The Indian Himalayan Region spans ten states of India namely, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh as well as the hill regions of two states – Assam and West Bengal. Many rivers considered holy like the Ganges and Yamuna flow from the Himalayas.
West Bengal and Sikkim
The Himalaya range is of course inextricably linked to India and here, at the extreme eastern end of the world’s largest mountain range, are a couple of delightful regions where you can get a glimpse of some of the world’s highest peaks. Calcutta (latterly Kolkata) is the gateway to this region and despite its poor press over decades is actually one of India’s most charming and beguiling cities.
Darjeeling, in the West Bengal hills, is famous for its tea and it’s a highlight of this region to sample some of the finest blends and single-source brews fresh from estate.
Sikkim, a remote mountain region which was an independent country until 1975, is mostly Buddhist, has a unique history and provides some of the finest scenery in all of India.
Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand
Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are in the hills north of Delhi and offer a mid-altitude alternative to the high plateaux of Ladakh and Kashmir. Famous Raj-era hill stations like Shimla and Manali, the Sikh-dominated Amritsar with its famous Golden Temple and Dharamshala, home of the Tibetan government in exile, are among the places most visited in Himachal.
Haridwar (sometimes described as Varanasi-lite, with all the spiritual fervour but little of the hassle) and Rishikesh, one of the world’s foremost yoga and meditation towns, are the highlights of Uttarakhand. Both states are blessed with stunning scenery and excellent trekking possibilities.