Famously referred to as the 'Lake District of India', Nainital, at 1938 meters above sea level, is a scenic delight that would be irresistible to any tourist. It is located around the famous Naini Lake in a valley. With mountains on all sides, Nainital is where you need to be for a rendezvous with nature.
The sheer appeal of the eye-shaped Naini Lake is simply enchanting, be it in days when boating goes on in full swing, or at nights when its bank is lit by numerous lights highlighting border. The sound of Naina Devi Temple bells are enough to guide anyone looking for direction. From here, most of the tourists embark on their journey to learn more about this once British occupied capital. If plans extend to nearby places, people busy in arranging fields for terrace farming meticulously could be seen in Ranikhet. Not every day one can view such hard work of human.
Legends tell about the eyes of Goddess Sati dropping where Naini Lake stands today while Lord Shiva was carrying Her body and grieving; the goddess who represents Shakti is worshipped in the temple located at northern shore of the lake. This is just a single myth; there are many other popular stories that could be heard once plans of Nainital tour are in place. The calm and cool environment is salubrious, healing soul just as the faith healing mind.
The credit to raise a city around an ethereal lake goes to British. P. Barron, a Sugar trader. He is associated with the founding of the place in 1841, but since then people (residents as well as tourists) know it to be a speck of divine in more than one way.
Rituals, celebration, myths, faith, devotion, romance- Nainital tourism has many faces. Depending upon what inspires more a tourist, the place garbs itself in a perfect host. Bound by the beautiful peaks, lush greenery, valleys and Ballia River, the city is unscrupulous in providing soul rejuvenating experience. Ride a boat in the lake and the feeling comes stronger than ever. Deciding to spend holidays in Nainital can leave tickles in memories for life.
There are a number of places that one can pay a visit to while holidaying in Nainital. However, if one has less time, one can surely go for a place which interests him/her the most. Since Nainital offers a number of experiences which ranges from trekking, boating, shopping, picnic, sightseeing, Rope-way, spiritual one and others through a number of places which have these things to offer to the inquisitive and zealous traveler.
Activities in Nainital
Boating: The majestic Naini Lake is the centerpiece of Nainital and boating is one the most popular activity among tourists and honeymoon couples. Yachting is another form of boating that is gaining popularity in Nainital.
Shopping: Tourists can find few local markets in Nainital like Bara Bazar, Tibetan market and Mall Road market from where one can shop for apparels, handicrafts, artifacts and souvenirs. The markets in Nainital are known for scented candles, key chains, books and artificial jewelry.
Picnic Spots and Ropeway: Nainital has an aerial ropeway that connects the town with Snow View Point which offers breathtaking view of the lake as well as the surrounding places like China Peak, Tiffin Top and Snow View point.
Trekking / Hiking: There are several hiking trails in and around Nainital where adventure lovers can hike and explore the nature. Nainital-Betalghat Trek, Nainital-Binayak Trek, Nainital-Kainchi Trek, Nainital-Kilbury Trek and Snow View Trek are popular hiking trails in Nainital.
Mussoorie with its beautiful, undulating, tree-covered hills, looking down on the Doon valley and with a fantastic view of the Mighty Himalayas. Mussoorie is post-card pretty and has wonderfully a romantic air, which has time and again lured honeymooners to it ever since it was established way back in 1827. Mussoorie, Popularly known as the Queen of Hills, this charming hill station, 34 kms from Dehradun is situated at an altitude of 2003 mts in the Garhwal hills. above sea-level. Mussoorie is one the beautiful hill stations in India and the most frequently visited. It provides excellent respite to people who want relief from the hot sultry conditions of the plains, especially since it is close enough to the capital to make just weekend trip. Also, major Hindu pilgrimage sites like Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Haridwar, Rishikesh are not far from this place.
In 1820, Captain Young of the British army was influenced by the beauty of this place and made it his residence. The name, Mussoorie is derived from plants of 'Mussoorie' which were found in abundance here. After its discovery, this hill station gradually developed as a centre of education, business, tourism and beauty.
