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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Why haven’t you visited yet These 5 Secret Hill Stations?

Chopta valley, Uttarakhand
Chopta valley, Uttarakhand

During summer, you can head to hill stations in India to north and northeast for relief from the heat. And in the winter, you can always head to the ones in the south for some relief from the biting cold up north!  But these famous tourist hill stations could frustrate and irritate those souls who are looking for tranquility, pleasant weather, uncrowded and quiet places. They will have in their company only beautiful nature. No crowed, no noise pollution (except birds and sounds of cool breeze)
Are you such a special one who loves exploring hidden treasures of nature? With economy?
Then here are my personal picks for you

1 Pachmarhi Madhya Pradesh

Pachmarhi hills, Madhya Pradesh
Pachmarhi hills, Madhya Pradesh

Pachmarhi is Madhya Pradesh's most verdant gems. A lovely hill resort girdled by the Satpura mountain ranges, it offers absolute tranquility. Bridle paths lead into placid forest groves of Wild bamboo, Jamun, Dense Sal forests and delicate bamboo thickets
Complementing the magnificence of nature are the works of man
Pachmarhi is also an archaeological treasure- house. In cave shelters in the Mahadeo Hills is an astonishing richness in rock paintings. Most of these have been placed in the period 500-800 AD
Pachmarhi is for unwinding, effortlessly. Roads meander gently groves of trees, open spaces and heritage cottages sitting contentedly in their old gardens. The town has a quiet gentility about it as if Victorian traditions and high collars still governed most people's lives.
Much of this ambience has been set, and is still being maintained, by the strong presence of the Army whose Education Corps is headquartered here. The old cottages, meticulously maintained by the Military Engineering Services, have changed little since the days of Kipling.
Tamia: Overlooking the Narmada river valley, Tamia is a picturesque resort on the Satpura ranges. From the Tamia rest house, the view of the Dudhi plateau from 330 meters of sheer overhanging cliffs is one of the most spectacular anywhere South of the Vindhyas. Tamia is 78 km from Pachmarhi.

Must see places

Waterfalls and hotel Highlands in Pachmarhi
Waterfalls and Hotel Highlands in Pachmarhi

There are many stunning trails leading to points at the top of the hills, waterfalls, natural pools, ancient Shiva temples, a definite visit ancient churches, Mahabharata's Pandav caves, historical British Bison lodge of 1875
Best 10 Hotels in Pachmarhi
Economical and best option
Hotel Highlands-MPTDC, Pachmarhi

How to reach

The nearest airport is in Bhopal (195 km) connected by regular flights with Delhi, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Indore and Mumbai.
Pachmarhi is connected by regular bus services with Bhopal, Hoshangabad, Nagpur, Pipariya and Chhindwara. Taxis are available at Pipariya.
Pipariya (47 km), on the Mumbai-Howrah mainline via Allahabad, is the most convenient railhead.

2 Chikhaldara in Maharashtra, Satpura Range

Gwaligarh Fort Chikhaldara
Gwaligarh Fort Chikhaldara

The deep misty valleys of Chikhaldara has a new shade in every fold unwrapped. Chikhaldara (chikaldara, chikhaldhara) is located in Amaravati district of Vidarbha region, Maharastra. The only hill station in the Vidarbha region offers you an abundance of wildlife, viewpoints, lakes and waterfalls. Chikhaldara has many things to be explored.
With an abundance of natural scenery, exciting wildlife, breathtaking waterfalls and a placid lake, the beauty of Chikhaldara is overwhelming. The climate is always breezy and walking on the clouds often becomes a reality.

Places of interest

• Places of interest in and around Chikhaldara are the Melghat Tiger Project, Dhakana-Kolkaz National Park, Hurricane Point, Prospect Point, Devi Point, Gavilgad and Narnala Fort, the Pandit Nehru Botanical Gardens, the Tribal Museum and the Semadoh Lake.
• The Melghat Tiger Project has 82 tigers and also houses other animals like panthers, sloth bears, sambar, wild bear, and wild dogs.
• The scenic beauty of the misty mountains with a rich variety of flora could be observed from Hurricane Point, Prospect Point, and Devi Point.
• Excursions to Gavilgad and Narnala Fort are also memorable ones. The mystery of nature unfolds itself in every twist and turns of the hilly way.
• Oct – Feb: Cool and crisp. Temp in Dec-Jan Period is well below 10 deg C. Winter Clothing is necessary.
• March – Mid June: Warm during the day and cool in the evenings. Comfortable summer clothing. But carrying a jacket/shawl is advisable for nights.
• July – Sept: Monsoon Time. Carrying rain gear is recommended. Also advisable to carry warm clothing for the evening.
Keeping in mind that it is a forest area, wearing bright clothing is not recommended. Earthy/pastel shades are best suited and especially necessary for the wildlife Safari.

