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    Image Credits : John

    India is known for its ancient arts of healing and alternative therapies. At a time, when the world is turning to India for traditional solutions for their problems, it is time that we realise our own worth. Meditation and Yoga have been the country’s USP and attracts a lot of tourists from all over the world into the country. From Ayurveda to Naturopathy to Yoga and Meditation, India has followed its own indigenous methods for healing and medicinal practices.

    Yoga and Meditation are two sides of the same coin and both are incomplete without each other. Together they generate a harmony between the mind, body and soul. However, while millions have found yoga and meditation to be highly effective in providing relief from stress, there are others who are still sceptical about the efficacy of this ancient healing practice.

    Given the list of advantages of Yoga and Meditation, you may want to change your opinion, if you weren’t convinced earlier. There are several centres throughout the country for Yoga and Indian meditation. Here are some of the most popular spots where you can enjoy Indian meditation techniques.

    Popular Resorts and Centres for Meditation Tours of India

    1. Osho Meditation Resort, Pune

    Image Credits: Priyan Nithya

    The Osho Meditation Centre in Pune is one among the renowned organisation forMeditation tours of India. The campus is extremely beautiful and is spread over 28 acres. Lush greenery, black buildings and marble pathways are characteristic of the Osho Meditation Centre. Hundreds and thousands of people from different countries gather at the Osho Meditation Resort to find their inner self and rewind and relax.

    The programmes at the Osho Meditation Resort are specifically designed to the hectic and stress-laden lifestyles that people lead these days and are highly effective in relaxing the mind and body and relieving it of all tensions.

    The Indian meditation programmes offered at the Osho Meditation Centre include Osho Multiversity Programme, The Daily Meditation Programme and Work as Meditation Programme.

    Under the Osho Multiversity programme, different types of meditation techniques which utilise the best of therapies from the East and West are used to relax the mind and body. Furthermore, meditative therapies, Sufism, Zen, Tantra, martial arts, creative arts and esoteric sciences are combined together to help the mind and body heal naturally.

    The programme is available in a time duration ranging from 1 hour to 3 weeks. All courses at the Osho Meditation Resort are held in English. However, translators are arranged for non-English speaking individuals. Usually the courses are from 9.30 am to 4 pm but special extra night sessions are also held occasionally. The Osho Dynamic Meditation is an integral part of all courses and is regularly held at 6 am. The Osho Kundalini Meditation and Evening Meeting Meditations are held at 16: 15 and 18:45, respectively.

    Under the daily meditation programme, a number of different Indian meditation programmes are conducted in the world’s largest meditation hall. The programme includes the Osho Dynamic Meditation which is a five stage meditation programme that includes deep breathing, catharsis etc.

    A different meditation is conducted every day. Meditation techniques such as the Osho Nataraj Meditation, Osho Mandala Meditation, Osho Whirling Meditation, Osho No Dimensions Meditation, Osho Chakra Breathing Meditation, Laughter Meditation etc are the different technique employed under this programme. Other techniques that are used to provide relaxation to individuals include the Osho Vipassana Meditation, Osho Nadabrahma Meditation and Osho Kundalini Meditation.

    [Get inner peace with our Yoga and Meditation tours]

    Osho also conducts residential and nonresidential Work as Meditation programmes. The Living In Work as Meditation programmes are highly popular and under this programme, participants become a part of the daily working of the resort and are able to enjoy the benefits of Yoga and Indian meditation by staying at the Osho resort.

    The programme is usually available for a period of 2 to 3 months. Under the non-residential programme, an individual works eight hours a day on the campus. This programme is available for a minimum of 2 weeks.

    2. Tushita Meditation Centre, Dharamshala

    Image Credits: Disem vowel

    Nestled in the picturesque Himalayas, the Tushita Meditation Centre aims at providing a friendly and conducive atmosphere for rejuvenation and healing through meditation. A large number of people interested in Indian meditation tours from all over the country and the world visit Tushita to learn more about meditation, the teachings of Buddha, Buddhist philosophies etc.

    The centre conducts intermediate level course and group retreats for those having some experience of meditation. The centre also has regular drop-in sessions and other facilities to help travellers who are in town only for a very short time. These drop-in guided meditations are held every day of the week, except Sundays. The session is conducted by an experienced practitioner.

    The Intermediate Courses offered at the Tushita Meditation Centre offer a rare opportunity to study Buddhist philosophies, specific texts and books with experience teachers. These courses are meant for those who have a fair understanding of the concepts of Tibetan Buddhism.

