Fun food and festivity define Kolkata’s heart-warming profile as a celebrated tourist destination in India. The City of Joy, which also serves as the cultural capital of India, showcases the country’s rich heritage and culture like no other city. From the cultural landscape of Kolkata, there are many holiday trails that lead to the invigorating natural havens. The hill stations near Kolkata boast of abundant greenery, dramatically adorned with tea gardens and multi-hued orchards, treasures of biodiversity, peace-laden monasteries and several other vistas that arrange unforgettable holiday experiences.
10 Best Hill Stations Near Kolkata For A Perfect Outing
Whether you wish to take a break from the cultural expeditions or escape the sweltering summer weather in Kolkata, the following list suggests the popular getaways hidden in the folds of the high-rising pinnacles.
Sitting on a ridge, enjoying the serpentine River Teesta, the town of Kalimpong flaunts the East Himalayan ecological wealth ranging from the evergreen alpines to the temperate deciduous forests of oak and maple.
From orchids to cactus and from rhododendrons to spices like cinnamon and cardamom, assorted vegetations garnish the hillsides, while the faunal species like clouded leopard, Bengal tigers and red panda add to the thrill.
It is one of the top hill stations near Kolkata to explore the colonial-era heritage, Buddhist monasteries and enchanting views of the snow-clad Khangchendzonga.
Attractions: Durpin Monastery, Thongsa Gompa, Deolo Hill, Durpin Dara Hill, Jelepla View Point, Army Golf Course, Dr. Graham’s Home, Lepcha Heritage Museum
Must-do: Go on a tour of Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Milik and Lamahatta; explore flowers and cactus nurseries and visit Gangjong Handmade Paper Factory (closed on Sunday)
Leave Kolkata, Darjeeling has such huge tourism importance that it can be easily counted among the best hill stations near Delhi by air. Green ribbons of sprawling tea gardens create striking sceneries and the charm of the British era denies fading away.
Joyful train and ropeway rides, mystical Buddhist temples and biodiversity parks keep you entertained while the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to savour the hoary summit of Khangchendzonga becomes one of the highlights of the trip.
Attractions: Tiger Hill, Observatory Hill, Himalayan Zoological Park, Lloyd’s Botanical Garden, Singalila National Park, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, several Buddhist monasteries
Must-do: Explore the remarkable panorama from the Himalayan Railway Toy Train and Darjeeling Ropeway; buy different tea varieties and enjoy thrilling mountain biking adventures
Looking for absolute peace at hill stations near Kolkata? There is no better choice than the serene hamlet called Lava which continues to stay away from the crowd. One of the rare places in West Bengal to receive snowfall in winters, the place is surrounded by the lavishly green canopies of tropical deciduous and wet alpine forests that are home to the wild species like barking deer and Himalayan black bear. The picturesque settings hidden in fog literally cut one from the chaotic city life.
Attractions: Lava Buddhist Monastery, Tiffindara Sunrise Point, Neora Valley National Park, Changey Falls
Must-do: Trekking, bird watching (explore birds like wren babblers, blue robins, great barbet, hill partridge, drongo cuckoo, grey tree pie and more)
At the whopping height of 11929 ft., it is nature’s very own amphitheater where some of the world’s tallest peaks unveil themselves. Accessible by trekking, it summons the adherent trekkers from across the world and has beauty comparable to the heaven.
Attractions: Sandakphu Top which offers the incredible views of Everest, Khangchendzonga, Lhotse and Makalu (4 of the 5 highest mountains in the world), Singalila National Park
Must-do: Enjoy the walk through the infinite expanses of rhododendrons, orchids and magnolias and crossing paths with the likes of red pandas and pangolins
Gangtok (671 km.)
Attractively webbed over a hillside, Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, is easily among the top cleanest places in India. The cosmopolitan environment brews within the cool climate and the influence of the Tibetan culture are apparent as one walks through the litter-free vehicle-free zones of the hill town.
Buddhist monasteries, palaces and English buildings are a pleasant break from what you might have already explored in Kolkata. There is no dearth of lakes, falls and vantage points offering the customary views of Himalayan peaks.
Attractions: Rumtek Monastery, Enchey Monastery, Ganesh Tok, Nathu La Pass, Tsomgo Lake, Ban Jhakri Falls, Tashi View Point. M.G Road
Must-do: Don’t miss the tempting momos and thukpa; buy Tibetan paintings and other beautiful handicrafts; paragliding and ropeway ride
Lamahatta (624 km.)
