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5 Family Trips In India That Will Make It Straight To Your Wishlist


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Duration: 5 Days

Here is a list of five, five-days trips you may take during the summer vacation with your family. Places selected are from the states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu and our union territory- Lakshadweep. There are lots of combinations/options suggested, which one may select as per ones preference. This article is extremely detailed. All you need to do now, is simply book, pack and move. 

Trip 1

DALHOUSIE – KHAJJAR – CHAMBA

For a perfect 5 day getaway, the above route is recommended in the splendid Chamba region. One will be able to experience everything here. Right from religious spots to wild life sanctuary, adventure day out to natural springs.

Weather- The average temperature during the summer months of April and May is between 13 degrees to 26 degrees.

Suggested itinerary - 2 nights in Dalhousie, 1 day tour in Khajjar, proceed to Chamba by evening and then 2 nights in Chamba. One may also opt for 2 nights in Dalhousie, 1 night in Kajjar and 1 night in Chamba. Since the distance between the three locations is not much, the trip won’t be very hectic and can be enjoyed as per ones convenience and preference.

Blessed with abundance of picturesque landscapes and snow dripping mountains, DALHOUSIE is one of the recommended tourist destinations. It is situated at an altitude of 1828 meters that extends even higher.

Photos of Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh, India 1/1 by Krupa Shah

To reach Dalhousie by rail, one has to take a train to Pathankot, which is just 78 km away from the city and is well connected with metro cities. Pathankot airport is located at 75 km, Gaggal airport is located at 135 km and Jammu airport is located at 180 km from Dalhousie. Closer the airport, lesser is the frequency of the flights.

Things to see in Dalhousie

1- Panchpulla is a waterfall, where five streams come together. It is 3.5 km from Gandhi chowk. Head over for various activities like camping, trekking and boating.

2- St. John Church is the oldest church in the town and assumes not only religious significance, but has much historical significance too. A library neighbors the church, where one can find a lot of books.

3- Subhash Baoli is a perennial spring which has medicinal properties. It is located 1 km away from Gandhi Chowk and is an ideal spot for picnics and evening strolls.

4- St Patrick’s Church is a 104 years old church, which lies at a distance of 2 km from Dalhousie. Several Devotees flock to this church and are awestruck by its splendour.

5- Satdhara is situated at 2035 meters above ocean level, and offers a tranquil environment to all its visitors. The water from this fall is said to have medical properties and healing powers. The fall is based on the Panchpula route.

6- Ganji Pahari is s a good one hour trek from the main town. One can enjoy some cool breeze and a beautiful view of the mountains here. It’s a panoramic picnic spot.

7- Bara Pathar is located at a distance of 4 km from Dalhousie, on the route of Kalatop. Many tourists come here to visit the Bhuwali Mata’s temple, positioned in the village of Ahla.

8- Bakrota Hills is located only 5 kms away from Dalhousie at an altitude of 2085 meters above sea level. There is a beautiful Bakrota Mall in the hills, which offers a 5km walk around the hill. One must visit this place to catch a glimpse of the snow peak mountains.

9- Shivkul is a famous ashram of Vimala Thakur , an eminent religious philosopher and social reformer. It is located on Mall road.

10- Shopping- If you want to buy unique handicrafts and experience local talent, then Gandhi Chowk is filled with various markets and shops; ranging from The Tibetan Market to the Himachal Handloom Industry.

Stay in Dalhousie -

• Indraprastha Resorts

• Grand view

• Aamod Dalhousie

• Lall Ji Tourist Resort

• Snow Valley Resort

KHAJJAR is reffered as the “mini Switzerland” of India. It is a small town, located at 22 km from east Dalhousie and is at an altitude of 6500 feet. It is a small plateau surrounded by green meadows, dense forest and beautiful temple. This region is favourite among the adventure seekers, and Paragliding is something which cannot be missed.

Photos of Khajjiar, Himachal Pradesh, India 1/1 by Krupa Shah

One can reach Khajjar from Dalhousie by a local bus or a private taxi.

Things to see in Khajjar-

1- Khajjar Lake & Ground is situated at a height of 1920 m above sea level. The lake is considered as a holy lake because of its association with the idol of Khajji Nag temple. It covers an area of 5000 sq yards. One may also try Zorbing here. If you stand on the Khajjar ground, you will be able to view Mount Kailash.

2- Khajji Nag Temple was built in 12 century AD. The temple is located near the lake and is believed to be the holiest one in Himachal Pradesh

3- Khajjar villages are popular for its beautiful & small villages like Rota, Ladi etc are situated on the slopes. These villages are quite near to the ground of Khajjar and are popular of Apple orchards.

4- Golden Devi Temple is situated at the edge of the Khajjar , and is a major attraction due to the golden spire of the temple.

5- At Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary one can see species like deer, jackal, leopard, black bear, wild cats, Himalayan black marten and others. It is spread over an area of 19.63 sq km. One may also opt to hike 10 km from Kalatop down to Khajjar with the help of a guide.

6- Dainkund is the highest peak in the area watching over the beautiful pine laid landscapes of Dalhousie. It is situated 10 km away from Dalhousie at a great height of 2755 m above sea level. One can get a panoramic view of the hills and rivers below from here.

*Kalatop and Dainkund are on the way to Khajjar and can be visited from Dalhousie too.

Stay in Khajjar-

• Hotel Mini Swiss

• The Devdar

• Shining Star resort

Sitting at the height of over 996 meters on the bank of the river Ravi, CHAMBA has become a destination of choice for many tourists visiting Himachal Pradesh. It's the valley of milk and honey, which is commonly known for its streams, temples, meadows, paintings and lakes.

