Standing tall and majestic with snow-capped peaks, great glaciers, green valleys and gushing rivers, the Himalayas are the crown of India, a symbol of awe-inspiring beauty. The highest mountain range in the world, and one of the youngest, the Himalayas promise the adventure of a lifetime.
Situated between the Himalayas and the Kunlun mountain range, Ladakh is a haven for backpackers and adventure lovers, with trekking trails leading to breathtaking views and picturesque lakes. Buddhism is a big influence on Ladakhi culture, and the many monasteries here are islands of peace and quiet. Visit the Pangong Tso lake, with its pristine, deep blue water. Go for a ride on a yak, with snow-clad mountains in the backdrop, and catch an early morning view of the Himalayan range. Or explore the tiny villages and ruins of royal palaces and forts which take you back to the origins and traditions of ancient Ladakh.
The north-eastern range is equally captivating, with its muted but breathtaking beauty. Gangtok, the ‘hill-top’ city, is perched along a steep mountain range and descends down a hill in steep tiers. It offers an inspiring view of the Kangchenjunga standing out in the western horizon. It also houses the iconic Namgyal Research Institute of Tibetology, which houses precious Tibetan manuscripts and provides a platform for those who want to study Buddhism.
The jewel of the region is the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) train that begins from the city of Siliguri and goes all the way to Darjeeling, its tracks covering a fascinating 83 kilometers. The reverses and loops through which the train climbs up make the journey a truly exciting and exhilarating one. As you travel between Ghoom and Darjeeling, passing through the dreamy, misty landscape, the train stops at Batasia Loop, giving you a glorious view of the largest peak in the world, Mt Kangchenjunga. Since its first journey in September 1881, the DHR has been affectionately christened the ‘Toy Train’, and has been listed as a World Heritage site. A journey on the Toy Train is an experience you will cherish for a lifetime.