INDIA TRAVEL - AN UNSEEN PARADISE OF NORTH EAST INDIA - ZIRO VALLEY

Hi friends! How many of you have traveled to North East India? A part of India, which has not really been fully explored till now. You know, North East India has unmatched beauty and simplicity. And one of the most beautiful North Eastern state is Arunanchal Pradesh. It is full of wonderful places which provide some of the best traveling spots. One of the most amazing and least traveled places in Arunanchal Pradesh is Ziro Valley.

Ziro is the district headquarter of Subansiri district about 115 km(72 mi) from the state capital Itanagar. Located at an altitude of 1700 m(5600 ft), this place has everything a travel buff could ask for. Far and wide spread paddy farms, tall Pine and Cedar trees, sparkling peaks covered with snow, dense forests, purifying sound of chants by Buddhist monks and simple but adorable reception by the locals, Ziro has all the makings of paradise. In fact Ziro is a perfect example of how nature and humans can coexist without damaging each other. And that is precisely the reason that it has been nominated by UNESCO to the World Heritage Site category.


ZIRO VALLEY, Arunanchal Pradesh
ZIRO VALLEY
Image source - tripadvisor
Apart from it's natural beauty, Ziro is a place for adventure. The adventure sports facilities available here, will make your travel to this place even more thrilling. You will have enough opportunities for trekking, river rafting and angling here. The cooler climes of Ziro valley are ideal for these activities. The ideal time for trekking here is October to May. You can enjoy rafting in Kameng, Subnasiri, Dibang and Siang rivers. An Angling festival is also organized in Ziro valley.


Beautiful Ziro Valley
LANDSCAPE OF ZIRO VALLEY
Image source - nativeplanet.com
Wrapped in the mountain ranges of Arunanchal Pradesh, Ziro's quaint villages, green hills covered with vibrant flora and simple village folk would enthrall any nature lover. The tranquility of this small place is  heaven for any peace seeker. The beauty spread all around makes it a photographer's delight. So many people travel from far away places, to just capture the magnificence of the place. Add to this the options of jungle camping or wildlife exploration, Ziro valley has something for everyone.


Ziro valley paddy fields
PADDY FIELDS OF ZIRO
Image source - thehindu.com
Besides it's scenic splendor and adventure options, this little calm place also offers it's unique tribal culture. The oldest tribe here is called "Apatanis". They have been living here for centuries and they never move out of here. A very distinctive feature of this tribe is that their womenfolk wear a huge nose ring and unique facial tattoos. Their high altitude farming is considered to be one of the most advanced. They have very unusual religious and cultural practices.

Must read: Mistakes to avoid when traveling

Some of the must visit places in Ziro Valley are:

TALLEY VALLEY WILDLIFE SANCTUARY - One of the main attractions in Ziro Valley, it is spread over an area of 337 sq. km. It is also called bio diversity zone because of it's thick forests, which are relatively untouched by human invasion and have a wide range of flora and fauna. Talley Valley wildlife sanctuary houses many endangered species. You can spot almost extinct animals like leopard, clouded leopard, wolf, jackal are found here. The beautiful forests have silver fur trees along with stunning variety of bamboo and fern trees, which will give you a feeling of being one with the nature. You can visit two nearby hilly settlements also named Dilopolyang and Manipolyang, which are full of greenery.




TALLEY VALLEY WILDLIFE SANCTUARY, Arunanchal Pradesh
TALLEY VALLEY WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Image source - justdial.com



WILDLIFE AT TALLEY VALLEY SANCTUARY, Ziro
WILDLIFE AT TALLEY VALLEY SANCTUARY
Image source - hellotravels.com
TARIN FISH FARM - It is located at a high altitude and is surrounded by pine and bamboo trees. It is used to breed high altitude fish and is one of the more popular tourist attractions. It is spread over an area of 7.4 hectares. The cultivation process of fish and paddy in Ziro is a big draw because it is very rare and is not used much elsewhere.


TARIN FISH FARM, Ziro Valley
TARIN FISH FARM
Image source - tourmyindia.com
TARIN FISH FARM, Arunanchal Pradesh
TARIN FISH FARM IN WINTERS
Image source - tripadvisor
KILE PAKHO - Seven kilometers from Ziro is situated a ridge called Kile Pakho. It has breathtaking landscape. You can stand at the top and get a mesmerizing view of the snow clad peaks of Himalyas  on one side and dense forests and widespread lush green paddy fields on the other. If you are a nature lover, the view around Kile Pakho will delight you no end.


