google-site-verification: googlee1556601ef56efc4.html The Charming Himalayas: October 2015

Thursday, 15 October 2015


A gorgeous hill station having a beautiful emerald colored pear shaped lake at a height of 6800 feet in Kumaon range of Himalayas. That's Nainital. This is the best hill station in north India. The lake is called Naini lake and is surrounded by mountains with coniferous trees from all the sides.

The lake is believed to be one of the eyes of  Lord Shiva's wife Sati that had fallen on earth when Lord Shiva carried her body after her act of self-immolation. In fact there is a temple called Naina Devi Temple which is said to be the exact place where the emerald colored eye had fallen.

The mountains surrounding the lake have numerous peaks. The tallest peak is called Naina Peak or China Peak and is at a height of about 8600 feet. It offers you an enchanting view of Nainital lake and its surroundings as well as of the surrounding Kumaon range of mountains. One has to go by car and then take a horse ride to reach this top.There are a couple of points from where one can visualize some of the beautiful mountain tops in this region, such as Snow point and Tiffin top.

View of Kumaon range of mountains from mountain top.

View of Nainital from top.
Nainital is visited by a lot of foreign as well as Indian tourists. There are plenty of hotels of all suitable budgets for accommodations. A boat ride on Nainital lake is a great attraction for tourists as one can see most parts of Nainital during the ride. There is a boat club as well as individual boat men who take you throughout the length of the lake.

There is a high altitude zoo on one of the mountain tops which has endangered species of animals from the Himalayas. The zoo also has a variety of high altitude birds. The zoo is a popular tourist attraction.

 There are two beautiful houses-Governor's House built by architect F.W.Stevens and Gurney House, which used to be the residence of Jim Corbett. The later has been converted into a museum.

There is a gurudwara as well as a mosque at Nainital. There are many famous boarding schools here. Mall road is the main shopping place for tourists.

View of Nainital from boat.

Play ground.

View of Nainital lake from Mall road.
One can visit many places in the surrounding, during their stay at Nainital. Nainital is one of the lakes out of four in Nainital district, the other three being Bhimtal, Sattal and Naukuchiyatal. These lakes are worth visiting. One can even  plan overnight stay at Bhimtal, which is fast developing into a favorite tourist destination.

Other places to visit by road are Almora, Ranikhet and Kausani. These are nearby hill stations and share the pleasant cool climate of Nainital. Ranikhet is known for its orchards and has a huge botanical garden and a government run fruit research institute. Another famous spot at Ranikhet is Jhula Devi Temple. There are a few hotels for overnight stay at Ranikhet. Almora is a cantonment town having thick pine and fir trees. Kausani is a picturesque hill station with panaromic view of the Trishul, Nandadevi and Panchachuli mountains. It has a famous ashram called Anashakti ashram, where Mahatma Gandhi had stayed for some time. Kausani also has hotels for overnight stay.

Another place to visit is Jim Corbett National Park, which is India's oldest national park, built to protect the Bengal tiger. It is at a distance of about 62 km from Nainital.

Click Here for a short clip of the beautiful Nainital Lake.

Friday, 9 October 2015


At a distance of about 22 km from Nainital, in the state of Uttarakhand in North India, is located a town called Bhimtal. Bhimtal derives its name from Bhima from Mahabharata fame, who is said to have visited this place during Vanvas of the Pandavas in olden times.

Bhimtal town is famous for its lake. The lake has an island in its centre. The lakes is surrounded by mountains full of green trees. At one side of the lake is an old Shiva temple called Bhimeshwara Mahadev temple, which is believed to be built by Bhima. The island in the centre of the lake has an aquarium.

Bhimtal is older than Nainital. It is a smaller but much more serene place with far lesser tourists. It makes for a very pleasant place to stay.

Ferry boats take you for a ride along the lake.One can also enjoy horse riding along the lake.

The scenic beauty of this place is well picturised in this photo.

