India is considered to be one of the most incredible counties to explore mainly because it does not possess a mainstream identity. It is diverse with a variety of culture and traditions embedded in various parts. Most states differ from each other on many levels – not in terms of superiority – but in terms of its own uniqueness.
As per Nepal being a tiny country, it is considered as a multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural nation, said to contain eight of the ten tallest mountains, with Mt. Everest as the highest point on earth. It also possesses a vivid history of legends, monarchical battles/kings, fascinating tales, Newa art/architecture and religious deities.
Travelling in India and Nepal needs proper time and planning because as a first time tourist to India, it may give even the most experienced traveller a cultural shock. Here are the top 10 places to explore in India and Nepal.
POKHRA VALLEY: Considered as the jewel of Nepal tourism, Pokhara Valley is curled up in the Annapurna Himalayan Range and gives out a full-view of the Himalayas. It is dotted with numerous lakes which makes it possible for adventure and extreme sports. The key attractions include rafting, boating and trekking, caves, waterfalls, glaciers, forests and Valley of Orchids.
BOUDHANATH: A part of the heritage sites of UNESCO, Boudhanath is a pilgrimage spot and a spiritual place fit for meditation. Its spherical Stupa is the largest in the whole of Nepal and is well-known for its Khasa Chaitya. The key attractions include the 29 Tibetan Gompas, the prayer wheel and not to forget probably the best momos, and thupkas.
TILICHO LAKE: TheTilicho Lake is the highest located lake surrounded by several mountains and stands out because of its distinct sapphire colour. It is known for side hikes and highest altitude scuba diving.
CHITWAN NATIONAL PARK: Also one of the heritage sites of UNESCO, the Chitwan National Park is a natural abode of wildlife like freshwater dolphins, rhinoceros, sloth bears, and many other endangered animals. The tropical monsoon comes off as the most favourable time for visit and jungle safari.
UPPER MUSTANG: It was once a flourishing but isolated kingdom of Lo- Mustang with the last vestiges of Tibetan Buddhist cultural and art artefacts. It is surrounded by 35 mountain ranges and its terrain is mainly dry, arid and corroded hillsides that favours trekking.
THE INDIAN HIMALAYAS: It not only features a stunning example of the best mountains but also spectacular Buddhist monasteries, surreal landscapes and a history of Tibetan culture. The mountain destinations include the Tibetan Plateau, Dharamshala, Leh and Ladakh (highly recommended!), palaces, world famous tea plantations and ancient palaces.
KERELA: This luscious state is a tourist spot as a whole and is known as the most relaxing places to visit. It offers languid backwaters, tropical jungles, spice plantations, wildlife sanctuaries, rolling tea plantations, hill stations, elephant rides at the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and lucid beaches.
RAJASTHAN: The desert state of Rajasthan is the most flamboyant one that provides abundant content for a traveller to explore. It is packed with palaces and forts like the famous Hawa Mahal, Amer Fort amidst vivid cities and bazaars. Key features include camel safari, camel festivals, clear lakes and the Ranthambore National Parks.
SIKKIM: This beauty is enchanted with snow-capped mountains, pristine lakes, quaint little villages, vibrant Buddhist monasteries. Sikkim offers paragliding, Yak Safari, its fascinating festivals, trekking, rafting, irresistible Sikkimese delicacies, rock climbing, stunning bazaars to make a hole in your pocket but still cannot get enough.
SUNDARBANS: This is probably the ultimate wildlife sanctuary known for its large area and a variety of flora and fauna. It is famous for its Sajnakhali watchtower from where one can view the entire jungle. It also includes mud-walks, mangrove cage trails, rustic market places, folk music, river cruises and endless boat rides. It is home to the Royal Bengal Tigers – an endangered species – and many other species like the Octopus, Star Fish, Jelly Fish, Horse shoe Crab, prawn seeds and the like.