region in northern India
Asia > South Asia > India > Himalayan North

The Himalayan North region comprises the two states and two union territories of India situated at the northernmost Himalayan mountain: Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and Uttarakhand. Eastern parts of Himalayan India are in the northern sections of Eastern India and North-Eastern India, which have their own regional articles.

States and union territoriesEdit

 
Map of Himalayan North
  Jammu and Kashmir
With its mountains and lakes, this is a popular destination with travellers, although the conflict escalation between Pakistan and India has decreased the popularity.
  Ladakh
Ladakh was an independent kingdom for centuries and still with its own culture. It is a union territory administered by India since 2019. Offering much in the way of sight-seeing, and trekking it's not to be missed.
  Himachal Pradesh
A pleasant, laid back, predominantly Hindu state, with a Tibetan refugee population; popular with tourists.
  Uttarakhand
The source of the Ganges, it has a number of pilgrimage sites.
  • Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan are claimed by India to be parts of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh respectively, although they are administered by Pakistan. Since Wikivoyage articles are written in the neutral point of view, these Pakistani territories are not included in the Himalayan North region.

CitiesEdit

Here are nine of the most notable cities.

  • 1 Bharmour — famous for Chaurasi Temple and the Hindu pilgrimage of Mani Mahesh
  • 2 Dehradun — the capital of Uttarakhand
  • 3 Dharamsala — a city popular amongst the backpacker community and where the Dalai Lama resides
  • 4 Haridwar — a holy city for Hindus, where the Ganges river emerges from the hills to the plains
  • 5 Jammu — the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir
  • 6 Leh — a bustling tourist town, large numbers of Kashmiri traders. One of the two capital towns of Ladakh, with another being Kargil.
  • 7 Manali— a quiet picturesque town set in mountainous region by day, hosts many a rave at night
  • 8 Shimla — the summer capital of former British India, modern India with English architecture
  • 9 Srinagar — the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. Famous for Dal Lake and in a valley surrounded by the picturesque Himalayas

Other destinationsEdit

 
Mountains in Lahul district, Himachal Pradesh
  • 1 Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh — located in the Kullu region is home to many species of wildlife. Virtually pristine forests and alpine meadows, this fragile region makes this park a wonderful destination. The national park has also been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
  • 2 Hemis National Park (Hemis High Altitude Park), Ladakh — home to several endangered mammals including the snow leopard. The Tibetan wolf and golden eagle can also be found in the park. The Rumbak Valley offers opportunities for bird-watching. Snow trekking is popular here.
  • 3 Kishtwar National Park, Jammu and Kashmir — located in the Kishtwar district, this park has rugged and steep terrain, with narrow valleys leading to glaciers. This park provides habitat for the Himalayan Snowcock and the brown bear.
  • 4 Nanda Devi National Park Uttarakhand — surrounded by high ridges and the Rishi Glacier, this park is home for some large mammals (ie. Himilayan musk deer), carnivores (ie. Snow leopard) and birds in a land with diverse vegetation

UnderstandEdit

After the heat and chaos in the big cities of the Plains, the Indian Himalayas make a relaxing change. Some foreign travelers make visiting this region their sole purpose for coming to India, and it is a popular destination for Indians as well. The Himalayan North, being the abode of the gods and the origin of Hinduism's holy rivers, is one of the most ancient travel destinations in the country. Pilgrims have been visiting this place for centuries.

The British, conquering India before air conditioning, found themselves defeated by the Indian summer. As a result, they had to take refuge in hill stations to escape the heat. This region, because of its proximity to Delhi, had the largest concentration of hill stations. The largest among these, Shimla, was the summer capital of British India. Shimla and other cities like Mussoorie and Dalhousie still retain their charming colonial atmosphere.

The Kashmir Valley is used to be the honeymoon destination of choice for those who could afford it.

TalkEdit

 
Nainital lake in Kumaon Himalayas, Uttarakhand

Hindi and Urdu are understood throughout the region either as a primary or secondary language. English is widely understood, especially in the more touristed parts.

Get inEdit

By planeEdit

Despite its altitude, there are nine airports in the Himalayan North region. However, there are problems of altitude sickness if travellers get in the region by plane.

By busEdit

The Himalayan North is well connected to the Plains by bus.

By trainEdit

Haridwar is the highest place that is accessible by train.

Get aroundEdit

 
Leh Palace, Ladakh

By busEdit

This is the main way to get around the Himalayan north, the only choice in many places. The winding roads and steep slopes make for some nerve wracking moments; but the views more than make up for it.

By trainEdit

Being a mountainous region there are very few rail lines. However, there is a "toy train" service that connects Kalka and Shimla. In its day, this single gauge line was a remarkable engineering feat, but now it makes for a slow and beautiful tourist route.

SeeEdit

This is an extremely picturesque area of the country, with much natural beauty. As a region that borders on Tibet, it also has Tibetan-style Buddhist temples, especially in Dharamsala, where the Dalai Lama and many of his followers set up a kind of "free Tibet" in exile, but also in the union territory of Ladakh, which has a home-grown but Tibetan-influenced Buddhism. In addition, Uttarakhand contains the sources of the Ganges, Hinduism's holiest river, which runs past the state's holy cities of Dehradun, Rishikesh and Haridwar. Himachal Pradesh features the hill station of Shimla, which was a great favourite of Britons during the British Raj, while the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar, with its breathtaking location in the Kashmir Valley surrounded by high Himalayan peaks and its famous Dal Lake, though probably too big to be thought of as a hill station, is a very beautiful place to fly to to cool off during the hot summer months in the Plains.

DoEdit

This region is very appealing for devotees of outdoor sports, including hiking, mountain-climbing and whitewater rafting. Another thing you can do is to study Tibetan Buddhism and sit zazen in Dharamsala or study yoga in Rishikesh.

EatEdit

DrinkEdit

Stay safeEdit

The Himalayan North, especially the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, is far from being safe. It had suffered several wars, conflicts and insurgencies. Some parts of the region, especially along the border, are off-limits. If you would like to visit the Himalayan North, check on current security conditions before you decide.

Some hill stations and villages are at very high altitudes, and therefore have problems of altitude sickness.

Go nextEdit


This region travel guide to Himalayan North is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!