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PICS: Winners of the best travel destinations in India

Last updated on: December 27, 2012 18:30 IST

PICS: Winners of the best travel destinations in India

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We recently asked you, our readers to vote for the best travel destinations in India. Here are the results.

How do you select the best travel destinations in a country like India? We asked you to select your most favourite from this list and these are the top 10.



Tags: India , PICS

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10. Tiger Hill

About 11km from the town centre of Darjeeling, the Tiger Hill has to be accessed by a vehicle that will drive you to its base. From there on you will have to trek all the way up.

Tiger Hill is best known for its stunning panoramic views of the Mount Everest and Kangchenjunga.

On a clear day, you can also view Kurseong to the south and in the distance as Teesta, Mahanadi, Balason and Mechi rivers meander quietly.

If you are at Tiger Hill it is recommended that you visit Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary that, besides being a fantastic picnic spot also has two artificial lakes that serve as a reservoir Darjeeling's water supply.


Image: Tiger Hill
Photographs: Wikimedia Creative Commons

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9. Gateway of India

Built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Mumbai prior to their Delhi Durbar in December 1911 that marked the coronation of a King and Queen of the United Kingdom as the Emperor and Empress of India, the Gateway of India is today the most recognisable landmarks of Mumbai.

Interestingly, though the King and the Queen never got to see the structure that was being built to commemorate their visit. All they saw was a cardboard model!

The foundation stone was laid on March 31, 1911, the final design of George Wittet was sanctioned on the same day two years later and by the time the construction on the gateway it was 1915. It would be almost nine years before the Gateway was finally opened (December 4 1924).

While the Emperor and the Empress of India never walked through the arches at the peak of their glory, their troops passed through it after the country won its Independence on February 28, 1948 officially signalling the end of the British rule on India.


Image: Gateway of India
Photographs: Wikimedia Creative Commons

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8. The Living Root Bridges of Cherrapunji

Among the many miracles that exist deep in the heart of India's forests are the living root bridges of Cherrapunji. As their name suggests, they are a) alive b) roots of trees.

But before you get any ideas about visiting these fascinating suspension bridges, know that reaching there from the main city of Cherrapunji is more difficult than you think.

You will have to drive down to Umsohphie village from where it is a longish trek that can take you anywhere around two hours or more.

Soak in the beauty of the wettest place on earth and chat up with the friendly tribes that you meet along the way before you finally see the famed Double Decker bridge soon after Nongriat, the last village before the final destination.

Rediff readers Vivek Garg and Ravishankar Mantha who visited the bridge write, "The double-decker root bridge forms a sturdy path across the Umshiang River whose water flows down from Cherrapunji's Nohkalikai Fall, one of the highest waterfalls in the world. Local villagers use this bridge to cross the river for their daily activities and therefore it is a lifeline for them."

(Read their travelogue here)

Visit the Living Root Bridges of Cherrapunji. We can bet easily you won't see anything close to this marvel anywhere else.


Photographs: Vivek Garg and Ravishankar Mantha

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7. Junagarh Fort

One of the very few major forts in Rajasthan NOT to be built on a hilltop, the Junagarh Fort holds an important place in history in that it was never captured despite repeated attacks, except for o-n-e day.

Records show that the day-long occupation by Kamran Mirza, the second son of the Mughal Emperor Babur who attacked Bikaner in 1534.

It didn't take long for the Mughals to be defeated by the Rathors following which Kamran returned to Lahore.

The city of Bikaner has developed around the fort whose complex has a number of palaces, temples and pavilions that are influenced by a mix of architectural styles.


Image: Junagarh Fort
Photographs: Wikimedia Creative Commons

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6. Backwaters of Kerala

There is perhaps no better time to hit the Backwaters of Kerala than now. Those of you freezing in the cold of North India, would perhaps appreciate the pleasant weather of the Backwaters the most.