An island in the center of the lake. There used to be a cafetaria once. Now there is an aquarium in its place.
There are a few places one can visit from Bhimtal. Hidimba Parvat, named after Bhima's wife Hidimba, is one such. It is a moutain at 5km distance from Bhimtal. It has a wild life sanctuary.

Another beautiful place about 2km from Bhimtal is Nal Damayanti Tal. It is a small lake named after the famous king, Nala.

Garg Parvat is a hillock, which is the starting point of the river Gargi or Gaula river which flows in this part of Uttarakhand state.

A short stay at Bhimtal is highly recommended for relaxation and enjoying the clean, chilly air.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015


Yumthang valley is a picturesque location in North Sikkim. It takes about an hour to reach Yumthang by road. The road to Yumthang is very beautiful lined by trees on either side and has a steep climb. since Yumthang is located at a height of about 11700 feet. Yumthang is a place for yaks to graze. A tributary of Teesta flows through mountains which are snow laden in winter. In spring the valley is full of  a variety of Rhododendrons and has greenery all around.

Road to Yumthang Valley.
Yumthang Valley.
About an hour's drive from Yumthang valley, a rough mountainous ride took us to Yumesamdong or Zero point-the last point for tourists before China border. Yumesamdong is covered with snow during most part of the year. It is situated at a height of 15748 feet. The place was flooded with tourist vehicles. It was very cold and cloudy, the day we visited Yumesamdong. Apart from a few ready to eat snacks and beverages, nothing else was available here. Tourists can enjoy brandy or rum which are available at Zero point to get over the chilly weather.

Tourist vehicles at Yumesamdong.
A board showing height of Yumesamdong.

Yumthang and Yumesamdong are truly mesmerizing places in North Sikkim. One should make it a point to visit these places in April or May, the best time to visit these places.

Monday, 5 October 2015


Kanchenjunga mountain peeping from the clouds.

Waterfall on the way to Lachung.

Monastery at Gangtok.

Gangtok city view from mountain top.

Waterfall at Gangtok.

Garden near Gangtok.


Situated at an altitude of about 9500 feet, surrounded by beautiful snow capped mountains is this beautiful town called Lachung, in North East Sikkim. The town has a beautiful river called Lachung river which is a tributary of  Teesta river, the main river running through the length of Sikkim state.

It took a little more than 4 hours to reach Lachung from Gangtok by road. The road was partly smooth and partly bumpy as we passed through the mountains. The rough roads are because of mountain slides which are often seen along the way. We saw some tall, breath taking waterfalls on the way. A lot of greenery accompanied us most of the time. Teesta river and its tributaries were giving us company at times during our journey. Sikkim truly is a beautiful state and the beauty is more apparent in its northern part. We passed through two beautiful towns Mangan and Chungthang. Mangan is a sparsely populated town with small houses. Chungthang is a town located at the confluence of Lachung and Lachen rivers, both tributaries of Teesta river. The final road to Lachung was pretty steep and curvaceous.

Waterfall on the way to Lachung.
Beautiful landscapes on road from Gangtok to Lachung.
 Lachung is a small town with beautiful landscapes. It is under snow blanket in winter season and so people migrate to lower heights as winter sets in. The town has plenty of apple, peach and apricot orchards. There is a famous old monastery in the town. Lachung is famous for Rhododendron trees. Lachung used to be a trading post between Tibet and India in olden times. Since the town is near China(Tibet) border, it is under military surveillance and tourists require prior permits to visit this place.

Snow capped mountains surround Lachung town.
Lachung valley and town.
Early morning on a cloudy day in Lachung.
 Lachung has very pleasant weather. One can visit a few beautiful surrounding places viz. Yumthang valley, Yumesamdong and Gurudongmar lake while staying at Lachung. A three night stay at Lachung is sufficient to visit all these places. The best time to visit here is in April and May, when the winter is less severe.