We have compiled a list of 5 destinations to beat the heat at, this summer. This list not only brings together some of the best hilly destinations of our country but also the most beautiful and scenic. We hope that you spend some of your most memorable times this summer.
Nestled in the beautiful Chamba valley, Dalhousie is its crowning glory. A colonial retreat popular in pre-independence days, it retains its popularity till date.
For wildlife enthusiasts, there is the Kalatope Wildlife Sanctuarynearby. Dainkund Peak is the highest point to which you can hike to get a stunning view of the valley. You can also shop for artefacts at the Tibetan Handicrafts Centre.
The Chamba Valley itself is bewitchingly beautiful, and most people come here just to experience the lush beauty around. The Lakshmi Narayan temple is of great architectural value and stands tall in the valley. Satdhara, or seven waterfalls, are an added attraction.
You can also visit the Bhuri Singh museum here.
Also called ‘Little Lhasa’, Dharamshala is what it literally means - a spiritual dwelling. Divided into Upper and Lower Dharamshala, Mc Leod Ganj or Upper Dharamshala is the famous home of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in exile.
The Dalai Lama Temple complex is something that every visitor invariably goes to. There is an interesting museum here and a gift shop where you can buy beautiful artefacts. A beautiful fifteen minute walk from either McLeod Ganj or Naddi leads to the Church of St. John in the Wilderness that dates back to 1853. Quite literally, it is in the midst of a deodar and pine forest near Forsyth Ganj. The Dal Lake is 11 kms from Sharamshal and makes for a scenic small trek. Dharamkot is another wooded spot getting to which makes for a lovely day hike. You can also volunteer for teaching programs in Dharamshala schools if you wish to stay longer and interact more intensely with the locals.
Ooty, also known as Udhagamandalam is the capital of the Nilgiris; the “Blue Mountains” of Tamil Nadu. At an altitude of 2240 m above sea level, Ooty is a botanical paradise and tea planations in particular dominate the landscape.
The Todas are one of the more prominent tribes of the Nilgiris. Have a look at their wonderful red and black embroideries at the Green Shop near Ooty Club or at the govt. shop near Charring Cross. Do pick up your share of homemade Ooty chocolatesfrom the main market street. You can try King Star which has made Ooty chocolates famous.
The best way to enjoy Ooty is by driving around in the hills, taking tea stops in the little villages and hamlets that you drive through…the views once you step out of the main town centre of Ooty are breathtaking!
Coonoor is a lovely hill station near Ooty, in the Nilgiri Hills. The Nilgiris are famous for their hill plantations of tea, their fantastic climate and hues of blue the mountains take on at dusk. Coonoor is one of the nicer destinations in the Nilgiris at an altitude of 1800 meters.
There is loads to do in Coonoor. Besides the endless walks one can take, there are some lovely tea/ coffee lounges too. A visit to a Tea Plantation and a Tea Factory are a nice relaxing way to spend an afternoon. For the more touristically inclined, there’s the Dolphin’s Nose View Point and Catherine Falls.
Munnar is best described as the Darjeeling of the south, only much quieter. Sprawling tea gardens, soothing weather and quaint churches characterise the beautiful hill station.
Not surprisingly, it is a highly popular honeymoon destination!
Munnar is an idyllic place that has several scenic spots from where you can either go for small treks or just gaze at the misty valleys around. Walking through lush plantations of tea, coffee or cardamom is another activity that you must indulge in while here. Don’t forget to sample the different teas produced here. Devikullam is a great place to spend a day. You can also go fishing at the Sita Devi Lake here. The Eravikulam National Park is a must visit, especially if you have never seen the Nilgiri Tahr. The Mattupetty Dam is an ideal picnic spot, and you can also visit its famous, highly specialised dairy farm close by.