Lot of folks have started thinking about summer vacations and the destinations they can go to. People living in cities are craving to move towards hills and make best of these vacations. Bhavna asked for a destination today and somehow I didn't have any good response. Adventure lovers are also excited to plan their annual treks or road journeys. This is also the time, when all the touristy places are crowded and much expensive. Are you someone who like peace and don’t mind saving some money for extended vacations? If yes, then this post would help you finding some lesser known hill stations and few tips to plan the vacation.
Before I move on to the destination, let me suggest something on accommodation. If you have never stayed in Home-Stays, this is the best time to try that out and I am sure that explorer inside you would love that experience. If you do a proper research then you would definitely find a good home-stay for you to have a nice experience this summer. And if you are looking for a short-cut, I can suggest a nice cottage in Naukuchiataal, otherwise go through the post and choose your own destination.
In this post, you would not see hill stations like Shimla, Mussourie, Nainitaal, Manali, Dalhousie, Mcleodganj, Rishikesh or Kasauli. These are some of the destinations.
Barot – It’s a quite village in Mandi region of Himachal Pradesh. The village is located around a river full of chilled water. There is no hotel in the village and it's surrounded by brilliant landscapes. There are few home-stays and 2 government guest houses. Weather is brilliant as compared to other hilly areas around Barot valley. If you are curious to know more about Barot, check out our own experience this beautiful valley by clicking the title above. At Barot, we stayed at Negi homestay which is just on the river bank. It has basic rooms, which are clean and she serves good food.
Thapalia Mehra Gaon (Naukuchiataal) - Naukuchiataal is much greener place as compared to other taals in Kumaun region and it's not a crowded place. There are 2 very popular resorts here, but here I am sharing about a peaceful village from where lake is visible and has a beautiful cottage to stay. If you are more than 4, then you can book the whole cottage which has 3 rooms and can spend the time the way you want. It's one of my personal favorite and I can spend a whole week at this beautiful place surrounded by green hills & continuously moving clouds.
Barog - Have you ever imagined to stay on a small railway station surrounded by green hills and your morning starts with beautiful sounds of colorful birds all around? Of-course, the railway station has some well maintained rooms. Barog is beautiful place and I love it's tiny railway station on Kalka-Shimla route. Situated at a peaceful location. If it sounds weird, I would suggest to check this. Even after that if it doesn't sound convincing, then know more about the place and find other homestays, resorts around this place. I haven't yet stayed in these railway guest-rooms of Barog but that's in my list and hope to do that soon. I have been there multiple times for day picnic, when visited friends in Solan or Shimla.
Sarahan (Shimla) - Sarahan is located on a high hill in Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh. This small village is 25 kilometers away from Shimla-Kalka highway. When going towards Kinnaur, one needs to take a right cut from Jeori town. Sarahan has famous Bhimakali Temple, which looks beautiful with white backdrop of snow covered Himalayan peaks. Here is one HPTDC hotel, a guest house and few home-stays there. There are lot of apple orchards around the place and Shrikhand Mahal is another popular place which belongs to Raja Virbhadra Singh.
Sarahan (Kullu) - This is brilliant place away from the hustle bustle of roads. Village is connected through kachha road and there is only one bus which comes to the village. Village is surrounded by snow covered mountains and a huge green ground in the middle. There are some water streams flowing in this lush green ground. We took our tents and took permission from local school to use the ground. There is one HPPWD guest-house which can also be booked. This is a brilliant place for adventure lovers. There are 2 huge waterfalls nearby and one needs to trek for 45 minutes to reach one of them. Check out about Kullu-Sarahan .
Narkanda is a small town away from hustle bustle of Shimla. There are some interesting places around Narkanda. Hatu Peak & Tani Jubber Lake are two interesting places around Narkanda. Hatu peak is favorites of bikers and adventure lovers and the lake Tani Jubber is a peaceful place in the middle of deodar woods. Beautiful landscapes around this place are mesmerizing.
Kotgarh is again an interesting place around Narkanda. Kotgarh is known for it's apple and cherry orchards. I am sure you can find some interesting home-stays or resorts around these orchards. Sheetalvan is one of the resorts which we visited during my 5 years sabbatical.
Jalori Pass (Sarolsar Lake) - Jalori Pass is another place for adventurers, riders and trekkers. Located at high mountains offers great views of pir panjal mountain ranges covered with snow and a beautiful trek of 1.5 hrs takes you to Sarolsar lake in Himachal Pradesh.
Kasol & Malana trek can be very different for folks who love adventure. Folks who don't want to indulge into trekking or hiking, can spent some time at peace around river in Kasol. Many of the friends working in corporates around Delhi/NCR would love to explore this part of Himachal Pradesh. Tirthan valley is another interesting place around Kasol and if you also want to cover the touristy Kullu-Manali, it's possible.
Dhanachuli is a small village in Kumaun region of Uttrakhand and close to Mukteshwar. We visited Dhanachuli last year and found it a great destination for folks who love green hills, simplicity of rural India and landscapes surrounded by snow covered hills. Clouds keep playing hide & seek around these hills. And if you want to experience supreme luxury in hills, you may want to check out Te Aroha.
Dhanaulti is another hill station around Mussourrie and a brilliant place to beat the heat. I visited Dhanaulti, Kanataal, Chamba and Tihri last year and enjoyed with family. There are very few hotels around this place. I recommend to find a good home-stay around this part and enjoy local hospitality.
Naldera is another interesting place around Shimla and has a nice Himachal Tourism hotel which offers great views of golf course. Nothing much to do and opportunities to enjoy nature.
Palampur name is very popular because it's used a lot in Bollywood movies but it's not a touristy place. It's located around Dharmshala & Mcleodganj in Himachal Pradesh. Palampur is popular for it's tea estates in Kangra Valley.
Road Trip to Kashmir through Mughal Road - I have not explored Jammu & Kashmir much, apart from Srinagar & some of it's popular passes. But once drove to Srinagar from Delhi via Mughal Road which is brilliant and very picturesque.
Chakrata is a beautiful hill station in Uttrakhand. With time it's getting popular and is one of the popular weekend destination for nature lovers. Jitendra shared a wonderful Photo Journey from this place and I am still to visit this place.
I am sure that I must be missing on lot of interesting options around Delhi, so please drop a comment with other options you have explored or know.
If you are looking for the popular tourist destinations in North India, you can always choose from Shimla, Manali, Mussourie, Dalhousie, Mcleodganj, Nainitaal, Shrinagar, Leh, Spiti etc.