The second city built by the British Empire after London, Kolkata is located by the banks of the river Hoogly and is known to be the cultural capital of East India. Kolkata served as the nation’s capital till it was shifted to Delhi in 1911. Due to its early industrial developments by the hands of the British, Kolkata has since been on the forefront of modern Indian political and literary thought, popularized through a movement known as the Bengali Renaissance. Despite of being a highly visited tourist town India, Kolkata is not without the daily bustle of city life. While Kolkata is blessed with several natural marvels and attractions it becomes essential for people to find a getaway from the bustle and the heat of the plains. Here’s a list of some of the best hill stations near Kolkata that you can visit.
(Distance from Kolkata – 612 kms approx.)
Located in the lesser Himalayan ranges, Darjeeling is placed at an elevation of 2,050 meters above mean sea level in the state of West Bengal. The town is famous for its tea and tourism industry developed in the early 19th century by the British East India Company. Darjeeling’s climate remains cool throughout the year due to its high elevation and is the main reason for its development by the British. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a UNESCO world heritage site and a part of the Mountain Railways of India along with the Nilgiri Mountain Railway and the Kalka-Shimla Railway. Darjeeling is famous for its Tibetan Buddhist culture and its picturesque views of the Mahabharata Range of the eastern Himalayas. We have covered the most popular places to visit in Darjeeli
(Distance from Kolkata – 621 kms approx.)
Another hill town located in West Bengal, Kalimgpong is placed at an average elevation of 1,065 meters above mean sea level. The region came under the British East India Company in 1864 and was developed as a hill town. The town is known for its temperate climate, colonial architecture and its proximity to the high altitude mountain passes of Nathu La and Jalep La. The chief source of the town’s economy is tourism and one can find several tourist attractions here. Kalimgpong is known for its Tibetan Buddhism influenced culture and is famous for several Buddhist monasteries.
(Distance from Kolkata – 641 kms approx.)
Pedong is yet another hill town located in the state of West Bengal and is located at an average elevation of 1,240 meters above sea level. The town is located just 20 kilometers east from the aforementioned Kalimgpong and provides some breathtaking panoramic views of the Kanchenjunga and the surrounding mountains. Pedong is divided into two parts namely the lower and the upper Pedong and is located on the ancient route to Lhasa. Pedong is also famous for its Tibetan culture and several Buddhist monasteries.
(Distance from Kolkata – 596 kms approx.)
The work Mirik literally translates to ‘place burnt by fire’ and is the name of a popular hill town located in the state of West Bengal. The town is situated at an average elevation of 1,495 meters above sea level amidst the Eastern Himalayas. The town developed as a market place for the various traders and the people of the surrounding tea gardens and villages and was later used as a polo ground by the British officials. It developed in 1974 as a prominent and serene hill station and marked the creation of the Sumendu Lake. Mirik is famous for its marvelous views of the Kanchenjunga and the surrounding mountains and Buddhist monasteries.
(Distance from Kolkata – 584 kms approx.)
Known in the Lepcha language as the ‘Land of White Orchids’, Kurseong is located in the state of West Bengal at an elevation of 1,500 meters above sea level. Kurseong was a part of the kingdom of Sikkim before it was ceded to the British who built roads and developed the town as a hill station in the 19th century. Kurseong enjoys a favorable and cool climate all year round and is surrounded by tea gardens and moss covered flower orchards. The town offers some of the best views of the surrounding hills, waterfalls and tea estates with bed and breakfast facilities. The best way to reach the town is via the Darjeeling Mountain Railway.
(Distance from Kolkata – 652 kms approx.)
Sandakphu is a picturesque hill town located in the state of West Bengal and is located at a massive elevation of 3696 meters above sea level. The town can be reached by road or by trekking an arduous mountain pass. The town is one of the major trekking and skiing hotspots in India and provides views of the 5 highest peaks in the world namely the Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu and Lhotse. Sandakphu also marks the highest point in West Bengal and is also in close proximity to the Singalila National Park.
(Distance from Kolkata – 560 kms approx.)
Located at the banks of the Mahananda River amidst the eastern Himalayan foothills, Siliguri is another famous hill town in the state of West Bengal. The town is placed at the crux of the chicken’s neck corridor that connects West Bengal to the North Eastern states of India. While the elevation of the town is quiet low as compared to the other hill stations in West Bengal, is an important tourist town and acts as a strategic gateway to the neighboring countries Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. Siliguri is also the starting point of the famous Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.
