Planning to visit Leh, Some facts about to know. ! Keep Travelling

How to reach Leh/ Ladakh?

There are three way to reach Leh Ladakh.

– You can take a flight between Delhi and Leh. Besides Delhi, flights to Leh operate from Srinagar, Jammu & Chandigarh via Manali as well.

– Take the road journey from Manali to Leh via Keylong/Jispa, it takes two days travelling a distance of 474 kms with a night halt in Sarchu/ Jispa/ Keylong.

– Take a road journey from Srinagar to Leh, it takes two days traveling a distance of 434 kms with a night halt in Kargil.

Is Leh/ Ladakh safe?

Leh is one of the safest places in India. People are nice and friendly.

If you are traveling to Leh by road then you need to factor in road closures due to land slide or snow fall. You also need to factor in the fact that you would be traveling vast distances with no ground support ( lack of mechanics / medical ) facilities. It is recommend that you stock up the essentials for any such eventuality.

The Srinagar – Leh highways is the life line of the Indian Army and while you travel along the LOC it is perfectly safe. Just respect the local people/ culture. The Army is also a great support in case of any emergency need.

Passing Srinagar during Independence day/ Republic day and other religious events should be avoided as the chances are that a curfew would be in place to keep away any untoward event.

Is there lack of Oxygen in Leh/ Ladakh?

Anyone traveling above 10000 feet will find it little difficult to breath normally and do any kind of physical exertion immediately. Its is mainly because of low level of atmospheric oxygen, but the low atmospheric oxygen is absolutely not a cause to avoid Leh Ladakh. Within first day or two of taking it easy/ slow pace one will acclimatize to this low oxygen level and do things normally. It is highly recommended that you plan plan your Leh Ladakh trip with adequate days on hand and keep the initial few days as lazy days ( not too much travel / moving around ).

What is High Altitude Sickness, what are the symptoms and how can we acclimatize?

Acclimatization is the process of the body adjusting to the decreased availability of oxygen at high altitudes. It is a slow process, taking place over a period of days to weeks.

High altitude is defined as:

• High Altitude: 1500-3500m (5000-11500 ft)

• Very High Altitude: 3500-5500m (1150-18000 ft)

• Extreme Altitude: above 5500m

Practically speaking, however, we generally don’t worry much about elevations below 2500 m (8000 ft) since altitude illness rarely occurs lower than this.

Certain normal physiologic changes occur in every person who goes to high altitude:

• Hyperventilation (breathing faster, deeper, or both)

• Shortness of breath during exertion

• Changed breathing pattern at night

• Awakening frequently at night

• Increased urination

As one ascends through the atmosphere, barometric pressure decreases and thus every breath contains fewer and fewer molecules of oxygen. One must work harder to obtain oxygen, by breathing faster and deeper. This is particularly noticeable with exertion, such as walking uphill. Being out of breath with exertion is normal, as long as the sensation of shortness of breath resolves rapidly with rest. The increase in breathing is critical. It is therefore important to avoid anything that will decrease breathing, e.g. alcohol and certain drugs.

Despite the increased breathing, attaining normal blood levels of oxygen is not possible at high altitude. Persistent increased breathing results in reduction of carbon dioxide in the blood, a metabolic waste product that is removed by the lungs. The build-up of carbon dioxide in the blood is the key signal to the brain that it is time to breathe, so if it is low, the drive to breathe is blunted (the lack of oxygen is a much weaker signal, and acts as an ultimate safety valve). As long as you are awake it isn’t much trouble to consciously breathe, but at night an odd breathing pattern develops due to a back-and-forth balancing act between these two respiratory triggers. Periodic breathing consists of cycles of normal breathing which gradually slows, breath-holding, and a brief recovery period of accelerated breathing. The breath-holding may last up to 10-15 seconds. This is not altitude sickness. It may improve slightly with acclimatization, but does not usually resolve until descent. Periodic breathing can cause a lot of anxiety.

If periodic breathing symptoms are troublesome, a medication called Acetazolamide maybe helpful. Dramatic changes take place in the body’s chemistry and fluid balance during acclimatization. The osmotic centre, which detects the concentration of the blood, gets reset so that the blood is more concentrated. This results in an altitude diuresis as the kidneys excrete more fluid. The reason for this reset is not understood, though it has the effect of increasing the concentration of red blood cells and perhaps improving the blood’s oxygen-carrying ability somewhat; it also counteracts the tendency for oedema formation. It is normal at altitude to be urinating more than usual. If you are not, you may be dehydrated, or you may not be acclimatizing well.

What kind of medical support/ facilities are available in Leh ?

The main centre for health care in Leh is the SNM Hospital, which is well equipped and staffed by specialists to handle all problems. Elsewhere in the region, there are sub-district hospitals at block headquarters and medical dispensaries in major villages, which are staffed by qualified doctors. In addition, services of the private clinics and associated facilities are also available in Leh. Additionally, the Army’s General Hospital at Leh also extends its superior facilities to the tourists in case of emergencies.

Many chemist shops are open around the SNM hospital and a few in the main market. It is recommend that if you are already on a prescribed medicine then you carry the needful quantity with you.

What kind of people should take special care while visiting Leh/ Ladakh?

With proper acclimatizing most people will not face any issues but as precautionary measure people with

• high smoking intake

• emphysema, asthma

• anemia, diabetes

• high blood pressure

should consult a medical doctor before booking your trip.

What kind of Hotels to expect in Leh Ladakh, are there any 5 star / 4 star hotels?

Leh offers a variety of accommodations to suit almost every pocket or preference. Most hotels are family- run establishments and as such the services are more personalized than professional. Hotels are classified into A, B, C and Economy category while Guest Houses fall under Upper, Medium and Economy class.

The guesthouses are a less formal facility offering rooms is a part of a residential house or its annex, where the guests can share the family kitchen for meals. Apart from the low tariff offered for accommodation ranging from very good to merely basic, the guesthouse system also provides an opportunity for the tourists to see and experience Ladakhi life from the inside.

