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Tourist place in North India

Discussion in 'North India' started by NavinSharma, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. NavinSharma

    NavinSharma New Member

    My relatives from Bangalore are coming to visit us in Delhi, and they would like us to take them out to some place in North India.

    There are so many places in North India, and I have no idea where I could take them, which they would like.
    I would like some help from the forum to give me suggestions on which tourist places in North India we can take our relatives to.

    I think I would like to avoid the typical places like Shimla.

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, welcome to the forum!


    Are you planning for a trip to the northern part of India? Wondering what are the tourist destinations that one can explore here aside from the usual places like Delhi, Agra or Shimla? North India differs in the south in that it is devoid of any coastal waters. Instead, the mighty Himalayas lends their majestic beauty at the northernmost part of this region. Rivers and lakes are your best water body options which flank many areas of North India. The diversity of religions and cultures here are also apparent, with the dominant Sikh population in Punjab or the dominant Muslim population in Kashmir. While attractions like the Taj Mahal (Agra) and the Red Fort (Delhi) are popular in this region, there are more to explore. Hidden under the shadows of these attractions, there are heritage sites, religious sites, hill stations and more, yet to be discovered by tourists of the northern part of India.

    Tourist Places to Visit in North India (Not Your Typical Ones)

    For that dose of heritage...

    1. Patna (Bihar) - Patna is one of the oldest cities of India, having been established in the 5th century by Ajatashatru of the Haryanka dynasty. Back then, Patna was known as Pataliputra and was one of the most developed cities of ancient India. Now, Patna is a developing city, not as progressive as Delhi or Mumbai, but certainly one of the most modern cities in Bihar, being its capital. It's not devoid of the usual consequences of development like pollution or traffic, but then its imperfections make it what it is. If you're a lover of history, then you're sure to enjoy a tour of this city, which has hundreds of years to back up its development. First up is Nalanda, which is further from the city centre of Patna, about two hours away. It is considered as one of the oldest residential universities in the world although its exact establishment isn't known. Some scholars point to the Gupta ruler, Shakraditya, as the founder of this ancient Buddhist learning site, who lived around the 5th century. At its heyday, this university was visited by students from all over the world, just to be able to study here and learn in various subjects such as Astronomy, Buddhism and Medicine. Although mostly in ruins, you can still see the outlines for temples, shrines, viharas and stupas that has remained in the excavation site. Also worth visiting here is the Patna Museum, which is located at the city centre proper. This museum was once housed in an Indo-Saracenic ancient building but was recently transferred to a newer, modern building. The collections in the museum revolve around the history of Buddhism in the country, with various artefacts highlighting the one glorious past of this religion in India. It also includes some excavated artefacts from Nalanda and Gaya. The prized possession of the museum is the statue of Didarganj Yakshi, a 2,300 year old statue from the Mauryan empire. The museum even houses the ashes of Gautama Buddha, excavated from Vaishali and moved to this location. Golghar, which seems like a stupa from afar, is actually a large granary built during the British rule. From the top, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city. About 25 kilometres away from Patna is the Dargah of Makhdoom Shah Maneri, the tomb of the Sufi saint, Makhdoom Yahiya Maneri. This lesser known heritage site is interesting, as it has a tunnel that up to this date, the end still hasn't been reached. The tomb itself is quite stunning, with intricate lattice works, carvings on the ceilings and geometric plus floral patterns on the terrace area.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Nalanda, Patna Museum, Golghar and Dargah of Makhdoom Shah Maneri
    Patna (Image from Sauravanuraj)

