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    The Shiv Niwas Palace Udaipur

    Besides being a place of great historical and cultural significance, India is the perfect destination for those who want to lose themselves in the glorious splendour of the kings and royalty of the ancient India, and the heritage hotels in India are ideal.

    From the Mughals to the Rajputs, each era is distinctly marked in the cultural heritage of India by the beautiful fortresses, palaces and the temples that have been bestowed upon the country by the great kings and rulers of yore.

    [Get enchanted with the ornate havelis and palaces of royal Rajasthan ]

    The grand Narayan Niwas Palace

    Each historical monument is an architectural masterpiece that showcases exemplary craftsmanship and skill. From the style of architecture to those used to carve out sculptures and idols, each monument is an incredible example of the excellent skill of the artisans of the country.

    India was a congregation of as many as 565 kingdoms hundreds of years ago. These kingdoms were ruled by kings and princes of reputed dynasties. Beautiful palaces and forts were built in different parts of the country by these rulers.

    During the British Raj, the British set up several mansions and outhouses which were used as residences and summer retreats. Post-Independence in 1947, all the princely kingdoms were merged with the Republic of India.

    Narayan Niwas Palace at night

    The British mansions and outhouses were purchased by the Indian royalty for their personal use. Later in 1971, the Constitution of India abolished royalty and withdrew all royal privileges. Following this, some royal families sold their palaces and forts, others leased them out, and a very few retained their properties.

    [Immerse yourself in fairy tale palaces and forts with the Golden Triangle tour]

    Another reason for leasing out these palatial monuments was to ensure their sustenance. With changing times and increasing expenses, maintenance work of palaces wasn’t an easy job anymore. Hence, several palaces were taken over by the leading hotel groups in the country and converted into Heritage Hotels in India.

    Although renovations and contemporary additions were made, care was taken to ensure that the ancient ambience of the palaces was kept intact. In this way the most exquisite Heritage Hotels of India came into existence, which attract hundreds and thousands of tourists from all around the world throughout the year.

    Here’s a comprehensive list of the top heritage hotels in India:

    Heritage Hotels in Rajasthan:

    Rajasthan is the undisputed leader in heritage tourism. Out of the top 25 heritage hotels in the country, Rajasthan is home to 18 of them.

    The state of Rajasthan was awarded at the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards for offering heritage hotels that tender the best of contemporary facilities to its guests, while also preserving the history and heritage of the palaces in the best form.

    1. Basant Vihar Palace

    Bikaner is one of the most colourful places in Rajasthan. Beyond the golden sands of the Thar, the city of Bikaner holds within it some of the best Heritage Hotels in India.

    The landscape of the city, dotted with little houses built in the traditional style, and the colourful turbans and ghagra cholis of the people, is an enticement in itself.

    The Basant Vihar Palace

    The Basant Vihar Palace is one of the grand heritage hotels in Bikaner and is a reservoir of the arts and culture of the region. The beautiful palace was built by His Highness Maharaj Sri Ganga Singhji and renovated by the House of Bikaji and turned into a heritage hotel.

    [Experience the rich cultural heritage of Rajasthan]

    The Basant Vihar Palace boasts of beautiful architecture, splendid gardens with fragrant flower beds and spectacular lily ponds. The hotel has about 31 rooms, of which 24 are Royal Deluxe rooms and seven are suites.

    Although contemporary additions have been made to each room to make them comfortable and unique, great care has been taken to retain the original character of the rooms and the palace as a whole.

    Dining hall of the Basant Vihar Palace

    The restaurant at the Basant Vihar Palace dishes out art on a platter. The chefs at the royal restaurant at the Basant Vihar Palace are experts at Mughlai, Chinese and Continental delicacies. For those who are keen on trying out authentic Rajasthani cuisine, the chefs offer recipes that have been handed down the generations.

    2. Lalgarh Palace

    ?

    The Lalgarh Palace is another grand heritage hotel that is the pride of Bikaner. The palace was built by His Highness Maharaj Shri Ganga Singhji in memory of his father Maharaj Lall Singhji in 1902 AD. The palace was designed by Col. Sir Swinton Jacob who used an extremely innovative blend of Mughal, Rajpur and European architectural styles.

    [Spend a wonderful holiday in Rajasthan with the tours that we offer!]

    The blatant Rajput style of the exterior stands in stark contrast to the European and American interiors. The palace is made of beautiful red sandstone and showcases intricately carved jharokhas.

    The front lobby of Lalgarh Palace

    The palace is surrounded by expansive lawns where you can occasionally find peacocks strutting about. The galleries and alleyways of the palace are decorated with rare copies of old prints and vintage etchings.

    The palace has about 56 rooms, which comprise of superior and standard rooms. All rooms are fitted with modern amenities and facilities to ensure that all guests have a comfortable stay.

    The hotel has hosted some very important personalities from all over the world such as Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan, politician Amar Singh, actor Dharmendra, Ambassador of USA Robert Black.

    3. Narayan Niwas Palace Hotel

    Narayan Niwas Palace Hotel at night?