In the newly opened areas of the region-Nubra, Changthang and Dah Hanu-tourist infrastructure is not yet adequately developed.The State Tourism Department has started the development of accommodation facilities like Tourist Complexes and Hiker’s huts at Tangse, Spangmik, Sakti, Rumtse, Hunder, Panamik and Saspol. Tourists can also seek accommodation as paying guests in a few selected homes in these places though they would be well advised to travel fully equipped with personal sleeping bags and some tinned provisions to be on the safe side, especially when visiting the remote areas and while trekking.

There are also some Government run Tourist Bungalows located mainly along the Srinagar-Leh road. These offer the best value in the medium range, but room availability is uncertain unless you hold a confirmed reservation.

During the peak tourist season i.e. May to mid-September, it is advisable to book hotel rooms in advance. By late September, as the tourist rush starts to decline, advance booking is not necessary, as availability of accommodation becomes rather easy. However, tourist planning winter trips may have to book accommodation in advance so as to ensure provision of heating arrangements during the period of their intended stay.

Is traveling by road to Leh/ Ladakh worth it?

One of the best ways to enjoy a holiday is to drive there. A long driving holiday to a place like Leh in the Ladakh region is twice the fun, as the journey itself is more thrilling than the destination itself. Many people are in awe of the landscape and the terrain. Those who love the adventure of a Himalayan drive, road journey is the best way to experience it.

The drive to Leh from New Delhi via Manali is one trip that is very memorable for anyone who has made it. You cross five of the highest mountain passes in the world before getting to Leh and the views are simply spectacular.

The whole point of the driving holiday is to enjoy the drive. Take frequent breaks, enjoy the scenery and keep yourself hydrated. It will be a holiday of a lifetime.

What is so special about Leh/ Ladakh?

Leh Ladakh has so much to offer to the varied tourist interests. The spiritual minded gets peace of mind at the Gompas and the monasteries, for the adventure loving riding to Leh is the ultimate thrill getting you the best of man and machine while offering you absolutely stunning scenery along the way.

Leh is a trekker’s paradise offering you many trekking routes suitable to all categories of trek enthusiastic including the world renowned ‘Chadar Trek’, if you want more then try river rafting on Zanskar/ Indus or the summit to Stok Kangri/ many other Peaks. The place gets the photographer out in all of us and one can click away to glory with you yearning for more storage and battery charge. For wildlife buffs; visit The Hemis national park or catch life at TsoMorori and Pangong or try your luck spotting the elusive Snow Leopard.

Sitting alongside the Pangong Lake surrounded by mountains watching it change hues from morning till late night is such a mesmerizing experience and is a recommended must do. Catch the life, Culture and colors during the numerous festivals that happen throughout the year and for those of you ‘Been there done that’ kind’s Leh is a record of sorts, the highest airfield in the world, the highest motor able pass in the world, the highest saltwater lake in the world and more.

What is the ideal time one should spend in Leh/ Ladakh?

If you are less exploratory in nature and want to just feel what ladakh is then you can spend 5-7 days by flying in and out of Leh.

If you want to drive into Leh then you should factor in 10-12 days.

• Take the road journey from Manali to Leh

• Take a road journey from Srinagar to Leh

• In case of Srinagar – Leh, a night at SonaMarg and another night at Kargil.

• In case of Manali, a night at Keylong and another night at Sarchu/ Pang.

If you want to trek then plan for 12-25 days depending on the trekking route you want to take.

One should also keep in mind that the most beautiful of Leh Ladakh attractions are at a distance from Leh and takes time:

• Pangong – 150 Kms . Takes ~ 5 hours to reach, while most do a day trip we recommend you spend at least one night here

• Nubra/ Hunder – 140 Kms. Take ~ 5 hours. You should spend 2 nights at Hunder and another night at Turtuk

• Tsomorori – 250 Kms. Takes ~ 9 hours and it is recommend that you spend a night here.

Do we require any special permit to visit Leh/ Ladakh?

Inner Line Permit is an official travel document issued by the government of India to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected/restricted area for a limited period. The document is an effort by the government to regulate movement to certain areas located near the international border of India. This is a security measure and it is applicable for certain parts of Leh.

Tourists visiting Leh district, who are Indian nationals now onwards need not to obtain inner-line permits, their Indian passport, driving license, service identity cards with photograph, Election Id card PAN card, Aadhar card shall henceforth be treated as inner lime permits.

Inner line permits are required to visit

Inner Line Permits are not required for Zanskar and Suru Valley No permits are required to visit the local places near Leh town or Leh local sightseeing, places on Srinagar Leh Highway, places on Manali – Leh Highway and routes leading to

Leh — Khardung La — Khalsar – Hunder — Turtuk — Pachathang — Tyakshi

Leh — Khardung La — Trith upto Panamic,Leh – Saboo – Digger La – Khungru Gompa – Tangyar (trekking only)

Leh – Karu – Chang La – Durbuk – Tangtse – Lukung – Spangmik – Man – Merak (Pangong Lake)

Leh – Upshi – Chumathang – Mahe – Puga – Tsomoriri Lake – Korzok – Loma Bend

Khaltse – Domkhar – Skurbuchan – Hanudo – Biama – Dha

are accessible for Indian visitors without seeking any permission.

Inner line permits are issued from DC office in Leh town. Timing of the Leh DC office are 9.00 AM to 5.00 PM, however the application forms needs to be submitted before 3 pm.

Self attested photocopies of valid nationality proof, Photo-IDs are necessary to procure Inner Line Permits. Besides permit application form, you need to write a request application letter addressing DC of Leh – Ladakh district for the approval of your permits. In the application, you need to express your interest to visit the places you wish to travel along with the dates you would be visiting these places in your Leh trip. Validity of the inner line permits are 3 weeks for Indians and 1 week for foreigners. However, there is no limit on the number of times you enter a place in the valid period provided you have the permits with you for that place.

In order to get the permits for Hanle and Changthang or to go to Tso Moriri via Chusul – Nyoma route from Pangong Tso you need to mention all places enroute so that you are not sent back from any post. These places are: Man – Merak – Chusul – Tsaga – Loma – Nyoma and hanle

What kind of food to expect in Leh Ladakh, are there good restaurants & Fast Foods joints?

