Friday, January 25, 2008

Ten Must Dos in Northern India

North India is the treasure trove of natural and man-made wonders. In fact, this region of India has hundreds of sights and attractions to please the travellers. However, if you want to experience the best of North India, I am recommending you people top must dos of the region.

New Delhi : Choosing one out of the dozens of attractions of Delhi is a tough job. Though you are running short of time and want to experience something different then the brand new Akshardham Temple may be a perfect place for you. Set on the outskirts of the capital, Akshardham temple is a staggering achievement of architecture and technology. Declared the World’s largest temple complex by Guinness Book of World record, the temple has a two-km-long colonnade with 1,660 pillars, 145 windows and 154 shikhars. An architectural marvel Akshardham temple has been built without the use of iron or cement. Boat ride at Akshardham temple in not to be missed that takes you through 10,000 years of rich Indian culture.

Bharatpur : Situated just 176 kms away from Delhi, Bharatpur is famous for its bird sanctuary. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bharatpur is also known as Keoladeo Ghana National Park. Every year during winters thousands of migratory birds visit the sanctuary for breeding. Winter is the right time to make a trip to the bird sanctuary. For getting the complete enjoyment of bird watching I recommend you to explore the park on cycle-rickshaws. Hire the cycle-rickshaws at the main entrance and enjoy birdwatching at its best.

Jammu and Kashmir : Jammu and Kashmir, a God gifted land is bestowed with pristine natural beauty and other interesting sites. Kashmir also called the ‘Heaven on earth’ is known for its beautiful lakes such as Dal lake. Of course, images of shikaras floating down the Dal lake have described Kashmir to generations of world travellers, but I would suggest to indulge in the real Kashmir experience. Check out Wazawan at Srinagar’s famed Mughal Durbar restaurant. For the food lover, Wazawan is the lavish 36-course traditional Kashmiri dinner served on large silver thalis called tramis. Savour rista (flavoured meatballs), seekh kebabs, rogan josh, tabak maz, gushtaba, yakhi, fagrant rice and much more. For vegetarians, Wazawan offer dum aloo and chaman (fried cottage cheese in thick sauce).

Chandigarh :
Chandigarh the capital of Punjab and Haryana is known for its beautiful town planning and well-maintained gardens. In Chandigarh all streets lead to Rock Garden, established by Nek Chand. But I suggest you to skip the arty statuettes and intriguing reinvented commodes and opt for something more romantic. Visit the rose gardens abundant with fragrant and varied coloured roses. Chandigarh’s famous rock garden spread over 27 acres having more than 17,000 plants and about 1,600 varieties of roses. Asia’s largest rose garden, the garden is also the venue of the celebrated Festival of Gardens.

Himachal Pradesh : Shimla always remain at the top in the itinerary of any tourist visiting Himachal Pradesh. However, far from the crowded Shimla, Dharamshala is an ideal place to enjoy a quiet vacation. Set at the foot of the majestic Dhauladhar range the town throws up the whole gamut of scenic images including snow-clad peaks, beautiful tea gardens, deodar and pine forests, lush valley and much more. Dharamshala is popular as the resident of Dalai Lama.

Haryana : A small state in Northern India, Haryana is known for its legendary connection with great epic Mahabharata. It is believed that the battle of Mahabharata was fought at Kurukhestra on the dusty grounds of Jyotisar. The historic 128 km long battlefield houses many holy spots, including temples and tanks belonged to Kurus (ancestors of the Kauravas and Pandavas). Out of the 360 tirthas, some of the important ones are Kurukhestra tank, Sthanesvra Mahadev Mandir, Baan-ganga, Chandrakupa, Sannihit Tank, Karan Ka Tila and Arnai Temple.

Punjab : Punjab is mainly known for its a number of colourful sights and friendly people. Besides, Punjab is also internationally renowned for Wagah, the famed post near Amritsar. Every evening, lots of people reach the Wagah border to see the ceremonial parade and the lowering of the national flags by Indian and Pakistani armymen on either side of the Indo-Pak border. As the half-hour parade starts, visitors cheer the BSF men of India and the Pakistani Rangers. Patriotism and nostalgia run high on the Wagah border, as history and emotion come together in a beautiful blend.

Uttar Pradesh : Uttar Pradesh is home to a number of sacred places including holy rivers. Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati draw large number of pilgrims and common travellers every year. As you walk down the sands on the banks of river Ganga in Allahabad, the boatmen will try you into taking a boatride to the Sangam. Let them succeed, you are in for one of life’s most thrilling experiences. While boating enjoy the magnificent view of Allahabad Fort built by Mughal Emperor Akbar. Also visit the river banks on sunset as the flicker of diyas, the murmur of hymns and evening arti offer mesmerising sights.

Uttarakhand : Uttarakhand, earlier known as Uttaranchal boasts of a number of hill stations that provide excellent setting for winter sports. Whether you are first timer of an avid skier, come Auli this winter. Take the ropeway from Joshimath, letting your eyes feast on the snow-clad mountains, then hop onto the swinging chairlift to reach Auli (2,500 m). From January to March, the three km long ski tracks of Auli remain covered with at least three mts of snow. You can hire skiing gear on site and you need not carry them.

Rajasthan : Forts and palaces are synonymous with the name of Rajasthan. In fact, to be able to chose one as the defining fort experience is no mean task, but my personal favourite is Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort. An imposing structure, Mehrangarh Fort seems to rise from a buff-coloured sandstone hill and is approached by seven gateways, beyond which are the palatial wings. You will surely get fascinated by towering pillars, winding pathways and brilliant architecture of the fort. Now a museum, only parts of the forts are open to the public. So take out a day from your busy schedule to explore this charming fort-palace.

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