KILE PAKHO, Ziro
KILE PAKHO 
Image source - holidify.com
MEGHNA CAVE TEMPLE - This is believed to be a 5000 years old temple, which was discovered  again in the year 1962. It is situated at a height of 300 ft and provides an unbelievable view of the Ziro Valley. The beauty of the temple is to be seen to be believed. The view of beautiful river flowing below and surrounded by lush green hills and dense forests will give you the feeling of being in another world. Do not forget to have your camera with you when you visit Meghna Cave Temple in Ziro Valley.


MEGHNA CAVE TEMPLE, Ziro
MEGHNA CAVE TEMPLE
Image source - travup.in
Meghna Cave Temple, Arunanchal Pradesh
OUTSIDE VIEW OF MEGHNA CAVE TEMPLE
I
mage source - travup.in
PINE GROVE - Situated at roughly 3 km from old Ziro, this is an area full of tall Pine trees. The entire place is filled with Pine trees and is an ideal spot for a leisure picnic or to simply walk through the area.


PINE GROVE, Ziro, Arunanchal
PINE GROVE
Image source - nelive.in
MIDEY - This place is famous for it's blue colored tall pine trees. You will find some of the tallest pine trees here. This is an ideal place for adventure seekers too. Here you will find hiking and trekking opportunities.


MIDEY, Ziro
MIDEY
Image source - tourmyindia.com
ZIRO MUSIC FESTIVAL - Every year, in the month of September, a music festival is organized in Ziro. Many music and art lovers make it a point to visit this festival. Started in the year 2012, this festival attracts many national and international bands as well as folk artistes from different parts of the world. This festival has played a major part in bringing Ziro to the tourism map. This year the Ziro Music Festival will be held from 27th September to 30th September.


ZIRO MUSICAL FESTIVAL, Arunanchal Pradesh
ZIRO MUSICAL FESTIVAL
Image source - traveltriangle.com

ZIRO MUSIC FESTIVAL SCENE, Ziro Valley
ZIRO MUSIC FESTIVAL SCENE
Image source - tripoclan.com
The hospitality of people here and local delicacies are other reasons to visit this most amazing place.

Also read: INDIA TRAVEL - SHILLONG - EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT

HOW TO REACH ZIRO VALLEY

AIR - The nearest airport to Ziro is Jorhat in Assam, which is 98 km(61 mi) away. It is a domestic airport. The nearest international airport is Guwahati, which is 450 km(280 mi) away.

RAIL - The nearest railway station to Ziro is Naharalagun which is 100 km(62 mi) away. Another station is North Lakhimpur, which is 117 km(74 mi) away. Regular intercity trains are available for these places. A weekly train plies between Delhi and Naharalagun. From here you can catch state run buses or hire a taxi to reach Ziro Valley.

ROAD - Ziro valley is well connected by road to other cities in Arunanchal Pradesh and Assam.

WHERE TO STAY

Ziro Valley has a few homestays and there are some hotels here and at Hapoli. The Ziro Valley Resort is the biggest hotel in the valley.

So far, Ziro has been relatively unknown to the travelers, but gradually it is starting to take it's rightful place as one of the most scenic and beautiful places, something a place nominated as World Heritage should have.

HAPPY TRAVELING!!  

INDIA TRAVEL - A PLACE OF PRISTINE BEAUTY AND PEACE - SARAHAN

Hello friends! Monsoons are almost over and it's time to start your explorations again, what with nature now at it's full bloom. There are lot of places which are naturally beautiful and attract a great number of people. However, Himachal Pradesh stands out for the natural beauty it beholds. There are any number of places in Himachal where you can go to enjoy a peaceful time in the lap of nature. However, there are only a few places which offer you peace along with pilgrimage, adventure, amazing natural beauty and a tryst with countryside, all at the same place. One such place in Himachal Pradesh is Sarahan.


SAHARAN, Himachal Pradesh
SAHARAN
Sarahan, a beautiful small hamlet is located in the Shimla district. Situated at an altitude of 2165 m(7200 ft), it flanks the bank of river Sutlej. The road leading to Sarahan runs through flowered pine trees which give way to Oaks as you drive further up. While Sarahan has Sutlej river on one side, on other side is the snow covered Shrikhand peak. Shrikhand peak is peculiar in that it is the only one whose tip is not covered by snow. Many small streams flow past the place. It is surrounded by fields and orchards and along with the slate roofed houses make Sarahan, a picture perfect place.