Some of the recommended places to eat in Leh –

Ladakh’s local cuisine is unlike any other state or region of the country. This cuisine has developed due to the typical flora and fauna found only in the high altitudes. The ecosystem, agriculture and lifestyle of this Himalayan region are all very different from those in the plains. Farming practices are different and farm produce forms the main variety used in Ladakhi cuisine. Meat dishes that are a specialty to the region have also developed.

Mainly potatoes, pumpkins, beetroots, and beans are cooked in mild spices and accompany mutton and chicken dishes. The staple food of Ladakhi people are Sku and Thukpa (made of wheat flour), Pava (made of sattu) and khambir (local bread).

Thukpa is a thick soup with vegetables, a complete and wholesome meal that is now catching the fancy of tourists. Momos or steamed dumplings stuffed with meat or vegetables with chili sauce are also hot favourites for food lovers. Many bakeries in Ladakh sell freshly baked bread. Visitors normally eat sandwiches made with apricot jam. Ladakh also holds a traditional food festival, where strict hygiene is observed to attract tourists.

Many restaurants in Ladakh offer Tibetan, Korean, and Chinese cuisine. Dry fruits (walnuts, almonds and raisins), spices (cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, saffron, etc.) and spices (chilly and dry ginger) are used extensively in Ladakhi cooking. The food has a lot of aroma that instantly attracts your taste buds towards them.

Ladakh hosts ‘Wazawan’ like other parts of Jammu and Kashmir. Wazawan combines meat dishes with dum aloo and chaman preparations, korma sag, saag (hak), lotus root and apricot jam. All popular vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes of India are available in Ladakh.

Non-Vegetarian Specialties are thukpa (noodles cooked in mutton soup), skieu (made with veggies, mutton and flour), yakhni and tabaq naat (made of fried ribs). There are several restaurants and hotels in Ladakh that are known for their specialties. Ladakh serves the choicest selection of vegetarian and non vegetarian meals. The rich and aromatic flavor of the cuisine of Ladakh draws a number of tourists from all over the world. The special gurgur tea of the snow desert is famous which is prepared by yak-milk and special spices for the tea.

What kind of tourist vehicles are available? Is there local means of transport ?

Leh has fortunately good quality tourist vehicles. Mainly Toyota Innova & Mahindra Scorpio vehicles are used.

Are there any budget hotels and is advance booking required?

Most of us want to make the best of what we spend for our holidays and work with a budget. Ladakh has a range of options on accommodation and travel and with some research and booking in advance you can ensure you get very good rates. One should be realistic and also clear on what kind of accommodation would be appropriate for you . Places range from around Rs. 500/1000 a night for basic accommodation to 4000/5000 per night for a nice hotel with good facilities and food to almost 10,000/- per night for the star category.

Be realistic, if you are travelling with a family and children you would want to have a good hotel booked in advance. You also need to get enough rest and ensure you acclimatize to the thin air in this region. The lower budget would be more suited to guys, those who are more adventurous and don’t mind sharing rooms and taking any available accommodation when they reach their destination.

The weather is cold and most days the journeys are long by road to places like Pangong and Nubra. You would want to ensure you have a clean and nice place to spend the night, hot water and food, and get enough sleep and rest to enjoy the rest of your journey.

The weather and terrain sometimes do force you to make changes in your schedule to accommodate delays or roadblocks, if you have booked trough a trusted and reputed travel company then these changes will certainly be accommodated wherever possible. In places like Pangong and Nubra there is no phone connectivity and though there are a lot of places to stay, in peak season these should be booked in advance. You would rather have booked a place and ensure that you spend most of your time relaxing and enjoying the place rather than frantically looking for shelter. Advance booking also ensures that you get the best possible camps/ hotels to stay and do not struggle to find a decent place to stay.

Saving is good but not at the cost of the experience and comfort while traveling to such a far off place which most say is a once in a life time wish for them

What kind of clothing should we bring?

Cotton & light woollens in summer and heavy woollens including down-filled wind proof upper garments in winter. Summers in the past have been maximum 25 degree Celsius to minimum 5-8 Celsius and winter maximum around -5 (minus) and minimum – 20 degree Celsius, last couple of years we have seen the summer temperature during mid day reach the 30′s, despite been a rain shadow area last few years have seen a decent bit of rain fall during summer months.

During May – August you can move around in cotton T-shirts with a light jacket for mornings and evenings. In winters Oct – March/ April it is advised that you dress in layers with one of the layer been a thermal and then cottons followed by a medium Jacket/ Sweater. It is also advised that you do carry a warm/ heavy jacket along.

While what you wear is entirely your personal choice, we recommend you include the following while packing:

• Sun Glasses preferably good brand and with UV protection

• Sun block lotion – the higher the SPF the better, carry couple of these

• Bacalva / Monkey cap

• Water proof wind cheater

• Water proof multi terrain shoes

• Thick socks, multiple pairs

• Gloves, in winters a light woolen glove followed by another

• Comfortable clothing, do not carry tights as you might need to dress in layers

• Lots of cottons

• Leh ladakh is not the place to carry high heels, short and revealing cloths

• Towels

• Personal toiletries and sanitary items

Which is the best period to visit Leh/ Ladakh ?

The tourist season is Mid May until August. With the increased interest in Leh Ladakh a lot of people have started visiting Leh all round the year with winter months having a different charm all together, if you want to see real Ladakh with less tourist around then Winter is the best time to visit (From Nov – March).

During winters the town is quite peaceful. Depending on the snow levels at the passes it is possible to do a day trip to Pangong or visit the Nubra valley also. Winters also gives you the chance to see a lot of Ice Hockey actions with local as well as international teams playing.

 

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5 Best Places To Visit Near Dharamshala That Make For Lovely Detours

Mist-laden Khajjiar

One of the most beautiful weekend destinations from Delhi, Dharamshala pulls travelers with its sky-soaring valleys, lakes, waterfalls, temples, and Tibetan heritage. If you are here to experience its charm, we suggest you extend your stay to visit, if not all, at least the bestplaces to visit near Dharamshala.

And if you are still planning, nothing like it. Make sure you plan your itinerary in a way to cover the best attractions in and some beautiful places around Dharamshala. Most of these nearby beauties are easy to reach and can be covered in one day. However, some of these detours are so pretty that you could plan a complete a weekend here.

