5. To spot wildlife: Wayanad
Not a typical hill station, Wayanad is a remote district spread out over thickly forested slopes. While it has towns to stay in (Kalpetta, Mananthavady and Sultan Bathery are the main centres), it’s far better to choose accommodation deep in the mountains surrounded by rice paddies and spice gardens. At dawn and dusk, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary – part of the UNESCO Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve – is alive with wildlife and you’re bound to spot elephants, deer and gaur. Tigers are more elusive.
Wayanad © Kunal Kishore/Shutterstock
6. To meet the Dalai Lama: Dharamsala
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 and established the Central Tibetan Administration (the Tibetan government in exile) on the pine-clad mountain slopes of northern India’s Dharamsala. Attending a public teaching held by the Nobel Peace Prize holder and Buddhist leader of Tibet is a spine-tingling experience – but if you don’t get the chance to meet him, the Dalai Lama Temple Complex is an atmospheric place to learn more about Tibet.
Dharamsala © hrui/Shutterstock
7. To seek out adventure: Manali
The resort town of Manali with its jaw-dropping Himalayan backdrop has been the setting of many a Bollywood blockbuster. Scenery aside, thrill-seekers head here in the summer months for adventure. Specifically trekking, white-water rafting, paragliding, rock-climbing, rappelling and zorbing (small print: always seek out qualified and long-standing tour operators and chat to fellow travellers about their experiences).
Manali © Shailpik Biswas/Shutterstock
8. To stroll in landscaped gardens: Ooty
You need to look closely in over-developed Ooty (also known as Udhagamandalam) to see any hint of its glory days, but that doesn’t make it any less popular in the summer months. Strolling the landscaped Botanical Gardens on a sunny day inevitably means you’ll be sharing space with every holiday-maker in India (more fun than it sounds). The Rose Gardens slightly further out of town are another gorgeous and colourful spot with a bewildering variety of roses (nearly 20,000).
Ooty © Akash Routh/Shutterstock
This feature is in collaboration with , a leading travel search engine and app for accommodation and flights in India. All recommendations remain editorially independent. Top image: Dharamsala © hrui/Shutterstock