Himachal Pradesh, the “land of snow”, is an Indian state that is nestled in the western Himalayas. Himachal (as it is commonly addressed) has several hill stations which are the most appropriate destination for a wide rage of purposes. It is one such destination in India where your vacation finds the ethereal definition of nature at its best. Himachal isn’t restricted to the same old hot spots that have been mentioned in the travel guidebooks for ages. There are so many places to visit in Himachal Pradesh that it is not possible to explore all of them if you are new. So, given here are 7 marvelous Himachal destinations that must be on your bucket list.
The capital city of Himachal in the foothills of the Great Himalayas still basks in colonial charm. It fascinates every traveler with its terrific outdoors and unique appeal. Shimla Ridge – the 13 km stretch neatly entwined in the heart of Shimla is a hub of cultural activities and the most popular things to do in Shimla. Head to Shimla for a long romantic walk with Shimla tour packages. Besides, State Museum, Summer Hill, Himalayan Bird Park, Gorton Castle, and Kali Bari Temple are some other popular Honeymoon Special tourist attractions of Shimla. Shimla is probably one of the most famous places to visit in Himachal Pradesh.
Kufri is another quaint hill-station just 20 km from Shimla. Summer is pleasant in Kufri and winter there experiences heavy snowfall. The best time to visit Kufri is from March to June when India is dealing with extreme summer. In that duration, Kufri makes such a comforting getaway for everyone.
Among the most popular places to visit in Kufri Jakhu Temple, Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex, The Glen, Tara Devi Temple, Kali Bari, and Scandal Point are some of the most popular. Lakkar Bazaar is the place to explore if you are keen on handicraft and antiques from the mountains.
Kinnaur being the district and a major town in the region serves as the perfect point of contact for every visitor headed to Sangla. The entire Sangla stretching over an area of 40 km presents a stunning attraction offering surreal views of snow clad mountains and a multitude of activities like camping, hiking, trekking, rappelling, rock climbing, and river crossing. Sit back and marvel at Kinner Kailash peak, it’s a magnificent sight to behold and the best thing to do in the valley. There is plenty of snow clad mountains around, quite a few roadside dhabas and eateries around.
To experience the true charm of the vast Himalayas one must visit Kaza – the picturesque town in the Lahaul and Spiti Valley. If you are planning a visit, you can explore New Kaza and Old Kaza.. Hardcore travelers prefer this destination to wander around and walk the lesser walked trails. Having said that, adventure activities such as trekking and mountaineering make for a major pull for all the extreme adventure enthusiasts. Monasteries also offer good accommodation, sumptuous local served with graciousness to the tourists.
Chanshal pass 
Chanshal Pass is one of the breathtaking places to visit in Himachal. Chanshal Pass is the highest peak and indeed a daunting one. The best part is that being counted among the offbeat places in Himachal you won’t find the place too crowded. When you plan to visit Chanshal Pass, make sure that the man behind the wheels is someone well experienced. The road and weather may be notorious but, once you get to Chanshal the views and humbling nature around would leave you a mute spectator.
Mashobra is in the vicinity of Shimla which happens to be a popular tourist attraction in Himachal Pradesh. Mashobra is a popular choice to holiday in Himachal. If you are looking to experience nature’s magnificence at its best, a Mashobra trip could be just the rewarding journey you would ever take. You must visit this fascinating world tucked in the vast Himalayan alpines, with your friends.
Reckong Peo, the adorable headquarters of Kinnaur district is a thinly populated tourist attraction located atop 2300 meters. Reckong Peo is the only place in the region where two of the Himalayas’ greatest marvels can be spotted easily – the Kailash, and Shiva Lingam rock, both being the major tourist attraction for Hindus.
We are sure that you loved this article about most amazing places to visit in Himachal Pradesh and hopefully would have added some to your bucket list. Please share this with your friends too ⇓
This guest post was contributed by Manpreet Kaur – travelling expert and content executive at Himalyan Trips. He likes to share his amazing personal and professional travel experiences in witty, informal and honest blog posts. Apart from all this he loves travelling, reading and watching netflix.
