Shimla, originally called Simla, is the state capital of Himachal Pradesh. It was the Summer capital of India under British rule from 1864 till India got its independence and has seen many important historical events such as the famous Shimla Pact between India & Pakistan which was signed here. A popular tourist destination, Shimla is often referred to as the "Queen of Hills" (a term coined by the British). Located in the north-
One of the prominent examples of architecture in Shimla is Indian Institute Of Advanced Studies. Housed in the former Viceregal Lodge, it was built in 1888. The style of architecture is English Renaissance, the masonry of the walling is light blue limestone and the wrought stonework is done in sandstone in a beautiful light grey tint. It has magnificent lawns.
Other Places of interest: The Mall, Ridge & Christ Church
NARKANDA GO TO TOP
Surrounded by apple orchards, pine & deodar forests, Narkanda is a scenic village situated at the height of 2708 M. The Hatu peak (3300 M) offers panoramic 360 deg views of the entire Himalayan ranges, snow clad mountains as well as the dense forests, green fields and apple orchards below.
SANGLA (BASPA) VALLEY GO TO TOP
This valley, which has been named after a beautiful & populous village Sangla (2680 M), is situated along the banks of Baspa river which flows through this area (which is why it’s also known as Baspa Valley). This is the most charming valley in the entire District of Kinnaur. The valley is surrounded by richly forested slopes and offers delightful views of the high mountains. A 17 km journey from the turning point at Karcham a steep road climbs up deep gorges & high cliffs to reach Sangla and the journey is enjoyable and adventurous throughout. Sangla has managed to retain its pristine nature and is famous for pine nut orchards, Royal red apples and cherry trees, unspoilt glacial streams and quaint little villages. There’s natural scenery all around and the eternal snow peaks are picturesque and charming. The Kinnauri people are famous for their distinct culture,their own dialect and simple but elegant lifestyles.
CHITKUL GO TO TOP
On the banks of Baspa River, Chitkul (3450 M)is the last village on the road from Sangla and also the highest in Baspa valley. It is also the last point in this direction one can travel to, without a permit. Of particular interest at Chitkul are splendid viiews of snow clad mountain peaks in the distance, its houses with either slate or wooden plank roofs and a Buddhist temple.
KALPA GO TO TOP
Situated at the height of 2960 M Kalpa is a beautiful village perched above the town of Recong Peo (which serves as the administrative headquarter of Kinnaur district) and is the last big town before you head into the desolate region of Spiti. River Sutlej hurtles through deep gorges in the valley below and across lie the majestic mountains of the “Kinner Kailash” range. These are spectacular sights early in the morning as the rising sun touches the snowy peaks with crimson and golden light.
Famous for its apple orchards it is Inhabited by Kinnauri people who follow a syncretism of Hinduism and Buddhism and many temples in Kalpa are dedicated to both Hindu and Buddhist gods & goddesses.
NAKO LAKE GO TO TOP
Nako Lake (3660 M) is a high altitude lake in the Pooh sub-
TABO MONASTERY GO TO TOP
Situated at (3050 m) and 163 km from Kalpa is the ancient village of Tabo, situated on the left bank of river Spiti. Flanked on either sides by hills, its has one of the most important Buddhist monasteries regarded by many as only next to the Tholing Gompa in Tibet. Tabo is the largest monastic complex of Spiti which has since been declared a protected monument by The Archaeological Survey of India.
Tabo Monastery was founded in 996 CE by the great Tibetan Buddhist lotswa (translator), Rinchen Zangpo, the king of western Himalayan Kingdom of Guge. The monastery is surrounded by a high mud brick wall which encloses some 6,300 sq. m. (over 1.5 acres) and contains 9 temples, 23 chortens, a monks' residence and an extension that houses the nuns' residence. It soon became known as an important centre of learning and of the Kadampa School (which later developed into the Gelugpa School).
