India is a land of untouched natural beauty that very much makes it one of the most beautiful and serene places on earth.
1. Dal Lake, Kashmir
Dal Lake is a lake in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. The urban lake, which is the second largest in Jammu is integral to tourism and recreation in Kashmir and is named the "Jewel in the crown of Kashmir" or "Srinagar's Jewel". The lake is also known for commercial operations in fishing and water plant harvesting.
The shore line of the lake, is about 15.5 kilometres, is encompasse by a boulevard lined with Mughal era gardens, parks, houseboats and hotels.
Scenic views of the lake can be witnessed from the shore line Mughal gardens, such as Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Jahangir and from houseboats cruising along the lake in the colourful shikaras. During the winter season, the temperature reaches -11 degrees, freezing the lake.
The floating gardens, known as "Rad" in Kashmiri, blossom with lotus flowers during July and August. The wetland is divided by causeways into four basins - Gagribal, Lokut Dal, Bod Dal and Nagin.
2. Nanda Devi, Uttarkhand
Nanda Devi is the second highest mountain in India, and the highest located entirely within the country. (Kangchenjunga, which is higher, is on the border of India and Nepal.) It is the 23rd highest peak in the world.
It was considered the highest mountain, it is located in the state of Uttarakhand, between the Rishiganga valley on the west and the Goriganga valley on the east. The peak, whose name means "Bliss-Giving Goddess", is regarded as the patron-goddess of the Uttarakhand Himalaya.
The peak as well as the circle of high mountains surrounding the Nanda Devi sanctuary were closed to both locals and climbers in 1983. The surrounding Nanda Devi National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.
3. Darjeeling Tea Fields
This strong, full-bodied black tea comes from india's province of Darjeeling, in the foothills of the Himalayas. Darjeeling tea leaves are grown at about 7,000 feet and are considered one of india's finest Tea Plantations.
The botanical name of the Darjeeling Tea plant is "Camellia sinensis". It is hardy, multi stemmed, slow growing evergreen shrub which if allowed to, can grow up to 2.5 metres in height. It takes four to six years to mature and is known to have an economic life of well over 100 years with good care.
Darjeeling has been mostly planted with the Hybrid varieties which produce very fine, flavoury teas. This rare flavour is due to a combination of plant genes, soil chemistry, temperatures and rainfall, unique to the Darjeeling hills.
Plucking begins in March and closes by late November. Each tea bush in the estate is plucked every 4 to 7 days depending on the season.
Each hectare of plantation yields an average of 500 kgs of dry tea and a Darjeeling tea bush yields only 100 grams of made tea in a year. Each kilogram of fine tea consists of more than 20,000 individually hand plucked.
4. Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh
The name "Spiti" means "The Middle Land", i.e. the land between Tibet and India. The valley and surrounding region is one of the least populated regions in India and is the gateway to the northernmost reaches of the nation. Along the northern route from Manali, Himachal Pradesh.
A road connects the two divisions, but is cut off frequently in winter and spring due to heavy snow. The valley is likewise cut off from the north up to eight months of the year by heavy snowfalls and thick icing conditions.
A southern route to India proper is periodically closed for brief periods in the winter storms of November through June.
Spiti valley is a research and cultural centre for Buddhists. Highlights include Ki Monastery and Tabo Monastery, one of the oldest monasteries in the world and a favourite of the Dalai Lama.
The mountains are barren and largely devoid of a vegetative cover. The main settlements along the Spiti River and its tributaries are Hansi and Dhankar Gompa.
5. Kram Liat Prah Cave, Meghalaya
Liat Prah (Krem is the Khasi word for "cave") is one of approximately 150 known caves in the Shnongrim Ridge of the Jaintia Hills district in the state of Meghalaya, India. Explored and surveyed as part of the ongoing Abode of the Clouds Expedition project, its current length of about 34 kilometers will likely be increased as nearby caves continue to be connected.
Liat Prah's dominant feature is its enormous trunk passage.
Meghalaya is nestled between clouds, lush green forests and smoky hills, which will surly, enchant you while exploring the caves of Meghalaya. Meghalaya is just the one place for having 780 caves in the State, still many to be explored.