Rajasthan, the “Land of Kings”, is the India’s largest state by area and it comprises most of the wide and practically inhospitable Thar Desert. Rajasthan is also one of the states that has one of the most historical significance in India. It is home to the chivalrous Rajputs, and its battle-scarred heritage has bestowed legacies of pride and tradition. As an impact of all these characteristics, Rajasthan offers so much to see. But with long travel distances between major sites, that a trip here requires careful and detailed planning. We had spent multiple weeks in planning, re-planning, fine-tuning and finally fixing our trip itinerary. Hence, we thought it will be helpful for everyone to share these details and help you plan your Rajasthan trip.
The grandeur of Rajasthan – ‘Land of Kings’ [Jaipur – 1]
Rajasthan is the jewel in India’s crown. From fairy-tale palaces and epic forts to colourful festivals and wildlife encounters, this is India at its vibrant best.
Rajasthan is also the land of great battles, of which grew up reading the stories in our high school history books. The place with its ethnic beauty exemplifies grandness and as the locals sing “Padharo Mhare Desh” (English: welcome to our land..), our hearts melt into the culture and tradition of Rajasthan, the Rajputs. With magnificent forts, marble temples and each city painted in its own colour, the state also hosts immense number of foreign tourists with local Rajasthani delicacies as well as western cuisines.
So, in December 2017, we went on a 10-day trip to Rajasthan, and trust me, it was beyond ‘amazing’!! Although there’s lot to share, we thought that we should start with the most important thing – How to plan your Rajasthan trip. In this article, you will find:
Best time to visit Rajasthan
How to reach Rajasthan
Best places to visit in Rajasthan
Modes of transport within Rajasthan
Our travel itinerary
How to plan your Rajasthan tripBest time to visit Rajasthan
Summers in Rajasthan last from March to June and are particularly harsh with temperatures rising up to 48-50°C during the day. That being said, if you do plan to visit Rajasthan in the summer, head to places like Mount Abu, Kumbhalgarh or Ranakpur. The weather there will be pleasant and the views offered are breathtaking.
Monsoon is a far more pleasant experience, the temperatures tend to drop across the state and the rain showers transform the arid landscape of Rajasthan. July to September is a particularly good time to visit if you wish to avoid the crowds you’d usually find during peak tourist season. Flora and Fauna offered by Keoladeo National Park during monsoon is picturesque and a must visit if you plan to travel to Rajasthan during the Monsoon.
The temperatures continue to drop once the monsoon has passed, and come October winter sets in that lasts till February. During December and January, there can be a severe variation in temperatures during the day and the night. In fact, temperatures are known to drop as low as 0°C and below. This is the best time to visit Rajasthan as the desert sun is not as intense and the days are pleasant. Most of the festivals held in winter are planned as tourist attractions, with visitors coming in from different parts of the world.
Tip: If you plan your Rajasthan trip during October-February, you should start planning 3-4 months in advance to get good deals on accommodation and commuting.
How to reach Rajasthan
Rajasthan is a tourist hub and therefore well-connected by air. Whether you’re flying in from within the country or from another one, you’ll find that there are a host of options you can choose from based on your itinerary. The three major airports of Rajasthan are in Jaipur (international), Jodhpur (domestic) and Udaipur (domestic).
Rail is one of the better ways to travel to Rajasthan from anywhere within India as it is both, comfortable and economical. The state is well-connected to all the major cities across the nation and there are several routes to opt from. Overnight trains from Delhi and Mumbai reach most of Rajasthan’s major cities.
Rajasthan has 20 national highways passing through the state, spanning a distance of 6300+ kms. The NH-8 (one of the most gorgeous highways of India) connects Mumbai to Delhi is the busiest national highway in Rajasthan and runs through Ajmer, Jaipur, Udaipur and Chittorgarh. You can very well choose to drive to Rajasthan (just like we did) or hop onto a bus operated by the Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation.
TIP: if you are coming from outside India, it might be a good idea to land in Delhi international airport, and then head to Rajasthan via road or rail.
Places to visit in Rajasthan
These are the top 4 cities of Rajasthan (click on each to open the individual city guide)
Jaipur – the Pink City
Udaipur – the City of Lakes
Jaisalmer – the Yellow City
Jodhpur – the Blue City
Modes of transport within Rajasthan
There are 2 ways of travelling within Rajasthan.
Booking a cab for the entire trip from any of the tour operators.
