While India is often most cited and best known as a tourist site to see one of the seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal, India has so much more to offer, including a wide variety of great hiking destinations. If you are planning a trip to India, you will have plenty of great hiking options to choose from, and can pair hiking adventures with trips to see some of the world's most ancient ruins, highest mountain peaks, and most serene locations of religious and spiritual retreat. Learn about these great hiking destinations in India and decide which ones you want to visit first. Also of note is that India's severe hot and monsoon seasons can put a serious damper on any outdoor adventure plans you may have, so it is best to plan your hike for early spring or late fall to avoid the extremes of India's weather.
Darjeeling has no less than three of the top 10 hiking trails in India. These trails include Tiger Hill, Singhalia Ridge Trail, and Old Military Road that connects Darjeeling and Kurseong. Both Tiger Hill and Old Military Road can be completed as day hikes, but you may want to plan for an overnight guided trek through Singhalia Ridge Trail so you can see the beautiful Himalayas and into Nepal closer at hand. Tiger Hill is by far the most popular lookout point to view the Himalayan peaks from Darjeeling, so prepare for crowds during the popular spring and fall months, and if you want to watch the sunrise and sunset, be sure to arrive with plenty of time to spare to pick out your lookout spot. Old Military Road is a day hike that will also give you a glimpse into the richness of India's spiritual history, as the hike winds you directly past the Mad-Dhog Yolmowa Buddhist Monastery. As a bonus, all three hikes offer cheap accommodations and dining along the way if you decide to stay longer than one day.
Like Darjeeling, Himachal Pradesh also claims three of the top 10 hiking trails in India. From the Seven Sisters to the Grand Indrahaar Pass and Manali, you can experience a cross-section of some of India's most famous scenery, spiritual relics, and even healing waters. The Seven Sisters hiking trail is your hands-down best option if you are new to hiking, and you will also take in the view of seven mountain peaks that are named for the seven Indian states that surround the trail. The Grand Indrahaar Pass will show you how diverse India is as a mecca for nature enthusiasts, so prepare for a crowded hike during the popular spring and fall seasons. Finally, Manali will give you the best of all worlds for short visits, with the hike itself extending just three kilometers, but in that time you will see the famous Hidimba Devi Tibetan temple which is said to exist "at the end of the habitable world," and you can end the hike with a soak in the famous Sulphur Springs.