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    Photo credit: Björn Ognibeni - flickr

    Bird watching is one of the most fascinating hobbies that has gained momentum over the years and has now become a great source of recreation for many. Previously limited only to the developed countries, this hobby is now fondly practised across the globe.

    Since India is incredibly rich in its fauna and flora, it offers some wonderful birding opportunities. The favourable birding circumstances present here attract a lot of locals as well as tourists from all parts of the world. A home to a lot of rare and enchanting species, the following is a list of places that provide kaleidoscopic sights of the feathered beauties.

    North India

    1. Pong Dam, Himachal Pradesh

    Bar Headed Geese

    Photo credit: Sankara Subramanian - flickr

    The Maharana Pratap Sagar Dam also called as Pong dam is well-known for its migratory birds and is situated at a distance of 50 km from Pathankot.

    Here, 220 bird species belonging to 54 families have been recorded so far and tens of thousands of birds swarm around the dam area throughout the year. Ruddy-shelducks, bar-headed geese, mallards, coots, Pochards, Pintails, rare red-necked Grebe and Gulls are the most frequented species to this dam.

    Bar Headed Geese in flight

    Photo credit: Sankara Subramanian - flickr

    These species come from as far as China, Siberia, Central Asia, Pakistan and Ladakh. In the seasons of summer and spring, Terns and Pratincoles visit this dam and leave the spectators totally mesmerised. In the winter season, the world famous bar headed geese and northern lapwing stage here in exponential numbers.

    [Visit some of the picturesque and pleasing landscape with our Malana Village Trek tour]

    The pong lake which was artificially created in the year 1970, harbours a huge variety of water birds including ducks, cranes, egrets, shorebirds, gulls and thousands of Bar-headed Geese. This blessed lake also raises the globally endangered Indian Skimmer breed and attracts passionate nature lovers around the globe. Apart from this, the lake nurses 27 species of fish and act as its spawning ground.

    2. Tirthan Valley, Himachal Pradesh

    The Himalayan Monal

    Photo credit: Tambako The Jaguar - flickr

    The Tirthan valley is located at a distance of 100 km from Manali and is the base point to visit the Great Himalayan National Park. Around 200 species of birds are recorded in this valley that also include the endangered Western Tragopan, Cheer pheasant, Monal and Koklas.

    [Indulge in some adventure sports on our tour exploring Dharamshala and Manali]

    In the mornings, yellow-billed blue magpies and brown dippers can be easily spotted. Also found are the Asian brown and paradise flycatchers, jungle mynas, Asian barred owlets and common kestrels. While returning, a downstream walk along the river Tirthan can please your senses. Moreover, the panoramic view of the entire landscape will leave you fascinated.

    3. Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh

    Kalij pheasant

    Photo credit: Jason Thompson - flickr

    Dharamsala is 18 kilometres away from Kangra. The Dhauladhar range present here offer opportunities for high altitude birding. Kalij and Koklass pheasants, Himalayan Monals, Himalayan Snowcocks, Snow Partridges and other well adapted species can be found here in huge numbers.

    Trekking enthusiasts can go on a trek starting from Ghalu temple, leading via Triund and Ilaka up towards Indrahar pass trek at 4200 m and get a view of the wildlife.

    4. Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir

    Little Forktail

    Photo Credit: Robert tdc - flickr

    Ladakh, the isolated cold desert poses immense birding opportunities. The Suru valley, present in the heart of Kargil at an altitude 2,700m is one of the majestic sightseeing spots of the country that breeds rare species like the Long billed Bush Warbler, White-tailed Rubythroat, Fire Capped Tit, and Little Forktail.

    Photo credit: shankii - flickr

    Hemis National Park is another exotic location ideal for birding. Situated at 40 km southwest of Leh, this park covers an area of 600 sq km and has exceptional bird species like the Brown and White-throated Dippers, Robin Accentor, Wallcreeper, Golden Eagle, White-winged Redstart, Lammergeier and many more.

    Lammergeier

    Photo credit: Noel Reynolds - flickr

    [Experience the grand view of the Stock Kangri on our tour from Hemis to Stok Trek via Matho Phu]

    The wetland Shey marsh, located at 7 km from Leh also has several extraordinary species that is destined to take birders to the seventh heaven. Apart from these places, there is Nubra valley, Pura valley and Tsomoriri Lake that one should cover to sight some of the rarest bird species.