Go through the list and get planning a trip to the serene hill station of Dharamshala.

1. Triund – A heavenly trek base camp

A tent in Triundss08042017

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Suitable for: 1 night and 2 days

Triund is a picturesque camping spot, which makes it one of best places to visit near Dharamshala Mcleodganj. It is located close to the snow-capped peaks at a height of 2,828 meters above sea level. The trek to Triund is a moderately challenging trek that starts from Mcleodganj – a serene suburb of the hill station.

Distance from Dharamshala: 3 km (3 hours trek, depending on person to person)

Triund covered in tick blanket of icess08042017

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Why should you visit Triund?

  • For the lovely views and spellbinding beauty that you encounter during the trek
  • The amazing camping experience
  • Stargazing at the camping site

2. Kangra Fort – Historical place with enchanting views

View of Kangra Fortss08042017

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Suitable for: Day trip

One of the closest historical places to visit near Dharamshala, Kangra Fort is a remnant of valley’s history. The fort is spread across 4 km and its structure has temples, mosque, palaces, and royal gateways. It dates back to a few years before 470 AD, which is the year when it was first invaded by the King of Kashmir.

The legends about this fort have also been mentioned in Mahabharata. Besides mythological mentions, Kangra Fort has been ruled by the likes of Jahangir and Maharaja Ranjit Singh before being taken over by British rulers, who took control post the Sikh War in 1846. Many years later, a devastating earthquake struck Kangra Valley in 1905 and damaged the fort. Even though it’s in ruins today, it attracts a large number of tourists in all seasons.

Distance from Dharamshala: 21 km (50 minutes)

View of Kangra Valley from Kangra Fortss08042017

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Why should you visit Kangra Fort?

  • It is one of the most famous forts of Himachal Pradesh and a part of Archeological Survey of India
  • If you take the audio assistance, the fort tour takes you through the fort’s interesting history
  • The scenery around the fort is breathtaking

 

 

3. Palampur – A simple town with abundance of nature’s mystique

best places to visit near Dharamshala

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Suitable for: 1 night and 2 days

A little-known hill station and one of the best places to visit near Dharamshala, Palampur is enveloped by tea gardens and pine groves. Water streams here flow along the road, where sometimes local mushrooms crop up on the sides. The weather in Palampur is pleasant throughout the year. It gets extremely cold during the winters, it’s romantic nevertheless.

Key attractions in Palampur are temples; the most famous ones are Baijnath and Chamunda Devi Temple. Also, you can indulge in activities like trekking, boating, and hang-gliding, and shop for Tibetan craft and Tangka paintings.

Distance from Dharamshala: 35 km (1 hour)

one of the best places to visit near Dharamshalass08042017

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Why should you visit Palampur?

  • To relax in lush greenery and stroll the famous tea gardens; it is known as Tea Capital of Northwest India
  • The resorts here are a delight, specially for a much-needed break with family or with your partner
  • The quietude here is blissful!

 

4. Bir – One of India’s top paragliding destinations

A person paragliding in Bir Billingss08042017

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Suitable for: 1 night and 2 days

Paragliding in Bir Billing entices domestic as well as international travelers. The sport has made Bir, which is 14 km south of Billing, one of the best places to visit near Dharamshala for thrill seekers. Over the past few years, the small village has emerged to be a famous hill station in Himachal.

Besides paragliding, you can go fishing, visit the tea-garden, and or trek the nearby trails in Bir.

Distance from Dharamshala: 65 km (2 hours)

Bir-Billingss08042017

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Why should you visit Bir?

  • Bir is one of the best paragliding destinations of India
  • The tea gardens here are beautiful; one can go on lone strolls in the verdant tea gardens
  • The peaceful monastries are perfect for meditation as well as introspection

 

 

5. Khajjiar – A treat to the eyes

Mist-laden Khajjiar 1ss08042017

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Suitable for: 1 night and 2 days

Known as the Switzerland of India, Khajjiar is where travelers come for retreat. There are activities like paragliding, zorbing, and horse riding that’ll keep you out and active all day long. At the same time, if you’re a leisure traveler, you can simply sit on a bench and admire the views. Lush green vegetation, cloud-kissed peaks, and a glistening lake make it among the loveliest places to see near Dharamshala.

Distance from Dharamshala: 118 km (4 hours)

View of Khajjiar in a cloudy dayss08042017

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Why should you visit Khajjiar?

  • Dharamshala to Khajjiar is a scenic drive, fringed with deodar trees
  • It is perfect for a day picnic
  • Kalatop Wildlife sanctuary is a delight for wildlife lovers

 

Why just a weekend? Take a whole week off to explore Dharamshala and the incredible hideouts in its vicinity. With this list of best places to visit near Dharamshala, you now know what to add into your itinerary of Himachal tour packages!

 

(Blog Source – TravelTriangle)

Ha! 9 Places In India That Are So Cold That Your Ice-Cream Won’t Melt

Day 1. Hemkund

Hemkund
The minimum temperature can go well down to -4 °C. The weather remains freezing cold and snow bound till February. The place adorned by a glacial lake, is surrounded by seven snow clad peaks, each bearing a Nishan Sahib. At an astounding altitude of 4,362 m, Hemkund Sahib attracts a great number of tourists every trekking season. It is only accessible during summer as it is totally snow bound during the winter season.

Day 2. Lachen

Lachen

From October to February, the place experiences a maximum temperature of around 3 to 4 degrees.

Day 3. Kufri

Kufri

Winters (October to March) are chilly days with the average temperature reaching subzero levels. In spite of the extreme climatic conditions, if you are interested in snow-related activities like skiing, visit Kufri during this time. Pack heavy woollens and well-insulated clothes when you visit.

Day 4. Leh

Leh

During this season, the mercury level comes down to well below 0°C and the whole area is covered with snow.  The capital of the ancient kingdom of Ladakh, Leh is a very popular tourist destination. As much as it is rich in culture and history, it makes an ideal place to visit in summer in India where a temperature of 7°c is nothing extraordinary. Shanti Stupa, Leh Palace, Pangong lake and a multitude of other lakes and monasteries make Leh a must visit.