After the earthquake of 1975 a new monastery was built, and in 1983 a new Du-
KAZA GO TO TOP
Situated at an altitude of 3600 meter above sea level on left bank of river Spiti, Kaza is the headquarters of Spiti sub division of district Lahaul & Spiti. Translated, 'Spiti' means the 'middle country' -
KI MONASTERY GO TO TOP
Key Gompa (also spelled Ki, Kye or Kee) is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located on top of a hill at an altitude of 4,116 metres (13,504 ft.) close to the Spiti River, in the Spiti Valley. It is the biggest monastery of Spiti Valley and a religious training centre for Lamas. It reportedly had 100 monks in 1855. In the architectural definitions given to various monasteries, Ki falls in the 'Pasada' style which is characterised by more stories than one and often plays the role of a fort-
KOMIC VILLAGE GO TO TOP
Meaning “Eye of a snow cock” (“Ko”-
CHANDRA TAAL (Moon Lake) GO TO TOP
At an altitude of 4270 M Chandra Taal is a beautiful lake in the Spiti region, situated about 25 km by (a narrow jeepable) road from Kunzum Pass (4551 M). The lake is situated on a plateau (Samudra Tapu) overlooking the Chandra River which originates from a glacier near Baralacha La. Surrounded by snow clad peaks, this deep blue water lake has a circumference of 2.5 km. Chandra Taal is a favourite halting place for the shepherds because of rich growth of grass. The water in the lake is so clear that stones at its bottom are easily visible. It takes about 1 and a half hours to take a picturesque walk along a path which goes all around the lake.
JISPA GO TO TOP
Jispa (3142 M) is a small village 22 km from Keylong on the banks of river Bhaga (another river which originates from Baralacha La. It serves as an impressive & convenient stop-
SARCHU GO TO TOP
Bordering Himachal Pradesh and the last “settlement” before you enter Ladakh, Sarchu (4325 M) is mainly a group of temporary camps set-
TSO KAR (“Tso” means “Lake” in Ladakhi) GO TO TOP
Tso Kar, also known as White Lake, is situated in the Rupsa Valley, about 76 km from Tso Moriri between the “More Plains” and Puga and is just a few kilometers off the Manali-
MANALI GO TO TOP
At the northern end of the Kullu valley, Manali is a popular hill station nestled amongst apple orchards along the river Beas. The British introduced the apple to this areas flora and to this day, apple, along with plum and pear, remains the best source of income for the majority of its inhabitants. Named after Brahmin lawgiver "Manu", Manali ("the abode of Manu") is a famous for adventure sports like skiing, hiking, mountaineering, paragliding, rafting, trekking, kayaking, and mountain biking. Manali also offers hot springs, religious shrines and Tibetan Buddhist temples.
NAGINI GO TO TOP
The tiny hamlet of Nagini sits right on the banks of the Tirthan stream on the edge of the “Great Himalayan National Park” in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. Surrounded by lush greenery, this is yet another secluded destination off the beaten track in the Himalayas at the mild altitude of 1550 M. The Tirthan stream is a tributary of Beas with its source in the Tirthan Glacier. The Tirthan glacier is within the limits of the Great Himalayan National Park, a vast reserve of Himalayan flora and fauna. The Park and the glacier are also the source of the Sainj stream that joins the Tirthan briefly at Larji before tumbling into the Beas.
CHINDI GO TO TOP
The small village of Chindi (1850 M) is located amidst vast apple orchards and dense hilly woods of deodars & pines of the Karsog valley, in the district of Mandi (Himachal Pradesh). In the lap of natural beauty, Chindi's real claim to fame in India at large lies at the top of the hill above the village; the Chindi rest house.The house itself looks something like a miniature Georgian country manor house, with a large, well kept garden and a serene view, looking out as it does over miles of gently rolling hills.
TATTAPANI GO TO TOP
This small village lies on the banks of Sutlej river at the altitude of 680 M. Tattapani is famous for its natural hot sulphur spring gushing out at the temperature of 65 degree Celsius near the the river. From the ancient time the local population well known the miraculous property of this water and come from all over the state to take a dip into the sulphur spring: this provides relief to the people suffering from joint pains, fatigue and stress or any type of skin disease and hence has got a great medicinal quality.