The major cities in Rajasthan are quite distant from each other and it takes a minimum of 6-7 hours to reach one city from another, which can be quite tiresome! The highways are smooth and maintained well but will be dusty due to sand and dry weather. Hence, rent-a-car or rent-a-cab for a comfortable ride.
For solo / couple backpackers, or travellers on a long exploration, using autorickshaws, local buses or trains will make it a relishable local experience.
We had rented a cab for the entire trip from an online tour operator. There are a lot of travel operators in Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, Gujarat who offer taxi service for Rajasthan tour. We were just the 2 of us; however, we preferred to book an Toyota Etios for a comfortable journey. It should also be kept in mind that the car you choose should have sufficient trunk-space to carry luggage as you go on a long trip.
Taxi charges in Rajasthan: Taxi fares are around 11 Rs/km for a 4-seater (like Etios etc) and around 14 Rs./km for a 7 seater (like Innova). A minimum amount has to be paid for 250 kms per day excluding driver charges, which is around 250 Rs. Per day. Also, these fares increase as the peak season arrives. So it’s better to get your deal done at the earliest.
After a lot of homework, many weeks in planning and fine-tuning, we finalized this as out trip itinerary:
Apart from the one mentioned above, here are some additional tour itineraries which will help to plan your Rajasthan trip:
1. For people travelling from nearby states, a short trip of 5-6 days to Rajasthan can be planned which may include the cities of Jaipur-Ajmer-Pushkar-Udaipur and back. Next trip may include Jodhpur-Jaisalmer-Bikaner and back.
2. Mount Abu is at the border of Gujarat and it takes nearly 10 hours to travel from Udaipur. So it is recommended the visit the place during a trip to Gujarat.
3. We could not cover the Ranthambore National park, Bharatpur Bird sanctuary and the Kumbalgarh fort.
4. To visit the beautiful Kumbhalgarh fort and experience the evening light and sound show, it is required to stay at Kumbhalgarh for a night. Also, it can be reached from Udaipur, which is only 100 kms from Kumbhalgarh.
5. A 14-15 day trip can also be planned which will be sufficient to cover the National parks as well as the Bird sanctuaries.
More travel itineraries can be found here and here to inspire you further.
We hope all the information provided here will help to plan your Rajasthan trip. Feel free to contact us, in case you need any additional information to plan your Rajasthan trip. Look out for our upcoming blogs about our visit to each of the cities of Rajasthan.
Italy, that exquisite morsel of Mediterranean decadence situated in Southern Europe is every art lover’s dream destination. And we’re not just talking about paintings and sculptures, of which Italy has more than its share. No – we’re talking about the whole fantastic country, which in itself is a work of art. Take the Cinque Terre for example; those exquisite, colorful buildings sitting on the high cliffs make a picture that words cannot describe. Italy is the land of dreams, the land of wines, the land of art, and the art of impeccable leather. Come, let us discover Italy together.
Florence, the glorious birthplace of Da Vinci, is also the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. Exploring Florence can feel like you’re exploring an enormous art museum – the visual feast simply doesn’t end. The Duomo, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is topped by a massive dome which simply defies gravity. The enormous marble-inlaid bell tower was made by Renaissance sculptor Giotto. The lovely bronze doors were made by Ghiberti. Every church in Florence is decorated with art masterpieces.
The public plazas are scattered with incredible sculptures and fountains, and the many museums literally burst at the seams with paintings and sculptures. Don’t miss a visit to the Uffizi Gallery and Pitti Palace. Be sure to stroll through the Boboli Gardens to check out the artisans’ studios and workshops of the Oltrarno. Florence is also the seat of fine leather craftsmanship. When someone talks of Italian leather handbags or belts, they’re talking of Florentine leather. Exploring Florence on foot is one of the most wonderful things to do in Italy.
2. Italian Lake District
The Italian Lake District occupies a large stretch of mountainous Northern Italy and is popular for its mountain-water-lush greenery combination. Garda is the largest lake and is simply stunning. Lake Como is a beauteous spot, where the Richie Riches of our world construct exclusive villas. Lake Maggiore is yet another popular resort spot among tourists. The great thing about traveling to Italy is that you don’t need to apply for an Italian visa. Apply for and obtain a Schengen visa and you can travel to all parts of Italy without a murmur.
