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31 March 2021 | 4 min read

An Ultimate Guide To The Top Tourist Destinations In North India

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With numerous picturesque hill stations, plenty of hidden and well-known valleys, colourful towns, entire cities soaked in history and architecture, rivers that flow straight from the Himalayas, religious villages that hold so much significance, and much, much more, there are thousands of places to visit in north India. We all know the golden triangle and the regular tourist hotspots like Shimla, Nainital, Jodhpur, Amritsar, Lucknow, Parvati Valley, etc. Still, we wanted to truly show you some untouched and unexplored tourist places in north India.

Here’s a quick, handy guide  on the hidden gems and the not-so-well-known best places to visit in north India, and that too, on a budget.

1. Manila, Uttarakhand

No, that’s not a typo, and this isn’t the Philippines. This tiny town is located about 87 km from Ranikhet in Almora. According to legend, this is the birthplace of Manila Devi, the goddess of the Katyuri clan!

Perched at an elevation of 1,820 metres and snuggled in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, the weather here is perfect all year round, making this one of the few go-anytime places to visit in north India. That also blessedly means that you get year-round views of Trishul, Panchachuli and Nanda Devi peaks. Believe me, sunrise and sunset here are magical. There are many tiny homestays and dhabas to stay at, but don’t expect 5 (or even 4) star accommodation.

2. Nubra Valley, Ladakh

Leh and Ladakh probably top most people’s bucket lists for tourist places in north India and take prime position on the best places to visit in north India. However, you can kick things up a notch with a trip to Nubra Valley.

Essentially a gorge created over time by the Shyok and Nubra rivers’ force, Nubra is a high-altitude cold desert and one of the most stunning off-grid tourist places in north India. Make sure to squeeze in a trip to Turtuk, a village that wasn’t open to tourists until 2010, and to the famous white dunes of Hunder. There are even camel rides on offer here! At dusk, head over to the Diskit Monastery, the massive Buddha statue overlooks the entire valley.

You need an inner line permit to visit here, so make sure you get that in advance!

3. Doodhpathri, Kashmir

Translating to ‘Valley of Milk’, this is one of the best-unexplored tourist places in north India. Okay, maybe all of India. Legend has it that the saint Sheikh ul Aalam Sheikh Noor din Noorani was praying here and was searching for water when he poked the ground with his stick, but lo and behold, milk came out. The saint prayed that the milk would only ever be used for drinking, and hearing this, the milk at once changed to water and well, hence the name Doodpathri.

Whether the legend is true or not, the water that flows through the meadows has a milky appearance from a distance and remains very cold throughout the year. Wowza. Interestingly,  Doodhpathri has no permanent settlement and is pretty much inaccessible during the winters due to heavy snowfall; summers here bring plenty of flowers and fantastic weather. The closest airport to Doodhpathri is the Srinagar International Airport, and there are plenty of buses from there.

We also recommend checking out Chatpal in Kashmir, sometimes called ‘Mini Pahalgam’ which

It doesn’t even have electricity yet, but it is a jewel that deserves your attention, maybe one of the best non-tourist places in north India.

4. Syalsaur, Uttarakhand

Small, uncharted, and hardly on the map, Syalsaur lies on the Mandakini river banks in Uttarakhand. If you’re looking for the perfect place to switch off, truly unwind and sit in the lap of nature, the is probably the best place to visit in north India.

It’s very, very tiny, and very very tranquil, with the peace only punctuated by the river and the calls of the many birds that surround the area. People usually use this and the GMVN tourist bungalows here as pistols along the way to Haridwar or Badrinath, but it can be so much more. By the way, those bungalows are beautiful, made with bamboo and situated right on the Mandakini river banks. All you need is a book, yourself and the will to live surrounded by nature and water. What else do you need?

5. Khirsu, Uttarakhand

If you’re looking to be near or around one of the busy tourist places in north India but still stay far from the madding crowd, Khirsu is for you! Just 92 kilometres from Dehradun, Khirsu offers a 300 km panoramic view of the Himalayas. Yup, you read that right! Can you even imagine?! Only a few of the many, many mountain peaks visible from here are Nanda Devi, Panchchuli, Nandakot, and Trishul. Make sure to bring your wild side and go trekking or even mountain biking while you’re here. The best place to visit in north India for the ‘gram? We think so!

Unsatisfied with this list of the best places to visit in north India? Don’t worry, and we’ve done our research. Make sure to check out Kaza on the Spiti river banks, Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand, Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh (yes, where the apples come from!) Dharchula, Chopta, Hemis National Park, Kalpa (rumoured to be the winter home of Shiva), Tirthan Valley… okay, the list goes on and on. If you’re fed up with the regular tourist places in north India, definitely go off the beaten path and do something different. Have you planned your getaway yet?

Tip: Don’t forget to check out Travel Now  , your one-stop solution to all things travel-related by DBS.

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