Places To Visit and Things to Do
Kempty fall - Located on the way between Dehradun-Mussoorie roads, Kempty Falls is a beautiful location to take a dip in water falling from an altitude of 40 feet. It is a perfect place to take a short swim or fish.
The Mall - Located in the heart of Mussoorie, the Mall is a colonial relic with benches and lampposts filled with modern shops, video game parlours and skating rinks.
Gun Hill - Gun Hill is the second highest peak of Mussoorie and one of the most famous destinations of the hill station. Gun Hill offers an enchanting view of some of the highest Himalayan ranges namely Bunderpunch, Srikantha, Pithwara and the Gangotri group, along with a picturesque view of the Mussoorie town and the Doon Valley. One of the most exciting features of this place is a 400 m thrilling Ropeway ride to land from this exceptionally beautiful, misty peak
Cloud's end - 6 km west off the Library, the Cloud's end marks the end of Mussoorie. It is covered by thick jungles and tracks 2 km up to the Benog Wildlife Sanctuary. It offers a lovely walking track. This place offers a great view of Aglar River Valley.
Jharipani fall - 6 km downhill of Mussoorie is the Jharipani Falls that you can reach within a 30 minute walk. Mussoorie's famous boarding schools, namely, St George's, Wynberg Allen, and Oakgrove are well packed within the estates of Jharipani.
Dhanaulti - A small hamlet towards East of Landour, Dhanaulti houses the Sukhanda Devi shrine amidst the lushness of Himalayan greenery and attracts numerous pilgrims to its site. You must also visit the Eco Park on the way to Chamba.
Benog Wildlife Sanctuary - Famous for its almost-extinct mountain quails, deer, leopards and red-billed blue magpie, the Benog Wildlife Sanctuary is well known to house rare species of birds and offers an excellent trail of pine-clad slopes surrounded by Himalayan peaks for a refreshing walk.
Paragliding and trekking - Mussoorie's is a good place for adventure Sports like paragliding as well. There are some trekking opportunities also available here.
Kedarnath is one of the most sacred pilgrimages of Lord Shiva situated in Rudraprayag district of Garhwal region in Uttarakhand. Kedarnath is one of the Char Dham in Uttarakhand and the most important dham among Panch kedar. Kedarnath is situated at an altitude of 3586 mts, in the lap of the majestic mountain peaks and near the head of river Mandakini, Kedarnath range stands one of the twelve Jyotir lingas of Lord Shiva.
Kedar meaning powerful is another name of Lord Shiva the protector and the destroyer. The beautiful ambiance around the temple looks like quite peace on heaven causes a beautiful place to do meditation. The main attractions here are the Shiva Temple, which is a popular Hindu shrine and pilgrimage, attracting devotees from all over the world. The travel and tourism scope here is strengthened by factors like natural beauty and religious zest.
Shiva is considered the embodiment of all passions - love, hatred, fear, death and mysticism which are expressed through his various forms. There are more than 200 shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva in the area itself, the most important one is Kedarnath.
Visiting the Kedarnath temple takes a long trek which is the most popular activity here. You can also attend the festivals in Kedarnath or go shopping for souvenirs related to the Almighty. Know more about the things to do in Kedarnath.
Places To Visit
Kedarnath Temple - This temple at the foothills of Himalayas is of great religious significance. It demands a tiring trek to have a Darshan of the deity. It is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas and is closely associated with the Pandava princes from Mahabharata. The original temple built by the Pandava brothers was a stone structure and has undergone many renovations. It encompasses a hall that has the images of Pandava brothers, Nandi, Veerabhadra and Lord Krishna.