    The Narayan Niwas Palace Hotel is a 19th century heritage building situated in the beautiful city of Jaisalmer. The palace was restored and renovated in 1982 and has ever since been the first choice of travellers interested in the history and heritage of Jaisalmer.

    Facade of Narayan Niwas Palace Hotel

    The palace is made of red sandstone and has intricate carvings that speak volumes of the skill and craftsmanship of its creators.

    [Discover best parts of Rajasthan with our amazing tour packages]

    The palace hotel has about 50 air-conditioned rooms, fancy restaurants that serve the best of Indian, Chinese and Continental cuisines, and more.

    Narayan Niwas Palace Hotel interior

    The most attractive offerings of the palace hotel include the roof top restaurant and bar that proffer a splendid view of the Thar desert and its all-weather swimming pool or bawri, which comes attached with a sauna and gymnasium.

    Visitors can explore the sandy secrets of the region on camel or jeep safaris which are conducted from Bikaner to Jaisalmer. For those who are fans of folk arts, local artists present culture music and dance performances in the evening.

    4. Jagat Niwas Palace

    The Jagat Niwas Palace is a 17th century haveli situated in the city of Udaipur in Rajasthan. Nestled on the Eastern banks of the Lake Pichola, the palace exhibits the intricacies of the Mewar style of architecture.

    The location of the Niwas Palace makes it a vantage point to view all the other palaces of Udaipur such as the Monsoon Palace, the City Palace and the Lake Palace. The haveli was made at the same time as the Badi Mahal in the City Palace.

    Jagat Niwas Palace lobby

    Photo credit: Zen Skillircorn - flickr

    The Jagat Niwas Palace is one of the best grand Heritage Hotels in India. It has 29 beautiful and cosy rooms which are unique in design and interiors, situated in a central courtyard. The rooms are classified as standard, haveli, raj and pichola, heritage and suites.

    The heritage, raj and pichola rooms face the Pichola Lake. All rooms have traditional furniture and elegant furnishings. One of the most attractive features of the Jagat Niwas Palace is that it has a lake side restaurant that serves Indian, Chinese and Continental cuisines.

    [Treat yourself to grand and luxurious stays with our heritage tour of the Golden Triangle]

    For the entertainment of its guests, the Jagat Niwas Palace arranges folk music and dance performances on request. The haveli is equipped with all modern facilities and amenities for the comfort of its guests.

    In addition, there is an Ayurvedic massage centre, a shopping arcade and arrangements for horse safaris at this grand heritage hotel.  

    5. Bhanwar Niwas Palace

    Bhanwar Niwas Palace dining hall

    In the sandy stretches of Bikaner, lies one of the grandest Heritage Hotels of India. The Bhanwar Niwas Palace was commissioned by Seth Bhanwarlalji Rampuria in 1927 and was built using a fabulous blend of Indian and European styles of architecture.

    [For an unforgatable experience while on your holiday, tour a desert safari in Jaisalmer]

    Although contemporary touches have been made to the palace while transforming it into a heritage hotel, the flamboyant and regal spirit of the palace has been kept intact.

    The beautiful galleries, alleyways, jharokhas and halls speak volumes about the skill and craftsmanship of the artisans who toiled in creating this wonderful monument.

    Heritage Hotels in Kerala:

    Kerala is best known for its picturesque beauty, thick coconut groves, placid backwaters, lovely beaches and cosy houseboats. But very few know about the splendid Heritage Hotels in the state. Heritage Hotels in Kerala are usually situated near the backwaters and offer a great view of the scenic beauty of the region.

    The most attractive feature about the Heritage Hotels in Kerala is that they are often clubbed with Ayurvedic rejuvenation and massage centres and the Yoga centres which offer great remedies for holistic healing.

    The beautiful surroundings and the goodness of Yoga and Ayurveda make the Heritage Hotels in Kerala very popular among tourists from all over the country and the world.

    6. Hotel Lake Palace Resort

    Hotel Lake Palace Resort

    The Lake Palace Resort is situated in the Alleppey district of Kerala. Alleppey is best known for its backwaters, houseboats and delectable cuisine. The Hotel Lake Palace is situated on the banks of the Vembanad Lake and is located very close to the venue of the Nehru Trophy Boat Race which is a great attraction for both domestic and international tourists.

    [Explore tea museums and European monuments in Kerala with our eco tour of Kerala]

    The hotel was the recipient of the TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Award in 2012. The hotel has some very beautiful premium lake view cottages, standard lake view cottages, water villas and Kerala cottages which are fitted with all modern facilities and amenities.

    The hotel also has a renowned Ayurvedic massage and treatment centre which offers packages such as anti-obesity, slimming therapy, panchakarma, purification and de-stress therapies.

    Apart from relaxing at the Ayurvedic rejuvenation centre, visitors can also enjoy houseboat and backwater cruises in the beautiful waters of Allepey.

