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Our Favourite Places to Stay in Ladakh
Our Favourite Places to Stay in Ladakh

We bring to you a list of  our Favourite Places to Stay in Ladakh. We have classified this article into different regions.  This article has been contributed to by our friends at Unplugged life you can check them out here.

In Leh

Name: Grand Dragon Ladakh

The Grand Dragon Ladakh, one of the first luxury hotels in Ladakh. It is the first hotel with a host of state of the art amenities, such as electronic key cards for the rooms and a baggage scanner, as well as their own sewage treatment facility. The entire facility is wheelchair accessible, for providing differently able guests with a comfortable sojourn. The hotel is also centrally heated and solar powered, not only ensuring warmth but also ensuring that all our services are eco-friendly. The attention to detail offered by the associates, coupled with the magnificent views, will guarantee you take back home sweet memories.

Where: Leh

Cost: INR 16,000/- for 2 adults with dinner & breakfast

Name: Ladakh Sarai Resort

A premier eco-resort nestled amidst a green ocean of barley fields and groves of willow that rustle in the wind, whispering well-kept secrets of a land that has witnessed a wealth of history in the making. At Ladakh Sarai, time follows its own sluggish pace, trotting along leisurely as opposed to the raging Indus River, above which it rests. Days here take the shape of a quiet visage in the charming little village of Saboo engulfed in rustic charms and striking views of the rugged landscape, a mere 7 km away from the heart of Leh city.

Wake up in the warm reverie of your mud-house at Sarai, step out and relish the awe-inspiring view of Stok Kangri, the highest peak in the Stok Range of the Himalayas. You can see the range standing tall, looming over the Stok Village like a protective parent with a clear blue sky as a back drop.

Where: Saboo Village, 7 kms from Leh

Cost: INR 13,100/- for 2 adults with dinner & breakfast

Name: Hotel Yak Tail

Hotel Yak-Tail is one of the oldest hotels in Leh town. It is situated at one minute walk from the main market. Though it is in the heart of the town yet it provides you complete privacy and tranquil atmosphere for relaxation. Greenery welcomes you with its freshness and cooling effect as you step inside the hotel. Enjoy the most beautiful and historic panorama view of the city while wining and dining. The Hotel Yak Tail sets the standard for elegance in Ladakh. From the magnificently painted local and Ladakhi style dining hall including modern dining hall, The Hotel Yak Tail ensures that every stay is a memorable one and offers an unforgettable level of luxury and service.

Where: Leh

Cost: INR 4,000/- for 2 adults with dinner & breakfast

Name: Yangphel Guest House

Yangphel Guest House with its traditional Ladakhi style architecture complemented by stunning views of the Stok mountain range of the Himalayas. The guest house is situated at a 10 minute walk from the main market. Accommodation at the guest house consists of 3 deluxe rooms, 3 super deluxe single rooms and 1 suite, all the rooms are with attached bathrooms and all the rooms have spectacular view of Shanti Stupa and the Stok Kangri Range.

Where: Leh

Cost: INR 2,500/- for 2 adults with dinner & breakfast

At Nubra Valley

Name: Nubra Ecolodge

Nubra Ecolodge is a family run ecotourism venture, located near Sumur sand dunes in Nubra Valley. The landscape facing the confluence of Shyok and Nubra Rivers is the natural habitat for sea buckthorn, wild flowers and desert wildlife. The 11 acre farm has been planted with poplar, willow, apricot and apple trees, along with vegetable gardens. It commands a 360 degree view of the Karakoram Mountains, the sand dunes and the Nubra River.

A large open deck facing the valley near the vegetable garden is used as a lounge or for dining in fair weather. It is the ideal location to go for long walks along the Sumur sand dunes and the Nubra River. We recommend a minimum two days stay to enjoy the Nubra experience.

Where: Sumur, Nubra Valley

Cost: INR 7,300/- for 2 adults with dinner & breakfast

Name: Hunder Resort

An innovative combination of traditional building techniques and contemporary design, set amidst in the picturesque Hunder Village and surrounded by colorful Karakoram Mountain Range. Hunder Resort unveils a whole new appreciation of the soul-stirring enchantment of nature. It is a place where you can take time to reflect, and allow the space, peace and beautiful landscape to work their magic around you. The resort has been meticulously planned to integrate nature with the most contemporary amenities to bring you a uniquely-different feelings during your stay. It is here that you can unwind and make every moment worthwhile in the midst of natural rural set up, lush green surroundings and alluring sound of water stream.

Where: Hunder, Nubra Valley

Cost: INR 5,400/- for 2 adults with dinner & breakfast

Name: Nubra Ethnic Camp

Nubra Ethinic Resort is a luxury tented camp at Nubra Valley offering a quiet and peaceful environment situated in the middle of the Hunder village. The tented accommodation is well appointed with all the modern facilities with private specious bathrooms. Leaving behind the city pace, you can unwind yourself in the clean, fresh air and village life of Ladakh. Hunder sand dune is just 05 minutes drive and by walk 20 minutes.

Where: Hunder, Nubra Valley

Cost: INR 5,280/- for 2 adults with dinner & breakfast

Name: Mystique Meadows Camp

The camp is situated in Sumur the home of the Majestic Samstanling Monastery. The Camp has got 18 Swiss Cottage Tents, 5 Mongolian Yurt Tents and 4 Rooms all with attached bath (Running hot shower) and toilet, the only tented camp in Nubra Valley to have so. The kitchen has its own organic vegetable garden and serves Indian, Chinese, Continental, Italian and Ladakhi cuisines.

Where: Hunder, Nubra Valley

Cost: INR 4,719/- for 2 adults with dinner & breakfast

At Pangong Lake

Name: Pangong Retreat Camp

A boutique retreat set facing the magnificent Pangong Lake in Spangmik Village, with stunning panoramic views of nature’s gifted scenery. The Retreat offers you a comfortable accommodation providing you with basic amenities allowing you to enjoy a truly unique experience with nature – the golden grass, the sunsets, the mountains and Pangong Lake.

Where: Spangmik, Tso Pangong

Cost: INR 10,370/- for 2 adults with dinner & breakfast

Name: Pangong Inn

The Pangong Inn is a luxury resort that is located within the vicinity of Pangong Lake Ladakh that is near about 120 kilometer away from Leh.

The Pangong Inn witnesses the innate beauty and nature’s splendour while overlooking the Pangong Lake, a salt water lake. With sparkling water at feet and expansive blue sky over head, stay at The Pangong Inn can be a heady dream that would like to go on for eternity.

What makes this luxury inn even more striking is that fact that it is the first and the foremost hotel in that area. In order to maintain the sanctity of Mother Nature, only camps and tents have been used. While 9 rooms are already functional, another lap of 10 deluxe tents are about to be erected.

Where: Lukung, Tso Pangong

Cost: INR 6,500/- for 2 adults with dinner & breakfast

Name: Himalayan Wooden Cottages

Himalayan Wooden Cottages is situated at Spangmik Village at the brink of Indo-China border. The Wooden Cottage consists of 10 Cottages. Besides many camps and home stays in the village, people prefer these cottages for its warmth, hygiene and hospitality. Although it is not fancy enough to attract people but it is being built with most eco-friendly and affordable collection of materials available in a remotest village of Ladakh.

Where: Spangmik, Tso Pangong

Cost: INR 4,000/- for 2 adults with dinner & breakfast

Name: Royal Camp Pangong

The Camp is set amidst quiet and peaceful environment in Spangmik Village at an altitude of 4200mtrs above the sea level and 150 km from Leh. The Camp offers 15 Deluxe Tents with extra comfort beds and attached bathrooms of standard size. The tents easily sleep up to three with separate beds for each an extended back porch with a shower room (hot and cold water) and toilet. The tents have wall to wall carpet and comfortable beds. These tents combine the comforts stay with the benefits of fresh air. All the tents suites are situated amongst unspoiled natural surroundings with wonderful view of the Pangong Lake with the snow capped mountains as backdrop.

Where: Spangmik, Tso Pangong

Cost: INR 3,960/- for 2 adults with dinner & breakfast


Suggested Travel Routes for Leh and Ladakh
Suggested Travel Routes for Leh and Ladakh

Perched atop the Himalayas, Ladakh is one of the most sought after destinations in India. In fact it has almost become synonymous with road trips. The accolade is well deserved though, for there are few routes in the world as mesmerizing as the one to Ladakh. The challenge of high altitude, rugged terrain and unpredictable weather has made it a bucket list item among travelers and adventurers alike.

There are multiple ways of doing this road trip, depending on the time availability and base destination. Want to know which route would be perfect for you? Dive into our guide on the 5 best routes to take for your dream road trip to Ladakh.

