- Jammu & Kashmir
Gulmarg is the snow paradise of Kashmir. This skier’s paradise is popular for having one of world’s highest and largest ropeways with an aerial distance of approx. 5kms. The view from top of the mountains at 3979 metres above sea level is bewildering. Snow falls are regular even during summer, giving every tourist a fair chance to enjoy the fall!
How to reach: By air – The nearest airport is Srinagar which is 56 kilometers away.
By bus – Gulmarg is well connected by bus from Srinagar, Sonmarg and other neighbouring towns in Kashmir
By train : Jammu is nearest Railway Station at a distance of 290 kilometers
Must Do: Ski with the help of professionals at 14000 feet above the sea level.
Best time to visit: March to June
The majestic snow clad mountains, stunningly rich greenery and the beautiful lakes in the land of Shimla greet you to enjoy their timeless beauty. Certain places on earth do boast of places that equal or even surpass the beauty of Shimla. However, Shimla which is one of the most visited tourist spot in Himachal Pradesh holds magic in the air, which is beyond comparison. No wonder it is called the Queen of Hill Stations.
Manali is a high-altitude Himalayan resort town in India’s northern Himachal Pradesh state. It has a reputation as a backpacking center and honeymoon destination. Set on the Beas River, it’s a gateway for skiing in the Solang Valley and trekking in Parvati Valley. It’s also a jumping-off point for paragliding, rafting and mountaineering in the Pir Panjal mountains, home to 4,000m-high Rohtang Pass.
Mcleodganj is a hill station near Dharamshala, popular among trekkers. Its culture is a beautiful blend of Tibetan with some British influence. Also known as Little Lhasa and famous around the world for being home to the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, Mcleodganj is a beautiful town situated near upper. Nestled amidst majestic hills and lush greenery, this town is culturally blessed by a prominent Tibetan influence owing to the major settlement of Tibetans here. Mcleodganj has one of the most mesmerising landscapes in the entire state of HimachalPradesh and attracts a lot of tourists throughout the year.
5. Leh ladakh
A land like no other with superabundance of attractions to visit and phantasmagoric and fabulous landscapes, amazing people and culture, Ladakh is truly a heaven on Earth.Bounded by two of the world’s mightiest mountain ranges, the Great Himalaya and the Karakoram, it lies athwart two other, the Ladakh range and the Zanskar range. Ladakh is mystical in all the spheres it covers, from nature, geography, sceneries to the modest cultures that it fosters. Right from gompas to the sensational momos, the superabundance of attractions to visit makes this city make it heaven on earth. It is said that only in Ladakh can a man sitting in the sun with his feet in the shade suffer from sunstroke and frostbite at the same time.
6. Thar Desert
Thar Desert is also referred as the great desert of India because of its land area. This desert is among the subtropical deserts of the world. The rank of the desert is 9 as far as the land area is concerned. There is a salt marsh in the desert and this is known as the Runn of Kutch. One can see the desert from the fascinating desert state of Rajasthan. As per the estimates, this desert is 4000 years to ten thousand years old. Thar desert is ideal for the desert safari and one can enjoy it from Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Bikaner. There is an exotic diversity in the Thar Desert and one can find species of lizard and snakes in the desert.
From historical monuments to crowded shopping malls, from Mughal gardens to Delhi University campus, the capital city has multiple personalities making it ‘The good, the bad and the ugly’.
The Capital city of India and the base location to explore North India, Delhi is considered to be the city with a heart.New Delhi is a vivid blend of traditions, cultural diversity, political importance as well as architectural brilliance. It bridges its historical glory with the current modern era.
Amber (pronounced Amer) is at a distance of about 11 kilometres from Jaipur. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it was the bastion of the Kachwahas of Amber, until the capital was moved to the plains, to what is today Jaipur. The palace, located in craggy hills, is a beautiful melange of Hindu and Mughal styles. Raja Man Singh I began construction in 1592 and the palace, which was built as a strong, safe haven against attacking enemies, was completed by Mirja Raja Jai Singh. The contrast between the harsh exterior and the inviting interior couldn’t be more surprising. Made entirely of red sandstone and white marble, visitors are left spellbound by the magnificence of the palace that utilises carvings, precious stones and mirrors. The splendour of the palace is enhanced by the breath-taking vista of the Maota Lake in front.
9. Mount Abu
The only hill station of Rajasthan, its cool atmosphere and lush green surroundings make it a major tourist spot within the state. The most important attraction, however, are undoubtedly the Dilwara temples, which is one of the most stunning piece of architecture in the country. If you are a history or architecture buff, this is one of the places you should absolutely not miss out in India.The exceptionally intricate architecture of the Dilwara temples are of course the main attraction here, and you can easily spend hours wondering how these temples were built over 2 centuries, almost a 1000 years back.
‘The City that Never Sleeps’, ‘The City of Dreams’ and ‘The City of Seven Islands’ are just a few of the epithets used to describe the wonderful city of Mumbai or Bombay, as it was known before. Located along the Konkan coast and home to India’s film industry, the capital of Maharashtra and the financial capital of India is multi-faceted and provides a lot of exciting experiences. And it demands to be experienced! The most striking feature about Mumbai is its rich diversity. The rich and the poor, movie stars and daily wage labourers, dazzlingly tall skyscrapers and large slum areas, grand cosmopolitan malls and local street bazaars all exist side-by-side in this city.