    7. Coconut Lagoon Resort

    Photo credit: tourismkerala.com

    Located on the banks of the Vembanad Lake, the Coconut Lagoon Resort has been rated as one of the best hotels in India and one of the top 25 getaways in the world by Conde Nast Traveller magazine. Presenting the best of natural beauty of Kerala, the Coconut Lagoon Resort offers peace and tranquillity that is hard to find these days.

    The chirping of birds in the nearby bird sanctuary constantly reminds you of the company of nature and the expansive stretch of the lake is dotted with the tourist boats. The design of the resort is such that it will transport you to a completely different era.

    The timber used is around 200 years old, the brass detailing and the woodwork in the verandah and ceilings are reminiscent of the glory of the ancient tharavads of Kerala.

    [Revel in endless beaches, forts and spice plantations with our Best of Kerala tour ]

    The resort has heritage bungalows, heritage mansions and pool villas which are fitted with all modern amenities and facilities to cater to the requirements of its guests. The resort also has a beautiful swimming pool, a library and a sea food specialty restaurant called Fort Cochin.

    Guests can also enjoy sunset cruises, backwater cruises, undertake farm visits or drop by at the Kumarakom bird sanctuary during their stay at the Coconut Lagoon Resort.

    8. Keraleeyam Heritage Home and Ayurvedic Resort

    The Keraleeyam Heritage Home and Ayurvedic Resort has been developed in a Kerala home that was built 70 years ago. This beautiful resort which stands facing the beautiful backwaters of Alleppey, has a very well-known Ayurvedic rejuvenation, massage and treatment centre. The Ayurvedic rejuvenation massage centre uses 3000 year old techniques to provide treatments and massages to tourists.

    Photo credit: Adams Homestay Cochin

    The most attractive feature of the Keraleeyam Heritage Home and Ayurvedic Resort is that it has several heritage styled luxury rooms that are furnished with traditional chairs, cots and tables. The resort also has an open ‘Kalithattu’ or open air theatre where folk art performances are organised for the entertainment of guests.

    [Relax and unwind as you cruise down the emerald green backwaters of Kerala]

    The resort also organises different entertainment activities for its guests. Visitors can enjoy boat cruises along the backwaters and lagoons or try Yoga. You can enjoy riding an elephant or dress up like a Kerala bride and groom and get yourself photographed.

    9. Hotel Kayaloram Lake Resort

    Another one of the grand heritage hotels located by the banks of the Vembanad Lake, the Kayaloram Lake Resort is one of the architectural wonders of Kerala. Nestled in the picturesque beauty of the backwater paradise called Alleppey, the Kayaloram Lake Resort boasts of coconut palms, well-mowed lawns, orchid gardens and a beautiful building which is a splendid blend of contemporary and traditional styles.

    Hotel Kayaloram Lake Resort

    Guests at the Kayaloram heritage resort can choose from Lake View and Pool View rooms. The rooms use traditional furniture and furnishings in muted colours and natural fabrics.

    [Enjoy the scenic beauty and lush landscapes of Alleppey]

    All rooms are fitted with the best of modern amenities and facilities to cater to the requirements of the guests. The resort also has a Kerala Ayurveda Centre and Steam Room that offers the best of Ayurvedic treatments, therapies and massages to the guests.

    10. Hotel Punnamada Back Water Resort

    The Punnamada Back Water Resort is one of the most popular grand Heritage Hotels in India. Situated by the Vembanad Lake in the Allepey district of Kerala, the Punnamada Back Water Resort offers the best of the natural beauty of Kerala.

    [Kerala, the idyllic destination for couples who want to go on a honeymoon]

    Placid backwaters, lush greenery, delectable Kerala cuisine and the lovely houseboats cruise - the resort is the best place to relax your tired body and nerves. The resort has lake view villas, garden view villas, duplex villas and disabled-friendly rooms. It also has a fully equipped Ayurvedic treatment centre where guests can avail of age old Ayurvedic massages and therapies.

    Hotel Punnamada Back Water Resort Bungalows

    Guests can also enjoy houseboat and backwater cruises during their stay at the Punnamada Back Water Resort. The resort offers houseboats that have two luxurious rooms, professional staff and a full-fledged kitchen to cater to all the gastronomic requirements of its guests.

    Heritage Hotels in Madhya Pradesh:

    11. Sheesh Mahal

    Swathed in an intriguing colour scheme, the Sheesh Mahal hotel in Orchcha, Madhya Pradesh is one of the best heritage hotels in India, if you are looking for a culturally and historically enriching experience.

    The Sheesh Mahal offers the best of both worlds – the facilities of the contemporary world on the one hand, and the opulence and old world charm on the other. The palace is still reminiscent of the grandeur of the medieval style of Indian architecture and still retains the charming architectural nuances of the 16th and 17th centuries.

    12. Usha Kiran Palace

    The Usha Kiran Palace is situated in the city of Gwalior and is located very close to the Jai Vilas Palace and the Captain Roop Singh Stadium. The hotel has about 38 guestrooms fitted with all modern facilities and amenities. All the rooms have been remodelled to make them comfortable in terms of contemporary standards but care has been taken to keep the originality of the rooms intact.