Route 1: Chandigarh – Manali – Jispa – Leh (Ladakh) – Delhi

The journey starts from Chandigarh, with an 8 hour drive to Manali. In between you will pass Kullu, after which, lush green mountains and clear skies become your constant companions. Turquoise waters of river Beas flow alongside. From Kullu, it’s an hour’s drive to Manali.

A popular hill station, Manali affords a 360 degree view of the mountains. When you’re not admiring the wonderful vistas, be sure to bathe in the refreshing hot water springs of Vashisht, paraglide in Solang valley and dine in riverside cafes. After a relaxing jaunt here, you are ready to hit the road.

The Manali-Leh route is touted to be one of the most scenic road trips in the world. It is almost a rite of passage for every adventurer, biker and travel junkie.

The journey is almost like a thriller movie. You don’t know what awaits you at the next turn. The landscape keeps alternating between lush greenery, snowcapped peaks and desolate wastelands as you cross high mountain passes, glacial lakes and charming villages. A visual epiphany is guaranteed!!

Take a chill pill in Leh city for a day and explore its local attractions. Stand atop the Leh palace, gape in awe at the Shanti Stupa and celebrate the heroism of Indian soldiers at the Indian Army’s hall of fame. You could also shop at the vibrant markets for some antiques and cheap winter wear.

The rest of the days, you can explore Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso, the two most popular places in Ladakh. Nubra valley is known for its monasteries, arid deserts and hot water springs.

Pangong Tso needs no introduction. A lake of ethereal beauty, camping beside it and watching it change shades during the day will be the highlight of your trip.

Duration: 8N-9D
Good to know: The average altitude of the Manali Leh highway is around 10000 feet, with 5 high mountain passes on the way. So acclimatization is very important on this route. Keep yourself hydrated.

Route 2: Srinagar – Kargil – Leh (Ladakh) – Delhi

The other gateway to Ladakh is Srinagar, home to the Dal Lake, a serene lake wrapped around by high mountains. A houseboat stay on the lake is highly recommended.

The route to Leh passes through Sonmarg, a popular hill station sitting on a lush green valley fed by Himalayan glaciers. The adventure begins from Sonmarg as you start climbing the mighty Zoji La, the first mountain pass on the route. You will totally cross 3 mountain passes on the way.

There are plenty of things to see enroute. Pay homage to the martyred soldiers at the Kargil war memorial. Gape in awe at the confluence at Nimmu – a point where the emerald waters of Indus merge with brown waters of the Zanskar River.

Lamayuru monastery, perched on a cliff is another spectacular sight. The landscape around it resembles the surface of the moon, earning it the nickname “moonland”. As you cross Drass, you will see the landscape change dramatically, with the lush greenery giving way to mountains of brownish hues.

The last stretch of the road to Leh is just breathtaking, with a barren land on both sides and golden mountains providing a surreal backdrop.

Duration: 8N-9D
Good to know: It’s the most comfortable road journey to reach Ladakh. It crosses over 3 passes and the ascent is gradual, helping in easier acclimatization.

Route 3: Amritsar – Dharamshala – Manali – Jispa – Leh (Ladakh) – Delhi

 

Amritsar is a bustling city, home to the elegant Golden Temple, a spiritual centre for Sikhs. As grandiose as it is, the temple exudes calm and peace.

The flag retreat ceremony at the Attari-Wagah border – The Indo-Pak border, 30 kms off Amritsar is a major draw here. Every evening, soldiers of both countries perform an orchestrated drill where they march towards each other while bringing down their respective national flags. You can almost feel the nationalistic fervor in the air.

Don’t forget to gorge on some lip-smacking Parathas, laced with a generous coating of butter. A 5 hour drive from here will get you to Dharamsala.

Dharamsala is a picturesque town surrounded by snow-capped peaks. It also serves as the Dalai Lama’s residence, which explains the prevalent Buddhist culture. The town has one of the most beautiful cricket stadiums in the world. The charming St. John Church, Norbulingka Institute, Dal Lake and Namgyal monastery are worth a visit.

Next up is Manali, one of the most popular hill-stations in India. While you’re here, check out the Hidimba temple, a unique shrine where history and heritage meets natural beauty. Hike to Jogni falls. It’s an easy 25 minute hike from Vashisht, where you can later wash away the tiredness at the local hot water spring.

There are plenty of adventure sports that you can indulge in, right from rock climbing to paragliding. If you want to take it easy, stroll along old Manali and kick back at a riverside café.

The Manali Leh highway, the gateway to Ladakh, takes you through some of the most beautiful terrains on the planet.

Since it’s a long journey, you can break it at Jispa, a beautiful town set along the Bhaga River. Engulfed by clouds and dripping in lush greenery, it’s a place worth visiting in its own right.

The road from Jispa is like an action-packed blockbuster movie. You will cross some of the highest passes in the world – Baralacha, Lachulung La and Tanglang La. Take some quick snaps at Suraj Tal, the third highest lake in India.

You will also take on the infamous Gata Loops, a series of 21 hairpin bends, considered one of the most treacherous routes in the world.

After a roller-coaster ride, you will arrive at Leh.

Duration: 14N-15D
Good to know: This route gives you a dose of everything in a short span of time – culture, history, cuisine, adventure and stunning landscapes.

Route 4: Delhi – Leh (Ladakh) – Khardung La – Nubra Valley – Chang La – Tso Pangong – Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Tanglang La – Leh – Delhi

After landing in Leh, you rest to adapt to the change in altitude. You can explore Leh the next day. The town has tonnes of sightseeing options right from palaces, stupas, war museums to colourful markets.

You can start the journey by heading to Nubra Valley. Being at a lower altitude than Leh, it helps in acclimatization. On this route you will cross over Khardung La pass, the world’s highest motorable road, at a whopping altitude of 18,380 feet.

Nubra Valley is famous for its arid deserts. It’s one of the most surreal landscapes – golden sand dunes ringed by towering mountains. You can explore the desert by riding the two-humped bactarian camel, a rare species endemic to this region. While you’re here, gape in awe at imposing statue of golden Buddha next to Diskit Monastery.

If you want to tread the offbeat path, ride to Turtuk, a quaint village on the Indo-Pak border. It’s one of the last villages in India to have a Balti culture.

From Nubra valley, you can ride over to Pangong Tso – a lake with sparkling blue waters, featured in the movie “3 idiots”. Stroll along the lake and immerse yourself in its overwhelming beauty. At night, you can sit by the lake and stargaze.

Later meet Pangong’s sibling – Tso Moriri, a lake of striking beauty. Its remoteness ensures that only a few travelers make it this far. So you can have this lake all to yourself. Birding enthusiasts will love this place as it attracts a number of migratory birds, including the elusive black necked crane. On the way, don’t forget to check out Tso Kar, a lake whose shores are partially covered in salt crusts.

After an unforgettable journey along the roof of the world, you can descend to Manali via the Manali – Leh highway.

Navigating through some of the most difficult roads, rugged terrains and shallow streams makes it a high voltage adventure. As tough as it is, it’s just as rewarding. The vistas enroute make it all worth the effort.

Duration: 9N-10D
Good to know: Since you are flying directly from Delhi to Leh, you are gaining altitude very quickly. Ensure that you acclimatize properly in Leh.

Route 5: Srinagar – Kargil – Leh (Ladakh) – Khardung La – Nubra Valley – Chang La – Tso Pangong – Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Tanglang La – Sarchu – Manali – Chandigarh

This route gives you the best of both worlds – the Srinagar Leh highway and the Manali-Leh highway.

Starting from Srinagar, you drive to Leh with a halt at Kargil. On the way, you can visit the Kargil war memorial, built in the memory of soldiers who lost their lives in the Kargil war. The confluence at Nimmu – the meeting point of the Indus and Zanskar rivers is another sight to behold. Stop at magnetic hill, a mysterious stretch, where cars supposedly defy the laws of physics. Once you reach Leh, relax the rest of the day.

Leh town has tonnes to keep you entertained. You can marvel at the panoramic views from Leh palace and shanti stupa, shop at Leh markets and visit the Indian army’s hall of fame – a monument dedicated to soldiers who guarded the borders.

The epic road trip from Leh starts after a day of acclimatization. On this journey, you will witness the arid deserts of Nubra Valley and ride over sand dunes on the back of bactarian camels. On the way take a snap at Khardung La – the world’s highest motorable road, where you will come within touching distance of snow-capped peaks.

Sit by some of the most beautiful lakes in the world – Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri. Camp beside them and stargaze all night long.

