As anyone who knows me well will tell you, I’m a water baby through and through.
I can spend hours sitting at a beach and staring out into the ocean, any sort of activity involving water be it swimming or snorkelling gives me an adrenaline rush like no other, and any picturesque landscape dotted with water bodies fills me with pure joy.
It’s no wonder then, that popular beach destinations like Goa and Thailand have warranted multiple visits from me.
The mountains on the other hand, now that’s a different story altogether.
For years I made every endeavor to stay as far away from them as possible. Acute mountain sickness when I was younger ensured that any journey proposed up into the mountains filled me with dread. All memories from my childhood family vacations came served with a remembrance of nausea on the side. In so much that the phrase “it’s the journey that matters…” took on a whole new meaning for me, and certainly not a positive one.
A few years ago, though, I took a trip up into the hills with my husband. We visited Shimla, one of the most popular hill-stations in India. It was my first trip to this most colonial of hill-stations, and it charmed me immensely. So much so that I returned to it again just a few months later.
And then in the summer of 2015, I went on my first mountain trek. I agreed to join my brother and a few of his friends on a trip into the Himalayas! The mountains are his happy place, and it’s where he wanted to celebrate his birthday – trekking and camping in the wild!
This trek pushed me so far out of my comfort zone, there were times I felt like my legs would buckle under me, and more than once I wanted to collapse on the giant boulders we were trying to climb across, just to break down and cry! But the sense of achievement I felt when we reached our ultimate destination, a glacial lake high up in the Dauladhar Mountains, was indescribable.
The first sight of Kareri Lake, surrounded by the tall peaks of the mountains powdered with snow, and its calm blue waters glistening in the sunshine, simply blew me away!
Not only this, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time exploring the hill stations of McLeod Ganj & Dharamkot as well.
The motion sickness still remains, of course. But with precautionary medication, I’m more equipped to deal with it and I’m eagerly looking forward to exploring some more of the mountains.
Shillong, a hill-station in North East India and the capital of the state of Meghalaya, has been beckoning me of late. The “Abode of the Clouds” as it is sometimes referred to, is said to be surrounded with picturesque expanses of rolling green hills, also earning it the moniker – “Scotland of the East”. There are lakes and parks to explore, as well as waterfalls to soak in; and the Living Root Bridges of Meghalaya are a short drive away!
Another place I have long harboured the hope of visiting is Darjeeling. I love every picture I see of this town in West Bengal, surrounded by its emerald-green tea plantations, with the formidable Khangchendzonga, amongst the world’s highest peaks, towering above it in the distance.
But it’s not just the north that boasts of stunning mountain scenery. Sure, North India has the Himalayas, but the south has the Western Ghats and with it a fair share of cute little hill stations too. From the gardens, waterfalls and tea-plantations of Munnar, to the verdant valleys and coffee estates of Coorg, this is a whole area of the country I am eagerly anticipating exploring. Ooty in the state of Tamil Nadu, with its dense forests and abundance of lakes looks gorgeous as well. Some of these Ooty Hotels look quite tempting, don’t you think?
So tell me, are you a Beach person or a Mountain person?
Have you been to any of these hill stations in India? There are a few long weekends coming up, where should I head to next?
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