Photos of Chamba, Himachal Pradesh, India 1/1 by Krupa Shah

One can reach Chamba from Khajjar by a local bus or private taxi. It is located at a distance of 24km for Khajjar.

Things to see in Chamba

1- Lakshmi Narayan Temple is the oldest and largest temple in Chamba, and built in the shape of a Shikhara.

2- Chamunda Devi Temple features impressive carvings of Chamunda Devi Durga in her wrathful aspect and superior views of Chamba and Ravi valley.

3- Chamera Lake-Tranquility is just a by product of visiting Chamera Lake, as the tourists rave about how they can't get enough of the beauty. The squeaky cleanliness in air, makes the place unforgettable. Do go for a boat ride. Chamera lake is at a distance of aprox 37 kms from Dalhousie as well as Chamba. From khajjar it is located at 53 kms.

4- Rang Mahal(shopping) is a perfect place for handicraft lovers. Exquisite shawls and handkerchiefs woven on wooden looms are a treasure to get back home. Do buy the famous pickles of Chamba from the Emporium.

5- Chaugan (shopping) is where you can find all sorts of stone and metal artifacts, which make lovely souvenirs, and the famous Chamba and Kangra paintings.Don't forget to pick up the famous Chamba chappals (slippers) as well.

6- Originally written pages from the Mahabharata and the Upanishads, polular Basholi and Kangra style paintings are on display at Bhuri Singh Meuseum, apart from the rare brass and copper engraved coins and such artifacts.

7- Akhand Chandi palace was built between 1747 and 1765 by Raja Umedh Singh.The building’s architecture is a fine blend between the Mughal and the British style of architecture. The building was later converted into a government college and a Library.

*If one prefers to go ahead of the Chamba town, then they may visit the Manimahesh lake and Saach pass. Both are located in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas at an elevation of 4000 plus meters

Stay in Chamba-

• Hotel Ashiana Regency

Trip 2

LAKSHADWEEP

Photos of Lakshadweep, India 1/1 by Krupa Shah

Located at 220 to 440 km off the Malabar coast of Kerala, lies the spectacular Lakshadweep. This location is apt for a family holiday, where one can enjoy the serene nature, relax, unwind and spend some quality time with each other. Time will slow down, and so will your breathing pattern.

Lakshadweep enjoys a tropical weather, and the temperature ranges between 27 degree C to 32 degree C. Ideal time to visit is October to mid- May. One must consider this option to explore the white sandy beaches, sea- green water, aquamarine life, underwater flora and fauna and adrenaline thrilling aquatic experiences.

Lakshadweep is a cluster of 36 palm covered coral islands. It is has 12 atolls, 3 reefs and 5 submerged banks. Out of the 36 islands, only 10 are inhabited and only 5 can be visited by the tourists.-Aggati, Kadmat, Kalpeni, Kavaratti and Minicoy. Bangaram is a non-inhabited island which is open for visit purpose. One may also visit the other non-inhabited islands- Parali I, PArali II and Tinnakare from here.

How to Reach- One can reach Lakshadweep from Kochi by ships or flight. Indian Airlines operates flight from Kochi to Agatti From Agatti boats are available to Kavaratti and Kadmat from October to May. Helicopter facility is available for transfer from Aggati to Kavaratti .The flight from Cochin to Agatti takes approximately 1hr 30mins.

Six passenger ships operates between Cochin and Lakshadweep. The passage takes 14 to 18 hours depending on island chosen for journey. http://lakport.nic.in/ship_SeatsAvailClassWise_v2.aspx. This link can be used to know the ship’s schedule and booking.

Tour packages- http://lakshadweeptourism.nic.in/web7.htm & http://www.lakshadweeptourism.com/tourpackages.html. Following are the tour packages readily available on the sites, if one selects to explore Lakshadweep by ship mode. All details- ship name, departure date, detailed itinerary, room category and package cost are mentioned.

Authorised Travel agents- http://www.lakshadweeptourism.com/agents.html Here is a list of travel agents who can help you

Photos of  1/1 by Krupa Shah

Highlights of each of the tourist approved islands

1- Kavaratti is the most developed island, has 52 mosques and the most beautiful one is Urja mosque. Marine life exhibit at the marine aquarium and a vast collection of specimens at the museum can be visited. One may engage in several water activities like kayaking, glass bottomed boat, snorkeling, wind surfing, scuba-dive and yacht sailing. Suggested package- Coral reef & Taratashi.

2- Kalpeni has the largest lagoon among Lakshadweep islands. The lagoon is relatively shallow and ideal for all kinds of water sports. Kalpeni with the small islets Tilakkam, Pitti and the uninhabited Cheriyam with sparkling lagoon in between them are known for its scenic beauty. Koomel, the gently curving bay offers tourists facilities like bath huts, change rooms etc. You can swim, or engage yourself in water sports. Kayaks, SailBoats, Pedal Boats are available on hire. Included in package- Coral reef

3- Minicoy is isolated from the main group of islands and lies about 200 kms south of the northern group. It is 10.6 km long. Minicoy has one of the largest lagoons and is renowned for its tradition dance - the Lava performed on festive occasions. Colourful race boats called "Jahadhoni" are a feast to the eye of any tourist. Mahl is the spoken language. Minicoy is an important center for tuna fishing and a tuna-canning factory .The beaches have bathing huts with change rooms and facilities for water sports are available. Included in package Package- Coral reef & Swaying palm.

4- Kadmat is 8 km long and only 550 metres wide at its broadest point. In addition to the beautiful shallow lagoon on the west, which is ideal for water sports, there is a narrow lagoon on the east The main attractions are the long sandy beaches and sand banks on the southern tip. A Water Sports Institute functions on the island. Marine Wealth Awareness Package allows to spend 2-4 days on the island enjoying the rich bounty of nature. Variety of fishes like rays, sharks, and clear water with 20-50 meter visibility makes it an unparalleled dive destination for scuba divers. M/s Lacadives , Mumbai operates a full-fledged scuba diving center at Kadmat.