Ladakh is also the land of exquisite monasteries. Get a taste of Tibetan architecture at the Hemis, Thiksey and Lamayuru monastery.

The last bit is climactic as you drive down the Manali Leh highway, among the most exciting road trips in the world. You will see nature in all its glory!!

Duration: 14N-15D
Good to know: Since you are traveling to Leh from Srinagar, the ascent is gradual, helping in better acclimatization. While coming back, you are taking the Manali – Leh route, which is at a higher altitude. By this time though, your body would have adapted to the lower oxygen levels, making it easy on the return journey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Top 10 places to visit in Ladakh
Top 10 places to visit in Ladakh

There are very few places in the world as enchanting as Ladakh. Its mountainous landscapes, shiny blue lakes and scenic road journeys have been luring travelers from around the world.

Alluring beauty aside, there are plenty of attractions, right from beautiful monasteries and elegant palaces to quaint villages and High Mountain passes. Want to know which of these amazing places should be on your bucket list? Check out our cherry picked list of the top 10 places to visit in Ladakh.

Leh Palace

Sitting on a top of a hill, Leh palace is one of the finest examples of medieval Tibetan architecture. It’s often compared to world famous Potala palace in Lhasa. Made of stones, wood, mud and sand, the walls of the palace provide warmth in winters and create a cool ambiance in summers.

The interiors are adorned with crowns, ceremonial dresses, jewellery and artistic paintings, some as old as 450 years and made from colours derived from powdered stones and gems. Murals etched on the walls depict glory days of the past.

If that’s not fascinating enough, the palace provides spectacular views of the surrounding mountain range and the valley below.

Location: Leh
How to get there: Leh Palace is a short walk uphill from the Leh Market. Alternatively, you can drive up to the entrance.

 

Shanti Stupa

Shanti Stupa is a white-domed monument built on top of a steep hill facing snow-capped peaks. It was made by Japanese Buddhists along with the locals to celebrate 2500 years of Buddhism and as a symbol of peace. The stupa holds a golden Buddha statue and images of his birth and death.

Being at a vantage point, the stupa affords unadulterated views of the valley below. Lit up at night, it acquires a beauty of its own. If you want to witness a magical sunrise or sunset, there is no better place than this.

Location: Leh
How to get there: You can go by car up to its entrance.

Sangam at Nimmu

On the way to Leh, along the Srinagar-Leh highway lies the Sangam, a confluence of two rivers at Nimmu. It is a point where the emerald waters of the Indus merge with the brownish waters of Zanskar. It makes for a spectacular sight.

Location: Sham Valley
How to get there: It is 33 kms from Leh by road 

Lamayuru Monastery

A quaint village between Kargil and Leh, Lamayuru is known for its moon-like terrain, earning it the nickname “Moonland”.

Legend has it that a lama named ‘Naropa’ walked this land when it was submerged under water. On his request, the water receded, letting him the establish the monastery which is now the famed “Lamayuru Monastery”

One of the most beautiful monasteries in Ladakh, its interiors are embellished with jaw-dropping paintings and frescoes. A cave next to the prayer hall has statues of Naropa and his disciples, one of the highlights of this shrine.

Perched on a hill, the monastery also offers unparalleled views of the moonscapes around it.

Location: Lamayuru (Leh-Srinagar Highway)
How to get there: It is 116 kms from Leh by road.

Khardunga La Pass

Imagine what it would feel like to be on top of the world. No, we are not talking about the arduous climb to Everest. On the way to Nubra valley, a popular destination in Ladakh, lies Khardung La pass – the world’s highest motorable road. It’s located at a staggering altitude of 18,380 feet.

Stopping here for tea and admiring the surreal snow covered landscape around is on the bucket list of everyone who travels to Ladakh. Everything from rocks to roads to mountains are draped in snow. It almost feels like a winter wonderland.

The steep and rugged terrain, winding roads, furious winds and unpredictable weather means you will earn bragging rights for making it this far. No wonder, it’s a rite of passage amongst bikers, cyclists and travel junkies.

Note: Being at such a high altitude, you cannot stop here for more than 20 minutes. The oxygen levels are very low, so don’t linger around for too long.

Location: Khardung La Top
How to get there: It is 40 kms from Leh city by road.

Sand Dunes at Hunder

What if we told you one of the best experiences in Ladakh is lying on the desert and gazing at a million stars. You wouldn’t believe us right? After all, who expects to find a desert atop the Himalayas? Most of you may not be aware that Ladakh is actually a high altitude desert. It’s more than evident at the super scenic Nubra valley.

One of the most popular attractions in this valley is the village of Hunder. Every year, this place is swarmed with thousands of travelers, who come to witness sand dunes wrapped around by golden brown mountains.

The desert is also home to the double humped bactarian camel, a rare species found only in this region of Ladakh. A ride on the backs of these sturdy animals is surely one of the most memorable experiences to have.

Location: Nubra Valley
How to get there: It is 120 kms from Leh by road.

Turtuk

Straddling borders with Pakistan, Turtuk is the closest village to the LOC that tourists are permitted to visit. The landscape here changes dramatically with barren wastelands giving way to lush greenery, with an abundance of apricot and peach fields.

Inhabited by a Muslim population, this quaint village is one of the last towns in India to have a prominent Balti culture. Try the delicious Balti cuisine here, especially the apricot based stew.

With its serene ambience, scenic vistas and the aquamarine waters of river Shyok meandering through the village, Turtuk is as heavenly as it gets. Being an offbeat place, you can soak up this beauty all by yourself.

Location: Nubra Valley
How to get there: It is 205 kms from Leh by road.

Pangong Tso Lake

Ladakh is home to many high altitude lakes, but none can match the grandeur of Pangong Tso. Brought to limelight by the movie “3 idiots”, it’s now the most popular destination in Ladakh.

Flanked by mountains of brownish hues, walking along the banks of the azure blue lake is akin to living postcards in reality. Its uniqueness though, lies the changing shades of the lake as the day progresses. Be ready to whip out your cameras and catch this mystic phenomenon live. At night, watch the sky blanketed by a million stars as you camp next to the lake.

Come night or day, there is always magic in the air at Pangong.

Location: Tso Pangong, Changthang plateau
How to get there: It is 160 kms from Leh by road.
 

Hemis Monastery

Hemis monastery is the largest monastery in Ladakh. It’s widely known for playing host to the popular Hemis festival every June. Its exquisite architecture, serene surroundings and views of neighbouring mountains make it a must visit on your Ladakh trip.

The monastery has a one of the rarest collections of Thangka paintings, murals, Buddhist scriptures and stupas made of gold and silver. The walls are also covered with paintings of Buddha.

If you happen to visit during festival time, you can see masked dancers performing, listen to traditional music, watch people strolling about in colourful attires and gorge on delicious local cuisine.

Location: Off Karu, on the Leh-Manali highway
How to get there: It is 44 kms from Leh by road. 

Tso Moriri

Tso Moriri is Pangong’s alter ego, similar in its bluish complexion and astounding beauty. Located higher than Pangong Lake, its remoteness means, it’s visited by less tourists, and therein lies its appeal.

With brownish mountains towering over it on one side and a lush green countryside on the other, it is like staring at a live oil painting.

Bird enthusiasts have another reason to cheer, as the lake attracts a number of migratory birds, right from sea gulls, Brahmin ducks and geese to the rare and elusive black necked cranes.

For a more immersive experience, you can camp at Korzok village, in the vicinity of the lake.

Location: Korzok Village, Changthang Plateau
How to get there: It is 220 kms from Leh by road.


Pind Bhaba Trek
Pind Bhaba Trek

A bunch of us friends have been wanting to start trekking again and based on insights and options by Tapas from myhimalayan adventure we decided to do a moderately difficult trek on the Pind Bhabha pass. Tapas from My Himalayan Adventure arranged for a experienced cook and helper who doubled up as guides as well and they met us at the beginning of our journey in Chandigarh.

Of course this was a great research trip for India Someday and we can definitely recommend and help plan this trek for any adventure seekers out there.

Day 1

Having flown Into Chandigarh we met up with the cook and helper here and then drove up in the Himalayas towards a small village Kafnu. We had hired a Toyota Innova (read more about car hire in India) but would recommend a Tata Sumo or Tempo Traveler as the camping equipment take a up a lot of space. we stopped for lunch at the famous Giani Dhaba in Dharampur and then made our way to the planned stop for the night, a small town called Rampur. But as evening set in so did the mist not allowing us to drive any further and we set ourselves up Aya guesthouse in Narkanda. The guest house was 700 INR a night for a simple room with hot water and a TV.