    2. Amritsar (Punjab) - Amritsar's history can mostly be attributed back to the colonial rule and also during India's fight for freedom. The city has lots of history behind it, gruesome, tragic and unfortunate as they might be, they have helped shape Amritsar to what it has become today. For instance, a visit to the Jallianwala Bagh might seem serene and tranquil, especially for those who does not know much about its history. But once upon a time, during the British rule, this was the site for the massacre of over 1,000 Indians, including women and children. At that time, the fight for Indian independence was at its infancy but this massacre lead to the turning point of history as even leaders who associate themselves with the British empire finally revolted to attain that much coveted freedom. Or how about the Harmandir Sahib, the prime attraction of the city which also boasts of serenity, unity and spirituality. In the 20th century though, this religious site was the place where over many Sikhs and Indian soldiers were killed, due to the Operation Blue Star controversy. Then there's the Wagah Border, the official open border between India and Pakistan. It wasn't always this way though, as during the partition, many villages around this border were plagued by wars between the armies of the two countries. Now, the Beating Retreat Ceremony is a spectacle that one shouldn't miss here, which highlights the rivalry between the two nations in a more formal way. Want to learn more about the partition of India and Pakistan? Do visit the Partition Museum in the Town Hall of Amritsar. A unique museum showcasing stories of the survivors of the partition. It's where you can find personal memorabilia and newspaper clippings from that dark era of the city.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Jallianwala Bagh, Harmandir Sahib, Wagah Border and Partition Museum
    Enriching your spiritual side...

    3. Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) - Varanasi is actually a popular destination in Uttar Pradesh especially for pilgrims. For foreign tourists though, the city is such a chaotic destination but truly worth the trip. With its narrow lanes, alleyways, ghats, ancient history and more, Varanasi, Banaras to locals, takes a little bit of time to be fully appreciated. It is also known as the City of Ghats, in fact, this is perhaps the main sight that comes into mind with the mere mention of Varanasi. There are over 60 ghats here, spread around the Ganges River, with specific purposes for each, like the Dashashwamedh Ghat, which is mainly for evening aartis, or the Manikarnika Ghat, where sacred Hindu cremation rituals are done. You also can't miss visiting the Kasi Vishwanath Temple, which is one of the Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. Comprised of three domes, two of which are covered in pure gold, this is the most popular temple in the city. It's an adventure just to reach the temple as it is set amidst narrow lanes and even upon entering, you might have to queue for a few hours just to see the main sanctum where an idol of Lord Shiva can be found. The more modern New Vishwanath Temple is also worth visiting and it's relatively less crowded than the former. The temple is easily distinguishable because of its pure white tower that is considered as one of the highest in the world. Inside, the walls have inscriptions of Hindu scriptures including the Bhagavad Gita. Other temples worth visiting here are the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple and Durga Temple. If you still have time, an excursion into Sarnath, about 10 kilometres away from Varanasi is also a must. This site is mainly important as this is where Buddha delivered his first sermon after attaining enlightenment and you can see the exact spot for that here, highlighted by a stupa.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Dashashwamedh Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Kasi Vishwanath Temple, New Vishwanath Temple, Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, Durga Temple and Sarnath
    Varanasi (Image from Nimit)

    4. Haridwar (Uttarakhand) - Haridwar is often considered as the Gateway to Rishikesh and hence, bypassed by most tourists of the state. The best feature of Haridwar, at least compared to Rishikesh, is that is more developed and so tourist facilities, industries and infrastructures are better here. Still, there's this air of tranquility in the city owing to the large number of religious sites here. The two most important temples here can be found on adjacent hillocks. The Chandi Devi Temple is located on the western bank of the Ganges River. Approachable by foot or by cable car, this simple temple dedicated to Devi Chandika boasts of serenity amidst wilderness. On the other side is the Mansa Devi Temple, located on top of a hillock named Bilwa Parvat. Again, it's approachable either by foot or by ropeway, and is dedicated to Mansa Devi, a manifestation of Shakti. This temple is also known as a wish-granting temple, hence thronged by many tourists any time of the year. Like Varanasi, Haridwar has many ghats where religious rituals occur on a daily basis. But the most popular ghat here is that of Har Ki Pauri, meaning the Steps/Ghats of Lord Shiva. There are daily evening aartis conducted here which you can witness. Other ghats like the Gau Ghat, important as a Hindu cremation site, and Vishnu Ghat, a sacred ghat believed to be the exact place where Vishnu took a dip in the Ganges River, are also worth visiting.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Chandi Devi Temple, Mansa Devi Temple, Har Ki Pauri, Gau Ghat and Vishnu Ghat
    Hill stations to marvel...