5- Agatti has one of the most beautiful lagoons in Lakshadweep. The airport is built on this island. From the aircraft, as one approaches for a landing, one gets a breath-taking view of the airstrip on the island. Agatti is the virtual gateway to the islands.

6- Bangaram-Bangaram is a tiny teardrop shaped island, which lies very close to Agatti and Kavaratti. The tourist resort on this island provides an amazing opportunity for guests to unwind from the pressures and tensions of modern life. Two small islands of Thinnakara and Parali also lie close to Bangaram enclosed by the same lagoon. During the night, phosphorescent plankton washed ashore on the coral sands impart a bluish glow to the beach, which is totally enchanting. Guests to this resort can either avail of the boat transfer or helicopter transfer from Agatti. Being the only uninhabited island resort in Lakshadweep it has got its own charm. Alcohol consumption is allowed only on this island.

Photos of Bangaram, Lakshadweep, India 1/1 by Krupa Shah

Scuba diving- Scuba diving facilities are available at Kavaratti , Bangaram and Kadmat. SPORTS operates the scuba diving center at Kavaratti. Laccdives, Mumbai operates the scuba diving centers at Kadmat and Bangaram.

In India, anyone wanting to try their hand at the sport must take along a medical certificate stating that they are medically fit, and that they have no history of asthma.

Permit- A tourist intending visit Lakshadweep should obtain a prior permit exemption.

E- permit website- http://lakshadweep.nic.in/permit/login.htm

Getting around-Inter island ferry operates from Agatti to most of the island. For island hopping and inter-island transfers speed boats and chopper services are the only options .You can also rent out a bike to explore the bigger island like Kadmat or Kavarrati.

Recommended Itinerary: So if one is planning to visit by ship, then a list of pre-decided itinerary is available. The best one is the coral reef, where one explores three important islands- Minicoy,Kavaratti and Kalpeni. It is the ideal 5 days tour. The ship will be taking the passenger to different islands, and the travellers will be staying in the ship itself.

If one is planning to come by air and land at Agatti then following is recommended.

Option 1-

2 nights in Bangaram and 2 nights at Thinnakara ( day trips to Agatti and Pareli 1&2).

• Agatti to Bangaram by boat-30mins to 1 hour (depending on the boat) 16kms

• Bangaram to Pareli 1&2-20 to 40 mins depending on the boat)

• Agatti to Thinnakara- 20 to 40 mins by boat (depending on the boat)

Option 2-

2 nights in Kadmat and 2 nights in Kavaratti, 1 day excursion in Bangaram. (It is a triangle).

• Bangaram lies between Agatti and Kadmat.

• Agatti-14kms-Bangaram-62kms Kadmat.

• Kadmat-76kms-Kavaratti-60kms-Agatti.

Option 3-

2 nights Kadamat and 2 nights Kalpeni. I day excursion at Bangaram from Kadamat.

• Agatti-14kms-Bangaram-62kms Kadamat

• Kadamat-160kms-Kalpeni-180kms- Agatti

Photos of  1/1 by Krupa Shah

Distances between the islands-

• Aggati to Bangaram- 14km

• Bangaram to Kadmat- 62 km

• Agatti to Kadmat- 78 km

• Kavaratti to Kadmat- 76km

• Agatti to Kavaratti- 60km

• Kadmat to Kalpeni- 160 km

• Kalpeni to Kavaratti- 123 km

• Kalpeni to Agatti- 180 km

• Kalpeni to Minicoy- 210 km

• Minicoy to Kavaratti- 180 km

One may plan the itinerary keeping the distance to be covered and time taken to reach each destination. End of the trip one has to return to Agatti to take a flight back. Ideally for a 5 day trip, any two island along with a day excursion to a nearby island is recommended.

Accommodation-

One will have to select between local guest houses and few private run resorts. In some of the islands the options are as limited as one, and are run by SPORTS (Lakshadweep tourism). Some islands have no stay options, and are to be visited only as a day tour.

The Bangaram Island Resort, Bangaram, the Lakshadweep Institute of Water Sports, Kadmat and the Twenty Bedded Tourist home, Agatti are presently operated by private entrepreneurs on lease.

The Twenty Bedded Tourist Home at Minicoy has started functioning. The Twelve Bedded Tourist Home at Kadmat is presently run by SPORTS on lease.

The tourists huts in the tourist focal Islands of Kavaratti, Kadmat, Kalpeni and Minicoy are looked after by SPORTS. Apart from these huts three private cottages at Minicoy are operated by local entrepreneurs.

SPORTS has been recognized an agency for the promotion of tourism in Lakshadweep. It has got its staff trained in various disciplines of water sports. In the absence of any restaurants in Lakshadweep, this SPORTS has been running restaurants for the tourists in every tourists focal Islands.

Trip 3

NAINITAL- ALMORA- BINSAR-KASAUNI-RANIKHET

Like Himachal Pradesh, this state has abundance of natural beauty, pleasant climate and a perfect family getaway to offer. Loads of tourists flock here during the summer season, to bid good-bye to the scorching heat

Photos of Uttarakhand, India 1/1 by Krupa Shah

Suggested Itineraries- For a five days getaway, following routes are suggested.