Travel time: 12.30 pm to 7pm
Chandigarh to Narkanda
Distance 150km

Day 2

Starting not too early at around 8.40 we made our way to Kafnu. The base village for the trek. We had to stop for our daily rations and food, in a small village of Jhakri where we got almost all the essentials other than cheese. That was quite a disappointment -:). Though it was only 120 odd km it took us nearly nine hours together.

The guesthouse in Kafnu was not too clean but guess we were too tired to complain. At Kafnu we met the local guide and his brother who also helped us arrange for horses to carry the tents and bags etc. We had a early dinner and got ready for our four day trek across the Kinnaur region of Himachal to the barren Spiti region.

Day 3

A early morning we had a nice hot water shower, our last for a few days. The horses and guide came to pick us at the guest house. We parceled some fantastic Aloo Paratha for a incredible deal for just 15 INR and we were off. It was a little overcast and a slight drizzle, we had expected this and had all out bags wrapped in rain protective gear. The first km was till the end of the village and we then crossed over a small bridge and entered a dirt path with the forest on one side and the river flowing on the other. It was a nice gradual incline walk and not very strenuous. As we continued on this path there were two large ice blocks through which the river was flowing. They were really neat to look at and we stopped nearby to grab our breakfast and a well deserved break. As we continued on we had a steep climb in the forests and the constant rain was being blocked by the trees. The forests then gave way to a meadow with different colored flowers on either side. There was then another couple of km long walk through the forests with a fun bamboo river crossing. And after a very very steep ascend we finally came into a very game of thrones and lords of the rings like locale. Big green meadow, lots of cows grazing, high mountains bearing down on us from both sides and the ever faithful river cutting the land in two. We found a forest lodge there which was empty and we set up our sleeping bags right in it. This worked out well as the rain and cold would have not gone down too well with our city addicted bodies. We climbed 6 hours in and went from 7900 ft to 10400 ft.

Travel time – 8.30 pm to 2 pm
Kafnu to Mulling
Altitude – 7800 ft to 10700 ft
Distance 15 km

Day 4

We had a nice early start as today we had decided to cover two days of the trek in one. To acclimatize a little better we should have broken our stay and stopped at a place called Kara but we decided to push for it and combine the two 6 km walks into one day and end the trip at Phustirang. So we started early morning to ensure we reach on time and the beginning of the walk was pleasant through big boulders. Forests and then we hit the meadows. We spent a little too much time at one part as we had a little incident with the drone here ( yes we should have not tried stunts up in the mountains) as there was too much wind we crash and burned. The meadows were laced with some river crossings which were a little tricky and freezing. We were glad that there was enough sun to warm us up rather quickly.. From the meadows we had another steep climb till a glacier which we had to cross. I was a little scared while doing this to be but the walking sticks helped ease some of those fears. We then walked on for another hour up a gradual incline along the valley with views of a sheer drop into the river. We then came to a open space which was our pit stop for the night. A lovely camp site, which when we arrived was filled with a lot of sheep grazing, a tiny stream running through it, and surrounded by the high mountains.

We all felt a little strain due to the altitude and our heads did hurt, though some nice food and eating half a garlic along with some Electral helped us quite a bit.
Sleep was a stranger as well, and were all taking turns at walking about like zombies at night. Guess we anxious for our climb to the peak and pass the next day.

Travel time – 6.30 pm to 3.30 pm
Mulling to Phustirang
Altitude – 10700 ft to 13500 Ft
Distance 14 km

Day 5

Another early morning start, and a day i don’t think any of us were prepared for climb to the pass. From the beginning till we reached the pass it was really steep and we struggled initially with the thin air and altitude. We did get into a rhythm and slow sure steps helped reduce the distance. The sun stayed away and so did the cold, the temperature was ideal. The views as we climbed did include a lot more snow and the peak on the other side of the pass we were climbing We got to the peak by 11 am, it took us nearly 5 hours for that climb. After spending a few minutes at the top and taking in the view we started our descent into the Kaza valley. The Descent was quite tricky, because of the ice and man it was slippery. we tried sliding down using our rain coats, not too successfully as we could not stop our free fall. and when we tried walking down we fell down quite often as well, at least i did. This was a difficult part but also entertaining. Being clumsy on ice can be comical, but falling down on it painful.

Once we completed the descent and reached the plains in the Kaza valley. The views were spectacular, Blue skies, sun shining and the snow peaked pass in the background. But from the plains to the camping site at Chochoden was a long walk. It was simple and straight with not too much inclines and declines. The walk was along the river again, but this had brackish water. As the water mixed with the greyish sand. unfortunately we forgot to fill water and had to struggle to the campsite with parched mouths. This last part was a simple walk compared to the steep climb and struggling descent but it was long and seemed never ending. The views though were beautiful. The snow desert and its endless valleys just are really enchanting.

we camped at Chochoden, a little before actually and the wind really picked up and hammered away at the tents. It was cold, but i guess we were just happy to have stopped walking

After a nice light dinner and some hot soup, we were a lot happier and enjoyed the unbelievable sky. The stars are something us city boys never got to see, and the sheer number of stars was amazing, barring the cold i really had the urge to sleep outside the tent.

Travel time – 6 am to 5 pm
Phustirang to Chochoden
Altitude – 13500 ft to 16000 ft down to 13500 ft
Distance 15 km

Day 6

Another early morning start, some jam sandwiches for breakfast to get the sugar going, and we were ready and eager to get back to civilization and have a hot water bath. That and internet being our motivation we walked at a brisk pace as we headed to Mud. The walk was really scenic but repetitive, with the valley, river and desert mountains forming a endless chain. The sun burnt us this day, it was really hot and well we were tired grimy and dirty. I decided that i am going to push through and reach as fast as possible. The walk was really easy with most of the walk being flat. there were a few inclines which were tricky because of loose stones and gravels but in general a really easy walk. It was y nearly 10 km of this terrain until we reached the last parts of the walk nering Mud town, we saw Yaks, green meadows and the tiny hamlet perched up on a hillock. To get into the main town we had to cross a river, which was a little difficult for the mules and fun for us. A suspension bridge strung with prayer flags, and then a short steep uphill climb to civilization, telephones, and a Mirror :).

Travel time – 7 am to 3 pm
Chochoden to Mud
Altitude – 13500 ft to 10000 ft
Distance 12 km

This was a fantastic trek which took us through so many different facets of the mountain, from its forests, meadows, snow, heat, rubble, and all of this in 4 days. For any person that is looking for an adventure and loves nature this trek is perfect. And we had a great experience with My Himalayan Adventure.


Our Favorite Homestays In India
Our Favorite Homestays In India

There is a saying in India, ‘Athiti Devo Bhava’ which literally translates into ‘Guest is God’. That is exactly the kind of service and thought process that goes into many home-stays in India. Anytime you walk into an Indian family home be expected to be treated extremely well. The home stays in India range from Royal palaces to lovely bungalows and even small two bedroom apartments in cities. We at India Someday highly recommend home-stays because they just enrich your experience of the city. You not only get a local’s perspective on the city, but delicious home cooked food along with it.

When we began India Someday and began helping people travel to India, never did we once think that we would come across lovely bed and breakfasts and homestays which would make someone’s trip to India that much more memorable. After 6 years of running the company and having send 3000+ people to different homestays in the country we have tried to make a shortlist of some of our favorite homestays in India.

Jaipur Friendly Villa – Jaipur

Run by a lovely couple the Mehra’s this lovely home is tucked away in a quiet residential part of Jaipur. This is a cosy accommodation which comes with perks like a large projector to watch films, the charming Shveta and Kul who are always ready for a conversation. Each room of course has en suite bathroom with 24 hours supply of running water (both hot and cold), air conditioning, and all modern amenities that you would need in a room. The two terraces are great places to lounge after a long day of sightseeing. Shveta and Kul both love helping people plan their day in Jaipur so ask them as many questions. They run an absolutely amazing and friendly home-stay, Oh and I must not forget the breakfast! local food cooked fresh and delicious forevery morning.

Sunnymead Bed and Breakfast – Shimla

This charming little colonial style property lies just before the chaos of mall road in Shimla. Hidden away by a long flight of stairs, this is one of our favorite places in the mountains. And the best thing about the property is its owner Madhavi, the most delightful lady you could meet, forever smiling, a world of information about the mountains, hidden walking routes and a great cook. This place has four bedrooms, three double rooms and one small single room. A common area with a cozy fireplace, nearly gourmet style food, and lovely views from the rooms and veranda of the hills. Just a point to note is that if you are afraid of dogs and cats then this place is not meant for you as there are plenty of in house resident pets.

