India is a gateway to the Himalayas, the highest mountain range in the world. The world’s eight highest mountains are all in the Himalayas, including the Mt. Everest, the highest mountain peak in the world. It will not be too farfetched to say that the Himalayas define our planet.
The rivers and the system of river basins that originate in the Himalayas sustain almost 50 percent of the population of this planet (approx 3 billion people spreading over 18 countries). The Himalayas are sacred to many Eastern religions like Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Animism. The sacred rivers of Ganga and Brahmaputra originate in the Himalayas. The Hindu God, Lord Shiva is believed to dwell in the Himalayas.
The Indian Himalayas are home to many tribes, cultures, ethnic communities, rich and diverse flora and fauna and national resources. They are important to the economy and well being of the country. Many of the prominent religious places of India are also situated in the Himalayas.
Here are the top 5 Himalayan destinations:
The capital of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh is the most popular hill station of India. It was the summer capital of the British rulers of India and the British have left a mark on the architecture and lifestyle of Shimla. It is surrounded by beautiful dense forests and in winter, people can enjoy snow skating in the nearby mountains. It is also a good place for shopping and people can buy handicrafts and other domestic products. Shimla has many bungalows and buildings which are more than 100 years old and are claimed to be ‘haunted’.
It is a very popular hill station situated in the state of West Bengal, on the foothills of the Himalayas. It is famous for its tea gardens and scenic mountains. From most hotels in the city, you can get a glimpse of Mt. Kanchenjunga, the 3rd highest mountain peak in the world. You must take the toy train ride from Darjeeling which will let you explore lush green forests, tea gardens and mountains. Some of the popular attractions in Darjeeling include Nightingale Park, Batashiya Loop, Japanese Peace Pagoda, Buddhist monasteries, Himalayan Zoo, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Tiger Hill etc.
It is the capital of the state of Uttarakhand and is a beautiful Himalayan destination, situated on the banks of the river Ganga and Yamuna. It is surrounded by beautiful mountains, scenic meadows, lakes and forests. It is also a gateway to the Hindu holy places of Hrishikesh and Haridwar. It is also the home to many prominent educational institutions. Dehradun enjoys a very pleasant climate all the year round. Places worth exploring in Dehradun include The Gurkha Fort, Kalinga War Memorial, Mindrolling Monastery, Tapkeshwar Temple etc.
4. Arunachal Pradesh
The state of Arunachal Pradesh, which lies in the Himalayan region, is home to various tribal groups and close to 50 different languages. Beautiful mountains, majestic lakes, lush green fields, apple orchids etc. are some of thinks that people can enjoy in this Himalayan destination. There is a 300 years old Buddhist monastery in the state, which is worth exploring. The tribal villages in the state are also worth exploring.
Sikkim is another beautiful state which is situated in the Himalayan region and is very popular with tourists. It is an ideal destination for adventure tourism and people go there for indulging in adventure activities such as mountain climbing, ice skiing, river rafting and paragliding. Sikkim is also an important center of Tibetan Buddhism and has many old monasteries. Some of the key tourist attractions in Sikkim include the Pemayangtse Monastery, Golden Stupa , Mountaineering Institute, Ghoom Monastery etc.