    The hotel also offers facilities such as a full-service spa, an outdoor pool and a fitness facility. The hotel also has a full-fledged dining space, a bar and a lounge.

    13. Jehan Numa Palace

    Photo credit: Stefan Krasowski - flickr

    The Jehan Numa Palace is a 19th century palace located on the foothills of the Shamla Hill in Madhya Pradesh. The most notable feature about the palace is the architectural style which is a unique amalgamation of Classic Greek, Italian Renaissance and British Colonial styles.

    The palace was built by General Obaidullah Khan, son of ruler Jehan Begum. After the death of the General, the palace went through many hands. His grandsons Nadir and Yawar Rashid were the first to plan to make the palace a world class hotel. However, their plans were realised only in 1983 and in the year 2000, the palace became the first of its kind, a grand heritage hotel in Central India.

    14. Ahilya Fort Maheshwar

    Ahilya Fort Maheshwar

    The Ahilya Fort is a family owned fortress which has been transformed into a heritage hotel. The hotel is situated in Maheshwar in Madhya Pradesh. Maheshwar is a riverside pilgrimage site and is also known for its handloom industry.

    Hotel has all modern facilities such as meeting, conference, convention and banquet halls. It also has beauty, health, fitness and wellness centres.

    Heritage Hotels in Gujarat:

    15. Balaram Palace Resort

    The Balaram Palace Resort was once used as a hunting retreat by the Lohani Nawab of Palanpur and was built between 1922 and 1936. The most notable feature of the palace resort is the unique style of architecture which is an amalgamation of neo-classical and baroque architectural styles. The palace is built on 13 acres of terraced land and is surrounded by lush greenery.

     

    [Enjoy palatial stays in majestic heritage hotels of Rajasthan with Imperial Rajasthan tour]

    The hotel has about 22 air-conditioned rooms fitted with all modern amenities to cater to the requirements of all guests. The hotel has a restaurant called the Chitrasani which offers the choicest delicacies from Indian, Chinese and Continental cuisines. Apart from facilitating sightseeing, nature walks and indoor and outdoor activities, the hotel also has a helipad for receiving guests.

    16. Nilambagh Palace Hotel

    The Nilambagh Palace Hotel was built by the Gohil Rajputs in 1859 AD. The palace hotel has all the modern amenities to cater to the requirements of its guests. The dining hall of the hotel has beautiful Czechoslovakian chandeliers which are reminiscent of the past glory of the palace.

    It also has a small coffee shop, a sprawling conference hall and a garden restaurant to help guests spend their leisure time in comfort.

    17. Riverside Palace and Orchard Palace

    Riverside Palace and Orchard Palace

    The Riverside Palace was the official residence of the Crown Prince of the Gondal princely state. The palace was built in the 1800s and the architecture of the building is predominantly colonial. The palace still retains the four post beds, colonial furniture and antique dressers from the family’s heirlooms.

    The Orchard Palace was a part of the Huzoor Palace belonging to the Maharaja of Gondal and served as the guest annex of the main palace. The palace was built in the late 19th century. The property gets its name from the mango, chikoo and lime orchards the palace faces.

    Both palaces are now being run by the royal families as heritage hotels. These hotels have beautiful lobbies and halls and high ceilings and antique-furnished rooms.

    Heritage Hotels in Tamil Nadu:

    18. Taj Savoy Hotel

    The Taj Savoy Hotel in Ooty has been developed around the colonial cottages which were built in 1834 to 1865. Despite the renovation and the refurbishment, the heritage value of these cottages has been kept intact.

    All rooms at the Taj Savoy Hotel have been decked using natural fabrics in understated colours so as to give all rooms a natural look. Very few additions have been made to the rooms so as to retain the originality of the rooms.

    [Find out more more around our tours in Ooty]

    All rooms face the well-manicured lawns of the hotel. The suites at the Taj Savoy Hotel have a huge fireplace which provides the rooms a warm ambience during winters.

    Guests can indulge in sightseeing, backwater cruises, nature walks, Ayurveda treatments and massages, Yoga and meditation, trekking and more. The hotel also has the well-furnished Canterbury Bar which offers the classic English ambience. The restaurant offers the choicest delicacies from Indian and Continental cuisines.

    19. The Gateway Hotel

    The Gateway Hotel is situated in the Pasumalai Hill in Tamil Nadu. The hotel boasts of a unique combination of architectural styles and offers a comfortable and peaceful atmosphere for a completely relaxing holiday. The ideal location of the hotel makes it a perfect place to get a picturesque view of the Temple City and the Kodai Hills.

    [Learn more about pottery from a potter himself on a tour in Madurai]

    The hotel has standard, superior and executive rooms that overlook the beautiful city and offer the best in terms of services and quality. The hotel has some great getaway offers for its guests and presents some fabulous facilities such as a fitness centre, badminton court, swimming pool, nature trail, Ayurvedic rejuvenation and intensive treatment centre, and more.

