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A 3 hour drive from Jammu will take you to a little-known hill station: Patnitop. Situated at an elevation of 2024 m, Patnitop is an idyllic world amidst lush green meadows, cloud-topped and pine-clothed mountains and flower-laden glades. During winters, skiing and other winter sports are organized here.

The summer capital of Kashmir, Srinagar stands on the Dal Lake and the picturesque Jhelum rivers. Its many lakes dotted with delightful shikaras, its lovely gardens and the snow-covered mountains towering over it, makes Srinagar one of the beautiful cities in the world.

Popularly called the "Switzerland of India", Gulmarg once the favourite summer retreat of Emperor Jehangir, is today a tourist's paradise. This "flower filled meadow", is famous for its grassy slopes, its wild flowers, its panoramic mountain views and the world's highest gold course. If the weather is clear, one can see all the way to Nanga Parbat in one direction and Srinagar to another. Pony rides, walks across the numerous meadows, camping in the lap of nature, rides in the cable cars and the crisp mountain air, make a holiday here truly memorable. Come winter and Gulmarg is transformed into a premier skiing resort.

About 95 kms east of Srinagar, is Pahalgam, situated 2130 m above sea level. Located on the banks of the river Lidder and Sheshnag, Pahalgam is a popular base for trekking in the region and for the annual pilgrimage to the cave temple of Amarnath. This scenic hill resort also offers excellent opportunities for camping, hiking, riding and fishing.

80 kms north-east of Srinagar is Sonmarg, the "meadow of gold". Strewn with the loveliest of alpine flowers and surrounded by mountains clothed in fir and pine, the sheer scenic splendour of Sonmarg is bound to take your breath away. Major trekking routes begin at Sonmarg.

The district headquarters of the forbidding yet fascinating region of Ladakh (the land of passes), Teh is one of the highest inhabited places in India. It is also the starting point for journeys into other regions of Ladakh, which offer exciting opportunities for trekking, mountaineering and river rafting. Polo is a favourite sport in Ladakh.

Just 70 kms from Leh is the little-known village of Alchi, sometimes described as one of the monastic jewels of Ladakh. The site of the 11th Century Gompa Temple Complex, Alchi, standing in splendid isolation, is perfect for an unusual, off-the-beaten-track holiday. There are no crowds here. No tourist buses showing you the sights. No commercialization of the place, as is evident in so many tourist spots. But what you do have, is lush greenery, the bracing mountain air, (guaranteed to whip up the colour on your face), a Buddhist Gompa that goes back nearly a thousand years, friendly locals smiling at you from low-slung mud brick houses, apricot trees bordering meandering lanes and an unforgettable view of the River Indus flowing on against a massive windswept backdrop. The magical setting, the outdoor cafes where you can sample local delicacies or nurse a hot beverage, the improvised curio shops around the pathways, the beautiful woman in their elaborate headgear… all combine to create a holiday that will etch itself in your memory forever. Are you ready for Alchi?


The capital of Himachal Pradesh, this lovely hill station, 'discovered' by the British in 1819, still retains its colonial charm. Set amidst cool pine-clad hills, Shimla and its surrounding areas, have a picture-postcard beauty that never fails to enchant.

16 kms from Shimla, the scenic hill station of Kufri is situated at a height of 2501 m. From December to March, dressed in its white winter garb, Kufri welcomes hundreds of skiing enthusiasts.

Scenic and serene, Chail, 45 kms from Shimla, was once the summer retreat of the Maharaja of Patiala. Built on the three hills at an altitude of 2150 m, this 'slice of heaven' overlooks the Sutlej Valley. The palace of Maharaja built in the late 19th century is now a holiday resort. 3 kms from Chail is the world's highest cricket ground (2444m). There is also a wildlife sanctuary, 3 kms away. The countryside surrounding is perfect for hiking.

Set amidst fine coniferous forests, 64 kms from Shimla, Narkanda is very popular with skiers. Some of its smooth and steep slopes are perfect for cross-country side skiing. The ski season lasts from January to mid-April.

Situated at an altitude of 1200 m, Kullu is the district headquarters of the Kullu-Manali valley. One of the most colourful Dussehra festivals is celebrated here.

In the heart of the fabled "Silver Valley", is the pleasant town of Manali, with lovely forests and orchards. Manali offers tourists a host of adventure sports and outdoor activities like fishing, mountain biking, rafting, paragliding, skiing, heli-skiing, mountaineering, kayaking and hiking.

The District Headquarters of lahaul and Spiti, the largest district in Himachal Pradesh, Keylong is located 3350 m above sea level. It is on the Manali-Leh road, the highest motorable road in the world. There are several important monasteries around Kaza, the administrative centre of Spiti sub district. The Ki Monastery, 14 kms away, is the oldest and largest gompa in Spiti, situated at an altitude of 4115 m.

