Dalhousie

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Dalhousie is a hill station in Chamba district, in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, India. It is situated on 5 hills and has an elevation of 1,970 metres above sea level. One of the most pristine hill stations in Himachal Pradesh and India, Dalhousie is named after Lord Dalhousie the British governor-General who established the town as a popular summer retreat. Dalhousie is a hill station with amazing scenic views and prominent traces of India’s British association such as colonial mansions.

Dalhousie, one of the favourite among most tourists travelling to Himanchal Pradesh is famously known for its mesmerizing natural beauty and its old world charm. This hill station was one of the most favourite summer destinations. Dalhousie is spread over an area of 14 sq km of area and  it is built on and around five hills, Kathalagh, Potreyn, Terah, Bakrota and Bhangora. The fragrant pines, oaks, rhododendron and oaks along with several other types of tress cover the slops of the mountains. This scenic hill station if framed by the river Ravi flowing at the base of the town.

320px-Himachal_Pradesh_hills This quaint town transports you to a pollution-free environment in the lap of nature. it is  a relatively steady getaway for honeymooners and families from the plains.  Dalhousie is known for its scenic beauty has a number mountains and river streams that tourists must visit. Among them the most famous are Panch Pulla, Satdhara Falls and the Daikund peak. This hill station is a treasure trove of ancient temples, art, handicraft and Hindu culture, preserved since the sixth century. Bharmour, the capital of the ancient Chamba Hill state, has 84 temples that were built during the period between 7 th and 10 th century AD. It is also home to the Gujjar and Gaddi tribes.

Tourist Attraction at Dalhousie : 

Panch Pulla :

Panchpula Situated at a distance of about 3 km from Dalhousie, Panch Pula is one of the most scenic places in the region. Panch Pulla Literally meaning ‘Five Bridges’ . Panch Pulla, is a local favorite with waterfalls, picnic spots as well as a modest trek.Another remarkable attraction here is the monument or samadhi of the great freedom fighter, Sardar Ajith Singh. The monument is constructed at a place where several streams converge. Monsoon is the best time to visit this place. The place is popular as a trekking destination and it also serves as a base camp for several treks to the close by places. On the way to Panch Pula, there is very popular natural spring called the Satdhara spring. It is said that the water of the Satdhara spring has healing properties and it cures skin ailments.

A panoramic view of the surrounding hills along with the view of the streams filled with pristine water makes the experience of travelling here memorable. The Samadhi of the great freedom fighter, Sardar Ajith Singh is also situated nearby. Trekking in this region is highly recommended.

Khajjiar :

Khajjiar_during_august Khajjiar is located approximately 24 km from Dalhousie. Khajjiar sits on a small plateau with a small stream-fed lake in the middle that has been covered over with weeds, is also known as the ‘Mini Switzerland’ or the ‘Switzerland of India’. The town is surrounded by thick covers of deodar and pine trees and the Kajjiar Lake is one of the most amazing and serene picnic spots with the back drop of the snow capped Himalayas. Khajjinag Temple built in the 12th century is also a famous attraction here. 

The mesmerizing beauty of this place has greatly influenced and inspired many kingdoms throughout the years, including the Rajputs and Mughals. Located at an altitude of 6,500 feet, the natural beauty and picturesque landscape of this place are bound to leave an everlasting impression on a tourist. Khajjiar is known for its nine-hole golf-course which is nestled in the midst of lush greenery and a breathtaking landscape. Khajjiar is a plateau with a small lake which tends to be a favorite amongst tourists. 

Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary :

4014623628_5a40b85819_b The Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Leopard, bear, deer, langur, jackal, Himalayan Black Marten, Barking Goral and countless beautiful birds can be spotted here, an animal sanctuary spread over an area of 30.69 km² at Kalatop. which is about 6 km from Dalhousie. The sanctuary lies in the path of the Ravi River, and is surrounded by coniferous and oak forests. The wildlife sanctuary was better known as a gaming reserve for Chamba rulers, in history. The area is a favorite spot for trekking, picnics, and nature walks.

Dainkund Peak : 

320px-Himachal_Pradesh_hills Dainkund Peak is a wonderful tourist place located at an altitude of 2.7 km near Dalhousie The mountain’s highest point towers at a monolithic height of 2,745 meters above sea level. The Dainkund Peak is often termed as the singing hill. The top of the hill is occupied by the Indian Air force and is inaccessible without proper permits. From this peak you can have a 360° view of the entire valley. The noise of the breeze that passes through the trees makes a musical sound, thus this peak is also known as the singing hill. The mountain is one of the most amazing trekking spots and provides a brilliant panoramic view of the entire valley.

Chamera Lake :  

Pir_Panjal_&_Chamera_Lake Built over the river Ravi, Chamera Lake is an artificial lake and a part of the Chamera Hydroelectric Project. Among the important places to visit near Dalhousie, Chamera Lake is located at about 25-35 km from the Dalhousie.  The lake and dam are a major source of water supply for the surrounding villages. Apart from its scenic beauty, which includes the dense pine forests of Bhandal Valley surrounding the dam, the lake is also famous for water sports like river rafting, motor boating, canoeing, & kayaking. The nearby Bhalei Temple which is equally famous.

St. John’s Church :  

St._JOHN'S_CHURCH_CHURCH_OF_NORTH_INDIA_ESTD._1863 St.John’s Church is Dalhousie’s oldest church and is of great historical importance. It was established during the British rule in India by the Protestant missionaries. Located in the beautiful natural backdrop, St.John’s Church is known to be one of the most visited churches of the town. This church has a mass every Sunday and is open for visitors five days a week. It also tends to be a favorite amongst photographers. A library neighbors the church, where one can find a lot of book about the past and the present of the town

Satdhara Falls : 

Hopetoun_falls Satdhara Falls are one of the most popular sightseeing attractions of Dalhousie. Satdhara is an amazing place to be in as it has a good collection of scenic beauty. It provides the visitors with a serene atmosphere and pleasant weather, the Satdhara Falls is a great example of nature’s artwork. the place has derived its name from the seven beautiful springs, which are believed to have several therapeutic values. Located on the Punchpula route, Satdhara Falls is a lovely tourist spot to visit with friends and family. It is one of the most popular and unique tourist attraction of Dalhousie.