Tree of life – Delhi

More a bed and breakfast than a homestay, but this lovely property is hone to Ashwani bazaz and his delightful family. In the leafy and green residential neighborhood in Saket Delhi, tree of life has seven rooms and the family lives on the top floor of the building. The rooms and spacious and clean and have all the amenities like television, air conditioning or heating in winter, and earthy Indian interiors with a modern touch. The breakfast is fresh and cooked by the staff. The biggest draw to the place though is Ashwani’s insight on the city. A big foodie himself he has the best suggestions for places to eat and the hidden gems that make Delhi special. His mum does run another special place called life tree and that also is just as nice and in the market area of Lajpat Nagar.

Mohan niwas – Jodhpur

Descendants of the Royal family, the owners of Mohan niwas are a father daughter duo. The house is full of character and trinkets, pictures and showcases the glorious history of the Royal family. The breakfast here is one of the best spreads you will have and don’t be in a hurry to leave as when you sit down with Madanji conversations get interesting and then you inevitably end up sitting for longer than you expected. They have five rooms and each. Located close enough to the old city maybe 15-20 minutes ride out its a lovely Place to come back to after the hustle of the old city.

Dewra – udaipur

This place is right up on our list, in the a small village Sisarma seven km away from Udaipur, is this beautiful home of colonel and his family. They live in one section where they serve you a delicious breakfast and meals or you can share a beer with them in the evening on the terrace which has a fantastic view of the entire city of Udaipur. Having worked for the Maharajah of Udaipur for the longest time hospitality is in this families blood and they are fantastic hosts. The rooms are nicely decorated and are extremely large. Local furniture and rugs brighten the room. They do have a few friendly dogs roaming the property. And you would wake up in the morning and spot peacocks and plenty of other birds. You can take a few short hikes from. So Dewra means the house of the gods and the story of how they found the place and build a house around the temple within there Compund is quite fascinating.

Seetalvan Apple Orchards – Seetalvan

Seetalvan Orchard homestay view Seetalvan Orchard homestay view

This farmstay is in a small village 60 kilometres north of Shimla. Imagine 6 wooden cabins tucked away in the Indian Himalayas. A wood-fire pizza oven, great Indian food, a warm fire place and common room, a evening born fire and with that two lovely owners Meenakshi and. They live in a separate house maybe 50 flight of stairs above the rooms and are always there for advice and conversation, but also give you enough space to just soak in the view of the property. Each room has a Verandah which overlooks nothing but the Himalayan mountain range and you could snuggle up with a hot chai, blanket and book for days. You could explore the small towns nearby and visit a lovely little church, one of the oldest in India if we are not mistaken. If you visit in September it is apple season and the colours of the orchard are spectacular. A lovely offbeat destination for some downtown. Definitely the other
side of India compared to the cities in Rajasthan and Varanasi.

Ashray homestay – Varanasi

Another homestay made special because of the owners. The first thing we have to mention is there amazing food, we could go back there just to eat. The location is unfortunately not on the ghats in Varanasi but the wealth of knowledge that the Kapoors have about Varanasi history and heritage make up for that. And it is a half an hour walk to the ghats and some times Kamalji would accompany guests and share little details about the alleys, trinkets of information that make Varanasi so interesting. This city can have a profound effect on you, the fact that living and dead seamlessly coexist can be alarming for a few so it is good to have the comfort of a home to go back to at the end of day. They have four rooms and have recently renovated the rooms on the first floor.

Note: We (someone from the Indiasomeday team) have stayed at all of these properties and recommend them to our guests as well. So if you would like to stay at any of these or a combination of them during your trip to India we would love to help you plan your trip.

Fabia and sorayas – Mumbai

This place is a gem in the madness and structured chaos of Mumbai. In a central location in a interesting part of the city this homestay is one of the best airbnb properties in Mumbai.
Run by a mother daughter duo, they show you Mumbai through there eyes and also have some fantastic tours. They show case the history of Mumbai, and take you to places where tourists don’t often wander to. The apartment is on the top floor of a seven story apartment and has two rooms for rent. The rooms are comfortable and homely. The pricing also for Mumbai is great and competly value for money. The highlight other than Soraya and Fabia themselves is the lovely terrace (a luxury in Mumbai). We live hanging out with these ladies and are sure that you will too.


Our 10 Favourite Things To Do in India
Our 10 Favourite Things To Do in India

We believe India should be on everyone’s travel bucket list all the way on top. Not just because of our exotic culture and diverse landscapes. Also because there are so many things to do in India that you won’t be able to do anywhere else in the world. From staying at old elaborately crafted palaces to enjoying the views over snow-peaked mountains. We made a list of our Team’s and guests top favourite things to do in India:

1. The Taj Mahal in Agra

Yes, we know, it’s quite an obvious one. You might say it’s overrated. Due to an extensive renovation process going on and parts of it being covered in scaffolding you might also say it lost its magical touch. No it did not! The Taj Mahal is one of the most fascinating and most stunning monuments in the world. It doesn’t have world wonder status for no reason! See for yourself and then judge. Check out our route suggestions for Delhi, Agra and Rajasthan for more things to do in India along with a visit to the Taj Mahal.

2. Tiger Safari at a National Park

India has some magnificent national parks with great flora and fauna to experience. But the main purpose travellers visit these parks is to see the great Bengal tiger. The good news: its population is slowly growing again in the subcontinent’s protected areas. One of the most popular parks due to its proximity to Agra and Jaipur is the Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan. Other good parks to spot the royal cat are Kanha, Pench, Bandhavgarh, Tadoba or Jim Corbett National Park. So to feel like Mowgli in ‘The Jungle Book’ (supposedly set at Pench National Park) head to these remote natural spots and bring along some good luck! But be prepared that accommodations in the protected areas are expensive. To get there you will mostly have to book private transport as public transport options would not exist. Also very often the Jeep Safaris are booked out three months in advance!

Tiger Safari Amongst the best things to do in India: a tiger safari at a National Park

3. Outdoor activities in the mountains

Oh the Himalayas! One of the largest mountainous area in the world with the highest mountains in the world. Here you experience views which make you feel so small and irrelevant like you would have never imaged before. There are so many things to do: day and multi-day hikes, paragliding, bungee jumping, zip lining, rafting, skiing and so on. Check out Coralie’s trip to Leh and Ladakh in the Himalayas and Joanna’s and Alejandro’s trip to the north-eastern mountains.

If you come in winter check out Western Ghats along the west coast from Maharashtra to Kerala. Here you can hike in between tea- and coffee plantations, find hidden waterfalls and enjoy the subtropical rain forests older than any monument you can find in India. And it’s pleasantly warm in winter. That’s what Daphne did on her 14-days-trip across South India. Who thought India is just old stones and urban chaos, think again!

4. Houseboat in the Backwaters of Kerala

The Backwaters in the centre of Kerala in South-West-India are a paradise of water lilies covered lakes and small winding canals overgrown by palm and fruit trees and little villages far from urban chaos. Being a labyrinth of 900km waterways parallel to the coast of the Arabian sea this place offers serenity and peace for the nature loving traveller. And what better way to explore this piece of a natural world wonder by renting a private houseboat for one night. You can cruise through the landscape while eating fresh fish and fruits and other delicacies cooked by your very own cook and hanging out in your private lounge in the front. The best treat of your India trip! Read about the best time to travel to Kerala and a night on a houseboat and see Tom and Amy’s trip to South India for some inspiration.

5. Beaches of Goa

From one to another relaxing treat. If you are looking for a little bit of beach vacation at the end or beginning of your trip there is no better place in India than Goa. Wide sand beaches with palm groves leading to small village huts serving delicious fish and other culinarian treats. Most resorts have beach huts from which you can hear the waves break or watch the sun set over the Arabic sea.

There are many things to do for everyone:  There is crazy nightlife for party animals and quiet beaches for sun worshippers. Goa has fun hostels for long-term travellers with small budgets and luxury resorts for the comfort guest. There are many restaurants and cafes with international cuisines. But be aware that most resorts are booked out for December and January months in advance as that is main season! If you are interested in more things to do in Goa than sunbathing at the beach, read this article by one of our travellers about things to do in Goa.

 

Goa_Reiseziele Indien There are many things to do in Goa but most people come to relax at the beaches.

6. Homestays of local families

What are travellers hoping to experience when they decide to come to India? A culture that is so substantially different from their own. How can they achieve that? By meeting locals and getting to know their mentality, traditions, spiritual beliefs and just simply their daily routines. There is no better way to make this experience part of your trip to India than by staying at homestays.