    5. Himalayas

    This trip comprises of birding at two picturesque destinations, the Corbett National Park and the Nainital hill station. Though Corbett is primarily a tiger reserve, it is very vast and encompasses over 50 species of mammals, 530 birds and 25 reptiles that are recorded within the reserve.

    Photo credit: Bodenseemann - wikicommons

    This park raises a few uncommon species like the Tawny Fish owls, Crested and Stork-billed kingfishers, Himalayan Flameback, the exquisite Wall creeper and Red-billed Blue Magpie and thus attracts passionate birders who are into the most unique bird watching tours in India.

    [Visit the lake district of India, Nainital, with various tours that we offer]

    Nainital with its pleasant climate is one birding destination that attracts new species every year. To name a few the Brown-fronted Woodpeckers, Altai and Black-throated accentors, can be found here. Also, found are the Blue-capped Redstarts, Chestnut Thrushes, Red-fronted Serins, Vinaceous Rosefinches and Black-headed Jays.

    North East India

    6. Northern Region of West Bengal

    Stripe throated yuhina

    Photo Credit: Karen White - flickr

    With an enormous list of Sanctuaries and National Parks, Assam and North Bengal are promising birding prospects.

    The Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, located at a distance of 28 km from Bagdogra airport sprawls over 159 sq km. This place is well-known for the green imperial, pin tailed, wedge-tailed, pompadour and yellow-footed green pigeons. Also, endangered species like the fairy-bluebirds and Himalayan pied hornbills can be found here in abundance.

    [Trek between Nepal and Sikkim on our Darjeeling Singalila Trek and Sikkim Tour]

    Photo credit: Ankit Agarwal - flickr

    Lava and Neora Valley National Park are major birding hot spots North Bengal. The National Park is located in the Kalimpong subdivision of the beautiful Darjeeling District and covers an area of 88 sq km where the mountain hawks, black eagles, kalij pheasants, black-throated parrotbills and barwings are found. Also, shrike-babblers, yuhinas, shortwings and redstarts can be spotted easily.

    Other significant birding destinations in Assam are the Nameri Tiger Reserve, Manas National Park, Kaziranga National Park, all of which are located on the foothills of Eastern Himalayas.

    7. Assam

    Wreathed Hornbill

    Photo credit: Max Grabert - flickr

    The Dibru Saikhowa National Park is located at about 12 km north of Tinsukia town of Assam and covers an area of 350 sq km. More than 350 species of birds have been recorded in this park that is naturally bounded by rivers on all sides.

    An entire day can be spent here watching the outstanding grasslands where Jerdon’s babbler, marsh babbler and black-breasted Parrotbill flock around the year.

    Other brilliant birding destinations in Assam are the Kaziranga National Park, Digboi Oil Fields, Nameri Tiger Reserve, Manas National Park, Orang National Park and Jokai Reserve Forest.

    Located in the beautiful valley of the Noa-Dihing within the Changlang District, Arunachal Pradesh is the Namdapha National Park which covers an area as vast as 2000 sq km. The high altitude of this region has gifted this park with unique species of fauna and flora that cannot be found elsewhere in the country.

    Beautiful Nuthatch

    Photo credit: Nathan Siemers - flickr

    [Explore the culture, wildlife and monasteries of Assam with our Assam Holiday tour]

    With 500 species of birds, bird and nature enthusiasts can also find a few endangered species like the Grey Peacock Pheasant, Red Leaded and Ward’s Trogons. A few other species found here include the Wedge-billed Wren Babbler, Snowy throated Babbler, Hill Partridges, Beautiful Nuthatch and Wreathed Hornbill.

    8. Sikkim

    Photo Credit: Shayon Ghosh - flickr

    Sikkim, wedged between the Himalayan region of Nepal, Bhutan, and the Tibetan uplands, is a blessing to all bird enthusiasts for this region has 30% of all the bird species in the Indian Subcontinent.

     With 527 species of resident birds, there are many other species of vagrants and transients that can be effortlessly spotted here. This is one of the most surreal bird watching tours in India. Its breathtaking scenery is sure to give you an experience of a lifetime.

    Maenam wildlife sanctuary, located at 65 km south of Gangtok covers an area of 35sq km. It is famous for Satyr Tragopan, one of the rarest species of Pheasants found in Eastern Himalayas. The other attractive species that can be recognized here is Fire-tailed Myzornis and Brown wood owl. Additionally, this sanctuary is also home to the red panda or firefox.

