Although there are several definitions about the states that make up the northernmost area of ​​the Indian giant, we bet on these better places to see in North India, a land full of mysticism, introspection and natural beauty.

 

Since India achieved its independence in 1947, there have been various debates about which states to consider as part of North India and which not . While Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Uttara-Khand are considered as the territories that form the north of the Indian subcontinent, other studies include Rajasthan , Haryana, Uttar Pradesh or Madhya Pradesh , of which we prefer to reserve some for the wonderful Golden triangle . 

Get carried away by lakes where boatmen paddle loaded with flowers, monasteries frozen in time and space or retirement cities where you succumb to the roots of yoga through these following places to see in North India:

1) Jammu and Kashmir

River and mountains in the Nubra Valley in North India

Nubra Valley © Pixabay

Once known as “paradise on Earth,” Jammu and Kashmir is a state embraced by the Himalayas and India that in turn borders China and Pakistan . A nomadic and mystical land that despite its secrecy hides great natural and cultural wonders woven between the region of Ladakh, the Kashmir valley and Jammu , the winter capital of this state. A superlative north in which majestic cities, valleys where your echo will be the only sound or mottled lakes of colorful boats coexist. These are the best places to see in Jammu and Kashmir .

Pangong Lake

10 reasons to visit Jammu and Kashmir - -Lago-Pangong-Tso

Pangong Tso © Sidharth Kochar

Also known as Pangong Tso, this place evokes, like few others in India, the perfect definition of heaven on Earth. Located at 4,250 meters above sea level, the highest lake in the world is located between India and Chinese Tibet giving away a set of supernatural blue waters surrounded by mountains that continue to whisper legends from another time. A must that, on the other hand, can only be accessed in groups of at least four people .

Srinagar

10 reasons to visit Jammu and Kashmir - Boat houses in Srinagar (c) Basharat Shah

Srinagar boat house. © Basharat Shah

The summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir is a city located in the Kashmir Valley, which has become, over time, the favorite resting place of Indians and Britons. A monumental jewel furrowed by the Jhelum River and overlooked its great attraction: Dal Lake ! A lake famous for its bustle, activity or the presence of shikara , wooden boat houses decorated in various colors  that evoke the charm of that colorful India where they meet from floating markets to crossings under skies of a thousand stars.

Leh

Royal Palace and mountains of Leh

Leh panorama. © Cultural India

The ancient capital of the kingdom of Ladakh survives in time despite episodes such as the 1959 Tibetan repression that forced the Dalai to travel further south. A strategic place in the old textile routes that connected different points through the Indus Valley and that today resurfaces in the form of places such as its lavish Royal Palace or the Shanti Stupa , a white monument on the top of Chanspa hill and that It brings together some Buddha relics blessed by the fourteenth Dalai Lama. If we also add its magnificent views of the valley, the experience of having touched the sky is more than innate.

Nubra Valley

Maitreya Buddha statue in the Nubra Valley

Maitreya Buddha statue in the Nubra Valley. © Wikipedia Commons

At 150 kilometers north of Leh lies a magical land of distant villages, magical stupas and frozen valleys where some of the great contrast of North India are intertwined. From the exquisite locations of Sumur or Diskit , with its active gompa, to the Hundar camels through the great icon of this dream valley: the statue of Maitreya Buddha located in front of the Shyok River that represents peace with the Pakistan border. A place that will delight photography lovers .

2) Himachal Pradesh

Things to do in Dharamsala

© Martin Posta

Located in the Western Himalayas , the state of Himachal Pradesh is a rural area woven by different valleys where tourist villages coexist to places of Hindu pilgrimage such as temples and lakes. The ideal place to touch the sky and feel the presence of eternal gods who saw in the Himalayas the birth of different blessings.

Don’t miss these places to see in Himachal Pradesh :

Spiti Valley

Key Monastery in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh

Key Monastery in the Spiti Valley. © Budget Wayfarers

Spiti (or Middle Land) refers to a valley that separates Tibet from India and where vast moorlands of icy desert and epic rivers extend. Famous for the presence of monasteries such as Tabo , one of the oldest in the world, or the Key , one of the most photographed, the Spiti Valley is a mysterious land full of colored flags, schools of lamas or peanut stones , or the art of painting mantras on the mountain. A dream area whose harsh winters force to block the main path from November to June , and can also be accessed from Shimla to the town of Kaza.

Manali

The town of Manali next to snowy mountains

Manali at the foot of the Himalayas. © Tripsavvy

Conceived as the best threshold before entering Spiti, Manali is a town famous for its set of natural settings, hippie villages and Buddhist monasteries . A microcosm open to the Himalayas and the famous Soland Valley , where you can rest peacefully surrounded by a hypnotic nature in which it is also considered as ” Honeymoon Capital ” of India .