Vasuki Tal - It is a lake at an altitude of 4135 meters in the midst of snowy mountains. It is one of the prettiest sights in Kedarnath due to its glittering waters. This beautiful lake provides a charming view of the neighboring Chaukhamba peaks. Vasuki Tal offers an ideal trek for courageous tourists. To get to the lake one has to cross the Chaturangi Glacier and Vasuki Glacier. These glaciers are filled with ravines and crossing them demands much stamina and guts.
Bhairav Nath Temple - Situated close to the Kedarnath temple complex, this temple also holds much religious significance. Bhairav Nath is considered the guardian deity of Kedarnath temple. According to legend, Bhairav Nath was blessed by Vaishno Devi that he would be offered respects by everyone who come to visit her holy abode.
Haridwar is the gateway to the four pilgrimages of Uttarakhand. It's also your starting point on the journey to the sacred sources of the rivers Ganga and the Yamuna. According to legend, Prince Bhagirath performed penance here to salvage the souls of his ancestors who had perished due to sage Kapil's curse. The penance was answered and the river
Ganga trickled forth from Lord Shiva's locks and its bountiful water revived the sons of King Sagara. In the tradition of Bhagirath, devout Hindus stand in the sacred waters here, praying for salvation of their ancestors.
Haridwar is holiest Hindu city, and pilgrims arrive here in droves to bathe in the fast-flowing Ganges. The sheer number of people gathering around Har-ki-Pairi Ghat give Haridwar a chaotic but reverent feel. Within the religious hierarchy of India, Haridwar is much more significant than Rishikesh, an hour further north, and every evening the river comes alive with flickering flames as floating offerings are released onto the Ganges. It's especially busy during the yatra (pilgrimage) season from May to October, in particular during July, when hundreds of thousands of Shiva devotees, known as Kanwarias, descend upon the city.
Things To Do In Haridwar
Ganga Aarti (Ganges Ceremony) : Ganges ceremony at Har Ki Pauri is famous in whole India. Everyday hundreds of people come here for the Ganges ceremony (Ganga Aarti) During some festival days it is visited by more than million people in a day. River Ganges is worshiped in this ceremony, because river Ganges is providing life in the form of water since hundreds of years to mankind. Sit at the ghat with local people. Listen vedic hymns with divine music and chant them along with thousands of people. Feel the auspicious atmosphere and devotion. Offer earthen diyas with in floral bowl to river. Worth to visit if come in this region.
Yoga in Haridwar : Yoga is now popular activity all over the world. In Haridwar there are so many ashrams where you can learn and practice yoga. For short stay in Haridwar you can take short classes in morning and evening from good yoga instructors. For long stay you can learn yoga in deep. Yoga can give you perfect synchronization of mind, breath and body. Yoga can also improve your immunity, relations, energy level and health of your body and mind.
Meditation in Haridwar : Haridwar is sacred place and there are so many places are here which has amazing surroundings for meditation. Here there are so many good meditation instructors who can teach you meditation. Meditation is a practice to train the mind to know our self. Meditation is normally used for relaxation and stress release worldwide. Meditation can give you a peace and balance which benefits to you both your emotional health as well as your overall health.
Holy Dip at Ganges : According to Hindu tradition if you take a bath in the river Ganges your all sins will be removed. Average one billion people take holy dip in year. During Kumbh Mela year the number is increased to 10 billion. River Ganges is very clear and has sacred surroundings in Haridwar compare to other towns such as Varanasi or Allahabad. So this is best place to take holy dip at Ganges.
Astrology in Haridwar (Palmistry) : Astrology or Palmistry services are also available in Haridwar. Personal horoscope and palm reading can be done at many places but you should choose the best among them. Birth date, time and city are general requirements for the session. Most of the people want to get answers about their future.
Dehradun is the capital city the recently formed state Uttaranchal. It is one of the oldest cities in India. Myths and legends still do rounds in this land. You also avail references of Dehradun even in the scriptures of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
A travel to Dehradun would take you to a land where some of the premier educational institutes are located. But there are many tourist attractions too in Dehradun. The mountainous beauty complete with lofty hills, wooded valleys, highland streams, caves and a temperate climate is an abiding lure for traveling to Dehradun.