    [Experience elephant and jeep safari on our North East Wildlife Tour of India]

    Pelling in West Sikkim is a delightful birding destination and is located at a distance of 24 Km from Kewzing. Rusty Cheeked Scimitar Babbler, Scaly Laughingthrush, Red Faced Liocichla, Fire tailed Myzornis, Scarlet Finch, Cutia, Black-headed Shrike Babbler, Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler and many other species are found here.

    The Khecheopalri Lake, located 22 km from Pelling offers engaging scenery with the star bird, Black tailed Crake getting a lot of attention.

    Red faced Liocichla

    Photo credit: Jason Thompson - flickr

    Apart from these locations, one of the other popular bird watching tours in India takes place in the Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary in West Sikkim, Khangchendzonga National Park and the capital city of beautiful Gangtok that offer great bird watching tours in India.

    In north Bengal, the Lava and Neora Valley present the sight of a few awe-inspiring species like the Rusty-bellied Shortwing, Golden breasted Fulvetta along with pygmy wren babbler, scaly breasted wren babbler, long billed Wren babbler and Rufous throated wren babbler.

    9. Namdapha Tiger Reserve, Arunachal Pradesh

    Great Indian hornbills

    Photo credit: rajukumar1220 - flickr

    Nampadha Tiger Reserve is situated on the international border between India and Myanmar within Changlang District, Arunachal Pradesh and covers a massive area of 2000 sq km.

    The colourful and diverse bird species found in this National Park provides one of the best bird watching holidays in India. Spend memorable time with your family while watching the White winged Wood Ducks, a rare and endangered species, the great Indian hornbills, jungle fowls and pheasants that throng this reserve throughout the year.

    10. Eaglenest, Arunachal Pradesh

    The Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary located at a distance of 350 Km northwest of Guwahati, covers an area of 218 sq km. The altitudinal range here is 500 to 3200 meters. This sanctuary along with Sessa Orchid and Pakhui Sanctuary come under the East Himalayan Bird Area.

    Fire-tailed Myzornis

    Photo credit: Soumyajit Nandy - flickr

    This place is systematically organized and maintained to offer one of the best bird watching tours in India. The diverse species found here include Temminck’s and Blyth’s Tragopan, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Ward’s Trogon, Lesser and White-browed Shortwings, Beautiful Nuthatch, Wedge-billed Wren Babbler and Fire-tailed Myzornis.

    11. Kaziranga National Park, Assam

    A world heritage site, Kaziranga National Park, covers an area of 378 sq km and is located in the heart of Assam. The Northern & Eastern boundaries of this park are naturally formed by the Brahmaputra River and thus offer scintillating and breathtaking ambience to all the nature lovers. The incredible diversity in birds makes this destination, a highly sought after place.

    [Take an eco tour of Kaziranga National Park and get in touch with nature and wildlife again]

    ?Photo credit: Jamieson Teo - flickr

    There are several exotic species like the Collared Treepie, Green-tailed and Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker, Sultan Tit, Rufous-bellied and Large Niltava. Apart from that you can also catch a glimpse of the beautiful and long-tailed Sibia, Mountain Tailorbird, Abbot’s and Marsh Babblers, Great and Oriental Pied Hornbills who have a spellbinding effect on all the birders.

    South India

    12. Munnar, Kerala

    Crimson Backed Sunbird

    Photo credit: Lip Kee Yap - flickr

    A place of eternal beauty and tranquillity, Munnar has a state-of-the-art eco-system called the shoal-grassland ecosystem. A hill station located at 125 km west of Kochi, Munnar is a birding paradise housing many endemic species like the Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Nilgiri Pipit, Grey Headed Bulbul, Black and Orange Flycatcher, Broad Tailed Grassbird, Crimson Backed Sunbird and the Grey Breasted Laughingthrush.

    Eravikulam National Park, located at a distance of 30 km from Munnar was built to protect the endangered species, Nilgiri Tahr. It spreads over 97 sq km and is a home to an assortment of endemic birds that flock here in astonishing numbers.

    Chinnar is a unique thorny scrub forest located 60 km away from Munnar and spreads over an area of 90 sq km. This Park is the second natural habit of Giant Grizzled Squirrel, an endangered species in India.

    13. Thattekad, Kerala

    Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, also known as the Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is 58 km away from Kochi and is spread across an area of 25 sq km. Named after the internationally renowned ornithologist, Dr. Salim Ali, who described this place as the richest bird habit of peninsular India, this Sanctuary now takes pride in populating around 500 bird species.