SNOW COVERED PEAKS AR SARAHAN, Shimla
SNOW COVERED PEAKS AR SARAHAN
Image source - mouthshut.com
You can see rows of Deodar trees sloping down on the hills above. Further up, hills have many varieties of wild flowers and rare medicinal herbs. Sarahan, described as Gateway to Kinnaur, has a landscape which has unparalleled beauty. 

BHIMAKALI TEMPLE is the biggest attraction in Sarahan, their own version of Maa Kali. Considered as one of the Shaktipeeths, this is a pilgrimage site. The temple is said to be 800 years old and has a blend of Indian as well as Buddhist architecture in it's design and has both Hindu and Vajrayana Buddhist statues. The temple has two towers and three complexes dedicated to Lord Raghunathji, Patal Bhairavji and Narsinggji. Devi Kali is the principal deity and has a separate shrine dedicated to her. Built with stones and woods, with intricate carvings on the inside. During the festival of Dussehara, people from all areas around it visit the temple to pay their obeisance and Goddess is offered prayers and animal sacrifices.


BHIMAKALI TEMPLE, Sarahan, Himachal Pradesh
BHIMAKALI TEMPLE
Image source - wikipedia
NATURAL SURROUNDINGS OF BHIMAKALI TEMPLE, Sarahan
NATURAL SURROUNDINGS OF BHIMAKALI TEMPLEImage source - thinkingparticle.com
Another place to visit in Sarahan is BIRD PARK. Located close to Bhimakali temple, this park is the house of the state bird Jujurana. There are many other local birds, which can be seen here. It is a breeding center also so it is closed during summers due to breeding season.


BIRD PARK, Shimla
BIRD PARK
Image source - google.com
BHABHA VALLEY is another stunningly beautiful place near Sarahan. Located 50 km (31 mi) from Sarahan, Bhabha Valley runs parallel to Bhabha river. A beautiful landscape, alpine meadows and a reservoir lake adorn this valley. Bhabha Valley is also the starting point of trek to Pin Valley in Spiti. This is a must visit place for everyone visiting Sarahan.


BHABHA VALLEY, Himachal Pradesh
BHABHA VALLEY
Image source - himachaltourtravel.com
JEORI is a place with a warm water spring. Located 20 km (12.5 mi) from Sarahan, this is a relaxing place. It has dedicated bathing areas where you can enjoy the warm water bath. Locals believe that the spring water has medicinal properties.

BUSHAHR PALACE, located next to Bhimakali temple, was the summer abode of Bushahr king as Sarahan used to be their summer capital. The general public is allowed only to visit the garden and orchard at the palace. Access to inner side of the palace is not allowed.


BUSHAHR PALACE, Sarahan
BUSHAHR PALACE
Image source - hptourtravel.com
HAWA GHAR, which is 2 km(1.25 mi) uphill of Sarahan is another place to visit to experience peace and nature. It is a small quiet sitting area, built for people to enjoy the view of peaks and valleys around the place. It offers exotic view of the surrounding natural treasure.

Sarahan is soaked in natural beauty, what with river Sutlej on one side and snow covered peaks on the other. Another side has the sloping pine forests and deep ravines. 

REACHING SARAHAN

AIR - The nearest airport is at Shimla, which is 182 km(112 mi) away. You can get state run buses from here or hire cabs to reach Sarahan.

RAIL - The nearest railway station is again at Shimla, which is on narrow gauge and is connected to Kalka, which is a major rail station. Kalka is connected to all the major cities of India.

ROAD - Sarahan is well connected to all the major cities of Himachal Pradesh by road. You can get state run buses or cabs to reach here. You can also get buses and cabs from major cities like Delhi and Chandigarh to reach Sarahan.

STAYING IN SARAHAN - There is state run hotel Shrikhand, which is near to Bhimakali temple. The temple also offers place to stay and vegetable food. Apart from this, there are few more hotels in and around Sarahan.

Best time to visit Sarahan is April to June and September to November. It receives snofall during December and January. So if you are a snow enthusiast, you can plan for these months also.

So if you are looking for a peaceful, tranquil place where you can soak in nature's beauty, head straight for Sarahan.

