Popular Hill Station



Lonavla is a popular hill station in the western slopes of the Sahyadri ranges in Maharashtra. Lonavla comes to life during the monsoon season as the countryside turns lush green with waterfalls and ponds. The place is famous for Bushy Dam and Pawna Dam. Lonavla got its name from "Lonavli", which means "city surrounded by caves" and the town is surrounded by many caves, with the Kurla Caves being the most well known.

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/seraph/1440448141/


Present day Lonavala was a part of the Yadava dynasty. The area around Lonavala was an important Buddhist center in 2nd century BC and a number of ancient Buddhist rock-cut cave temples can be found in this area. As Lonavala is located in the inhospitable terrain of the Sahyadri mountain range, it was not an important site in terms of history. The forts in the region and the Mavla warriors played an important role in the history of the Maratha and Peshwa empires. Chattrapati Shivaji, the founder of the first Maratha Empire, ruled this area. Later it came under the Peshwa rulers, who founded the second Maratha Empire.

In 1871, the Lonavla and Khandala hill stations were discovered by Lord Elphinstone, who was the Governor of Bombay Presidency during those times. It was finally taken over by the British when they defeated the Peshwas.


By Air: The nearest airport is Pune airport, 62 km from Lonavala. Major international airport is Mumbai Chatrapati Shivaji International airport, 100 km away from Lonavala.

By Rail: Lonavala railway station lies in the main railway line between Mumbai and Pune. Lonavala is connected to all major railheads through Mumbai and Pune.

By Road:
State owned buses connect nearest cities with the hill station Lonavala.

Things to do

Fishing: Lonavala is the hamlet of the fishing community known as Koli. Lonavala is the nerve-centre of the fishing activities in the state. The number of Lakes and dam sites make this place a hub of all kinds of fishing activities. The lakes in Lonavala are thriving with varieties of fish fauna.

Visiting Lonavala will give the tourist the rare opportunity of living among the local fishermen folks and to enjoy their culture and lifestyles. If you are interested in fun fishing the local fishermen will be more willing to take you for fishing.

105 km from Mumbai and 65 km from Pune and Khandala is 110 km from Mumbai and 60km from Pune.
STD Code
Best time to visit
October to May



Khandala is a popular hill station in the Western Ghats, about 5 km from Lonavala and 7 km from Karjat. It is located at one (top) end the Bhor Ghat, a major valley on the road link between the Deccan Plateau and the Konkan plain. The place is famous for pleasant weather throughout the year, beautiful vistas of the Western Ghats, ancient caves to explore, and myriad streams and waterfalls. This hilly region also offers ample opportunities for trekking and hiking and other outdoors activities.


The history of Khandala states that the origin of the hill station is obscure. Khandala had once been a part of Chattrapati Shivaji''s empire. After the Marathas, the territory of Khandala passed under the Peshwas. When the British came, the territory was taken over by them in 1811.


By Air: Nearest domestic airport is Pune, which is at a distance of 66 km from Khandala. Nearest major international airport is Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai, which is nearly 110 km from Khandala.

By Rail: Lonavala is the nearest railway station which is connected to Pune and Mumbai by regular local trains.

By Road: Khandala hill station is well connected to other cities in and around by state owned public transport buses. Many private owned buses also provide transport service between Khandala and neighboring cities, including Mumbai and Pune.


Khandala is well known for the fast foods such as Chikkis, Jams, Chiwda, Wafers and various types of Sevs.


The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation runs a resort at Karla, and another at Rye Woods, Lonavala.

Best time to visit
October to May



Darjeeling, one of the most magnificent hill resorts, conjures visions of serenity, of vibrant green hills steeped in splendour, a land of breathtaking beauty crowned by the majestic Himalayas. The town gets its name from Tibetan words 'dorje' and 'ling' which mean 'thunder' and 'place' respectively which makes Darjeeling 'The Place of Thunder'.

Darjeeling has several British-style public schools, which attract students from many parts of India and neighbouring countries.


The origin of the name “Darjeeling” is most likely from the Tibetan words ‘Dorje’ which means ‘thunderbolt’ and ‘Ling’ which means place or land. Quite literally, it is the ‘Land of the Thunderbolt’. Originally, this was the name given to a Buddhist monastery atop the Observatory Hill which over time became the name of the whole surrounding area.