In the same hill, other caves in Meghalaya are the caves of Eocene Age - Krem Um-Lawan, Krem Kotsati, Krem Umshangktat, Krem Lashinng, Krem Sweep. Prominent caves are set in the villages of Amlarem, Pdengshakap, Syndai and Nongtalang.
6. Key Gompa, Himachal Pradesh
Kye Gompa (also spelled Ki, Key or Kee - pronounced like English key) is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located on top of a hill at an altitude of 13,668 ft above sea level, close to the Spiti River, in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh, Lahaul and Spiti district, India.
The walls of the monastery are covered with paintings and murals, an example of the 14th century monastic architecture, which developed as the result of Chinese influence.
Kye monastery has a collection of ancient murals and books, including Buddha images.
There are three floors, the first one is mainly underground and used for storage. One room, called the Tangyur is richly painted with murals. The ground floor has the beautifully decorated Assembly Hall and cells for many monks.
"The monastery of Kee, for instance, accommodates nearly 250 monks, who reside within the sacred walls in winter, and stay during the summer with their parents or brothers, working in the fields.
7. Sand Dunes, Jaisalmer
One of the best in its kind, awesome place to visit. Worth to spent time here. One can enjoy the beautiful scenic views in desert with charismatic sunrise and sunset views. Desert camel safari and jeep safari adds rememberable activities to it.
That is why Sam sand dunes are becoming the major attraction in Jaisalmer. This is the closest place from where you can loose yourself in 'the Great Thar Desert'. Sam has a truly magnificent stretch of sweeping dunes, with sparse or no vegetation. The best way to get here, of course, is on camelback.
Join a camel caravan at Jaisalmer on your Rajasthan tours and ride along the breathtaking crests. Enjoy the romance of solitude as your camel takes you deep in the hearts of the Thar Desert.
Put yourself in the camp and experience the sun setting behind the horizon. Organize a bonfire with the fellow tourists in the night and enjoy the rustic and earthy music and dance of Rajasthan.
In the month of February/March, this whole place turns into a cultural hub. The desert festival organized amid these dunes is the showcase of Rajasthani culture as a whole.
Open-air cultural puppet shows, folk dance performances, camel races, competitions and general festivities mark this annual event that is held with great pomp and show at the Sam Sand dunes in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.
8. Dudhsagar Falls, Goa
Dudhsagar Falls (literally Sea of Milk ) is a four-tiered waterfall located on the Mandovi River in the Indian state of Goa. It is 60 km from Panaji by road and is located on the Madgaon-Belgaum rail route.
Dudhsagar Falls is amongst India's tallest waterfalls with a height of (1017 feet).
The falls is located in the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park among the Western ghats. The waterfall forms the border between Karnataka and Goa states. The area is surrounded by a deciduous forests with a rich bio diversity. The falls are not particularly spectacular during the dry season but during the monsoon season.
The nearest rail station accessible by road to the falls is Castle Rock station. Visitors could get in a train from here and disembark at the Dudhsagar stop.There are many outdoor adventure organizations that organize monsoon treks to Dudhsagar for people interested in adventures that includes trekking from Castle Rock and camping under the falls for a night.
9. Nandi Hills, Karnataka
Nandi Hills or Nandidurg is an ancient hill fortress in southern India, in the Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka. It is 10 km from Chickballapur town and approximately 60 km from the city of Bengaluru. The hills are nestled near the town of Nandi. In traditional belief, the hills are the origin of the Arkavathy river.
There are many stories about the origin of the name Nandi Hills. During the Chola period, Nandi Hills was called Ananda Giri meaning The Hill of Happiness. Another story is that Yoga Nandeeshwara performed penance here, and so it was named after him. Nandi is also commonly called Nandidurga (Fort) because of the fort built here by the ruler Tippu Sultan.
The hill gets its name from an ancient, 1300-year-old Dravidian style Nandi temple situated on this hill. An ancient, lord Shiva and Parvati temple also adorns this hill.
The hills are now a popular tourist spot during summer. The state horticulture department maintains a garden for the tourists.