Tag Archives: Kashmir

10 Reasons Why Everyone Should Travel India

India the land of 1.3 Billion inhabitants is a cacophony of contrasts, sound, colors, smell, and taste. Mother India as we Indians say it, has a rich history, heritage, traditions, unbelievable landscapes, lush beauty and exotic architecture to overload your senses. It is the Birthplace of Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, and other religions. Guests are treated as Gods and each Indian live by the saying “Atithi Devo Bhava”. Not only this, but the variety of lavish cuisines of every state of India is also unique and completely mouthwatering. So, in the post, we will be quoting reasons, that why everyone should travel India, at least once in their lifetime. Also, we will brief the Indian visa and its application process.

10 Reasons Why Travel India

Why Travel India?

History & Architecture

India, also known as Bharat is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. It has a history dating back to the Neothilic period. The land has been ruled by several rulers, dynasties and has gone through several wars and conquers. Each of these rulers during its era built unique massive forts, palaces, mosques, temples, etc. So there is a lot of history behind each of these structures along with unique architecture and an interesting story. Apart from this India is also known as the land of epics and legends. The two epics Ramayana and Mahabharata belong to this nation.

Haunted Bhangarh fort
Bhangarh fort in Rajasthan

Today, 38 ancient sites (cultural and natural) of the nation are listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list, making it a treasure trove for history buffs and design enthusiasts.

Culture and Traditions

The country is known throughout the world for its diverse cultures. And the same manifest well in its religions, traditions, languages, festivals, fairs, values, dresses, art and craft. India is dominantly a Hindu state but has a lot of Muslim population too, making it to one of the largest Muslim nations in the world.

Pushkar in Rajasthan- Travel India

The country has multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual and multi-religious society i.e. the total 29 states of country have its own communities, culture, traditions, festivals, dressing style and food. People speak different languages and have diverse lingual tones. The traditional culture and lifestyle in Indian villages symbolizes the true essence of India. But overall, it is an amalgamation of various cultures influenced from thousands of year’s old history. The phrase Unity in Diversity sums up the true India.


The word “Himalayas” means a house of snow or snow abode in Sanskrit. The Indian Himalayas spread over the northern frontiers and the north of it is known as roof the world. The Himalayas span Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Bay of Bengal in India.

View of Chau Chau Kang Nilda from Fossil Village Langza
View of Chau Chau Kang Nilda from Fossil Village Langza Spiti Valley

The Himalayas have some of the highest peaks like Kanchenjunga, which is the third-highest peak in the world. Many of these peaks are considered sacred by Hindus and Buddhists. The Himalayas too are rich in extensive flora, fauna, and medicinal herbs. The mighty rivers like Ganges, Indus, Satluj, Brahmaputra have their origin from the Himalayas. The River Ganga is sacred of all rivers and runs for 2500 Kilometers from Northern Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal. It is a source of fishing, agriculture and many other activities. Hindus also believed that the River transports the prayers of believers to heaven and a dip in the river purifies your soul.

Devprayag - Confluence of River Bhagirathi and River Alaknanda
Devprayag – Confluence of River Bhagirathi and River Alaknanda

Another thing, not to miss in the Himalayas is Himalayan Toy Train of Shimla, Darjeeling, Ooty. These colonial trains are a part of UNESCO Heritage sites and they provide a mesmerizing experience. The scenic beauty around the lush green landscapes and blue sky from the speeding train looks just out of the world.

Darjeeling Toy Train Steam Engine- Darjeeling Sikkim Tour
Darjeeling Toy Train Steam Engine


If you are an adventure lover and like an instant adrenaline rush, then travel India. In India, adventure follows everywhere – be it while hiking or driving in the Himalayas in Leh Ladakh and Spiti Valley, riding around the beaches of Goa; while doing a safari in Sariska Tiger Reserve, Ranthambore National Park or checking the haunted Bhangarh fort of Rajasthan, while checking the wildlife in the Himalayas or jungle, while passing the highest motorable passes in Ladakh or ridging the double-humped camels in Nubra valley or moving endlessly in the chaotic streets of Old Delhi, while hitchhiking or boarding the public transport. In every nook and corner, you will find an endless adventure and it is extremely fun.

View of Khajjiar Meadows form Hotel Devdar - Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar
View of Khajjiar Meadows form Hotel Devdar

High Altitude Lakes

Indian Himalayas are home to plenty of high altitude lakes, out of which many are still undiscovered. These high altitude turquoise blue water Lakes nestled between the snow covered mountain peaks looks completely ethereal and surreal in summers whereas remain completely frozen in winters.

Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim - Darjeeling Sikkim Tour
Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim

The Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim, located at 5430 meters i.e. 17,800 feet is the highest lake in India. Its changing colors with the daylight can leave anyone spellbound. The other high altitude lakes which one should check are – Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, Tso Kar, and Suraj Tal in Jammu and Kashmir. Foreign Nationals need a special PAP (Protected Area Permit) and Indians need an Inner line permit to visit many of these.

Religious and Spiritual Tour to Temples & Monasteries

Religion and spirituality are intertwined in the daily lives of Indians. India is a birthplace of various religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, and others. Visiting temples (Badrinath, Kedarnath Temple, etc), Buddhist monasteries like Hemis Monastery, and looking into their relics and stories gives one a better picture of Indian culture. Witnessing the people worshipping and praying in their own ways is not less than a treat to eyes. Spirituality here is not just about praying but it’s about finding one’s inner peace and spiritual self.

Thiksey Monastery in Ladakh- Travel India
Thiksey Monastery in Ladakh – Travel India

The Buddhist Gompas in the North India, exemplify the rich traditions and simplistic life Monks lead, the Ashrams spread throughout the country gives you an idea of slow peaceful life with the consumption of organic food whereas the ancient Temples of South gives you the insight of wealth of the country. Apart these, there are some amusing and unique temples too, set up on the beliefs, likelihood or on the fan following For e.g. – motorcycle temple in Rajasthan, Amitabh Bachhan Temple in Kolkata, Dog Temple in Karnataka, Visa Temple in Jalandhar Punjab, Narender Modi Temple in Gujarat and Bharat Mata Temple in Varanasi.  


Indians have diverse culinary habits throughout and their food style is influenced by Mughlai, Persian and many others. Most importantly Indians take their food quite seriously.

Pao Bhaji at Orange Festival Dambuk
Pao Bhaji – Indian Street food

The diverse variety of lip-smacking delicacies range from the Thukpa in North to the Idly-Sambar in the South, including the Dal Baati Churma in the West and the various dishes of pork in the East. Chapatti with the thick curries also makes to the staple food in North India whereas rice with the seafood, prepared in coconut curry, is for South. Apart this there is no end to the street food here. So, overall India is a gastronomical paradise and the aroma of food can easily trigger up your taste buds.

Festivals & Fairs

India the largest democratic country with diversity in religion, culture, and topography is diverse with its festivals and fairs too. Each month there is some or other festival or fair and it is celebrated on a large scale. Some of these festivals have a religious affair whereas others are celebrated for fun and seasonal change. The main motto of each is to bring people of all religions together for bonding and humanity and unite the whole of India to a single bunch. For the month-wise details of Indian festivals of India check Part 1 and Part 2 here.

Holi Festival Travel India
Holi Festival – Travel India

The festival of Lights Diwali, where the whole sky gets illuminated by fireworks and the festival of Colors are the two most important festivals of India. Apart from festivals, the endless fairs or melas celebrated across the country, highlights the local culture of the land in most colorful and expressive ways, emphasizing the prevailing folklore and history of the region. The must-visit fairs while travelling to India include the Pushkar Camel fair, Khumb Mela, Rann Utsav, Goa Carnival, Khajuraho Dance Festival, Elephant festival of Jaipur, Dambuk Orange festival, etc.

4-4 Fury adventure at Dambuk Orange Festival - Travel India
4-4 Fury adventure at Dambuk Orange Festival – Travel India

Yoga & Ayurveda Treatment

Yoga and Meditation originated in India and today it is practiced throughout the world for stress relief, physical fitness, and relaxation. So, Yoga might belong to the world but its Home is India only. Therefore, to learn or practice yoga, travel India and it’s the best place to lean it. Yoga is not just about physical fitness and being flexible, it is a repository. It means to connect- Connect to yourself and maintain harmony with nature. It is a way to recognize self, increase self-consciousness and coordination, to open yourself to new things and ideas. The best places to learn Yoga are Rishikesh, Dharamshala, Haridwar, Mysore, etc.

View from Ayurvedic Spa Room of Chariot Beach Resort Mahabalipuram
View from Ayurvedic Spa Room of Chariot Beach Resort Mahabalipuram

Ayurveda, the 5000 years old natural medicine system, too has its origin in India and today its variants are used everywhere in the world as alternative medicine. The traditional system focuses on treating and eradicating the problem right from the root cause of it, by taking the account of diet, lifestyle, routine, exercise and circumstances of a patient. Ayurveda purifies the mind, body and soul. Indian forests being rich in herbs and flora, have multiple medical concoctions. So, India is an ideal place for availing Ayurveda Treatment. The best place to experience Ayurveda treatment, spas and massages in India is Kerala.