    Rare birds like the crimson-throated barbet, bee eater, sunbird, shrike, black winged Kite, night heron, falcon and grey jungle fowl can easily be spotted here.

    [Explore the wildlife and dense forests of Kerala on our 6 day tour in Kerala]

    Little Cormorants

    Photo credit: Ali Arsh - flickr

    Kumarakom Bird sanctuary also known as Baker estate is a part of the Vembanad backwater labyrinth that is located 80 km away from Kochi. It attracts a variety of bird species including the Lesser Whistling teal, Little Cormorants, Whiskered Terns, Pond Herons, Intermediate Egrets, Indian Shag and Cattle Egrets.

    Another destination that one cannot afford to miss is the Periyar National Park which has recorded more than 250 species of birds. The nearest rail junction is Kottayam. The nearest national airports are Kochi and Madurai, at a distance of 200 km 140 km respectively.

    14. Topslip / Valparai, Tamil Nadu

    Emerald Dove?

    Photo credit: Sham Edmond - flickr

    The Indira Gandhi National Park is located between the Anamalai Ranges of Tamil Nadu and the Nelliampathy Ranges of Kerala and comes under the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.

    The Topslip area, a main birding zone lies in the Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu and covers the Park as well as the Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary spanning across an area of 108 sq km and 958 sq km respectively.

    Topslip also called as Valparai has many species of avifauna including the Racquet Tailed Drongo, Black Headed Oriole, Paradise Flycatcher, Whistling Thrush and the Emerald Dove.

    15. Mudumalai, Tamil Nadu

    The Mudumalai National Park located about 80 km Northwest of Coimbatore was created in 1940 to become the first Wildlife Sanctuary of South India.

    [Spot some of the rare species of birds on our south zone birding tour]

    Photo credit: Srihari Kulkarni - flickr

    This area present at the foot of Nilgiris is home to over 320 species of birds, both migratory as well as sedentary and has a mixed vegetation with a combination of tropical moist deciduous, tropical dry deciduous and southern tropical thorn. Known for Grey Junglefowl, Red Spurfowl, Grey Francolin, Emerald Dove, Green Imperial Pigeon and Alpine Swift, this place is like a home for many birders for photography and sightseeing purposes.

    16. Ooty, Tamil Nadu

    Photo credit: Shrikant Rao - flickr

    Ootacamund or Ooty called “the queen of hill stations” is the capital of the Nilgiris district and is located at a distance of 89 km from Coimbatore. Situated at an altitude of 2,240 meters above sea level, the soothing climate of this place attracts tourists all round the year. This site proposes to be a transfixing birding spot and is well-acclaimed for its Nilgiri Laughingthrush, White-bellied Shortwing, Black-and-Rufous, Rusty-tailed and Nilgiri Flycatchers.

    17. Brahmagiri, Karnataka 

    The Brahmagiri wildlife sanctuary is located in the Kodagu or Coorg district and is part of the Western Ghats. Covering 181 sq km, this sanctuary has naturally flowing rivers and streams that ultimately drain into the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian sea.

    It takes pride in housing 12 of the 16 bird species endemic to the Western Ghats like the blue-winged parakeet and small sunbird. In addition, it also breeds a variety of vulnerable species like the Oriental white-backed vulture, white-bellied shortwing and the Nilgiri wood-pigeon.

    18. Bannerghatta, Karnataka

    Photo credit: V.v - flickr

    Bannerghatta National Park is located at a distance of 22 km south of Bangalore, Karnataka. With an area of 104 sq km, this Park is a combination of dense forest and scrubland. A home to 150 species of birds, this park is excellent for scrub birding. The endemic yellow-throated bulbul is a star attraction here that never ceases to amaze the visiting birders.

    [Experience bird watching and photographing them on our birding tour in Bangalore]

    19. Ranganathittu, Karnataka

    Photo credit: Dennis Zaebst - flickr

    Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is located in the historical town of Srirangapatna, Mandya District, Karnataka. It occupies only 67 sq km but homes incredible number of migratory waterbirds including painted storks, Asian Open bill Storks, Eurasian Spoonbills, Woolly-necked Storks, Black-headed Ibis, White Ibis, Lesser Whistling Duck and Indian Shag.