These are basically homes of local families who rent out a room or more at their own houses. They cook for you, they chat with you, they tell their stories and show you how they live their life. Also the owners can give you a perspective on the city from the eyes of a local, not a chain hotel. They suggest you definitely the best things to do in every city. Our guest Henning from Germany decided to stay entirely in Homestays during his trip though Rajasthan.

7. Stay at a 500-year-old palace

All over Rajasthan and central and north India you can find historical sights of long gone glory days of the Moguls and Maharajas. Many bigger cities but even small rural villages were once the seats of different ruling families. They protected their own from neighbouring enemies by building large forts with amazingly crafted palaces inside. Many of these strongholds were transformed into luxury hotels over the last decades since India became a democracy and the royal families lost their powers. So you can stay in hotel rooms with very detailed traditional wall murals and antique furniture, looking over royal land like the kings and queens did already many centuries ago. And that is not always as expensive as you might think! Plan with us and we can tell you where you can stay like a royal guest on a small budget.

Deogarh Deogarh Mahal is a former royal palace transformed into a hotel.

8. Festivals

India has incredible spiritual festivals. There is Holi, the festival of colours, where everyone plays with dry colours and water and can feel like a child again. Or the festival of light called Diwali which is the most important festivals for Hindus and considered their new years’ celebration. Ramadan is the one month long fast of Muslims that comes along with great delicious feasts at the rise of the moon for 30 days and the big Eid celebration at the end is another great. In Mumbai people celebrate Ganesh Charturthi, the holiday that marks the birthday of the beloved god with the elephant head, extensively. There are so many festivals and they are all so different to what we celebrate at home abroad. Learn more about the most important festivals here.

9. Spiritual and rejuvenating experience

Yoga and Ayurveda originated in India and are practised all over the country. Traditional Indian medicine and treatments are all about using the healing powers of nature and from within our body and mind. For everyone who can stay a little longer in India to find peace and spiritual and physical healing there are many ashrams and Ayurveda institutes. Mostly, as a travel agent, we can’t book most places for you but we can advise what places fit your needs and how to get in touch with them. If you still want to travel for adventure and sightseeing but also practise yoga from time to time, you can stay at certain hotels and resorts where they offer yoga classes as a one-time activity. In most cities  private teachers also offer yoga classes on regular basis.

Yoga India Viele Reisende in Indien kommen um Yoga zu praktizieren.

10. Responsible Tourism Activities

India has many Responsible Tourism activities that make you understand the culture in a sensible way. Reality Tours & Travel runs slum tours in Mumbai and Delhi that aim to break down the negative stereotypes people might have of such communities. They invest 80% of their profits into social activities in the slums. While you are in Agra check out the wonderful Sheroes Hangout Café which is run by survivors of acid attacks. The proceeds go fully to their medical and legal aid. Kabani runs responsible tours in Kerala which educate the visitors about the traditions of local ethnic groups. You can combine those tours with an individual trip across South India.

Of course there are many more things to do in India and they are all so different from each other. We can suggest many more activities that fit your expectations of a perfect trip to India. Plan your India trip with us now and we can find together the best route and itinerary for you.


Weather in India in July
Weather in India in July

AN OVERVIEW OF JULY WEATHER IN INDIA

In July half of the year has passed and India has seen all possible climates already: from snow to heat to rain, from dryness to humidity and from cold and hot temperatures. By end of June the monsoon covers the most of the country with a thick and wet blanket of clouds and weather in India can be called nothing else but wet. From Kerala in the south to the Himalayas in the north, from Rajasthan in the west to Sikkim and Darjeeling in the east, it rains regularly and heavy in all regions. Find out more about the effects of the rain season and how it can impact your travels in this blog.

farmers_india Agriculture picks up in July as the necessary water is flowing. Fun to observe the busy farmers.

Most locals will be still quite happy with the weather as the hot summer months are finally over and the rains provide a cooler and fresher air to breathe. Temperatures drop between 5 and 10 °C on a monthly average. Rivers, waterfalls and lakes fill up and therefore the agricultural industry becomes busy. It is a great time for farmers but also for trekking and tropical nature enthusiasts.

SOUTH INDIA IN JULY

Kerala faces slightly less heavy rain showers in July compared to June but it rains more often and long-lasting in this month. It is a great time for trekking and national park visit but we aware of the blood-sucking ledges. But if you prefer less wet holidays with lots of sun July might not be the best time to visit Kerala.

The constant rain can also cause interruptions for travels and activities. In Goa many resorts, restaurants and shacks will be closed from May to September, similarly at the beaches of Kerala. If you find a resort that stays open though you can catch great discounts on stays, even at luxury stays. And both Goa and Kerala offer lush greenery in the countryside.

If you still decide to travel despite the humid and wet weather we would recommend to concentrate on the Western Ghats, a 1600km long mountain range listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site parallel to the coast of the Arabian sea. The region is covered with national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, forest reserves as well as charming hill stations. You can’t just find various wild and unique flora and fauna species in those hills but also endless fruit, tea and coffee plantations. And in July they offer cooler temperatures and less stuffy air than in the cities and plains of India. Wayanad, Munnar and Thekkady are such places but also the Dudhsagar Waterfall Hike in Goa. Ooty in Tamil Nadu is very popular amongst domestic tourists to flee the annoying conditions of the cities in the monsoons.

When the monsoon hits Indian land in Kerala the sun rarely shines and it can rain a lot! In July the beaches loose their charm as it rains and storms a lot. However, beach resorts offer great discount if you don’t mind the weather!

Tamil Nadu doesn’t face the entire power of the rain season in July yet as the monsoon hits this region later from August to November with the wettest month being November. But even here it can be quite cloudy and therefore cooler in July. Tamil Nadu tends to be very hot in the rest of the year (except winters) so it might be a great time to visit, especially if you come mainly for the sightseeing of temples and religious monuments.

NORTH INDIA IN JULY

By end of June and beginning of July the monsoon has also hit Rajasthan and the other central and northern regions with full power. All the popular cities of the North like Jaipur, Agra, Delhi, Varanasi, Rishikesh and Amritsar face the highest precipitation and number of rainy days in July and August.

Even though the sun doesn’t shine often through the heavy clouds the temperatures just drop slightly and the humidity increases. Travelers who prefer humid heat to dry heat should come to Rajasthan now but it will leave you feeling exhausted if you are physically active.

The cooler regions at the foothills of the Himalayas seem like a good escape but don’t underestimate the power of the monsoon when it hits the mountains and cloudburst appear. The regions of Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarkhand have experienced many such extreme weather events when suddenly a huge amount of water was dropped in very less time. In 2013 thousands of residents, tourist and pilgrims were killed near the holy temple of Kedarnath when a landslide caused by such a cloudburst came from the mountains and carried away everything in its way. Even though that happened in June, cloud bursts and landslides are more common in July so keep this in mind if you want to travel and trek in the mountains despite the rain.

In Ladakh im Norden Indiens wird es eventuell etwas wolkig, aber es regnet selten! There isn’t much rain in the mountain ranges of Ladakh so you can enjoy the blue skies and great view!

If you want to escape the heat and the monsoon all together and enjoy stunning landscapes in the mountains, Ladakh or Lahual Spiti might be the best destination in India in July for you. The state in the most northern part on India in the midst of the high mountain ranges of the Himalayas offers breathtaking views and great opportunities for hikes. Ladakh is also called the cold dessert for a reason as the precipitation is very low up here. In July the temperatures are at its maximum high for this region but rarely reach higher than 30°C. But it is also the main tourist season for this part of India so be prepared that it won’t be as tourist-free as the rest of India.

The east stream of the monsoon winds hit the north east of India by beginning of June and some regions like Meghalaya get an intense amount of rain. Rather plan a visit to this region after October.

July certainly offers a rather difficult weather in India. It rains a lot, it is humid and it might get hot. The sun shines rarely and flooding and landslides are common. But while the cities might be less hospitable due to the dense infrastructure and lack of drainage systems, in the rural areas and especially the hill stations will welcome you with lush greenery and strong impressive waterfalls. . The very north of India in the Himalayas offers the best choice of travel destinations in June as the temperatures are moderate and the precipitation low.

Plan your trip to India in June with us now and we will suggest the best places to enjoy during this travel time.


Best time to visit India – Kerala
Best time to visit India – Kerala

When shall you go on a Kerala Holiday?

India has a very distinctive climate and a different concept of seasons. While the winters are mostly pleasant with moderate temperatures and almost no precipitation the summer months of April, May, October and November can get unbearably hot. From June to September the wet monsoon covers almost the entire country and brings lots of rain and humidity. Therefore, one needs to especially consider the climate to specify the best time to visit Kerala. But also festivals play an important role to decide when to travel. Get in touch with us if you want to know where to go at which time of the year in Kerala.

