“Are you in search of some less explored and off-beat destinations, somewhere tucked away in mountains for your next vacations? If that is the case then your search ends here. I bring to you some of the peaceful locations nestled in the lap of Indian Himalayas where you can enjoy a relaxing time with your family.”
Whenever we think of vacations in India, first thing which flashes through our minds are the beautiful visuals of snow-covered mountains, dense forests, alpine meadows, flowing rivulets and gurgling waterfalls. Next question that immediately arises is, where to find such a heavenly beauty that can provide peace and solitude to our fatigued bodies and minds? All the conventional hill stations these days have been engulfed by commercialization and the serenity which we crave for is lost somewhere. But, if we leave aside these usual touristy spots and go off the beaten track to explore the yet unexplored areas, we can definitely find a place where peace, spirituality, serenity and bounty of nature still exists.
Leh-Ladakh forms a huge chunk of the cold desert in the Northern part of the Great Indian Himalayas in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Rich natural beauty, stunning landscapes and beautiful Buddhist Monasteries, makes this place an ideal location to spend some days of your life connecting with nature. Besides nature lovers and holiday seekers, Leh-Ladakh is also a hub for adventure buffs who come here to indulge themselves in the fun of trekking, mountain climbing and mountain biking.
One of the best locations in Ladakh for a relaxing holiday is near the ‘Suru Valley‘, which is the part of Kargil district in Jammu and Kashmir. One of the most beautiful and fertile valleys of the Ladakh region, Suru Valley offers captivating vistas of the ‘Kun’ and ‘Nun’ peaks of the Himalayan range. The valley is blooming with orchards of mulberry, apples and apricots during spring season. The unmatched beauty and tranquility of this place leaves you mesmerized for your lifetime.
Another great option for a wonderful holiday in Ladakh region is the breath-taking ‘Nubra Valley’ which lies at a distance of 150 km. from Leh. Surrounded with harsh arid mountains and blessed with immense natural beauty, a stay at Nubra Valley is a unique experience in itself. In contrast to other mountainous areas that are beaming with greenery, at Nubra Valley you will find mountains to be dry and rugged. This is the only mountain region in India where you will find sand dunes. A sand dune safari sitting on the back of the Bactrian camels is one of the most terrific experiences one can have in his lifetime.
‘Zanskar Valley’ in Ladakh region is another great choice for a vacation amidst snow-capped peaks and magnificent scenic beauty. The valley is one of the most secluded and scantly inhabited valleys of the Ladakh region. Mostly visited by trekkers and river rafters, a stay at the Zanskar Valley can prove to be an overwhelming experience.
A holiday in Ladakh can be combined with visits to many old and beautiful Buddhist Monasteries (‘Hemis‘, ‘Rangdum‘, ‘Thiksey‘, ‘Spituk‘ and ‘Alchi‘ to name a few), sparkling glacial lakes (such as ‘Pangong Tso‘ and ‘Tsomoriri‘) and some of the world’s highest mountain passes (‘Khardung La‘, ‘Zojila La‘ and ‘Chang La‘).
A self-contained village located along the Parvati Valley near Kullu in Himachal Pradesh, Malana was under complete isolation till the real ardent trekkers discovered this heaven tucked away in the vicinity of Deo Tibba and Chandrakhani peak. Notoriously famous for its Malana cream and Marijuana business, villagers of Malana are quite wary of any influence of outsiders. Having their own laws and jurisdictions, people of Malana even restrict the outsiders from touching their assets like houses and temples. Guesthouses located on the outskirts of the village are the only accommodation options for people visiting Malana. Leaving aside the notorious part of Malana, what makes this place a perfect destination for a secluded holiday is its tranquil settings and inimitable location that provides extreme peace and solace to tired souls of city dwellers. If you plan to visit Malana, it is recommended to carry your own stuff like eatables and cooking equipment.
Other Important Himachal Tourism Resources:
Situated in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, Andretta is a quaint little village perfect for an ideal break from the city life. With the backdrop of Shivalik Hills and breath-taking Dhauladhar range of the Indian Himalayas, Andretta remains untouched from even the traces of urbanization. The town was founded by Norah Richards, an Irish theatre artist in 1920s and since then it has attracted many artists, painters and art lovers. Today, the town is more known to be a learning centre for pottery and craft making. Tourists and art lovers from across the world come here to seek peace, solitude and of course to learn pottery. You can spend a peaceful vacation here in the lap of Mother Nature, just relaxing, taking nature walks, watching birds and soaking yourself in the tranquility of the place. Some of the major tourist attractions of this charming village include ‘Norah Richards House’, ‘Sobha Singh Art Gallery‘ and ‘Andretta Pottery and Craft Society’.