Pay a visit to Tapkeshawar Temple, Sahastradhara, Tapowan, Forest Research Institute, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology in your travel to Dehradun.
If you have a penchant for wild lives, head for Rajaji national Park as you travel to Dehradun. Myriad number of wild flora and fauna would charm you
for sure. Another reason to travel to Dehradun is that the city serves as the gateway to reach the several tourist attractions in the Garhwal Himalayan region.
Badrinath is full of references to the spiritual gateways, mesmerizing scenery and rich heritage. It is counted amongst one of the most important pilgrimage places in Indian sub continent. The two rivers: Rishi Ganga and Alaknanda make Badrinath look Grandiose and Majestic. Apart from the natural beauty, Badrinath offers an outstanding opportunity to those who love to indulge in adventure sports and recreational activities. Its picturesque beauty and startling activities draw a lot of tourists round the year.
As per the Legend, Badrinath was the province of Lord Shiva but Lord Vishnu moved Lord Shiva from this place to Kedarnath. Other story goes as: when Goddess Ganga was asked to descend to earth, she split into twelve channels and one among them is Alaknanda which condescended here at Badrinath. Badrinath is 301 Kms to the north of Rishikesh and 233 Kms from Gauri Kund near Kedarnath and is considered as one of the Panch Badris.
Badrinath Temple - Located at a height of 3133m, the Badrinath temple is a 15m black structure dating back to the Vedic Ages. The temple is dedicated to Vishnu, who is idolized as Badrinath and is a sanctified shrine for Indians. The temple is located in Garhwal hill in Chamoli district on the banks of Alaknanda River. It is one of the most visited pilgrimage centres in India. The image of the reigning deity worshiped in the temple is a black stone sculpture of Vishnu in the form of Badrinarayan. The statue is considered by many Hindus to be a self-manifestation of Vishnu.
Vasudhara Falls - Vasundhara Falls (3 kms from mana village) is one of the famous tourist attractions, which lies in the Mana Village. The water of this cascading falls flows down from the height of 400 ft and is situated at an altitude of 12,000 ft. It is believed that the water of Vasundhara Falls turns away from the visitors who are not pure at heart. Close to the falls are prominent peaks of Satopanth, Chaukhamba and Balkum.
Charanpaduka - With imprints of what is believed to be Vishnu's footprints, Charanpaduka is a rock atop 3380 ft which can be reached after an arduous trek.
People believe that Lord Vishnu set his foot first on earth here. Located 3km away from Badrinath temple this place beholds enchanting beauty and serenity
Tapt Kund - Believed to be the home of Lord Agni, Tapt Kund is a natural hot water spring at 45 degrees Celsius above the Alaknanda river bank where visitors take therapeutic baths. The water of the kund is believed to have medicinal properties
Neelkanth - Nilkantha aka Neelakant, Neelkanth, Nilkanth or Nilkanta, a major peak of the Garhwal division of the Himalayas, in the Uttarakhand region of the Indian state of Uttarakhand is lower than the highest peaks of the region. Even though, towers dramatically over the valley of the Alaknanda River and rises 3,474 metres above the Hindu pilgrimage site of Badrinath, only 9 km to the east. Frank Smythe described the peak as "second only to Siniolchu in Himalayan beauty."
The Satopanth Glacier lies on the northwest side of Nilkantha, below a 2,500 m face of the peak. The Panpatia Glacier lies to the southwest, and feeds the Khirao Ganga, a stream running under the south of the peak. To the west of the peak, lies the well-known Gangotri Glacier and its adjacent peaks. The Nanda Devi groups and Kamet lie across the Alaknanda Valley.
River Saraswati - 3 km north of Mana village emerges the river Saraswati from a lateral glacier. Saraswati is known as the Goddess of learning, blessed Ved Vyas to compose the epic Mahabharata at Mana. The river after touching Vyas Gufa, gets lost in the Alaknanda at Keshav Prayag. From here to Allahabad, Saraswati flows incognito. It is said that at the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati at Allahabad, the Saraswati remains invisible.
