summer vacation in India

[Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India] Exploring Heritage on a Train Journey

The tracks to Shimla The start of our summer vacation in Himachal Pradesh: Plane to Delhi, train to Chandigarh, and it was now time for a train (special one, though) to Shimla. Off we headed from a hotel in Chandigarh to Kalka station. The auto zoomed (a bit shakily) on the Chandigarh-Shimla highway toward Kalka, often overtaken by flashy cars. We held on tight until our route turned off the highway and onto the narrower road to Kalka.

[Himachal Pradesh, India] A Cool Summer in Himachal Pradesh

On a previous vacation, we had fallen in love with the mountains and forests of Uttarakhand. So when summer came calling again, an escape to the Himalayas was the first idea that crossed my mind. This time around, B and I voted for Himachal Pradesh, and Junior readily gave his stamp of approval. The call of the mountains. Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, India. After much thought (grey cells in action!), research (Google at our command!

[Mukteshwar, Uttarakhand, India] The Irresistible Allure of a Small Town in the Hills

Where you can forget about “to-do” and “to-see” lists. Where you can leave watches and phones behind. Where you can (temporarily, at least) disregard worry and hurry.  Where you can set out to stroll with no specific destination in mind. Where you can pause on a narrow village trail to gaze at the beautiful valley below. Where you can rest your feet at a small tea stall and engage in a lively conversation with a local resident.

[Ranikhet, Uttarakhand, India] Wandering in the Queen’s Meadow

A panoramic view of the Himalayan peaks, even at midday. A quiet walk along a forest path surrounded by tall pines. A variety of fruits in hillside orchards. Ranikhet, which means Queen’s Meadow, has a string of delightful experiences in store. The cantonment town of Ranikhet in Uttarakhand is easily accessible from Almora. After a remarkable holiday at Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, we proceeded to Ranikhet.  An Expansive Golf Course: One for the movie and photography buffs

Feeling At One with Nature: At Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttarakhand

The alarm rang a bit too loudly; I staggered out of bed to turn it off. It was a little after 4 a.m. A bit later, B, Junior, and I trooped out of the room, sleepy but excited. On the terrace, a few people had already arrived. We found ourselves some seats and waited with anticipation. Junior pulled his cap over his ears to keep the chill away. More folks arrived at the scene, some wide awake, others half-asleep.

[Almora, Uttarakhand, India] Our Summer Sojourn in Kumaon: Almora

The priest unlocked the small door to the chamber housing the main deity. As we waited, he opened the door to give us our first glimpse of the idol of the Sun God. We were the only visitors at the 9th-century Sun Temple on a remote hilltop near Almora town. A bumpy car ride from Kosi village followed by a short hike had brought us to the Katarmal Surya Temple. Several such delightful discoveries awaited us at Almora.

[Nainital, Uttarakhand, India] Something for Every Mood

You have visited the Naina Devi temple, strolled along Thandi Sadak, enjoyed a boat ride in the lake, and explored Uttarakhand’s flora and fauna at the Himalayan Botanical Garden and the Nainital Zoo. What next?  In the mood to be airborne? And get a panoramic view of Naini lake from up above? Head to Snow View Point! This place can be reached by road or by a ropeway starting at Mallital.

[Nainital, Uttarakhand, India] A Glimpse of Uttarakhand’s Flora and Fauna

The Himalayan Botanical Garden and the Nainital Zoo (Pandit G. B. Pant High Altitude Zoo) top our list of favorite places in Nainital. If you love the outdoors, enjoy a hike (warning: moderately steep slopes included), and are curious about Uttarakhand’s flora and fauna, Nainital has two special attractions that definitely merit a visit.  Wildlife, Scenic Views, and a Quaint Temple at the Nainital Zoo (Pandit G. B. Pant High Altitude Zoo):

[Nainital, Uttarakhand, India] Our Summer Sojourn in Kumaon: Nainital

The Journey: We took the night train from Dehradunto Kathgodam. A refreshing cuppa tea at Kathgodam railway station helped to drive away the groggy feeling in my head. And then, we hopped into a taxi that took us along winding roads in the hills to our destination, Nainital. Inside Nainital, the roads were as scary as they could get. As I clenched my fists and muttered every prayer that came to mind, the taxi driver zoomed up and down the narrowest of paths and the steepest of streets in an attempt to locate our hotel.

[Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India] In Dehradun, at the foothills of the Himalayas – I

Junior was glued to the window of the Shatabdi Express as it chugged out of New Delhi Railway Station and proceeded toward its final destination, Dehradun. The capital of Uttarakhand. While the summer sun shone harshly in Pune, we escaped to the cooler climes of the mountains. A long summer vacation in Uttarakhand. A much-awaited tryst with the mighty Himalayas. Our first destination was Dehradun. Located in the Garhwal region of the state, the city is a gateway to the hills and the mountains beyond.