    [Discover Dharamshala with our various tours of Dharamshala]

    At Tushita, a certain form of teaching called Lam Rim is practiced. For beginners, Tushita organises Introduction to Buddhism courses, to help bring you up to speed. The intermediate meditation programme includes discourses by experienced teachers and sessions of guided meditation.

    Image Credits: tushita.info

    The Tushita Meditation Centre offers four to five group retreats for Buddhist practitioners every year. These retreats are specifically designed for dedicated practitioners and there are certain prerequisites for joining the programme. The practices under the group retreat programme include Kriya Tantra, study of the Eight Mahayana precepts, followed by sessions of Lama Chopa. Short courses aren’t very regular at the Tushita Meditation Centre but whenever a programme is decided, the information is put up on the website.

    [Explore the Best of Dharamashala and Manali with our packages]

    Drop in sessions are conducted for visitors throughout the week. No registration is required for such courses. All you need to visit the Meditation centre and express your interest. All drop-in sessions are conducted on the basis of Dana. Tushita has three large meditation halls which you can use to practice some self meditation, if they are not being used by anyone else at that point in time.

    The Tushita Meditation Centre was founded in 1972 by Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. The centre was built in response to the growing demand for a retreat centre by the Lamas students.

    3. Ashiyana Yoga Retreat

    Image Credits: Queenoftreats.com

    The Ashiyana Yoga and Spa Village is situated in the Mandrem beach in the northern side of Goa. Surrounded by picturesque beauty, the centre is a great place for a peaceful and rejuvenating break from the chaos and cacophony of the cities. The Ashiyana Yoga and Spa Village offers a number of programmes such as retreats, Yoga Holidays, Yoga Teacher Trainings and Modules in their premises.

    The latest season is from October 1, 2013 to April 30, 2014. Ashiyana offers special retreats and trainings under the name Ashiyana Detox Rejuvenation Retreats, Ashiyana Trainings and Modules and Ashiyana Yoga Retreats.

    Under the Ashiyana Detox and Rejuvenation Retreats, an individual is made to sit and consult an ‘Elemental Yoga Therapist’ who diagnoses the problem of the individual and offers a solution. Since all people are different, their bodies too react in different ways to stress and tensions and hence each and everyone requires a specific treatment for healing.

    The techniques used for this course is completely focussed on helping an individual heal naturally in body and mind with the help of expert advice and meditation techniques. The experts at the Ashiyana Yoga and Spa Centre will help you to understand your body’s language so that you can understand your body’s needs clearly and take care of it accordingly.

    [Enjoy peace and solitude on the beaches of Goa with our Yoga experience]

    The Ashiyana Yoga and Spa Centre also offers other Indian meditation courses namely the Sublime Well Being Detox and Rejuvenation Retreat with Dr. Shikha; Yoga and Ayurveda Detox with Dr. Yamuna and Urban Antidote Rejuvenation Retreat with Ashiyana’s Yoga Therapists. These courses are available for time duration of 7, 14 and 21 days. Ideally, the longest programmes are the most beneficial for the body and mind as it helps them recover completely.

    The Ashiyana Yoga Centre and Spa Centre also offers Yoga Holidays with lots of counselling from experienced doctors, meditation experiences and massage and holistic treatments. The resort also has Goa’s only natural swimming pool. The usual activities conducted at the Ashiyana include meditation, chanting, karma yoga, barefoot boogie, walks, Suryanamaskars, get-togethers and workshops and you can drop in anytime to join in the activities at the resort.

    4. Shreyas Yoga Retreat, Bangalore

    The Shreyas Yoga Retreat in Bangalore is a picturesque resort surrounded by lush greenery and a tranquil atmosphere. It is the ideal destination for a quick retreat from the madness of the cities. For those seeking Yoga and Meditation retreats, the Shreyas Yoga Retreat is the best place to spend a quiet and peaceful vacation.

    The Shreyas Yoga Retreat is fully equipped with an open and spacious Yoga and Meditation Hall, beautiful machans and meditation huts, an open air amphitheatre, a library well stocked with books on Yoga and Meditation, an infinity pool, Jacuzzi and steam room, an Indoor Yoga Hall and Conference Room, a gym, a jogging trail etc. The landscape is beautifully adorned with lush green trees and plantations to ensure that every person gets the peace and quiet that he is seeking.

