I had a conversation with my co-workers about traveling, they asked if where we will go next, “I will go to Japan.” “Thailand for me.” “Korea!” and they turned their heads and asked me “India. I will go to India.” contrary to what they were expecting, they were all surprised and shocked. It suddenly turned out as if I was mobbed by the press for interview, they all responded with “What else to see after Taj Mahal?” “Dude do you mean Indiana? in the USA?” “You can go to Japan but why India?” and so on. I only replied with few words that will left them anticipate my travel “I believe that country is beautiful.”
Fast-forward a month after, I thought it will meet my expectations, instead it exceeded way beyond my expectations which until now it’s very hard to find words in describing how magnificent my journey was in India, specifically North India. I stayed there for 24 days out of which 10 days of it were spent hiking in North India. For me, India is already incredible but North India is like a toppings on a cake which adds more uniqueness and zing to it while snapping your fingers saying “Voilà! Here’s our masterpiece!”. So, what are the reasons I’m saying this? What made it so special? Here are 6 ways in which North India might surprise you:
The home of Mount Everest and other majestic mountains that extends far beyond. It covers approximately 1,500 miles that passes through the countries of China Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. In India, it spans through the northern states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Bengal and Assam. You have way too many options which states you want to go and each of it offers different geographical and cultural experiences.
2. TIBETAN CULTURE
The history of Tibetan exiles, Dalai Lama’s escape and entry to India and Buddhism as the majority of religion will let you experience their culture and rich history by just visiting different states in North India. From the Tibetan way of life, culture, arts, handicrafts, monasteries, prayer wheels, dome stupas and Tibetan dishes it’s as if you are really in Tibet.
3. EXTRAVAGANT FESTIVALS
The traditions and culture of celebrating festivals in North India differs from state to state and religion to religion. In Leh, Ladakh festivals in the monasteries starts their celebration with dances while wearing colorful masks worn by lamas which represents guardian divinities as to ward off evil and bring good fortune. They are not just vibrant and unique but it is spiritually different out of this world experience.
4. SPIRITUAL INTROSPECTION
India itself is a country where spirituality is of high importance which will deliver an intense human experience. There are many spiritual ceremonies in North India, from one day ceremony to multi-day ceremony, it involves using the senses of our body to release our hidden energies that will dive into the heart of cleansing and purifying as well as learning sacred wisdoms.
5. PHOTOGRAPHIC LANDSCAPES
If you want an amazing Instagrammable photo or a photographer searching for a place to get that stunning magazine covered photos then this is the place to be. The sweeping majestic view of snow-capped mountains are the backdrop of North India and the awe-inspiring natural landscapes dotted between arid desert and greeneries topped with several Buddhist monasteries are the ingredients of this place. It is home to unspoilt nature, most stunning and diverse geographical locations in India.
6. OFF-BEATEN PATH
In this world full of travelers, going the off-beaten path brings you to unexplored area with not-so-touristy places which always are packed like sardines in can. North India is authentic by taste and by location, it offers breathtaking scenic places waiting to be discovered. Hiking rewards you with beautiful places and to experience cultural diversity.
- Ladakh is a good place to start for beginners.
- Acclimatize i.e. rest for the whole day.
- Bring Diamox tablets incase of Altitude Mountain Sickness.
- Always check the websites and other posters in the town for festival dates.
- Hiking may take day tour to multi-day hike and it is all worth it.
- Bring the right gear to brave the cold weather.