 

Day 5. Munsiyari

Munsiyari

Winter season begins from November and it lasts through mid-March.  The temperature touches sub zero levels during winter and can be expected to plummet to around -3°C. Heavy woollens are a must-pack if you are visiting Munsiyari this winter.

Day 6. Spiti Valley

Spiti Valley

“It’s simply another world, close to your world. Another life existence, if you love to explore, see places and meet people. You have to be there. It’s an amalgamation of rich culture and existence of civilization in any condition. It’s about beautiful landscapes and lovely people. It’s about huts which are more comfortable then any luxury resort. It’s about home cooked meals and alcohol. If you are explorer, then you must go !”

Day 7. Tawang

Tawang

Winters (November to February) are cold and the temperatures can be expected to drop to freezing point. Temperatures range from a minimum of -13 degrees Celsius and can go up to a maximum of around 5 degrees Celsius during this time. January is the coldest month of the year.

Day 8. North Sikkim – Zero point, Yumthang & Lachung

North Sikkim - Zero point, Yumthang & Lachung

Winters (November to February) are cold and the temperatures can be expected to drop to freezing point. Temperatures range from a minimum of -13 degrees Celsius and can go up to a maximum of around 5 degrees Celsius during this time. January is the coldest month of the year. With temperature dropping to as low as -40°c in the extreme winters, North Sikkim place is one of the coldest places in India. Thick vegetation all the way up till alpine heights before disappearing into Tundra and numerous waterfalls only make it the most picturesque place.

Day 9. Drass

Drass

Drass, the second coldest place in the world after Siberia, records temperature drop down to about -40 degrees Celsius in winters. Drass has an altitude of 3230 m and lies 60 km west of Kargil on the road to Srinagar. 

Top 25 Places To Visit In Delhi

Delhi is a lot more than just a city of love. It is the absolute combination of tradition and modernity. A city with innumerable monuments on one hand and a world class airport and metro on the other. Street food, shopping malls, thrifty shopping places, religious places, theater; you name it and Delhi has it! Here are the 25 must-see places in Delhi. Take your notes and visit them all when you drop by!

1. LOTUS TEMPLE

The Lotus Temple or the Bahá’í House of Worship is an architectural masterpiece which will make you want to go ‘wow’ but wait, you can’t say that aloud! Well, when inside the temple, you have to maintain silence! There are no sermons or ritualistic activities practised, one can just sit in peace and pray to their respective gods.

Closest metro station- Nehru Place (Violet Line)

Tip– Lotus Temple organizes daily shows to educate people about Baha’i faith. Add that to your list.

2. AKSHARDHAM

This is a must-see site and should be high on your priority list. Akshardham attracts 70% of all tourists who visit Delhi (not surprising at all!). Once you enter, I bet you wouldn’t want to leave. It has jaw-dropping architecture, a fascinating fountain show, an informative boat ride, a huge garden, a food court that offers scrumptious dishes and much more.

Closest metro station- Akshardham (Blue Line)

Tip- Try to reach early so that you can experience all activities before the complex closes

3. NATIONAL GALLERY OF MODERN ART (NGMA)

If you are an art enthusiast or just like to go ‘aww’ over fantastic brush strokes, you must pay a visit to this place. NGMA is one of the most serene public buildings in Delhi. Take a walk around this beautiful piece of architecture and you will not want to get back to the hustling roads of Delhi.

Closest metro station- Khan Market (Violet Line)

Tip– Buy picture post cards and souvenirs at affordable prices from the Museum shop.

4. TUGHLAQABAD FORT

Tughlaqabad Fort was built by the founder of the Tughlaq Dynasty in 1321. It is spread across an area of 6.5 km and is near the well established residential-commercial area of Tughlaqabad.

A google-search of the fort is enough incentive for you to jump on the metro and make a fun trip out of it. Don’t forget to take your picnic basket, soak up some sun and enjoy the monumental beauty.

Closest metro station- Tughlaqabad (Violet Line)

Tip– If you go for a picnic, don’t litter. Carry a separate bag for the waste.

5. TOMB OF SAFDARJANG

This monument was described as the ‘last flicker in the lamp of Mughal architecture’. It was built in 1754 for statesman Safdarjung. The huge structure is surrounded by beautiful gardens of the Mughal charbagh style. You’ll be certainly surprised with the silent environment here even though it is right next to the busy Lodi Road.

Closest metro station- Jor bagh (Yellow line)

Tip– If you have a partner, the gardens are the place to get all cuddly!

 

6. PURANA QILA AND NATIONAL ZOOLOGICAL PARK

When you visit Purana Qila, don’t forget to walk upto the National Zoological Park or Delhi Zoo.  It is spread over an area of 176-acre and is very (read veryyyy) crowded on weekends. If you like long walks this place is perfect for it. Walk around enjoying the funny activities of hippos and the hysterical laughs of the hyaenas. You can also rent a battery-operated vehicle at the zoo to take a tour.

Closest metro station- Pragati Maidan (Blue Line)

Tip– If someone wakes up the lion from his slumber, enjoy the thunderous ‘Rawwwwr’.

7. AGRASEN KI BAOLI

Baoli which means stepwell was constructed in order to preserve water in ancient times. What is special about this baoli is that it is situated right in the heart of the city, surrounded by tall buildings of Connaught Place. In the crowd you might spot poets and artists working their magic on paper thanks to the awesomeness of the location.

Closest metro station- Rajiv Chowk (Yellow Line)

Trivia– This place is said to be one of the most haunted places of India!

8. GARDEN OF FIVE SENSES

This garden is a treat to the eyes. It has 25 sculptures and murals on display and walkways surrounded by flowering and fragrant shrubs and trees. There is also a food and shopping court in the garden where you can enjoy a good meal while a light breeze awakens your senses. The garden is spotted as one of the most romantic places in Delhi.

Closest metro station- Saket (Yellow Line)

9. HAUZ KHAS VILLAGE AND DEER PARK

Ranbir Kapoor and Nargis Fakhri shout out some drunken dialogues in the Hauz Khas Fort in their movie Rockstar! The Fort overlooks a beautiful lake where you can feed adorable ducks and swans. To reach the lake, take a walk through the deer park and admire the spotted animals. While you are on the go you will come across boards which will guide you to perform fitness exercises, if you are the playful type I suggest you to follow them on the way, it makes the walk absolutely fun-tastic.