Dharamsala is the main hill station of the beautiful Kangra Valley. Lying between the gentle Shivalik Hills and the foothills of the mighty Dhauladhars, the Kangra Valley is noted for its breathtaking scenery: lush terraces, wooded hills, manicured gardens and sparkling streams.

Named after Lord Dalhousie, the then viceroy of India, this hill station is sprawled across five hills, amidst thickly wooded hills, clothed in deodar and pine. Dalhousie has marvelous forest trails and picnic spots.


Popularly regarded as the "Queen of Hill Stations", Mussoorie, at an altitude of 2000 m, was discovered by the British after Captain Young of the English Army built his house here. Offering a stupendous view of the Himalayas to the north and the Shivaliks to the south, Mussoorie's British origins can be seen in its quaint cottages, its beautiful churches with stained glass windows and its Victorian Bandstand.

Situated at an altitude of 2500-3050 m above sea level, in the lap of the snow-capped peaks of the Garhwal Himalayas is Auli, a popular ski resort. Experts have favourably compared the ski slopes of Auli to the best in the world. Its alpine atmosphere, its well-dressed slopes flanked by coniferous and oak forests, its challenging terrain… all make Auli a favourite destination for adventurous tourists. One of the best equipped in the country, Auli has excellent infrastructure, including a state-of-the-art Ski Lift, an 800 m long Chair Lift and a 3.9 km long Ropeway. You can also try your hand at parasailing here. In summer, the slopes of Auli are covered with wild flowers, the alpine grass is rich with fragrant meadows and the views of the Himalayan peaks like the Nanda Devi, are truly breathtaking.

The scenic hill resort of Nainital derives its name from Naina Devi, which literally means "Eye of the Goddess". The many lakes dotting this region have given Nainital its sobriquet of the "Lake District of India". The pristine lakes, the lofty snow-clad peaks and the green valleys add a touch of scenic magic to this pleasant town.

The field of the Queen-Ranikhet- stretches along a Himalayan ridge, 1829 m high. The British established a summer rest and recreation settlement for their troops here and made it a cantonment town. Ranikhet still retains much of its army summer home atmosphere and is far more wooded and quiet than any other hill station in the region.

The 1646 m high horseshoe-in-the-Himalayas, was founded by Raja Kalyan of the Chand dynasty in 1560 AD. The Chands ruled over the whole of the Kumaon region and Almora still claims to be the cultural capital of the area. Also to Almora came Swamy Vivekananda. In a cave just outside Almora, he was inspired to carry his message all over the world. The rich heritage, the interesting arts and crafts, the enchanting walks and the panoramic views of the Himalayas make a visit to Almora both physically and mentally rejuvenating.

51 kms north of Almora, Kausani's location in the middle of the Himalayas, makes it perfect for a close view of the snow-clad peaks of Nanda Devi, Trishul, Panchchuli, Nandakot, and Chaukhamba. Its pleasant climate, its incredible views and its natural beauty are sure to relax city-weary souls. For the more adventurous there are a range of exciting sports facilities.

Situated at 1815 m, Pithoragarh, the main town of the district of the same name, sits in a small valley that has been called "Little Kashmir". Rich in natural beauty and dotted with lakes and glaciers, the Pithoragarh district - in the northern part of the Kumaon region, is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna. The picturesque district is also the gateway to the Holy Mansarovar Lake, a highly revered spot among the Hindus.

Another exquisitely beautiful hill resort in the northern part of the Pithoragarh district is Munsiyari. Located at the foot of the main Himalayan peaks, at an altitude of 1517 m, this charming town offers breathtaking views of the magnificent Himalayas. The nearby mountains are perfect for trekking.


Situated 652 m above sea level, Ranchi is dotted with several waterfalls, giving it to the sobriquet "the land of waterfalls". The unique feature of this hill station is the co-existence of natural beauty with progressive industries. On the one hand you have the song of the hills, the laughter of rivulets and the roaring of waterfalls. On the other, is the busy hum of industrial activity.

Popularly regarded as the Queen of Chhotanagpur, Netarhat is about 156 kms from Ranchi. This little visited hill station is surrounded with thick virgin forests, barren rocks and verdant hillocks. An excellent health and holiday resort, Netarhat offers spectacular views of the sunrise and sunset.

The pleasant leafy town of Hazaribagh, meaning a thousand gardens, is set amidst a dense forest. Hazaribagh is perfect for a quiet, away-from-it-all holiday with a touch of the wild. The rich flora and fauna of this region is a treat for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. And of course, in the tradition of all hill stations, the salubrious climate is a big draw.

