See amazing sceneryHome to some of the highest peaks in the world, the Indian Himalayas offer absolutely breathtaking views across their diverse landscape. Feast your eyes on winding roads zigzagging their way through the mountain ranges, strands of brightly colourful prayer flags fluttering in the breeze, and vividly-hued trucks wending their way across the passes.
The panoramas from Kanchenjunga the world’s third tallest mountain and Nanda Devi, a World Heritage Site and the highest mountain located entirely within India are particularly mesmerising. Don’t forget to pack layers of clothing for the changeable weather and to always stay with a guide who knows the route.
A spiritual experienceThe Indian Himalayas are steeped in spirituality. Enjoy a moment of peace at one of the many monasteries of all shapes and sizes dotted amongst the towering hills and mountains or visit the beautiful white-domed Shanti Stupa in Leh, built by Japanese monks to promote world peace between 1983 and 1991.
For the ultimate Himalayan spiritual experience, head to McLeod Ganj, home of the Dalai Lama since 1959, and a popular destination to learn about healing and Buddhism. Home to many exiled Tibetan monks and nuns, this oasis of calm seems far removed from the busy streets you pass en route.
Wonderful nature and rare wildlifeA haven for fantastic flora and fauna, the Indian Himalayas are a nature and wildlife lover’s paradise. Experience breath-taking scenery in Yumthang Valley, also known as the Valley of Flowers. This picturesque sanctuary offers spectacular views of snow-capped mountains, hot springs, grazing yaks and rows and rows of vibrant flowers. The serene Teesta River winds its way through the lush meadows.
Head to Hemis National Park and you could see an ibex, wolf, blue sheep or lynx roaming free. Venture to Ulley and, if you’re extremely lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the majestic snow leopard as they descend from the frozen peaks in search of food.
Remote hill stations and mountain villagesIf you’re craving a quieter pace and to get away from it all, the Indian Himalayas is the perfect destination. Discover remote mountain villages such as beautiful Lachung with its famous valley of flowers and glorious snow-capped mountains, or Pragpur with its ancient houses and cobbled streets.
No trip to the Himalayas is complete without a visit to a hill station, getaways for the British rulers and their families in bygone days. As the former holiday resort of the British raj, nostalgic Shimla is a must-see. The best way to travel to the ‘Queen of the Hills’ is on the Toy Train, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that staggeringly covers 102 tunnels, 864 bridges and 919 bends. Other hill stations worth a visit are Lachung and Pelling in Sikkim, and Darjeeling and Kalimpong in West Bengal.
Take a tour of a tea estateThe Himalayan regions are famous for their tea gardens, rows and rows of lush green fields with magnificent mountain ranges as a backdrop. Tea estates are the perfect place to learn how the good old-fashioned cuppa evolves from leaf to teapot.
In the Himalayan tea estates, blends are harvested during different times of the year (called the “flush”), producing a range of varieties and flavours. Watch the workers in the fields plucking the tea leaves by hand as you sip a wonderful freshly-brewed cup of Assam or Darjeeling.