    The Shreyas Yoga Retreat offers Yoga Retreat Packages and Silent Retreat Packages to those who are seeking a quiet and peaceful break to rejuvenate their body and mind with the goodness of meditation and Yoga. The Yoga Retreat is held between April to September and October to March. The package has been designed for those who seek to delve deeper to understand the ancient tradition of Indian meditation and Yoga.

    The package has been carefully structured by combining the asanas of Yoga such as Pranayama, Yogic Kriyas, Yoga Nidra etc with sound meditation and chakra shuddhi, to enable you to derive holistic benefits. Along with these, you can also enjoy refreshing massages and the opportunity to practice Karma Yoga. The package is available for a period of 3 to 14 nights.

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    The Silent Retreat Packages are also conducted from April to September and October to March. This is a 7-day Mouna Retreat, which aims at allowing you to introspect and establish a balance in your life. Before the beginning of the retreat, every participant will be given a detailed wellness consultation regarding health, food, specific daily requirements, meal timings etc. The retreat will be structured to suit your comfort levels and the staff at the centre will be at your side if you need support of any kind. Even the food served during the retreat period is prepared with ingredients that will keep the mind and body calm.

    5. Ayurveda Yoga Meditation Resort, Coonoor

    Image Credits: Andrew Kalat 

    The Ayurveda Yoga Meditation Resort is situated in Coonoor in Tamil Nadu. The resort is recognised for its exemplary services in the field of Ayurveda, Yoga and Meditation since 1950. It is located in the Nilgiri mountains and hence is surrounded by splendid natural beauty. Lush green covered slopes of the Nilgiri mountains and the perfect weather make the Ayurveda Yoga Meditation Resort an ideal location for a peaceful retreat.

    The resort provides personalised medicines, yoga and rejuvenating Ayurvedic treatments, herbal baths, nature walks and meditation sessions to help a person heal completely. The resort provides treatments for diseases and conditions such as alcohol and smoking addiction, anaemia, asthma, fungal infections, Parkinson’s disease, kidney stones, Hepatitis, gout etc.

    The Ayurveda Yoga Meditation Centre offers various packages to suit the needs and requirements of every visitor. Some of the packages that the centre offers include Ayurveda and Yoga Rejuvenation Programme, Weight Loss, Rejuvenation, Yoga and Meditation Programme, Panchakarma Detoxification Programme, Yoga Kaya Kalpa Programme and Advanced Therapy.

    The Ayurveda and Yoga Rejuvenation Programme includes a daily rejuvenating Ayurvedic massage and Yoga to help in mental and physical healing. The Weight Loss, Rejuvenation, Yoga and Meditation Programme includes natural weight loss massage therapy, weight loss yoga, diet, meditation and nature walks. The Panchakarma Detoxification Programme includes complete detoxification, purification, cleansing and rejuvenation therapy, Yoga and meditation.

    [Check out our various tours of Tamil Nadu]

    The Yoga Kaya Kalpa programme includes anti-aging, age reversal and re-energising Ayurvedic therapies. Advanced therapy includes advanced techniques such as Pizhichil, Shirodhara, Navarakizhi, Shirovasti, Marma treatments for various diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, back pain, paralysis etc.

    The centre also offers certification courses under Yoga Teacher Training, Ayurveda Therapist Training, Ayurveda Therapist Training and Nutrition Course. The Ayurveda Yoga Meditation Centre also offers opportunities for free consultation with its experts. The experts at the centre include highly qualified doctors, therapists, efficient pharmacists etc.

    The centre has an in-house Yoga guru and also a visiting Yoga guru. Apart from the treatments mentioned above, the Ayurveda Yoga Meditation Centre offers specialised beauty treatments, Panchakarma detoxification programmes, Yoga Kaya Kalpa, Ayurveda speciality for haemorrhoids, eye therapy, advanced therapies for depression etc which makes it one of the best Indian meditation tours in India.

    6. Yoga Vidya Spiritual Retreats, Karnataka

    Yoga Vidya Spiritual Retreats Karnataka

    The Yoga Vidya Spiritual Retreats is situated in Karnataka. It is run by a group of young spiritual teachers who are deeply passionate about the ancient arts of healing practiced in India millions of years ago. They employ different techniques such as Yoga asanas, meditations, Ayurveda solutions, detox programmes, kriyas and pranayama to help you balance your life energy better for a peaceful and healthy life. The Yoga Vidya Spiritual Retreat offers Beginners and Advanced courses.

    The beginners courses consist of retreat programmes that cover all the basic practices of yoga and meditation. The experts from the Retreat Centre will also introduce you to the basics of Ayurveda and Patanjali. These sessions are usually 7-day residential programmes.