    20. The Bangala Karaikudi

    The Bangala was earlier known as the ‘Senjai Bangala’, the origin of this beautiful building dates back to around 1910. The reception and verandah of the present Bangala hotel were built around the same time.

    The Bangala hotel witnessed a very gradual yet commendable growth rate into one of the most sought after heritage hotels in the country. Around two or three guest rooms were added to the first building in the 1930s.

    Earlier, the hotel which served as a guest house then was used to host important guests. However, in 1998, the owners – the Chettiar family – decided to restore the building and after a year of renovation, the Senjai Bangala was re-launched as The Bangala.

    The hotel today offers 25 comfortable rooms, a dining facility, a beautiful swimming pool and a spa.

    21. INDeco Hotels Swamimalai

    INDeco Hotels Swamimalai

    One of the best heritage hotels in India, if your choice is to explore the rich cultural and historical background of Tamil Nadu, the INDeco hotel in Swamimalai is the perfect pit-stop for you.

    The hotel has been developed in a beautiful home which was built in the late 1800s. The most unique feature of the hotel and its surroundings is that an entire village of the period has been reconstructed around the hotel to lend authenticity and a feel of the era to the place.

    [Take a guided day tour throught the bazaars of Chennai!]

    The hotel is also the only Indian recipient of the Global Eco Tourism Award. The hotel offers about 30 suites which are decked in unique styles so that no two rooms look alike. The INDeco Hotel of Swamimalai is without doubt one of the best heritage hotels that you can find the whole of Tanjore.


Attractions

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Pangong Lake

Rather, the most sought after tourist destination is Pangong Tso in Ladakh region. It is the highest among the high altitude lakes in India which is filled with saline water but provides some awe-struck moments to the visitors with the unbelievable phenomenon of changing colours quite a number of times a day.

The reflections of the towering Himalayan peaks in the water add more charm to the lake. Currently, Pangong Tso is the favorite location for tourists as the banks of the lake give soothing bed to relax and the nearby places are enhanced by the beauty of this particular lake. The quiet lake is 134 km in length and 5 km in width is situated at an altitude of 14270 meters. But the major share of the lake lies in the area of China. Now, its recognition is spread everywhere in the world because it is termed as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

The highly saline water does not accommodate any water species not even micro-organisms. But the banks of the lake give space for several birds and animals very rarely seen in the other parts of India. It is an important breeding ground for many migratory birds as well.

Height: The lake is located at an altitude of 4250 meters above the sea level.

Location: Pangong Tso is easily accessible as it can be reached after a five hour drive from Leh and the travel would be on a rough and dramatic mountain road. You will cross the villages of Shey and Gya during the tour and go through Chang La as well.

Best time to visit: The months from May to September are the ideal time to visit the lake as the other seasons may cause challenges due to the heavy snowfall.

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Nubra Valley

Something divine makes Nubra Valley close to heart and it is not an exaggeration but a fact that experienced and shared by the countless tourists visited the paradisiacal location in Jammu and Kashmir. Without touching the spectacular roads of Nubra Valley, a Ladakh tour will not be complete. The tri armed valley has Diskit Village as its capital. Ldumra, a magnificent name is the original name of the valley as the local scholars insist. Ldumra means Valley of Flowers. The large valley is formed after the merging of Shyok River with Nubra or Siachen River causing the separation of the Ladakh and the Karakoram Ranges. The valley is located 10000 feet that is 3048 meters above mean sea level and those who cross the Khardung La Pass can easily come to Nubra Valley from Leh.

Except the river beds, every other place in the valley shows scant vegetation and low precipitation levels. Most of the villages in the valley are occupied by Nubra skat speakers and in the villages, one can find lush greenery and farming which happen through the regular irrigation. Diskit is the place where native people are seen in abundance and Diskit Monastery is the entre of attraction as well. The Shyok River flowing on one side of Diskit has a captivating effect on the visitors. Nubra Valley unwinds a lot of surprising sights when you visit it and an unbelievable fact is that the valley was open to the public till Hunder until 2010. Beyond Hunder, it was the greener region in the lower altitude where the Turtuk village exists. Till 2010, the Government did not allow tourists to mesmerize themselves in the magnificent beauty of Turtuk where numerous apricot trees and other vegetation along with the tribal community were preserved as a virgin.

Height: 3048 meters above the sea level

Location: The paradisiacal Nubra Valley is located at a distance of 140 km from Leh and the main road access to the valley is through Khardung La pass where you have to show the photocopies of your travel permit to the soldiers camping.

Best time to visit: The months from June to September is the perfect period to visit Nubra Valley

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Khardung La

Controversies regarding the proclamation that Khardung La is the highest motorable pass in the world is not yet diminished but Ladakh travelers still believe that it is the highest and most adventurous pass in the world. Despite the controversies, Khardung La keeps on attracting hundreds of adventure seekers every year, be it bikers, trekkers or visitors. Nestled amidst the most reverberating surrounding, the ‘Pass of Lower Castle’ is located at an altitude of 17582 feet. Near to the pass, the collection of awesome valleys will lure you and along with the natural extravaganzas, the Tibetan prayer flags are an additional charm.