    20. Nagarhole, Karnataka

    Photo credit: Cheese Hogs - flickr

    Nagarhole National Park also known as the "Rajiv Gandhi National Park” is located at a distance of 94 km from Mysore. With over 270 species of birds, this spot is meant for serious birders.

    [Spot versatile birds of South India with our South zone birding tour]

    Including the critically endangered and near threatened species of Oriental white-backed vulture, Greater grey headed fish eagle and Red headed vulture, this place also has an endemic variety of species. To name a few, the blue winged parakeet, Malabar grey hornbill and the white bellied treepie can easily be spotted here.

    21. Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Goa

    Bondla Wildlife sanctuary houses a plenty of the country’s rarest species like the Malabar Grey hornbills, Ruby throated bulbuls, White rumped shamas, Indian Pittas, Heart spotted woodpeckers and the Blue bearded bee-eaters.

    22. Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Goa

    Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Canacona Taluka and is celebrated for its exotic and extremely tall varieties of deciduous, semi-evergreen and evergreen trees. Spread over 86 sq km, this sanctuary comes with a treetop watchtower as tall as 25 metres to spot the enchanting endemics like the Grey Headed Bulbul, Great pied hornbill, Forest Eagle Owl,  Blue-Bearded Bee eater and many other non-endemic species.

    Photo credit: Saad Akhtar - flickr

    [Spot endangered bird species on our tour in Goa] 

    Other productive Goan birding destinations are Arpora woods, Baga hill, Mayem lake, Carambolim Lake, Chorao Island, Morjim Beach, Chapora Estuary and Saigon village.

    23. Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary, Goa

    Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary located in Sanguem taluk, Mollem town spreads across an area of 240 sq km. This is the largest protected area of Goa and contains the Mollem National Park in it. A birding camp in this region is all you need to discover the region's distinctive avifauna like the Drongo, Emerald dove, Fairy bluebird, Golden oriole, Greater Indian hornbill, Indian black woodpecker, Malabar grey hornbill, Malabar pied hornbill, Grey-headed myna and Grey jungle fowl.

    West India

    Birding Tour of Gujarat

    Photo Credit: Antony Grossy

    24. Rann of Kutch, Gujarat 

    Dhrangadhra Wild Ass Wildlife Sanctuary situated in the Little Rann of Kutch is the last refuge of Khur, the Indian subspecies of Asiatic Wild Ass. A variety of birds that come under 300 different species can be seen in and around the Rann during winter season. Cranes and Flamingos can be seen flocking in thousands. Many rare birds like Red-naped Falcon, Sykes's Nightjar and Sociable Lapwing are also seen here.

    The Great Rann of Kutch is amazingly rich in birds but most of this area is still unexplored. Waterfowls, Great Indian and MacQueen’s Bustards and about ten different species of larks are seen around the year while the Grey Hypocolius is a winter visitor.

    25. Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary, Gujarat 

    The Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary is located about 12 km away from Jamnagar and spreads across an area of 6.05 sq km with the adjoining area falling under the Marine Sanctuary.

    Photo credit: Nikunj vasoya - wikicommons

    The unique assemblage of freshwater lakes formed from the drains of Ruparel and Kalindi rivers and saline creeks from the Gulf of Kutch provides microhabitat diversity to waterbirds and paves way for an exceptional eco-system that cannot be found elsewhere in the world.

    Black necked Stork, Great Crested Grebe, Shikra, Lesser spotted Eagle, Black Ibis, Black-winged Kite, Brahminy Kite, Pheasant-tailed Jacana and Great Thick-Knee are a few of the prominent species from a total  of 259 species that are documented here.

    26. Gir National Park, Gujarat 

    Photo credit: Sankara Subramanian - flickr

    The Gir National Park encompasses 1412 sq km and is highly popular for being the last refuge of the Asiatic Lion. The park is located 65 km to the south-east of Junagadh. Housing as many as 300 lions, this park also has a high density of Leopards.

    It offers an excellent sight for bird enthusiasts with unfaltering chances of seeing the highly popular Red-naped Ibis, Crested Serpent-Eagle, Rock Bush Quail, Crested Treeswift and the Indian Scimitar-Babbler.

    27. Velavadar National Park, Gujarat 

    Velavadar is a grassland habitat and is popularly known as the Blackbuck National Park. It is situated in the Bhavnagar District covering 34 sq km in area and is famous for the roosting site of harriers, Montagu’s and Pallid Harrier.