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    The advanced programme is currently unavailable, but usually includes intensive Yoga detox programmes. The programme is usually held for 10 days and consists of intensive pranayamas, kriyas, nasal cleansing, Panchakarma and lectures on Yoga.

    7. Ananda Kriya Yoga Ashram, Pune

    Image Credits: Sirian Phillips

    Among the popular Indian meditation tours is the Anand Yoga centre in Pune. It is run by the Ananda Sangha, which has its presence all over the world. The Ananda Sangha follows the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, who emphasised on self realisation as a direct inner experience of God.

    It was found in the United States of America about 40 years ago and has its presence across 16 countries in 6 continents. The meditation exercises offered by the Ananda Sangha have been taught by the direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, Swami Kriyananda. The practices are non-sectarian and are designed to address the problems that people face in their daily lives.

    Ananda offers several meditation and Yoga packages. Some of the packages offered by Ananda include the Kriya Yoga, Learn a simple technique online, Ananda online course on self realisation, Meditation and Kriya Yoga classes at Ananda Sangha and Free Meditation Support. Kriya Yoga is a special meditation technique that accelerates human evolution.

    There are certain pre-requisite for receiving this knowledge. You can know more about this form of Yoga through Ananda. Ananda also offers to teach you a simple meditation technique online which will help you reduce stress levels and maintain inner peace at all times. All you need to do is register and start learning. This particular technique is highly effective in case of corporate employees and students. The founder of Ananda, Paramahansa Yogananda, described self realisation as a direct experience with God. You can take an online course on self realisation through Ananda.

    The Ananda Kriya Yoga Ashram is situated on the outskirts of the city of Pune. At the Yogashram, devotees stay and work together to propagate Paramahamsa's ideologies and philosophies. The retreat offered by the Ananda Kriya Yoga Ashram serves as a guest house for those who wish to learn more about Paramahamsa's philosophies and the Ananda Sangha.

    The Yogashram also offers great opportunities for volunteer work. If interested, you can spend a week, a month or several months amidst the picturesque beauty of the Sahyadri hills and help in setting up the first residential community in Paramahansa Yogananda's native land.

    8. Isha Yoga Centre, Tamil Nadu

    Image Credits: Natesh Ramaswamy

    Isha Yoga Centre is spread over 150 acres at the foothills of the Velliangiri Mountains. Surrounded by the picturesque beauty of the Nilgiri Biosphere, the Isha Yoga Centre provides a peaceful and serene atmosphere for Yoga and meditation. The centre offers four major paths of Yoga- jnana or knowledge; karma or action; kriya or energy and bhakti or devotion. The Centre has a Spanda Hall, a garden, a 64,000 sq feet meditation hall etc. The Isha Yoga Centre offers Introductory Programmes and Advanced Programmes.

    In the Introductory programmes, techniques such as Inner Engineering, Hatha Yoga and Isha Yoga for Children are taught. The Inner Engineering is a 3 to 7 day intensive programme which is available in a traditional class setting and even online. During the session, participants are guided through meditation and also taught the Shambhavi Maha Mudra.

    The Hatha Yoga is a 21 day programme where different asanas and postures are taught to participants. The postures align the human body with the cosmic and allow the body to receive all goodness from the natural elements. This is essential in maintaining the balance of vata, pitta and kapha. There are five distinct practices offered in Hatha Yoga- Upayoga, Angamardhana, Surya Kriya, Yoga Asanas, Bhuta Shuddhi.

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    The advanced programmes offer meditation techniques such as Shoonya Meditation, Bhava Spandana, Samyama. The Meditation programme is a four day intensive residential programme and combines the Shakti Chalana Kriya and Shoonya meditation to stimulate the release of physical, mental and emotional harnesses and lead the soul into a greater state of well-being. The Bhava Spandana programme a 4 day and 3-night residential programme offered to those who have already learnt the Shambhavi Mahamudra. This is an advanced technique of meditation and allows the soul to transgress beyond the shackles of the body.

    Image Credits: Herry Lawford

    The Samiyana is an intensive eight day programme that is conducted at the Centre and has been designed by the Sadhguru. This advanced technique allows the body to free itself from the shackles of karma and reach a heightened state of consciousness. This meditation technique purifies the body and mind and makes it ready to receive higher energy.