The pass was constructed in the year of 1976 and later in 1988, it was opened to public and from then on, the pass was inviting uncountable bikers, trekkers and tourists. It is maintained by the Border roads Organization as the pass is highly significant and important to India because it was once used to carry supplies to the Siachen Glacier. Recently, Khardung La became the hot potato of the town with a happy news that a ten member team of visually impaired people is going to conquer the pass through cycling in 2017.

Height: Khardung La is located at an altitude of 5359 meters. But there is an incorrect proclamation on the signboards appear here saying that the height of the pass is 18379 feet.

Location: The highest motorable pass in Ladakh is lying about 39 kms away from Leh. By road, one can reach the pass. The first 24 kms of the road are paved and from there to the North Pullu check post, the 15 kms of the road are filled with loose rock, dirt and occasional rivulets formed after the melting of snow.

Best time to visit: The season between May to October is the best time to visit Khardung La.

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Tso Moriri Lake

It won’t be exceeding at all how much you describe the beauty of Tso Moriri in Ladakh, a highly protected lake in Changthang Region and a significant portion of Tso Moriri Wetland Conservation Reserve.  It is the largest of all high altitude lakes in India especially in Ladakh and is located at an altitude of 4522 meters above the sea level. The length comes to 26 km north to south and 3 to 5 km is the width and the water is wholly brackish. 

The water to feed the lake comes from the springs and melted snow from the nearby mountains. There are two major stream systems to lead the water to the lake. One in the north part of the lake and the other comes in the southwest part. Huge, extensive marshes are seen at both the entrances of the lake. Rupshu Valley, a breathtaking area is the guardian of Tso Moriri along with an array of the lofty Himalayan Mountains in the surrounding.

The number of people come to witness the beauty of this splendid lake is lesser when compared to that of Pangong Lake. It is because of the secluded location of the lake. Hence, it is a favorite home town for many migratory birds. They come to breed here especially birds like great- crested grebe, the brown-headed gull and the Brahmin duck. The rare Himalayan hares are also abundantly seen near the lake. Thus, the declaration of the lake as a reserved area is a right option to protect these species from extinction. Less human interference would keep their lives strong.

Height: The lake is situated at an altitude of 4522 meters.

Location: You can reach Tso Moriri via road from Leh. It is 150 kms away from Leh Airport. Kalka Railway station is the nearest one to the lake. You will get buses and taxis from the station as well.

Best time to visit: May, June, July and August are the peak season when tourists come to Tso Moriri in large numbers and other months will be filled with snow and have extreme cold conditions.

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Shanti Stupa

The white dome of Shanti Stupa is clearly visible from a far distance when you are on a tour of Leh. Peace Pagoda got its name like that because of many reasons mainly the silence persists in and around the pagoda always. This Buddhist prayer center is the most beloved attraction in Jammu and Kashmir. At a height of 4267 meters, the two storied stupa stands holding its head high and overlooks the bustling Leh town. The uneven mountain terrains in the surrounding gives the pagoda a remarkable shining. It is at a location which is 5 km away from Leh town and one who visits the stupa has to climb five hundred steps. The exotic view of the Himalayan peaks turns the beauty of the stupa also, a peace lover would dedicate his life to have such overjoying moments.

History

The stupa was constructed by both Japanese and Ladakh Buddhists. The construction was started in 1983, many Buddhists and Indian Government officials have supervised the procedures throughout.

Structure of the stupa

Among the two structures of the pagoda, the first level depicts the central relief of Dharmachakra which has deer on each side and the turning wheel of Dharma also has a golden image of Buddha at the center. The second level displays images which show the birth of Budhha and the death as well. In addition, both the level have smaller images of Buddha meditating. The stupa came into existence in order to spread the word of peace and harmony among people and it came into establishment as a commemoration of the valuable 2500 years of Buddhism.

Location: Any one can reach the stupa via road from Leh, only 5 kms from the town, a walk of fifteen minutes would require.

Timings: 05:00 am to 09:00 pm

Highlights: The sunset and sunrise views from the stupa are inevitably beautiful


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Magnetic Hill

Magnetic Hill is still a mystery yet a famed attraction that pulls the adventure lovers on a large scale toward it. A mystifying phenomenon which stunts the science and fiction together and exists as a magic to the normal people visiting here. Magnetic Hill is a trump card of every Ladakh tour because of the awe-struck moments it would promise the travelers. There is a sign board placed which says that the hill defies gravity completely and inviting everyone to experience the magical phenomenon.

 If you keep your vehicle in neutral at a position marked on the road and wait, you will be surprised to see the vehicle starts moving uphill at 10-20 km per hour. And this is the unexplainable feature of Magnetic Hill that confuses the world of science. It is located on Leh-Kargil-Baltic Highway and on the east, the beautiful Sindhu River is flowing calmly. Near the hill there is a Sikh Gurudwara maintained by the Indian Army. Due to the natural attraction as well as the human architectural brilliance, the hill has gained popularity in a short term. 