• Nainital >62km (2hrs)>Almora > 46km (1hr 50 mins) >Ranikhet> 59km(1hour 40 mins) > Nainital

• Nainital > 62km (2hrs) > Almora > 24km (1 hour 20 mins)> Binsar > 85km(3 hrs)> Nainital

• Nainital8> 5km (3 hrs)> Binsar> 66km(2hrs 20 mins)>Ranikhet> 59km(1hr 42mins) > Nainital

• Nainital > 114 km(3hours 30 mins)> Kasauni>59km(1hour 42mins)> Almora> 62 km(2 hrs) > Nainital

• Nainital > 114 km(3hours 30 mins)> Kasauni > 59km(1hr 50 mins)> Ranikhet> 59km(1hour 40 mins)> Nainital

• Nainital >114 km(3hours 30 mins)> Kasauni> 62km (2hrs 15mins)>Binsar > 85kms(3hrs)> Nainital

Out of the listed 5 places- Nainital, Almora, binsar, Kasauni and Ranikhet, one may select any 3 places. Stay can be opted for 2 places and the third place may be a day tour from the nearest location. If one is not interested in staying in the mainstream hill station- Nainital, then Bhowali may be opted. It is 11 km away from Nainital. The other option is Pangot- a birdwatcher’s paradise located at a distance of 15 km from Nainital. If you are in a mood to take it really easy, then skip the day tour. Enjoy 2 nights each, in any of the two locations.

How to Reach-

The closest airport is in Pantnagar which is 63.8km from Nainital. The closest railway station is in Kathgodam and is at a distance of 17kms from Nainital. To come via bus or car, One may opt an onward journey from Delhi, which is at a distance of 320 km (9 hrs) to Nainital.

NAINITAL

Photos of Nainital, Uttarakhand, India 1/1 by Krupa Shah

A quiet little valley at an elevation of about 2084m with a centrally located lake, it is also one of the most visited hill stations in North India. The most recommended thing to do in Nainital is regain the lost peace, eat, shop and sit by the lake.

Things to see in Nainital-

1- Naini lake- This pear shaped lake is the heart of Nainital. One may enjoy boating, paddling & yachting here. Lake is surrounded by seven verdant hills and is a perfect spot to view the sunset.

2- Naina peak-This peak gives a panoramic view of the snow capped Himalayas, and a bird’s eye view of the Nainital city. This peak is also famous for trekking and horse riding.

3- Tiffin top-Perched at a height of 2290 m, this place is perfect for apicnic and to observe the quaint hill town.

4- Mall road- A perfect place for the shopaholics. One could stroll here for hours. It is a perfect tourist spot with all the facilities available- banks, restaurants, shops and hotels.

5- Snow viewpoint- The viewpoint offers mesmerizing views of the snow clad peaks of the majestic Himalayan range. The peak is connected by roads and an aerial ropeway. Most people also opt to trek to the point and enjoy the views of snow-capped hills like Nanda Kot and Nanda Devi.

6- Nainital zoo-The zoo contains several exotic and endangered species of animals and birds which are native to this region.. Since it is nestled at an altitude of 2100 meters, various birds and animals have made it their beloved habitat.

7- Governor house is one of the most luxe places to visit in Nainital. Its Gothic-style architecture was inspired by the Buckingham Palace.

8- Naina devi temple-It is believed that Goddess Sati’s eyes fell at the exact same spot where this temple stands, which attracts a great number of devotees. The temple is situated at the top of Naina Hill.

9- Eco cave garden-.The park comprises of seven caves which can be reached through a narrow and winding road.

10- Bhimtal Lake-This lake is located about 20 km from Nainital. It is located at an altitude of 1370 m, below Nainital. The lake is a scenic spot, less crowded and offers splendid views.

11- Pangot- Pangot is a small picturesque hamlet famous for its jungles and bird. It is located at a distance of 15 km from Nainital, and at an altitude of 6300 feet. It is a birdwatcher’s paradise with more than 500 species of birds.

Stay In Nainital-

• The Naini Retreat

• Shervani Hiltop

• Aamari

• Nainital Bhawanipur Green

• The Manu Maharani Hotel

• Chevron Fairhavens

ALMORA

Almora is known for its picturesque landscape, view of the Himalayas, unique handicrafts and delicious cuisine. Several tourists flock to this beautiful hub of Kumoan region. It is situated at an altitude of 1650 m and resembles a horse shoe from a distance.

Things to see in Almora-

1- Situated 9km from Almora is Chitai Golu temple, which is considered to be the most sacred Golu devta temple of the region.

2- Located at a distance of 2 km from Almora is Bright End Corner. It is famous for the spectacular dusk to dawn view.

3- Martola is located at a distance of 10 km and is surrounded by thick woodlands and well manicured garden. Mesmerised by its beauty, several foreigners have settled here.

4- Kalimat is a fairy tale hamlet located at a distance of 5 km.

5- A naturally magnificent Deer park is located at a distance of 3 km fom Almora.

6- Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant Meuseum is located on the mall road.

7- Simtola is located at the opposite side of the horse shoe ridge and offers panoramic view of the misty valley. It is a great picnic spot.

8- Perched at an elevation of 2116m, at a distance of 19km from Almora lies Katarmal Sun temple. This temple boasts of intricate carving, wooden doors and panels..

9- Another small hamlet is Kasar Devi village famous for its temple located at a distance of 8km from Almora.

10- In the heart of the Almora city lies Nanda Devi temple. Visited by several Hindu pilgrims, this temple is considered to be protecting the Kumoan region and the areas around it

A village walk is highly recommended. A must try food item are local Kumoani sweets- Bal mithai and Singauri. Shawls made of angora wool (rabbit) are very famous.

