Photo by Arindam Saha on Unsplash
India is a country like no other. From its towering, snow-capped summits in the north to the beautiful beaches and tropical jungles of the south, this is a place with seemingly endless variety and beauty – and a culture so rich and infectious that those who have visited leave a piece of their hearts behind.
The natural landscapes are a wonder all of their own, with huge swathes of wilderness, incredible cities, beautiful lakes and sprawling grasslands. Across its huge expanse, India has so much to offer nature lovers, with a trove of treasures just waiting to be discovered. This is an utterly wonderful country, compelling, engaging, frustrating and intricate. It is also a country very much on the cutting edge these days: a reported 87% of people in India now book all of their travel through their smartphones. Despite this technological revolution, there is still an old-world feel about the country that will never change. If you’re planning a trip, here are three of the most beautiful spots where you can connect with nature.
1. Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand
Start by visiting the beautiful eastern district of Uttarakhand. Sitting high in the grasslands in the high plains, Pithoragarh is a fantastic place to base yourself for the well-trodden treks to the holy shrines of Mansarovar and Kailash. From here, you can see across to many of the peaks in Nepal; with the likes of Panchachuli, Nanda Devi and Appi all visible on a clear day. The trails are a wonder all of their own, with Askot Sanctuary and Pithoragarh Fort among the sites you will encounter along the way. While you are there it is also worth considering an adventure on the Kafni Glacier. If you are prepared to get closer to nature, you can also kayak and canoe here, while there is plenty of hiking and even skiing for those looking for a retreat in one of India’s most spectacular places.
2. Dzukou Valley, Nagaland
This valley is one of the most incredible expanses of natural fauna and flora in all of India. If you can time your visit between October and May, you’ll see the Dzukou Valley in all its glory, with vibrant rhododendrons and stunning aconitum very much to the fore. But it is the rare and precious Dzükou lily that steals the show. This delightful, lush valley is sandwiched between the northern states of Nagaland and Manipur and foreign visitors must first obtain a permit to visit the area from government offices in Diampur or Kohima. The only way to reach it is to hike! Set off either from Visvema village or from Zakhama, heading up and into this stunning natural paradise surrounded by the Japfu hills. There is endless walking to do, but we wouldn’t blame you if you just enjoyed the sights and sounds.
3. Khajjiar, Himachal Pradesh
Many refer to this area as the Switzerland of India, not least because its snow-capped mountains and lush green valleys remind visitors of the Alpine country itself. Khajjiar is postcard beautiful, sitting almost 7,000 feet above sea level. It is a brilliant place to see wildlife and to walk, paraglide, and trek – either by horseback, or under your own steam. The Khajji Naga Temple dates back to the 1100s, but it’s the natural beauty of this place that really sets it apart.