Subhash Baoli : 

Subhash Baoli is situated at a distance of 1 Km from Dalhousie. Named after the famous freedom fighter Subhash Chandra Bose, this is a perennial spring which has medicinal properties and believed to have cured the freedom fighter of his ill health. He spent a lot of time in this area in 1937. Subhash Baoli is a charismatic tourist spot located between tall towering pine trees making this place more beautiful. This tribute to the leader is an ideal spot for picnics and evening strolls. Situated near these springs is a beautiful waterfall which flows into a glacial stream.

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Betaab Valley & Aru Valley – Pahalgam

Betaab Valley :

Betaab_Valley,Kashmir Betaab valley is situated at a distance of 07 kilometers from Pahalgam in Anantnag district in India’s northernmost state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is located mostly in the Himalayan mountains, and shares borders with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south. Earlier known as Hagan Valley or Hagoon, Betaab Valley got its present name after the blockbuster Bollywood movie ‘Betaab’ was shot there in 1983. A combination of picturesque surroundings, the valley falls on the way to Amarnath Temple Yatra and is one of the three angelic valleys of Pahalgam; the other two being Aru and Chandanwadi. Betaab Valley is covered with lush woods of pine and deodar, and overlooks snow-laden peaks.

Betaab_Valley This is more developed as Nature Park with tall trees and river flowing in between the park. This place is well maintained with river flowing through the valley. Encircled by mountains featuring deodar and pine forests, Betaab Valley is a perfect gateway to enjoy the heavenly pleasure of Mother Nature. The valley is characterised by picture perfect views and is a kind of popular picnic spot for tourists to arrive. Resting between two major mountain ranges, Pir Panjal and Zanskar, Betaab Valley acts as a base for trekking to other major mountain ranges. While here, you can alsoexplore nearby tourist places like Tulian Lake and Baisaran.

How to Reach :

Betaab Valley is 7 km from pahalgam. Pahalgam is well connected from Srinagar (95 km) by road.  The nearest Airport is in Badgam District which is well connected with major cities of India. The nearest Rail Head is at Jammu (255 kms.) Hire taxis or buses from here.

Aru Valley :

Square Panorama of Aru Valley, Jammu and Kashmir, India Aru is a tourist spot in the Anantnag District of Jammu & Kashmir, India. It is located around 12 km from Pahalgam, Noted for its scenic meadows, lakes and mountains, it is a base camp for trekking to the Kolhoi Glacier andTarsar Lake. Here horse is available to climb up the valley. You can also climb up and see the beauty of green valley. It is popular among the tourists for its peaceful environment and scenic beauty. Like other villages of Kashmir this too is acclaimed for its glistening lakes, meadows and ice-capped that it looks upon.

Visit the land of adventure with no pre-conceived notions because this place is surely going to give you a lot of surprises. Explore the exotic flora and fauna that makes Aru Valley unique and famous as a hot spot for bio diversity best known to mankind. The village is a base camp for trekkers to the Kolahoi Glacier, the TarsarMarsar lakes and the Katrinag valley. There are about 20 alpine lakes, peaks and meadows around the Aru Valley. In the winters, when Aru receives heavy snowfall, skiingand heliskiing are practiced. Other popular tourist activities include fishing of trout in the Lidder river, trekking, hiking, horse riding, sightseeing and photography, Breathtaking beauty and interesting activities like trekking, hiking and horse riding make it one of the most popular tourist places to visit in Pahalgam.

Aru_Valley If you are in winter months or early summer then this total valley will be full with snow. In peak summer months you can get green valley only. However snow will be available in distance peaks. On the way to Aru valley you will be passing through various picnic spots and the zoo. While returning or going towards Aru valley you can visit the zoo.

Aru Valley has a cool and pleasant climate in summers and very cold climate in winters and the best season for tourism is from March to November

How to reach :

The closest airport is that at Srinagar which is situated at 95 kms from Pahalgam.  Aru Valley is 12 km away from Pahalgam. The Jammu Tavi railway station is situated closest to Pahalgam. Once you de board the train, there are plenty of buses and cars available to Pahalgam. Well connected to Srinagar and Jammu by roadways, Pahalgam can be very easily accessed why buses and taxis. There are also luxury vehicles available.

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Bir- Himachal Pradesh

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Himachal Pradesh is known for numerous reasons, including its beautiful landscapes, hill stations and beautiful temples. A great number of aesthetic locations are scattered all over the Himachal. However, chief of them all is Bir. Bir is a village located in the west of Joginder Nagar Valley in the state of Himachal Pradesh in northern India. Bir attracts adventure-seekers from throughout the country and the world. Bir is quite famous for the adventure sports it offers. 

Bir is a small mountain town in northern Himachal Pradesh with a large, well-established Tibetan community. Bir is Known as the ‘Paragliding capital of India’, numerous paragliding spots are present in this region. In the month of October, every year, the Department of Tourism, Civil Aviation, and Government of Himachal Pradesh hold a ‘Paragliding Pre World Cup’ event. Lying 28km from this stunning town of Bir, is another quaint town known as Billing. The entire stretch joining these two towns is abundant with idyllic natural beauties. Bir is also a place where people from all over the world come for meditation and spiritual studies. Bir is famous for its Tibetan colony and various Buddhist monasteries which are worth visiting. 

Bir Attraction

Paragliding : 

1280px-Pilot_under_paragliding_takeoff_at_Bir-Billing_(02) Bir attracts adventure-seekers from throughout the country and the world. Little do we know, Bir is recognized as the paragliding hub of India. Hence, some of the best time that you might spend here might be with your feet in the air. People are advised to visit Bir  between the months of March – May and October – November for paragliding as the climate is favorable during this time. There are a number of training programs that you can get in touch with for the said purpose. Proper training programs and certification courses are available for novices. Bir also hosts the Paragliding pre world cup during the month of October.

Paragliding experience head starts with drive from the Bir Village to the launch site that is located round 14km apart. Arrive anytime during daytime for an astonishing paragliding experience that provides you with stunning aerial view of the entire place! The landscape around the region is ideal for flying, fly high in the company of mighty Himalayas. Feel the thrills! Cherish these wonderful moments post paragliding in Bir experience comes to an end.

Tea Factory : 

Tea_factory_and_tea_plantation The town has miles and miles covered with tea plantations. Since so much of the land is covered with tea plantations, it is only expected that the town will have a factory to produce the tea. Bir tea factory is located near Bir Bazaar. As the name suggests, it manufacturers tea. With tea gardens and plantations brimming around the town, it is only natural to have a factory which also offer tours inside, What’s exciting is that tourists are actually allowed inside for an insight into the tea manufacturing process.