Stay In Almora-

• Imperial Heights

• Ayurvaid Kalmatia

• Anant Rasa

• The Himalayan woods

• Kasaar Jungle resort

RANIKHET

Photos of Ranikhet, Uttarakhand, India 1/1 by Krupa Shah

Situated at a height of 1,829 meters, with an area of 21.76 sq. km Ranikhet has too much to offer to the visitors - a healthy climate, tall coniferous trees, vast green meadows, tranquil surroundings, perfect peace and warm, open-hearted people. Ranikhet is a cantonment town.

Things to see in Ranikhet-

1-10 km south of Ranikhet are the famous fruit-laden orchards of Chaubatia. These orchards are known for delicious apples of several exclusive varieties, apricots, peaches and various other alpine fruits.

2-One of the highest golf courses famous in India is situated close to the Upat Kalika temple, about 6 km from the Ranikhet town. It is an army golf course, but civilians can also access it

3- Majkhali is a small hemlet, located at 12km from Ranikhet town. It is known for its several picnic spots and Kali temple.

4- The Bhalu dam is located 3 km from Chaubatioa, and is only 1 km trek from Ranikhet. The surrounding views are mesmerizing. It is a good location for camping and picnic.

5- Tarikhet village is a quaint little hamlet, about 8 km from Raniket. It is famous for its huts-Gandhi kuti, where Mahatma Gandhi stayed during freedom struggle days.

6- At an elevation of 1510 m lies Dwarahat which means”way to heaven”. It is known for its group of 55 ancient temples. It is located at a distance of 33km from Ranikhet.

7- Dunagiri temple is located at a distance of 14km from Dwarahat. It is believed that when Hanumanji was carrying the mountain”Sanjiwani Buti”, a piece of the mountain fell here. The temple attracts a lot of pilgrims.

8- Mankameshwar temple is located at a distance of 1 km from Raniket. One can also visit a gurudwara and a woollen factory located near the temple.

9- Jhula Devi temple is another temple that can be visited. Located at a distance of 7km from Raniket near Chaubatia.

10- Sayalikhet is yet another small hamlet, located at a distance of 25km from Ranikhet which may be visited for its peaceful surroundings.

Do remove some time and visit these small hamlets. One will be able to understand the worth of life, significance of simple living, human emotions/interactions a tad bit better.

Stay In Ranikhet-

• Chevron Rosemount

• Woodsvilla resort

• Windsor Lodge

BINSAR

Photos of Binsar, Uttarakhand, India 1/1 by Krupa Shah

Binsar is a paradise as it is a home for Binsar wildlife Sanctuary and best Himalayan Flora and Fauna .The main attraction of Binsar is the majestic view of the300 km stretch of the Himalayas. The forest of the Himalayas is perfect for trekking and communicating with the nature.

Things to see in Binsar-

1- Binsar Zero point is the highest vantage point of the Binsar wildlife, where one can get a 360 degrees view of all the Himalayan beauties.

2- Binsar Sanctuary meuseum has all the information related to the wildlife sanctuary.

3- Pariyadeva Pashan is a famous archaeologist site and is known for ancient relics.

4- One may choose to visit temples like- Bineshwar Mahadev temple, Kasar Devi temple(house of hippies and hippie culture) and Gairad Dana Golu.

5- Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary is dense but due to its small size it is easy to spot the animals. There are nearly 200 species residing here. It covers an area of 47.79 sq km.

Stay in Binsar-

• Club Mahindra

• Grand Oak manor

• Suman nature resort

• Binsar Eco resort

KASAUNI

Photos of Kausani, Uttarakhand, India 1/1 by Krupa Shah

The tiny hamlet of Kasauni is really a nature lover’s paradise. It is a dream for the bag packers and an ideal weekend destination for the northern metro cities.

Things to see in Kasauni-

1.-Sumitranandan pant gallery showcases holograph of the poems, text copies of the entire literary work of the famous hindi literature figure- Sumitranandan Pant.

2. Anasakti Ashram is where Gandhiji stayed for two weeks and declared Kasauni as the Switzerland of India. He practiced the Anasaktii yoga here. There is a small prayer room where prayers are held in the morning and the evening.

3. Located at a distance of 12km from Kasani is Rudradhari falls and caves. There is also a small Someshwar temple here.

4. Perched at an elevation of 1800 meters is the Kasauni Tea Estate. It is located at a distance of 5kkm from the main town.It sprawls over an area of 208 hectares. The well flavoured tea is of Kasauni is exported to several foreign countries.

5. Baijnath is an ancient temple on the banks of Gomti river.

6. There are several trekking points in Kasauni for the nature lovers, bird watchers and star gazers.

Where to stay-

• Chevron Eco lodge

• Heritage resort

• Sun N Snow inn

• The Buransh

• Chevron Mountain villa

Trip 4.

COONOR- KOTAGIRI- OOTY

There is something fascinating about South India. For a perfect getaway with the family, here is a route that will leave you refreshed, re-rejuvenated and totally connected with the nature. This route forms an inverted triangle. One starts the journey from Coimbatore to Coonoor, proceeds at an elevation to Kotagiri and then finally reaches Ooty, which is located parallel to Kotagiri. You may also choose to visit Ooty first and then Kootagiri.

Recommended Itinerary-

One may opt to stay for 2 nights at Coonoor, and 2 nights at Kotagiri, with a day tour to Ooty. This is recommended for travelers who wish to stay away from the mainstream hillstation- Ooty. The other option is 2 nights Coonoor and 2 nights Ooty, with a day tour of Kotagiri.

Distance-

• Distance between Coimbatore to Coonoor is 71km (2.5hrs).

• Distance between Coonoor to Kotagiri is 21km (40mins).

• Distance between Coonoor to Ooty is 19km (30mins)

• Distance between Kotagiri to Ooty is 30hour (1hr).

