We all know a very famous quote from His Holiness Dalai Lama-

Once a year, go somewhere you have never been before.

But for a traveler, only one unknown territory will be too little to satiate your wanderlust. Here I share the places I traveled in Year 2017 and which should definitely be on your travel list 2018 if you haven’t been there before.

1. Mcleod Ganj and Triund Hill trek

Taking inspiration from the words of Dalai Lama, me with my friend Nitin landed in Mcleod Ganj on 31st December. We spent the day hiking to the Bhagsu Nag Waterfall and taking a bath in freezing cold water. Later we explored the lively streets and cafes in the hilly town. The streets were always brimmed with Lamas in red robes giving the town a spiritual outlook.

In Mcleod Ganj, towards Bhagsu Nag Waterfall

On 1st January, 2016 we trekked to Triund ridge. While we were trekking, the clouds started gathering amid the hills around noon and soon after it started snowing.

What a wonderful way to start the year, isn’t it!!

Triund Hill-1st January,2017

2. Parvati Valley

Well, it wasn’t the first time I have been to the valley. The sheer beauty of valley and quaint town Kasol keep inviting you there. It was the day of Mahashivratri and the holy town of Manikaran was filled with devotees. Many religious activities packed in cultural tone of Himachal made our day. Next day I trekked to Kheer Ganga with my brother and friends. One of the most beautiful and easy trek I believe.

When you are in Kasol, you needn’t do anything..bask in the sun sitting beside the mystic green Parvati river.

Hot Springs at Manikaran

3. Naggar

This little town on the way to Manali is beautiful beyond words. If you don’t like the hustle bustle in the Manali- come to Naggar and experience raw beauty. No wonder what made Nicholas Roerich to stay back and paint the picturesque views around. This town is worth spending a day or two. You can combine the visit when you are going to Manali or Parvati Valley. Explore the Naggar Castle, Nicholas Art Gallery and different old temples in the town.

Inside Naggar- the old town.

4. Palampur

Palampur is being called the ” tea capital” of north-west India. Now this is a small quaint town which is not to be visited for 1 or 2 days but to settle down for always. Wherever you see, you find tea estates. I visited the town during monsoon, the green landscapes around the town were spellbound.

Towards Tashi Jong Monastery in Palampur

Go just 16 km beyond the town, and you will find the famous Baijnath Temple. You can also go to Bir, just 25 km from the town famous for paragliding. The town itself has many attractions ranging from monastery, temples, cafes and famous Tea Factory. You can buy famous Kangra Tea from here.

Baijnath Temple, Baijnath

5. Kangra

Kangra is not so small town in the foothills of Dhauldhar range of Himalayas. One surprisingly new thing for me was Kangra Valley Railways. I covered my distance from Palampur to Kangra in this Himalayan railway line. It is very popular among locals and the rugged and beautiful landscapes it offers, is awesome.

Kangra Valley Railways, Palampur

Kangra is famous for Masroor rock-cut temple and also Kangra fort. Both the places offers unique architecture and mastery over stone cutting. Brajeshwari Devi temple is a famous pilgrimage center in the town.

Inside Kangra Fort

6. The Valley of Flowers Uttarakhand

Valley of Flowers was in my mind since 2–3 years and I am happy I made it this years despite many warnings of landslides and heavy rains. The trouble you take reaching the valley is worth once you are inside the valley. It can’t be summed up in few words how one feel in the lap of flowers everywhere. You just need to be there to have this feeling. Visit the valley from August start to September 1st-2nd week to have it with full of flowers. Read the details and essentials about Valley here.

Valley of Flowers National Park, Uttarakhand

7. Badrinath temple, Uttarakhand

Amid the Garhwal Himalayas, one of the most famous pilgrimage center for Hindus. I visited the temple on the day of Krishna Janmashtami- the birthday of Lord Krishna. I reached the evening before the birthday and the temple was in celebration mode Being decorated with flowers and lights, preparations for elaborate worships- this you can’t experience when you go during tourist season of May-June. This is the time of the year when crowd is very less and you can enjoy the beauty of the temple and the roaring Alaknanda river.

Badrinath Temple, Uttarakhand

The Year 2017 ended with lot of memories and happiness. Travel certainly enriches you as a person. With a new year, new places are waiting to be explored. What are your plans for this year!!!

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