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WANDERLUST: INDIA 1/4

5 months ago | BY Huma Hazarika Sharma

The 6 hidden gems of North India

Come summer, practically everyone we know is off to scenic paradises like Bali, Bodrum and the Bahamas. And let’s be honest, as much as we’d like to be jetsetting ’round the globe too and setting some major #vacaygoals of our own, life doesn’t always allow us the luxury of taking off on a long weekend whenever it tickles our fancy. Luckily for us (and ya’ll) India is probably the most geographically diverse place on mother earth, and we’ve rounded up 6 cool AF (yet-to-be-spoiled by the masses) places in Northern India that are literally a hop, skip and jump away – okay, not quite, but you get our drift, no?

NARKANDA – THE LAND OF APPLES & CHERRY BLOSSOM

Nestled in the glorious mountains of Himachal Pradesh, Narkanda could just as well pass off for any European ski destination. If you love your snow, are big on snowboarding and other winter sports, and appreciate nature in all its glory, then Narkanda should be bumped right to the top of that travel bucket list this year. Especially since it’s an absolute beaut all year-through.

1. Narkanda
1.1 Narkanda- Sunset
NAHAN – THE FORMER CAPITAL OF THE PRINCELY STATE OF SIRMAUR
 
Situated atop the Shiwalik Hills, Nahan is perhaps one of the cleanest and tidiest towns in India, all thanks to its well-organised underground sewerage system and its immaculately laid-out streets. The Suketi Fossil Park with its life-sized fibre reinforced plastic models of prehistoric creatures whose fossilised remains were found there, the pristine Paonta Sahib gurdwara and the sprawling mango and citrus trees at Dhaula Kuan are just the cherry on top of the cake here.
2. Nahan
2.1 Nahan- Paunta sahib gurudwara
 
NUBRA VALLEY – THE LAST TREASURE OF OUR PLANET
 
Once on the trading route between Eastern Tibet and Turkistan, the enchanting valley of Nubra has only opened up to the public in the last few years, and is pretty much the last unexploited gem in the Indian subcontinent. Reminiscent of a real-life movie set, much of the valley is explored on foot, and gems like the 250-year-old Ensa Gompa are an arduous 6-hour trek away. It is also home to Panamik which is the last remaining settlement near the Tibetan border, and is dotted by the friendly faces of the Indian army.
3. Nubra Valley
3.1 Nubra valley- Shyok River
 
TIRTHAN VALLEY – HIMACHAL’S BEST KEPT SECRET
 
Tucked away in Himachal’s Kullu district, Tirthan Valley is the naturephile’s dream come true with its lush green villages set against the backdrop of snowcapped peaks. Its namesake, the Tirthan river (which it derives its name from), originates from the icy glacial springs of the snowcapped Hanskund in the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP), and promises boundless opportunities for angling-enthusiasts, trekkers and lovers of wildlife.
4. Trithan Valley
4.1 Tirthan Valley- Lake Parashar
PITHORGARH – ‘LITTLE KASHMIR’
 
Flanked by Nepal in the East, and Tibet to its North, the fantastical Pithorgarh is tucked away in the quaint lil Soar Valley. Its mystical temples, grand forts, verdant forests and its naturally abundant land will overwhelm you with their beauty, but only in the best way. Star attractions include the Pithorgarh Fort and the Kapileshwar Temple.
5. Pithoragarh
 
HEMIS – HOME TO THE ENDANGERED SNOW LEOPARD
Also known as Hamis, this quaint lil village is roughly 40 kms. Northeast of Leh, and is home to the fascinating Hemis Monastery. If legend is to be believed, or in this case, a book written by Russian Nikolai Aleksandrovich Notovich, Jesus spent a few years here before his supposed resurrection. And, true or not, we’d love to go check out this fantastical place for ourselves. It’s cut off to the world most of the year due to the heavy snow, so the best time to visit would be between July and September.
6. Hemis, J&K
6.1 Hemis- Snow Leopard