• Distance between Ooty to Coimbatore is 85km (3hrs).

How to Reach-

• By Bus: Coonoor is well-connected by many National Highways and smaller roads.

• By Train: Coonoor is well-connected with the railway system. Trains to Coonoor are available from all major railway stations in India.

• By Flight: The nearest airport is Coimbatore International airport, which has well-connected flights from all over India.

COONOOR

Photos of Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, India 1/1 by Krupa Shah

Situated at an altitude of 1930 meters, Coonoor is one of the most beautiful and serene hill stations you will come across in the country. It has a delightful location to get a panoramic view of the Nilgiri Hills and the Catherine Falls.Due to its rich greenery, the manicured hills, the Colonial culture and amazing sceneries, you will be left mesmerized in its eternal beauty.

Things to see in Coonoor-

1- Sim’s park-The botanical garden houses more than 1000 species of different plants and trees .It is divided into eight sections with the one with Sholas.

2- Located at a distance of 10 km from Coonoor, Dolphin’s nose is a must visit to get a panaromic view og f the Nilgiri hills and Catherine falls.

3- Lamb’s rock is at a distance of 8 km from Coonoor and is on the way to Dolphin’s nose. It provides a spectacular view of the hills.

4- A beautiful picnic destination in the lap of nature is Laws falls. It is located at a distance of 7 km from outside the town of Coonoor.

5- One can shop exquisite artifacts, antique products, pretty embroidered shawls, apparels, Toda jewellery and handicrafts items,several varieties of aromatic tea,organic products like honey and freshly prepared fruit jams,homemade chocolates,pure lavender and eucalyptus oil,Irish and Belgian table sets, Indian handlooms, beautiful linens and shadow worked bed sheets from the handicraft emporiums in the vicinity.

6- St. George's Church is a work-of-art in the history of Coonoor. A number of travelers from across the world come here to see the beauty of this magnificent church.

7- The Hidden Valley, nestled in the beautiful hills of Coonoor, is splashed with a lush, green landscape and with the enchanting mountain-views at the backdrop, every footstep seems a marvel.

8- Highfield tea factory is a 50-year-old factory takes visitors on a short guided tour where they get to witness the tea-making process—right from growing to brewing—before ending with a tasting.

Stay In Coonoor-

• Kurumba Village

• Neemrana’s Wallwood garden

• MGM hillworth Resort

• The Gateway Hotel

• Tea Nest

KOTAGIRI

Situated at an elevation of 5,882 ft, the hill station is located in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu. The name Kotagiri means ‘mountains of the Kotas’- home of Kota tribe.

Things to see in Kotagiri-

1- St. Catherine Falls is situated around the sphere surrounding of Coonoor. It is located 8km from Kotagiri, at a height of 250 feet and has a special place in the heart of the visitors.

2- A beautiful view awaits you here at Kodanand View Point which looks over a splendid sight of Rangaswamy Peak, Dolphin's Nose, Catherine Fall and Rangaswamy Pillar. It Is located nearly 16 kms from Kotagiri

3- Longwood Shola is a place that offers tourists a wide spectrum of Kotagiri's wilderness in its full prime. A dense and a thick cover of evergreen forest, the place inhabits animals like flying fox and Indian Bison.

4- Elk Falls is situated about 7km from Kotagiri .The surroundings of the falls are equally entrancing as the fall itself.

5- Considered to be a sacred hill, Rangasamy Hill houses a holy shrine devoted to Lord Rangasamy. Situated a distance of 20 km from Kotagiri and standing at a height of 1785 m above the sea level, the peak serves as a sacred place.Rangasamy Pillar stands upon the peak at the height of 400 feet.

6- Kotagiri offers some of the most picturesque trekking trails in the state. Adorned with beautiful tea estate, lush green surrounding, rumbling rivers and meadows, Kotagiri-Kodanad serves as the most popular trail in the town. Besides this, Catherine Falls and Longwood Shola also offers an opportunity for easy treks.

Stay In Kotagiri-

• Nhar Retreat and Welness Spa

• The Point

• Hanging huts resort

• Green Nest Resort

OOTY

Photos of Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India 1/1 by Krupa Shah

Located at an altitude of 2240 mtrs, Ooty is the headquarters of the Nilgiri district. It is considered as the queen of the hill stations by the tourists. Coffee and tea plantations and trees like- pine,Eucalyptus,Conifers dot the hills of Ooty.

Things to see in Ooty-

1- The Toy Train, covering a distance of total 46 km in a span of 5 hours, takes one through a truly spectacular journey filled with picturesque views en route.

2- The Ooty lake is an artificial lake that stretches behind the Bus stand and forms and irregular "L" shape. It is about 2.75 km in length and 100-140 m in width.

3- Doddabetta peak is the highest known peak in the region of Ooty with its apex standing at 2,623 meters above the sea level. It is hardly 10 km from the Ooty.

4- Rose garden lies in the heart and soul of Ooty. This botanical garden conducts the best flower show of the century and it has the highest amount of rose production in the country.It cultivates a variety of roses.

5- The Thread garden at Ooty is a popular tourist spot that exhibits some of the most magnificent and exquisite collection of artificial flowers and plants, all made by the expert hands of the skilful artists by using JUST thread.

6- Emerald Lake is situated near the Emerald Village in the Nilgiris district.It is located in a region called the silent valley,about 25 kilometers from the Ooty town.

7- Kalhatti Falls is a beautiful waterfall that glides down from a great elevated area of 400 feet. Kalhatti falls is called as 'Bird Watcher's Paradise' as it gives you a bird point view of the whole valley. Elephants visit this lake frequently and is located 13km from Ooty.

8- Ooty forms the perfect base for a number of exciting treks, some long and some short, into the adjoining hills. There are several treks which differ in distance, heights and landscape.