The charming village of Kasol is located in the captivating Parvati Valley near Kullu in Himachal Pradesh. Also known as ‘Mini Israel’ in India, you will notice many Israeli backpackers, restaurants serving Israeli food and signboards written in Hebrew language in every nook and corner of the village. Kasol surprises its visitors with breath-taking beauty and splendid mountain scenery at every twist and turn on their paths of exploration of this picturesque village. Yet to be touched by commercialization, the place provides extreme peace and solitude to those seeking an escape from the hullabaloo of city lives. While in Kasol, you can just laze around spending a laid back afternoon, take a leisure walk along the gurgling Parvati River, try your hands at trout fishing, visit the famous ‘Manikaran Gurudwara’or take a trek uphill through a forest to nearby Tosh Village or Kheer Ganga. A visit to this little village tucked in the laps of Indian Himalayas is sure to leave you rejuvenated from your hectic routine lives.
A small village that seems to have directly come out from a fairy tale, Tirthan Valley is an ultimate delight and paradise for nature lovers and holiday seekers. The valley is located in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh and is surrounded with thick woods, lofty Himalayan peaks and striking apple orchards. This enchanting valley also acts as an entry point to the famous ‘Great Himalayan National Park‘. With ample opportunities for silent nature walks, trout fishing, bird watching, trekking, river rafting, rappelling and overnight camping, Tirthan Valley makes for a perfect destination to unwind yourself from the maddening and exasperating crowds of metropolitan cities. It will not be incorrect to say that this is the only place on earth where you can converse with nature, understand the sound of silence and have an excellent reconnect of your mind, body and soul.
Surrounded by high mountain ranges in North-Eastern part of Himachal Pradesh, Spiti valley is one of the least populated regions of India. This land of Buddhist mysticism remains unscathed and unknown to many even till date. Extreme weather, rugged terrain and an immense remoteness of this place cuts it off from a conventional tourist map. With only few villages scattered along the valley, quaint old monasteries dotted with fluttering prayer flags and Buddhist monks roaming around the area, you are bound to spend a peaceful holiday here, cut-off from the entire world. Spiti is the gateway to many popular treks such as Pin-Parvati, Pin-Bhaba and Parang-La, so you will notice many trekkers stopping by at this scenic little valley.
‘Kaza‘ is the main administrative centre of Spiti Valley. Dotted with few government run guesthouses, you can easily get an accommodation here. For a more rustic experience, alluring views and captivating vistas of the nature, you can choose for homestay options in nearby villages of ‘Kibber‘, ‘Komic‘, ‘Demul’ or ‘Dhankar’. A stay in these homestays will also give you an opportunity to mingle with the locals and get to know about their hospitality, lifestyle, cultures and traditions.
Spiti Valley is also one of the perfect places in Indian Himalayas where you can connect yourself with the supreme power by meditating and immersing your souls in the chants and hymns of Buddhist monks at famous monasteries of ‘Kye‘, ‘Tabo‘, ‘Dhankar‘ and ‘Komic’.
To satiate your adventurous self, nothing is better than taking an excursion to the ‘Pin Valley National Park‘ or ‘Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary’. White Water River rafting on the strong rapids of the Spiti River is another activity which you can indulge into during your stay at the Spiti Valley.
Located in the South of Sikkim, Borong is an ideal destination to spend a peaceful holiday away from stress and tensions of monotonous work life. Magnificent views of soaring peak of Mt. Kanchenjunga, carpets of green dotted with vibrant colours of wild mountain flowers, music of chirping birds, fresh mountain air, and aroma of burning pine; is what makes your stay in Borong an out of the world experience. ‘Ralong Monastery‘ and ‘Borong Hot Water Spring’ are the major tourist attractions of this tiny hamlet. With not much to do here as far as activities and tourist attractions are concerned, you can spend a relaxing holiday just gazing at the snow clad Himalayas changing into hues of orange with the rising sun, watching clouds play hide and seek from your hotel balcony or sipping a cup of hot tea while snacking onto delicious momos.
Area of North Sikkim is known for its snow-crowned Himalayan peaks, serene alpine lakes, picturesque beauty and tranquil settings. Lachung and Lachen are two towns in North of Sikkim, which are apt for a peaceful holiday amidst nature’s scenic splendours and undulated mountain air. Spend your days here by taking nature walks, meditating in Buddhist monasteries, trekking to awe-inspiring ‘Gurudongmar‘ and ‘Cholamu‘ lakes, admiring the terrific beauty of apple orchards at the ‘Chopta Valley‘ or revelling in the panoramic vistas of rhododendrons spread across the ‘Yumthang Valley‘.