The ‘Village’ offers great restaurants, dive bars, clubs, and shopping boutiques. After you enjoy your calm moments at the fort you can head out to one of the popular bars and enjoy a good drink. Hauz Khas Village is for sure a mix of everything nice huh?

Closest metro station- Green Park (Yellow Line)

Tip– Take loads of photographs; this place makes everyone more photogenic. *chuckles*

10. ISKCON TEMPLE

Your faith in God will reach new heights after you attend the ‘Arti’ at the ISKCON Temple.

Devotional songs play while you walk around the temple adorned with splendid portraits and idols of Lord Krishna. You will witness a calm environment with an inexplicable energy around you.

Closest metro station- Nehru Place (Violet Line)

Tip– Attend the Vedic sound and light show titled ‘Gita Saar’.

11. NIZAMMUDIN DARGAH AND NIZAMMUDIN KI BAOLI

The Dargah is one of the most sacred mausoleums in India. If you are wondering what it exactly looks like, just picture the song ‘Kun Faya Kun’ from the movie Rockstar.

A secret tunnel was discovered by The Aga Khan Trust for Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) which linked Nizammudin Dargah to Nizammudin Ki Baoli. The Baoli has a wooden base and a well which intact even after 800 years. The water of the Baoli is considered holy by pilgrims.

Closest metro station- JLN stadium (Violet Line)

Tip– Attend the Kawallis on Thursdays and Saturdays, they are said to have a ‘special touch’.

12. LODHI GARDEN

Here’s a great place for morning walks and family picnics! Lodhi Garden is spread over an area of about 90 acres, it has 5 beautiful architectural works of 15th century- Mohammed Shah’s Tomb, Sikander Lodi’s Tomb, Sheesh Gumbad and Bara Gumbad. You can soak up some sun with your family over a game of charades and some yummy sandwiches.

Closest metro station(s) – Jor Bagh (Yellow Line)/ JLN Stadium (Violet Line)

13. PAHARGANJ

Paharganj is the hub for cheap shopping, cheap lodging and cheap hogging. If you love leather bags and footwear, this is the place for you. You can get an amazing leather satchel for as low as Rs 200! The market is well known for silver jewellery and thrift shops. The culture of this market is quite like that of hill stations like Kasaul and the fact that you’ll see quite a few foreigners at any time of the day, you might just forget that you’re in Delhi.

Closest metro station – New Delhi (Yellow Line)

Tip– It’s best to see the market on foot.

14. SAROJINI MARKET

Delhi offers many places for inexpensive but quality shopping. Sarojini Nagar Market might just top that list. It is one of the most popular markets especially for clothes, footwear and accessories. One might simply describe it as a teengirl’s shopping paradise.

Closest metro station- INA

Tip– If you’re new to bargaining, take an experienced person along. Bargaining here could get real nasty!

15. LAJPAT NAGAR MARKET

Set your budget and go crazy shopping for ethnic wear. You get great salvar kameez, sarees, kurtas and kolhapuri chappals in this market. Lajpat market momos are extremely popular so if you’re fond of street food, don’t miss them.

Closest metro station- Lajpat Nagar (Violet Line)

 

16. DILLI HAAT

This place is a walking tour of Indian culture. Shop for all the ethnic wear you wish, overload your bags with beautiful pieces of handicraft or just enjoy the weather while having a badam kulfi. There are food stalls dishing out scrumptious delicacies of different states of India. If you make an unplanned trip to Dilli Haat you might bump into a fancy exhibition or a dance/music performance.

Closest metro station – INA (Yellow line)

 

17. INDIA HABITAT CENTRE

This place gives you a little bit of everything. An open air complex with huge solar panels on the roof, art exhibits in the galleries, yummy foods from the street of India and a good old American breakfast of bacon and eggs. Ever since 2011, the Delhi Photo Festival is held here.

Closest metro station(s) – Jor Bagh (Yellow line)/ JLN stadium (Violet Line)

 

18. INDIA GATE

Everyone knows of the glorious India Gate! Round the year one can see people picnicking or just enjoying a nice walk around the area. There are beautiful fountains around to make the area nice and cozy. If you happen to come around the October-November period do sign up for the Airtel Half Marathon; an early morning run at Raj Path  is bound to stay etched in your memory.

Closest metro station- Central Secretariat (Yellow line)

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19. QUTUB MINAR

Qutub Minar is the 2nd tallest minar in India. It has been declared as a UNESCO Heritage Site. At the foot of the tower stands a mosque which is the first mosque built in India. It has a 7 m iron pillar in the courtyard with a fascinating saying attached to it. It is said that if you can encircle it with your hands while standing with your back to it your wish will be fulfilled.

Closest metro station- Qutub Minar (Yellow line)

 

20. RED FORT AND CHANDNI CHOWK

Adding to the list of majestic monuments in Delhi, there is Red Fort. It is also a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE. It served as the residence for Mughal Emperors for nearly 200 years. The surviving structures of the fort are its walls and ramparts, the main gates, the audience halls and the imperial apartments.

Chandni Chowk, which leads up to the Red Fort is one of the oldest markets in Delhi. It houses many religious buildings like the Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib, Jama Masjid, historical mansions, shops and eateries. Paranthe Wali Gali is one of the most famous eating areas in the market. The market is an amazing place to shop for fabrics, stationary (at Nai Sadak), hardware and silver and gold jewellery.

Closest metro station – Chandni Chowk (Yellow Line)

 

21. HUMAYUN’S TOMB

This is the third UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE on our list. It was built after the death of Humayun by his senior widow Bega Begum. It is the first garden tomb in the Indian Subcontinent. The tomb stands in the centre of a square garden called ‘Charbagh’ which has shallow water channels running through it. Several rulers of the Mughal Dynasty lie buried here.

Closest metro station- JLN stadium (Violet line)

22. RASHTRAPATI BHAWAN

The President’s residence is one place you better not miss. The mansion is open to tourists for visit on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Mughal Gardens with two channels and energetic fountains add to the beauty of the place. They are open to the public from February- March every year.