3. Chopta, Uttarakhand

On the way to Chopta
On the way to Chopta
Chopta, Uttarakhand
Chopta, Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand is known for its best hill stations in India.
Chopta is also known as "Mini Switzerland". This hill Station is located at an altitude of 2700 mts, in the Rudraprayag District in Uttarakhand State.
Chopta is surrounded by dense forest, and offers majestic views of Snow Clad Himalayan Ranges and lush green meadows. It is also the starting point of the trek to famous Tungnath Mandir (Panch Kedar Temple) and Chandrashila Summit. The Chopta region is rich in varied flora and fauna, with plenty of Rhododendron and Deodar trees all around.

Why visit Chopta?

- Most Picturesque Spot in Uttarakhand
- Unspoiled and Non-Commercialized Hill Station
- Famous for Tungnath Temple (Panch Kedar)
- Devariya Tal and Kartikswami two more trekking options
- Perfect for Peaceful Vacation with Family and Friends
- Excellent Getaway for Trekking (round the year)
- Easy Trek of 4 Kms with Amazing Himalayan Views
- One of the Shortest Trek to reach the altitude of 4000 mts
- Lush green meadows during summers and monsoons
- Snow Trekking during Winters
- Easily accessible by road from Delhi NCR region

How to Reach Chopta?

By Road: Chopta is well connected by motorable roads with major towns of Garhwal region of Uttarakhand state. Follow NH58 until you reach Rudraprayag and after reaching Rudraprayag follow the route to Kedarnath and take right turn to Ukhimath. Chopta is situated 40 kms from Ukhimath. Chopta is also accessible from Gopeshwar. Buses and taxis to Chopta are available from major towns in Uttarakhand region.

By Rail: The nearest railhead to Chopta is Rishikesh situated 209kms away. Rishikesh is well connected by railway networks with major cities of India. Buses and Taxis to Chopta and Ukhimath are easily available from Rishikesh.

By Air: Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest Airport of Chopta, situated 226kms away in Dehradun district of Uttarakhand state. The remaining journey has to be covered ether in a taxi or in a bus. Taxis are easily available to Rishikesh, Rudraprayag, Ukhimath and Chopta from Jolly Grant Airport.

Where to stay in Chopta?

There are a limited number of hotels in Chopta. Hotels and resorts in Chopta don’t necessarily provide world class amenities and superior luxury, but you can find comfortable accommodation with affordable price.
A couple of GMNVL rest houses are available during summer season, besides the local hotels (small rooms fair enough to spend few days in the laps of the Himalayas) at Chopta. Some small rooms/hotels are also available at Tungnath during summer season.
In case you are not able to locate an accommodation for you in Chopta, you may drive to Gopeshwar (39 kms from Chopta) where you may easily find Hotels for the stay.

List of hotels and resorts in Chopta

  1. Mayadeep Herbal Resort Chopta
  2. Magpie Eco Village Camp Chopta
  3. Chauhan Guest House Chopta

4. Idukki in Kerala, High Range District

Mattuppety Dam, Idukki
Mattuppety Dam, Idukki

Idukki is one of the most beautiful districts in south India, but it still hasn’t been overrun by tourists, so you can get there ahead of the crowd. The views are great, you get there by driving through forests – there will be signs telling you to watch out elephants by the side of the road – and of course, there is the dam and lake once you get there apart from the general scenic beauty.
Altitude: 2200 m Above sea level

How to Get There?

The best way to get to Idukki is private transportation. The hairpin turns on the way are lovely, so you’ll want the chance to stop and take photos or just look. There are plenty of government buses that go that way, but they will scare at least half the living daylights out of you with the way they take those turns.

Where to stay?

The government guesthouse is the cheapest and most reasonable option for accommodation, but in the last few years, more hotels have sprung up.

10 best Idukki hotels

5. Ponmudi Hill Station, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

A stunning point in Ponmudi
A stunning point in Ponmudi

Located within a short driving distance of Thiruvananthapuram, Ponmudi is an enchanting hill resort with narrow winding pathways and cool, green environs. Along with a beautiful array of mountain flowers, exotic butterflies and small rivulets, Ponmudi offers excellent opportunities for trekking. With its tea estates and mist covered valleys Ponmudi is a fast developing hill resort with cottages and dormitory accommodation facilities.
Apart from the things you’d expect from a hill station, Ponmudi is one of the best places in the country from where you can watch the kind of sunrise you had in mind when you were drawing with crayons when you were little. Remember, a couple of hills with a dip between them, the sun coming up slowly and casting rays you could actually see around? Well, sunrise in Ponmudi does look exactly like that.

How to reach?

Nearest railway station: Thiruvananthapuram, about 61 km away
Nearest airport: Trivandrum International Airport, about 67 km away
Just take a taxi/ bus from Thiruvananthapuram, and enjoy an amazing drive
Altitude: 945 m Above sea level
For further details

Where to stay?

One of the best options to stay at Ponmudi is KTDC Golden Peak

However, there are many hotels and resorts in the base town, Thiruvananthapuram


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