Stay In Ooty-

• Accord Highland Hotel

• Taj Savoy

• Elk Hill

• Sinclairs Retreat

• Gem park

Trip 5.

SHILLONG-CHERRAPUNJEE-DOWKI- MAWLYNNONG

Lush green valleys, spectacular mountains, cascading waterfalls, mesmerizing caves and ancient temples are the promotional factors of the most visited North Eastern destination- Meghalaya. Here culture and nature stay in harmony, with constructive human efforts.

How to Reach?

With the absence of a railway station in Shillong, train passengers can get off at the Guwahati Railway Station from where a distance of 70 km by a taxi completes the journey to Shillong. There is a small airport at Umroi, about 35 km from Shillong.Another convenient airport, the Gopinath Bordoloi Airport in Guwahati (128 km from Shillong) is connected to rest of India with regular flights.

Weather

March to mid May can be considered to visit Meghalaya. If you wish to stay away from the rains, then the ideal summer months of March and April are recommended. Cherrapunjee is perhaps the only place in India, which has just one season: the monsoon. The rainfall varies from heavy to medium to light, but there is no month without rain. Another surprising fact about Cherrapunjee is that it rains mostly at night. Day-to-day activity is not really disrupted by the rain.

Recommended itinerary-

One may stay for 3 nights at Shillong and 1 night at Cherrapunjee. A lot of places may be visited while moving from one location to another. Distance between the two location is 54 km. Since there are several points of interest between the two places, they may be divided between the inward and outward journeys from one destination to another. A day trip to Mawlynnong village is also recommended from Shillong.

SHILLONG

Photos of Shillong, Meghalaya, India 1/1 by Krupa Shah


It is the capital and hill station of Meghalaya, also known as "The Abode of Clouds". It is situated at an average altitude of 4,908 feet (1,496 m) above sea level, with the highest point being Shillong Peak at 1,966 m. It is said that the rolling hills around the town reminded the European settlers of Scotland. Hence, they would also refer to it as the "Scotland of the East".

CHERRAPUNJEE

High above misty valleys and foaming rivers, ensconced in swirling clouds and perched on an escarpment, lies Cherrapunjee (4,500 feet). This is a stunning location and the year-round rain earned Cherrapunjee coveted entry long ago into the Guinness Book of World Records as the wettest place on earth, the place where the rainfall can be recorded in feet rather than in millimeters.Today, climatic changes have edged Cherrapunjee out of the topmost 'wet' slot, but it still retains its pristine beauty, its unusual facets, the perpetual clouds, and the perpetual mist.Appropriately, Cherrapunjee lies in the heart of the State of Meghalaya-the abode of clouds.

Things to see in Shillong (pts 1-10) & Cherrapunjee (pts 11-17)-

1- Shillong Peak is the highest peak of the province of Himalayas, standing at an altitude of 1,965 metre above the sea level. One of the most visited sites of the hill station, this peak provides a breathtaking view of Shillong city and Himalayan ranges. The star-studded night along with the city lights is a treat to witness.

2- Elephant Falls is among most popular tourist sites of the city. The waterfall is located in Upper Shillong area at a distance of 12 km from the capital city of Meghalaya and at a distance of 8 km from Rhino Point, the site can be advanced through public transport. The serene fall is a collection of three smaller falls that combine together to form the stream that falls over fern-covered rocks.

3- Wards Lake is an artificial lake that is enveloped within a widespread garden. Also known as Polok Lake, the water body is located in the middle of the city. The serene horse-shoe shaped lake is frequented by tourists, honeymooners and picnickers. Wards Lake offers numerous recreational activities such as boating, walks along with cobble-stoned paths and fountain dancing.

Along with the Wards Lake is a Botanical Garden that houses an extensive range of exotic plants and flowers.

4- Don Bosco Museum, is a theme museum that has a repository of information on the entire north eastern states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura. The museum exhibits a wide collection of regional artwork, attires, accoutrements, handicrafts, ornamentation, photographs and weapons. Don Bosco Museum is situated within the Sacred Heart Church premises. The museum features seven storey building with seventeen galleries displaying artefacts, paintings and fibreglass items. Besides, the visitors can witness some of the rare dance forms of the Northeast at the top most storey of the museum.

5- Shillong Cathedral is one of the most ancient churches of the region. Heritage monument, known for its beautiful architecture, is a worship place of over 3,00,000 strong catholic in the region.

6- Laitlum Canyons is an upcoming tourist destination at Shillong in Meghalaya. This place is remarkable due to its natural environmental formation.Perched at great heights; it is in fact the edge of a hill which is surrounded by green hills and valleys. The view of grassy plus rocky hills all around and tiny villages far below is really magnificent. Walking down to the valley via an uneven rocky path is rather easy; however the climb uphill is a bit tedious and there is only one shop in the vicinity which offers simple snacks.Laitlum Canyons is not at all crowded and commercialized like other tourist places and is best suited for a secluded and peaceful break from the usual hustle bustle of city life. It is absolutely a paradise for trekkers and nature lovers.

7- Fondly known as the place to record the highest amount of rainfall on the planet, Mawsynram is an enchanting little village situated in the East Khasi Hills district of the state of Meghalaya. Flourishing with healthy green flora and fauna, the village is bound to appeal to the traveller in you, bringing out those suppressed feelings that get buried in our everyday corporate world.The botanical garden at Mawsynram is rich with varied and rare varieties of plants and fruits. If you are a fan of magnificent rock formations, do visit the Dwarksuid – a beautiful pool which is surrounded by eye-catching rocky banks. .