Deer Park Institute : 

deer_park_institute_3 If you are visiting Bir to learn something spiritually, the Deer Park Institute is just the place for you. The Deer Park Institute is a famous centre for the study of classical Indian wisdom traditions which was established by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, where you can enroll in programs on meditation, philosophy, art and culture, Yoga and healing arts, Buddhism and more. If you are here for a shorter period of time check out the occasional meditation retreats and workshops here.

Chokling Monastery : 

chokling_monastery_2 The Chokling Monastery is the most famous monastery in Bir and has a large stupa and a statue of Padmasambhava. This monastery is located in the Bir Tibetan colony. It is home to the biggest stupa of Bir. There are a number of courses that go on for the students of the monastery.

Dharmaya Institute : 

deer_park_institute_3 Dharmaya Institute is an eco-campus for volunteering (earthen building, organic gardening, language instruction), meditation, yoga. Dharmalaya is an Indian charitable society ‘devoted to education, service, and compassionate living, with a practical focus on sustainable village development, contemplative service-learning, and immersive ecotourism’. Dharmalaya hosts service-learning programs and meditation retreats, providing opportunities for long-term volunteers and students to do karma yoga (mindful service work) for various charitable projects to benefit the local community and the natural environment. There are a number of environmental activities that you can enroll yourself into such as organic farming, green building and meditation among others to make productive use of your time in Bir.

How reach :

There is no direct flight or rail connectivity to Bir. Ahju railway station is the nearest railway station, which is only 3 km. away from Bir, although the nearest broad gauge railway station is in Pathankot, which is 142.2 km. away from Bir. There aren’t many direct buses to Bir Billing from New Delhi. Airports close to Bir are in Chandigarh (290 km), Amritsar airport (260 km) and New Delhi (520 km).

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Lachung

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Lachung is a town and hill station in northeast SikkimIndia. It is located in the North Sikkim district near the border with Tibet. Lachung is one of the most exquisite villages in the valleys of North Sikkim.  Lachung has multiple reasons to make you fall in love with it! While its location at an enthralling height of 8,610ft and and approximately 125 km from Gangtok makes it a popular snow-destination in Sikkim, its untouched and surreal beauty makes it one of the scenic as well as charming tourist places in Sikkim. The beautiful snow-capped peaks of Lachung attract tourists from all over the world. Lachung is at an elevation of about 9,600 feet (2,900 m) and at the confluence of the lachen and Lachung Rivers, both tributaries of the River Teesta. The word Lachung means “small pass”.

If you are visiting Sikkim and don’t think that you will make it again in a long time to come, then do pursue a visit to Lachung. Because you may not again see such stunning views of snow mountains and rivers anywhere else. “Dr. Joseph Hooker in his ‘Himalayan Journal’ of 1855 mentioned that Lachung and Yumthang are the two most picturesque places in the whole of Sikkim and had even compared them to valleys of Switzerland.”

The Indian Army has a forward base in the town. Before the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1950, Lachung was a trading post between Sikkim and Tibet, after which it was closed down. The town’s economy has been boosted by tourism in recent years as the region has been opened up by the Indian government. 

Although most come and stay at Lachung to visit Yumthang valley and Zero Point the next day before returning to Gangtok, you should not miss out on the opportunities which Lachung itself offers. Start early in the morning from Gangtok so that you can reach Lachung by 12noon and have enough time to explore the near by area.

Tourist Attraction :

  • One of the nice places to visit here is the Lachung Monsatery (or gompa). It has wonderful wall murals and also several ancient statues.
  • Tourists use Lachung as the base to travel to Yumthang valley and its surrounding area such as Katao and Yumasamdong. 
  • You can spend some leisure hours sitting beside the Lachung-chu river, mesmerised by the beauty of the place.
  • The local monastery is also a nice place to spend an evening and learn about the local Buddhist culture.

As for the rest of North Sikkim, Lachung can be visited only by booking a package tour through a recognised travel agent. This is because you require special restricted area permit to travel here and the permit is given only to tourists travelling on a package tour. The package includes your travel, accommodation, food and sightseeing. 

Best time to visit :

Tourists come from all over the world to visit the town between October and May. One can get snow in Lachung till March/April and in May one can see wild flowers / RhododendronsThis is when the locals in their full traditional costumes eat, drink and perform many cultural shows. Beginning of December is also a great time as you can see the monks performing mask dance at Lachung monastery.

How to reach :

Nearest Airport is Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri , Bagdogra Airport is connected with rest of India by almost all domestic airlines. The airport is about 128 km away from Lachung. One can easily hire local cabs from Bagdogra to Lachung.

Lachung does not have own Railway station, Nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri. which is approx 127 Kms far from Lachung.  You can take Private taxis and Local Buses to Reach at Lanchung.

Lachung has a good road connectivity with nearby destinations. Direct buses are available from New Jalpaiguri and Gangtok, which can be availed to reach Lachung.

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Nanda Devi-Mountain

Nanda Devi is the second highest mountain in India, and the highest located entirely within the country. Nanda Devi rises in Uttarakhand, India, at the height of 25,643 feet. It is the 23rd-highest peak in the world. It was considered the highest mountain in the world before computations in 1808 proved Dhaulagiri to be higher. Nanda Devi is one of the highest peaks in the Indian Himalaya. The mountain has two summits, the main summit at 7816m and Nanda Devi East at 7434m. The mountain itself in surrounded by a number of peaks over 7000 Meters making it an extremely difficult mountain to access. It is a great white double pyramid overlooking the sacred Garhwal region.

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History :

Nanda Devi is considered as the deity and is worshiped among the locals of the region. According to the legends, Nanda Devi was the daughter of the local king. A marauding king wants to marry her. When Nanda devi father refused to do so, he declared war against them. Her father was killed and she somehow escaped. She found refuge on the mountain, now named after her. Till then she is protected by the ring of mountains containing 12 peaks. The Nanda Devi East is also referred to as the Sunanda Devi. Sunanda Devi and Nanda Devi have both been mentioned in the holy ancient Hindu scriptures ‘Bhagavata Purana’ and these twin Goddesses are worshiped all over the Kumaon Himalayas as well as throughout the state of Uttarakhand.