    The reserve’s star attraction is the Blackbuck. Significant bird species found here include the Bimaculated, Rufous-tailed, Crested and Ashy-crowned Sparrow Larks, Rufous-tailed Shrike, Desert and Variable Wheatears, Paddyfield and Sykes’ Warblers.

    Photo credit: Chobist - flickr

    28. Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary, Madhya Pradesh

    This sanctuary covers an area of 5,400 sq km and is located on the Chambal River at a point where three states -- Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh meet. Chambal is home to the endemic Gharial and marsh crocodiles and is specially gazetted under the Crocodile Conservation Project.

    [Exlpore the wildlife of Kanha with our Wild Kanha adventure tour]

    This is one of the bird watching tours in India which is in a birdwatcher’s dream land. This sanctuary is the best place to watch the Indian Skimmer in action. Apart from that, Thicknee, Comb Duck, Ruddy Shelduck, Bar-headed Geese, Spoonbill and Greater Flamingo can be spotted here in great numbers here. Chambal is also a proud home to the highly endangered Gangetic River Dolphin.

    29. Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan

    Photo credit: Fabian Heusser - flickr

    Ranthambore National Park, situated in Sawai Madhopur district of south-eastern Rajasthan, covers an area of 1134 sq km. This enormous area has documented 272 species of birds and is an absolute pilgrimage for bird watchers. A few important species are Greylag Goose, Woodpeckers, Indian Gray Hornbills, Common Kingfishers, Bee Eaters, Cuckoos, Parakeets, Asian Palm Swift, and Snipes.

    30. Bharatpur National Park, Rajasthan

    Situated in the town of Bharatpur is the Keoladeo Ghana National Park also called the  Bharatpur National Park that spreads across an area of 30 sq km and hosts around 375 finest species of birds. Herons, egrets, cormorants, ibis, spoonbills and storks can be seen in huge numbers and in the months of winter, migratory birds like the famous Siberian Crane also comes to this location, making it an ideal location for bird watching tours in India.


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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Havelock Island

Being one of the topnotch attractions in Andaman is the sublime Havelock Island brimming with silky beaches and exuberant greenery. A lot of tourist locations, resorts, hotels, attractions and much more are creating the perfect background to Havelock Island to host as many tourists as possible. This is the largest of all the islands in Andaman and comprises of a lot of small islands. The administration in Havelock promotes eco-tourism on a large scale.

 The lighthouse established in 2005 at the northern part of the island gives additional recognition for the island. The accommodation options on Havelock will let you be surprised. Ranging from high-end, luxurious resorts to camps with basic amenities, the stay arrangements done by the administrative people here are unbelievable.

Highlights: The long stretches of different types of beaches are the main highlight to be pointed out. Declared the best beaches in the world, almost all of them are blissfully located on Havelock Island, connected to closely to the main boat jetty on the island.  

Elephant Beach, Radhanagar Beach, Vijaynagar Beach, Kalapathar Beach which are known in numbers also are proclaimed to have the highest number of tourists every year. The green fringed shorelines, the clear sea water, the colourful marine animals, the long coral reefs, the wild fauna and flora bring forth the astounding picture of Havelock incomparably beautiful.

Activities: Snorkeling and diving are the favourite activities done on the islands though other major water based activities like boating and kayaking are frequently done.

Distance from Port Blair: Havelock Island is lying 42 kms northeast of the capital city, Port Blair. There are regular boat services by the Directorate of Shipping Services which connect Phoenix Bay jetty in Port Blair to Havelock daily.

 

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Chidiya Tapu

As the name suggests, Chidiya Tapu is the perfect haven for unseen migratory birds and common native birds found in Andaman Islands. Recognized as the most enchanting beach in Andaman and tourists arrive here on a large scale as the beach extends the best ever sights for them including the eye catching sunrise and sunset views. This is a silent yet crowded beach encircled by evergreen forests on one side and the short hills on the other side. 

As it is considered to be the presenter of the most finishing touch of sunset and sunrise views, it is the main hub in Andaman Islands. The beach is filled with 46 varieties of endangered species of birds, and white spotted deer. There are a lot of seasonal orchids and other varieties of plants.

Highlights: The major attractions of Chidiya Tapu are the Chidiya Tapu Biological Park, the Sylvan Sands, the Munda Pahar Beaches etc. You will be able to stay at a forest guesthouse located nearby atop a hillock and from there, the panoramic view of Chidiya Tapu in detail.

