India: East to West
LPI Travels is ready to take you on a beautiful journey of exploring your own country-India. The virgin beauty of Andamans, the gleeful Goa, the Spicy southern trail, the waterways of Kerela, the Havelis of the Nawalgarh, the temples of Gujarat, the snows of Himachal and Kashmir.
The sanctity of Buddhist monasteries of Leh, the jungle and Temple trails of Madhya Pradesh, the spiritualism of Ganga, the mysteries of Jagannath Temple Odisha, the tea gardens of Darjeeling, and the Romance of THE TAJ – you name it, and we have a tour itinerary for it.
A person with wonder in your eyes let me take you on a word picturesque trip to our country, beautiful India. Usually, people start with Kashmir and move towards Kanya Kumari. Let us be a little different and start from the seven sister states:
North East India is the easternmost region of India consisting of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, and Sikkim.
Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim has high peaks and a good climate year-round. Moreover, it is at the centre of Sikkim’s tourism industry. Gangtok is a prominent Buddhist pilgrimage site.
Meghalaya stands for ‘The Abode of the Clouds’ hence it is one of the most beautiful states in North-East India. It offers a variety of sights, activities, food, and festivals to tourists.
Means the land of the Dawn-Lit Mountains. The jungle cover of the state is a paradise for botanists and so the diverse flora and fauna attract a lot of budding scientists. Additionally, all varieties of Orchids are found there.
Ranks are second to Kerala in the production of natural rubber in the country. Handicrafts, particularly hand-woven fabrics and wood carvings are famous products.
Nagaland is the land of festivals. Numerous tribes reside here and each tribe practices its own rituals and traditions. Consequently, Nagaland has one major festival lined up for all months of the year.
Wildlife, archeological sites, and tea plantations are the main attractions in Assam. Guwahati is Assam’s largest city and is famous for its silks and the hilltop Kamakhya Temple.
The first prime minister of India, Pt. Nehru had said Manipur was the Jewel of India. A nature’s gift to India, Manipur is also a melting pot of culture. It is the birthplace of polo, the sport, and the birthplace of Ras Lila, a classical dance form.
Starting from Lushai hills to Mizo hills to union territory status in 1972, onwards to a full-fledged state in 1987, it has a long history. Mizoram came into existence after Laldenga signed an accord with the Rajiv Gandhi government. Moreover, it has evergreen hills and dense bamboo jungles, an array of festivals, dances, handicrafts, flora and fauna, natural scenic beauty, and a pleasant climate.
Moving Forward, let us go to the Darjeeling and Kalimpong areas of West Bengal.
Darjeeling is a British-era hill station in the state of West Bengal. Tea plantations and the steam engine is a heritage of those times.
Most famous for its tea, Darjeeling tea get three-four flushes in a year between March and November. We get a different variety of tea in every flush: Oolong, black, green, and white. Thus Darjeeling tea is also the ‘Champagne of teas.’
When at Darjeeling, be ready for a ‘really’ early morning tour to Tiger Hills at around 04:00 AM to view sunrise over Kanchenjunga Peak. After breakfast, a joy ride on a narrow-gauge heritage train is an experience. This joy ride takes you to another attraction- Ghoom Monastery. Ghoom is a Tibetan monastery with 15 feet statue of Maitreya Buddha.
After lunch, a half-day sightseeing of Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park & Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Tenzing & Gombu Rock, & panoramic view of Tea Estate can be enjoyed. Hence we can say that the list of Darjeeling tourist attractions never ends.
Kalimpong is a beautiful place of great attraction. The places to visit are the Arts and Craft Center for handicraft goods; Tharpa Choling Monastery, etc. Kalimpong is a famous hill station in West Bengal. The town used to be the gateway for trade between Britain and India during the British era. It is also famous owing to the several avenues for adventure in the region. It is a tiny hill station nestled in the northern region of Darjeeling in the state of West Bengal.
So from here, we go westwards towards Uttarakhand, both known for spiritual and religious tourism. Earlier known as Uttaranchal is a northern Indian state and has the origin of some of the most sacred rivers of India like the Ganga and Yamuna.
The lifeline of India is its holy rivers, Ganga, Yamuna, and many more. These rivers are a source of adventure. The youth enjoy rafting, trekking along with the mountains and kayaking, etc. Badrinath, Kedarnath, and Joshimath are important religious sites for the devotees of Lord Shiva. Meanwhile, Durga in her Chandi Avtaar and Sitla avtaar (to cure smallpox) also have many temples. The pilgrimage sites, mainly to Lord Shiva and Parvati make it into a Devbhumi.
Uttarakhand’s capital is Dehradun. It is usually the starting point of most of journeys.
Rishikesh is a major center for Yoga study and practice. The Beatles visited Rishikesh in 1968. The city hosts the evening Ganga Aarti, a spiritual gathering on the sacred Ganges River. Rishikesh is best for peace seekers. If you want to see nature, and wildlife and click the scenes then places in Jim Corbett National Park, Almora city, Kausani and Mount Abu are ideal.
Joshimath is a sacred place in the state of Uttarakhand. Besides, it is the winter seat of Lord Badri. Joshimath is highly revered as Adi Shankaracharya established one of the four ‘Maths’ here in the 8th century. When you take the ropeway from Joshimath to Auli you will feel, it is like a ride above the heaven of clouds. It is the longest ropeway in Asia. We suggest that you go for the Rishikesh-Auli-Joshimath-Haridwar holiday in winter, as Auli is a ski resort. You will enjoy visiting as it has such a clean environment and beautiful apple orchards.