Tourist Atraction :

first_rays_on_nanda_devi Tourists can make a visit to the Nanda Devi National Park, famous for its rare species of animals. Dominated by the imposing peaks of the Nanda Devi, the national park is famed to be one of the most spectacular wildernesses in the Indian Himalayas. This sanctuary, which covers an area of 630 sq km, is divided into two parts- the outer and the inner walls. The Nanda Devi National Park is home to many wild and endangered animals like the Himalayan black bear, snow leopard, lingus, brown bears among others. This sanctuary is also a home to 312 different variety of floral species. The main vegetation in this region consists of pine, fir, rhododendron, and junipers.

Nanda.Devi.original.9143 The park has been notified as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Fir, birch, rhododendron and juniper contribute to the rich floral system of the park. Tourists can indulge in nature walk or can for the wildlife safari along with the forest officer. The main attractions of the park include Brown Bear, Bharal, Common Langur, Goral,Himalayan Tahr, Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Musk, Indian Leopard, Serow and snow leopard. Apart from this the avifaunas of the park include Grosbeaks, Rose Finches, Ruby Throat, and Warblers.

The Nanda Devi natural park remains open from 1st of May until 31st of October every year.

Every year Nanda Devi mela is held at the Nanda Devi temple in the month of September. On this particular day people of this region pay homage to the Goddess Nanda Devi. This mela was started during the region of Raja Kalyan Chand in the 16th century.

Located in the Rishi Ganga River catchment, Nanda Devi north and Nanda Devi south are the two glaciers, which are approximately 19 km in length. The Nanda Devi glaciers originating from the southern slope of the Nanda Devi peak are the treat to the tourists eye. Several streams originate from these glaciers and forms the river Rishi Ganga.

How to reach :

Nearest Airport is New Delhi. From From New Delhi to Rishikesh Can be reached by both bus and car, From the town of Rishikesh one can take a bus to the small town in the Himalayas known as Joshimath and then take another 25 km bus or car ride to the village of Lata, which is more popularly known as the unofficial base camp for the Nanda Devi mountain climbing trail.

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Kaziranga National Park

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Kaziranga National Park is one of the prides of India. Kaziranga National Park is the name to exemplify the most popular conservation efforts to save the endangered species like one-horned rhinoceros in India. The park’s population of 1800-odd rhinos represents more than two-thirds of the world’s total.  Kaziranga National Park is spread over 858 sq.kms and is located in the floodplains on both sides of the Brahmaputra river. Patches of mixed deciduous forests are interspersed with vast stretches of savannah grasslands, wetlands and chars of river islands formed by the shifting course of the Brahmaputra.  Kaziranga National Park is Located in the Golaghat and Nagaon districts of the state of Assam, India.

In the heart of Assam, this park is one of the last areas in eastern India undisturbed by a human presence. It is inhabited by the world’s largest population of one-horned rhinoceroses, as well as many mammals, including tigers, elephants, panthers and bears, and thousands of birds.  The Endangered Ganges dolphin is also found in some of the closed oxbow lakes.Forests is marked by the 41% of the tall grasses, 29% open jungle, 11% short grasses and rest is covered with the rivers and the water bodies.

Indian one-horned rhinoceros and also declared as a tiger reserve in 2006, holding the highest density of tigers in the world.

The park is divided into five ranges:

1. Central 2. Western 3. Eastern 4. Western-most Burha Pahar 5. Northern

The first four lie on the southern side of the river while the last is on the northern bank

Kaziranga is a vast expanse of tall elephant grassmarshland, and dense tropical moist broadleaf forests, criss-crossed by four major rivers, including the Brahmaputra, and the park includes numerous small bodies of water. Kaziranga has been the theme of several books, songs, and documentaries.

The terrain in the park comprises mainly of sandbanks, riverine lakes, Semi-evergreen forests, moist broad-leaf forests and grasslands. The park is spread in a massive area which makes it one of the largest protected forests in the Sub-Himalayan belt.

Climate & Rainfall :

The climate of Kaziranga Park is tropical,   The park experiences three seasons: summer.  monsoon, and winter. The winter season, between November and February, is mild and dry, with temperatures reaching a low 5 °C. During this season, beels and nallahs Dry up.  The summer season between March and May is hot, with a maximum temperature approx 37°C . During this season, animals usually are found near water bodies. The rainy monsoon season lasts from June to September, and  the average annual rainfall is 2,220 mm. During the peak months of July and August, three-fourths of the western region of the park is submerged, due to the rising water level of the Brahmaputra.

A Day in Kaziranga National Park Kaziranga National Park is one of the major wildlife tourist’s attractions in India. Thousands of travelers from different part of the country and world come here every year to unlock the doors of diverse wildlife and scout the exquisiteness of the natural empire. The perfect topography with a river and its varied grasslands winds through its entire length, Kaziranga promises an adventure that you will never forget. The tourism of Kaziranga is not just about spotting one of the many one-horned rhinoceros or tigers but also to watch the three giant herbivores that reside in the park called – The Asiatic Elephant, The Swamp Deer and the Asiatic Water Buffaloes. The park has also been demarcated as an important bird area by the Birdlife International in order to promote the conservation of endangered species.

Fauna & Flora :

Kaziranga National Park has chiefly three major types of flora as alluvial inundated grasslands, tropical wet evergreen forests and tropical semi-evergreen forests. But, the main characteristics of flora in Kaziranga are the dense and tall elephant grass intermixed by small swamplands left behind by the receding floodwaters of the river Brahmaputra. n addition to grasses and forests, the swamps of Kaziranga National Park have an abundant cover of water lilies, water hyacinth and lotus, providing a beautiful look to the surroundings of the park. Rattan Cane, which is a type of climbing palm, also adds to the natural beauty of Kaziranga National Park. 

-79159_7882 Kaziranga contains significant breeding populations of 35 mammalian species, of which 15 are threatened as per the IUCN Red List. The park has the distinction of being home to the world’s largest population of the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceroswild Asiatic water buffalo, and eastern swamp deer.  Kaziranga has been identified by Birdlife International as an Important Bird Area.  It is home to a variety of migratory birds, water birds, predators, scavengers, and game birds. Birds such as thelesser white-fronted gooseferruginous duckBaer’s pochard duck and lesser adjutantgreater adjutantblack-necked stork, and Asian openbill stork migrate from Central Asia to the park during winter. Two of the largest snakes in the world, the reticulated python and rock python, as well as the longest venomous snake in the world, the king cobra, inhabit the park. Other snakes found here include the Indian cobramonocled cobraRussell’s viper, and the common krait. Monitor lizard species found in the park include the Bengal monitor and the Asian water monitor

Best Time to Visit :

The best season to visit Kaziranga National Park is between November and April. From 1st of Nov to 30th of April, the park remains open daily for continuous six months being the monsoons as the exceptional season to close the area for safety reasons by the national park management. You can see the migratory birds closely in a fine temperature.