Last but not the least is always smiling, and hospitable people. Be it the extreme village of Spiti Valley or the desert, people are kind enough to invite you to your home for a cup of tea with local bread. Even if they have one room and you are in shortage of space, they will be more than happy to accommodate you. Still in the remote villages, you can see the innocent children playing in the puddles or climbing the trees, much away from the facts of internet and technology.

Children playing cricket on the way to chanshal pass
Children playing cricket on the way to Chanshal Pass

How to get Indian Visa

All tourists need to apply for Indian visa before traveling. The visa can be applied through Indian Post or via the most convenient option i.e. e- visa. The e- visas should be applied at least four days before the travel date and the traveler can enter the country within a period of 120 days from the issue date. For Example: If you are applying on 1st Sept then the applicant can select the arrival date from 5th Sept to 2nd Jan.

From 2019, the newly issued tourist and business e-visas for India are valid for 365 days. Within this period, the tourist can make an unlimited number of trips to India. However, this does not mean that you can stay in India for one consecutive year. UK, USA, Canada or Japan passport holders can stay for max. 180 days whereas other nationalities can only stay for a maximum of 90 consecutive days.

From the web browser open the site for applying for an India visa. Fill all the required details like contact information, place of residence, travel dates, passport information, and passport photo, and wait for 4 days to get the approval. In case of emergency, visas get approved within 24 hrs.

10 Reasons Why Travel India
10 Reasons Why Travel India

Important Points to Remember before traveling to India

  • Give yourself enough time to enjoy every location in India
  • Prepare a rough itinerary encompassing accommodation and transport, to avoid unavoidable Indian mishaps and adventurous detours
  • Hindi is India’s mother tongue still it isn’t spoken by everyone and everywhere in India. In fact, there are more than 20 languages spoken throughout the country and English tends to serve as a common lingo
  • Learn few Hindi phrases to break the ice with locals like “Namaskar” (hello), “Dhanyawaad” (thank you), “Aap Kaise hai” (how are you), “Kitna Dena hai” (how much to pay) and “Naam kya hai” (what’s your name)
  • Credit cards, Debit cards, and money wallets are accepted throughout the country. But still carry some cash while traveling in the remote areas and in the Himalayas
  • There are plenty of street food options in India but consume it from a good food joint only to avoid food poisoning
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
  • Wear comfortable clothing and dress appropriately according to the location. In mountains, it is usually cold even in summers so always remember to carry windcheaters and a light jacket
  • Toilets are still a big-time challenge in many remote parts of India. So, carry Pee safe with you always to avoid infection
  • Public transport as well as cab service is good in the country but make sure to take complete information about the route before traveling
  • Inform the concerned person about your travel plans and locations in India for safety and security
  • Bargaining is possible in the street and flea markets of India, so remember to do it before making a purchase

Sonamarg, Kashmir – The Golden Meadows of India

If there is a heaven on earth, then it’s in Kashmir! Have you heard that? Probably yes! Even we have heard that and don’t know to which part of Kashmir, people refer as heaven. We visited Srinagar and Sonmarg during our 13 days road trip to Leh Ladakh from Delhi. And trust us Sonamarg which means the “Golden Meadows” or “Meadows of Gold” was no less than heaven.

Sonamarg - The Golden Meadows of IndiaThe green meadows on the banks of the Sindh River and the cold rustic mountains leading to Kargil from Sonamarg were completely striking. The valley enthralled us in its beauty and made us say it is a complete destination in itself.


Sonamarg lies 86 kilometers from Srinagar at an altitude 8950 feet. Till day, the place is mostly visited by pilgrims during the Holy Amarnath Yatra and by road trippers as a stopover link between Jammu and Leh.  Even we had the similar impression for the place to be just a stopover. So, after strolling at Dal Lake, Srinagar for an hour we turned our steering to reach further.

Related: Attractions on Srinagar Leh Highway

Dal Lake, Srinagar: Sonamarg, Kashmir-The Golden Meadows of India
Dal Lake, Srinagar

We reached the small town Sonamarg around 7:30 pm and it was already pitch dark. The only thing we could see in the darkness was snow-capped glistening mountains on one side and lots of resorts in a row on another side. So, the first impression was another hill town. Sad!!

But as I woke up and opened our room window, my jaw dropped down in a big Wow! I couldn’t believe my eyes and mind. The meadows in front seemed to be vast and exceptionally beautiful in the shade of light and dark. And from there we made our mind to explore Sonamarg first before heading further to Leh.

First morning look of Sonamarg after rain - The Golden Meadows of India

The valleys of Sonamarg have much to offer to nature lovers. If one side of the mountains is dotted by tall alpine trees making unique patterns than on another side there are snow clad Himalayas. Out of these majestic Peaks, one is Thajiwas glacier which seemed to be quite near but not that near. The clouds engulf the valley anytime making it look a green hamlet in the clouds.

