The fact that Delhi is one of the most polluted cities comes as a surprise to absolutely no one. While the rest of the year is just itching inconvenience, Diwali in the capital is a whole another struggle. Fireworks, crackers, diyas; everything in sight (past the smoke) is just another contribution to the choking air pollution. This Diwali, skip the suffocating streets of Delhi and run to the hills. Literally. We have compiled a list of 5 hill stations for you to explore instead of the smog in the city:
Nestled on the foots of the Kumaon ranges is the enchanting hill station of Nainital. The hill station is dotted with old houses and bounties of flowers. Breathe well in the land wrapped in greenery. You can spend your day at the serene Naini lake, yachting and boating.Or take a trip to the Nainital zoo, Eco Cave Gardens or best of all, Snow View, a cable car ride on an aerial ropeway, it is a golden ticket opportunity for shutterbugs as well as couples. There is so much to do yet you can also choose to simply relax and enjoy the natural beauty around you.
If you wish to not only escape the smoke but also the crowded sounds of Diwali, Lansdowne is the ideal hill station option. An offbeat location, the hill station is one of the quietest places to be. As you drive up from Kodtwar, you even pass by a mountain stream clear enough for you to see the pebbles at the bed. The landscape is still covered by colonial bungalows, straight out of a picture blanketed by bougainvillaea. Instead of trying to look active with tourist attractions, fulfill your real fantasy of laying back and enjoying doing nothing in particular. The natural landscape allows you to take walking tours across the forests and churches, but we suggest just soaking in the atmosphere of peace and calm away from the contrasting Delhi environment.
One of the most popular hill stations in the country, Dehradun is simply a short ride from the capital. The hill station itself is home to a lot of reputable schools and thus has built up a similar small town culture. In town, you can try cycling tours, nature walks, hang out at Rajpur road hotspots (bookshops, cinema halls, restaurants), or even plan a picnic to Baldi river. The blue skies, chilly weather and greenery are a perfect combination for a getaway. Just like Lansdowne, Dehradun also provides you with a gorgeous view of colonial buildings wrapped n bougainvillaea and quiet roads lined with lychee trees.
If relaxation and tranquility don’t really pique your interest, you can shuffle off to someplace a little more entertaining and energetic. Rishikesh might be one of the spiritual centres in the country known for its meditation and ayurvedic treatments (try your hand at it for a more calming experience), however in the past decade, the little town has grown incredibly as an adventure zone. You can try river water rating or bungee jumping, zip lining or even the flying fox. Needless to say, a getaway at Rishikesh can never get boring. So, while you have all the nature, dams and water bodies to provide you the peaceful atmosphere of a hill station, you still have the options to go ahead and explore a more active stay.
Yeh Jawaani Hain Deewani threw Manali on the top of everybody’s bucket list. And who can question it? Snow capped, stark white, the entire hill station is picturesque. While there is no question of the visual appeal, there is a lot more to the hill station than just snow. You can spend your days visiting the Hadimba Temple, experiencing the comforting hot springs in Vashisht and Old Manali, or take up on a trek. For the more adventurous, river rafting and mountain adventures are the more likeable options. The fresh air is miles away from the city’s smoke and offer a comforting and literally chilling experience.