A densely populated metropolitan city with people bustling in and out of cafes, offices, temples and even nowhere, Hyderabad is fast turning into the New York city of South India. Hyderabad, the capital city of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, is fast becoming the IT hub. Most tourism here is business tourism. The city’s boundaries have been extending far beyond the original city – now called the Old City – to include Secunderabad and new developments in adjacent municipalities. The city has its fair share of history and culture which now seems to be overtaken by the metro image with the sprawling cafes, malls and corporate buildings.
Jane Austen wrote, ‘To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure, is the most perfect refreshment,’ and Kerala is one such destination that not only rejuvenates but in a way cleanses one’s body, mind and soul. Home to age-old science of ayurveda; energetic and vibrant dance forms; ever-so scenic backwaters; aromatic spices; pristine beaches; opulent wildlife; flavoursome food; scintillating rivers; and rich history, the southern state of Kerala is a destination in India that truly makes it feel proud. A paradise for both, natives and travellers, this popular place of visit beckons a travel experience unlike any other.
Capital: Thiruvananthapuram Location: Southwest India
13. Arunachal Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh is the perfect state for you if you wish to explore the tribal culture and the simplicity of their exquisite beauty. Its amazing array of flora and fauna, in a unique habitat with glaciers, high altitude meadows and sub-tropical forests add to the charm of the beautiful state.
Arunachal Pradesh, bordered on the south by Assam, on the west by Bhutan, on the north and northeast by China, and on the east by Myanmar is also known as the Orchid State of India or the Paradise of the Botanists.
Sikkim is a land of dramatic contours. Rugged mountains, deep valleys and dense forests consort with raging rivers, lakes and waterfalls to create a visual feast. The state has the steepest rise in altitude over the shortest distance and has within its 7,096 sq. kms the entire climatic range, from tropical to temperate to alpine. The mountain chains which run southwards from the main Himalayan range form the natural boundaries of Sikkim; the Chola range dividing it from Tibet in the Northeast and Bhutan in the Southeast, the Singalila range separating it from Nepal in the West with the Greater Himalayan range forming the barrier between Sikkim and Tibet in the North.
“White sheets of still water under a half moonlight A land lain undisturbed for much of history, Visited in the past of an eerie knowingness, A discipline demanding sacrifice of all, A beneficent place where the seeker may Iive off the bounty of earth, Find perpetual warmth on southern shores, perpetual cold in the north.” Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is situated on the bank of river yamuna in the city of Agra (India). Taj is a symbol of the great Mughal heritage of India. Taj Mahal monument is a symbol of the eternity of love. Experiencing Taj Mahal Monument is like a journey back to the magnificent Mughal Empire. It is simply the experession of emotions in a structural form. Taj Mahal is a monument of love. So, it’s a place worth visiting to memorize the love in your life. The Taj Mahal monument was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1631 as a tribute to his loving wife Mumtaz Mahal.
Labeled as the ‘City of Joy’, the ‘Cultural capital of India’, Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta) is a city with character and remnants of British Raj visible in its Victorian-style architecture, trams and feel. It is one of the most densely populated cities in India With a heritage as dense and the population, this city along the banks of river Ganga is known for its culture, people, food, music, literature and the movies. Kolkata is famous for its colonial edifices and modern amusement houses. The Vict is where Queen Victoria spent some years of her life. Today, a major metropolitan, the city also houses the oldest museum of India- the Indian Museum containing the only ‘Mummy’ in India amongst other valuable artefacts. Some other interesting places are the Eden Garden, Bellur Math Temple, Aurobindo Ashram, Birla Planetarium,Nicco Park, Marble Palace and Howrah Bridge. The famous Durga Puja in October draws many people to the city. Kolkata is also famous for one of India’s oldest brothels called the Sonagachi.
Referred to as the city of churches by many, the culture of Goa has the lingering effect of being a Portugal colony. Visibly different from the rest of the country, Goa has characteristic colourful houses, lush green fields and a soothing languidness in the atmosphere. The charming villages of Goa are ideal for a laidback morning walk or an aimless evening stroll. North and South regions of the place are strikingly different – the former is a cultural hub with traditional eateries and markets, while the latter makes for an idyllic vacation with its 5-star hotels, private beaches and a mix of white sand and clear blue water. Under the star-laden skies, each festivity becomes more alive. Goa greens and wildlife makes for a nature lover’s ideal hotspot. If you are a food adventurer, you may want to visit the gorgeous spice gardens and try a glassful of cashew feni.
Located in the southernmost part of India, Kanyakumari with its beautiful beaches, Vivekananda Memorial and the perfect sunset is one one of the most exotic destinations in India and will not cease to amaze you! You can find temples, churches, religious pillars and statues everywhere to keep you fascinated. The mixed culture of the place is reflected in the art, architecture and even in the local cuisine. If you are a history buff, you can undertake an excursion to the Kumari Amman Temple or to the Vattakottai Fort that stands erect even today. And if you wish to chill out at a seashore, Sanguthurai Beach, Sothavilai Beach amongst plenty others on the coastline are exotic and the perfect place to spend the evening.
The metropolitan capital of Tamil Nadu – Chennai; is located on the south-east coast of India and offers travellers the best of both the sea and the land – with its beaches, heritage temples and churches. The city is also known fondly for its many culinary delights and is a shopping haven providing both traditional and cosmopolitan options. Chennai assumes a significant position in defining both the cultural history storehouse as well as the modern early morning dream that India is. With so much of the past and future to sustain, Chennai provides the tourist with a complete experience with little left unchecked. From beaches to historical monuments, temples, shrines to churches, Chennai is a modestly holistic destination. To name a few attractions, we have the Marina beach, a Portuguese church, Kapileswara temple and much more. A synonym to the automobile capital of India, Chennai is a city with diverse experiences to offer.
Written by Umesh Pandey