    5. Mashobra (Himachal Pradesh) - Mashobra is just 13 kilometres away from Shimla yet remains under the radar of many tourists. It has the same scenic landscapes, forests of deodar and pine trees line the hill station too, but in contrast, there are no crowds to fight your way through. It is certainly the epitome of an idyllic getaway, where you can just marvel in the beauty of the Himalayan ranges and enjoy the wild sounds of nature. For sightseeing, there are some attractions one can explore in the hill station. First is the Regional Horticultural Research Station, which is a government-run research centre for various species of fruits and flowers grown in the state. As soon as you enter, apple trees would greet you, which depending on the season of your visit, can be laden with juicy apples or their gorgeous white flowers. The institute also houses a few glasshouses with various flowers that lend their picturesque hues to the place. The Villa Craignano, owned by famed Italian caterer and photographer, Federico Peliti, can also be found here. It is mostly in dilapidated conditions but the surrounding greenery makes it a perfect option for a secluded picnic. Camp Craignano is just a few metres away from the villa and is a must visit for adventure lovers. This camp has tented accommodations where guests can stay in, they also have facilities for activities like trekking, rappelling, biking and more. Mashobra is also home to the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the summer retreat of the President of India, though this attraction isn't open for visitors.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Regional Horticultural Research Station, Villa Craignano, Camp Craignano and Rashtrapati Bhavan
    Mashobra (Image from Avilasha)

    6. Chatpal (Kashmir) - Venture away from the most popular destination of Kashmir, Srinagar. Don't even think that this list would include the lesser known Pahalgam or Gulmarg. Instead, reach the newly opened tourist destination, Chatpal, which is around two to three hours away from the state capital. It was only in 2013 when Chatpal was developed by the government, establishing a small tourist lodge there. Often touted as the Mini Pahalgam, you can enjoy rustic and calm beauty when in Chatpal. Away from internet, electricity or all the modern comforts of the world, it's a place where you can be one with nature. The government lodge here is very basic, set close to the gurgling of the nearby stream. During winter, cold as it is, you have to make do with blankets and quilts. Visit the last village before the mountains start, Thimran. A quaint village with happy kids, contented parents and lush apple orchards. Thereafter, the forests of Chatpal would be closer to you. In these forests, you would encounter the nomadic settlements of the Gujjar Tribes. Get lost in the virgin beauty of Chatpal, definitely an out of the tourist track destination in Kashmir.
    • Must Visit Attractions - River/Stream, Forests and Thimran
    Strictly for wildlife lovers...

    7. Tal Chappar Sanctuary (Rajasthan) - About 132 kilometres away from Bikaner is the Tal Chappar Sanctuary, a little known wildlife reserve in Rajasthan. You might have heard about the Ranthambore National Park, the Sariska Tiger Reserve or even the Keoladeo National Park in the state. Tourists though don't know much about this blackbuck sanctuary in Rajasthan. Considered as one of the cleanest and well-maintained wildlife reserves of India, the Tal Chappar Sanctuary is certainly an oasis, a piece of greenery in the otherwise desert state of Rajasthan. The large open grasslands would captivate one especially after a tiring sightseeing amidst the barren desert or the overpopulated cities. There are over 2,000 blackbucks residing here, alongside other large animals such as desert foxes, desert cats, nilgais and chinkaras. A haven for birdwatchers, this sanctuary is also known for its wide diversity of avifauna, specifically of the raptor species of birds. Resident birds of the sanctuary are black drongos, Indian rollers, Indian peafowls, jungle crows and more. During winter, you can spot migratory bird species such as demoiselle cranes, steppe eagles, common kestrels and lesser kestrels. You can also opt to stay in the Tal Chappar Forest House for a more indulging and closer to nature experience.
    • Must Spot Animals - Blackbucks, Desert Foxes, Desert Cats, Nilgais, Chinkaras, Black Drongos, Indian Rollers, Indian Peafowls, Jungle Crows and More
    Tal Chappar Sanctuary (Image from Koshy)

