For a change take the road less travelled. This winter, why not discover the most underrated hill stations in India. HolidayIQ Traveller pick their favourites.
1. Kurseong for Romantic Train Rides
HolidayIQ Traveller Megha says, “The train takes a very long time to cover the distance but the splendid views it offers makes it worth it. It is a once in a lifetime experience.” Do not miss to buy tea from the Tea Estates' outlets. Relish momos and try chaang', a local drink made of fermented millets as well as 'tonba'.
How to Reach: Kurseong is 51 km from Siliguri and 30 km from Darjeeling
Best Time to Visit: March to May and August and October
2. Chopta for Snow Trekking
Chopta is a must visit destination for nature lovers and those who are passionate for trekking. Plan a trek to Tungnath and Chandrashila. HolidayIQ Traveller G. Goswami says, “Trekking to Lord Tunganath - a-three-and-half-kilometer trek on a well-built road is very exciting.”
How to Reach: Reach Chopta via Rudrapryag from Haridwar, Rishikesh or Mussoorie by bus or car in 8 to 9 hours.
Best Time: December to February
3. Ziro for Music Lovers
Inhabited by a local tribe called Apatanis, Ziro is known for its outdoor music festival. Try a local delicacy made with rice, which is cooked and stuffed in a hollow bamboo stem and baked on fire. Enjoy home-brewed rice beer
How to Reach: 167 km from Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh. The best thing to do is fly to Guwahati and travel to Ziro by road.
Best Time to Visit: February to October
4. Almora for Wildlife Enthusiasts
The picturesque town of Almora is 30 km away from Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary. Spread across 46 km, the forested slopes of Jhandi Dhar Hills contain several species of birds, the laughing thrush and the forktail, a number of leopards as well as the Indian red fox. The best thing about the park is that an expedition into the forest is on foot rather than by jeep.
How to Reach: Kathgodam is the nearest railway station, around 91 km away. The nearest airport is Pantnagar, 125 km away.
Best Time to Visit: September to November
5. Pachmarhi for Adventure
Adventurous history buffs will love to explore Pandav Caves, where the five Pandava brothers lived for a while. Indulge in activities like parasailing, trekking and rock climbing organised by the local villagers.
How to Reach: Closed airport is Bhopal, 195 km away.
Best Time to Visit: October and June
6. Matheran for Horse Riding
Motor vehicles are banned from entering Matheran. It’s only accessible by foot or on horseback, and the latter is a fun way to explore its lush landscape, which is dotted with waterfalls and streams. HolidayIQ Traveller Ethical says, “Horse rides and mesmerising viewpoints make the place a great holiday getaway.”
How to Reach: 87 km from Mumbai. Connectivity by road is excellent.
Best Time: September to June
7. Dharamshala for Foodies
An array of chic restaurant openings has turned this backpacker jaunt into a more savvy venue for modern travellers. HolidayIQ Traveller Zoobie Sindhu says, “With world cuisine available to enjoy, this is a food lover's paradise. The Chocolate Log, Moonpeak Cafe, The Village Cage, Tibet Kitchen, One-two cafe and Mcllo are a few places that serve authentic food.” Momos here are a must-try.
How to Reach: It is 17 km north-east of Kangra town in Himachal Pradesh
Best Time to Visit: September to October and March to June