Nearby Places :

Rowraiah (Jorhat) is Nearest Airport which is 97 Km away from Kaziranga, LGBI Airport which is 239 Km away from Kaziranga. The nearest railhead is at the distance of 75 kms from the Kaziranga National Park in Furkating. Government transports are available frequently from nearest cities and towns such as Jorhat (89 Kms.), Nagaon (96 Kms.), Guwahati (219 Kms.), Golaghat (73 Kms.) and Bokakhat (21 Kms.).

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Dawki City- Meghalaya

Umngot is the unexplored paradise of Meghalaya. (Photo Courtesy: Devanik Saha)

A small border town in the Jaintia Hills, Dawki and its famed river Umngot is a must visit if in Meghalaya. Dawki-Tamabil is one of the few road border crossings between India and Bangladesh. The small city, besides being a trade hub is also famous for its tourism scene, with many people flocking to the city in order experience a boat ride in its famed Umngot River and enjoy the nearby sights and sounds. Travelling to the North-East is something that always generates lots of oohs and aahs from whoever you tell about your journey there, or your plans. A day’s excursion from Mawlynnong, Dawki lies but 2 Kms from Bangladesh. Despite the fact that the area is located in a place that has been for years demanding development, one is amazed by the quality of the roads, and the road to Dawki perhaps epitomizes the idyllic hill drive. This had more to do with the area’s strategic importance as well as the limestone and coal mines. Some 500 trucks cross the border every day in peak season.

boats-on-umshiang Dawki river with greenish-blueish water so clear that one can see the bottom of the river even from as high as the bridge over the river. It flows very close to the customs checkpost at Dawki with Jaintia Hills District on one side and East Khasi Hills District on the other. As it enters the plains of Bangladesh it loses its beautiful color and becomes heavily strewnwith rocks and small boulders. It is the gateway to Bangladesh. Located at the end of the Guwahati-Shillong-Dawki Raod, Dawki is a small town well knownfor its sweet, juicy orange markets.

The umngot river is popular not only for its scenic beauty but also for the annual boat race which is conducted here in the month of March – April at Umsyiem.  Due to the temperate climate, this place is the house of different kinds of flora and fauna, seeing this large emerald-green serpent threading its way through the hills, with fishermen’s boats dotting its surface, right into the plains of Bangladesh, is a sight whose majesty echoes long after you leave it. The tourists visiting Dawki should not forget to taste the sweets and oranges of Dawki, as it is quite famous for the same. The surrounding greenery, the cold water of the river and the beautiful suspension bridge on the River Umngot make Dawki a place worth a visit.

88_full Dawki does not have any airport; the closest airport is the Guwahati airport.  Nearest rail head is at Guwahati from where one can either hire a cab or catch public or private buses either direct till Dawki or till Shillong.  Buses are also available for the 70 kilometres (43 mi) journey from Shillong. On the other side the Tamabil bus station, 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) away, has regular bus service to Sylhet 55 kilometres (34 mi) away.

The place becomes heavenly in December with a pleasant temperature ranging from 12 to 20 degrees. Shillong is the only hill station in the country which is accessible from all sides. The water of Unmgot river in Dwaki is so clear that a boat floating on it, seems  like it’s flying in mid-air.  The river is not the only place here. Entertain yourself at some really amazing festivals organized here in DecemberTysim Festival, Baghmara, Pinjera Festival, Williamnagar and Tura Winter Festival, Tura. Try out the delightful Meghalayan delicacies such as Jadoh, Dohneiihong, Makham-Bitchi and Jhur Sideh.

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Western Ghats

12570356826ed8cee9b4blq3The Western Ghats knows as Sahyadri, is a mountain range that runs parallel to the western coast of the Indian penins
ula, located entirely in India, are well known for their rich and unique assemblage of flora and fauna. Although most of the Western Ghats appear more like rolling hills than craggy snow-covered peaks. Parts of it do reach over 2,000 metres and it contains the highest mountain in India, the Anaimudi, at 2,695 metres.

The Western Ghats is one of the eight “hottest hot-spots“, It is sometimes called the Great Escarpment of India. The Western Ghats extend from north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain, called Konkan, along the Arabian Sea. A total of thirty nine properties including national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserve forests were designated as world heritage sites – twenty in Kerala, ten in Karnataka, five in Tamil Nadu and four in Maharashtra. This hill cover Roundly  6% of India’s total geography. Western ghats spread in six states Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Pondicherry and  in Maharastra, The range start near the border of Gujarat and Maharashtra, south of the Tapti river, and runs approximately 1,600 km through the states of MaharashtraGoaKarnatakaKerala and Tamil Nadu ending at Kanyakumari, at the southern tip of India. Western ghat is home of many hill station like Lonavala-Khandala, Amboli ghat, Matheran, Mahabalesver etc.

The area is one of the world’s ten “Hottest biodiversity hotspots” and has around 5000 species of flowering plants, 1800 species of non-flowering plants, 139 mammal species, 500 bird species, 170 amphibian species, 6000 insects species and 300 freshwater fish species; it is likely that many undiscovered species live in the Western Ghats. At least 300 globally threatened species occur in the Western Ghats.

Western.Ghats The peaks of the Western Ghats intercept the south-western monsoon winds,  which bring heavy rain between June and September.  An astonishing 2 to 8 metres of rain drench the Western Ghats each year, most of it falling in the short monsoon period.  These rains feed dozens of rivers that originate in the mountains, and flow down into India, providing drinking water, irrigation, and power for approximately 240 million people.

The Western Ghats mountain range is itself a major attraction in India along with its high hills, deep valleys,mountain grasslands, dense and rain forest. Western Ghats is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in India and paradise of various species of Flora and Fauna, Most of them are endemic to the region.  Some attracted place of Western ghat are as below:

Hill Ranges :

Tea-plantation-fotoliaThe Western Ghats contains major hill ranges starting from Western ghat ranges in Maharashtra Nilgiris hill ranges in Tamil Nadu. Such as Ooty, Mahabaleshwar, Madikeri and the most famous Munnar. Famous hills of Western Ghats are Sahyandhris, Nilgiris, Palani Hills,Anaimalai Hills and Cardamom Hills.