Not just the vehicles hitting the road but the aircrafts and helicopters crossing the radius which Magnetic Hill comes in would feel the same magnetic effect. If the aircrafts are going on a slow pace, then it starts jerking while they are in the circumference of the hill. So the only solution to escape from the clutches of this phenomenon is that the crafts should move at a greater speed.

Height: Magnetic Hill is located at an elevation of 14000 feet above the sea level.

Location: To reach the hill, you can hit the Leh-Kargil-Baltic National Highway and it is situated at a distance of just 30 kms from Leh town.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit the Magnetic Hill is from June to October.

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Chadar Trek

For some years, adventure seekers all around the world have been talking about Chadar Trek in the Zanskar Region. Until this year, hundreds of people have experienced the thrill hidden and the mind blowing sights around Chadar frozen river. In fact, Chadar Trek is the most sought after and one of the breathtaking treks in the Himalayas. The winter trek is so special for those who are ready to have adventure at the maximum level. 

The river trek starts from Chilling where the river begins to freeze and mostly, travelers choose February as the best time to cross the frozen river as the ice sheets will be comparatively stable. The precarious snow-flakes would pose severe threats during the trek but in some other time, the challenges would be kind to the trekker. The surrounding of the river are completely vertical cliffs tall up to 600 meters. The Zanskar River is a tributary of the Indus and is 5 meters long. 

A trekker would have to cover 16 kms per day to complete the Chadar Trek. Usually, people opt for 10-15 days of trek depending on the climatic conditions persisting here. The temperature at Chadar will come to the lowest at -35 degree Celsius during winter and thus Chadar Trek becomes more intimidating. Approximate trekking distance one would have to cover in total is 75 kms.

Maximum altitude: 11123 feet is the height at which Chadar Trek would lead you to.

Location: To take part in Chadar Trek, one should arrive in Leh and from Leh, the journey starts and goes to Chilling, the beginning of the Zanskar River in the frozen state. From Leh it would take about 65-70 kms to reach Tilad via Chilling, the base camp of the trek.

Best time to visit: January end to February is the best time suitable for trekking in the frozen river of Chadar. Quality and safe trekking gears and highly warm clothes are required.

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Markha Valley Trek

Adventure lovers always had an affection to Markha Valley and still it fulfills the dreams of a trekker or adventure seeker with the unrivalled collection of natural spectacle. Long day trekking tours are offered by a lot of tour providers all over India which promise a journey through the most scenic locations and villages. The awesomely exciting feature of this trek is that it will let the trekker cross two high altitude passes in Ladakh; Gandala La at 4980 meters and Kongmaru La at 5276 meters.

 Being one of the diverse treks in Ladakh region, Markha Valley trek offers a lot of adventurous moments throughout. The barren land of Ladakh and the Buddhist temples found throughout the journey make the trek special. The route winds past the Ladakhi villages and it goes to Hemis National Park where the chances to spot some rare wildlife species are comparably high. The nomadic groups of people will be a unique picture to keep in heart. The symbols of Buddhism like ‘chortens’, stupas, multi colored prayer flags and numerous monasteries narrate the story of Buddhist culture embraced Markha centuries ago. Another interesting fact heard about Markha Valley trek is that it is also called ‘tea house trek’ due to the accommodation provided in parachute tents in most of the villages during the tour.

Maximum altitude: 15000 feet is the maximum altitude the trek will cover.

Location: In most of the cases, the trek starts from Leh. The trail usually goes through Chilling, Skyu and then to Markha. From Markha it would take the trekker to reach Hankar and Nimaling and finally return to Leh. The ideal trekking distance is 75 kms and it would be graded as difficult.

Best time to visit: The months of June, July, August, September and October are recommended as the best time to do Markha Valley trek.

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Stok Kongri Trek

Stok Kangri, Ladakh is one of the most popular places for high altitude trekking in India. Although the beauty of Ladakh draws in innumerable tourists and trekkers from all over the country and the world, the Stok Kangri trek isn’t really suited for anyone and everyone.

It is advisable that only experienced trekkers set out on this expedition as the climatic and geographical conditions of the place may not suit novice or amateur trekkers. Nonetheless, Stok Kangri is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the country. It is for this reason that the Stok Kangri trek forms an inevitable experience while trekking in India.

The trek begins from Leh, which is noted for its natural beauty as well as the warm and hospitable people. During the first couple of days of the trek, you can move around Leh, go sightseeing and get acclimatized to the weather of the region. These couple of days will prepare you for the trek ahead. You will next be taken to Chang Ma via Stok Village by road.

The journey from Leh to Stok Village takes you to witness the amiable yet fictional setting which includes lush greenery, glistening snow peaks and scenic splendor of the region in this stretch. On reaching Chang Ma, you reach a snow covered region and begin trekking. You will need to climb on for about three hours. From here you will head on to Manokorma, which is at an elevation of 14200 feet.

