Mussoorie: Maggi at the famous Maggi Point
McLeod Ganj: Pork Fry and Crispy Chilly Beef
Rishikesh: White water rafting
Ranikhet: A game of golf at the Ranikhet Golf Course
Coorg: Buddhist Tibetan Golden Temple and the Nagarhole National Park
Auli: Coniferous jungles of Oak and Deodhar
Shimla: Mall Road for souvenirs
Kashmir: Pashmina shawls
Want to say hello in Assamese? Say 'Nomoskar'
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Ah the 90’s!
You would agree that before technology took over, and the world in Avril Lavigne’s words became a tad bit ‘complicated’, you found solace in the simpler things life had to offer. A trip to a hill station was all that was needed when one wanted a bit of respite from the hasty rush hour and a memorable summer vacation. Too philosophical, eh? Let’s keep it simple and have a look at the hill stations in India that your Roaming Dil has loved since the 90’s.
Mussoorie is an ideal weekend getaway from Delhi. About 35 kms from Dehradun, with its panoramic views of the Shivaliks and Doon Valley, Mussoorie or ‘Mansoori’, is named after the shrub ‘mansoor’ that grows abundantly in the area. With Lake Mist and Kempty Falls playing the perfect picnic spots, several hotels and guesthouses in the vicinity, and the cool environment to add to it, you’ve got a lovely weekend planned.
#Nostalgic90’sTip- Maggi at the famous Maggi Point and a delightful bread omelet with oodles of butter. The corner stores surely know how to serve it right.
Your morning cuppa in a cozy pine log cabin, followed by a game of Croquet under the glistening sun, and a long walk in to the never ending Deodar forest in the oddly comforting chilly weather. I’ve been here before and I’d definitely go again. For an ideal holiday, head to Chalets, a 5-star property set against the backdrop of scenic views, for a delightful stay.
#Nostalgic90’sTip- Golfing it up on the Chalet’s Golf Course should definitely be on your list, along with a game or two of Croquet, of course!
Situated amidst lush greenery, the cozy town of Ranikhet has a own unique charm; the kind that can have you walk around for hours without feeling the blisters; such is its tranquillising effect. And if you’re up for a little action, head over to the Golf Course and hit a few shots past its meandering slopes.
#Nostalgic90’sTip- While the blisters may have gone unnoticed, the sight of leeches is still worrisome. It’s a good idea to keep salt water foot baths ready.
Nuzzled in the snow-capped peaks of the Garhwal Himalayas in Uttarakhand,this scenic location is where I first trekked as a kid. Through the Coniferous jungles of Oak and Deodhar, all the way to the Gorson top, you finally catch a glimpse of the magnificent peak of Nanda Devi. Tiring as it maybe, the sight of the beautiful meadow and snow fields make it all worthwhile. Apart from being a trekking destination, Auli has recently become quite the skiing hotspot as well.
#Nostalgic90'sTip- Try skipping stones in the nearby streams while munching on peanuts.
In the Tirthan Valley, lies Gushaini. Now you may not have heard of it but that’s the thing about the best destinations, isn’t it? Quiet, low key and a town one just happens to pass by one fine day, perhaps because of a wrong turn. When in Gushaini, head to Raju Bharti Guesthouse. Recommended by many travellers, it is one of those underrated places to stay that guarantees comfort and a good time. Hop on to the makeshift cable car to swing your way (not literally) to your cozy little wooden cottages.
#Nostalgic90'sTip- Carry a pack of cards and order for room service. After a long day of trekking, Raju’s scrumptious bread pakoras and chutney is definitely an energy booster that keeps you going for that stressful game of Uno with the family!
Despite the chaos and mayhem of vendors and tourists, you feel a sense of tranquility as you walk down the narrow lanes of McLeod Ganj. Perhaps it’s the effect of His Holiness Dalai Lama who resides here, that gives you the feeling of absolute serenity or the feeling of ‘so much yet nothing’ that you get as you begin to discover this town. From the little knick-knack stores selling Tibetan items to the multiple food stalls dishing out one Tibetan delicacy after another. It’s almost as though McLeod Ganj has assimilated a bit of Tibet in itself, imbibing bits of its culture and making it its own.
#Nostalgic90’sTip- Visit every possible Tibetan eatery that you can. From Thukpa (a Tibetan flavoured broth) to Momos,the Pork Fry and Crispy Chilly Beef bits, I can’t even begin to describe the gastronomic satisfaction.