Italian Lake District
3. Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre, or ‘Five Lands’ comprises is quaint villages and some of the world’s most dramatically-exquisite landscapes. Steep cliff-sides angle up, breaking into green wine terraces with multi-colored homes and buildings nestled between them. There are complex hiking trails all over the cliffs that offer some of the most stunning coastal views in all of Italy. The five villages of Cinque Terre are connected by the Blue Trail.
Milan is today one of Europe’s wealthiest cities, even it was nearly destroyed during WWII. Milan is the center of global fashion, after Paris. It is also a historically-important city. Check out the La Scala Opera House and one of the world’s largest gothic cathedrals, the Castello Sforzesco. Visit Milan to feast your eyes on Leonardo da Vinci’s painting that started off the whole ‘Christ was married’ hullabaloo, The Last Supper.
5. The Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast’s extraordinary beauty makes it a top tourist destination in Italy. Feast your eyes on the Amalfi Coast’s glittering bays, gardens, craggy cliffs, colorful villas and blissful architecture. Positano is a beautiful city with pebbled beaches, scenic mountains and pretty pastel-colored homes. The towns of Amalfi and Ravello famed for their works of art, lovely villas, piazzas and unequalled beauty.
The Amalfi Coast
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and home to every great Mediterranean civilization. Rich in art, history, great wines and home to Europe’s tallest active volcano, Mount Etna, Sicily has much to offer. It’s a picturesque island, with a whole bunch of pretty isles scattered around it. You’ll explore Palermo’s Baroque churches, Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples, the many Sicilian monasteries and other wonders in awe.
Venice is built up on a lagoon whose waters are supplied by the surrounding Adriatic Sea. Venice is an archipelago of 118 islands, each one of which is connected by scenic bridges and canals. The Grand Canal divides Venice into two sections; on each side are picturesque waterways on which wooden gondolas ferry people to and fro from historic monument to museum to romantic outdoor café over the water. Don’t miss seeing Saint Mark’s Square and Basilica, Doge’s Palace and Rialto Bridge.
Tuscany is like a marvelous poem of intense beauty, with its olive groves, rolling hills, vineyards and cypress trees. People visit Tuscany to taste wine in Chianti, explore Renaissance art in Florence and explore hill towns such as San Gimignano. Siena, a medieval city, is rich in history and lovely works of art. Elba, the island where napoleon was exiled to, is also in the Tuscany region, as is Pisa, of the famous Leaning Tower.
Rome, the capital city is of great historic importance. It is home to some of the most fabulous works of art and of the great Vatican City. For over 2,500 years, Rome has reigned as the world’s center for culture, power and religion. Check out the incredible cathedrals, plazas and buildings that are prime examples of Renaissance architecture. Don’t miss a visit to the Colosseum, the largest amphitheater ever built. The recently- unearthed city of Pompeii was buried under volcanic ash for almost 1,700 years. The ruins offer important insights as to the ancient Roman world.
Capital of the Campania region in Southern Italy, Naples is a treasure trove of art works and historic sites. Modern-day Naples is a famous haunt for shopping, nightlife and food! Neapolitan pizza is one of the best you’ll ever taste as is the parmigiana. Neapolitan restaurants take great pride in serving only fresh, locally grown food.
Italy is a feast for the eyes, the mind, the soul and yes, the body. If Rome brings ancient history to life and literally takes you back in time, Tuscany soothes your soul with its lush beauty. While the Amalfi Coast puts the sparkle in your eyes with its incredible coastal beauty, Florence makes your heart beat faster with its unbelievable art and art history. In short, no part of Italy will leave you unimpressed. Milan with its incredible fashion pulls thousands of high-end shoppers to its shores each year. No matter where you are in Italy, there’s something that begs to be looked at, worn or tasted.
This article on Italy was contributed by our “Guest Blogger” Neha Singh. A Mass Comm postgraduate, Neha describes herself as a person having a naturally artistic take on everything about life. This is quite evident in her writings as well. An avid trekker, explorer and a true foodie; Neha finds happiness in small endeavours of life and loves to pen them down as a cherished memory. A firm believer that “we have just one life to live and so much to do”, Neha lives every moment to the fullest.