Munnar in the Western Ghats is famous for its tropical mountain climate as well as the tea plantations Munnar in the Western Ghats is famous for its tropical mountain climate as well as the tea plantations

Weather in Kerala around the year

Kerala is situated in a tropical climate zone which means that the region faces the typical humid to wet weather conditions like most of the planet’s rain forests. The annual average rainfall is higher than in most of India and the air feels often more humid than elsewhere. Due to the proximity to the equator and the warm dry winds from the north it should actually be very hot in Kerala but fortunately the high mountain ranges of the Western Ghats prevent the temperatures to rise much higher than 35 °C. All together the temperature in Kerala doesn’t vary much but it is of course cooler in the hill stations of Munnar, Wayanad or Thekkady than at the coast or in the cities of Kochi, Trivandrum, Thrissur or Calicut.

Winter starts by end of November and ends around end of February and beginning of March. The temperature rises rarely above 30°C and it rains very less to never. In the mountain ranges of Wayanad, Munnar and Thekkady you should definitely pack some warmer clothes as it can get quite cold in the morning and evening hours. You will definitely not require air-conditioned rooming. Since it is the best time to travel to this region it is also the main season for tourism. Be prepared for crowds at some of the sights.

Marari is a little untouched village at the beach with only a few hotel resorts. Perfect in the winters! Marari is a little untouched village at the beach with only a few hotel resorts. Perfect in the winters!

While other popular places to visit in India like Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Goa and Madhya Pradesh get very hot in the summer months from March to end of May, the heat stays moderate in Kerala as the Western Ghats stop the hot winds and the Arabian Sea offers a constant cold breeze along the coast to enter the state. If it rains it usually comes with a lot of thunder and lightning and flooding is not rare but the water dries up quickly. The only issue is the high humidity which makes physical activities seem very exhausting. If you prefer to share the sights, mountain treks and national parks with less other tourists and want to stay at top-end accommodations for lower prices this season is perfect for you.

The monsoon hits Indian land first in Kerala around end of May or beginning of June. Kerala faces 85% of its annual rainfall from June until end of September. Since the wet and heavy clouds hit the western Ghats first in Kerala the precipitation is extremely high here and the humidity strong. If you do enjoy the tropical climate and rather explore nature in this weather than in the bright hot sun, then this is the time to come to Kerala. However, you might also get stuck indoors when the rain gets too heavy. On nature treks you will encounter a couple of blood-sucking ledges but locals always know how to prevent that. Due to landslides and floodings roads and train tracks might get blocked so that even your travel plans could come to a halt. So be prepared to be flexible.

South India faces another phase of monsoon from October to November and sometimes even until mid-December. The North-East-Monsoon doesn’t bring as much wetness as the earlier South-West-Monsoon but it can come in heavy with strong downpours, thunder and lightning. It gets as warm and humid as in the summer months of March to May.

Due to the climate conditions in Kerala there are more international tourists in winter than in the rest of the year. However, Kerala is a popular destination for domestic tourists, especially honeymooners all year around. And Indians do love the rainy season so even during the monsoon they will travel to the region around the Western Ghats.

Between May and September, the beaches turn empty. The current of the sea is too strong to swim and the wind and weather doesn’t allow you to sunbath either. Many resorts and restaurants close down for multiple months. The popular Backwaters are in season all year around but in the summer months of April and May you might not be able to explore as much of the river and lake landscape as the water levels are too low to explore all areas.

The best festivals in Kerala to visit around the year

Due to its interesting history of colonisation and trade Kerala is home to many religions: Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Therefore, there are many spiritual and cultural festivals to be celebrated but the biggest and most exotic ones are the Hinduist ones.

28451935993_8bb3ae800c_k Thrissur Poraam, a temple festival where dozens of elephants are being decorated and showcased in parades, is one of the biggest festivals of the region. © shankar s.

The temple festivals in Kerala are as colourful and impressive as the temples themselves. The so called Poorams happening in April and May in many temples around Kerala, mostly in the Ernakulam and Thrissur districts, are famous for the loud and exciting processions with dozens of heavily decorated elephants.

In July, August and September traditional snake boat races are happening in the backwaters and the rivers or Kerala. Nowadays it often becomes a political event rather than a religious one but it is fun to watch nonetheless.

Onam is the traditional harvest festival of Kerala celebrated for 10 days in September. It is the biggest fest for the locals so houses get decorated, feasts are being served and games are being played. The quirkiest part of this festival is the Onam Pulikkali Tiger Play, a folk art where men dress up as tigers and their hunters to dance to traditional music. A very funny parade to observe!

The Pulikkali tiger play in Thrissur is definitely the quirkiest festival in Kerala. The Pulikkali tiger play in Thrissur is definitely the quirkiest festival in Kerala. © Felix Francis

Kerala honours every year its spiritual and cultural diversity by even celebrating big Christian feasts and the Eid-Festivals of Islam. Friends of other communities are invited home and traditions are being shared. In a country divided by religion after independence Kerala serves as a role model to religious freedom and peace. But that also means all around the year there is at least one big festival celebrated in some part of the relative small state.

If religious festivals with big crowds are not your thing, maybe the Kochi-Muziris Biennale is. The contemporary art festival held every winter from December to March in Fort Kochi is one of its kind in India. One can find art exhibitions of all mediums all around the city in galleries and open spaces.

If you interested in travelling to Kerala, plan your trip with us now.


South India in May and June
South India in May and June

VISITING SOUTH INDIA IN MAY AND JUNE

To be honest, we aren’t big fans of May and June. It’s hot. As in super hot! And humid! This doesn’t just mean less travelers coming to India but also that our subtle travel expert brains work a little slower than usual. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t travel to India. In fact, it only means that the mountains are calling!

And it’s not only the foothills and mountain ranges of the Himalayas that should get all the attention. From Mumbai in the north to the most southern tip of the subcontinent parallel to the western coast run the Western Ghats, a 1600km long mountain range listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Covered with national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, forest reserves as well as charming hill stations.

As soon as it starts raining in the Western Ghats the waterfalls and lakes fill with streaming water. As soon as it starts raining in the Western Ghats the waterfalls and lakes fill with streaming water.

You can’t just find various wild and unique flora and fauna species in those hills but also endless fruit, tea and coffee plantations. And in May and June they offer cooler temperatures and less stuffy air than in the cities and plains of India.

As soon as the rains start by beginning or middle of June the nature changes its color from brown-yellow to lush green within a couple of days. Waterfalls appear and rivers and lakes fill up. It’s a celebration of life! The cloudy sky and cooling rain bring a drop in the temperatures and fresher more breathable air.

The most popular amongst the hill stations is Munnar which is reachable in 3h from Kochi and in 5h from Madurai.
It’s more a region than a certain city or village worth visiting. In fact, the city of Munnar is a cluster of shops selling locally harvest products and cheap accommodations. Therefore, we rather suggest to stay in the countryside amongst tea plantations, dense rain forest and high mountain views. There are numerous homestays and boutique hotels meeting every kind of traveler’s expectations and budget.

Things to do range from roadtrips up mountain roads through the breathtaking landscapes, visit tea manufactories and museums and stroll or even hike through the tea plantations and forests. The beautiful Eravikulam National Park is home to the endangered Nilgiri Thar and is located only 35km from the city centre of Munnar.

Thekkady can be reached in 3.5h from Munnar. The drive there is quite an experience in itself as the roads are built in several serpentines running up and down the mountains covered in dense forest and more tea plants. Thekkady is a region that accommodates the famous Periyar National Park. Spread across 777 km2, the wildlife sanctuary is home to tigers (no chance to see them though) as well as elephants, bisons and deers who often come to the artificial lake in the center of the evergreen park to drink. Your best chance to get a glimpse is to go on a bamboo boat ride or on a guided safari tour with tribal ranchers.

The little village of Kummily is the closest to the entry of the park and offers many nice restaurants and accommodations. The region is also famous for spice plantations you can visit and learn more the local culinary and Ayurveda secrets.

Wayanad Is a region in the Western Ghats further north of Kerala and due to its bigger distance to the backwaters and the beaches worth visiting it is less crowded and touristy. However, there is a lot to experience and see in Wayanad. The medium difficult hike up to the Edakkal Caves with its prehistoric wall painting dating 8000 years back are a great way to get an overview of the mesmerizing landscape of Wayanad. Or you climb up to the Chembra Peak with views all over the area with pleasant mountain climate to enjoy. Don’t miss out on the Banasura Sagar Dam in Kalpetta. It is the largest dam in India and is the 2nd largest in all of Asia. At Muthanga National Park you can experience exotic wildlife and nature on a half day safari. Kuruva Dweep is a group of unhabituated islands in the river delta of the Kabani River where one kind find an incomparable interesting flora and fauna. You can cross from river island to island on small bamboo rafts which make the visit very adventurous.

