Corbett National Park
Corbett National Park makes an interesting side trip from Nainital. Named after hunter turned conservationist Jim Corbett, it has dense forest and an exotic array of wildlife. One of the best ways of exploring the park is on the jeep or elephant safaris that take place daily in the early morning and afternoon. The park has a tiger reserve, but tiger sightings are less common than at some of India’s other national parks. The Dhikala zone of the park is the most panoramic, with stunning valley views, and offers the best change of animal sightings. You may even get to see wild elephants.
Ancient Haridwar (the Gateway to God) is one of the seven holiest places in India, and one of the oldest living cities. It’s made up of a fascinating and colorful collection of sadhus (holy men), pundits (Hindu priests), pilgrims, guides, and beggars. Every evening, the Ganges comes alive with the magic of the aarti (worship with fire), as lamps are lit, prayers are offered, and small candles are floated down the river. For Hindus, a visit to Haridwar is believed to provide liberation from the endless cycle of death and rebirth.
Rishikesh, the birthplace of yoga, is a popular place to come and meditate, do yoga, and learn about other aspects of Hinduism. It’s situated on the banks of the Ganges River, surrounded by hills on three sides, not far from Haridwar in Uttarakhand. The whole town is considered to be sacred and it’s believed that meditation there leads to salvation.
Rishikesh lures those seeking knowledge and peace with its numerous temples, ashrams, and yoga institutes. Despite the growing number of visitors, the town’s lanes and alleys retain a old-world charm, and it remains a wonderful place to relax and unwind amongst nature.
The hill settlement of Nainital is full of natural beauty and was a popular summer retreat for the British during the time they ruled India. It features the serene, emerald colored Naini Lake and action filled strip called The Mall, lined with restaurants, shops, hotels, and markets.
The town is actually made up of two areas, Tallital and Mallital, which are on either end of the lake, surrounded by mountains and connected by The Mall. Nainital is the perfect place to come and simply enjoy nature and the pristine views, which you’ll find in abundance there.
Valley of Flowers National Park
The stunning landscape of The Valley of Flowers National Park in northern India’s state of Uttarakhand, bordered by Nepal and Tibet, comes alive with the monsoon rain. This high-altitude Himalayan valley has around 300 different varieties of alpine flowers, which appear as a bright carpet of color against a mountainous snow capped background.
The park is spread over 87.5 square kilometers (55 miles), and was declared a national park in 1982. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The main Valley of Flowers is a glacial corridor, around five kilometers (3.1 miles) long and two kilometers (1.2 miles) wide.
After the snow clears at the foothills of the Himalayas in late April, Hindu pilgrims start flocking to the four ancient temples known as Char Dham. Located high up in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, these temples mark the spiritual source of four holy rivers: the Yamuna (at Yamunotri), the Ganges (at Gangotri), the Mandakini (at Kedarnath), and the Alaknanda (at Badrinath). Hindus consider visiting the Char Dham to be very auspicious. Not only is it believed to wash away all sins, it will also ensure release from the cycle of birth and death. There are a number of options for going on a Char Dham yatra (journey).