Closest metro station- Central Secretariat (Yellow Line)

23. CONNAUGHT PLACE, JANPATH AND MANDI HOUSE

Shop, eat, watch a movie or just laze in the Central Park; Connaught Place is the perfect location for all that. Have a milkshake in a glass bottle at Keventers or a coffee at Starbucks, pick up a sweet treat from Wengers or a burger from KFC; you have too many restaurants to choose from! Walk through the corridors of the market to find some low priced trinkets and novels. Shop for branded clothes, footwear and accessories all that in one big circular market. Get out of the inner circle to walk towards Janpath market to shop for trendy clothes, jewellery and showpieces at throwaway prices.

Just a stone’s throw away from CP is the cultural hub of Delhi. Mandi Househas many auditoriums which host stage plays and other performances regularly. Catch a stage act at Kamani Auditorium or Sri Ram Centre of Performing Arts to get an idea of how much talent this city has to offer!

Closest metro station- Rajiv Chowk (Blue Line)

 

24. BANGLA SAHIB GURUDWARA

So you have shopped at Connaught Place and are headed home? Not just yet! Make a stop at the beautiful white marble Sikh Gurudwara. The melodious chanting of hymns will transport you to a different world all together. The ‘Sarovar’ which is a holy water body in the Gurudwara premises keeps it cool all year long. The ‘Kada Prasad’ is too yummy, just melts in your mouth.

Closest metro station(s) – Rajiv Chowk/Shivaji Stadium

 

25. RAJGHAT

This mausoleum is one without a tomb. It is the site of burial of our Father of the Nation. The location is beautifully kept with manicured lawns and red stone paths. Raj Ghat area also has memorials of other famous leaders like Pt Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri etc.

Raj Ghat makes a good place for a refreshing walk with a dose of some history trivia.

Closest metro station- Indraprastha (Blue Line)

 

10 Indian female travel bloggers who will inspire you to hit the road this Women’s Day!

While a lot is talked about safety of women in India, there are many out there who dare to venture alone. Each of them has several wise words to share, which they do on their respective blogs. They write about their travel adventures, which are absolutely inspiring. In a country where freedom of women is at stake and where so many politicians blame women for the injustice they suffer, there are these women, who globetrot alone and bring back awe-inspiring tales. In a country like India, which personifies unity in diversity, walking in a woman’s shoes is difficult, let alone solo travelling, so we must say these travel bloggers are praiseworthy. They certainly had to break several social norms to be who they are today! As we gear up for Women’s Day celebrations, we have listed down 10 such Indian female travel bloggers, who are truly motivational.

 

  1. Shivya Nath

At the age of 23, Shivya Nath quit her corporate job to travel the world. Having spent her childhood in Dehradun, she always wondered what lay beyond the mountains. After graduating in Singapore, Shivya landed a job with the Singapore Tourism Board, where she started following the journey of travel bloggers across the world. In 2011, she took a 2 month sabbatical and went flash- packing across Western Europe. Well, this travel break encouraged Shivya to quit her job and begin travelling through countries.

Blog link: http://the-shooting-star.com/

 2. Amrita Das

Amrita Das quit her full time job in 2014 to become a full-time traveler. She has travelled across 20 states in India and has explored Nepal, Switzerland, Italy, Singapore, Indonesia and Paris. You ought to check her blog for more interesting inputs!

Blog link: http://travellingidesofmarch.com/

 3. Renuka Singh

Writing comes naturally to Renuka Singh and after reading one of her posts, trust us you will be hooked onto her blog for hours. Renuka loves to travel and click photographs. She prefers solo travelling or with people who are as curious as her. Her blog posts are amazing and will leave you lost for words. So, visit her blog, and feel motivated this Women’s Day!

Blog link: http://www.renuka-voyagerforlife.com/

 4. Lakshmi Sharath

Lakshmi Sharath is a media professional, traveler, travel writer and a photographer. She has been blogging in the travel space since 2005. She has won several accolades. She featured in the UK’s list of 100 international travellers in 2014. Her travel stories will encourage you to take a trip, right away!

Blog link: www.lakshmisharath.com/

 5. Charukesi Ramadurai

Charukesi Ramadurai is a freelance writer. She has been travel blogging for 11 years, and has travelled across 20 Indian states and 24 countries. She writes about a variety of subjects apart from travelling.

Blog link: charukesi.com/itchyfeet/

 6. Mridula Dwivedi

Mridula Dwivedi is known for her travel blog, across the globe. She also writes for Gonomad and one can get hooked to her writings at either of the sites. Travel Tales from India dates back to 2005.

Blog link: http://traveltalesfromindia.in/

 7. Anuradha Shankar

Anuradha Shankar is a homemaker, mother, traveller and a freelance writer… However, she didn’t always want to be a traveller. Anuradha has completed her Masters in Physics and had enrolled for Ph. D. And while she was still exploring options, she got married. But that didn’t put an end to her travel adventures. You must check her blog to know her full story.

Blog link: http://anushankarn.blogspot.in/

 8. Ankita Sinha

Ankita Sinha quit her IT job to travel and then started her own blog in November 2011. She has travelled to 24 states in India and over 13 countries across the globe. Her blog is a personalized stylish travel and adventure blog. She puts up interesting videos along with her articles which give you details about the place.

Blog link: http://www.ankionthemove.com/

 9. Neelima Vallangi

Neelima Vallangi describes herself as an offbeat and adventure travel enthusiast. One look at her blog, and you couldn’t agree more. It was a trip to Ladakh that turned Neelima into a travel addict. By the age of 30, she wants to have set foot in all Indian states and Union territories. So far, she has travelled to 20 states and UTs. Apart from being an awesome writer, Neelima has also received awards in photography.

Blog link: http://www.travelwithneelima.com/

 10. Ruchika Vyas

Ruchika Vyas is has a different tale to tell. She didn’t quit her full time job to begin travel blogging. But instead blogging is an extension of her primary job. On her blog, one can choose from tabs such as food and drinks, light reading, travel tidbits and more. It’s quite an interesting one, we must say!

Blog link: http://www.travellerstories.com/

10 weekend gateway from Delhi, Must visit.

Looking for short trips around Delhi for the long weekend that’s coming up? Here are our hand-picked 10 short trips perfect for Delhites that can be done economically!