During the trek, you will be able to view some very beautiful peaks such as the Gulap Kangri, Parcha Kangri, etc. The base camp of the trek is at an elevation of 16, 300 feet. From here, the journey continues till you reach the Stok Kangri. The rewarding scenery from the top is what draws trekkers from all over the world to high altitude trekking in India. The trek back to Leh is a bit arduous and you may need to be careful while climbing down the mountainous terrain.

Best Season: June - October

Difficulty Level: Medium

Max. Elevation: 5000 m

Number of Days: Maximum 10 days of trek can be done here

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Manali

From Manali, breathtaking views of the Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges are a perennial specialty. This is the place where mountain adventures takes on a new dimension. A haven for tourists, Manali is replete with scenic quotients offering trekking enthusiasts an experience of its own kind.

Attracting visitors from all over the world all year round, this is a place for backpackers to explore the serene settings of the Himalayas. It is also the place where adventure tourists can enjoy exhilarating activities such as paragliding, rafting and skiing while on Manali to Leh Road trip.

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Roopkund Trek

Counted among the best treks in India, the Roopkund trail is a trekker’s paradise. Roopkund’s topography is complete with verdant forests, acres and acres of open meadows, trickling brooks, and the celestial snow of course. Roopkund also comprises of the eerie Skeletal Lake, and is great for one’s initiation into high-altitude trekking. Pre-monsoon and post-monsoon seasons make Roopkund one of the compulsory trekking places near Delhi.

Distance from Delhi: 308 Kilometres approximately

Nearest Railhead: Kathgodam Railway Station

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Kuari Pass Trek

Kuari Pass which signifies doorway is one of the best treks in Uttaranchal. It is also known as Curzon trail as this trekking trail was discovered by Lord Curzon in 1905. The panoramic views of the eastern slopes of the majestic Garhwal Himalayas, Neelkanth, Mana, Hathi Ghori Parvat, Bertholi, Trishul, Dronagiri, Kamet and Nanda Devi peaks can be experienced on Kuari Pass Trek.

The trek has dense deodar, ok and rhododendron forests which present a picturesque view. Rare and protected flora and fauna can be found on this trail.  The trek passes via major rivers like Mandakini, Kaliganga and Dhauli Ganga .The ideal time to visit here is in summers.

Best Season: December - January
Duration: 6-8 Days
Max. Elevation: 4,264 m

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Dodital Trek

Dodital trek is a short trek and must to do when you are on trekking in Uttaranchal tour. Difficulty ranges from easy to moderate through thick forests and across majestic Himalayas landscapes, large meadows and stream crossings.  

The trek begins from Sangamchatti (kalyani) road near Uttarkashi and completes at the Hanumanchatti. From Dodital Lake, you will need to trek uphill to reach the Darwa pass, also called as Bakaria Khaga pass. The alpine meadows of Kanasar are an ideal place for camping.

Best season: May - October
Duration: 10 Days
Altitude: 4150 m

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The Castle Manali

Built in 1460 AD, the Naggar Castle has a unique architecture that comprises of stones and wood. About a century ago, this castle of Raja Sidh Singh of Kullu was converted into a rest house, and presently it is being taken care by the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation.

In its rechristened avatar, the castle is now The Castle Heritage Hotel. Naggar Castle came into the limelight after a bollywood movie was shot here. A grand Tibetan carnival dance was shot here and hence this castle grew in touristic prominence.


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Van Vihar National Park

One of the most frequent places to visit in Manali, the Van Vihar National Park attracts visitors mainly because of its ideal location, which is bang on the Mall road in Manali. The park is a welcome respite from the crowds and the pollution with its tall and shady groves of Deodar, birch and pine. There are a number of wooden and concrete benches within the park, which provide rest, relaxation and recreation to its visitors.

Take off your shoes and take a leisurely walk across the garden paths of this wonderful haven of nature. You could also have fun cruising around in a boat that sails in the small pond within the vicinity of this park. Set amidst beautiful and verdant environs, the park is a perfect respite for anyone who chooses to visit it and makes up for a great place for a spontaneous picnic or simply a long walk!

Timing:

08:00 am – 07:00 pm (summer)

08:00 am – 05:00 pm (winter)

Entry Fee: 10 INR per Person

Photography Allowed: Yes

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Gyuto Monastery

Gyuto Monastery is one of the most famous and popular monasteries in Tibet. This monastery is well known for its tantric meditation and people there study a lot about this subject. It is also known for its various tantric ritual arts and Buddhist philosophy. Gyuto monastery was founded in the year 1474 by the prime disciple of the 1st Dalai Lama.

Location: It is situated in the town of Dharamshala which is easy to reach through road, rail as well as airways. Transportation is not a major issue while visiting the place.

Highlights: You can find majestic statues of Buddha with a backdrop of snow clad mountains covering it. If you want to have a nice afternoon, it is the most peaceful and serene place to be at.



Best time to visit: Since this is a monastery, there is no particular season that makes any difference. However, if you are planning a full trip of the place, April-May has to be the best months.