Dear Travel Addicts,
Isn’t the “travel addiction” the best kind of addiction in the world??There is so much to see and discover around… the dazzling beaches, the colossal mountains, the eternal deserts, the lively cites …the list is endless.
India is a kaleidoscope of culture, heritage and language. The land of endless opportunities for travel explorers.Hill stations in India are a popular tourist hotspots,they can really get clogged in the summers when loads of heat detesters run there for heat respite. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any offbeat or unexplored hill stations waiting to be discovered.And for those who are willing to explore these “Offbeat” opportunities I have put together a list of some unconventional hilly travel destinations around India you must try. These destinations are tucked away from the swarms of tourist and serve as a perfect get away if you want some peace and quiet along with some adventure.
Chopta is a small but picturesque hill station in Uttrakhand well known for the treks to tungnath, kedarnath and chandrashila peak. Chopta provides such a breathtaking view of the Himalayan ranges and surrounding areas that it is also known as the “Mini Switzerland” of Uttrakhand. The beautiful place is surrounded by alpine vegetation, rhododendrons and orchids. Though you may not find luxurious options to stay here there is a tourist lodge and some rest houses. A great place for trek junkies and backpackers to discover.
Tourist Attractions in and near Chopta
- Tungnath Shiva Temple- Located at height of 3680m above sea level, the Tungnath Temple is the highest of the Panch Kedar.
- Kanchula Korak Musk Deer Sanctuary/Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary – On the Chopta-Gopeshwar road, Kanchula Korak Musk Deer Sanctuary is famous for breeding musk deers. This sanctuary covers an area of 5 sq. m and is an ideal place for tourists to view rare Himalayan wildlife. This place is also popular for its dense forests and aromatic flowers.
- Ukimath – This is the winter seat of lord Kedarnath.The temples of Usha and Anirudh, Shiva and Parvati are worth a visit.
2. Sangla Valley
The Sangla Valley is named after a scenic village of Sangla-a small town located on the right bank of the river Baspa , in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, close to Tibet border. It starts at Sangla and ends at Chitkul. Tourists can drive down to the valley and sight some of the most exotic sights en-route. It is a great place for camping and has many camps where tourists can stay amidst the natural environment. Tourist can also enjoy trekking and river crossing.
Tourist Attractions in and near Sangla Valley
- Temple dedicated to Nages God
- Kamru Fort
3. Tawang Information
Tawang is situated about 3000 meters above sea level in the north western part of Arunachal Pradesh. It is world renowned for its 400 years old Buddhist monastery, one of the biggest in India. It is known as “The Land Of The Lamas” surrounded by ancient Buddhist monasteries and beautiful lakes.Tawang is famous for its natural beauty and pristine lakes all around, which attracts and fascinates the traveller. The place is also renowned for adventurous activities like rock climbing, paragliding, skating and river-rafting.Tourists to Tawang require special Inner line permits from the government which are available in Kolkata,Tezpur,Guwahati and Delhi which takes about 3 weeks. If you are looking for luxury,Twang may disappoint you. Most hotels here offer basic amenities.
Tourist Attractions in and near Twang
- Tawang Monastery –Tawang Monastery about 400 years old, situated at an altitude of approximately 10,000 ft. is the second largest Buddhist monastery in India. It also holds the distinction of being the birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama.
- Sella Pass(13750 ft)- The entry point into the Tawang Valley is Sela pass at an elevation of 13700 ft above the sea level. The glimpse of Paradise Lake in the Sella Pass makes your visit worth. Most of the time the lake is covered with thick blanket of snow.
- Shonga-Tser Lake- Popularly known as Madhuri Lake is located 35 kms away from Tawang near the China Border.The lake formed by a massive earthquake,still has dead trees emerging out of water.
- Tawang War Memorial- The memorial is dedicated to the martyrs of the 1962 Sino-Indian war. The memorial is 40-foot-high and like a stupa in design.
4. Dhanaulti Information
It is a small little hill station 24 kms from Mussorie and 29 kms from Chamba. Dhanaulti, located amidst thick, forests of deodar, rhododendron and oak has an atmosphere of perfect peace & tranquility.For trekkers who are looking to explore snow clad Himalayas, Dhanaulti is the starting point
Tourist Attractions in and near Dhanaulti
- Eco Park – There are two Eco-parks, “Amber” and “Dhara” about 200 m apart. It houses a protected patch of small forest containing Deodar Trees.
- Surkanda Devi Temple – It is part of the Devi Darshan triangle, which offers trekking opportunities around Dhanaulti – Surkanda Devi, Chandrabadni and Kunjapuri.
- Aaloo Khet – a Government Potato Farm, also a popular sunrise view point.
5. Panchmari Information
This hill station on the Satpura mountains boasts of the highest point in Central India and is a botanist’s paradise. Panchmari has loads of cave painitings in the forest, some of which are estimated to be 10000 years old. In 2009 it was added to the list of biosphere reserves by UNESCO. Panchmari is well connected from Bhopal and Indore and you can find some decent hotels to stay. You could also try parasailing while here.
Tourist Attractions in and near Panchmari
- Rajat Prapat – A horsetail type waterfall with a single drop of 107 meters. When sunlight falls on it, it shines, hence the name
- Chauragarh – Is a famous shiv temple of the region. You can trek from Mahadeo Temple, which is 9 km from Panchmari. The trek is steep and at the end transforms into a series of 1400 stairs.
- Jatashankar- Stalagmite filled cave in a deep ravine. Cave serves as a Shrine to Lord Shiv. There are two different types of little pond, fed by springs, found in the locality, one of cold water and the other one of hot water.
- Dhupgarh – Highest peak of satpura and Madhya Pradesh and is a popular sunset point
Share your thoughts on these hill stations, if you are planning to visit anyone of them, and if you have already been there feel free to share your experience.