With Summer just around the corner and the temperature rising, it’s that time of the year to head for the cool hills! Kid’s on off from school for summer, it’s the perfect time of year for a family vacation to one of India’s cool hill station retreats.
Take your pick of North, South, East or West and you will find a a hill or mountain destination to escape the extreme summer heat that hits most parts of India in April and May.
Here’s a start with 5 Places in India to Escape the Summer Heat to help you choose:
Nestled in the lower Himalayas situated in the state of Himachal Pradesh, lies Manali an ancient town surrounded by snow capped peaks and close in proximity to the snowline. It has a flourishing orchard industry and is a popular destination for adventure sport enthusiasts, campers, trekkers as well as honeymooners.
About 550 km from Delhi, the capital of India, Manali offers visitors some amazing natural sites like hot water springs , waterfalls and the river Beas that runs right through. Apart from those there are beautiful temples scattered across the place and the city center has a monastery as well as some good shopping and eateries to enjoy.
Sometimes known as the Queen of the hill stations, Ooty or Udhagamandalam is situated in the Nilgiri mountain range meaning “Blue Mountains”. Ooty stands at 7,347 feet above sea level in the state of Tamil Nadu and keeps at a pleasant temperature of 15-20 degrees C around the year dropping to 0 degrees C in the winters.
The landscape is marked by rolling hills covered with dense vegetation, smaller hills and plateaus covered with tea gardens, and eucalyptus trees that lend out a minty fresh smell to the air around. It’s picturesque views and pleasant weather make Ooty a great Summer Retreat. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway is one of the part of the charm of reaching the place as the steam train takes a very scenic route through many hair-raising curves, fearful tunnels and chugs alongside deep ravines full of verdant vegetation, gurgling streams and tea gardens.
A valley retreat, Gulmarg is essentially a large meadow about 3-sq-kms in area and at altitude of 2,730 meters, 56-km south west of Srinagar in Jammu-Kashmir. The name Gulmarg literally means “meadow of flowers” and best describes the place in the sprint with it’s rolling meadow filled with countless colorful Bluebells, Daisies, Forget Me Nots and Buttercups.
What makes the Valley even more picturesque and spectacular is the spectacle of snow-covered mountains, almost within touching distance enveloping it. It’s a popular day trip from Srinagar to Gulmarg and it’s popular for trekking. The maize and rice fields only add to the natural landscape of this cool retreat.
In the Kerala the state referred to as ‘God’s Own Country’, is the popular Summer retreat Munnar. At 1600 m above sea level the British while ruling India made it their summer resort of the South. A breathtakingly beautiful haven, Munnar is a land of sprawling tea plantations, picture book towns, winding lanes with sweet aroma of spice scenting the cool air.
Munnar pronounced “Moon-aar” means “Three rivers” in Tamil and Malayalam. The three rivers – Madupetti, Nallathanni and Periavaru flow through this town and join some distance away from Munnar. National Parks, wildlife sanctuary’s, lakes and waterfalls are all part of the reasons why it makes for a great vacation destination, especially to beat the heat.
Known as Lake Paradise Nainital is one of the most charismatic hill stations that India harbors. Once called City of 60 lakes or ‘Chakta’, there are only a few lakes remaining today. The main lake Naini on the banks of which lie the main town is surrounded on three sides by beautiful mountains of the Kumaon foothills a part of the Himalayas. There are several other lakes around Nainital, which are equally beautiful and attractive as the Naini Lake itself.
Renowned for its lake, bird’s-eye views, and prestigious educational institutions, Nainital makes for a great summer retreat. There are hiking tracks up the scenic mountains provide a spectacular view of the lake below. Yachting, boating and paddling make for enticing activities during the day.