhasa. Apart from it there are stunning views of Tawang Valley, Tawang Chu River, Gudpi and Chong-Chugmi ranges besides glacial lakes such as Sangetser and Banggachang Lake, which remain frozen during winters. Visitors to this quiet hill station can keep themselves busy rock climbing, paragliding and river rafting. Tawang can be reached by either road or flying down to the nearest airport which is Salonibari Airport. One must get a government-issued special Inner Line Permit to enter the district, from Tezpur, New Delhi, Kolkata or Guwahati. The best time to visit is during the summer months between March and October.

Turtuk, Jammu & Kashmir

Turtuk is a border village in Leh district that was annexed to India post 1971 Indo-Pak War. However, the place remained closed for visitors until 2010. The surreal destination is situated on the bank of the Shyok River and is surrounded by moun­tains of Karakoram Range. All around there are barley fields and stone houses. Turtuk is perfect for those who desire to see ancient Tibetan and Indo-Aryan cultures. Turtuk is a part of Nubra Valley and can be reached by hiring a car from Leh which is around 204 km away.

Thekaddy, Kerala

Considered as the best hill station town God’s Own Country, Thekkady is the home to the renowned Periyar National Park. In addition to the natural beauty of Thekkady, visitors love to delve into the wilderness of the park and witness some of the rare and exotic wildlife species.

Taptapani, Odisha

With an elevation of 550m, Taptapani is a hill station in the Ganjam district that is known for its sulphur water springs. The place is surrounded by a cluster of hills and thick forests. How­ever, people mainly come here for the hot water springs.

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Udumbanchola, Kerala

This lesser known hill station is located in the Idukki district of Kerala and some hills here have an elevation of 2,000m. One of the latest discoveries brought this place to news. In the Potha­mala hills here historians recently discovered the largest menhirs found in the region, indicating the existence of a prehistoric graveyard here.

Umrangso, Assam

Located in the Dima Hasao district of Assam it is an industrial town. The elevation is 640m. This area has been known for violence and hence sees very less tourist.

Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand

Located on the bank of River Bhaghirathi at an elevation of 1,158m, it is a holy town close to Rishikesh. It has a number of temples and because of its similarity with Kashi (Varanasi) it has been named as Uttarkashi.

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Virajpet, Karnataka

Nestled at an elevation of 909m, this hill station was founded in 1792AD by King Virarajendra to commemorate his meeting with General Robert Abercromby, his ally against Tipu Sultan, the King of Mysore.

Verinag, Jammu & Kashmir

Located in the Anantnag district at an altitude of 1,851m, Verinag is the first tourist spot one comes across while travel­ling from Jammu to Kashmir Valley and is often referred to as the Gateway of Kashmir. The most important attractions here are the Verinag Spring and the Mughal Garden laid down by Mughal Emperors Jahangir and Shah Jahan.

Valparai, Tamil Nadu

Located 3,500ft above the sea level and lying gracefully in the lap of the Anamalai Mountain Range, Valaparai is the vicinity where the stunning waterfalls, lush meadows and scenic valleys whispers liveliness into the visitors. Comprising of 40 hairpin bends, the journey to this spectacular hill station in Tamil Nadu is filled with thrill and excitement.

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Waichin Valley, Himachal Pradesh

Unperturbed by the chaos of the other tourist places in Himachal Pradesh, Waichin hides itself in thick woods and lofty mountains. One can get here after a steep ascent that can make one’s legs go weak and breath heavy for 2 hours that it takes from Malana Village. But once one reaches here, all the pain is compensated by sheer magic, i.e. gigantic mountains that one seems to be able to touch, the velvety meadow that one can walk bare feet on, and the crisp air that fills one’s senses with positivity. Waichin is a place to reconnect with nature and self.

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Yercaud, Tamil Nadu

A small hill station with an elevation of 1,515m, Yercaud is known as the ‘Jewel of the South’. Its natural beauty remains largely untouched and unchanged by humans thus making for a paradisiacal destination for a peaceful vacation away from the chaotic city life. The region’s heavenly beauty, pleasant climate, exquisite range of flora and fauna, beautiful resorts, the tem­ples, small forested areas, the rock formations and the gardens – all make it a mesmerizing experience.

Yusmarg, Jammu & Kashmir

Located around 47km from Srinagar at an altitude of 2,396m, Yusmarg is a captivating hilly retreat. Legends have it that Jesus Christ once visited the place and so it is also called the ‘Meadow of Jesus’ by the locals. While snow clad peaks, picturesque outlook and fascinating sights of Yusmarg can keep the visitors engrossed, its option for different adventure activities also fulfil the requirement of thrill and excitement among the visitors.

Yumesamdong, Sikkim

Situated at an elevation of 15,300 ft, this is the last point of motorable road and after this point no motor vehicles can go. This is therefore called the Zero Point. The Chinese Border is very close from here.

Yuksom, Sikkim

This place is located at an elevation of 1,780m. It was the first capital of Sikkim established way back in 1642 AD by the then Namgyal of Chogyal of Sikkim. Also known as the ‘Gateway to Kangchendzongha’, Yuksom presents picturesque views of snow-capped mountain peaks. There are a number of monaster­ies here. A major attraction here is the Royal Complex of Tashi Teenka.

Yamunotri, Uttarakhand

Mythologically the seat of Goddess Yamuna and the source of the Yamuna River, Yamunotri sits at an elevation of 3,293m in the Garhwal Himalayas. This is a holy place for Hindu pilgrims who throng here all year long. Yamunotri is also popular for its thermal springs and glaciers.

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Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh

In a region that is blessed with one of the most bewitching natu­ral landscapes in the country, Ziro is the highest point. Located in the Lower Subansiri district, Ziro is home to the ancient Apatani tribe, which is known for its unique cultural values, agricultural and social forestry system. Facial tattoos and nose plugs that the elderly locals sport gives the place a mystical feel, delineating the rich cultural heritage that it has been carrying till now. Beautiful pine hills and rice fields characterise Ziro. The hills here are cov­ered with a variety of flora and fauna. Peppered with beautiful rice fields, this place has a laid back vibe that turns musical and hippy during September when Ziro Music Festival is organised, an event that is attended by thousands of music lovers from around the world. Ziro is also a hub for trekkers and picnic lov­ers. It is awaiting its UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

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