Narad Kund - Narad Kund is the holy site on the recess of river Alaknanda from where it is believed that Adi Sankaracharya recovered the idol of Lord Vishnu.
Devotees often take a bath in this hot water geyser. People visit Narad Kund to take a dip into the water before visiting the temples. The beautiful surroundings and the mythological significance of Narad Kund attract a huge number of tourists all round the year.
Almora is a wonderful place to conveniently enjoy the spectacular snows cape of the central Himalayas. Most of the days in Almora are flawless. Almost every day the tourist can see almost every peak. Almora allows you to enjoy the mighty Himalayas together with ridge after ridge of hills. The terraced fields, the stone slatted barrack-like village houses have so far put up a valiant fight against the encroachments of urban expansion and unplanned development. Bageshwar and Sitalakhet are other places of tourist interest. Bageshwar is one of the main camping sites for the journey to Pindari Glacier, which is situated at a height of 3,820 meters. Sitlakhet is the new tourist resort on the Syahi Devi hill. Kafni Glacier is also close by(around 3,870 meters above sea level).
On the banks of Gomti (a local river) Baijnath is situated in Garur Valley, is an idyllic place. It is famous for its 13th century temples. Jageshwar has Shiva temples and is on the Almora-Pithoragarh road and is situated in a densely wooded beautiful narrow valley.They are a marvel to see for their artistic beauty and craftsmanship. Jageshwar is among the 12-jyotir lingas in the country.
The Nanda Devi temple in the heart of the Almora city is very famous. Almora has a museum that is a storehouse of information about the cultural heritage of Kumaon. There is a deer park on the outskirts of Almora.
Almora was founded in 1568.There are lots of attractions at Almora.Swami Vivekananda gave famous lectures here and included it in his itinerary at the turn of this century. From Almora To Colombo record that he was stirred as much by the stark beauty of the mountains here as by the ocean at Kanyakumari. The headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission, was located at Mayawati Ashram then in Almora. Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore spent a summer to get over the personal grief after the loss of a beloved child.A little later followed the great dancer Udaya Shankar. Ravi Shankar, Zohra Sehgal, Simki and the youngster Guru Dutt have all been here. Others have followed in their footsteps. Pundit Nehru had served a term of imprisonment in the Jail at Almora and has left behind an evocative account of the pleasures of solitude and the changing moods of nature in his various letters written from this place which acted as inspirational guide for the Indians.
Almora also has the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary for the wildlife enthusiasts. Cave paintings dating back to the Stone Age can be found on the outskirts of Almora at Phulaseema (4 km), Pharkanauli and Lakhuudiyar (20 km). Humans doing daily chores and dancing and animals and reptiles form the theme of the paintings.
Activities in Almora
Almora offers vast array of activities for the tourists and backpackers alike. If one is travelling between October and March, the mesmerizing panorama of the snow-clad peaks of Himalayas is complementary.
Adventure activities: The rugged terrain and undulating hills of Almora makes it a perfect spot to try some adventure activities to test your strength and endurance. Rock climbing, Burma Bridge and Spider Web are some of the activities that one can partake in.
Cycling: Cycling is a fun and healthy way to explore the nearby surroundings at Almora. One can cycle through the dense forest area of Binsar Wildlife with family and friends.
Shopping: Being a commercial hub, Almora has one of the largest markets in Kumaon region and a perfect spot for shopalcoholic. Apparels made from Angora wool are quite popular in Almora.