The capital of Sikkim, Gangtok sprawls down the west side of a long ridge. Many points in the city offer awesome views of the magnificent Kanchenjunga Range, the third highest mountain in the world.

Perched high on a little ridge is the hill resort of Pelling, Offering incredible views of Kanchenjunga.

A major trade centre and a pleasant winter destination, it is the departure point for hill stations in West Bengal, the North-East and Nepal.

At 1767 m, Mirik is a relatively 'new' hill station. In the midst of tea estates, orange orchards and cardamom plantations, Mirik, 50 kms from both Siliguri and Darjeeling, boasts of an artificial lake, and some stunning hilltop views.

51 kms north of Siliguri and 30 kms south of Darjeeling is Kurseong, with its peaceful atmosphere and predominantly Nepali population. Kurseong is a walker's paradise. It gets its name from the 'kuronrip' or small white orchid found here.

2134 m high, nestling in the shadow of the mighty Kanchenjunga and set amid tea plantations, is Darjeeling - a quaint and beautiful hill resort. The former summer resort of the British, the remnants of Darjeeling's past can be glimpsed in the club life and pony rides, which are such an integral part of this scenic town. Darjeeling is also known for the prized tealeaf that is named after it and exported the world over.

One of the older hill stations, Kalimpong is situated at a height of 1250 m amidst the rolling foothills and deep valleys of the Himalayas. Three monasteries and two lovely old churches contribute to its peaceful ambience. There's trekking and rafting for the adventurous.


One of India's largest hill-stations, famed for its golf course, is Shillong. 1496 m high, in Meghalaya. All round is orchard country, pineapples and pine trees, betel plantations and breathtaking views.

1495 m high, the capital of Nagaland has a historical background.

A carpet of flowers awaits you here in hilly Manipur. At 790 m, this beautiful town has several rivers and cascades. While in Imphal, try to take in the celebrated Manipuri Dance performance.

1130 m high, built in tiers along the hill, Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram, is protected by the craggy hills of Durtlang.

Set amidst spectacular scenery at an altitude of 2530 m in Arunachal Pradesh, Momdila shows a marked Tibetan influence.


In the densely wooded Dang forest area of the Sahyadri Mountains lies Gujarat's picturesque hill station - Saputara, the Abode of the Serpents, Perched at an altitude of about 1000 m, Saputara is a planned hill resort with hotels, parks, swimming pools, theatres and a museum. The pleasant climate all round the year, the peace and serenity and the scenic views make this an ideal getaway. Adventure sports facilities like paragliding are also available here.

In the stark and scorching desert landscape of Rajasthan, Mount Abu, the only hill station in the state, rises like an Oasis. Sprawling along a 1220 m ridge on the Aravalli hills, Mount Abu is built around a lake and is surrounded by forested hills. The easy going pace of this pleasant hill station, its cool climate, its coniferous trees, flowering shrubs and lovely lakes make for an enjoyable stay. Adding some historic atmosphere are the famous Dilwara Temples and several archaeological remains.

This verdant jewel of Madhya Pradesh was discovered in 1857. Galloping on the Satpura Ranges, Captain Forysth of the Bengal Lancers came upon this saucer-shaped valley and was immediately taken in by its natural beauty. Today, the same beauty charms thousands of tourists. Silver streams, shimmering waterfalls, the green shades of forest glades, the azure blue of lovely pools, the red standstone of ravines and gorges.. Pachmarhi is sure to add a touch of colour to your holiday. And even as you marvel at the wonders of nature, take in the wonders created by man too. An archaeological treasure house, the caves of Mahadeo Hills in Pachmarhi are home to some magnificent rock paintings. The earliest of these are estimated to be 10,000 years old.


No blaring horns, no vehicle pollution, no traffic jams... welcome to a tiny world, which is off-limits to motor vehicles. This is Matheran, an undulating hilltop sprawling languidly at an altitude of 800 m.

Straddling the Mumbai-Pune highway at an altitude of 625 m, are the twin hill resorts of Lonavala and Khandala (5 kms apart). These hill stations on the western slopes of the Sahyadris, offer spectacular views of the surrounding countryside in the monsoon.

One of Maharashtra's most popular hill stations, Mahabaleshwar, situated at a height of 1372 m above sea level, is the perfect getaway for a relaxing holiday. Also famous for producing India's finest strawberries.

Overlooking the Krishna Valley, in the Western Ghats, is the hill resort of Panchagani (Five Hills), just 19 kms east of Mahabaleshwar. Horse riding, quiet walks, an excursion to the Kamalgad Fort, picking strawberries or breakfasting on bread and fresh jam… are some delightful ways of pampering yourself here.