Sonamarg - The Golden Meadows

Sightseeing in and around Sonamarg

Sonamarg – the Golden Meadows, has not many attractions. It is a place to be with nature. We recommend to find a nice spot for yourself, enjoy serene beauty, breathe fresh air and listen to the music of water.

The Golden Meadows - Sonamarg

Also Read: The complete Kashmir Itinerary

Apart from this, visit the Thajiwas Glacier, which now days is also known as Bajrangi Bhaijan Point (after the release of Bajrangi Bhaijan movie). The base of the glacier can be reached through union taxis or ponies. The drive till glacier base is memorable and fun but the ponies dung leaves you breathless on the way. We found the union rates to be bit high and touts were annoying.

Thajiwas Glacier in Sonamarg

Drive through Baltal to Zojila Pass, which lies 24 kilometers ahead from Sonamarg. At Baltal, view the gushing picturesque Sindh River flowing down in the gorge and hundreds of colorful tents set up nearby for Amarnath Pilgrims.

Drive towards Baltal from Sonamarg, kashmir

Amarnath Yatra Base Camps at Baltal near Sonamarg
Amarnath Yatra Base Camps at Baltal near Sonamarg

The Zojila Pass lies at 11, 649 feet. The road to the pass is highly curvaceous and narrow. So, the drive is thrilling for nature and adventure lovers. At one point, green Valleys are suddenly taken over by barren huge mountains and one can see huge snow walls around. One can enjoy snow sports like sledding, snow bikes and a trek to the barren mountain, at Zero point.

Snow wall at Zojila Pass - Sonamarg Sightseeing

Also read: Ladakh-The land of high Passes

Zero Point at Zojila Pass - Sonamarg Sightseeing

Just 4 kilometers from the city lay a highly reverted Nilagrad River. The water of River is believed to have some medicinal values. Sonamarg also acts as a base for some of the treks like Krishansar Lake trek, Vishansar Lake trek, Gangabal Trek, Kashmir great lakes trek etc.

Accommodations in Sonamarg

Sonamarg has various types of accommodation options ranging from budget hotel to luxury hotels to riverside camps. We suggest choosing a hotel which has glacier way. We stayed at Hotel Imperial, a mid-segment range property, which had a glacier view.

mperial Resorts - Sonamarg

You can also check the various options here.

Local Cuisines

The Golden Meadows might look like a small place but there are plenty of restaurants and hotels to enjoy the food. One can try a range of Indian, Punjabi, Chinese and Kashmiri food. We say, when in Kashmir, do try the local Kashmiri cuisines and drinks which includes Syoon Olav (Meat with Potatoes cooked in spicy gravy), Marcha-Wangan korma, Nadir-Haaq/Gogji/Monji (lotus stems cooked with Spinach or Radish)Muj Gaad (Fish with Radish)Modur Pulaav (Sweet Pulao)Kaanti (lamb pieces in red-hot gravy) and Matschgand (minced lamb meatballs in spicy red gravy) and Kahwah or Qahwa (green tea with cardamom, cinnamon etc).

Modur Pulav - Sonamarg, Kashmiri Cuisine
Modur Pullav

How to Reach Sonamarg

Sonamarg can be reached by air, bus, car, and train. The nearest airport is at Srinagar and railway station is at Jammu. From Srinagar, one can hire a shared or individual taxi, or reach by bus. The best option according to us is self-drive from Srinagar to Sonamarg.

Condition of roads: well constructed graveled road

Best Time to visit Sonamarg: Summers from May to October

Expected Temperature– 7 – 20-degree Celsius in summers and -8 to-18 degree Celsius in winters

So, Sonamarg was an absolute land of beauty and magic. It left us completely mesmerized. Throughout our drive Sindh River accompanied us, and the only change was in the background – sometimes a pitch green carpet on mountain slopes and sometimes the white snow-laden.

Sonamarg - The Golden Meadows of India

Do you also feel Sonamarg – The Golden Meadows is a real paradise or heaven. And, if you have any more stories of this land, please share it with us. We will be happy to listen to them.

You can also read about our other series of Leh Ladakh below

Hemis Monastery

Nubra Valley: The Valley of Flowers in Ladakh

A day at White Lake Tso Kar in Ladakh

Ladakh-The land of High Passes

All you need to know about Leh Ladakh Inner Line Permit

6 must visit Leh Ladakh Palaces before they disappear

A Walk with Indian Soldier at Kargil War Memorial

Leh Ladakh Road trip from Delhi – 13 days itinerary