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If you want to experience paradise on earth than you have to visit the hill stations of the Himalayas. Each has a different story to unfold. Its pictorial beauty will definitely lure you. So here is an account of some of the major hill stations of the Himalayas.

Himalayas : Himalayan Facts : Major Hill Stations of the Himalayas

Major Hill Stations of the Himalayas

Spiritual center, Holiday home and trekkers' paradise, Himalayan hill stations are a perfect combination of all these. It is a sure retreat for those who need their soul soothed and their hearts warmed. Each of the hill stations is unique and has a different story to tell. With its pure and fresh air, rolling hills, turbulent rivers and glistening mountain peaks Himalayan hill stations is a must visit for a nature lover.

Some of the main hill stations of the Himalayas are as follows:

Gulmarg and Sonamarg
The location of Gulmarg is 56 km from Srinagar and Sonamarg is 84 km from Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. The main attraction here is trekking and river rafting. Gulmarg is one of India's premier hill stations. It is famous world wide for its highest green golf course and ski resort in winter. The hill station offers some breathtaking views like the ridges and forests that lead to the snow slopes of Khilanmarg and the majestic Nanga Parbat peak over 100 km away. On the other hand Sonamarg, which is about 84 km from Srinagar lies at the head of the Sindh valley. It showcases a spectacular facet of the countryside. The place is totally surrounded by mountains and pine forests. It also serves the base for the Amarnath Yatra from the Baltal route. It is also famous for trekking to Thajiwas, a small valley at the foot of the Sonamarg glacier.

Srinagar is the picturesque capital city of Jammu and Kashmir. It is known world wide for its houseboats, canals, Mughal Gardens, the most popular being Shalimar and Nishat. The city mainly looks like any other Indian city but it has a charm of its own. Among the lakes Dal Lake is the most famous. The Dal Lake is divided in four parts by causeways - Lokut Dal, Bod Dal, Gagribal Dal and Nagin. The lake is the lifeline of Srinagar, with a variety of marine life such as fish, lotus, roots and floating gardens, thriving on it. Among the other famous places to visit are Shankaracharya Hill, Hazaratbal Mosque, Hari Parbat Fort, etc. Srinagar is regarded as the crown of all hill stations in the Himalayan region.

Ladakh is considered to be the land of poetry. The vastness and sternness of this region makes you understand the power of nature. It is located at an altitude of 2,500 to 4,500m. This place is famous for trekking, mountaineering, camping, water rafting, and Buddhist monasteries. Ladakh straddles four main ranges the Zanskar, Ladakh, great Himalayan, and the Karakoram. This is the highest inhabited region in India and the River Indus with its tributaries, cut their way through the ranges.

The beauty of Shimla is really difficult to describe in words. It is one of God's gifted lands, which is blessed with the nature's gift, one can imagine. The hill station is known for its panoramic beauty. The green pastures surround the town and snow-capped mountain peaks. It is located 90 km from Kalka, Himachal Pradesh. It is situated at an altitude of 2, 159m. It is one of the most popular hill stations in northern India. The main places of attractions here are the Mall, Christ church, Kufri, Narkanda, etc.

Earlier Kullu was known by the name of Kulanthpitha, meaning the end of the habitable world. It is situated on the banks of river Beas and beyond the beautiful valley of Kullu is the mighty Greater Himalayas. Some of the places to visit in Kullu are the Kali Bari temple dedicated to goddess Shayamla, Raghunath temple, which is dedicated to Lord Ram and is the seat of the valley's presiding deity and then there is Bijli Mahadev temple. It is also famous for shopping, where in Akhara Bazar you can pick up locally made woolens. Then there is Bhutti Weavers Colony.

Manali is famous for its proximity to the snowline. It is a popular honeymoon destination. Majestic peaks on every side surround the valley. It has a flourishing orchard industry and it is well known for trekking. Offering pictorial view of great countryside ideal for adventure sport lovers.

Dharamsala is 185 km from Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. It is known world wide for its picturesque beauty. Dense pine trees and deodar forests surround it. It reflects the mix culture of India and Tibet. The colorful temples and Gompas is the main attraction of the place. Some of the places of interest are
Kangra Art Museum: this museum in Dharamsala showcases kangra valley miniatures, pottery, sculptures and old carved doors.

War Memorial: this memorial in Dharamshala commemorates the sacrifice of Himachali war heroes.

St John's Church: Nestled amidst a stretch of woods, this church in Mcleodganj is dedicated to the memory of Lord Elgin who passed away in Dharamshala in 1863. There are other places also to visit also.

It is located 92 km from Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh. This hill station spread over five hills at the western edge of the Dhauladhar range, east of the river Ravi. The town has a colonial touch in its buildings. The architecture of the place reflects the colonial era. The slopes are covered with pine forest. The British governor-general Lord Dalhousie established the colonial town of Dalhousie in 1854. It covers an area of 14 sq km, which is surrounded by alpine vegetation.

Main attractions of Dalhousie are

Bakrota Hills: It is the perfect place for the nature lovers. They are sure to enjoy the beauty and serenity of this place.

A three-day walk from Dalhousie to Kalatop, Khajjiar and back to Dalhousie. Then there is St. Francis' Church, St John's Church, Subhash Baoli, Satdhara, etc.

Nainital is located 67 km from Almors, at an altitude of 1,938m in the hills of Kumaon in Uttaranchal. It is a beautiful hill station surrounded by mountains on three sides. Earlier this place was called Chakta or the City of 60 lakes since this place had many lakes. Some of the places of attraction are

Naina Peak: It is the most famous picnic spot in Kumaon, it gives a panoramic view of Naini Tal and the snow capped Himalayas. It's a 5.6 km journey from the town and one of the most beautiful places for trekking. Then there is Raj Bhawan and Kilbury, etc. You can also go to nearby places like Bhowali, Armgarh and Mukteshwar from Nainital.

Mussoorie is located 34 km from Dehradun in the Garhwal hills in Uttaranchal. It is situated at a height of 2,500 m. It is famous for its immense natural beauty and so it is called the queen of hill stations. Its natural beauty is a visual treat for nature lovers. The contemporary bungalows, beautiful gardens and malls, which are located on the small hills, are the main reason for tourist attraction. Main tourist attractions are Lal Tibba, Municipal Gardens, Kempty Falls, Gun Hill, etc. Nearby attraction from Mussoorie are Dehradun, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Sahastra Dhara, etc.

Rishikesh is located 43 km from Dehradun and 24 km from Haridwar. It is situated in the lower Himalayan region. Rishikesh is the connecter or access point to important pilgrim places of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri and these four places together forms Chardham. Main tourist attraction here is Lakshman Jhula, Swarga Ashram, river rafting, Triveni Ghat and Gita Bhavan.

Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim is located at an altitude of 1, 870 m. It looks like a fairytale land with its flowing rivers, snow capped hills, and lush rice terraces. The population here is now around 50,000. The main places of attraction are Tsuk-La-Khang monastery, Lal bazaar, Dul-Dul Chorten and Jhang Club Chortan, Institute of Tibetology, etc. Among the nearby places there is Rumtek Monastery, Tashiding Monastery, Pemayangtse Monastery,Yuksom, Mangan to name a few.

Among the hill stations in the east Darjeeling is the dream destination. From the time of the British period Darjeeling has been the most popular and major hill station. It has been a very important hill station because of its close proximity with three international borders. It is located 90 km from from Siliguri, in West Bengal. It is located at an altitude of 2,200 m. The major attraction of Darjeeling is toy train, tea garden and the malls.

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