Dharamsala

Housing and mountains in Sharamsala

Homes in Dharamsala. © Pixabay

The capital where the famous Dalai Lama resides is considered the spiritual heart of North India and one of the most recommended places to visit. Divided into two levels of altitude (the highest responds to the name of Mcleodganj and the lowest to Lower Dharamsala ), this city is not only the best place to taste the famous Kangra tea , but also enter its Tibetan temples or attend A cricket match in its huge stadium.

3) Punjab

Chandigarh in the state of Punjab

Le Corbusier, in Chandigarh. © Wikipedia Commons

Fruit of a melting pot that encompasses from Indo-Aryans to Mughals through Greek or Persian invasions, the state of Punjab continues to be a varied and religious state defined by the innovation of its cities or the solemnity of temples that are part of any Must visit to India. Let yourself be seduced by this land of contrast and discover what to see in Punjab :

Chandigarh

Le Corbusier, avant-garde architecture in Chandigarh

The Le Corbusier complex, in Chandigarh. © Wikipedia Commons

Although it serves as capital to two states, Haryana and Punjab , Chandigarh deserves special mention on this tour thanks to its many charms and its status as an “intelligent city.” In fact, Chandigarh was the first Indian city that had an urban layout as such. Do not miss the opportunity to relax by the Sukhna Lake, visit the Rock Garden or admire the architecture of its Capitol , also known as Le Corbusier Center and defined as an avant-garde landmark.

Amritsar

Golden Temple of Amritsar at sunset

Golden Temple of Amritsar. © Pixabay

Amritsar is a city famous for many things, but especially for the presence of a Golden Temple of Amritsar (or Darbar Sahib)  that not only represents the greatest symbol of the Sikh religion , but of all of India along with the Taj Mahal. A religious epicenter open to all the beliefs of the world and to a lake (or sarovar) dating from the end of the same 16th century. A unique pilgrimage destination turned into a delight for human faith and, especially at sunset, acquires a supernatural charm.

4) Uttara-Khand

Indian man bathing in the Ganges river in Haridwar

Pilgrim in the Ganges passing through Haridwar. Ⓒ Claudio de la Cal

Known as “Land of the Gods” in reference to the many Hindu temples and pilgrimage centers , Uttara-Khand can claim to be one of the most varied states in all of India . From its religious potential (this is where the Ganges begins its journey) to its natural parks or ski resorts carved in the Himalayas, Uttara-Khan is a challenge for a traveler who will be conquered by the following places:

Haridwar

Kumbh Mela in Haridwar - Third Holy Bath in Hari Ki Pauri

Pilgrims arriving at the Ganges in Haridwar. © Philipp Eyer

One of the four cities where the Amrita fell (or elixir of immortality) along with Ujjain, Nashik and Allahabad , all of them headquarters of the famous Kumbh Mela , is the first to host the passage of a river Ganges released by Lord Shiva from the hair of the goddess Ganga. With such legends, it is not surprising that there are thousands of people who approach Har Ki Pauri , a ghat that pilgrims peek out, along with temples such as Mansa Devi, Maya Devi or Chandi Devi , many of them erected in the hills that allow unbeatable views of this city worthy of the most fascinating Hindu epic.

Valley of the Flowers

Indian Himalayas, Valley of Flowers

Panorama of the Valley of the Flowers. © Araghu

Designated National Park, the Valley of Flowers evokes that spring of flowers and colors blessed by a background of snow and mountains formed by the Himalayas. A paradise at more than 3300 meters of altitude where nature makes its way through species such as the Asian black bear, the snow leopard or the curious blue sheep . Animals that live between mottled plains of flowers, especially in a few months of August and September in which the passage of the monsoon leaves as immense tapestries caressed by butterflies.

Jim Corbett National Park

Bandhavgarh - Bengal Tiger

Bengal tiger in Jim Corbett National Park. © Wikipedia Commons

Among the hills that cross the Himalayas is one of the most beautiful national parks in all of India and one of the best places to go on safari . Baptized in honor of British naturalist Jim Corbett, this national park encompasses up to 580 species of birds, 50 of trees and another 50 of animals around the Ramaganga River , the main artery of this scenario divided into different ecosystems that range from the plains to the jungle busier In addition, the Corbett stands out for being the first agency to bet on the repopulation of the Bengal tiger , the great star of this wild land where not all areas are visited.

Rishikesh

Yoga practitioner by the Ganges River in Rishikesh

Man practicing yoga in Rishikesh. © Pixabay

In February 1968, the Beatles traveled to a certain city in northern India to succumb to mystical disciplines that would eventually be exported to the rest of the world. It was from that moment that Rishikesh jumped into the traveling landscape as a mecca of yoga , especially when it comes to a city where there are hundreds of therapy centers seasoned with restrictions on alcohol, drugs and non-vegetarian foods that redefine this empire of well-being . A city full of charm where its great temples and stupas are intertwined with plots of loneliness overlooking a Ganges river full of magic and mysticism. Without a doubt, one of the best places to practice yoga in India .