Most of the locations that constitute current hill stations of India had been the retreat of British officers during the long and eventful rule of the British Raj in this country. It is true to state  and  in no uncertain terms, that the British administration that has left Indians a legacy of wondrous, rich, breathtakingly beautiful and resplendent number of pleasing hill stations dotted all over this great and illustrious country. Indeed, although to a novice, all these hill stations may be of similar kind, it is only a connoisseur who would be able to offer the differentiations, at least among six of the major lovely hill stations in this country.

Shimla: Considered the Queen of Indian Hill Stations, it is indeed in a class of its own. Winter is the best time to visit this awesome and captivating hill stations, with snow covered forests, hilly terrain, misty mountains and placid lakes. There are some spots that tourists should not miss for the world, like Ridge, Jakhoo Hill and Temple, Summer Hill, Temple of Tara Devi and there are also places like the Ocean in the Skies and other locales of exquisite and endearing scenic beauty. Perhaps the full enchantment of Shimla cannot be experienced in one trip along and many trips are needed to truly understand and imbibe this great scenic beauty, an enchantress to the core.

Darjeeling: Besides home to the GI marked Darjeeling tea that is sold for astronomical prices at London Tea Exchange Markets, this West Bengali hill resort resides against the backdrop of the mighty Himalayan range, and indeed it is possibly to get an excellent view of Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak of the world, from Darjeeling too. This premier hill station, best visited in spring months, is around 600 kilometers from Kolkata, Bengal’s; capital and principal Victorian era city. When one is not admiring the scenic beauty of this place, one could go shopping in the Mall or even visit the Singalila National Park to catch a glimpse of the Red Panda, or indulge in high adrenaline sports like canoeing, kayaking, river rafting, etc.

Manali:
This is one of the principle towns of Himachal Pradesh and is easily accessible from New Delhi. The best time to set your eyes on Manali is in early summer, (March-April) before it rains too hard from June. Its proximity to the Himalayas and temperate climate with snow during winter makes it an excellent tourist location. Besides, there is a lot to feast your eyes in terms of Hadimba Devi Temple, Solang Nullah, Raghunath Temple, Beas Kund, Beas River, Naggar Castle, and so on. For the uninitiated in Manali, this offers the best of all worlds- sightseeing, fooding and resting comfort. Indeed, for a traveler yearning for a touch of fresh sights, Manali offers much more than what tourists expect. An once-in-a-lifetime experience is what Manali really is.

Kashmir Valley:
A trip to the Kashmir valley in essence would mean visits to Srinagar, the Dal Lake, Nagin River and the Jhelum and also the famed 4 centuries old Mughal Garden created by Emperor Jahangir for his wife, also visits to Pahalgam, a town that is at the junction of the Aru and Sheshnag rivers and encompassed by towering fir-covered mountains with snow-packed peaks rising beyond them. As a matter of fact, to seen and enjoy nature from three all three perspectives- land, water and mountains can be best done from the Kashmir Valley. Another awesome place in Kashmir Valley is Gulmarg, best during winters for indulging in snow balling and making snowmen. There are many places of tourist interest including Nagin River, Apharwat Peak for skiing, Baba Reshi, Awantiswamy temple and also Rani temple for the religiously inclined. Kashmir Valley indeed ranks high among trekkers, mountain climbers and skiers.

Mannar:
One of the foremost tourist destinations of Kerala, God’s own country, Munnar is situate between the courses of the Nallathanni, Kundala and Muthirapuzha. To add to its glory, it also boasts of three mountain streams and has typically a number of colonial bungalows. Besides feasting on its perennial scenic beauty, indulgers could also enjoy trekking, mountain climbing or mountain biking. Some of the major places of tourist interests are Pothamedu, Devikulam, Mattupetty, Attukal,Nyayamakad, among others.

Ooty:
This place is also known as Ooty or Udhagamandalam and is the capital town of the Nilgiris district. Famous for its blue mountains, classic brands of tea  and also local joyride train travails from Kallar near Mettupalayam back to Ooty, that offers a glimpse of  verdant forests, lush tea slopes, deep ravines , regurgitating streams and acres and acres of pristine, rich vegetation. Ooty indeed has an old world charm, distinctively its own and which cannot be recaptured in any other hill station. A visit to Ooty gets perennially registered in the mind, never to be erased even by the ravages of time and changing fortunes.

Conclusion:
Indeed a visit to any of the above hill stations does set the clock set back a few hundred years to the reign of the British Colonial era, its proximity to Mother Nature and all that she represented in her most resplendent, ornate and ceremonial manner and style, inspiring man and his creativity in utmost tranquility, bliss, creativity and contemplation of Supreme and Celestial .Beauty, not often found on earth.

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