In the lap of mighty Himalayas, the purest form of nature, bone-wrecking adventures, spirituality and sheer peace prevail. Major river-streams of India like Brahmaputra, Indus and Satluj originate here and further descend to the plains. The Himalayan Range is known to have gigantic hills and even the highest peak of the world, Mount Everest, too is located here. In Indian Himalayan Region, the third highest peak of the world, Kanchenjunga, is located. Indian states like Jammu & Kashmir, Uttaranchal, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim fall under the Indian Himalayan Region.
Some of India’s major pilgrimage destinations such as Vaishno Devi and Amarnath Cave are located in the Himalayas. Adventurers too prioritize Himalayas as this region is perfect for different levels of trekking, skiing, paragliding, river-rafting and camping, among several activities. Also, this is where different tribes of India have found their home. Popular tourist destinations of India like Shimla, Leh, Srinagar, Gangtok and Dehradun are settled in the Himalayas.
As the Indian Himalayan Region lies in close proximity with Tibet, you can find monks in red attires making their way to the hill-top. Ladakh, Dharamshala and Gangtok are few such places where the cultural influence of Tibetans in massive. Beautiful Tibetan monasteries add a glint of beauty to the mountainscape.
Himalayan culture is vast and cannot be explained easily. However, Indian people living in the Himalayas are often called ‘Pahari’. This name emerged from the word ‘pahad’ which means hills and thus pahari means a person who lives on hills.
Usually the Pahari people master the art of wooden carving, which is seen in Srinagar’s wooden mosques or in the local markets of Shimla and other cities and towns. But that is not all; different regions of Indian Himalayan Range have their own specialty.
Like other people of India, Paharis too love to sing, dance and celebrate. Best way to know about their culture is visiting them during their festivals and fairs. Popular festivals of Indian Himalayan Region are Hemis Festival, Dasai, Hariyali, Mopin and Urs, along with others.
Steep hills of Himalayas pull adventure travelers from around the globe. Beginner or experienced adventurers can find mélange of options to indulge in which are not confined to trekking and camping. With the arrival of winter season many regions get carpeted with snow, making them perfect skiing destinations of India like Auli, Gulmarg and Kufri.
There are various rivers flowing through Himalayas, ideal for river rafting. Rishikesh has emerged as a hotspot adventure destination of India; you can try your hands not only in river rafting, but also in bungee jumping and cliff jumping.
Often while meditating, we think of a hilly terrain covered in mist, with beautiful birds chirping about and Himalayas not what you imagine, but a little too better than that.
The practice of Yoga and meditation in Himalayas is performed since the inception of the concept and still is in full swing, especially in Rishikesh. There are many ashrams you can visit in Rishikesh to sharpen your knowledge about Yoga and meditation. Some of the best ashrams in Rishikesh are Parmarth Niketan, Omkarananda Ganga Sadan, Sivananda Ashram, Shree Mahesh Heritage Meditation, Swami Dayananda Ashram and Yoga Niketan.
Another way to get rejuvenated is by getting soul-pampering massages. Heritage and luxury hotels have attained mastery in the art of spa massages and therapies. Just step inside a luxury spa resort and experience how the stress knots get untangled. Ananda in the Himalayas, Wildflower Hall Spa, Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa, Mayfair Spa Resort and Casino, The Chumbi Mountain Retreat & Spa and The Himalayan Spa Resort.
Some of India’s most revered religious shrines are located here in the Himalayas. The Mount Kailash that looks like a shivalinga, is believed to be adobe of Lord Shiva. As mentioned above, the Himalayan region is in huge-influence of Tibetan culture and thus you can spot some beautiful monasteries here. Vaishno Devi Temple is a Hindu temple of immense significance and it too is located in Himalayas, in Jammu and Kashmir State of India. This shrine alone is visited more than 10 million pilgrims per year. Two temples of Char Dham Circuit, Gangotri and Yamunotri, are nestled in the mighty Himalayas.
Other popular religious places in Himalayas are Sri Hemkunt Sahib, Amarnath, Jwalamukhi Temple and Mansa Devi Temple.
Himalayas is not merely blessed with nature’s beauty but heritage and architecture as well that acts as major tourist magnet. In some cities like Shimla and Darjeeling, British left their mark; while Dharamshala and Sikkim are adorned by Tibetan Monasteries.
Major attractions of Indian Himalayas are The Ridge, Dal Lake, Mughal Gardens, M.G Road (Sikkim), Valley of Flowers National Park and Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.
Himalayas are profusely sprinkled with greenery and heavy woods. This is easy to conclude that this region is home to tremendously huge wildlife. In this region you can spot animals such as Snow Leopard, Himalayan Wild Yak, Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Blue Sheep, Himalayan Wolf, Musk Deer, Red Panda, Himalayan Tahr and Himalayan Palm Civet; just to name a few.
Popular national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in Indian Himalayan region are- The Great Himalayan National Park, Namdapha National Park, Pin Valley National Park, Khangchendzonga National Park and Hemis National Park.