    9. Kalari Kovilakam, Kerala

    The Kalari Kovilakam is the Palace of Ayurveda and is situated in the beautiful state of Kerala. The original palace of the Kalari Kovilakam was built in the 19th century. The building has now been renovated and is one of the most popular Yoga and meditation and Ayurvedic treatment centres in Kerala.

    The Kalari Kovilakam offers several Ayurvedic treatments for skin care, body care, illnesses etc. It is also the seat of ancient meditation and Yoga practices. At the Kalari Kovilakam, trained instructors can give you an insight into the ancient healing practices and alternative therapies that existed in the country, years ago. At the Kalari Kovilakam, the Bihar school of Hatha Yoga is practiced. The Bihar school of Hatha Yoga is a gentle yet powerful form of Yoga that can be blended well with other forms of treatment.

    [Sail the backwaters of Kerala with our Kerala backwater package]

    In Hatha Yoga, there are different postures and breathing exercises that are taught to the participants. The afternoons at the Kalari Kovilakam are reserved for Yoga Nidra, which is a special form of meditative technique that gives the body of an individual deep relaxation.

    10. Art of Living Ashram, Bangalore

    Image Credits: Deepankar Raj

    The Art of Living Foundation is probably the most recognised Yoga and Meditation centre offering various progammes and meditation tours of India. Headed by Shri Shri Ravi Shankar, the Art of Living is known for its satsangs and breathing techniques that have given a new life to many.

    It was founded in 1981 by Shri Shri Ravishankar  and operates globally in 152 countries. The Foundation offers various courses of Ayurveda and Yoga for people of different age groups. The Ashram in Bangalore is a spectacular monument and is one of the most popular among the Indian meditation tours.

    The Art of Living offers Yoga exercises for beginners and experienced people, teaches different Yoga postures, shares knowledge of Patanjali Yoga Sutras etc. The Art of Living organises workshops where breathing techniques, yoga postures and wellness techniques are taught.

    In the Yoga exercises for beginners package, a person is given step by step guidance in doing some very basic Yoga exercises such as asanas, pranayama, etc. The instructors and trainers at the Art of Living are extremely compassionate and approachable, which makes the process even easier.

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    The Ashram also offers sessions on Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. You can even subscribe a sheet with instructions from the website. The Ashram also offers tailor made meditation programmes to address the concerns of different programmes. At the Art of Living Ashram, there are meditation programmes for better relationships, meditation for women, meditation to help you deal with emotions, meditation programmes for parenting toddlers, meditation for caregivers etc.

    These specialised meditation programmes are essential to break free from all stress and tensions and bring the body and mind at peace. For instance, the meditation programme for parenting toddlers is aptly designed for those who are having a hard time not getting frustrated and angry because of sleepless nights and wet diapers.

    The meditation programme will help you control your emotions better, learn new ways of parenting, learn to communicate better with your baby, manage things well at home without getting hassled etc. Similarly, the meditation for women programme has been designed keeping in mind the kind of problems women face in their daily lives.


Meditation in India

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About the Activity: Ananta Resort, Pushkar is a luxurious and calm ambience to rejuvenate your body, mind and soul. Filled with natural light, the ambience of each room is captivating and the rich wooden flooring is surely enticingWith the luxury of walk-in closet, open- to- sky bathrooms, open showers and courtyard and balconies, you will be bound to feel blessedRelax in spa, exercise in the fitness centre or enjoy outdoor activitiesMeal Types: Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian-Breakfast, Lunch or DinnerAccommodation Types: Rooms on double Occupancy Activities: Sightseeing, Swimming Po
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Laxmi Niwas is a recently constructed hotel and has similar architecture as the older Laxmi Vilas palace. It takes utmost care to give you the old world grandeur as well as providing all facilities. The constant appreciation of guests and the growing demands to expand the hotel Laxmi Vilas Palace made them create this new wing. Laxmi Niwas is on the outskirts of the city with sprawling lawns in front and lush fields behind. Its tranquil and peaceful surroundings add to the royal experience. The biggest attraction of Bharatpur, ‘Keoladoe National Park’ is about 2 km from the hotel. Bes
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About the Activity: Ananta Resort, Pushkar is a luxurious and calm ambience to rejuvenate your body, mind and soulRelax in steam room, exercise in the fitness centre or play a game of table tennis Various recreational activities included will keep you entertained during your stay Meal Types: Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian-Breakfast, Lunch or DinnerAccommodation Types: Rooms on double Occupancy Activities: Sightseeing, Swimming Pool, Spa, Fitness Centre and Recreational Activities Difficulty Level: Easy
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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.