Published: May 29th 2012May 17th 2012
Its that time of the year. As the sun scorches Mother Earth, schools decide to let their children off for some time. What an opportunity it offers – get your family together, pack your bags and off you go! North India is known for experiencing extreme weather: its too hot in the summers and too cold in winters. While snow and chilly winds would confine you indoors in the cold season, its just perfect to explore North India, relax in a hill station, make a religious trip and much more.
Scoff aside all that you hear about the ‘Switzerland of India’ and book your tickets for Kashmir. While the rest of India is reporting rising levels of mercury, snow greets you in Gulmarg, even at this time of the year. Kashmir is every poet’s object of love, every traveller’s dream. Visit the sprawling apple orchards, picturesque Cheshmashahi Gardens or the tranquil Dal Lake. Stay like a prince in the house boats, take a ride across the valleys in ropeways suspended in almost thin air!
If you have time, you may visit the holy shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi in Jammu. The journey may be difficult, but the view on the way is breathtaking. You may take a ride on the helicopter service if you wish.
The Himalayan Range borders the northern edge of India like a fortress. The significance of this mountainous range is reflected in our mythology, climatology and much more. Many a popular tourist destination, trekker’s pardise, family getaways, architectural hubs are scattered all across.
Visit Leh and Ladakh
for an experience of a lifetime. You would literally be on top of the world, because Leh is the highest habitation in India. The road gets choked due to snow, so you must make the most of it while the access to this paradise is still available. You may love to ride to Leh or Ladakh on your bike, but your bike is a powerful one.
A popular hill station that comes to one’s mind when Himachal Pradesh
is mentioned is Shimla. As one tells you how beautiful the city had been once upon a time, you may have heard that too much tourist influx has resulted in rapid development and the views are lost. Well, don’t go by these rumours. Being the state capital, Shimla is indeed an activity centre, but it is a wonderful place to visit as well. During the British Rule, the capital was shifted here during the summers. Today the Hon’ble President of India visits Shimla once every year for a break from her responsibilities.
There are number of tourist destinations around Shimla, the latest addition to which is the 108 feet high statue of Lord Hanuman at Jakhoo temple. Inaugrated in 2010, the statue faces the town below and can be seen from anywhere around.
is famous for the beautiful Golden Temple, the holy gurudwara of the Sikhs. The shrine sprawls over a large area, and has a huge water tank in the middle of it. In the centre stands the grand golden structure. The serenity of the view sooths your psyche, and the religious part of your soul receives a strong impetus. You may take a dip in the holy waters, but be careful of the large goldfish that swim around freely. The complex is impeccably clean, and common man is encouraged to participate in the daily functions of the Gurudwara.
At a stone’s throw away distance is Jalianwala Bagh, a historical site where a massacre hand taken place during the pre-independence days. Don’t miss Wagah Border, where a shiver runs down your spine when you see a gate, marking the Pakistan border right in front. Political boundaries suddenly come to life. Its strange that we can walk up to a certain limit, they can progress till another, and a land in between that is no one’s. One wrong step across would cause war. Watch the Retreat ceremony on the Indian side, where the flag is folded respectfully at the end of the day, for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
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