Located near the Indo-China border at a distance of 60 km. from Roing in Arunachal Pradesh, Mayodia is a paradise for snow lovers. Playing in the fresh snow of Mayodia is a magical and an unparalleled experience. Mostly visited by bikers, trekkers and adventure buffs, the place is now gradually taking up as a preferred destination for holiday seekers as well. Stunning landscapes of Mayodia with snow crowned mountains and lush green forests makes for an ideal holiday hideaway for tourists seeking a seclusion from the outside world. More than the destination, it is the exciting journey from Roing to Mayodia which fills your heart with tranquility and serenity. With ever changing vistas of the Himalayan peaks to mist and clouds playing hide-n-seek to spotting of rare Himalayan birds; the journey to Mayodia is quite an unforgettable experience.
Ziro Valley, tucked away in the formidable mountainscape of Arunachal Pradesh, is one of the few picture-postcard perfect valleys of India. Mesmerizing views of sprawling rice fields, quaint villages dotted with rustic bamboo houses, mountains covered with pine trees and a wide range of flora and fauna; is sure to captivate your minds and souls. With its enthralling natural beauty and tranquil environment, Ziro makes for a perfect destination for a peaceful holiday in the lap of Eastern Himalayas. Ziro is also home to one of the oldest tribes of Arunachal Pradesh, the Apatani tribe. You will be fascinated to see tribal women wearing huge nose plugs and adorning facial tattoos that start from their foreheads and end at their chins.
During your stay in Ziro Valley, you can explore the ‘Apatani tribal villages’, pay a visit to the ancient ‘Meghna Cave Temple‘, take an excursion to the ‘Talle Wildlife Sanctuary‘, climb on the ridge of ‘Kile Pakho‘ to get spectacular views of the Ziro Valley, or immerse in the captivating sight of the blue pine trees of ‘Midey’.
Located in the North-Western part of Arunachal Pradesh and flanked by majestic mountains, Tawang is known for its unparalleled natural beauty. Famous as the birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama, Tawang holds a great religious significance for Tibetan Buddhists. One of the oldest and largest Buddhist Monasteries of the world, the ‘Tawang Monastery‘ is also located at this serene location. Apart from Buddhist pilgrims, the place is also frequented by many travellers and holiday seekers who come here is search of mental peace and rejuvenation of their souls. Mystic rivers, serene glacial lakes, captivating waterfalls and salubrious weather, make Tawang one of the most sought after peaceful holiday destinations in the Indian Himalayas.
You cannot miss a visit to the ‘Tawang Monastery’ during your stay in Tawang. Highly revered by Buddhists around the world, it is one of the best places to immerse yourself in meditation and have a direct connection with the divine power.
Area around Tawang is blessed with quiet and peaceful glacial lakes such as ‘Shonga-tser Lake‘ and ‘Pankang Teng Tso Lake‘. Silent strolls along these lakes watching birds in different hues playing around and colourful flowers gazing you with their wide smiles; the experience is sure to give you extreme solace and peace. Other attractions around Tawang include the ‘Sela Pass‘, ‘Bumla Pass‘ and ‘Nuranang Falls‘.
A picturesque hamlet offering splendid views of the ‘Trishul’, ‘Nanda Devi‘, ‘Neelkanth’, ‘Kedarnath‘ and ‘Chaukhamba‘ peaks of the Himalayan range, Chopta Valley is situated in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. Owing to its extreme remoteness, Chopta Valley remains unspoilt and retains its natural scenic charm. Dense forests of pine, deodars and rhododendrons lends this place an exquisite picturesque beauty. Still unexplored by travellers, this tiny village is mostly visited either by trekkers or pilgrims. The famous ‘Deoria Tal‘ and ‘Chandrashila‘ treks in Uttarakhand make their way through this beautiful Chopta Valley. Also, the ‘Tungnath Temple‘, one of the ‘Panch Kedar‘ temples is located at this lovely place.
Being a small village, you will not find many hotels here. Options for accommodations are limited to few budget hotels, a state run guest house and few private lodges that provide basic amenities to their guests.
Kalpeshwar is a small village situated in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. Named after the famous ‘Kalpeshwar Mahadev Temple‘, the last temple of the ‘Panch Kedar’ group where Lord Shiva is revered in the form of his matted locks, the place is on the itineraries of many pilgrims on the ‘Char Dham Yatra‘ and the ‘Panch Kedar Pilgrim Circuit’.
Serene beauty of thick woods and terraced potato fields of the Urgam Valley, splendid vistas of lush meadows, captivating views of Garhwal Himalayan peaks and an aura of divinity in Kalpeshwar not only attracts pilgrims but also lures many travellers, nature lovers and holiday seekers from different corners of India.
Spending few days here in the lap of Mother Nature amidst extreme solitude will surely leave one refreshed and rejuvenated from the stress of today’s fast paced lives.