Nature Walks: The natural beauty that encompasses the vicinity of Almora is quite breathtaking. The possibility of exploring this beautiful region would be hard to resist. Nature walk to the nearby villages and hiking are quite popular at Almora
Rishikesh is town in the Dehradun District of Uttarakhand state in India. Total population of Rishikesh is 75,020 (53% male and 47 % female) as of 2001. Rishikesh is situated at 409 meters above sea level in the foothills of Garhwal Himalayan Range and surrounded by the Shivalik range. Rishikesh is 35 kms far from Haridwar, 90 Kms from Mussoorie, 25 Kms far from Jollygrant airport Dehradun, and 240 kms far from New Delhi.
Rishikesh has spectacular view of jungle-clad hills. Rishikesh has also confluence of River Ganges and Chandrabhaga. The glorious attraction of Rishikesh is none other than the great river Ganges herself, running rapidly throughout the city. In the ancient time and still so many yogis, rishis, sages and sannyasis attracted to Rishikesh to practice yoga in this peaceful location. Since then, Rishikesh has known as an abode of sages. Rishikesh is a holy town with so many Ashrams and it is famous for the yoga worldwide. Rishikesh is now world famous as a Yoga Capital of the world. Every year during the March month one week long International yoga festival is hosted by Rishikesh.
Rishikesh is also known as gateway to the Char Dham. Char Dham is four popular holy temples on the hills (Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri) Thousands of people attracted every year to Rishikesh for spiritual relief, peace, learn yoga, adventure and to take a dip for salvation. The famous among them were Beatles, Kate Winslet and many more others celebrities. It is believed that by meditation in Rishikesh one can get "Moksha" (liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth) as well as holy dip in the river Ganges.
Apart from spirituality now Rishikesh is also hub for the adventure activities such as rafting, camping, trekking and bungee jumping. Rishikesh is full of tourist every time. There are also big ashrams, centers for Yoga, Meditation, Ayurvedic Massage and astrology are here. Rishikesh is also known as the white water rafting capital of India.
Two big suspension bridges play a major role (such as nerve system in body) in day- to- day life of Rishikesh. These two bridges (jhulas) are known as Ram Jhula and Lakshman Jhula(Named after lord Ram and his brother Lakshman, the heroes of the Ramayana, who supposedly crossed the river Ganges at Rishikesh on their way up to the hills.). Rishikesh is divided loosely in many parts such as Rishikesh, Ram Jhula (Shivanand Nagar), Muni Ki Reti, Lakshman Jhula or Tapovan and Swarg Ashram, Pashulok Barrage, Dhalwala, 14 Bigha and Shisham Jhari.
From Ram Jhula one can take a boat on sharing basis or walk on the bridge to cross the river. Both sides of the bridge is always crowded with shops of cloths, holy beads, shawls, precious and semi precious stones, replicas of deities, astrological gems, Ayurvedic medicines and Vedic treatises as well as signs of marketing yoga, meditation classes and Ayurvedic massage. Other side of the bridge is known as Swarg Ashram area. So many big ashrams are here such as Swarg Ashram, Gita bhawan and Parmarth Niketan. When you cross the river temples welcomes you with their engraved deities and music shops greets you divine sacred ragas.
In evening beautiful Ganges Ceremony(Ganga Aarti) is organized at Parmarth Niketan and Triveni Ghat. The Brahmin Pundits (priests) performs Ganges Puja (ritual worship) with Vedic hymns, sound of hands clapping and the drums (tabla). Hundreds of people come to witness this Pooja and offer leaf bowls which are filled with flowers and small oil lamps to the goddess. The small sparkling lights floating lamps, river Ganges and auspicious atmosphere creates such a magnificent view and feeling that can attract anyone to join the prayer even the visitors from outside India who can't understand the vedic songs.
Rishikesh as appering the Adventure Capital of India for the adventure seekers as Rishikesh is the suggested place for starting their trekking expeditions to the Himalayan Peaks and for the White River Rafting. Also, International Yoga week which attracts participation from across the world, is held here, every year, in February on the banks of the holy Ganga.
Rishikesh is a vegetarian city by law, as well as an alcohol-free city. Rishikesh has also banned use of plastics bags by shopkeepers and vendors.