One of the most strategically located national parks in India, the list of places to visit near reads like a who’s who of Indian hill stations. From the pious Haridwar and the adrenaline-pumping Rishikesh to the ever-scenic Mussoorie, the itinerary of weekend getaways near Rajaji is, at once, enviable and enticing. Without wasting too much time, here’s a list of places you should head to, if you have some time to spare from your Rajaji visit:
Image Source- Wikimedia
Just 9 km from Rajaji National Park is the religious city of Haridwar. One of the holiest and culturally significant places in the Hindu religion, Haridwar is made pious and pretty by the Ganga river. Flowing torrentially down from the Himalayas, Ganga has been banked and made useful for taking holy dips by the many ‘ghats’ here. Take a dip in its chilly waters or stand back and admire the views and DO attend the evening aarti at Har ki Pauri, a spectacular worship of the river that shouldn’t be missed irrespective of your religious inclinations.
Drive about 20 km north from here and you’ll get to Rishikesh, which is a Gangetic experience entirely different from that at Haridwar. Very well-known for the white-water rafting in and camping beside the Ganga river, there are many other activites for a traveller here. From the many temples here, to handicrafts shopping in the markets and the absolutely delectable food at the Chotiwala restaurant or one of its many good imposters, its hard to run out of things to do here.
One of the oldest and best-known hill stations in India, Dehradun is the capital of Uttarakhand and one of the most important cultutal and economic centres here. Its name is derived from the words ‘Dehra’ meaning home and ‘Doon’, meaning the valley between the Himalayas and Shivaliks. While there are many crucial educational and research institutes in the fields of forestry, wildlife, petroleum, Himalayan geology and military training, Dehradun is best known to travellers for its scenic beauty which can be well-enjoyed at many sightseeing and tourist spots here, like Robbers’ Cave, Tapkeshwar Temple, Mindrolling Monastery and Sahastradhara spring. Dehradun is a gateway to almost all the other major destinations in the region so its a good idea to include them in a Dehradun holiday.
You know what they say about cliches? That they’re cliched for a reason. An absolute cliche of a hill station, Mussoorie has been called the ‘Queen of the hills’ for decades now, and for good reason. From the many waterfalls here, primary among which is Kempty Falls, to the Mussoorie Lake and Lake Mist, to the Jwalaji Temple and the Municipal Gardens here, the places to enjoy nature here are many and excellent.
While not as popular as the other mentions on this list, Lansdowne is another fairly well-known hill station best to enjoy a vacation in quiet seclusion. While you may choose to just walk around in silent contemplation of the scenic beauty of this army cantonment town, there are some great local attractions that you won’t mind visiting, like lake Bhullatal, the War Memorial, Regimental Museum, St. Mary’s Church and Lover’s lane.