Get away from it all in one of the most beautiful and spiritual regions of India.
The world’ highest mountain range, the awe-inspiring Himalayas were named ‘Abodes of Snow’ by ancient pilgrims who travelled here centuries ago. From activity to relaxation, spiritual ceremonies and colonial history, this lesser-known part of India offers a wealth of possibilities to visitors.
One of the most famous places in this region is the town of Rishikesh. Known as an important pilgrimage site for Hindus, it is nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, on the banks of the river Ganges. It is the gateway to several remote temples in the mountains on the famous Chota Char Dam pilgrimage circuit. One of the most special experiences here is the Ganga Ararati ceremony which occurs each evening. Watch as dishes filles with candles and flowers float down the river as the day draws to the close and bells toll across the town.
The town is also a great spot for thrill seekers with many activities on offer including white water rafting, zip lining, rock climbing and mountain biking. Start here for several hikes into the Himalayas from day hikes to longer treks through the stunning mountain range.
For those looking for something more relaxing, Rishikesh is also known as the Yoga Capital of the World and is a wonderful place to visit if you want to learn or enhance your practice. Some of the most famous visitors to this region were the Beatles who came to an ashram in 1968 to learn transcendental meditation and subsequently wrote 18 songs that features on The White Album.
Further north into the Himalayas, the town of Shimla is a good starting point for exploring further north into the Himalayas. It was the summer capital of the British Raj and popular with Europeans escaping the intense heat further south. This colonial history is evident today in some of the architecture as well as a railway which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This architecture mixes today with a maze of bazaars and streets in a pedestrianised centre which is a delightful spot to explore.
One of the most remote parts of India is Ladakh, known as Little Tibet due to its cultural and geographical links with the state. Here you will find turquoise lakes, snow-capped mountains and a vast desert. A popular destination for hikers and cyclists, Ladakh also has great spirituality as one of the remaining strongholds of Mahayana Buddhism, the main religion here for around 1000 years. The landscape is dotted with monasteries, their colourful prayer flags distinct in the landscape.