AGRA & FATEHPUR SIKRI GO TO TOP
On the banks of the Yamuna River in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh 200 km from New Delhi lies the town of Agra. It achieved fame as the capital of the Mughal emperors from 1526 to 1658 and remains a major tourist destination because of its many splendid Mughal-
The Mughal Emperor Akbar built Fatehpur Sikri about 35 km from Agra, and moved his capital there. Later abandoned, the site displays a number of buildings of significant historical importance. A World Heritage Site, it is often visited by tourists. The name of the place came about after the Mughal Emperor Babar defeated Rana Sanga in a battle at a place called Sikri (about 40 km from Agra). Then the Mughal Emperor Akbar wanted to make Fatehpur Sikri his head quarters, so he built a majestic fort. However, due to shortage of water, he had to ultimately move his headquarters to Agra Fort.
BHARATPUR GO TO TOP
Located 50 km west of the city of Agra, Bharatpur was founded by Maharaja Suraj Mal in 1733. Located in Mewat region, Bharatpur was once an impregnable, well-
JAIPUR GO TO TOP
Also popularly known as the Pink City, Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan state. It is the former capital of the princely state of Jaipur. Founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II who ruled from 1699-
Places of tourist interest include City palace, Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, Albert Hall Museum, Nahargarh, Jaigarh & Amber Fort.
PUSHKAR GO TO TOP
Situated 14 KM north-
NAWALGARH GO TO TOP
Nawalgarh is located in the Jhunjunu district of Rajasthan, 140 km from Jaipur. Situated in the Shekhawati region (getting its name from Shekhawat Rajputs who settled here in mid 18th century), it was a trading outpost for the ancient caravan routes that stopped here from China and the Middle East. Thakur Nawal Singh, the Rajput ruler of Nawalgarh built the Nawalgarh fort in 1737. The township that grew around the fort soon attracted a large community of traders, who settled here. Many great business families of marwari community have their origins from Nawalgarh. This region has been referred to as the "open art gallery" of Rajasthan because not just Nawalgarh but the entire Shekhawati region is dotted with fascinating mansions (havelis) that have lavishly painted walls.
BIKANER GO TO TOP
Situated in North-
The city is also known for its intricately carved “Jharokas”. These red sandstone stone jalis (screens) are found on the windows of the Junagarh fort, temples and havelis (mansions of Northern India). Jalis would be used for ventilation and for women to watch the world while remaining hidden. A popular Indian spicy snack made from moth dal, spices and edible oil “Bikaneri Bhujia” gets its name from this city.
Places of tourist interest: Junagarh Fort, Laxmi Niwas Palace & Lallgarh Palace
JAISALMER GO TO TOP
Nicknamed "The Golden City", Jaisalmer ("The Hill Fort of Jaisal"), named after its founder Rao Jaisal , lies in the heart of the Thar Desert,and has a population of about 60,000. It is also the administrative headquarters of Jaisalmer District.. The yellow sandstone found in the region gives a yellowish-
Other places of interest: Patwon-
SAM SAND DUNES GO TO TOP
40 km from Jaisalmer lie the Sam sand dunes surrounded in typical desert landscape. This remote location brings you close to life in rural Rajasthan. It’s popular with tourists wanting to enjoy a camel safari into the desert while watching a spectacular sunset bathing the entire area in a golden hue.
JODHPUR GO TO TOP
Jodhpur is the second largest city in Rajasthan. It was formerly the seat of a princely state of the same name & was the capital of the kingdom known as Marwar. It is also referred to as the Blue City due to the indigo tinge of the whitewashed houses around the city. The Mehrangarh Fort lies at the outskirts of Jodhpur city and is located atop a 125 m high hill. The magnificent Fort (Jodhpur ka kila) is the most majestic and one of the largest forts in India. It was originally started (c.1459) by Rao Jodha, founder of Jodhpur. However, most of the extant fort dates from the period of Jaswant Singh (1638-
Other places of interest: Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jaswant Thada (Royal Cenotaphs)
RANAKPUR GO TO TOP
Located between Jodhpur and Udaipur, in a valley on the western side of the Aravalli Range, Ranakpur is widely known for its marble Jain temple. The Temple was built during the reign of the liberal and gifted monarch Rana Kumbha in the 15th century. An enormous basement covers 48,000 sq. feet area. There are four subsidiary shrines, twenty four pillared halls and domes supported by over four hundred columns. The total number of columns is 1,444 all of which are intricately carved & no two being alike. The artistically carved nymphs playing the flute in various dance postures at a height of 45 feet are an engrossing sight. In the assembly hall, there are two big bells weighing 108 kgs. whose sound echoes in the entire complex.