Much unlike popular belief, visiting Kerala does not necessarily require a long leave to enjoy. Sure, you can do a lot more in a week than in let's say four days but if it is the Backwaters you're visiting, the key is in doing nothing.

CGH Earth, a prominent hotel chain in Kerala has a fantastic hotel called Coconut Lagoon that offers the peace and quiet you're looking for. Kerala Tourism Development Corporation also has a property that is beautiful.

But if you really must enjoy the Backwaters, rent out a houseboat and spend a night in the backwaters. It is an experience you will most certainly never forget.


Image: Backwaters of Kerala
Photographs: Courtesy CGH Earth

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5. Roopkund Lake

At the foot of the mighty Trishul and Nandaghunti peaks in Uttarkhand lies Roopkund, a small lake that is frozen most of the year.

A two or three-day trek from Wan in Garhwal region (best done May-June and September-October), the lake is famous for skeletons that perplexed many till a National Geographic expedition solved the mystery.

But don't bother about ghosts of the past, the trek traverses some of the most beautiful places in the Himalayas, including the stunning Bedni Bugyal, a huge high-altitude meadow.


Image: Roopkund Lake
Photographs: Wikimedia Creative Commons

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4. Valley of Flowers

Much like the Living Root Bridges of Cherrapunji, the stunning Valley of Flowers tests your will to visit it. You can take a vehicle up to Govindghat trekking from there on. The route from here pretty much goes along the Lakshman Ganga River. You can stay at Ghangaria, a village about 13 km from Govindghat, rest and then head out to the Valley of Flowers the following day.

Rediff reader and traveller Mridula Dwivedi writes: "The Valley itself is about 3km away and the route is dotted with flowers almost all the way. We spotted geraniums quite early. They were spread like a field in the valley. River Pushpawati flows through the Valley of Flowers... The Himalayan Blue Poppies and Brahma Kamal are two (of the many) exotic flowers that bloom in the Valley.

Dwivedi also recommends going further to get a glimpse of the serene Hemkunt Sahib Lake.

Read her travelogue here


Image: Valley of Flowers
Photographs: Mridula Dwivedi

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3. Dal Lake

The crown jewel of Kashmir, the Dal Lake has found its way into our collective consciousness thanks largely to the many films to which it forms a backdrop.

Take a trip in a shikara or spend a night in the house boat and shop in the floating flower and vegetable markets or simply witness the beauty of the floating gardens -- Dal Lake of Srinagar has indeed much to offer.


Image: Dal Lake
Photographs: Wikimedia Creative Commons

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2. Taj Mahal

What can you say about the Taj Mahal, except that if you haven't seen it already you absolutely must?

Ordered by Emperor Shahjehan to be built in the memory of his deceased wife Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal is (quite justifiably) one of the seven wonders of the modern world.

The mausoleum that incorporates the design traditions of Persian and Mughal architecture took over 22 years to construct during which time a town named Mumtazabad was said to have been constructed to house the hundreds of thousands of labourers.

Today, the Taj is universally recognised as a symbol of undying love and is visited by millions of visitors each year. A visit to India wouldn't be complete without it.


Image: Taj Mahal
Photographs: Ankit Mehra/Wikimedia Creative Commons

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1. Pangong Lake

There is no way you can have enough of seeing and photographing this amazing lake. It isn't very difficult not to fall in love with Pangong, a look at this picture is enough for you to know that.

The lake, a part of which is disputed territory between India and China, can be reached in a five-hour drive from Leh. Boating however is not permitted due to security reasons.

Pangong Lake has been featured in Mani Ratnam's 1998 film Dil Se and more recently in the climax scene of the 2009 blockbuster, 3 Idiots.

Visit this lake not because you must, not because it has been voted as the best travel destinations by you, our readers, but simply to know that there is something greater and larger beyond oneself.


Image: Pangong Lake
Photographs: Courtesy Varun Gupta/Travelling Lens

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