8- Lady Hydari Park encompasses a wide variety of local flowering plants and orchids, and is landscaped in Japanese style.Sprawling over an area of more than a kilometre, the park also features a mini zoo that comprises 73 species of birds, 140 of reptiles and other mammals. Besides, the park also houses a deer abode within it. The best grown blossoms, roses and red rose beds of various colours are the highlights of the park.Along with the garden and zoo, the park premises has a special play area for the children.

9- Meghalaya State Museum is a frequented tourist site that exhibits vast collection of artefacts of tribal era and a collection of ancient scriptures. The museum houses a habitat section displaying living places of tribes, instruments used for day-to-day activities such as hunting and fishing.

10- Mawjymbuin Caves are located at a distance of 56 km from Shillong. These are natural caves with many natural formations inside as well.The major draw here is a giant stalagmite in the shape of a Shivlinga. What adds to the curiosity is the fact that this Shivlinga is constantly bathed in water issuing from a stalactite shaped like a cow's udder.

Pilgrims, geologists, nature lovers, adventure seekers as well as photographers visit the Mawjymbuin Caves. The Mawjymbuin Caves are located near one of the wettest parts of the earth Chirapunjee

Photos of Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, India 1/1 by Krupa Shah

11-Double Decker Living Root Bridge, a root bridge, is located in Tyrna village. Made using Indian Rubber Tree, also known as Ficus Elastica, this bridge is one of the popular attractions of the place. In addition, it is also considered as one of the unique examples of bioengineering. The two–tier bridge is more than 100 ft long, which have a carrying capacity of around 50 people at a time. Having Umshiang River flowing beneath the living root bridges, it has been estimated that these are around 500 to 600 years old.

12- Nohkalikai Waterfalls, located at a distance of 5 km from Cherrapunjee. Falling from a height of 1,100 ft is the fourth highest waterfall in the world.

13- Krem Mawmluh Cave, located at a distance of around half a kilometre to west of Cherrapunjee, is one of the prominent tourist attractions of the destination. In the entire Indian sub-continent this cave is considered as a fourth longest cave with a height of 4,503 m. The entry to this cave is located at a height of 10 ft above sea level. In addition, there is a pool inside the cave, which is formed as a result of five different rivers finding their way inside the cave.

14- Mawsmai Cave has a bit of a reputation among travelers. The place is eerily dark and has cramped and narrow paths entwined with each other, and to add some more thrill into the idea of a cave pitch black in broad daylight, there is just one entry and exit point. The glorious stalagmite and stalactite formations, along with the thrill of adventure is what gives the Mawsmai a big thumbs up.

15- Mawsmai Falls, the fourth highest waterfall in India, is located at a distance of few kilometres from Cherrapunjee.The height of this waterfall is 1,035 ft. This waterfall is also famous by the name of Nohsngithiang Falls(seven sisters fall)

16- The Eco Park has been created in the plateaus. At this Eco Park, tourists can see beautiful orchids growing in abundance in green house. In addition, tourists visiting this eco park can enjoy views of beautiful Sylhet Plains of Bangladesh.

17- Duwan Sing Syiem view point in Cherrapunjee offers a breath taking view of the surrounding mountain range. The typical mountains here are lush green and look like table top.

2 must visit location from Shillong, more like a day trip are-

Photos of  1/1 by Krupa Shah

Umiam Lake is among the popular tourist spots and is 17 km from Shillong. Resembling to the lakes of Scotland, the beautiful lake was formed as a part of building a reservoir. Water complex offers a vast range of activities, which include row boats, kayaking, paddle boats, cruise boats, sailing boats, water scooters and speed boats. Apart from these, visitors can also avail rides of river bus, speed boat and cruising boat. Umiam lake is located in the Nogpoh region.

Photos of Umiam, Meghalaya, India 1/1 by Krupa Shah

• Visit Dowki (Bangladesh border) and Mawlynnong Village, which has been consecutively voted as Asia’s cleanest village. The live root bridge here (Not to be confused with the Double Decker Bridge in Cherrapunjee) is the major attraction for all the visitors. Travellers to this part of Meghalaya vouch for Mawlynnong Village as being one of their most serene and humbling choices for a retreat. It is located at a distance of 90km from Shillong.

Both lie in the opposite directions, hence cannot be clubbed together. 3 nights in Shillong may be divided accordingly.

Bazaars-

Lewduh market or Bara Bazaar enjoys the reputation of being the oldest and largest traditional market of not just Meghalaya but of all of northeast. Bara Bazaar has the distinction of being one of India's rare market places where most of the shops are managed and run by women vendors. The market has separate segments for fruits, vegetables, fish, pork, beef and betel nut. Traditional items like handloom products and ethnic food items are also available in Bara Bazaar. Apart from shopping and souvenir hunt, you can be a part of the local faith by attending the religious ceremonies.

Besides Bara Bazaar, one place that you definitely need to visit is the famous Police Bazaar. It is a mix of the traditional and the modern; the chic and the classic. More modern than Bara Bazaar, this place is home to a number of hotels, multi-cuisine restaurants and shops that just about cater to everyone. Almost like an extended community centre, Police Bazaar is the place you need to be if you want to catch the pulse of the city. The most popular shopping outlets in Police Bazaar include the store of Meghalaya Handlooms & Handicraft, Assam Emporium, Khadi Gram Udyog, Glory's Plaza, OB Shopping Mall and Grand Bazaar. Artifacts made of bamboo and cane are found in abundance here along with cotton and silk products. The lanes of Police Bazaar are narrow but the variety and option you get to choose from is immense.

Where to Stay-

Shillong

• Royal Heritage Tripura Castle

• Ri Kynjai

• Pinewood hotel

Cherrapunjee

• Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort

• Polo Orchid

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