One thing’s for sure, India certainly isn’t short of spectacular scenery. From forest-clad mountain ranges to sprawling wildlife reserves this vast South Asian country packs a whole host of natural wonders. However, with so many breath-taking landscapes to discover, knowing where to plan your next adventure can be tricky. To help you narrow down your options here’s a round-up of the top five places to experience India’s nature.
Nestled in the lush Western Ghats Mountains, Mahabaleshwar is an oasis of stunning scenery. As well as serene lakes, crashing waterfalls and verdant hills, this popular hill station is home to one of India’s few evergreen forests filled with a rich variety of flora and fauna. When it comes to places to stay the hotels make the most of the natural surroundings and offer easy access to a range of activities. Holidays here can be spent gliding across Venna Lake on a rowing boat, hiking across mountain ranges and watching the sunset from the area’s highest peak – Wilson Point.
Khajjiar, Himachal Pradesh
With rolling meadows, swathes of grassland and snow-capped mountains, it’s easy to understand why Khajjiar has been dubbed the ‘Mini Switzerland of India’. This striking hill station in the north state of Himachal Pradesh provides a natural playground for outdoor adventure, including trekking, zorbing, paragliding, boat rides and horse riding, to name a few. Must-visit attractions include the Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary, home to sprawling deodar, pine and oak forests and diverse wildlife such as serow and black bears.
Kaas Plateau, Maharashtra
If unspoilt vistas are what you desire, the serene scenes of Kaas Plateau are hard to beat. Located in Maharashtra, the plateau remains relatively untouched compared to India’s more well-trodden rural retreats and is the perfect place to get away from it all to spend some quality time with Mother Nature. A UNESCO World Biodiversity Site, you’ll be awestruck by the plethora of rare flowering plants – more than 850 to be exact. Be sure to visit during the months of August and September, when you’ll get the chance to see a variety of endemic butterflies fluttering among the fully-bloomed flowers.
A nature-lover’s paradise, Coorg is synonymous with scenic plantations, cascading paddy fields and majestic waterfalls. Due to the intense rainfall in July and August, the area is brimming with exotic plant life, gushing rivers and agricultural activity. Don’t miss the chance to tour one of the coffee plantations and see the area’s most popular attraction, Abbey Falls. Coorg also boasts not one but three wildlife sanctuaries, as well as Nagarhole National Park, offering plenty of opportunities to spot animals in their natural habitat.
Ooty, Tamil Nadu
One of the most picturesque hill resorts in southern India, Ooty hill station is known for its captivating views and verdant gardens. Here, you can take leisurely boat rides across the man-made Ooty Lake and visit one of India’s most diverse gardens, the Government Rose Garden, which has more than 20,000 types of rose and an abundance of other unique flora. Another of Ooty’s most scenic spots is Dolphin’s Nose viewpoint, with sweeping vistas of Catherine Falls, misty ravines and forested valleys.