The beautiful landscapes of Wayanad. The beautiful landscapes of Wayanad.

Other interesting hill stations are Ooty, Conoor and Kotagiri in Tamil Nadu, all within a 50km radius from each other. Ooty is called the queen of hill stations and was established by the British as a place of temperature relief. You can reach it on a memorable ride with a toy train. Conoor and Kotagiri are smaller but you can also hike and enjoy stunning views from the surroundings of these small villages but do avoid their bustling messy centers.

Coorg is a hill station in Karnataka, 120km north of Wayanad, and famous for coffee and spice plantations. On the weekends domestic tourists from Bangalore flood into this countryside but on weekdays you can enjoy the beautiful nature almost by yourself.

You can find some of the mentioned hill stations in our articles ‘Suggested travel routes for two weeks in south India’, ‘Budget backpacking tour of south India’ or ‘Four travel routes for Kerala’. We can also create a personalized travel route for you to include some or all of the mentioned regions so you can travel from one cool and naturally beautiful place to another.

If you aren’t much of hiking or nature person and prefer luxury travels and relaxation, you could consider travelling to the beaches of Goa or Kerala as well as the Backwaters and stay for a bargain at 4 to 5 stars resorts. Many hotels, homestays and resorts close between April and October but the ones that remain open offer great deals in the hot and rainy season. However, be prepared that it can get extremely hot and many restaurants and bars will be closed.


Traveling to India in the monsoons
Traveling to India in the monsoons
WHAT WEATHER CAN I EXPECT DURING THE INDIAN MONSOON?

India has three climate seasons: Winter with pleasant temperatures and almost no precipitation from end of November to March, Summer months with a dry or humid heat depending on the region in April, May and October and November as well as the Indian Monsoon, the rain season, from June to September.

Monsoon is a very exotic concept to those travelers coming from more moderate climate zones and arouse different associations – from constant drizzle to short but heavy rainfalls to tropical storms and gales. But India is a big country with multiple climate zones and therefore the monsoon can develop differently in various areas of India.

However, and we don’t want to butter it up, it does rain a lot…like A LOT. Not like British drizzle or the one shower for a couple of minutes you get in South-East Asia. It often rains for days and it rains heavily in the tropical areas of the west coast and in the north of India. The cities have an almost non-existent drainage system and the streets flood quickly. And on top of it there is the humidity, your constant travel companion. Clothes don’t dry for hours to days and the heat feels more discomforting.

It's all about the attitude when you travel during Indian monsoon. It’s all about the attitude when you travel during the Indian monsoon.

In the mountains landslides aren’t uncommon. Transport, especially buses and trains can be delayed (but there are also late for the rest of the year!) and due to heavy fog and rains even air traffic can be disturbed. Almost all national parks in India are shut from June to beginning of October and tiger and other safaris won’t be possible.

WHY SHOULD I STILL TRAVEL IN INDIA IN THE RAIN SEASON?

But even though the weather can be sometimes quite unpleasant from June to September, there are benefits to this season. The nature comes to life, dry brown grasslands and forests become lush and green, the farmers welcome the season with full productivity and lakes and rivers as well as waterfalls fill up and become stronger than ever. This all is a pleasant sight in a country often struck by droughts in the recent past.

Many tourists avoid India in the monsoon which means that you have a lot of sights to yourself. That makes it easier to connect to locals and experience more authenticity. The typical tourist scams appear at a minimum and all together you just don’t feel like one in a thousand travelers while you stroll the lanes and monuments of ancient India.

Furthermore, it is the best time for budget-conscious backpackers who like to keep their expenses to a minimum but don’t want to miss out on some comfort. Many hotels offer their rooms for much less, often even for half the costs than in the main season. You can stay at boutique hotels or luxury resorts for low prices. A good accommodation is a must in the Indian monsoon time as you might spend some time indoors when a particular strong downpour hits the city.

WHERE TO TRAVEL TO DURING THE INDIAN MONSOON?

Technically you can travel anywhere as long as you are mentally prepared and pack the right clothes. However, some areas might be more enjoyable than others.

The India monsoon hits the west coast  the most. Therefore, Goa and Kerala face a lot of rain and humidity. We would recommend to avoid the coastlines. The beaches lose their charm and the strong currents make swimming even dangerous. The beach resorts and shacks close already in April and don’t open again until September or even October.

So it is the best time to hit the countryside and hill stations. As the nature and greenery is at full swing, it’s a great pleasure to walk through the lush hills and pass the freshly filled lakes and rivers and enjoy what makes the tropics to interesting and unique. Wayanad, Munnar and Thekkady are such places but also the Dudhsagar Waterfall Hike in Goa. Ooty in Tamil Nadu is very popular amongst domestic tourists to flee the heat of the cities.

Munnar in the Western Ghats is famous for its tropical mountain climate as well as the tea plantations. A great destination even in the rain! Munnar in the Western Ghats is famous for its tropical mountain climate as well as the tea plantations. A great destination even in the rain!

If you want to escape the Indian monsoon all together and enjoy stunning landscapes in the mountains, Ladakh might be the best destination for you. The state in the most northern part on India is flanked by the high mountain ranges of the Himalayas and the Karkokram mountain range.  The state offers breathtaking views and great opportunities for hikes. It’s also called the cold dessert for a reason as the precipitation is very low up here.  It’s ideal to go there between June and August, when the days are moderately warm and the night pleasantly cool.

Indian monsoon When the monsoon hits central and south India it is the best time to travel to Ladakh where the sun is still shining.

Even though it can rain a lot in central India, i.e. in states like Uttar Pradesh, Madya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and also Bihar and West Bengal, it might be a better time to visit than in April, May or October since the temperatures are lower, especially during overcast and cloudy weather.

The rocky surroundings of Hampi where you can explore ancient temple and palace ruins of an empire long gone, might be worth a visit as it can get very hot and dry in central India during the rest of the year. Combine it with a visit to Mysore and Wayanad. Find out more here.

Rajasthan faces less rain rainfalls every year and some rural parts don’t even get any rain at all, especially in the Thar desert. There are very unique and beautiful boutique and heritage hotels that lower their prices a lot during the rainy season. The south and east of Rajasthan becomes very green and lively. Hiking is definitely an attractive option.

From June to August you should avoid travelling to the footsteps of the Himalayas. Rishikesh, Dharamsala, Manali, Shimla and Kasol as well as Sikkim and Darjeeling face a lot of heavy rainfall and therefore even many landslides. Trekking is impossible and you would need to stay indoors most of the time – not how you would like to spend your time in India

In a nutshell in the south avoid the beaches and big cities and rather enjoy the countryside and hill stations, in the north travel to the high mountain ranges of the Himalayas in Ladakh or enjoy the lower temperatures in Rajasthan.

WHAT TO WEAR DURING THE  INDIAN MONSOON?

The most important thing to take care of in India in the rain season is the right footwear. Flip Flops aren’t the best option as you just flip the dirt against your legs while walking. But any sandals made of lasting rubber and with a back strap to hold the shoes to your feet are a good idea.

Some people enjoy gum boots but for others it might be too warm, not to mention the space they occupy in your luggage. So do invest some money in good quality rubber sandals or check the markets after arrival as the locals know best how to cope with the flooded streets.

weather in india in june During the Indian monsoon you need to pack water-proof clothes and shoes.

A thin rain jacket with breathable material is essential as well as thin light clothes that dry quickly. Pack clothes that cover your skin entirely as the sun can be quite harsh when she shines through the clouds. Sometimes a rain jacket might feel to warm so also pack an umbrella.

Also important is a good mosquito protection spray because with the rain comes the higher chance to be infected with malaria or dengue. Also pack rain covers for your luggage as it can take hours to days to dry your stuff once it got wet in the rain.

SUMMARY

My PE teacher used to say ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, only a bad choice of clothing and attitude’. Of course I didn’t agree with her while running 1000m in cold rains and heavy winds but she had a good point. It’s all about setting the right expectations and making the best of the situation.

The Indian monsoon has disadvantages but also many benefits: the lush greenery, less tourist crowds and much lower accommodation and other service prices.

However, we can’t predict the weather and every monsoon is different. One year it could rain cats and dogs and in the next year India suffers from droughts. So do embrace whatever may come and make the best of it in India…someday!