After the heat and chaos in the big cities of the Plains, the Indian Himalayas make a relaxing change. Some foreign travelers make visiting this region their sole purpose for coming to India, and it is a popular destination for Indians as well. The Himalayan North, being the abode of the gods and the origin of Hinduism's holy rivers, is one of the most ancient travel destinations in the country. Pilgrims have been visiting this place for centuries.
The British, conquering India before air conditioning, found themselves defeated by the Indian summer. As a result, they had to take refuge in hill stations to escape the heat. This region, because of its proximity to Delhi, had the largest concentration of hill stations. The largest among these, Shimla, was the summer capital of British India. Shimla and other cities like Mussoorie and Dalhousie still retain their charming colonial atmosphere.
The valley of Kashmir used to be the honeymoon destination of choice for those who could afford it, but terrorism made it too unsafe.
Hindi/Urdu is understood throughout the region either as a primary or secondary language. English is widely understood, especially in the more touristed parts.
The Himalayan North is well connected to the Plains by bus. Haridwar is the highest place that is accessible by train.
Bus: This is the main way to get around the Himalayan north, the only choice in many places. The winding roads and steep slopes make for some nerve wracking moments; but the views more than make up for it.
Train: Being a mountainous region there are very few rail lines. However, there is a "toy train" service that connects Kalka and Shimla. In its day, this single gauge line was a remarkable engineering feat, but now it makes for a slow and beautiful tourist route.