The Himalayan foothills are the chain of mountains in the lower Himalayas in North India. Also called the Shivaliks, they primarily stretch over the states of Jammu, Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarkhand.
A medley of ice-capped mountains, green woods, valleys touched by River Ganges and its tributaries, makes the foothills simply fabulous. The various hill stations here are a dream destination worldwide.
Typically, the best time to be here is winters and spring, from October to beginning of May. This is when you can get the best out of the Himalayan ambience.
These destinations are ideal for trekking, mountaineering, biking, hiking, camping, snows skiing, water rafting, boating, fishing, and wildlife safari.
Top hill stations
Nainital: A hill town with a central lake and view of Naina Peak. You can also visit smaller hill stations like Bhowali, Armgarh and Mukteshwar form here.
Jim Corbett National Park: Land of the Bengal tiger, wild elephants. Perfect for safaris
Rishikesh-Hardwar: The twin holy towns of the Hindus. It customary at Rishikesh to visit Har Ki Pauri temple to perform a ritualistic evening prayer ceremony of floating lighted lamps on the Ganges. Hardwar is called the ‘Gateway to the Gods’. You should also take a walk on a suspended pedestrian bridge called Lakshaman Jhula over the Ganges.
Mussoorie-Dehradun: Mussoorie and Dehradun are 34 kms apart. They are in the Garhwal hills. You can easily take a taxi from Dehradun to Mussoorie. Major nearby tourist spots are Lal Tibba, Municipal Gardens, Kempty Falls, Gun Hill, Sahastra Dhara, etc.
Pangot: An old British era hill station best for bird watching.
Shimla: It highly popular hill stations at an altitude of 2,159 m. The major tourist attractions here is the mall, Christ church, Kufri, Narkanda, etc.
Kullu-Manali: Kullu is by the River Beas. It has the Kali Bari temple, Raghunath temple, Bijli Mahadev temple, Akhara Bazar and the Bhutti Weavers Colony. Manali is closer to the snowline and towering peaks. It is ideal for trekking and has many orchards.
Dharamshala-Mcleodganj: has an Indo-Tibetan culture, with temples and Buddhist Gompas. Dharamshala is the Dalai Lama’s home. It also has the Kangra Art Museum and a War Memorial. Mcleodganj has St John’s Church.
Dalhousie: is on the Dhauladhar range by River Ravi. British governor-general Lord Dalhousie established this colonial town in 1854. Places to see are Bakrota Hills, St. Francis’ and St John’s Church, Subhash Baoli, Satdhara, Kalatop, Khajjiar etc.
Jammu & Kashmir
Srinagar: is the capital of Jammu & Kashmir. It is world famous for Dal Lake and its boathouses. It also has Mughal Gardens, Shankaracharya Hill, Hazaratbal Mosque, Hari Parbat Fort, etc.
Gulmarg: has the highest green golf course and ski resort in winters. It provides amazing views of snowy Khilanmarg and Nanga Parbat peak.
Sonamarg/Sonmarg: is on Sindh valley and is the base camp for the Amarnath Yatra (Baltal route) and the Thajiwas valley-Sonamarg glacier trek.
Ladakh: is the highest plateau on earth at an altitude of 2,500 to 4,500 m. It has a windy, treeless, dry, desert landscape that gets covered in snow during peak winters. Its main attractions are Buddhist monasteries, the ranges of Zanskar, Ladakh and Karakoram etc. and River Indus. Don’t miss the fascinating safaris on the back of the Yak, an ox-like local animal.
You shouldn’t have any trouble getting to these gorgeous hill stations. If you’re looking to travel by road, taxi service in Dehradun is reasonable. You can use this as your starting point to explore the rest of the region.