Historically, Darjeeling was part of Sikkim and the Kingdom of Sikkim extended as far as eastern Nepal. However, the late 1700s saw a barrage of attacks from Nepal resulting in Darjeeling becoming a part of Nepal. This changed in 1814 when the British East India Company declared war with Nepal due to border disputes. The victorious British forced the Nepalese to cede 4,000 square miles (10,000 km²) of territory through a treaty signed at Segouli at the end of 1816. The Rajah (King) of Sikkim was reinstated making Sikkim (including Darjeeling) a buffer state between Nepal and Bhutan.

Ten years after the treaty, fresh dispute broke out and the Governor General William Bentick sent two officers – Captain Lloyd and Mr. J.W. Grant, Commercial Resident of Malda to restore normalcy. The two officers found Darjeeling to be a suitable to establish a “sanitarium” (a type of health resort) and the strategic location of Darjeeling as a gateway to Nepal and Bhutan was an added bonus.


By Air: The nearest airport is Bagdogra near Siliguri, which is at a distance of 93 km from Darjeeling.

By Rail: The nearest rail is New Jalpaiguri which is well connected to most of the major cities in India. The town of Darjeeling is approachable from Siliguri, nearly 80 km away, by Darjeeling Himalayan Railway also known as Toy Train.

By Road: Regular bus services connect Darjeeling with many cities in and around Darjeeling. Siliguri, Kurseong, Gangtok and Kalimpong are well connected by private vehicles also.


Darjeeling is a nice place to buy decorative items. The roadside bazaars of this hill station come alive with a wide variety of products in the evening. The main shopping areas are Chowrasta and Nehru Road.

Among the best buys of Darjeeling are thangkas, brass statues, religious objects, jewellery, wood carving, woven fabrics and carpets. It may be mentioned that there is a strong Tibetan influence over the products of the place.

One can buy anything typically Himalayan from this beautiful Himalayan town-brass statues, religious objects, jewellery, wooden carvings, woven fabrics and carpets. For Tibetan carpets, the cheapest place in the area is at Hayden Hall, a women's co-operative, opposite the State Bank of India on Laden La Rd.
Chowrastha and Nehru Road and places were you can check out for curios and other trinkets.

Handloom can also be bought at West Bengal's Manusha Emporium, on Nehru Rd, which is a fixed-price shop selling Himalayan handicrafts, silk and hand loomed products.

There is also a market off Hill Cart Rd next to the bus and taxi stands where you can find relatively cheap patterned woolen sweaters. You can also carry home a bamboo umbrella as a souvenir for quite a bargain.

Darjeeling tea makes excellent gifts. The prices vary according to the flavor and quality of tea. You might have to follow the age-old way of testing tea. The way to test tea is to take a small handful in your closed fist, breathe firmly on it through your fingers and then open your hand and smell the aromas released.

The main shopping centers in Darjeeling are Chowk Bazar, Chowrasta, Ladenla Road, Nehru Road, Supermarket, Motor Stand and Mahakal Market.


Darjeeling, the 'Queen of the Himalayas' is elegant, sophisticated and incredibly beautiful just as the Tibetan origin of its name suggests " the place where Indra's thunderbolt rested ". Hotels in Darjeeling set in a picturesque and almost ethereal ambience make your stay in Darjeeling a memorable one.

Darjeeling hotels offer comfortable accommodation at rates, which suit all budgets. However advance booking is recommended during the peak season, the summer months. Darjeeling has heritage hotels, three star hotels and even private apartments in resorts.

Some of the prominent hotels in Darjeeling are:

Heritage Hotels

Hotel Windamere
Fortune Resort
New Elgin Hotel

Three Star Hotel

Hotel Sinclair

Government Approved Hotel:

Sterling Resort


Darjeeling Toy Train

The Darjeeling Toy Train made its first journey in September 1881. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway has acquired UNESCO’s endorsement as a World Heritage icon in 1999. The journey starts from Siliguri and at Chunamandi the train comes to its z-crossing, starting the zig-zagging or reversing in order to attain higher elevation. Sensation corners, which are nothing but loops, are excellent viewing points.

A journey in the toy train crisscrosses the motor road and passes through bazaars, leaving a long-lasting memory to the visitor. The journey takes approximately eight hours to Darjeeling from New Jalpaiguri.

