North India really has it all, from deserts to mountains, with loads of forests in between. Even though the region may be landlocked, there’s no dearth of water bodies, with all its rivers and lakes. And food too – regardless of which cuisine you may prefer, we’re sure you won’t be able to resist North Indian food. Be it Rajasthani, Punjabi or Pahadi, it is always lip-smacking. Here, we have handpicked some cities for you to explore, along with a stay option too. We’ve divided the cities across two regions – deserts and mountains. Which one are you in the mood for?
You might have been here already, but this place sure has repeat value. It offers trekking and all other adventure activities under the sun. With green views from wherever you look, Mussoorie has spots like Gun Hill and Nahata Estate which are the highest points of the town. The Kempty Falls are stunning, while the road to lake Mist is also strewn with other smaller waterfalls. A certain Cottage in the Clouds is the perfect hilltop villa to stay at, while you enjoy the splendour of Mussoorie. Watch as the clouds roll by your window and witness the panoramic view of mountains as they make way.
Sitting at 1800 meters above sea level, Kasauli is a pleasant little town in Himachal Pradesh. In Addition to the good weather, its views of hills and forests make it a special place. Even as a small, quiet town, there are enough places to visit in Kasauli – Monkey Point, Gilbert Trail, Kasauli Brewery, etc. Misty Mountains Cottage is a fine homestay tucked away in the hills, with a location that allows one to have stunning views of the mountains and valleys. The lawn and outdoor sit-out are perfect for a cup of tea or two!
Bhimtal may be older than Nainital, but its population is just a sixth of Nainital’s. While Nainital remains the more popular one, Bhimtal offers just as much. Just 22 kilometers away from its sibling, it also has a lake with an island at its center. The Bhimeshwar Temple is a must-visit, in addition to the dam, aquarium and other lakes in the area. Properties like Estate 15 are conveniently located for you to explore the hill station.
Apart from Manali, Naggar is the best place to experience the beautiful Beas river. Famously known for Naggar castle, this quaint place offers many activities to indulge in, including trekking, fishing and shopping. Places like the Uruswati Himalayan Folk Art Museum and Dagpo Shedrupling Monastery are also worth a visit. As the name suggests, The Orchard House is nestled among orchards and offers a direct view of the gorgeous mountains. You will find yourself juggling time between the snugly living spaces and the beautiful outdoor sit-out, as well as the fireplace.
Not too far from Shimla and home to the highest cricket field on the planet, Chail also offers great treks for beginners. If you’re in the mood for camping, Chail makes for an ideal spot. If you’re not in the mood to rough it up, live it up at Ekam Villa. Apart from the luxury it offers, it also offers a unique organic experience – thanks to the fruit plantation, herb garden, vegetable farm and more.
Primarily a cantonment, Ranikhet comprises two ridges, and is at a comfortable elevation. Apart from the variety of plant and animal life that Ranikhet hosts, it is also home to one of the highest golf courses in the world. Offering the finest views out there, Morning Bliss is the perfect option. If you manage to step out from the games section of the house, the outdoor lawn area is perfect to relax, meditate and do some yoga.
Since the desert region is dominantly Rajasthan, let’s begin with the state capital. Jaipur is the pink city, as we already know, and is also a gateway to other destinations such as Jodhpur and Jaisalmer among others. While you explore all the heritage around the city, why not stay at a mansion yourself? Surrounded by lush gardens, Krishnalaya Mansion also has an indoor swimming pool reminiscent of the Roman baths. You’re bound to build up an appetite for the traditional Rajasthani meal they serve!
While Jaipur is known as the pink city, Jodhpur is known as the blue city. Second to Jaipur, Jodhpur is also a mighty popular tourist destination, featuring many palaces, forts, and temples across the desert landscape. Like an oasis in the desert, An Oasis of Serenity is one of the best properties to stay at here. Its location makes it a great home base for those who wish to explore all parts of the city, and not just the touristy ones. Once you’re done exploring the interiors of the house, and enjoyed your time in the pool, head out for the village safari that unveils the hidden gems of Jodhpur.
Lastly, but not least, Udaipur – the city of lakes. It is located in the southernmost part of Rajasthan and is surrounded by the Aravali Range, which separates it from the Thar Desert. No wonder it is surrounded by lakes. Like the rest of Rajasthan, it also offers history lovers with forts, palaces, museums, temples and more. While you explore all these places, stay at The Wild Orchid which is just a stone’s throw from the famous Badi Lake. The location transforms into a rich palette of nature’s colors in monsoons and winters as you look out to spectacular views of the Aravalli hills from the gardens.
Please make sure that wherever you visit, you have figured out the logistics beforehand. The spontaneous explorer in you might need to be prepared for 2020. We hope you have a great time exploring North India. Stay smart, stay safe!