Nainital is a popular hill station in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. It is the judicial capital of Uttarakhand, the High Court of the state being located there, and is the headquarters of the Kumaon division as well as an eponymous district. It also houses the Governor of Uttarakhand, who resides in the Raj Bhavan. Nainital 2N3D is the perfect getaway. It is a popular Family package.
In Bhimtal, Pangot, Bhowali, and Khurpatal, your room might offer views of lush valleys, pine-covered mountains, or rugged peaks. There are seven lakes in and around, these are Bhimtal, Sattal, Naukuchiatal, Khurpatal, Malwatal, Harishtal, and Lokhamtal. Bhimtal is the biggest one, Nainital is the most visited and Sattal is the most beautiful and least visited.
Uttar Pradesh or UP is the largest and most populous state of India and is famous and known for its unique culture. It has a variety of dances, festivals, gatherings, music, drama, cinema, etc. Kathak is a classical dance that originated in the state. It is home to the greatest symbol of love, the Taj Mahal, and is rich in culture and heritage. Devotees throng the holy cities for festivals like Kumbh Mela and the famous Ganga.
Varanasi, not only is the city of Bholenath, it is also the place where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon, after enlightenment, in Sarnath. In the footsteps of Varanasi ghats, we can still feel the presence of Kabir and Tulsi, one espousing the ‘Nirakar’ and the other writing Ramcharitmanas for his ‘RAM’. Indeed, Uttar Pradesh never ceases to impress.
The erstwhile Magadha with its capital in Patliputra is what is Bihar with its capital in Patna. The name Bihar is a derivative from Vihara, which means ‘monastery’. True to its name and its rich cultural heritage, the state houses various monasteries and it is famous for monuments belonging to various religions. It has the pride of being the birthplace of 2 religions, namely: Buddhism and Jainism.
Important places of tourist interest are Rajgir, Nalanda, Vaishali, Pawapuri (where Lord Mahavira breathed his last and attained Nirvana), Bodh Gaya, Vikramshila (ruins of Buddhist University of higher learning), Gaya, Patna (ancient city of Patliputra), Sasaram (tomb of Shershah Suri) and so much more. Known for its prosperous ancient history, flavorsome food, and religious aura, Bihar is an amazing tourist destination.
Jharkhand is an unexplored destination, as it is a newly made state with a very short history of around 20 years only. There are a number of waterfalls which are very famous like Lodh falls. The Betla National Park and the Jagannath Temple in Ranchi city will mesmerize you with their natural beauty.
Jharkhand is famous for its rich mineral resources like Uranium, Mica, Bauxite, Granite, Gold, Silver, Graphite, Magnetite, Dolomite, Fireclay, Quartz, Feldspar, Coal (32% of India), Iron, Copper (25%of India), etc. Forests and woodlands occupy more than 29% of the state which is amongst the highest in India.
Moving further west:
Westwards, we have Rajasthan. In the place of Kings, it is said that there was a kingdom / local fiefdom every 20 km. You can see a small fortress if you drive down the highway every 20-25 km, Rajasthan is next to Maharashtra in Fort count, it has 45 forts. Although later day Silk route experts say that since the caravan used to pass via this route, and they needed to rest at well-secured places so these fortress-like INNs were constructed, for their safety and rest. Rajasthan with its ‘Padharo Mhare Desh’ slogan is the ultimate colorful and culturally rich destination. You can see Katputli plays / hear singers and be a part of Ghoomer dance at the drop of a hat there.
The Thar desert / Ajmer Shareef Dargah / Nawalgarh Havelis / Jaisalmer sand dunes / Bikaner Namkeens and sweets / Jodhpur Cenotaphs / Udaipur palace and lakes and the capital city Jaipur, there is so much to see and savor in Rajasthan. It is royalty everywhere. The trip to Rajasthan should preferably be planned in the winter months as the desert gives it a very unfriendly high temperature.
The land of five rivers, although not after partition, as 2 rivers do not flow in Indian Punjab, but the state has fed the Indian subcontinent after the Green revolution of the 1960s and always taken care of the borders, as all attacks on India have happened from the northwest. Even today in our army, we have a Sikh regiment. Sikhs make up 2 percent of India’s population but account for 15 percent of the Indian army.
The Golden Temple and Wagah Border is the main attraction of Amritsar, while Chandigarh the first planned city of independent India has many eco-friendly and modern structures, which attract architects from across the world.
And ending the long journey from East to West we have Gujarat. Gujarat is the state where the father of Nation-Bapu, as we call him was born. So, the main route of the travelers is the Gandhi trail, beginning from Sabarmati Ashram, following his path to Dandi, and ending at Porbandar, it is a historical journey into the essence of our national struggle for independence.
Of course, there is Ahmedabad city and its Fort, Jhulti Minar, Adlaj Vav, etc. for history conscious. The Dwarkadhish temple, the Somnath temple, and the Junagarh Buddha caves are for the religious-minded.
Gujarat is famous for its traditional clothing, food, and natural landscape. Asiatic lions, Rann of Kutch (White Desert), colorful handicrafts, festivals,s, and culture are some of the things that make Gujarat famous.
The vivid and mesmerizing journey above has only been from East to West. Going further on this journey will be enriching and motivating at the same time.