Short Sweet Yet Memorable

Short Sweet Yet Memorable

NARKANDA, Himachal Pradesh

Nearest City: Delhi

For most people headed to Himachal, Manali and Kasol would be the obvious choices. But to get away from the routine, go towards Narkanda that offers some of the most spectacular views of the Dhauladhar Mountains. The sleepy little settlement has a bunch of general stores, tea shops and some tourist guesthouses, but it is the fir forests that beckon you for a romantic feel. Drive up to Hatu peak to see the entire bowl of mountains, or indulge in a playful snowball fight en route; the snow around Narkanda usually stays on for long periods into summer.

PANGOT, Uttarakhand

Nearest City: Delhi

Away from the crowds that throng Nainital is the little sanctuary called Pangot. The heady mix of oak, rhododendron and pine forest is a haven for nearly 300 species of birds. Wake up to birdsong, wander around on long walks, and indulge in quiet candlelight dinners with only nightjars chortling in the distance. Do a day trip to Nainital barely 18 km away, if you must, for a jaunt on the mall or an unwinding boat ride on the lake.

KANATAL, Uttarakhand

Nearest City: Delhi

While we usually associate apple farming with Himachal, a little discovered alternative is Kanatal in Garhwal. It’s a quaint hamlet that offers crisp mountain air, fantastic views of Banderpoonch, and a taste of deliciously crunchy apples that grow all over here. Request the local farmers and try your hand at plucking and collection, while enjoying that expansive birdlife these orchards attract. And later, enjoy farm-fresh meals, and go back to the romance of simple living.

YUKSOM, Sikkim

Nearest City: Kolkata

A 4.5-hour drive from Gangtok can take you to Yuksom, a little hamlet famed for being the hometown of Bollywood's bad man, Danny Denzongpa. Yuksom is the gateway to Goecha La, a pass from where the south-east face of Kanchundzonga can be viewed. It is also the base camp for aspiring climbers, and Yuksom usually is a base for hikers and climbers on their way up. Give Yuksom a chance, regardless, and it will show you its treasures that include the beautiful Kanchundzonga falls, small lakes, refreshing walks, traditional local homes and cuisine.

TAWANG, Arunachal Pradesh

Nearest City: Kolkata

Once proclaimed the spiritual wonder of India, Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh is better known than most places in the northeast and yet remains unexplored. The impeccably laid monastery here has a deep divine significance and is the town’s biggest draw, but so are the plentiful lakes and high mountain passes that comprise the region’s unmatched landscape. Drive through the Sela pass and go high up to glacial lakes, and once back in Tawang, find oneness with both your partner and the self.

DISKIT, Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir

Nearest City: Delhi

An increasingly popular mountain destination today is Ladakh, but move away from the Leh-Pangong Tso circuit and you will find yourself in places like Diskit tucked deep in the Nubra Valley. Home to the double-humped Bactrian camel, this cold desert is replete with hauntingly beautiful landscapes and monasteries. Fun and adventure are synonymous with this destination, but the real surprise is the expanse of the starry nights, bound to blow your partner’s mind.

MAHABALESHWAR, Maharashtra

Nearest City: Mumbai

The winding road to Mahabaleshwar skirted by green valley makes it a marvellous drive, along with the multiple stops you can make as you near it to sample the strawberries it is famous for. Visit the Pratapgarh Fort, or unwind at the Lingmala falls. The more outgoing ones can also paraglide over the Sahyadris. Go for an easy boat ride on Venna Lake, and finish off with some strawberries and fresh cream at a strawberry farm here.

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