Activities: Apart from sunset and sunrise views, people come in plenty toward this beach to identify the rare species appear in multiple colours and size. Even though many of the birds are commonly found on the beach, you would find it as a unique and unnatural scene to find the colourful gathering of them. Boating is an attractive activity done here as well as snorkeling and swimming are also a part of the adventure activities usually experienced by those who visit here.

Distance from Port Blair: It is located about 25 kms from Port Blair.


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Neil Island

A tiny island located to the south of Andaman is Neil Island, brimming with less explore marine diversity, coral reefs, long beaches and bewitching greenery. Being one of the tourist destinations in Andaman, Neil is so happy to become the host with revealing all what it has. A romantically silent island unlike the hustle of Havelock Island, Neil Island is termed as the vegetable bowl of Andaman. A perfect place to simply relax and chill is the beaches here and the deserted shores are favourite to those who love to relax in utmost peace.

In two hours, one can explore the island by walking around. It got the name Neil after the British Brigadier General James Neill who stubbornly dealt with the rebels during the 1857 Mutiny. The rich cultivation of paddy is found in Neil Island that belongs to the Ritchies’ Arhcipelago between Havelock Island and Rose Island.

Highlights: One of the major highlights of Neil Island is Neil Kendra, a beautiful curving bay full of white sand and holding the major jetty of the island made attracting by disarraying numerous colourful wooden fishing boats. Known to be the heart of the island, Neil Kendra has Bharatpur Beach on its left and Laxmanpur Beach on the right. The richest collection of marine lives and coral reefs have given Neil Island the peculiarity of being one of the most thrilling scuba diving sites on the island. In addition to diving, Neil Island is home to those who love snorkeling, swimming, birding, cycling etc.

Activities: Glass bottom ride and snorkelling are the major activities available on Neil Island though there are enough opportunities to do diving and other prime adventure activities.

Distance from Port Blair: The island belongs to the South Andaman district is located about 36 km northeast from Port Blair.

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Radhanagar Beach

Radhanagar Beach in Andaman has ranked 8th among the top ten beautiful beaches in the world based on travelers reviews and rating available on multiple sources and Radhanagar Beach deserves it for many reasons. One of the most ravishing beauty in Andaman with a lot of tourists visiting it every year, Radhanagar Beach is the gem of Havelock Island. 500 meters away from the beach, one can see only the expansive blue water and the lush green tropical forests but when you reach the beach, the sights are apparently awe-inspiring.

 Radhanagar is commonly called as Beach No.7 and this is one of the closest beach located near to Havelock Island ferry tier. The silky beach is kids friendly as well so that families are found in plenty on the beach to spend their vacation or a short holiday. There are nothing to be worried as the coast guards are roaming around always and the number of people here will be a pleasant sight to see.

Activities: Snorkeling, swimming, scuba diving, boating, parasailing etc are some of the most commonly seen activities on the beach and among them Scuba Diving is the best as it offers the clear interaction with the wide range of marine animals and coral reefs around living in harmony. 

The turquoise water gives a rejuvenating experience while you swim across or do snorkeling and since the number of tourists are relatively higher, the Government opens more opportunities for them to spend an ample time on the beach. As it is a superb place adventure lovers also would covet, the fame it has achieved international importance in no time.

Distance from Port Blair: From Port Blair it will take more than three hours to reach Radhanagar Beach as it is located about 72 kms away from the capital city.

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Baratang Island

One of the aboriginal tribes of Andaman lives in Baratang Island, a highly blessed region with years-old wilderness. Earlier, the tribes did not let outside people to enter their community but presently, Baratang Island is a vibrant tourist destination as people love to spend time amidst the huge forests, limestone caves, mangrove ranges and the mud volcanoes.

Baratang is a part of the Great Andaman Chain with an area of 243 sq.kilometers and that marks it as the main island of the group. Middle Andaman is lying to the north and South Andaman in the south of Baratang Island. And it belongs to Rangat Taluk.

Highlights: The active mud volcanoes are the highlights of Baratang Island along with the abundant mangrove forests and evergreen rainforests and the limestone caves located beyond the forests. So adventure lovers find Baratang as a wise choice to indulge in mind blowing trekking and nature walk. Among the multiple number of mud volcanoes, jalki, as the locals call it, is the famous one.

Activity: Nature walk through the wild forests and the extensive mangrove forests is one of the prime activities done on Baratang Island. Boating, trekking, hiking etc are some of the other, identified activities available on the island.