Near Kolhapur is the little-visited hill station of Panhala (977m). Besides its pleasant climate and its historic associations, Panhala is also known for the nearby Pawala caves and some Buddhist cave temples.

Snuggling in the southern ranges of the Sahyadri hills, Amboli at an altitude of 690 m is the last mountain resort, before beach country begins.

The sole hill resort in the Vidarbha region, it is situated at an altitude of 1118 m. It is also the only coffee-growing area in Maharashtra. Close by, is the famous Melghat Tiger Project.


One of the summer retreats of Tipu Sultan, Nandi Hills, 60 km north of Bangalore, is perfect for weekend trips. 1478 m high, surrounded by forests and smaller hills, it is the source of many rivers and home to several species of wild animals.

120 kms from Mysore (247 km from Bangalore) is BR Hills, a 16 kms long hill stretch, rich in deciduous trees, flora and fauna.

The district headquarters of Kodagu, Madikeri, is known as the Scotland of India. Situated 1525 m above sea level, this charming town is surrounded by plantations. Coffee, orange, black pepper and cardamom are the flavours of Madikeri. Unwind in the meandering lanes and get acquainted with the colourful local race, the Kodavas.

251 kms from Bangalore is Chikmagalur, a calm, serent town full of scenic surprises… hills, valleys, streams and snow-white coffee blossoms. Nestled in the Baba Budan range, Chikmagalur, with its rugged mountain trails, is a trekker's delight.

55 kms from Chikmagalur is Kemmanagundi, also called K.R. Hills after King Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV. Kemmanagundi is at a height of 1434 m. Ornamental gardens and panoramic views make for an enjoyable, scenic holiday.

The unique shape of the Kudremukh (Horse Face) Peak has given the range and place its name. 95 kms south-west of Chikmagalur, 1894 m above sea level, Kudremukh is a modern township built around rich iron ore deposits. Its natural beauty, still intact, is tempting - rivers and cascades, grassy slopes are rare orchids. Caves and ruins of old civilizations beg to be explored. And exciting trekking trails beckon.


Situated in the Nilgiris, at a height of 2,240 m, Ooty is home to the tribes called the Todas. Easily the most-visited hill station, the major attractions of Ooty include its vast lake and a magnificent golf course. Ooty also has a generous share of rushing mountain streams, falls, peaks and scenic spots.

On the toy train line from Mettupalayam to Ooty is Coonoor, 1858m high. Tea estates and old colonial houses give it a quaint aura. It can be visited on a day trip from Ooty. But to really savour the magic of this tiny hill station, you must spend a few days here.

28 km east of Ooty, Kotagiri, is the oldest Nilgiri hill station. And one of the most peaceful ones too.

On the southern crest of the Palani Hills, at a height of 2100 m, is the scenic hill station of Kodaikanal. The landscaped lake, wooded slopes and rocky terrain make it ideal for long walks and treks. The rare Kurinji flower blooms here once in 12 years.

East of Salem, up the winding road to a height of 1500 m in the midst of coffee plantations in the Shevaroy Hills, is Yercaud, a pleasant hill station that can be visited throughout the year. A short stay will suffice to cover the few but memorable tourist attractions.


Situated at the confluence of three mountain streams, this commercial centre of some of the world's highest tea-growing estates is at a dizzying 1524 m. Anamudi, South India's highest peak, at 2695 m is visible from many places in Munnar. Other peaks beckon, the air is bracing and the slopes dotted with tea plantations look like a giant jigsaw puzzle. The pepper, rubber and cardamom plantations lend a distinct aroma to the cool climate. Spectacular views await you.

The pleasant hill station of Nelliampathi is situated 32 kms south of Palakkad. The lush valleys in the region have very valuable teak plantations with extraordinary height and girth. The orange estates on the Nelliampathi Hills produce high quality oranges. Nellikota or Padagiri is the highest peak in the region. A picturesque picnic spot near the Sithargundu Estate offers a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.

61 km north-east of Thiruvananthapuram, in the Cardamom Hills, Ponmudi promises a short, pleasant holiday. This idyllic health resort is known for its bracing climate, tea plantations and scenic splendour. The deep forest trails are ideal for hiking and trekking.

This is the district headquarters of the spice-rich Wayanad District. Spread out at an altitude ranging from 700 to 2100 m Wayanad and Kalpetta are fast gaining popularity, as tourist facilities increase.

A hill town 75 kms from Kottayam, Peermade is located on the way to Thekkady. Formerly the summer resort of the Travancore Rajas, it is nestled amidst rubber, tea, coffee, pepper and cardamom plantations interspersed with waterfalls and open grasslands. Peermade is ideal for a short break.

        Courtesy : Trains at a glance dated July 2000 - June 2001



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