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Here are some the key areas worth a visit in the Indian Himalaya

Ladakh

Over the years Ladakh has been synonym for “Little Tibet”. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that it is the most well preserved region today influenced by Tibetan culture. Surrounded by high Himalayan and Karakoram peaks the region has got plenty of activity options to whet your appetite.

The region boasts of fantastic landscapes, pristine high altitude lakes of Tsoker , Tsomoriri and Pangong are just eye catching. There are a number of monasteries with their unique location and architecture symbolising the rich Buddhist heritage.

( Best time to visit: June to September )

Dharamshala and Kullu Valley

Nestled in the beautiful hills of Dauladhar mountains lies this epic spot called McLeodgunj – erstwhile hills station during the days of the British Raj. Today this place is home to the refugee population of the people of Tibet and also the houses the residence of H.H Dalai Lama.

This alone is not the reason pulling travellers to this region, the nearby hills provide some of the best treks passing through lush green hamlets, waterfalls and tribes. And yes not to forget the tea plantations in the Kangra valley.

Not far from Dharamshala lies the Kullu valley, with the towns of Kullu and Manali, very popular alpine town for Hippies is the seventies and haven for backpackers.

( Best time to visit: June to September )

Spiti

Located south to Ladakh, the Spiti has lot of similarities with Ladakh itself. But the remoteness of this region makes it more of a virgin territory to be explored and being less touristy there are just more reasons to visit if you want to get away a bit in to the unknown. There are many beautiful monasteries like Tabo, Ki & Kibber. A good destination for mountain biking, home stay treks.

(Best time to visit: June to September )

Garhwal and Kumaun

The region lies south west to Nepal and is home to a number of National parks, rivers and mountain peaks. The famous towns are Nainital – a hill station since the Raj days and Auli – destination for winter sports. The region is famous for Nanda Devi bio-reserve which is home to a number of species of flora and fauna. Mt. Nanda Devi 7816m (second highest in India) is one of the spectacular peak dominating most trekking paths. A number of small villages and beautiful hamlets are spread through the region which can be accessed by trek. Another important place in the region is the Jim Corbet National park known for Tigers.

( Best time to visit: April-May and September-October )

Rishikesh

Home to a number of Hindu Temples and Ashrams (Hindu Monasteries). The town on the banks of river Ganges offers some great experience for the admirers, this is the place for first hand experience on Hinduism. Over the years it has grown as an important place for practising Yoga and Spiritual teachings. The location of Rishikesh and surrounding area provides the best atmosphere for yoga enthusiasts and is ideal to have a reclaim yourself on a holiday.

( Best time to visit: September to May )

Darjeeling and Sikkim

Geographically both Darjeeling and Sikkim are similar to Nepal and also the local culture is identical to that of Nepal. For long Darjeeling has been famous among travellers due to the Himalayan Toy train and being one of the Hill Stations established by the British during the days of the Raj. And the influences of the era can be found in the local architecture, some heritage hotels in the region stand witness for it.

The area is known for its Tea plantations and the famous Darjeeling tea. There are also ample opportunities for walkers from hiking to trekking . One can have breathtaking views Mt. Kanchenjunga 8586m (third highest mountain in the world)and the other peaks on a clear day from Darjeeling or Gangtok city or a better way walking the Singalila ridge. The warm of people makes an added advantage to visit the region. North Sikkim is a bit remote but is home to some well kept monasteries and Himalayan lakes.

( Best time to visit: February-April and September-October )

Srinagar

Often referred to as ‘paradise on earth’ in the local folklore, and the same wouldn’t be an understatement given the suitable location. The city lies in a valley surrounded by Himalayan and Karakorum ranges, alpine terrain and pine trees. It is an ideal get way offering wonderful views from the famous Dal Lake. Its more famous for the house boat accommodation and the ‘Shikara’ boat rides on the lake and the beautiful Mughal Gardens

( Best time to visit: March to November )

Sunderbans

A UNESCO World Heritage site due to its ecology, the area lies on the eastern side of the state of West Bengal bordering Bangladesh. The location is on the flood plains of Bengal within a delta, it is covered by dense forest of Mangroves and is home to the famous Royal Bengal Tiger along with at least hundred species of mammals, reptiles and birds. For wild life lovers it is the probably a Mecca.

( Best time to visit: September to February )