With summers comes the much awaited long summer break when it’s time to go out on a vacation with family. While you might be spoilt for choice, our list of destinations will help you in picking the best place.
Ladakh is India at its most enchantingly human and scenically stunning. One encounters rugged high-altitude desert softened with Tibetan temples, irrigated paddies and mesmerising mountain lakes.
Also Read: 20 hill stations you must visit this summer
The rolling hills around Munnar, South India’s largest tea-growing region, are carpeted in emerald-green tea plantations, contoured, clipped and sculpted like ornamental hedges. The low mountain scenery is magnificent – you’re often up above the clouds watching veils of mist clinging to the mountaintops.
McLeod Ganj forms the seat of the Tibetans in exile. It is quite loved as a hill town and remains flocked by tourists all year round. Travellers come here to imbibe the Tibetan spirit and treat themselves with some calm.
As the state capital of Meghalaya, Shillong has rapidly developed into a typical modern Indian town, still retaining some of its colonial-era charm. Top attractions of the city are- Don Bosco Museum, Umiam Lake, Shillong Golf Course, Ward’s Lake and Pinewood Hotel.
Puducherry (or Pondicherry), is a perfect blend of beach, heritage, adventure and cultural experiences. The tranquil atmosphere of this lovely destination promises peace, because time almost stops. That said, you’ll never get bored.
Kashmir is India’s Switzerland, attracting hordes of local tourists seeking cool summer air, alpine scenery and Srinagar’s romantic houseboat accommodation.
Kodaikanal is one of those fortunate hill stations which retain the old-world charm despite the growing popularity and commercialisation. Here you can still see beautiful flowers blooming on roadsides and feast your eyes on lush greenery. Add to these delights, numerous gardens, walks and sights, and you have all the trappings of an ideal getaway, either for a short break or for a longer, more leisurely holiday.
About 24 kms from Mussoorie, as you move closer towards Dhanaulti, you begin to wonder how it can be so perfect! The breath-taking view of the Garhwal Himalayas is a sight to behold. There are lots of lodges, resorts and quite some eateries in the main Dhanaulti junction. The place is recommended for its serenity, the sights and the ‘far from civilization’ feel it brings.
A picturesque hill town about 47 kms away from Pune, Kamshet is popular for its paragliding.
From the south end of the Kullu Valley, the Tirthan Valley leads up southeast into the region known as Inner Seraj. This is an area of exceptional valley and mountain scenery, unspoiled villages and nature, great walks and inviting guesthouses. It’s becoming known among tourists seeking a low-key escape from the plains, but is still off most foreign visitors’ radar.
Driving on the Chamba-Mussoorie Highway, lined with thick trees, it’s a task to find the remote hill station of Kanatal. There are barely any signboards on the way, leading you to a path of self-discovery. It’s an ideal place for those looking to trek up rolling hills through unknown pathways, laze around lush greenery, pluck fresh fruits from apple orchards, meditate in the lap of nature or simply escape bustling crowd to a serene getaway.
Breathtakingly beautiful coastline, fantastic diving possibilities and a far-flung location, make the Andaman Islands a perfect place to ramble around or simply chill out on sun-toasted beaches. Shimmering turquoise waters are surrounded by primeval jungles and mangrove forests, and its sugar-white beaches melt under glorious flame-and-purple sunsets.
Sikkim is a window onto the Himalayas. Hassle-free and warm-hearted, it’s a state that’s all too easy to fall in love with. It is mostly a maze of plunging valleys thick with lush subtropical woodlands rising in the north to the spectacular Himalayas. When clouds clear, an ever-thrilling experience from many a ridge-top perch is spotting the world’s third-highest mountain, Kangchenjunga.
The summit of Sandakphu is the highest point in the Darjeeling Hills of West Bengal and is a preferred destination for several trekkers keen on glimpsing great views of Kangchenjunga. Known for its low degree of difficulty even while promising the best of the mountainous outdoors, Sandakphu is possibly the best introduction to the world of trekking.
Rishikesh styles itself as the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’, with masses of ashrams and all kinds of yoga and meditation classes. But it is not all spirituality and contorted limbs; it’s also a popular white-water rafting centre, backpacker hang-out and Himalayan-trekking gateway.
A quiet, peaceful hill station tucked away in the Western Ghats, near Mumbai, Matheran is known for its red soil and vehicle-free surroundings. Dotted with a variety of hotels and guesthouses, a bustling market street, all surrounded by lush green hills and valleys, Matheran is a getaway in the true sense.
Around 100km from Shillong there is a magical paradise – Mawlynnong – a small village which won the status of being the cleanest village (2003), not just in India, but in Asia.
This bustling bazaar town sprawls along a saddle-shaped mountain ridge overlooking the roaring Teesta River and lorded over by the summit of Kangchenjunga. It boasts of some magnificent Himalayan views, Buddhist monasteries, colonial-era architecture and a fascinating nursery industry, all linked by some fine hikes.
Situated amidst the ancient mountains called the Aravalli Range, Udaipur is fondly known as the ‘City of Lakes’ and has five main lakes which include the Fateh Sagar Lake, Lake Pichola, Swaroop Sagar Lake, Rangsagar and Doodh Talai Lake. The city of Udaipur is dotted with magnificent palaces dating back to the 16th century, forts, temples, royal gardens and wildlife sanctuaries.
If you’re looking for a soothing atmosphere plus the thrill of seeing the big striped cats, then Ranthambore wildlife sanctuary checks all boxes.
Explore one of India’s oldest cities and enjoy the faded glory of its grandiose colonial-era architecture, its vibrant arts scene, delicious food and friendly people. The chaotic yet civilised West Bengal capital is a wonderful place to wander, dine and soak in local culture.
Venice-like, the shady streets of Alappuzha (Alleppey) are set around a grid of canals that spill into the watery highways of Kerala. As the gateway to the backwaters, this is the place to soak up village life before taking a trip on a houseboat.
The carvings that swathe Khajuraho’s three groups of World Heritage–listed temples are among the finest temple art in the world. The Western Group of temples, in particular, contain some stunning sculptures. Khajuraho’s isolation has helped preserve it from the desecration invaders inflicted on ‘idolatrous’ temples elsewhere. Architecture lovers can treat themselves here.
Visakhapatnam (or Vizag as it is known sometimes) was among the first 20 cities selected to be part of the Smart Cities project. A coastal city overlooking the Bay of Bengal, it has a spectacular, hilly terrain. It was named after the god Vaishaka and is Andhra Pradesh’s second-largest city.
Namdapha National Park
Nearly half of India’s biodiversity is said to be indigenous to Arunachal Pradesh. Most of this wilderness is gathered in the far eastern corner of the state, in and around the Namdapha National Park. Namdapha is the only park in India to have four big cat species. It’s also a birdwatcher’s delight, with around 500 species recorded.