The to-and-fro journey fair for a person for this joy train is Rs 200. It has a capacity of 30 persons.

Things to do


One of the famous trekking route taken by the trekkers is that of the Darjeeling-Sandakphu / Phalut trek. This trekking route is best during the months of April, May, October and November. As during these seasons the visibility is clear and the weather is also hospitable. For trekking on this route one does not have to carry much luggage as the Gorkha Hill Council has provided trekkers hut and other facilities all along the route. But it is advisable to carry your own sleeping bags. On this route the trekker must be prepared for all kinds of weather and high altitude mountain sickness. The trek passes through low areas and very high ridges so temperature varies a lot be prepared for all types of weather. There surroundings may be very attractive but there are some areas which have long stretches without any water, so carry water with yourself. Regular meals are available. Guides and porters can also be arranged.

Phalut is also called the view point of the Himalayas and is one of the most important & famous treks in the region. The trek starts with a small bus trip to Manaybhanjang. From here the trek passes through the mountains to Sandakphu. From here you can proceed further up or you can return via Rimbik then to Darjeeling by Bus. One can also take a short cut and not go to Ohalut. From Sandakphu backtrek to Bikhay Bhanjang and cut across to Rimbik. But keep in mind that this darjeeling trek is a difficult one with no water or food in between.

STD Code
Famous For
Famous for its Tea with a particular aroma



Gangtok, means the 'High Hill', is the largest town of the located in the Shivalik Hills of the eastern Himalayan range. Nestled within higher peaks of the Himalaya and enjoying a year-round mild temperate climate, Gangtok is at the centre of Sikkim’s tourism industry. Kanchanjunga, renders a spectacular view from Gangtok, with its magnificent snow and ice scenery. It is a centre of Tibetan Buddhist culture and learning, with the presence of several monasteries, religious educational institutions, and centres for Tibetology.


Sikkim was originally inhabited by a mix of tribes namely the Naong, Chang and Mon, all of whom soon came to be known as ‘Lepchas’. They were very peace loving people, deeply religious and worshipped nature. When migrants (the present day Bhutias) from Tibet started filtering in, the process of conversion to Buddhism successfully started among the locals. In order to establish their presence the immigrants sealed the new order by appointing Phuntsok Namgyal as the temporal and spiritual leader of Sikkim.

By the 18th century Nepal started making inroads into Sikkim under the leadership of Raja Prithvi Narayan Shah who fermented the rebellious elements in Sikkim. There were serious differences between the Nepalese settlers and the earlier inhabitants (Bhutias and Lepchas) of Sikkim and this led to British intervention.

The British became interested in Darjeeling (then part of Sikkim) also, both as a hill resort and an outpost from where Tibet and Sikkim would be easily accessible. Following a lot of pressure from the British, Sikkim finally gifted Darjeeling to British India with the understanding that a certain amount would be paid as an annual subsidy to Sikkim. The British turned back from their word and did not pay the compensation. The relations suffered to an extent that when Dr. Campbell, the Superintendent of Darjeeling and Dr. Hooker visited Sikkim in connection with the latter's botanical research; they were captured and imprisoned in 1849. The British issued an ultimatum and the two captives were released after a month of detention.

Frequent clashes resulted in a stern action when a strong force was sent in 1861 that resulted in the capture of the capital Tumlong and the signing of a Treaty between the British and Sikkim. The Britishers appointed Claude White as the first political officer in Sikkim in 1889 and Chogyal Thutob Namgyal was virtually under his supervision.

In 1947 when India became independent, the head of Sikkim managed a deal with India that granted it the special status of ‘protectorate’. By the beginning of 1970 there were political upheavals. It soon became the 22nd state of the Indian Union on 16th may 1975.


Air : The nearest airport is at Bagdogra, which is about 124 km away.Indian Airlines and Jet Airways have direct flights from Delhi, Kolkata and Guwahati.

Rail : The nearest railway stations are at Siliguri 124 km away and New Jalpaiguri at about 120 km. New Jalpaiguri is directly connected by rail to all important towns and cities in India.

