Fly to: Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir
Gulmarg: An hour and half drive from Srinagar, Gulmarg is an enchanting hill resort covered with pristine white snow through winter, making it a premier ski destination. Unwind and relax at The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa, which will leave you with an experience to hold as memories for years. Also, don’t miss taking the two-stage gondola up to a height of 12,300 feet for an outstanding view of Nanga Parbat, the world’s ninth-highest mountain.
Srinagar: A much sought-after destination, Srinagar charms its visitors with its mix of houseboats, wooden mosques and historic gardens. If you aren’t the adventurous type to stay on a houseboat in the middle of Dal Lake, hire a shikara and spend a major part of your day admiring the reflections of the misty peaks of the Pir Panjal against the mirror-flat sheet of water. Later, head over to Shalimar Bagh, the famous garden built by Mughal ruler Jehangir for his wife Nur Jahan.
Fly to: Bagdogra, West Bengal
Gangtok: Capital of the Himalayan state of Sikkim, Gangtok manages to maintain the quaint charm that hill stations are known for. It doubles as a good base for excursions to popular sights such as the Rumtek Monastery, the glacial lake Tsomgo, and Nathu La Pass at the Indo-Tibet border. Evening strolls along the pedestrian-only MG Marg will give you a glimpse of the daily routine of the locals. Hop into one of the many coffee shops like Baker’s Café, or shop for souvenirs that will add a touch of Sikkimese art to your home.
Darjeeling: Spread across a steep mountain range, the world knows Darjeeling for its tea. But it’s also one of the best places in India for a spectacular view of the Kanchenjunga, the world’s third-highest mountain. Explore colonial-era architecture, and Buddhist monasteries, or simple spend a couple of days at one of the many tea plantations. Top attraction includes trekking up to Tiger Hill at dawn to watch the first rays of sunlight break over a 250-kilometre stretch of the Himalayan horizon.
Fly to: Kochi, Kerala
Kumarakom: On the shores of Kerala’s largest lake, Vembanad, this sleepy backwater village is dotted with high-end resorts that specialise in spa therapies, yoga and coastal cuisine. Pick the Vivanta by Taj, built around a 150-year-old bungalow, or the Kumarakom Lake Resort, where Prince Charles brought in his 65th birthday in 2013. Birders can hope for great sightings at the bird sanctuary, while those looking to relax can go fishing, stretch out on deck chairs, or spend an hour meditating.
Munnar: South India’s largest tea-growing region, Munnar is carpeted with green plantations. The low mountain scenery transcends you to a height that’s just perfect to get the feeling of being engulfed within clouds. Head to the tea museum to get a hands-on experience of a working tea factory. Take long walks through the woods, and if you’re the adventure seeker, trek to Anaimudi—South India’s highest peak.
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