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Top places in India to visit this summer vacation/holiday


Nainital

Nainital’s misty hills

 

Are you scouring the internet for places to take your kids to this summer vacation? Even if you’re not a parent, you might be mentally picking out getaways that help you beat the sauna-like summer heat of Indian cities.

Since I did a bit of looking around, I thought sharing a few destinations with you might not be a bad idea.

So this summer, you could go skiing in Himachal Pradesh, white water rafting in Uttarakhand, pet elephants in Karnataka, enjoy a shikara ride in Kashmir, fuss over red pandas in West Bengal or just look out the window at glorious snow covered peaks in the North East.

Here are a few top destinations in India to beat the heat.

NORTH INDIA 

Himachal Pradesh

I prefer Manali over Shimla – it’s just less crowded and touristy. So, go pose with yaks at the Hadimba Temple, scale the heights of the Himalayas with an adventure company, make snowballs at Rohtang Pass or just stroll in the Van Vihar National Park (close to Mall Road).

Indian Yak

Dancing with the yaks in Manali

 

Ladakh

Admire the blue waters of Pangong Lake, where the movie ‘Three Idiots’ was shot. Feel the peace at Lamayuru Monastery or experience the contrast of sand dunes in Hunder amid the greenery of Nubra Valley.

"Ladakh Monastery" by Original uploader Michael Hardy at en.wikipedia

“Ladakh Monastery” by Original uploader Michael Hardy at en.wikipedia

 

Uttarakhand
Mussoorie stands out in my memory for its spectacular view over the valley. If you don’t mind the crowd, get wet in the Kempty Falls, else trek down to the less frequented Jharipani Falls.

The Dhanolti Eco Park near Mussoorie is worth the one and a half hour ride. Not only is it a birder’s paradise but it also has interesting activities for children like zip lining etc.

Jawahar Aquarium in Mussoorie keeps kids busy

Jawahar Aquarium in Mussoorie keeps kids busy

 

If you fancy lakes, Nainital beckons – after a cable car ride to Snow View Point, just stroll near Naini Lake or pay your respects at the Naina Devi Temple.

Boating on Naini lake

Boating on the Naini Lake

 

Kashmir

India’s little Europe. Kashmir’s peaks rival those in Switzerland and its shikaras mirror Venice’s gondolas. Visit Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonmarg and Srinagar and you will be convinced that the Gods indeed live here.

Heliskiing (using helicopters to reach harder to access skiing spots) is all the rage these days.

Skiing at Sonamarg in Kashmir; Photo courtesy - www.thehindu.com

Skiing at Sonamarg in Kashmir; Photo courtesy – http://www.thehindu.com

 

SOUTH INDIA

Karnataka
Visit the Dubare elephant camp or chill at Nisargadhama island while in Coorg. The Iruppu Falls offer photo opps to all those so inclined, but if you are crowd averse you could go to the Unchalli Falls.

Wear those shoes out on a trek to Thadiyandamol Hills or put your feet up at a home stay in one of the several coffee plantations in this land of coffee.

Dubare Elephant Camp; Photo courtesy - www.wowsumitra.com

Dubare Elephant Camp; Photo courtesy – http://www.wowsumitra.com

 

Kerala

In Munnar, try your hand at picking tea at one of the plantations, rendezvous with the endangered Nilgiri Tahr or take a boat ride on the Devikulam Lake. If they don’t rejuvenate you, just head to the world famous ayurvedic spas.

Munnar tea gardens

Tea plantations in Munnar make it seem like a sea of green

If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, you could spot elephants at Thekkady‘s Periyar Sanctuary,  chase butterflies in the proposed Ranipuram National Park or watch tigers from the safety of a jeep in the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.

Incidentally, Kerala is home to the highest number of hill stations in India – you can get the list here.

CENTRAL INDIA

Madhya Pradesh
If you’re in Central India, you could photograph a sunset at Dhoopgarh and see rainbow pools in the Duchess Falls when you visit Pachmarhi.

Pachmarhi Dhoopgarh

Pachmarhi’s hills

 

WEST INDIA

Maharashtra – Strawberries in Mahabaleshwar, spectacular sunsets in Matheran, visits to British and Parsi homes in Panchgani – that’s Maharashtra for you.

Else, just take off in a paraglider from Saputara in nearby Gujarat.

Lonavala is magical in the monsoon - it's also a good summer getaway

Lonavala is magical in the monsoon – it’s also a good summer getaway

EAST INDIA

West Bengal
Make friends with the Red Panda and the elusive Snow Leopard at the Himalayan Zoo or catch some mountaineering action in Darjeeling.

Or just go watch a sunrise on the Kanchenjunga peak from the Deolo Hill in Kalimpong.

Red Panda, Darjeeling Zoo. Photo Courtesy - www.thehindu.com

Red Panda, Darjeeling Zoo. Photo Courtesy – http://www.thehindu.com

 

Sikkim
Take a dip in the Changu Lake near Gangtok, smell flowers at the Yumthang Valley of flowers in Lachung or let Mount Khangchendzonga in Pelling put the spell on you.

Hydrangeas in bloom

Hydrangeas in bloom

Meghalaya
Live in a Khasi (tribal) style hut in Shillong or chase the clouds in Mawsynram, the wettest place on this planet.

Dark clouds over Mussoorie

Dark clouds gather before a torrential downpour

So this summer you don’t have to bother about the heat dragon sucking the life out of you – just head to any of these places and you’ll be just fine.

Don't let the summer dragon get to you; Painting courtesy - Sharanya Ravi

Don’t let the summer dragon get to you; Painting courtesy – Sharanya Ravi (my daughter)

 

Oh, you were thinking of going somewhere else? Mind sharing your idea in that case?

 

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44 Comments

  1. Great info! India is the best for travelers. You can get the memorable expienece while travelling and surely will come again for the visit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice compilation. Although not many (other than people in east) consider Sikkim, I keep it in top 5! I can drop the bucket and run anywhere where there’s trace of the Himalayas :-))

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  3. Hi,
    I know Let’s Cut the Crap! Welcome to my blog. Thank you for the follow! I’m sorry I couldn’t get here to welcome you before now.
    Janice

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  4. Great list! My Ladakh trip has been continually jinxed! 😦 Hope I can break it next year.

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      • No, I have only been out of the US once. My parents were missionaries in British Guiana (now Guyana, SA) back the early 1960’s. I was 12 to 14 at the time. I still have many fond memories of friends and places from then and write about them in my memoirs. I doubt I will ever have the chance to leave the US again but there is plenty here to photograph. I do enjoy your photography and you have an amazing eye. Thanks for sharing your travels! I have a few photos posted of around my home on andyoldhamphotography.wordpress.com if you would like to check it out. Just getting started with it though so it is only a few. I think we are using the same amazing theme. lol Have a wonderful day! 🙂

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        • Hi Andy! I’m using the Fontfolio theme and it seems like yours is the Cubic theme. Both are good but you could perhaps check out other themes if you want the images to spread out over a larger area – you know what I mean?
          A little sad that you can’t come over but I’ll try to make sure you see at least some bit of India – it’s too big for me to travel everywhere 😉 Btw, have corrected the link in your comment and checked out your blog. All the best!

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Snow in Kashmir? I would never have guessed.
    It all sounds wonderful and I’ve an awful itch to visit a road less traveled, but am too Ga-ga to go myself (and it’s more expensive) and it’s hard to convince someone to live your kind of adventure with you. This all sounds fascinating. ❤

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