The Himalayas have always had an imposing outcome on the history and the culture of our people, be it the civilizations flourishing along the Gangetic plains, or the cultures snuggled into its many folds and valleys.
The mountain range extends across 5 countries all the way from Pakistan, moving into India, Nepal, Bhutan and further again spreading into the eastern extremities of India.
It is a region dotted with sacred lakes, divine peaks and blue glaciers that gleam and glide in the collective imagination of the sub-continent. A journey into this region is a journey into some of the most enigmatic cultures that have emerged through the ages.
The Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal
For over 2000 years people have wandered into the region from the high plateaus of Tibet and the fertile land of the Ganges to dwell in the peaceful and vibrant Kathmandu valley. However, there are number of regions within Nepal that offer breath-taking views of the great Himalayan range.
Kathmandu Valley: Trowel through the cobbled squares of ancient durbars, distinctly carved temples and their unique architecture, Buddhist monasteries and their cherubic chants, and take home the memory of a memorable gala in the middle of an ancient square, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Dhulikhel: Located just an hour’s drive from Kathmandu, Dhulikhel offers spectacular views and is a complete holistic experience built around the principles of sustainable practices.
Pokhara: A small lake-town and the adventure hotbed of Nepal. Take a hike into its picturesque backyard or enjoy some of its many adventure sports offerings such as paragliding & zip lining to name a few..
Mustang: A high-altitude desert located beyond the Annapurna Massif to the forbidden kingdom of Mustang. Enjoy the views of the majestic Nilgiris while you explore this region on 4×4 vehicles and scout through fairy-tale villages tucked away and preserved in time, colourful Tibetan monasteries or discover fabled lakes and secret caves.
Queen of the Hills – Darjeeling, India
Set against the backdrop of Mount Kanchenjunga, Darjeeling is a small town located in the high hills of the eastern Himalayas and is known for its unique aroma & flavourful tea. It was once identified as a suitable site for a sanatorium for British officers and was gifted to the East India Company by the Chogyal King of Sikkim. Today it is home to the Great Himalayan Railways, we popularly call the ‘toy train’ that runs on a 2ft gauge and now falls under the UNESCO World Heritage list.
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The Kingdom of Happiness – Bhutan
Bhutan is often referred to as the ‘land of the thunder dragon’ or the ‘last Shangri-La’. Landlocked between China and India, the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan is no ordinary destination. It is the only country in the world where happiness outweighs materialism. Bhutan is perhaps the only carbon-negative country on our planet, where over 60% of the land lies under forest cover. The unique and inimitable experiences of Bhutan make it a truly special place for travellers.
Bhutan is rich in culture, tradition and spirituality that have been carefully guarded and preserved. It is an amply modern country yet medieval with one foot still rooted in its past. Every decision is carefully weighed for the benefit of its people. The government’s ‘high value-low impact’ tourism policy is therefore a good example of its efforts to keep foreign influences at bay while nurturing Bhutanese values at home.