Mountain Peaks :

The hill ranges of Western Ghats are home to some of the highest mountain peaks of IndiaAnamudi or Anai Mudi is a mountain located in the Indian state of Kerala. It is the highest peak in the Western Ghats and South India, at an elevation of 2,695 metres, and a topographic prominence of 2,479 metres. Other highest peaks of the Western Ghats are Meesapulimala,Doddabetta in Nilgiris hills, Kalsubai in Maharashtra and Mullayanagiri in Karnataka.

Forest :

474867-forests The Western Ghats are home to four type of tropical and subtropical forest ecoregions, The evergreen forests in Wayanad mark the transition zone between the northern and southern ecologic regions of the Western Ghats. Above 1,000 meters are the South Western Ghats montane rain forests, also cooler and wetter than the surrounding lowland forests, and dominated by evergreen trees, although some montane grasslands and stunted forests can be found at the highest elevations. The wild forest of Western Ghats are distributed as National Parks,Wildlife Sanctuary, Tiger reserve, biosphere reserves and many protected areas.

Flora :

pics11 Western Ghats were well-covered in dense forests that provided wild foods and natural habitats for native tribal people. The major species of Flora in Western Ghats are present in the sholas of the Nilgiri Hills. Four thousand species of flowering plants are known from the Western Ghats. The gymnosperm flora is represented by Cycas circinalis

National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries : 

1410190885trek_to_silent_valley_national_park_western_ghats The 39 component parts of this serial property fall under a number of protection regimes, ranging from Tiger Reserves, National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, and Reserved Forests. In Western ghats 13 National park situated. Famous National parks are deciduous forests of Bandipur National Park, Silent Valley National Park, Periyar National Park and Eravikulam National Park. The rainforest of majestic mountain is full of natural beauty and one of the must see place in India.

Lakes & Rivers 

The major riversystems originating in the Western Ghats include Godavari, Kaveri, Krishna, Thamiraparani and Tungabhadra. The Western Ghats have several manmade lakes and reservoirs. The famous lakes are Nilgiri, Lakkadi, Ooty, Kodiakanal, Barijam, Palani hills, In the Munnar range Devikulam and Letchmi Elephant.

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Taavraksh – A Leopard Country

Sariska-Alwar road takes to this enchanting site where pilgrims bathe in hot SULPHUR SPRINGS. Langurs (apes) stroll about and the bell of the scattered temples tinkle all day long. lt was the place of penance of Mandav Rishi. Incidentally this point is around 20kms off Sariska Tiger Reserve. As is known that Tigers and leopards do not normally share territories, hence Leopards around Sariska have found a haven in Talvraksh. To view this handsome mammal be present with our expert escort at the right time at the right palce and you will be really unlucky if do not see atleast 1 Leopard during your stay at Talvraksh.

TAALVRAKSH – A LEOPARD COUNTRY
Lying in the juxtaposition between wilderness and civilisation is a quiet place called Taalvraksh. What makes it very different from other places is the frequency of the leopard visiting this place despite having large human presence.

Taalvraksh lies just 20 km from Sariska Tiger Sanctuary in the North Indian state of Rajasthan and if one is coming Alwar city towards Sariska on Alwar – Jaipur State Highway a right turn would lead to Taalvaskh. This place is a paradox of sorts.

The leopards are sighted on the road going through this place and this is despite the fact that it is quite a busy road. From Alwar this place is about 30km ( apprx). There is relatively no forest area on the entire journey and one tends to believe that the possibility of seeing wildlife is rather small but please wait, a small area of dense forest cover is there just around Taalvarksh and has healthy langur and reches monkey population and also being a village, there are a lot of dogs hanging around the place. Hence prey population wise it is a typical Leopard habitat. There is the only surrounding this part of the jungle where there is permanent water available. All the surrounding areas is hilly and there is no water around this place. During summer months when temperature cross 40 degree centigrade, the leopards sighting also increases.

Manali

Famous as the “valley of the Gods”, Manali is an important hill station of northern india. It is the destination of thousands of tourists every year. Its cool atmosphere provides a perfect haven for the ones afflicted by the hot Indian summers. Besides offering quite a few places for sightseeing, Manali is also famous for adventure sports like skiing, hiking, mountaineering, paragliding, rafting, trekking, kayaking, and mountain biking. The Hill Resorts of Manali offers an amazing array of picturesque spots to the tourists. For the adventure seekers there are sports ranging from skiing, hiking, mountaineering, paragliding, rafting, trekking, kayaking, and mountain biking. You may indulge in skiing at Solang Nullah (January-March) and Rohtang La (during summer). It is noteworthy that Heli skiing is possible at the deep snowfields. You may even get trained for Mountaineering and kayaking at the Mountaineering Institute at Solang Nullah. The Beas River is excellent for Kayaking. Trekking to the Solang Valley and Manalsu Nala are terrific. The slopes of Solang Nullah attract a lot of tourists in the summer season for the paragliding just like Beas offers excellent adventure activities in the monsoons for rafting. You nay even visit Larji, Katrain and Kasol for some unparallel angling experiences. While you are in the city the Kulluis in brightly patterned puttoos, Tibetan women wearing ankle-length rainbow-striped pinafores, Nepali porters, Buddhist monks, and even the odd party of Zanskaris, swathed in fusty woolen gonchas will not fail to catch your eye. The hubbub of Manali is so mystical and marvelous that every summer thousands of tourists from all over India and aboard throng the streets there.


Climate – The climate of Manali is very cold as it is located in the Himalayas and the snow line is not far from the place. The altitude of Manali gives it a climate, which is loved by one and all. The summers are cool and the winters prove to be very harsh. During the winters the snow line comes down and there is snowfall in the region and heavy woollen cloths are required. During the monsoon months due to heavy rainfall there are landslides, which hamper movement. The best time to visit Manali is May and October but one can visit this place during winters too.


Places to visit:

Heli Skiing

For high mountain thrills perhaps nothing can surpass the magic of heli- skiing. The sport is available in the area abound by the Hanuman Tibba, Rohtang Pass, Deo Tibba and Chanderkhani Pass near Manali.

Hidimba Devi Temple

Hadimba or Dhungiri temple in Manali is one of the most important temples in the region. This four story wooden temple is located in the middle of a forest called the Dhungiri Van Vihar.

