It’s nearly time for schools to close down for the Summer holidays and that means planning a family friendly, ‘weather friendly’ holiday. But with the plethora of options to visit in India and abroad, where does one begin to plan from? GoPo curates a list of five places with ‘favourable weather’ around India to help you get started. Most of these are less frequented and offbeat meaning you won’t have to battle steep prices and large tourist crowds.
Leh, Jammu & Kashmir: With its scenic beauty, rugged natural terrain and moderate summer time temperatures of 30 degrees celsius, Leh promises to be an experience of a lifetime for adults and kids, alike. Additionally, Leh is accessible by flight (from Delhi & Jammu) making it a convenient holiday destination, for the entire family. While in Leh, one should visit the Pangong Tso Lake, the Tso Moriri Lake, the beautiful monasteries that dot the landscape, the Leh Palace, the Khardung La Pass, the Shanti Stupa and the Nubra Valley. However, a few words of caution here... Leh is best visited with older kids as the weather conditions may not suit young children. Secondly, while flying in, one must plan for 1-2 days at least, to acclimatize to the change in altitude and oxygen levels here. Also, for people with breathing trouble, it is best to plan a trip to Leh only after getting medical clearance.
Sikkim: The second smallest state in the Country, Sikkim is blessed with an abundance of breathtaking natural beauty. Like other parts of North East, Sikkim is not yet part of the mainstream tourist circuit which means that you can explore the place at leisure. There are several easy to moderate day hikes along the picturesque valleys dotted with Orchid, Magnolia and Rhododendron species. These hikes are easy to do with Kids and elderly travellers as well. Pelling, Ravangla & Gangtok are some of the popular tourist cities of Sikkim while the Gurudongmar Lake, Tsomgo Lake, the Nanak Lama Sahib Gurudwara and the Rumtek Monastery- an important centre for Tibetan Buddhism, are important attractions. From Pelling, popular attractions include the Pemayangste Monastery, Sanga Choeling Monastery, Singshore Bridge- the highest bridge in the world, rock garden at Rimbi, double-pronged Kanchenjunga Falls, Sangay Waterfalls and the Khecheopalri Lake, among others. Ravangla boasts of having the only tea estate in Sikkim and is a popular honeymoon destination due to the spectacular views it provides of the mighty Kunchendzonga Peak. In Gangtok, one must visit the Tashi Viewpoint & Ganesh Tok for a view of the Kanchenjunga, Enchey Monastery, Nathu La Pass, Chogyal Palace, Botanical Gardens and the Changu/Tsomgo Lake to experience a Yak ride and to savour Momos.
Khajjiar, Himachal Pradesh: If you like Manali but crowds are not your cup of tea, head to Khajjiar. Close to Dalhousie, this town is often called the ‘Mini Switzerland of India’. This sleepy, small hill station sits on a plateau with a stream fed, moss covered lake and boasts of a unique topographical combination of forests, lakes, hills and pastures. From horse rides, Zorbing with kids, visits to the Kalatop Sanctuary, picnics by the Khajjiar and Chamera lakes, or playing a few rounds of golf at the scenic nine-hole course, there’s something here to catch everyone’s interest.
Bhandardara, Maharashtra: Located on the banks of the River Pravara and nestled within the Sahayadri range, Bhandardara is approximately 185 KM from Mumbai and is a great hill station for a family vacation. Popular attractions include picnics by the Umbrella Falls & the Randha Falls, angling and boating on the Arthur Lake, a visit to the Wilson Dam- built in 1910, this is one of the largest earthen dams in India, Mt. Kalsubai peak- the highest peak in the Sahayadris- for a spectacular view, and the Agastya Rishi Ashram- mentioned in the Ramayana, it is believed that Ram & Lakshman came here to seek the blessings of Agastya Rishi who gave Ram an arrow to defeat Ravana.
Vagamon, Kerala: Like Khajjiar, Vagamon is encircled by hills and provides a distinct topographical combination of meadows, forests and hills. Popular attractions include taking a ‘walk into the woods’ through Pine Hills, Paragliding at Mundakayam Ghat, Vagamon Falls, Maramala Falls, Boating on the Vagamon Lake, Kurisumala- a popular Christian pilgrimage, and the Ulipooni Wildlife Sanctuary. Vagamon is one of several hill stations in Kerala that make for a good summer holiday. Here’s a list of some others incase you want to explore more places in the state.