Summer in India can be very tiring, sweaty and it can see an end of our patience. At the same time, it brings opportunities to travel and explore the untouched parts of North India where summers can be a blessing. For all of us who are tired of hearing about the same places that are popular in North India during summer and do not want to be stuck with the same mundane touristy experience, here is some relief. For people who want to explore a new side of northern India this summer, this is a list of some off-beat destinations which can turn your summer into an experience of a life time.
Padum, Jammu and Kashmir
To give an idea how remote is Padum in Zanskar valley, this place is completely disconnected with Kargil on most of the days in Winter. Located 250 kms from Kargil Padum is accessible by only one motorable road. Event with SUV it will take more than 8 hours to cover the distance. But rest assured, the views of different glaciers, snow capped mountains, huge landscapes will make up for such a tiring journey.
Triund, Himachal Pradesh
Triund is very good trekking place and more importantly located just 10kms from ever so amazing McLeod Gunj. It offers vivid views of Kangra valley on one side and Dhualdhar range on the other.
Best thing about Triund trek is that it is not too demanding and can be accomplished by all age group. The spectacle of landscape throughout the trek are so amazing and towards the end of the trail literally clouds walk with you.
Peora is place where time slows down. It is a best kept secret Uttarkhand has to offer. A tiny, quaint and charming hamlet located in the picturesque Kumaon valley and brimmed with sal, pine, oak, kaphal and rhododendron trees. There is no adventure here but it asks you to just enjoy walk among green pastures, wild flowers which provides a mystic peace of mind. If you are tired of running every day from work to home and back and want to relax at a surreal place free from hustle bustle of city, Peora is perfect destination for you.
How to Reach:
Peora is located between Almora and Nainatla about 60km from Nainital and connected by motorable road
Johar Valley Uttarakhand
If you are the one who does not want to relax and want an adrenaline rush head out to Johar Valley in Uttarakhand. One can retrace the paths of ancient traders who once walked these parts as it was part of ancient Silk Route to China and once a major trade route and its now abandoned villages prospered during that time. It is located about 20kms from the Tibetan Border.
Johar valley can quench your trekking thirsts. It has difficult terrain, chilly climate (even in summer) which take you across to Milam glacier. If you do not want to venture in a trek you can camp around the river Gori Ganga in villages like Pungdeo, Bogudyar.
How To Reach:
One has to reach Munsiyari first and then from there has to look for local cabs that can drop one to the trekking point of Chillamdhar.
Lachen is another tiny and peaceful village with scenic view of snow-clad mountain peak, alpine trees and small streams of water gushing down the valley. While in Lachen prefer a homestay over a hotel and feast yourself with typical home-made Tibetan food.
Lachen which literally translates to “Big Pass” forms a base for trekking camps of Chopta Valley and Muguthang. One can also drive to Gurudongmar lake and enjoy to its breath-taking views. Drive to Gurudongmar lake might be hectic and exhausting with no proper roads but the views the trip offers and with Gurudongmar being your destination you will forget all your troubles.
How to Reach:
Hire a cab either from Bagdogra airport or New Jalpaiguri railway station in West Bengal to reach Lachen.
Khajiar Himachal Pradesh
Dalhousie is a popular hill station. If you are visiting Dalhousie head to nearby Khajiar often known as ‘mini-Switzerland’ of India. It is a small picnic spot offers a unique combination of tall deodar tress, green pastures and a pond. There are two floating islands in the lake.
Khajiar derives its name from ancient, golden-domed temple of Khajinag. This temple is also known as the Golden Devi temple, as it is adorned with a golden dome and spire. Visit to this temple can be a spiritual experience.
How to Reach: Khajiar is connected by road from Dalhousie and Chamba. Buses ply from both these places to Khajiar
Either you have visited Ladakh or you have heard stories of it from your friends. If you are still planning to visit Ladakh do visit Turtuk which is located 205 kms from Leh in Nubra valley on the banks of Shyok River and very close to Pakistan Border. Turtuk became part of India in 1971 after Indo – Park war. This place was not even open for visitors until 2010.
The village is situated among Karakoram ranges with K2 world’s second highest peak towering over its stone villages. It is a perfect place for someone wanting to see Tibetan and Indo-Aryan cultures. Locals here are friendly and accommodating to foreigners
Auli is destination to visit throughout the year with varied activities it offers. During winter it is a skiing destination which can also be carried out during summer. In Summer it is coolest place in the country and opens up opportunities for trekking and hiking among the green pastures with back drop of snow-clad peaks. Chandrakund lake is must visit destination during May which is just 4 kms way from Auli.
How to Reach:
- Dehradun is the nearest airport from Auli, located at a distance of 280 km. Nearest railway station from Auli is located in Haridwar, 285 km.
Bir Billing, Himachal Pradesh
If you want to fly without jumping off an aeroplane on over ever so scenic views head straight to Bir Billing in Himachal Pradesh.
Bir Biling located in Kangra district is rightly known as paragliding capital of India where Bir is the take-off site and Billing is the landing site. Hence, the combined name of Bir Billing. This destination is also popular for other adventurous activities like Trekking, Angling and Camping. If you are short or reason to visit this place do take the toy train (bit slow) run by Kangra Valley railway that takes you from Pathankot to Ahju which is just 3 kms from Bir.
Waichin Himachal Pradesh
Tired of plethora of tourists flocking destinations like Shimla and Kasol in Himachal Pradesh? Head to the beautiful place known as Waichin Valley which is also known as the “Magic Valley”. With its not easily accessible location, snow clad mountains, waterfalls and pine trees this place certainly weaves magic. This place has plenty of diverse things to offer. Trekking, camping, birding and landscape photography. There are no typical hotels or resorts here. One must stay in tents.
When in Waichin you will be able to enjoy solitary bliss as it has very low population and less tourist due to difficult accessibility and extreme weather.
How to Reach:
Reach Malan Village by a cab or taxi. From there trek to Waichin.