(Distance from Kolkata – 642 kms approx.)
Samsing is located at an average elevation of 914 kilometers above sea level in the state of West Bengal. The lush green surroundings, tea villages and pleasant and foggy climate of Samsing have made it a major tourist hotspot in India. One can also visit the Neora Valley National Park which is located at a short distance of 18 kilometers from Samsing. The numerous tea gardens of Samsing are inhabited majorly by the Nepalese people and attract a large number of visitors to this relaxing spot.
9. Ajodhya Hills
(Distance from Kolkata – 304 kms approx.)
The Ajodhya hills are located in the Eastern Ghats in the state of West Bengal. Located at an average elevation of 855 meters above sea level, Ajodhya hills is known for its lush green surroundings and is the highest point in the Southern West Bengal. Rock climbing is one of the major attractions here and features several basic courses in rock climbing. The town is also known to be one of the resting places of the Hindu deity Lord Rama and Sita during their exile which is marked by the Sita Kunda.
10. Dooars Valley
(Distance from Kolkata – 680 kms approx.)
Known as the flood plains of the eastern Himalayas, the Dooars Valley is considered to be the gateway to Bhutan. The region previously came under the control of the kingdom of Bhutan till it was annexed by the British in 1865 and is now a part of the states of West Bengal and Assam. The town is known as a picturesque nature reserve with foggy winters and mild summers. One can also visit the Gorumara National Park, Buxa National Park and Jaldapara National park all of which are in close proximity to the Dooars region.
(Distance from Kolkata – 673 kms approx.)
Located at a short distance of 34 kilometers from the above mentioned Kalimgpong, Lava is placed at an average elevation of 2,138 meters above sea level in the state of West Bengal. The town is considered the entry point of the Neora Valley National Park and the high mountain passes of Jalep La and Rechi La passes. The small town is known for its foggy and cool atmosphere and lush green surroundings that provide a cozy retreat from the humid and hot plains of Kolkata. Winters and the rainy seasons are considered the best time to visit due to the picturesque surroundings.
(Distance from Kolkata – 668 kms approx.)
The capital of the state of Sikkim, Gangtok is located at an elevation of 1600 meters above sea level, and is in close proximity to the Nathu La and Jalep La mountain passes. The town is known to be the cultural capital of Sikkim and is known for its various waterfalls and a mild temperate climate all year round. Tourism being one of the major sources of the town’s economy, tourists will often find plenty of accommodation and hospitality here. Gangtok houses a plethora of tourist activities with high mountain passes, waterfalls, rivers, natural surroundings, cottage industries and shopping districts. Also checkout the major tourist places in Gangtok here.
(Distance from Kolkata – 1,078 kms approx.)
Capital of the Indian state of Meghalaya, Shillong is often referred to as ‘Scotland of the East’, due to its climate and surroundings reminded the British officials of Scotland. Located at an average elevation of 1,496 meters above sea level, Shillong is a popular hill station in India. The climate in shillong stays relatively cool during the summers with mild and pleasant winters. Being the state capital, Shillong houses several tourist attractions like hills, lakes, waterfalls, old churches, museums and shopping districts etc.
(Distance from Kolkata – 408 kms approx.)
A hill station located in the state of Bihar, Shimultala is a famous health resort and is an ideal place for nature studies and night sky observation. Being a village town, Shimultala is almost devoid of most commercial activities and is visited by the tourists who are looking for an ideal retreat from the bustles of the cities and technology. Cheap accommodation and food, welcoming and hospitable people, pleasant climate and lush green surroundings, Shimultala is a must visit spot for most wanderers and nature enthusiasts.
(Distance from Kolkata – 1,006 kms approx.)
Located in the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, Pokhara lies at an elevation 1,740 meters above sea level in the Annapurna range of the eastern Himalayas. The best time to visit the town is during the winters when the climate is the most pleasant with views of the snowcapped Himalayas. The town is famous for its Indo-Nepalese culture and houses several Hindu temples and Buddhist monasteries. Pokhara is also the site of the Japanese World Peace Pagoda known as the Shanti Stupa and provides some enchanting views of the Himalayan ranges and the Fewa Lake.