Gujarat, known for its rich cultural heritage, diverse landscapes, and vibrant cities, is not the first place that comes to mind when thinking about hill stations. However, this western Indian state has a hidden treasure trove of hill stations that offer a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
These hill stations in Gujarat may not be as well-known as those in the northern or southern regions of India, but they have their unique charm and allure. In this article, we will take you on a journey to discover the enchanting hill stations of Gujarat, exploring their natural beauty, cultural richness, and the experiences they have to offer.
Saputara, often referred to as the “Queen of Gujarat Hill Stations,” is one of the most popular and well-known hill stations in the state. Located in the Dang district of South Gujarat, Saputara is known for its picturesque landscapes, lush green forests, and pleasant climate. The name “Saputara” translates to “Abode of Serpents,” and legend has it that the region is home to many snakes, though you’re more likely to encounter friendly locals and breathtaking views than serpents.
Saputara offers a range of attractions and activities to keep visitors engaged. The Saputara Lake, located in the heart of the town, is a serene spot for boating and picnics. The Saputara Tribal Museum provides insights into the cultural heritage of the indigenous Dang tribes. Additionally, the Artist Village showcases the traditional craftsmanship and artwork of the region. Don’t forget to visit Sunset Point, from where you can witness the sun setting over the hills in a mesmerizing display of colors.
For nature enthusiasts, Saputara offers numerous trekking and hiking trails that lead you through dense forests, and the Gira Waterfall is a beautiful place to cool off after a day of exploration. Saputara is also famous for its annual Monsoon Festival, which celebrates the region’s vibrant culture and traditions through dance, music, and food.
Just a short drive from Saputara lies another hidden gem in the Dang district, Wilson Hills. Known as the “Silent Retreat,” this hill station is ideal for those seeking a peaceful and tranquil escape from the chaos of urban life. Wilson Hills gets its name from Lord Wilson, a former Governor of Bombay who was captivated by the beauty of this place.
One of the major attractions of Wilson Hills is the tranquil atmosphere and the lack of commercialization. The hill station is surrounded by dense forests and is a paradise for bird watchers and nature lovers. A trek to the Ozone Valley viewpoint is a must, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding hills and forests. The tranquil ambiance makes Wilson Hills a perfect destination for meditation and introspection.
Don Hill Station
Don Hill Station is a lesser-known gem located in the Valsad district of Gujarat. Nestled in the Sahyadri range, this hill station offers a serene and unspoiled environment for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. The cool and misty climate of Don Hill Station makes it a great place to visit throughout the year.
The primary attraction of Don Hill Station is its unspoiled natural beauty. You can take leisurely walks amidst the lush greenery, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy the tranquility that the region provides. Don Hill Station is also known for its medicinal plants and herbs, making it an interesting destination for nature enthusiasts.
Girnar is a prominent hill station and a place of religious significance located near the city of Junagadh in Gujarat. It is one of the oldest mountains in India and has been a sacred place for both Jains and Hindus for centuries. Girnar Hill is known for its impressive temple complexes, ashrams, and religious festivals. The Ambaji Temple, Mallinath Temple, and the famous Neminath Temple are some of the religious sites you can explore while visiting Girnar.
Apart from its religious importance, Girnar is a paradise for trekkers and adventure seekers. The trek to the peak of Girnar is a challenging but rewarding experience, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary, situated at the foothills, is home to diverse flora and fauna, including leopards, hyenas, and various species of birds. It is an excellent place for nature enthusiasts and wildlife photographers.
Toranmal is a hidden jewel located in the Satpura Range in the Nandurbar district of Gujarat. Surrounded by dense forests and rolling hills, Toranmal is often referred to as the “Mini Mahabaleshwar” due to its striking resemblance to the popular hill station in Maharashtra. The name “Toranmal” is derived from the Marathi words “Torna” (treacherous) and “Mal” (hills), signifying the challenging terrain of the region.
The hill station offers a variety of attractions, including the Gorakhnath Temple, which holds religious significance, and the beautiful Yashwant Lake, where you can enjoy boating. The coffee and teak plantations in Toranmal add to the natural beauty of the place. The Maan Sanctuary, nearby, is home to various species of animals and birds, making it a great spot for wildlife enthusiasts.
Polo Forest, situated in the Sabarkantha district, is a fascinating blend of historical and ecological significance. This dense forest region is surrounded by the Aravalli Range and has become a popular destination for nature lovers, trekkers, and history enthusiasts.