Have the monsoons been urging you to go out and enjoy the blessed weather but couldn’t get days off work? Well, here’s your chance. This year, the Independence Day falls on a Friday, which means you get a three day weekend to get your fill of the monsoons. In our previous post, we covered quick monsoon getaways around Delhi, this time we bring you these combination of places to explore in this extended weekend! While Uttarakhand remains largely inaccessible due to heavy rains and the ongoing reconstruction and restoration, we have covered some high ground to spoil you with these compelling choices to plan your extended weekend from!

1. Udaipur + Mount Abu

City Palace, Udaipur, short trips from Delhi

If you are looking for a touch of royalty, head out to Rajasthan for a short trip from Delhi. The mighty palaces and forts take on a rustic hue in the monsoons, head for Udaipur to experience how the Royalty lived. Explore theMonsoon Palace, Bagore ki Haveli, the Lake Palace, take a horse ride around the city or indulge in some shopping in the variety of flea markets. If the city feels a little overwhelming, take a road trip to Mount Abu, the only Hill station here complete with beautiful lakes and gushing waterfalls.

2. Jodhpur + Jaisalmer

Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, short trips near delhi

The sprawling desert land of Jaisalmer covers itself up in shades of green during the monsoons while Jodhpur,the blue city of Rajasthan accentuates its colors in the rains. These rain washed cities look picturesque dotted with ancient forts like Mehrangarh Fort or Jaisalmer Fort; Palaces like Patwon ki Haveli and Umaid Bhavan Palaceare just some of the many culturally and historically significant sites to see. If architectural beauty, history and culture are your calling then this makes for a perfect short trip from delhi for the long weekend.

3. Pushkar + Ajmer

Pushkar Lake, short trips around Delhi

The holy cities of Pushkar and Ajmer together house two of the most revered holy sites in India. The 14 century Temple dedicated to Brahma is surrounded by numerous ghats and the Pushkar Lake which owes its existence to a legend. Ajmer on the other hand is known for the Shrine of Sufi Saint Moinuddin Chistri, Ajmer’s Dargah Shariffis an important pilgrimage site. Akbar Fort Museum in Ajmer is another place to visit or you can also go shopping in the small colorful markets of Pushkar for handicrafts.

4. Orchha + Gwalior or Khajuraho

Gwalior Fort, short trips for long weekend near delhi

You can start your day with Gwalior by visiting Gwalior Fort one of the largest and majestic forts in India along with the Saas- Bahu Temples and Teli ka Mandir – a 300 metre high temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Spend the next day at Orchha exploring the architectural excellence of the Bundela Rulers of 16th-17th century. You’ll need a full day to see Khajuraho, to marvel at the unique architecture of the numerous temples of the ‘Garden of Dates’ as it was known then. Go here on a short trip from Delhi for a unique experience.

Khajhiar Meadows, short trip from delhi

This one is one of the most beautiful short trips from Delhi that you can undertake. Lush greenery, misty mountains and clouds descending on the hills, if this is what you want for your weekend then head straight to Dalhousie andKhajjiar for a weekend among the mountains. The Pir Pinjal mountain range of Dalhousie is as overwhelmingly gorgeous as that of the vast meadows of Khajjiar. Uninterrupted breeze with drizzling rains and the scenic view makes for quite the picturesque setting.

6. Jammu + Katra + Vaishno Devi

Vaishnodevi short trip from delhi on long weekend

The Himalayan Valley of the North, Jammu has nature’s distinctive traits that are unparalleled to any other place. Lakes, Forts, ancient and holy temples, are just some of the many attractions of Jammu you will be treated to. Further from Jammu you’ll find Vaishnodevi – one of the most famous pilgrimage sites in India. But apart from its religious status, Vaishnodevi has many tourist attractions like the holy cave of Shiv Khori, Salal Dam, Baba Dhansar which features a huge spring coming through the rocks that flows and merges into the Chenab River. For the adventure seekers, Patnitop has all the amenities for adventure sporting activities. This circuit is one of the best options for a short trip from Delhi for a long weekend.

7. Kasauli (via Chandigarh) + Shimla

Kasauli , short trip from delhi

A old favorite, this short trip from Delhi takes you across the beautiful state of Himachal Pradeshthrough ChandigarhShimla and Kasauli, these places receive decent to moderate rainfall which makes them quite pleasant in this weather. A road trip through the valleys and mountains is the perfect way to enjoy the monsoon!

8. Srinagar + Sanasar

Sanasar, Short trip from delhi

Sanasar is one of the remotest regions in India; it is a hill station in Jammu and Kashmir surrounded by tall conifers trees and a wonderful destination for adventure sports. Paragliding, Horse Riding, Parasailing, Hot Air Ballooning are some of the activities particularly famous here. You can spend time relaxing at Srinagar after all the adventure activities, the beautiful lakes surrounded mountains and blossoming gardens will rejuvenate you before you head back home.

Palampur, short trip around Delhi

Palampur and Dharamshala (Mcleodganj) of the Kangra Valley are towns blessed with natural beauty. Palampurhas the majestic mountains of the Dhauladhar range forming a picturesque backdrop while the town itself is laced with tea plantations and pine tree forests which leaves the air around here scented with pine fragrance.Dharamshala is located close to the Dhauladhar range which makes it a starting point for many trekking trails towards the mountains. It also has a lot of waterfalls, lakes, scenic points and ancient temples to see around here. Upper Dharamsala (Mcleodganj) is also known as Little Lhasa as the home to the Tibetan government in exile. This is the most bang for the buck that you can get for a short trip near Delhi.

10. Lucknow + Varanasi

Ganga River, Varanasi, short trip near Delhi

Lucknow receives some good rainfall around this time making the place quite cooler. It is a historically important city also known for its manners and hospitality. Places like the Bara Imambara and its Bhool Bhulaiya, Rumi Darwaza and Sankat Mochan Temple are some of the important sites here. Likewise, Varanasi is the holy city of the Hindus, with the sacred Ganga flowing here. This city is filled with numerous ancient temples, fort, etc but the main attraction here is the sight of thousands of pilgrims taking a dip in the River Ganga against the backdrop of ancient temples is a sight not to miss. Club these two cities for a perfect short trip near Delhi.