Many boast of the beauty of Delhi in the rain, but for those who battle the downpour on a daily basis, it’s anything but enchanting. The unstoppable pace of India’s biggest metropolis often becomes overwhelming and in the end the only way to handle it is to escape. Now, we know Delhi is a little short on beaches, but with a bit of dedication (and a lot of petrol) it is well within reach of dozens of hill stations where you can lounge about on top of the world and watch the rain wash away the troubles you left behind in the city below. We’ve put together some of the must-visit destinations in and around the city so you always know where to go to get some well-deserved rest.
I. Apple Tree Cottage: Kotgarh, Himachal Pradesh – 8 hours away
A mere 75 kilometres from idyllic Shimla, this spacious cottage offers all the best aspects of hill station living. Located in the midst of an apple orchard, there is no shortage of greenery. Included in the price are guided village walks, tours of the orchard, bonfire and barbeque evenings. The area is known for its delicious seasonal fruit – peaches, kiwis and, of course, apples – the hosts strive to give the guests the best of the local fare. Nearby tourist spots include the Sadhu Singh Caves and the famous St. Mary’s Church if you fancy a day trip, but amidst the tranquility of the apple orchard we doubt you’ll want to leave.
Cost: At Rs. 23,000 per night for 8 people we think it’s a steal.
II. Bob’s Place: Nathuakhan Uttarakhand – 7 hours 50 minutes away
If you’re looking to escape city life and reconnect with nature, this is the place to do it. Nestled in a misty valley this serene Himalayan retreat is perfect all year round. It’s surrounded by a rhododendron forest and lies about 6,400 feet above sea level–you can’t get much further from civilization than that!
Cost: This is the perfect weekend away at Rs. 4,840 per night
III. Cottage in Hills: Bhimtal – 6 hours away
A combination of old-world charm and modern amenities, this rustic homestay is a great getaway that ensures you have the best possible experience. The sitting room is every booklovers dream, you can cuddle up in a rocking chair next to the fire and while away the day. The dining area has a complete glass front that offers a truly breathtaking view of the valley. And have no fear, the in-house cook will ensure that you are well fed without having to lift a finger.
Cost: At Rs. 7000 per night for 6 people this will become your regular haunt
IV. Darang Tea Estate: Himachal Pradesh – 9 hours away
This 150-year-old tea estate is one of the finest Indian-owned plantations. It’s located in a relatively unknown part of Himachal Pradesh and will give you an experience you will never forget. The 70 acre property houses four cottages, each with its own spectacular views. Some overlook the mountains and others are located near a mountain stream, so whatever you choose you’re guaranteed a trip of peace and tranquility.
Cost: starting at Rs. 2500 this piece of history is worth every penny
V. Haveli Hauz Khas: Hauz Khas Village
This little boutique bed and breakfast is run by a heritage aficionado and her photographer husband who together have literally written books about Indian Heritage travel. They have made the history of the property the main focus here and art lovers will be thrilled by their choice of décor as the house is overrun by lithographs, canvases, carved wood, traditional textiles and hand-woven rugs and each of the five guest rooms also have individual heritage themes from different states in India. Its central location makes it a great escape for busy city dwellers who need an easy-to-reach break.
Cost: At Rs. 4,500 it’s a bit steep but worth it for the comfort and convenience
VI. Jilling Terraces: Nainital – 6 hours 30 minutes away
As one of the most popular holiday destinations for Delhiites, Nainital is almost always booked up during the holiday season. If you can find a rare opening, the place to go is definitely Jilling Terraces. The 80 year old establishment is perched among acres of greenery, surrounded by dense forests with the Nanda Devi peaks as a backdrop. This quiet getaway is the perfect place for a peaceful holiday.
Cost: A luxury getaway with a luxurious cost at Rs. 10,770 per night
VII. Himalaica: Kumaon Uttarakhand – 7 hours away
Sprawling and luxurious, this mansion in the Khowali Mountains is a labour of love. The architecture, interiors and gardens are all built by local craftsmen and are well tended. The house has a very unique character which sits in harmony with the traditional country surroundings. The style may draw inspiration from the past but the amenities and comforts are undoubtedly modern. There is also a small temple located under a large Oak tree on the property that is devoted to the Earth God, serving as a place of calm meditation. In the hosts’ own words, “We created this place to be, to pause and to reflect, to meditate, to remember and to forget, and to bring back the balance in our lives that is all too lost.”
Cost: Serenity comes with a price tag at Rs. 9,800 per night
VIII. Innisfree Farm: Kumaon – 7 hours away
Owner Lat is a direct descendant of Kumaon’s royal Chand dynasty, and today, he and his wife Julia have opened up his family home to travellers looking for a warm welcome and a comfortable resting place. The family will take you in and treat you like one of their own, regaling you with stories of their past and making sure you want for nothing. This house, filled with love and laughter is the perfect way to experience the freedom of the mountains.
Cost: Rs. 2000 is next to nothing for this comforting homestay
IX. Ramgarh Heritage Villa: Himachal Pradesh – 9 Hours away
Built in 1928, this villa used to be a five star hotel called the Mayflower, and in 1955 was taken over by a family who has now reopened it as a homestay. Their expansive gardens include Kiwi plantations, Apple orchards, Pear trees, Pomegranate and Walnuts–amongst all this natural beauty the troubles of city life just melt away.
Cost: Starting at Rs. 5,500 you can live in this historical wonder
X. Thanedar Hotel: Kotgarh, Himachal Pradesh – 8 Hours away
This cottage lies in the tiny village of Kotgarh-Thanedar and is a favourite for travellers looking for a place to revel in the beauty of the mountains. There are 4 rooms available, each with their own private balconies from where you can admire the majesty of the Western Himalayas.
Cost: Rs. 6,900 per night will buy you this unforgettable view
HG Special Mention
Mary Budden Estate: Binsar, Uttarakhand – 9 hours away
This luxury estate may not be ideal for a weekend away, but if you have the urge to splurge you have to give it a try. As one of only five privately owned estates in Binsar this home is named after the last known owner, Mary Budden, and is now run by Ashwani and Serena Chopra, who converted it into the homestay it is today. Spread across five acres and perched at about 8,000 feet above sea level, every corner of this property promises perfect views and unhindered peace.
Cost: At Rs. 22,900 per night it will take a lot of saving to enjoy this elite destination
Feature Image Courtesy jillingterraces.com
Words: Shireen Jamooji