Road : Gangtok is well connected by a network of roads with all important cities and towns. Some of the road distances in kilometre are as follows:


The main markets for shopping are Old market, New Market and Lal market. Here one finds shops of all kind, which offer good range of items to be purchased. For tourists there are many attractive items to be bought as carved furniture, the dresses, Lepcha weave bags, Carpets & Durries with intricate designs and colourful decorations. One can also buy wooden and bamboo artifacts. For a collector of handmade decorative pieces Gangtok is a paradise. The items from Gangtok leave a long lasting impression on the mind of the visitor. The Hindi speaking Marwaris dominates many of the shops in the Gangtok market.

The handicraft and handloom directorate office and the showroom are on crossing of MG Marg and New market. The Gramin Vikas Agency showroom is also located here. In these showrooms one can buy carpets, masks, bright Choktse tables, Thanka hangings.

The two major shopping areas are the lower bazaar and M.G. market. These include finely worked metal images, bowls, prayer wheels, musical instruments, thangkas, carpets, pullovers, caps, socks and chunky jewellery.

Shop for masks, footwear, carpets, handicrafts and other trinkets in the souvenir shops strewn along Mahatma Gandhi Marg. The main shopping areas in Gangtok are the Old market, New market and Lal market. Also look out for the traditional items like thangkas or religious scrolls and choktsees or collapsible wooden tables with intricate local Tibetan designs. Sikkin tea with its exotic taste and aroma is without a doubt a must bring back home.

Directorate of Handicrafts & Handloom: This institute was established in 1957 to promote the manufacture and sale of local handicrafts, carpets and furniture. It is now known as the Institute of Cottage Industries as well as the Government Institute of Cottage Industries(GICI).


As there are more tourists visiting the beautiful city of Gangtok in the recent past, the number of hotels has also been increasing here. One can find a variety of accommodation ranging from premium to budget categories. The budget hotels offer simple accommodation equipped with basic amenities while the premium ones are more luxurious and offer well-furnished rooms. The standard hotels in Sikkim are not overtly expensive than the budget hotels. You can take your pick from Hotel Pomra, Hotel Sonam Delek, Hotel Rendezvous, the Hidden Forest Retreat, Orange Village, New castle, Hotel Nor-khill and Hotel Tashi Delek. Most hotels in Gangtok have their own in-house restaurant serving delicious local cuisine.


Pong Labsal festival
The Pong Labsal festival takes place in December every year and this is the time when the Chogyal''s Palace is thrown open to visitors. Festivities fill the air and there is a general feeling of bon homie all round.

Things to do

You can go for short treks to the nearby hills and if you are a seasoned player, you can go treks that last for more than a week and will take you through some very tough but exceedingly beautiful routes.



Almora is a quaint town full of life, with a prosperous cultural inheritance and history and believed to be the ‘Artistic Capital’ of the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. It is a fine blend of mountain beauty; ancient cultural influences, sanctified spots, thickly wooded forests, scenic valleys, quaint cottages, crystal lakes and gushing rivers and thus call the 'Switzerland of India'.

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rickbradley/3927500943/


History of Almora can be traced back to ancient times of Mahabharata. However, the earliest historical account of the place is provided by a Chinese pilgrim of seventh century. The pilgrim wrote in great detail about a kingdom called ‘Brahmaputra’.

The ancient town of Almora, before its establishment was under the possession of Katyuri king Baichaldeo. He donated major part of this land to a Gujrati Brahmin Sri Chand Tiwari [1] Later on when Chand kingdom was founded in Baramandal, the town of Almora was founded at this centrally located place in 1568 [2] by Kalyan Chand.[citation needed] In the days of the Chand Kings it was called Rajapur. The name 'Rajpur' is also mentioned over a number of ancient copper plates.

In 1744 during the raid by Ali Muhammad Khan Rohilla, Almora was taken over from Chand dynasty. However, unable to bear the hardships of living in the hills, the Rohillas chiefs, placed by Ali Mohammad Khan Rohilla, returned Almora for a heavy bribe of three lakh rupees.

Ali Mohammad, dissatisfied with the conduct of his commanders, attacked Almora again in 1745. However, this time the Rohillas were defeated. They never came back again.

In 1790, Almora was conquered by the Gurkhas who ruled it for the next 24 years until it was taken over by the British in 1815. Today, Almora is a primary center for trade and other activities – social, cultural, political- and is a district place of Uttarakhand State in India.


By Air: Nearest airport is Pantnagar, which is about 125 km away from the heart of Almora.