HAPPY TRAVELING!!


INDIA TRAVEL -A TINY CALM HISTORICAL PLACE IN NATURE'S LAP - LANDOUR

Hi friends! How is the weather now? Hope it has become pleasant and conducive to comfortable travel. So let's go to a place which will offer you peace, serenity, adventure, a slice of history, a tryst with literature, a very pleasant weather and all in the lap of nature with breathtaking surroundings in the midst of beautiful mountains. Tempting? Isn't it? Yes, there is one place which provides such wholesome experience and that place is named Landour.

Landour is an old cantonment town located in Dehradun district of Uttarakhand state in North India. It is situated just 6 km(3.8 mi) from Mussoorie, also called the Queen of Hills. Though neighboring towns, Mussoorie and Landour are diametrically opposite. While Mussoorie is a bustling town, Landour is a quiet and calm place. While Mussoorie is located at an approximate altitude of 2300 m(7600 ft), Landour is further 300 m(990 ft) up. Interestingly, Landour was named after a village in distant south west Wales, called Llanddowror.

Landour, Mussoorie
BEAUTIFUL LANDOUR
Image source - traveltriangle.com
The history of Landour dates back to 1825, when British built a military sanatorium here. Two thirds of Landour is a cantonment area with British era military buildings all around, depicting the history of the town. Since it is located at an higher altitude than Mussoorie, it's temperature is generally 2 to 3 degrees Celsius lower than Mussoorie. 

Landour doesn't have usual to-see or go-to places associated with hills. But what it has is a lush green unspoiled environment with Deodar forests all around and an unmatched calmness. Landour has a quiet charm about it. If you love walking on the mountains, this is the place for you. You can have the most peaceful, thrilling and satisfying walk you have ever had. In any case, since this is a tiny place, you have to walk to reach whichever place you want to, around here.

Lnadour, Dehradun
MESMERIZING LANDOUR
Image source - condenastraveller.com
However, there are a few spots, which will give you moments to cherish.

 CHAAR DUKAAN is a historical place and exists since British era. It is a cluster of four shops near Sister's Bazaar. During British era, nurses working in the military sanatorium had their residences around this area and used to come here regularly, so the market got it's name Sister's Bazaar. But Chaar Dukaan area is a secluded and peaceful place, where you can go to relish some really exotic food, including European and American dishes. You can spend as much time as you want to enjoy the calm and serene surroundings.

CHAR DUKAN, Landour
CHAR DUKANImage source - lavillabethany.com
 ST. PAUL CHURCH  is next to Chaar Dukaan area. It is a historical church. It was built in 1839, during the British time. It is the oldest church here. Parents of Jim Corbett, Christopher and Mary got married in 1859.

ST. PAUL CHURCH, Mussoorie
ST. PAUL CHURCH
Image source - bnomadic.com
THE CASTLE is one architectural marvel in Landour that is most famous. It is situated on a hill named Castle Hill. Son of great Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Daleep Singh was deposed and kept here to recuperate. It was a great architectural marvel. However, over the years it has been modified so many times and in careless manner, that it is difficult to match it with it's original pictures.

Castle in Landour
CASTLE
Image source - wikimedia.com
ST. KELLOG'S CHURCH  is another historical church which was built in the year 1903. It has magnificent gothic architecture and windows with stained glass. It also houses Landour Language School. During British time, Britishers were taught Hindi here.

St. Kellog's Church, Landour, Dehradun
ST. KELLOG'S CHURCH
Image source - triphills.com
ANIL PRAKASH'S store in Sister's Bazaar is a historical shop, in existence since 1928. If you are in Landour, you have to have their peanut butter. They have been making it for decades. Apart from this, they are also famous for jams and marmalade which they make from locally grown fruits. Apart from these, they also provide apple mint chutney, cheese and many other things.

Landour is the residence of world famous author Ruskin Bond and many other celebrities like Victor Bannerjee, Vishal Bhardwaj to name a few. Late Tom Alter also had a home here. Once you are in Landour, there is every likelihood that you may bump into Ruskin Bond at some time.

So, if you are looking for some old world charm in the midst of breathtaking natural surroundings, Landour is the place for you. It is one of the very few places which are untouched by the commercialization and crowd invasion. Even in these times of mad rush, it continues to provide peace and calmness.

HAPPY TRAVELING!!