Distance from Port Blair: The island is located about 150 kms north of Port Blair and one can reach the island by ferry services only.


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Elephant Beach

Settled on the sands of Havelock Island, Elephant Beach is a reveling beauty well presented by the long coral reefs and the shining shoreline. A peaceful beach with pure serenity and silent ambience will offer the visitors a soothing melody and that would be the perfect time to relax, to walk around with your love or just to do sunbathing. Among the different beach on Havelock Island, Elephant Beach has a special significance because of its friendly atmosphere and not so crowded shoreline. In addition to the adventurous activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving, tourists find time to do boating and similar activities on the beach. The clear water, the calm waves, the cool breeze and the magnificent sights on the shore have their own impacts on the number of people visiting the beach, and it increases only year by year.

Highlights: The long array of private boats, fishing boats and buoys extend a riveting beauty to the beach. Moreover, it is a kid friendly beach as well so that families are found here aplenty. The huge shoreline is the key factor behind the countless visitors appear on the beach every day. 

During monsoon also, tourists would love to come to Elephant Beach. People have reported that at times, the wild elephants from the nearby forests come to the beach and stroll along the white sandy bed.

Activities: An ideal place for snorkeling and scuba diving is Elephant Beach though boating and other fun, water based activities are also done by the visitors often. Tourists have experienced the best sea walking as well on Elephant Beach.

Distance from Port Blair: Elephant Beach is located on the famous Havelock Island. It is lying about 69 kms away from the capital city of Andaman, Port Blair. One can reach the beach via boat from Havelock jetty after reaching there from Port Blair by road or by boat.


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Diglipur

A marvelous town in the north part of Andaman Islands is Diglipur, an amicable tiny town with a lot of good people around. For eco- friendly tourists, this town is an inevitable choice. Though the marine life is the prominent feature of this town but the cultivation of orange and rice has enormous importance in the economy of Diglipur.

Highlights: Lamiya Bay Beach is a highlight of the town, it is located a few kilometers away from Kalipur Beach. The beach is lying in the foothills of Saddle peak, the highest one in Andaman. Around 20 kms from Diglipur is the green Shyamnagar covered by thick jungles and why Shyamnagar is a priority for tourists is because of the presence of mud volcanoes here. Kalipur Beach and Ramangar Beach are the other famous beaches at Diglipur and they are famous for turtle nesting. Moreover, visitors are quite eager to visit Alfred Caves as well where a huge collections of limestone structures are found.

Activities: Since there are plenty of beaches, caves, greenery etc, Diglipur offers the visitors a huge number of activities ranging from refreshing trekking through the jungles to the water based activities like island hopping, snorkeling, boating, fishing etc. Near to Diglipur there are famous spots to do multiple activities.

Distance from Port Blair: Lying 290 kms away from Port Blair, the small town of Diglipur that can be connected by boat from both Port Blair and Mayabunder. The boat services from Port Blair are available twice a week. But one can reach the town by road via ATR from Port Blair.

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Vijaynagar Beach

Known as Beach No.5 is Vijaynagar Beach in the north east part of Havelock Island. Very remote from the crowded locations on Havelock Island, Vijaynagar Beach is close to heart for those who love to spend time in utmost calmness. The regular touch of the sapphire blue water on the pearl like sandy beach makes no noise and it is one of the reasons why tourists chosen it as the perfect space for romantic couples and families. 

The beauty of the beach has been praised so much by those who visited it. It is always better to come here freely, just to roam around, or to float on the shallow water, or to read under the large shade given by the huge trees on the shore or to do sunbathing. The collection of Mahua trees and palms is the significant ornament making the beach a splendid place to sit back and relax as much as time one wants to. This is one of the magnificent attractions in Andaman.

Highlights: A photographer's paradise is Vijaynagar Beach; especially the sunrise views from the beach is incomparably magnificent. When the sun’s fresh rays spread all over the wide sea, the entire atmosphere starts blushing in all possible colours and there is no better sight from the beach would satiate a photographic mind. The native birds appear during the fresh mornings add effective colours to the sunrise pictures.

Activity: The beach is recognized for relaxed swimming and sunbathing. Adventure activities are not yet a fashion on this inevitable part of Havelock Island.

Distance from Port Blair: Vijaynagar Beach is located at a distance of about 38 kms from Port Blair but from Havelock jetty the beach is lying 9 kms away only.

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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.