From a brisk walk by the lakeside to burn the calories, to an excursion to admire the beauty of the bustling marketplace; whichever takes your fancy. It’s quite evident that the popular hill town of Nainital has plenty to offer. The Zoo, with its plethora of local fauna, the Observatory for the stargazers, a quiet cup of tea with views of the distant peaks, or a paddling session on a duck-shaped boat, are a few attractions that bring in tourists from the plains into town for a lazy weekend.
#Nostalgic90’sTip- Be sure to click a selfie whilst on a boat ride. Careful though, don’t tip over.
Bollywood probably shows the best transformation of Shimla. Whether it’s before or after commercialization, Shimla’s distinct charm has been encapsulated in various movies such as Black, Jab We Met, Gaddar and many more. From the Shimla-Kalka toy train to the pedestrian paradise ‘Mall Road’, this popular hill station of India still retains its old world appeal.
#Nostalgic90'sTip- A Softie ice-cream at the corner shop along with some hot coffee, and you’ve got a great start to your day on a pleasant Shimla morning.
A little town in the Solan district, Kasauli is about a 65 kms uphill drive from Chandigarh and 77 kms from Shimla. Quite similar to Solan, Kasauli is surrounded by thick forests with a cool breeze blowing almost all the time.With spectacular roads, the drive up to Kasauli is scenic, and is accompanied by quite a few drive-in restaurants and dhabas.
#Nostalgic90’sTip- Stop along the way to observe the lovely Pine trees with their sticky gum barks and remember to grab some pine cones to decorate in your home.
The rafting hotspot, Rishikesh charms one and all with its gushing river rapids and spiritual bliss. Post a thrilling kayak ride, head out to Lakshman Jhula, the famous hanging bridge across the Ganges. Loiter about its different cafes and later pick up souvenirs like handicraft goods, wooden items, shell jewellery and more.
#Nostalgic90'sTip- If the water has knocked the wind out of your sails, there’s always an evening campfire to look forward to!
One of the most popular hill stations of Karnataka, Coorg is often referred to as Kodagu. Flanked by the Western Ghats, this scenic destination has a lot to offer from a tourist’s perspective. Take a walk around the coffee plantations and visit the Abbey falls, Buddhist Tibetan Golden Temple and the Nagarhole National Park. You must also visit Raja’s Seat, a favourite with the Kings of Kodagu, and marvel at the spectacular sunsets and panoramic views across the valley.
#Nostalic90’sTip- After a relaxed picnic at Nisargadhama, a man-made island formed by river Kaveri, take a holy trip with the family to the many temples in Coorg.
At the end of the Kullu Valley lies the land of the honeymooners, Manali. As a kid, one always noticed the many couples who came for a weekend to Manali. Apart from the lovesick vibe, this town has a lot more to offer; such as skiing and a variety of restaurants and long trails to walk and spend some quality time with the family.
#Nostalgic90'sTip- If you come in the winters you can indulge in some snow fighting- a great way to get that workout and some family bonding time in order!
Deep within the Nilgiri Hills, about 2240 metres above sea level, is the picturesque hill station of Ooty. A hill station that was the former weekend getaway for the British in the colonial times is now a popular tourist destination. From the vast expanses of greenery to the tea gardens and majestic hilly terrain, this is most definitely a photographer’s delight. Apart from the relaxation and rejuvenation that you will receive after merely breathing in the clean air here, there’s much to explore. The Ooty Lake and Botanical Gardens would be great way to start, followed by a visit to the Tribal Museum, Wax World and Ooty Railway Museum.
#Nostalgic90'sTip- Shop for silver trinkets and aromatic oils at the street side markets and savour delicious idlis and rasam along the way.
A shikara ride on the spectacular Dal Lake, a night in the houseboat, a trip to Betaab Valley in Pahalgam and a visit to the absolutely beautiful Gulmarg. Plenty of Bollywood movies have been shot here and for good reason! From skiing to relaxed nights and lavish meals in the houseboat, Kashmir doesn’t disappoint.
#Nostalgic90'sTip- Enjoy a cup of hot Kahwa under the stars in the houseboat to digest that hearty Roganjosh-Naan dinner.
Saanya is known for two things: her excellent musical taste (read: Pink Floyd) and her magical ability to sniff out the best eateries in any locale. An avid traveller, and Economics student, Saanya does what she loves and loves what she does!