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Himalayan North

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Asia : South Asia : India : Himalayan North
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Though the Himalayas stretch across the entire northern border of India, this region covers only those states of India that lie on the northwestern section of this mountain range.

States

Cities

  • Dehradun — capital of Uttarakhand
  • Dharamsala — home of the Dalai Lama, popular backpacker hang-out
  • Leh — bustling tourist town, large numbers of Kashmiri traders
  • Manali — quiet picturesque town set in mountainous region by day, hosts many a rave at night
  • Shimla — summer capital of former British India, modern India with English architecture
  • Srinagar — famous for Dal lake, located in the picturesque Himalayas

Other destinations

Understand

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. This 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, having conquered India before the invention of 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, till terrorism made a visit there too unsafe.


Talk

Hindi/Urdu is understood throughout the region either as a primary or secondary language. English is widely understood, especially in the more touristed parts.

Get in

The Himalayan North is well connected to the Plains by bus. Haridwar is the highest place that is accessible by train.

Get around

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.

See

Itineraries

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