Polo Forest is home to several ancient temples, step wells, and ruins, which offer a glimpse into the region’s rich historical past. The Sharneshwar Shiva Temple and the Lakhena Temple are two notable religious sites that showcase the architectural brilliance of a bygone era. The Vijayanagar ruins in the forest are also worth exploring.
The diverse flora and fauna of Polo Forest make it an ideal spot for bird watching and wildlife photography. The forest is home to leopards, hyenas, various species of birds, and several medicinal plants. You can explore the forest through trekking and camping, immersing yourself in the natural beauty and serenity of the surroundings.
Ambaji, located in the Aravalli Range, is not just a hill station but also a significant pilgrimage destination for Hindus. The Ambaji Temple is dedicated to the goddess Amba, and it attracts a large number of devotees throughout the year.
The hill station offers a combination of religious and natural attractions. Apart from visiting the Ambaji Temple, you can explore the Kailash Hill Sunset Point, which provides stunning views of the sunset. Gabbar Hill is another important spot, housing the temple of Goddess Amba. The surrounding hills are dotted with lush greenery, making Ambaji a tranquil and picturesque place.
Pavagadh is a prominent hill station located near Vadodara in Gujarat. It is renowned for the Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park is home to numerous historical monuments and temples that date back to the 8th century.
Pavagadh Hill, with its ancient temples and picturesque landscapes, is a popular pilgrimage site. The Kalika Mata Temple, perched on the hill, is a significant religious site for Hindus. The ropeway to Pavagadh Hill provides a convenient way to reach the temple, offering panoramic views of the region.
Apart from its historical and religious significance, Pavagadh is also a haven for nature enthusiasts. The region is rich in biodiversity, and you can spot various species of flora and fauna in the Pavagadh Forest. The tranquil environment and lush green surroundings make it an ideal place for trekking and picnics.
While Mount Abu is primarily located in the neighboring state of Rajasthan, a small part of it extends into Gujarat territory. As the only hill station in Rajasthan, Mount Abu is a popular destination for tourists from both states. Nestled in the Aravalli Range, this hill station offers a cool and refreshing climate, making it a great escape from the scorching heat of the region.
Dilwara Jain Temples are the most famous attractions on Mount Abu, known for their intricate marble carvings and architectural brilliance. Nakki Lake is another popular spot for boating and picnicking. Sunset Point and Honeymoon Point offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
Zolawadi is a lesser-known hill station situated in the Dang district, close to the Maharashtra border. It is a perfect getaway for those looking for solitude and natural beauty. The unspoiled landscapes, dense forests, and serene atmosphere make Zolawadi an idyllic destination for nature lovers.
The Gira Waterfall is a major attraction in Zolawadi, and the trek to the waterfall is an adventure in itself. The falls are surrounded by lush greenery and provide a refreshing escape from city life. Zolawadi also boasts a diverse range of flora and fauna, making it a great spot for wildlife enthusiasts and bird watchers.
Exploring the Best Attractions
Gujarat’s hill stations offer a plethora of attractions, ranging from natural wonders to cultural landmarks. Here’s what you shouldn’t miss:
- Ropeway Rides in Saputara: Enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the lush greenery as you take a thrilling ropeway ride in Saputara.
- Dilwara Jain Temples in Mount Abu: These stunning marble temples are known for their intricate carvings and architectural brilliance.
- Sunset at Sunset Point: Witness a mesmerizing sunset at Mount Abu’s Sunset Point, a romantic experience for couples.
- Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park: Explore the rich history of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Pangarbari Wildlife Sanctuary: Embrace nature’s beauty and spot exotic wildlife in Wilson Hills.
Tips for Your Visit
Here are some tips to ensure you have a memorable trip to Gujarat’s hill stations:
- Best Time to Visit: The best time to explore these hill stations is from October to March when the weather is pleasant.
- Local Cuisine: Don’t miss trying the local cuisine, which includes Dhokla, Thepla, and Undhiyu.
- Pack Smart: Be sure to pack warm clothes, especially if you plan to visit during the winter months.
- Respect the Environment: Help keep these hill stations clean and beautiful by disposing of waste responsibly.
Gujarat’s hill stations offer a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. With their lush green landscapes, pleasant climate, and scenic beauty, destinations like Saputara and Wilson Hills provide a perfect retreat for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Whether it’s hiking through dense forests, enjoying panoramic views, or simply unwinding amidst the tranquility of these hill stations, Gujarat’s elevated gems have something to offer everyone.
These hidden treasures in the western part of India promise a refreshing and rejuvenating experience for travelers seeking a peaceful getaway. Consider exploring Gujarat tour packages to make the most of your hill station adventure.