The summer has arrived and this year with even more heat and dust. With the spring just literally breezing past us, the scorching summer has already made its presence known. Summers in India are about the soaring temperatures and unbearable heat. The long days, sweaty afternoons and waiting for the evening to arrive so that we get some respite from the sun. Summers here also means the frequent power cuts that make us curse everyone from the government to the Gods, frequent sipping of coconut water and cold drinks. The summer also heralds the arrival of mangoes, the king of fruits and the ‘tringtring’ sound of kulfi-walas in the street. And the icing on the cake is perhaps our decision to take a break and packing our bags for a trip that promises to be exciting and cherished for a long time to come.
When I asked my Agni about what he thinks of summers, the first answer he gave was “Darjeeling” followed by beer, cold drinks, heat etc etc. Well with the summer coming, I start all my research and finally zero in a place to visit to beat the heat for at least a few days and enrich our travel memories. In this list, we include a few wonderful summer retreats we have been to and definitely recommend you to visit.
1. TAWANG, ARUNACHAL PRADESH
Tawang is such a place which will mesmerise throughout the stay there. Situated at the eastern most corner of India, Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh receives the first rays of the sun in India. The place is not only endowed historically but also naturally. With the majestic Tawang Monastery along with its numerous natural lakes, the beauty of Tawang reaches to your soul. The mighty Jung falls, Sela Pass, Madhuri Lake are all worthy of a visit. Also, visit the Bumla Pass to see how our army inhabits in such harsh conditions in order to protect our ‘man-made’ borders.
2. LEH, LADAKH
Ladakh is a truly magical land. With a landscape so varied and magical, Leh can never fail to enchant its visitors. With high passes and azure lakes, a trip to Leh is worth every moment you spend on the trip. Leh has always remained our favourite destination and for all the seasons.
The blue sky, the blue waters and we…. Pangong Tso, Leh
3. RISHIKESH, UTTARAKHAND
Rishikesh in Uttarakhand is a peaceful and serene place and a perfect destination for summer holidays. Also called the Yoga Capital of the world, you can see many yoga and meditation centres in Rishikesh. Rishikesh is also perhaps the adventure capital of India. Rishikesh boasts of adventure sports like river rafting, cliff jumping, bungee jumping and flying fox. It has the highest Bungee jumping point in India at 83 metres. All you need to do is let yourself free and jump! Rishikesh also happens to be starting points of many Himalayan treks.
What can be more satisfying than spending your summer holidays in the most peaceful nation in the world, Bhutan? Bhutan is a place that will fill your heart with warmth. This little neighbour of India has some amazing roads and beautiful places. Visit Thimpu, Paro, Punakha and Haa and experience the tradition and culture of Bhutan. The people are very friendly and helpful and your trip will be perfect.
5. DARJEELING, WEST BENGAL
To beat the heat, visit Darjeeling, the queen of hills. It is a place which is very dear to our heart. To us, Darjeeling symbolizes romanticism. The beautiful tea gardens and the nostalgic toy train (Darjeeling Himalayan Railways) along with the view of the mighty Kanchenjunga will make your heart melt. You can also visit Kurseong and Kalimpong along with Darjeeling to complete your holiday. Darjeeling is also the starting point of the Sandakphu and Phalut Trek.
6. OOTY, TAMIL NADU
As the summer comes in, Ooty becomes an envious choice for retreat. Very aptly called the Queen of Nilgiris, Ooty has all the flavours of a hill station. Take a toy train ride to Connor to view the nature at its best.
Sikkim has a lot to offer to all. Whether you want a quiet holiday or an adventurous one, Sikkim has the answers. Gangtok, Pelling, Lachen, Lachung are wonderful summer destinations. The Silk route in Sikkim makes for a remarkable road trip. For those who want to spend their holidays in an adventurous way, Sikkim has river rafting on the Teesta river and also has numerous trek routes.
8. RONGO, DOOARS
A small village tucked on top of the hills with some very friendly people and delightful landscapes are what Rongo all about. Rongo is one of the lesser known places in Dooars. The whole village has only one homestay. There is a short trek to the Rongo Monastery from where you can get a panoramic view of the whole village. To know more about Rongo, see here.
9. SHILLONG & CHERRAPUNJI
Shilling is also known as the abode of clouds and as we had read in our school text books Cherrapunji received the India’s heaviest rainfall. Though Cherrapunji no longer holds this feat; Mawsynram now receives India’s highest rainfall. The beauty of both Shillong and Cherrapunji is unparalleled. These places are the perfect to spend a summer holiday.
10. PANCHMARHI, MADHYA PRADESH
Panchmarhi, by far remains one of my favourite destinations during the summer. Just located in the heart of Madhya Pradesh, this little hill station is also called the Queen of Satpuras, and is very rightly called so. With the entire state sweltering in the heat, Panchmarhi is the only hill station in central India. This was also the reason, the British used to visit Panchmarhi during the summer to get away from the Indian summers. Panchmarhi is a picturesque hill station filled with greenery. A number of waterfalls like the Bee Fall, Apsara Vihar, Rajat Prapat and Duchess Fall. There are other exciting places to visit too. You can check our trip report on Pachmarhi to know more.
11. LEPCHAJAGAT, WEST BENGAL
Lepchajagat is a picturesque hamlet just a few kilometers away from Darjeeling. If you want to spend a quiet weekend away from the maddening rush of Darjeeling, Lepchajagat is just the place. Tall pine trees adorn the place giving it the perfect dreamy and misty look. To know more about Lepchajagat, click here.
12. MANALI, HIMACHAL PRADESH
As the summers arrive, Manali becomes a favourite destination of young and old alike. With soothing temperatures, stay at Manali is quite enjoyable. Also, the Rohtang Pass becomes a real crowd puller with the snow making way for skiing activities. The Hidimba temple is also one of our favourite places with the towering trees and the serene atmosphere.
These are just a few places we have visited and recommend you to visit also. We wish to extend the list in more days to come. Please suggest places which we have missed. You would like to include them on our list too.