WHY TRAVEL TO HILL STATIONS?
“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,
From whence cometh my help and health”
- Flora Annie Steel and Grace Gardiner, The Complete Indian Housekeeper & Cook (1888)
The beautiful words above describe the strong pull towards Hill Stations that in the days of yore Britishers had towards Indian high lands. They saw these hills as panacea which grants them with good health and sane state of mind in the tropical colony. Fast forward to today, in this Article we shall explore why native Indian tourists still carry this eternal motivation to visit Hill Stations and what can one do at Hill Stations.
1. Summer Vacations:
Majority of Academic institutions in India give their students respite from the scorching heat of summers by giving them a month plus long vacation and therefore, to escape the wrath of the Sun God, Hill Stations act as perfect places to refresh, relax and rejuvenate.
2. Nature’s Bounty:
Hill stations are always bountiful with natural beauty like endless swathes of greenery, deep laid back valleys, icy peaks, tree lined boulevards, quaint lakes and many more giving the weary traveller many reasons to drench themselves in the nature’s lap.
Although it is a fact that oxygen levels tend to reduce as we ascend the altitude yet the dense green cover with plethora of trees compensates for it. Therefore, we strongly recommend you all to take deep breathes on your visit to Hill Stations thus allowing you to oxygenate even more 😉 The richness of nature and the dense tree cover makes the air quality on hill stations more pure thus granting it therapeutic prowess. So once again, take a deep breathe in….
4. Escape the cacophony:
Long drives on a highway with traffic as your constant companion may not offer you an escape from the urban cacophony. However, visit to a Hill Station allows you to elude this urban bane as you align yourself with the silence of the hills.
5. Get closer to the constellation:
Uphill areas make your view of the stars clearer by taking you more close to the sky this is also due to lack of smoke and pollution. So, just lay down comfortably by the window or inside your tent in a cold weather and play the game of constellation, as stars twinkle above you…
6. Explore Heritage:
Britishers left behind them many structures like post offices, meeting rooms, churches, shopping precincts, government offices, carved out boulevards, officer residences, lighthouses, etc. Now these structures have been renovated in accordance with the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) guidelines to serve the visiting tourists as they are now converted into many touristy amenities. So, relish these precincts and click a perfect photograph / selfie of yourself sipping that freshly brewed coffee in the simple and quaint heritage café / stay in the heritage accommodation… let the glory of past mesmerise you…
7. Dil Garden Garden ho gaya…..
Many hill stations house beautifully created and well-maintained botanical gardens… So, take a walk in these green manicured pathways and do not forget to click a lot of selfies.
8. Rail Trip:
Narrow gauge tracks connect majority of Hill Stations in India to the base camp. And the journey in these mini trains / toy trains can be a fascinating experience. Enjoy and capture the panoramic views as your Toy Train steadily chugs uphill navigating through the narrow mountain passages. These train journeys amidst the lap of nature are very refreshing and have been picturised in many movies too.
9. Trail Walks:
Walk on the trails carved out on hills can be truly energizing and refreshing with the breathe of the fresh air and green cover around you (sometimes with the cliffs on one side and valleys on other side)... this serene silence of hills that engulfs you as you walk can only to be broken momentarily by the gust of the mountain winds or the chirp of the mountain birds… Do not be surprised if a solution to some teething trouble in your life suddenly dawns upon you resulting into unfolding of smirk on your face as you continue to march ahead on the trail thinking how beautiful this life can be… Many great people have attributed the spark of creativity they get when meandering on the hilly trail…
Journey to hill station with friends or a big group can be truly memorable, and what better than sitting together on a cold night around the bonfire and singing your favourite songs. (But please ensure that the Bonfire is Eco-Friendly)
Majority of Hill Stations house the amusement centres that offer games like go-karting, paint ball fights, boat rides on lakes, water parks, bungee jumping etc. where you can have a fun time with your family and friends. Many hill stations on the Himalayas also offer plenty of opportunities to indulge in adventure activities like skiing, gondola ride, glacier climbing etc. Not to be missed are the moments when there occurs these mind-blowing snowfalls right in front of your eyes, when the graupels dropping from the sky change the colour of the earth to frozen milky white in the blink of an eye…
12. Go Local:
Majority of Hill Stations have a Centre point which offer essential amenities to the visiting tourists and one of the highlighted feature of this centre point is that they house the Emporiums that sell an array of beautiful local handicrafts… Do not forget to pick up the local handicraft as a memento of your visit. Your purchase ensures that the money is pumped directly in the local economy and is not siphoned out… Also interact with the locals here to understand their way of life and the indigenous traditions of the place…
13. Pet Pooja:
Majority of Hill Stations in India are dotted with many bistros, cafes, bakeries, lounges, bars, restaurants etc. offering lip smacking cuisines with the perfect décor as an add on. So, appease your growling tummy by treating yourself with some lip smacking contemporary and local delicacies. Many of them are located at vantage point from where you can endlessly gaze at the panoramic views of nature while sipping on the piping hot coffee cuppa and relishing your favourite dish from the menu. These joints have always been favourite with the tourists and couples looking for some solitude and quality time. Also, the cold weather is sure to shoot up your appetite and boost your digestion… making you crave for more food.
14. Be Responsible:
Do not forget to behave like a responsible traveller as your actions can leave a strong impact on Hill Stations which are very ecologically fragile and are bearing the brunt of irresponsible tourist behaviour… So do not leave any trash, buy from emporiums (if you wish to), refrain from plastic etc…
15. Book via agent:
In this internet era of DIY (Do-it-Yourself) holidays booking via agent may seem like a funny suggestion. But agents carry high level of local knowledge and have good local connections making every moment of your hilly sojourn memorable by perfect utilisation of every moment of your itinerary.
Holiday on Hill Stations can be truly empowering one as Hill Stations have the magical and natural power to recharge the weary traveller by taking them very close to the nature. Hill Stations can be found throughout India and are indeed a refreshing weekend excursion destination for time pressed millennials, perfect place for rejuvenation seeking leisure tourists and a nirvana to the creative souls on a sabbatical.