India is where culture echoes, tradition speaks, beauty enthralls and diversity delights. Bounded by the majestic Himalayan ranges in the north and edged by an endless stretch of golden beaches, India is the kaleidoscope of landscapes, magnificent historical sites and royal cities, misty mountain retreats, colorful people, rich cultures and festivities.
The timeless mystery and beauty of India has been waiting for you since 5000 years, always warm and inviting, a place of infinite variety, and one that favours you with different facets of its fascination every time you visit India.
The official language is Hindi in the Devanagri script. The States are free to decide their own regional languages for internal administration and education, so there are 18 official languages spoken throughout the country. However, English is widely spoken so will not be difficulty for the visitors to communicate.
Weather and Climate
India has hot tropical weather which varies from region to region. Coolest weather lasts from November to mid-March, with chilled, fresh mornings and evenings and dry sunny days.Between April and June the weather is really unpleasant, dry and dusty. Monsoon rain occurs in most regions in summer between June and September.
The landscape of this province ranges from the barren rocks and raging torrents of the valleys of Spiti and Lahaul in the north to the southern orchard country of Kangra and Chamba. Treks from Manali include the Bhaga river to Keylong, and then on to the Bara Shigri glacier or over the Baralacha Pass to Leh (see above). Kulu, in the centre of the province, is set in a narrow valley between the towering Himalayas and the river Beach, and is famous for its temples and religious festivals. Treks from here traverse terraced paddy fields and on to remoter regions of snow and ice. The view from the Rohtang Pass is particularly spectacular. The town of Dharamsala, in the Kangra Valley area, is the base for treks into the Bharmaur Valley over the Indrahar Pass, and on to other still higher passes beyond. Chamba, situated on a mountain above the Ravi River, is named after the fragrant trees which flourish around its richly carved temples. Treks from the nearby town of Dalhousie lead to the glacial lake of Khajjiar and to the passes of Sach and Chini. Simla, the summer capital of the British, is a high hill station and the base for treks into Kulu Valley via Jalori Pass and on to the Kalpur and Kinnaur Valleys.
Darjeeling and Sikkim
Dominated by the five summits of mighty Kanchenjunga, the Darjeeling and Sikkim area of the Eastern Himalayas is also a region of gentle hills and dales, pine forests, turquoise lakes and burbling streams. One of the best ways of arriving in the area is by the "toy train" from New Jalpaiguri. The town of Darjeeling is the home of the Everest climber Tenzing Norgay and also of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, and is the base for both low- and high-level treks. Destinations include Tiger Hill (offering a breathtaking view of the Himalayas), Sandakphu and the peaks of Phalut, Sandakphu, Singalia and Tanglu. To the north, Sikkim is a wonderland of ferns and flowers, birds and butterflies, orchids and bamboos, forests of cherry, oak and pine, all set among sweetly flowing rivers, terraced paddy fields and blazing rhododendrons. Deep in the interior are Sikkim’s famous monasteries, their white prayer flags fluttering against a deep blue sky. The capital is Gangtok, a convenient base for treks into the mysterious north and east of the region, to sacred Yaksum, Pemayangtse and the mountains near Bakkhim and Dzongri.