Mountaineering

Himachal Pradesh has some challenging peaks and each year expeditions are organised by the Mountaineering Institute at Manali. The Mountaineering Institute has regional centres at Dharamsala, Bharmour and Jispa, which organise adventure courses as well.

Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa

This Gompa dominates the Tibetan area around the bottom of the Mall in Manali. The Tibetan refugees built the Gompa in the late 1960’s. The Gompa is covered with brightly coloured frescoes and a mid size Buddhist statute. It also carries a list of the martyrs killed in occupation of Tibet of 1987 to 1989.

Gulaba Camp

20-km from Manali, is this beautiful place famous for sightseeing, picnic and photography.

Malana Valley

In the valleys of Kullu and Manali below Chanderkhani Pass, situated at an altitude of 2,76m is a little hub of hundred houses. The village, which consists of 1,000 tribals, has an immaculate system of self-governance.

Manali Sanctuary

This sanctuary is located in District Kullu’s nearest town, Manali. The area of this sanctuary is 3,180 hectares. The sanctuary wasnotified on 26th February 1954, under the Punjab Birds and Wild Animals Protection Act, 1933.

Mountaineering Institute

The Mountaineering Institute located at Manali provides training facilities for basic and advance climbing both for Indian nationals and foreigners. This institute also conducts other adventurous sports activities like high altitude trekking, minor mountaineering, rock-climbing, skiing, and high altitude rescue and relief courses. The institute has sufficient lodging and boarding arrangements and equipment can be hired for trekking purposes.

Naggar

Taken as an excursion from Kullu or Manali, Nagar also known as Naggar, is a very lovely village set on a hill surrounded by forests. Naggar was the capital of Kullu valley in the 16th century and the monuments in the region are witnesses to the glory it had once lived in.

Nehru Kund

It is a spring of clear, cold water, named after the late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and is 6-km from Manali on Keylong road.

Temple Of Manu

Slippery stones paths lead through the old village houses up to the temple of Manu. Manali is named after the sage Manu who meditated when he came in this area.

Tibetan Temple

Tibetans have a base in Manali too. There is a large modern Tibetan temple to the South of the bus stand and also a small handicrafts centre.

Vashisth Village

Famous for the sweeping valley views and sulphurous hot-water springs, the large settlement of Vashisht, formerly known as Bashist, just 3km from Manali, is an amorphous jumble of traditional timber houses and modern concrete cubes, divided by paved courtyards and narrow muddy lanes.

Winter Carnival

Snow continues to play a major part in February’s festivals and Himachal’s Winter Carnival is also held this month. Ski slopes of Kufri, Manali and Narkanda come to life with adventure seekers competing their way downhill. For daredevils, Manali, as a base camp, offers best opportunity for Heli-Skiing.

 

Excursions from Manali

Rohtang Pass

(50Km.)
Rohtang Pass is the highest point, 4,112m, on the Manali-Keylong road, 51-km from Manali town. It provides a wide panoramic view of mountains rising far above clouds, which is a sight truly breath-taking.

Arjun Gufa

(5Km.)
On the left bank of the Beas, 5-km from Manali near the village of Prini, is the ‘Arjun Gufa’ or the cave of Arjuna. In here Arjuna practised austerities to get Pashupata Ashtra or weapon from Lord Indra.

Beas Kund

(50Km.)
It is the source of river Beas, at the Rohtang Pass and is easily accessible. The great sage, Vyas performed `Tapa’ here during the Mahabharat times. The place is still hallowed by the celestial light. It was because of this that the river got the present name of Beas.

Jagatsukh Temple

(6Km.)
It is one of the biggest villages in Kullu district. About 6-km from Manali, Jagatsukh is famous for its Shiva temple that is built in “shikhara” style and nearby is the old and interesting Devi Sharvati temple.

Kothi

(12Km.)
It is a pretty little village, 12-km from Manali on the Keylong road at the foot of Rohtang Pass. There are very fine views from Kothi, and the Beas River flows through a very deep and narrow gorge at this point. The well-situated Public Works Department (PWD) Resthouse is a popular place for overnight stays. Close to the rest house is an awe-inspiring gorge where Beas enters a chasm about 61m deep and just few metres broad.

Old Manali

(3Km.)
The old Manali area is located some 3-km from the present day Manali. The old Manali is covered with guesthouses, which look ancient now, and orchards where the livestock move at will.

Rahalla Falls

(16Km.)
About 16-km from Manali and 4-km away from Kothi, at the start of the climb to the Rohtang Pass, are the beautiful Rahalla Falls at an altitude of 2,501m.

Solang Nullah

(14Km.)
14-km northwest of Manali in the Solang Valley, this place offers Himachal Pradesh’s best ski slopes. The Mountaineering and Allied Sports Institute operates a 300m high ski lift and the month of February is the best month to ski over here. HPTDC runs seven-day package for ski courses with accommodation in the Hotel Rohtang Manaslu in Manali. Courses are also offered by the Mountaineering and Allied Sports Institute and the North Face Ski School.

Vashisth Hot Sulphur Springs

(3Km.)
This small village near Manali is famous for its scenic beauty. The village has a temple dedicated to Lord Rama and Vashisth Muni. The village has some hot water springs, which are said to carry medicinal properties. It is a picturesque little place, 3-km out of Manali but on foot the distance is a bit shorter.

Gulmarg : Skiing

Skiing, as an adventure sport, has come a long way in India. Introduced by the Europeans, it started out as a purely elitist sport, which provided the foreigners an adventurous respite from the heat of the plains. However, it has today become a sport of the common man. People from within India as well as all around the world flock to the country in large number to enjoy the pleasure of skiing. 

Gulamrg is the perfect skiing destination for many adventure seekers. One can hire all the equipment needed, such as skis and sticks, snow boots, mufflers, woolen socks, jackets, goggles, etc here. One can take skiing lessons from ski instructors too.

The time to enjoy skiing in Gulmarg is between November to February. The slopes in Gulmarg vary from 8,700 ft to 10,500 ft. One remarkable fact about Gulmarg is that it is the only heli-skiing resort in Asia.

Though not exactly an adventure sport, Golf is enjoyed as a relaxing activity by many. Gulmarg has the world’s highest golf course. Visitors can enjoy golf by obtaining a short-term membership at the Golf Club.

Gulmarg is also the place for enjoying long walks. One can walk through woods, and green hills. You can also check out Nanga Parbat and Haramukh.