KUMBHALGARH GO TO TOP
Kumbhalgarh, a Mewar fortress, was built during the course of the 15th century by Rana Kumbha and enlarged through the 1800s. Kumbhalgarh is also a birthplace of Maharana Pratap, the great king and warrior of Mewar. This most-
Surrounding Kumbhalgarh Fort is the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary. Covering an area of 578 sq.km the sanctuary extends across the Aravalli Range and is home to a very large variety of wild life, some of which are highly endangered species. The wild life includes wolf, leopards, sloth bear, hyena, jackal, jungle cat, smabhar, nilgai, chaisingh (the four horned antelope), chinkara and hare. The bird life at Kumbhalgarh is also gratifying. The normally shy and untrusting grey jungle fowl can be spotted here. Birds like the red spur owls, Parakeets, peacocks, golden Oriole, grey Pigeons, Bulbul, Dove and white breasted kingfisher can also be seen near the water holes.
UDAIPUR GO TO TOP
Known as the City of Lakes & “Venice of the East” Udaipur is the historic capital of the former rajput kingdom of Mewar. Founded by Rana Udai Singh it is known for its stunning Rajput-
Places of interest: City Palace, Jagmandir Island, Lake Pichola, Sahelion-
CHITTORGARH GO TO TOP
Former capital of the Sisodia clans of Chattari Rajputs of Mewar, Chittorgarh is home to the Chittorgarh Fort, one of the largest forts in India. The huge fort is located on the top of a 180m high hill & covers an area of 240 hectares. Seat of the fiercely independent Rajputs, the fort of Chittor was under siege thrice and each time they fought bravely and thrice Jauhar (act of self immolation by leaping into a large fire) was committed by the ladies and children. This was usually done before or at the same time their husbands, brothers, fathers and sons rode out in a charge to meet their attackers and certain death.. Chittorgarh Fort has a historical importance & is known as the pride of Rajputs who preferred death agianst capture and dishonour at the hands of their enemies.
CASTLE B IJAIPUR GO TO TOP
Located 40 km from Chittorgarh, this 16th century Castle, situated in fortified walls, was converted to a hotel in 1991 by the ruling family. The Castle is still home to the ruling family who run it not as a hotel but as a ‘HOME’ where people can come and experience traditional Rajput hospitality.
BUNDI GO TO TOP
The town of Bundi is situated km north from Chittorgarh in the Hadoti region of Rajasthan. The city is surrounded on three sides by hills of the Aravalli Range and a substantial wall with four gateways encircles the city. Bundi is known particularly for its architectural note seen in its ornate forts, palaces, and stepwell reservoirs known as “baoris”.
The Taragarh Fort, or 'Star Fort' is the most impressive of the city's structures. It was constructed in AD 1354 upon the top of steep hillside overlooking the city. The fort offers a remarkable view of the city below.
The Bundi Palace is situated on the hillside adjacent to the Taragarh Fort and is notable for its lavish traditional murals and frescoes. The Chitrashala (picture gallery) of the palace is open to the general public.
The largest of Bundi's baoris or stepwells is the intricately-
The Nawal Sagar is a large square-
RANTHAMBHORE NATIONAL PARK GO TO TOP
Ranthambhore National Park is one of the largest and most famous national parks in northern India. It is situated in Sawai Madhopur district of southeastern Rajasthan, about 130 km from Jaipur and was formerly the hunting grounds for the Maharajahs of Jaipur before Indian independence. It was established as the Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary in 1955 by the Government of India, and was declared one of the Project Tiger reserves in 1973. It is famous for its tigers and is one of the best places in India to see these majestic predators in the jungle. It is named after the historic Ranthambhore fortress, which lies within the national park. The park covers an area of 392 Sq.km. And has several lakes in its vicinity. Other major wild animals include the leopard, nilgai, dhole, wild boar, sambar, hyena, sloth bear and chital. It is also home to wide variety of trees, plants, birds and reptiles.
Ranthambhore Fort is a formidable fortress within the famous Ranthambhore National Park. It was founded in 944 CE by the Chauhan Rajputs. The fortress commands a panoramic location, 700 feet above the surrounding plain.