The North of India is the land of Gods. It has the mighty Himalayas towering up to the sky, roaring torrents of rushing waters, undulating landscapes, deep gorges, high craggy cliffs, lovely enchanting meadows and plains in a tapestry that is so lovely that you cannot but wish to linger here for the rest of your life. Rajasthan is the most visited state with its own cultural and traditional ecosystem reflected in one princely state after another as you travel from Jaipur to Jaisalmer, Bikaner to Ajmer and Udaipur to Chittorgarh. Rajasthan is about palaces, forts, deserts, a colourful vibrant culture and unique fiery cuisine. It is a land of enchantment with every nook and corner a reminder of the glorious royal traditions. If you want breathtaking variety, the loveliest of scenery and a full taste of the most varied cultures, there is nothing like North India.
North India is a mini world. To the East, you have the Shivaliks of Himachal Pradesh, a region known for its apples and lovely hill resorts such as Shimla, Kufri, Manali. These are enchanting hill stations discovered and nurtured by the British and they still have remnants of a colonial legacy. Move to the West of Delhi, and you enter Uttarakhand, the Land of Gods. Devout Hindus make it a point to undertake a pilgrimage to the four holy places of Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath. People who love beauties of Nature have more than their fair share with breathtaking views of the majestic Himalayas, undulating valleys, rivers and forests to keep them enthralled and enchanted. For adventure seekers, there is plenty on offer from white water rafting, paragliding and rock climbing to mountain biking and trekking. It is sheer paradise.
Travel to the North of Delhi and you enter Kashmir, a paradise on earth with its magical, ethereal quality, a place so enchanting that the Mughals made it their summer home. Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Pahalgam and Srinagar are the most enchanting and must visit destinations with a night on the houseboat on Dal Lake, an obligatory stay for tourists. The culture here is as different from Himachal as it is from that in Uttarakhand. From Kashmir to Ladakh is a short but one of the most arduous journey, leading you to a place of wild desolation and life atop the highest mountain passes in the world.
And how can you ignore Uttar Pradesh when you think of touring North India. The inimitable Taj at Agra beckons global travellers to admire this monument to love. UP is also home to Varanasi, one of the oldest inhabited cities, a place so infused with the religious fervour you cannot but help being coloured by it. Allahabad and Ayodhya are the other sacred destinations in UP. Sikhs, Christians and Sufis also find the State a wonderful destination. For Buddhists, it is Kushinagar, the place where Buddha delivered his final sermon. History was made here in UP with Rani Laxmibai still an iconic figure. There is scenic wildlife you will love at the Kishanpur, Suhelwa, Dudhwa, Hastinapur, National Chambal and a dozen others dotted across the landscape. Lucknow is all culture and nawabi tehzeeb in addition to some historic monuments and of course, its delectable kababs. From food to culture and places of interest, UP is a destination that will keep you enthralled.
Bihar is another state rich in history and places of tourist interest. Undoubtedly the star attractions are Nalanda and Bodhgaya. Nalanda is the site of a university that flourished in the 5th century, said to have 1000 students from all over the world studying under 2000 teachers among whom we can count Lord Budha and Hieun Tsang. For Buddhists, the prime target is Bodh Gaya, a place where the Buddha gained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree, about 100 kilometres from Patna, a World Heritage Site, also home to the Maha Bodhi Temple. Patna Museum, Jalmandir temple and Hieun Tsang Memorial Hall are but a few of the attractions of this vast State. The Navlaka Palace and Buxar Fort are the other landmarks, relics of kingdoms that once thrived here.
After a trip to the North of India, life will never be the same again.
I have so many suggestions for advice where to stay and what to do. Call me to chat about your personalised bespoke tour of North India.