Altitude

2,730 m above sea level

Languages

Kashmiri, Hindi

State

Jammu & Kashmir

Best time to visit

November to February for Skiing

 

Sikkim : Trekking, mountain biking, mountaineering, river rafting, yak safari and much more..

Sikkim, the small but beautiful kingdom is situated in the eastern Himalayas. Sikkim is termed as the Switzerland of the east, a heavenly paradise on earth. It covers an area of 2818 square miles 7325 square kilometers. It is rectangular in shape with seventy miles in the north to south and forty east to west.

Sikkim the land of peace and tranquility is an ideal destination for trekking. People living in hustle and bustle of city life, people with financial or mental stress can rejuvenate themselves while trekking. Higher in the mountain, silence prevail but with sound of bird chirp. Night sky is clear with constellation at a full glow. Silent ambience takes away all the grief.

Sikkim boasts of rich biodiversity and high mountain ranges. Mt. Khangchendzonga (8586 meters) the third highest peak in the world, and the guardian deity of Sikkimese people, lies along it western ramparts.

Variation in altitude ranging from 200 to 8586 meters (height of Khangchendzonga), provides an opportunity to visitors to experience crossing over from sub-tropical to temperate zones, followed by alpine and high-altitude areas in a short span of time.

Trekking in Sikkim has its own charm. Trails run though rich biodiversity and rich cultural life of Sikkimese people.

Climate

Summer: Max. 20.7 C/Min. 13.1 C

Winter Max: 14.9 C/Min. 7.7 C

Best Season Mid February: – late May / October – December

 

Most of the mountain areas in Sikkim have a fragile ecosystem. This demands any trekkers to obtain special permit to trek. Trekking in Sikkim is conducted in an organized manner. Individuals cannot trek on their own.

There are various trekking tours available which covers:

§  Kanchanjunga Trekking

§  Sikkim Dzongri Trek

§  Sikkim Singalila Trek

§  North Sikkim High Altitude

§  Sikkim Khanchendzonga

§  Darjeeling Singlila Trek

§  Darjeeling Sandakphu

§  Kanchanjunga Gochela

§  Tholung Valley Nature

 

MOUNTAIN BIKING

 

Mountain Biking is another adventure that has been recently introduced in Sikkim. Most of the roads in Sikkim are negotiable by mountain bikes. This sport is definitely poised to become popular in Sikkim in the near future. This sport is being promoted in most parts of North Sikkim & West Sikkim.

  

Tour plan:

 

Day 01: Arrive Bagdogra , drive to Darjeeling 
Day 02: Darjeeling sightseeing 
Day 03: Darjeeling to Jorethang 
Day 04: Jorethang to Geyzing (Bike) 42 kms 
Day 05: Geyzing to Pelling (Bike) 10 kms 
Day 06: Pelling to Khechopalri Lake (Bike) 24 kms 
Day 07: Khechopalri Lake to Yuksom (Bike) 30 kms 
Day 08: Yuksom to Rabongla via Tashiding (Bike) 58 kms 
Day 09: Rabongla via Makha to Dikchu (Bike) 44 kms
Day 10: Dikchu to Mangan (Bike) 
Day 11: Mangan to Lachung (Bike) 51kms 
Day 12: Lachung to Yumthang and back to Lachung (Bike) 24 kms
Day 13: Lachung to Chungthang (Bike) 21 kms 
Day 14: Chunthang to Podong (Bike) 56 kms 
Day 15: Podong to Gangtok (Bike) 40 kms 
Day 16: Gangtok to Rumtek (Bike) 24 kms 
Day 17: Rumtek to Bagdogra (Drive)

 

MOUNTAINEERING:

The Sikkim Himalayas, the epitome of the world’s mountains, encompass a wonderland, which for sheer beauty and magnificence remains unbeaten elsewhere in the globe. In the southwestern part of Sikkim, in the main Himalayan range, lies the majestic Khangchendzonga or Kanchenjunga, rising to a staggering height of 8,585 m (28,169 ft) above sea level. Beside this third largest peaks, other famous mountaineering peaks in Sikkim include- Kabru, Kirat Chulior Tent Peak (7,365 m) and Sinolchu (6,887 m). Mountaineering expeditions, unlike trekking, require more planning and paperwork as clearance is required from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, New Delhi. Besides these the local governments also impose royalties on certain peaks

RIVER RAFTING:

White water rafting is a later entrant of adventure sport in Sikkim.Only the Teesta and Rangit rivers offer long stretches which are ideal for safe rafting. Teesta has been graded on the International scale at Grade 4. The icy cold waters of the rugged Teesta have a series of rapids with varying intensity and character. It offers one of the finest rafting stretches in the world. Rangit, a tributary of the Teesta, has more turbulent waters and offers a challenge to more experienced rafters.

On both the rivers, the riverbanks have deep forests, with some patches of terraced cultivation, and small villages. Plenty of white sandy beaches exist, offering good campsites. Rapids of classification 2 to 4 are interspersed with placid floats, making rafting an enjoyable experience. Facilities for overnight River beach camping is available. Beginners as well as experienced adventurers can seek the assistance of the Department of Tourism and travel agents for arranging river rafting trips.

YAK SAFARI:

Yak Safari is an unforgettable and unique experience organized in different areas of Sikkim. Popular trails are Dzongri area and Tsomgo lake. You will get to ride the yak in Tsomgo lake and in various trekking points like Dzongri in West Sikkim onwards

About Yak: Yaks are bovine mammal. It is ox like in build, withshort, thick legs, humped shoulders, large up curved horns, and a thick coat that hangs down to the ankles. Wild yaks were formerly found from Kashmir to West China, but were so extensively hunted for meat and hides that they now survive only in isolated highlands at elevations above 14,000 ft (4,300 m). They live in herds numbering from 10 to 100 animals, mostly females and young led by a few old bulls; males are mostly solitary.

Yaks have been domesticated for centuries, and the domestic form has been introduced into other parts of central Asia. The wild yak may attain a shoulder height of 65 in. (165 cm) and have horns 3 ft (90 cm) long; its coat is dark brown. The domesticated yak is smaller, with short horns; its coat, which may be long enough to reach the ground, may be black, brown, reddish, piebald, or albino. Yaks can live on vegetation so sparse that it cannot support other domesticated animals. The domestic yak is a source of milk, butter, meat, hair (for cloth), and leather and is also much used as a beast of burden.