The festive season is here and we are sure you are as kicked about it as we are. While Diwali is synonymous with lights, fireworks, delectable food and fun, it is also an occasion when families come together, spend time and relive old memories.
Sure every family lights up the house with candles and diyas -- electric lights these days – and prepares scrumptious food for friends and relatives, but every household also has different traditions and customs that have been followed for years.
But how about making new traditions this year, along with the ones that have been passed on for generations? Considering Diwali makes up for a long weekend this time, how about a little travel plan? Maybe you could leave behind the hectic schedule and instead go on a two-three day break with your near and dear ones; away from the chaos and din of the cities to some place that brings in a sense of calm and rejuvenates you.
Sounds interesting? It sure does to us and hence, here are a few places you could visit up North this weekend and make amazing new memories, which you will cherish for years to come.
A hill station in Almora district, Ranikhet is nestled at an altitude of 6,132 ft and is home to the Kumaon and the Naga Regiment of the Indian Army. Ranikhet receives snowfall in winters, but remains pleasant other times of the year. However, you might want to pack some sweaters as October-end usually sees some nip in the air.
- Places to visit: Chaubatia Gardens, St. Bridget Church, Katarmal, Bhalu Dam, Majkhali and the Kumaon Regimental Centre Museum among others.
Also, the tall deodar, pine and fir forests are home to a variety of animals like the barking deer, sambar, mountain goat, langur and more.
- How to get there: Ranikhet is about 350 km from Delhi and is well connected by roads and railways. The nearest railway station is Kathgodam and the nearest airport is the Pantnagar domestic airport.
Mussoorie and Landour:
Another hill station that is 35 km from the state capital of Dehradun and 290 km from Delhi, Mussoorie makes for a fun and fascinating destination. Nestled at an altitude of 6,170 ft in Uttarakhand, the place is everything Ruskin Bond stories are made of -- tall and elegant pine and fir trees, foggy mornings and chilly nights.
Adjoining Mussoorie is the small and quaint town of Landour. Both the towns have an air of the British-raj and one can still find cottages from that era.
The weather in Mussoorie and Landour is chilly at this time of the year, so make sure to carry some warm clothes.
- Places to visit: Kempty Falls, Gunhill, Municipal Garden, Lal Tibba, Dhanaulti Eco Park and Chakrata. Also a cable car ride is a must.
- How to get there: Mussoorie and Landour are well connected by road. The nearest railway station is Dehradun, from where buses and taxis are easily available.
Three hundred and thirty six kilometers away from the national capital, Chail is considered to be a hiker's paradise. At an elevation of 7,380 ft, the town in Himachal Pradesh is home to the world's highest cricket ground, which is owned by the erstwhile royal family of Patiala.
Considering Chail's altitude, packing warm clothes is a must.
- Places to visit: Chail Sanctuary, the cricket ground, Chail Military School and the Chail Gurudwara. The town also has some adventure activities on offer, such as rope walk and rock rappelling to name a few.
- How to get there: The nearest airport is Shimla and railway station is Kalka. Taxis are also easily available from Delhi and Shimla.
Nainital is a town situated at an altitude of 6,837 ft in the state of Uttarakhand. The town is well-known for its numerous lakes and the serene mountain tops. The Naini Lake is said to be one of the religious places where parts of Parvati's charred body fell when Lord Shiva was carrying it. The place where her eyes (Nain) fell is now known as Nainital or lake of the eye.
The weather during this time of the year usually gets chilly, so be sure to pack some warm clothes.
- Places to visit: Nainital Lake, Gurney House, Lands' End, Dorothy's seat (also known as Tiffin Top) and Naina Peak. The cable car ride, paragliding, horse riding and boating are other fun activities one can take up.
- How to get there: Nainital is well connected by road from Delhi. The nearest railway station is Kathgodam and the nearest airport is Pantnagar domestic airport.
A town in the Solan district of Himachal Pradesh, Kasauli is nestled at an altitude of 6,322 ft. It is also popularly known to be a health resort and the cantonment was established during the British rule in 1842.
The best time to visit the town is March to November, when the climate is pleasant with a slight nip in the air, hinting at the approaching winters.
- Places to visit: Baptist Church, Neo-Gothic Christ Church, Kasauli Brewery, Sunrise point at the Lower Mall, Kasauli Club and Shirdi Sai Baba Mandir among others. The Monkey Point/Manki Point is a must visit, as it provides a wonderful view of Chandigarh and Kalka at night. You can also visit Sanawar, which is just five kilometers away from the main town of Kasauli.
- How to get there: The nearest airport to Kasauli is Chandigarh and Kalka is the nearest railway station – about 40 km away. Kasauli is also well-connected by road.
Apart from the above, you can also visit many other places like Dharamshala, Shimla, Kulu, Manali and Kufri in Himachal Pradesh and Almora, Auli, Rishikesh and Mukteshwar in Uttarakhand.