By Rail: Nearest railway station is at Kathgodam. Kathgodam railway station to Almora city is about 91 km, which can be covered by nearly 3 hours.

By Road: Regular bus services are available from Delhi to Almora, the distance covered is about 200 km. Luxury bus services are also available. State owned buses connects Almora to other cities in and around.


If you thought that Almora is all about serenity and fun then you were right. But there is one more facet of this town of Uttaranchal that makes a vacation in this place very interesting – Shopping. Almora has many shopping centers among which the most important is the Old Bazaar, nearly 200 years old. Shoppers should hunt for Kumaoni style jewellery and copperware from the coppersmith himself. Pashmina shawls and wool blankets that have a rich traditional influence should not be missed. Among the most interesting buys are the Angora clothes made from the fur of Angora rabbits.

Almora has a quite a few shopping centers and a large stretch of covered bazaars. Famous amongst these is an almost 200 year old Lal Bazaar where shopping around is an absolute delight. Then there's old Amora down the cantonment area which was the capital of Kumaoni Chand Rajas. Traffic is prohibited here so you won't be disturbed by any sort of hassling congestion.

Entering into the lanes of Thana, Johri and Lala Bazaars will give you a glimpse of what the craftsmen here are upto with their traditional skills. If you have a buck to spare, you must not give away this opportunity to shop for Kumaoni-style Jewels at the silversmith and copperware from the coppersmith.

Also you will find here, beautifully woven Pashmina Shawls and sheep wool bankets that speak volumes about the traditional design and weaving skills of this region. Other interesting things you can shop for include Angora cloth which is made from the fur of Angora rabbits. On your way back home, you must pick up some boxes lip smacking singora and bal mithai which are amongst the specialties of this region.

Lal Bazaar: Shopping in Almora is a fantastic experience and Lal Bazaar offers you with wide variety of shopping facilities. From sweets to bronze and brass ware items, one can get any items from here. As an enthusiastic visitor, one should not forget to taste the sweets here which are quite famous.

The place is famous for Rabbit wool cloths, very soft, fine and very warm, made out of the wool of special breed of Rabbit. Warm clothes made from this wool are famous all over the world. In Lal Bazaar one can get good bargains at comparatively low prices. There are woolen garments, decorative items, brass items and other kind of metal utensils, which are quite popular among the visitors.


Kalmatia Sangram, Deodar Resort, Snow View Resort, Gullu Deva Tourist Resort.

Things to do

Visit Temples & Churches
Chitai Temple is a famous temple, about 8kms from Almora, dedicated to Gollu Deva - the revered Kumaon Deity. Then there is one Katarmal Sun Temple, which was built over 800 years ago by the Katyuri rulers. This temple complex has nearly 50 stone temples. If you're visiting Almora in spring, then invest some time in Mahashivratri Mela which is worth experiencing. About 6 kms from Almora is Kasar Devi Temple which is just about serenity and peace. Methodist Church is a stone-built church that was built in 1897, and is worth exploring.

Discover the Heritage!
Gobind Vallabh Pant Public Museum, near the Bus Stand, is a treat for art lovers as here you can cherish a rare collection of art and crafts, ‘Apen’ folk-paintings, etc. This museum also has letters from Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel to GB Pant and pamphlets used for protest marches during the struggle for independence.

Laze Around!
Bright End Corner is the famous place where you can enjoy the lovely views of the sunrise and sunset. It is a great place to sit back and take in the views of neighboring mountains. You can take a stroll on the Mall, or walk around just to relax your feet and soul. If you wish to, then spend some bucks to get the souvenirs for friends and relatives at home.

Indulge in Trekking!

Trekking could be the best activity if you have to do nothing else. You can take the steep 3kms trek up from Ranikhet Road. Here you will discover the Govind Ballabh Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development. From here, Katarmal is another 1-km trek. Across the valley, you can observe the 900-year-old Bara Aditya Temple, which is the only Surya Temple in Kumaon. The serious trekkers can try Almora - Jageshwar trek. This low-altitude trek takes you through beautiful terraced fields and forests into charming Kumaoni villages. The trek is 41 km long and can be covered in fours days.

365 km from Delhi, at a height of 5,400 ft on a ridge atop Kashaya Hill and around 50 km from Ranikhet.
STD Code
Summer 12 to 28°C, Winter -2 to 15°C
Best time to visit
April to June, September to November