India’s gorgeous hills and mountains form a large part of what makes this country such a magical destination. And while the country’s landscapes are best-known for their onerous and difficult treks, especially the ones in the Himalayas, the country’s landscapes also provide several options for those who are looking for a less arduous adventure. From quaint pathways leading to old forts or lighthouses to short treks and hilltop temples, here are some of the most beautiful hiking trails in India that provide a fascinating experience without breaking your back!
Located at an altitude of 2, 100 metres in Wayanad, one of Kerala‘s best-known hill stations, the Chembra Peak hiking trail is a favourite among those looking for a peaceful and not so difficult trek. While the initial climb might seem a little tedious, it soon sets into a rather restful slope. The entire hike is about nine kilometres in length with most of the trail passing through pristine and winding inclines leading to spectacular views at the summit. Another advantage is that this hike doesn’t take too long to finish. Start early in the day and you’ll be back where you started by supper time.
This one’s for the rookies and amateur hikers who are still testing the waters and figuring out how far they can push themselves. Araku Valley is one of Andhra Pradesh’s most-visited destinations and is best-known for its gorgeous picture-perfect landscapes. Located just off the city of Visakhapatnam, this trail is also one of the most accessible ones and a favourite among weekend travellers from Vizag.
David Scott Trail
Shillong’s David Scott Trek is not just one of the best ways to experience Meghalaya’s natural beauty, but also one of the most interesting remnants of the country’s British heritage. Named after a 19th century British Raj official, David Scott, the trail was originally meant for establishing a trade route between Cherrapunjee and present-day Bangladesh. While only remnants of the horse cart trail remain today, it is now among the most popular hiking trails in the Khasi hills and Meghalaya.
Once a seat of Maratha’s power in the Sahyadri Hills, the Rajmachi Fort in present-day Maharashtra is one of the state’s most visited hiking trails. While the twin forts of Rajmachi make it a great destination for history buffs, the region is more famous for its breathtaking natural beauty. The trail is visited in large numbers by trekkers, nature lovers and campers and is particularly beautiful in the monsoon months of June to August when the entire trail is covered in fresh greenery and a multitude of temporary waterfalls.
Tungnath has the unique distinction of being the world’s highest Shiva temple. But apart from its religious significance, this destination is also a popular nature trail and attracts several trekkers and hikers during the summer months of March to June. Located at an altitude of 3680 metres, the Tungnath hike is one of the easiest to complete since it is located at a distance of just three-four kilometres from the nearest town, Chopta. However, it is also one of the most rewarding. The Tungnath temple is a place of great importance in Hinduism and it provides spectacular views of the twin rivers of Mandakini and Alaknanda.
Anamalai Tiger Reserve Nature Trail
While the trek to the summit of Anamudi Peak, South India’s tallest, is the best-known nature experience in the Anamalai Hills’ sub-cluster of the Western Ghats, it is also one of the toughest in the region. Alternatively, another trail that has become increasingly popular in recent years is the nature trail in the Anamalai Tiger Reserve. Popular among nature and hiking groups, the Anamalai Tiger Reserve is also known for its vibrant wildlife.
Munda Pahar/Chidiya Tapu
Port Blair‘s Chidiya Tapu is best-known for birding and its pristine beaches. However, tucked behind the beach is a quaint hiking trail that leads to the Munda Pahar Lighthouse and sunset point. The hiking trail is a breezy adventure that takes hikers past a now-closed lighthouse to a cliff edge that provides some of the best and most spectacular views of the Indian Ocean. The entire hike could be completed within half a day.
Triund may be one of Himachal Pradesh’s easiest treks, but it is also one of its most rewarding. Located at a distance of just nine kilometres from the popular hill station of McLeod Ganj, Triund’s winding curves may prove difficult for those without prior trekking experience but it is definitely worth the effort. The summit of the Triund trek provides gorgeous views of the Dhauladhar Range on one side and the strikingly beautiful Kangra Valley on the other.