Summer punch!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014 - 7:40am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Here's where you can beat the heat and have a chilled-out holiday

1) Srinagar and around it, Jammu Kashmir:
The most popular places include Sonmarg and of course Srinagar. The Valley has rightly been described as paradise on earth. Be it skiing, shopping or spending quality time with your family, the valley gives you whatever it is that you crave for. From budget travellers to luxury seekers, the beautiful valley has something for everyone.

2) Ladakh, Jammu-Kashmir:

We would recommend that you spend atleast 15 days exploring the vast landscape. But if you are here for a short holiday, visit the Pangong Lake, Khardung La and Chang La passes, and Diskit-Hunder (which is home to the two-hump camels). Monasteries like Alchi and Likir also make for interesting stopovers. The holiday crowd in Ladakh mostly comprises of backpackers, photography enthusiasts and foreign tourists. A word of warning: Considering the fact that Ladakh is located above sea levels, breathing can be a marathon job. Acute mountain sickness is something that every traveller should take notice of.

3) Shimla-Manali, Himachal Pradesh:

You cannot avoid the crowds if you head to Simla or Manali, which are probably the most popular summer destinations. Honemooning couples, families, a bunch of backpackers, or just solo travellers, this place welcomes each and every tourist. Exploring the markets is a good adventure, you could also have a calm lunch on banks of the river. For those who seek adventure, there's paragliding at Solang Valley.

4) McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh:

A quaint town, McLeod Ganj is often absolutely booked during summer. If you are planning a trip during peak tourist season, make sure you have a room booked. Apart from the monasteries, Bhagsu waterfall is a huge tourist attraction. A huge Tibetan influence ensures that you get a plateful of delicious food which is pretty inexpensive.

5) Gangtok and around, Sikkim:

Gangtok is among the most beautiful places that you are bound to come across in India. This could be a holiday in itself or just a pitstop before you take off to the frozen Gurudongmar Lake or the Yumthang Valley. Whether you are cash strapped or want a super luxurious holiday there's an option for everyone. For those who want to travel cheap, there are rides available on sharing basis, for those who prefer to be on their own there are many operators on MG Road. Foodies shouldn't miss out on the delicious momos and various baked goodies that are available here.

6) Auli, Uttarakhand:

If you think skiing is an expensive pastime, think again. The beautiful Auli situated amidst the folds of mountains of Uttarakhand,is the place to be if you want to give skiing a shot. Auli also boasts of Asia's longest - 4 km - cable car. It also has a chair lift and a ski-lift. Auli also offers a view of peaks like Mana, Kamet and the famous Nanda Devi peak.

7) Rishikesh, Uttarakhand:

The Beatles put Rishikesh on the world map, but today's generation has discovered this lovely place all over again. Of course, apart from the many temples that you can visit, you can plan a short trip full of adventure with a dash of relaxation. Both Rishikesh and Hardwar are completely vegetarian destinations because of the tremendous religious influence that these places have. White water rafting is obviously what most adventure seekers go to Rishikesh for.

8) Mussoorie, Uttarakhand:
The beautiful Kempty Falls here are simply breathtaking. However, the same cannot be said about the much hyped Mussoorie Lake. For those interested in shopping, there's the Mall Road for woollen clothing,the Kulri Market is for wood works and the Landour Market has many roadside ice cream and dessert shops. This hills station is home to the renowned author Ruskin Bond. And if you are lucky you may even get to meet him at his home in Landour.

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