    8. Dudhwa National Park (Uttar Pradesh) - The Dudhwa National Park is one of the largest tiger reserves in India but remains relatively unexplored. The dense forests of sal, teak and bamboo provide for ample covering for the animals. Thus, even with the 80 plus tigers in the reserve, it's quite hard to spot the majestic animals. Unlike other wildlife sanctuaries in the country where you have to reserve for a slot a few months in advance or at least queue for a few hours to be able to explore the rich wildlife, the Dudhwa National Park is comparatively less crowded and more serene. You can find plenty of jeeps offering safari excursions nearby the gate entrance. You even have the option of touring the park via an elephant safari. Other animals that you can spot here are swamp deers, rhinoceroses, wild boars, langurs and sloth bears. There are also Forest Lodges within the buffer areas of the national park where you can stay for a few nights for a more rustic wildlife experience.
    • Must Spot Animals - Royal Bengal Tigers, Swamp Deers, Rhinoceroses, Wild Boars, Langurs and Sloth Bears
    Truly offbeat...

    9. Jhalawar (Rajasthan) - Once the capital of the princely state of Jhalawar, headed by the Jhala Rajputs, Jhalawar is a lesser known tourist destination in Rajasthan. Sure, you might have heard of the Pink City of Jaipur, maybe the City of Lakes that is Udaipur or the Golden City of Jaisalmer. But chances are, this once princely state isn't known much to tourists. It is home to the majestic but eerie Gagron Fort, which was built by Raja Bijaldev during the 12th century. The fort is surrounded by water on its three sides, of the confluence of the rivers Ahu and Kali Sindh. The fourth side has a deep moat which completes the defensive purpose of the fort. As strong as it might seem, the fort was conquered many times in history and part of the eerie vibe is because this fort has been the venue for many jauhars in the past era. Also worth visiting here is the Garh Palace, which was built later, at around the 19th century. The palace is in a ruined condition although renovation works are on the way. On the ground floor of the palace, there are beautiful murals on the walls that one can explore. One room here was once gilded with mirror works though it stands in ruins now. Outside the palace, you must also visit the Bhawani Natya Shala, an opera house mimicked to the larger and opulent opera houses of Europe. This opera house was built by Maharaja Bhawani Singh though it also stands in ruins now. The on-site museum is also a must visit as it has displays of excavated artefacts of the region ranging from weaponries, statues, manuscripts and more.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Gagron Fort and Garh Palace
    Jhalawar (Image from Daniel)

    10. Khati (Uttarakhand) - Last on this list is Khati, which is, incidentally, also the last village before the Pindari Glacier in Uttarakhand. If you want to experience what it's like to live in a remote village, away from the comforts of modern technologies, this is the place to be. Kathi is usually a base for many trekkers who want to reach the Pindari Glacier. This laid-back village, surrounded by mountains and verdant greenery on all side, is very picturesque. While there are no tourist attractions proper, you can enjoy trekking amidst the pristine forests nearby the village. Do visit the Water Powered Flour Mill of the village. A simple but functional grain grinding mill that the villagers have built. To reach the village, you even have to cross a wooden bridge that runs across the gurgling river. Take note of the simple village life, where locals rely on bamboo weaving for their daily living. The simplicity of living here would surely render you speechless, where the smiles of the children are as pure as can be. If you are in for an adventure, then you can continue and trek until the Pindari Glacier itself, which is a treacherous and steep climb of about four days or more from Kathi.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Local Homes, Water Powered Flour Mill, Wooden Bridge, Pindari River and Pindari Glacier (Optional)

    There you go, a list of tourist places in North India, quite distinct as it includes lesser known destinations in the region. Sometimes, a step away from the usual paths taken becomes the best adventure of your life. It's when you take such risks that you truly discover the beauty of offbeat destinations. As a bonus, you can explore to your heart's content because these places aren't as flocked to by tourists yet. So go on, explore North India, be enamoured by its glorious past, its chaotic present and you're sure to have wonderful memories of your trip to this beautiful side of the country.