If unexploited secluded hill stations near Kolkata are what you crave for, Lamahatta is most definitely the right choice for you. The place which came to the notice of the state’s tourism authorities in 2012 is developed as an eco-tourism destination. Fluttering colourful flags, believed to purify the atmosphere, manicured gardens, dense pine and dhupi forests and the presence of friendly tribes allow the place to stand apart.
Attractions: Lamahatta Monastery, Gari Danda Hilltop Fort, Takdah Orchid Centre and Tea Estates, Roadside Garden, Peshok View Point
Must-do: Small treks on hills and through jungles to discover the hidden gems like sacred lakes and cave temples; learn mountain farming and enjoy a homestay accommodation
Kurseong (587 km.)
The Place of White Orchids, as its name translates to, Kurseong is one of the famous hill stations near Kolkata that take one on a fulfilling romantic trip. The whistling toy train would drop you at the place which appears magnificent with forest-covered hills, rolling tea gardens and meandering mountain streams.
There are temples, churches, British-era schools and monasteries, each one worth exploring. No wonder that the eminent artists like Rabindranath Tagore and Atul Prasad Sen borrowed inspirations from this wonderful place.
Attractions: Ambootia Shiva Temple, Gidhapahar Temples, St. Paul’s Church, Eagle’s Craig, Waterfalls and Springs, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Museum, Dow Hill Deer Park, Tea Estates
Must-do: Tea blending and tasting sessions at one of the tea factories; trekking through the verdant vegetations
Mirik (593 km.)
Mirik is a popular name in the list of hill stations near Kolkata and why not. With extremely comfortable temperature and a laid-back environment, it is apt for the lazy souls who wish to relax and nothing else. The outstanding sunrise and sunset views would overwhelm you and the stupendous views of mountain panorama and tea gardens from some very apposite vantage points let you peep into the enchanting natural world. Built around a tranquil lake, the town is famous for its black tea.
Attractions: Sumendu Lake, Bokar Monastery, Tingling View Point, Devi Sthan Temple, Rameetay Dara View Point, Mirik Tea Gardens, Don Bosco Church, Mirik Church, Swiss Cottage
Must-do: Boating in the beautiful shikara boats over the lake; horse riding, fish feeding in the lake; leisurely strolls along the lakeside; explore the orange orchards; irresistible views of the rising and setting sun
Dooars, the alluvial floodplains in the North-eastern India, is home to many exquisite tourist destinations and Samsing is among the best ones. The hill village has everything, from emerald hills and valleys to plains washed by chirpy rivers and from thick forests to sprawling tea gardens, which you expect to find at the hill stations near Kolkata. The landscape is so divine that you almost feel like having direct dialogue with the Almighty.
Attractions: Suntalekhola (beginning point for many treks), Neora Valley National Park, Faribasti (popular for flower gardens, homestays and paddy fields), Rocky Island
Must-do: Go out picnicking on the banks of River Murti; plan treks to the Tree Fern Point or Neora Valley National Park; birding is an excellent activity to watch the likes of red-vented bulbul, black eagle, rufous sibia, scarlet minivet, blue rock thrush, chestnut-crowned warblers, slaty-backed forktail and more.
Shillong (1,127 km., accessible by air)
Shillong might be far by road, but the air connectivity makes it deserving to be mentioned among the hill stations near Kolkata. Nicknamed the Scotland of the East, this beautiful capital of Meghalaya has numerous gorgeous waterfalls, crystal clear lakes and heritage attractions to its credit.
Host to many music events and a surprisingly modern Western culture, the place’s mountain beauty is praiseworthy. If you wish to explore further, the state of Meghalaya has many wonders to unveil. One good example is that of Cherrapunji, one of the wettest places on the Earth and known for wonders like root bridges.
Attractions: Elephant Falls, Shillong Peak, Wards Lake, Umiam Lake, Golf Course, Lady Hydari Park, Butterfly Museum, Cathedral Catholic Church, Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures (closed on Sunday)
Must-do: Caving is one off-beat adventure and Shillong has the world-famous caves in its proximity; be a part of one of the many music festivals, walk through the forests
Each of these hill stations near Kolkata is accessible by road. The road journey becomes extremely stimulating as you drive over the serpentine roads, savouring the virgin natural beauty and unwind your senses breathing in the cool breeze. These explorations near Kolkata would surely become the best chapters of your travel diary.