Located on the banks of the sacred Ganga River in Dehradun district of Uttarakhand, the holy city of Rishikesh needs no introduction. Situated on the foothills of Garhwal Himalayas, Rishikesh makes for an ideal escapade from the crowded and polluted city life. Nothing can be more spiritualistic and relaxing than attending the serene ‘Ganga Aarti’ at the ‘Triveni Ghat‘ during evening or taking a dip in holy waters of River Ganges to wash off all your sins. Even sitting at one of the Ghats for hours, dipping your feet in the ice-cold waters of the Ganga River admiring the scenic beauty of the place can be a heavenly experience.
Nicknamed as the ‘World’s Yoga Capital’ and dotted with numerous ashrams and Yoga retreat centres, you cannot miss indulging yourself in a life-changing experience of yoga and meditation at the famous ‘Swarg Ashram’ located near ‘Ram Jhula‘.
Located in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand, Ramgarh and Mukteshwarare two small hill stations that remain unexplored by conventional travellers and explorers. With blooming orchards of peaches, apples and apricots and tremendous natural beauty; Ramgarh and Mukteshwar are ideal destinations for nature walks, bird watching and enjoying captivating views of sunrise and sunset over the snow-capped Himalayan peaks. While in Mukteshwar, you cannot miss a visit to the ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva from where the views of ‘Nanda Devi’, ‘Nanda Ghunti‘ and ‘Panchachuli‘ peaks are indescribable in words.
Situated in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand, Munsiyari is a tiny hill station offering stunning views of the ‘Panchachuli’ group of peaks of the Kumaon Himalayas. Unspoilt natural beauty, thick spreads of rhododendrons, pine and deodar trees and sights of rare Himalayan birds; make this place a perfect holiday destination for nature lovers and bird watchers.
Sandwiched between the borders of India, Nepal and China, Munsiyari was not easily accessible until recently and needed an inner line permit by travellers and trekkers. The restriction has now been eased off opening its gates for many more tourists, travel enthusiasts and adventure junkies.
Mandal is a small village located in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The village is a major stopover for people trekking to the ‘Panch Kedar’ temple of Rudranath from. At Mandal, you can indulge in jungle walks, taking in the fragrance of mountain air and watching colourful butterflies. The place is also good to just relax and spend a laid back day admiring the mesmerizing beauty of the place sipping a cup of hot tea in your hotel balcony. Spending a day or two at Mandal, you can trek to the ‘Anusuya Devi Temple’ that takes you through thick forests of pines and deodars. The trek is a moderate hike for around 6 km. As you reach the temple, you are bound to be captivated with the views of forest-laden mountains on all sides. It is believed that Anusuya Devi blesses childless couples with children. A great rush of devotees can be seen in the temple during December when a large fair is held on the occasion of Duttatreya Jayanti. After paying homage to the goddess at the temple, you can spend a night at a private lodge or at the Mandir Committee guesthouse.
From ‘Anusuya Devi Temple’, an arduous hike starts for the ‘Rudranath Temple‘, one of the Panch Kedar temples devoted to Lord Shiva where he is revered in his ‘Rudra’ avatar. Despite of the trek being a challenging one, you will enjoy each and every moment of this trek as it takes you through thick forests, several lush meadows, flowing rivers and views of snow-capped peaks accompanying along the route – the beauty of the trek is beyond words.
Meadows of Tapovan, located few kilometres ahead of the Gaumukh Glacier in Uttarakhand, can be reached via an arduous trek from Gaumukh. Captivating views of ‘Shivling‘, ‘Bhagirathi’ and ‘Kedar’ peaks of the Garhwal Himalayas seem to be welcoming you with open arms as you reach this lush meadow covered wild flowers. According to stories by many trekkers, you will find here few sages and saints meditating in pure serenity and solitude. Tourists and trekkers can spend a night here in camps. After the night stay at Tapovan, head back to the Gangotri village and spend your remaining holiday in one of the budget hotels or state run guest house in the village itself.
Home to the famous ‘Madhyamaheshwar Temple‘, 4th of the ‘Panch Kedar Group of Temples’ where Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of belly navel, the village of Madhyamaheshwar captivates your souls with its unparalleled scenic beauty. Views of ‘Chaukhamba’, ‘Kedar’ and ‘Neelkanth’ peaks of Garhwal Himalayas from this scenic village makes you spellbound. Being a small village, you will not find many options for long stays but you can always book hotels in the nearby areas of Auli and Rudraprayag.
Located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand near Joshimath, Niti Valley is home to the Niti Village, last village in Chamoli adjoining the Indo-Tibetan border. One of the less travelled destinations, it is a perfect place to spend some quiet days in the lap of nature. Azure blue sky, crystal clear streams and blooming orchards of apples, mulberries and apricots; a perfect ambience to experience serenity at its best.
Hope the above list of some offbeat destinations in the Indian Himalayan region, helps you plan your next vacation trip that really is something different from the usual conventional holidays. If you have any queries, suggestions or comments, please do write to us through this blog.