A fairly young mountain chain, the majestic Himalayas showcase an array of imposing topographical features such as skyrocketing peaks, snow clad alpine glaciers, picturesque valleys, meandering rivers and a rich biodiversity. Various Himalayan towns display this work of nature that leaves visitors stumped each time when they drop by in these cities. Keeping this in mind, we have put together a list of places to be explored in Himalayas and the places to stay in Himalayas.
Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir
A quaint town situated in Kashmir, ‘the paradise on earth’, Gulmarg is known for its pristine beauty – lush green pastures, deep ravines and snowcapped peaks. So pretty is this city that it has allured quite a few famous Bollywood film makers and actors to shoot their movies here. Some of the most visited tourist sites include Maharani Temple, which was built by the Dogra Kings. Alpathar Lake, a sanctuary of solitude, is an equally beautiful spot. Besides these visual treats, Gulmarg also has a few other surprises lined for its visitors such as skiing, snowboarding and trekking.
Situated in the cradle of the verdant landscape of the famous Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, Binsar is endowed with a plethora of jewels. Its sky high peaks and tourist places like ‘Zero Point’ offer panoramic views of eminent nearby towns like Kedarnath, Nanda Devi and Nanda Kot. Those who are looking for a dose of spirituality, Kasar Devi temple and Bineshwar Mahadev temple are a must visit. You can also embark on a journey to Jalna, a small hamlet, which is famous for its orchards.
Known fondly as the ‘queen of hills’, Mussoorie is the ultimate summer retreat for vacationers. Lying in the lap of nature, it houses a plethora of tourist attractions such as the icy cold water of Kempty Falls, Sir George Everest House (the famous man after whom Mt. Everest is named) and Lal Tibba (the highest peak in the city). Lake Mussoorie is another favourite of the locals. The place also houses the celebrated Jwalaji Temple. One of the good places to stay in this city is Royal Orchid Fort Resort. With a multi-cuisine restaurant and well-appointed rooms, the hotel is a refreshing sojourn for travellers.
Darjeeling, West Bengal
Known all over the world for its fragrant ‘Darjeeling tea’, which is cultivated along steps (or ‘duars’), Darjeeling is a charming town. It houses quite a few iconic tourist places, including Mount Kanchenjunga (India’s highest peak), Ghoom Monastery (Darjeeling’s oldest monastery), Padmaja Naidu Zoo (the only site to house the Siberian Tigers in India) and ‘Toy Train’ (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). The tranquil environs of Senchal Lake, Nightingale Park’s musical fountains and The Rock Garden are equally notable points of interest.
A vibrant city, which is bustling with life, Gangtok houses a montage of tourist attractions like Tsomgo Lake and Ban Jhakri Falls. Enchey Monastery and Ganesh Tok are some places of interest for those who wish to indulge in spirituality. Adventure lovers can visit River Teesta for white water rafting. Shopaholics must visit M.G. Road to take back souvenirs for their folks.
So, ditch the clichéd holiday destinations like Goa this summer and beat the heat as you cool off in these Himalayan cities.