Cultural Destinations of North India

India is a land of diverse culture and traditions and what is more interesting is the fact that not only some of these are indigenous but also, external influences that we have imbibed and absorbed to make them our own. It is amazing how this very influence of various cultures have given a different color and experience to places within India. Every nook and corner of India have these kind of places.
Here is one cultural travel route in the Northern Part of India. I would love to travel along this circuit and explore the undiscovered secrets of the Big Five. The Big Five, as I like to call them, are cultural destinations, influenced and shaped by diverse cultural sects that settled in here. Here is a quick introduction to them – 

1) Delhi in India

Sure it is the capital of India, but the cultural roots of Delhi are quite fascinating. The Mughal influence is apparent in the monuments. From Humayun’s tomb to the Qutub Minar and the landmark Red Fort – the city is filled with Islamic influence – with some aspects yet to be discovered. 

 2) Rishikesh, India

Rishikesh_-_Lakshman_Jhula, India
Lakshman Jhula                                                                                         Image Credits: Tyler Sundance

Birthplace of Yoga with the holy river Ganges flowing through the town and its landmark bridge- Lakshman Jhoola, Rishikesh seems to paint a picture of serenity. With a Hindu influence, am sure the pulse in this little town echoes the peace of the sound of “OM”. Of course, besides the same, would love to do a little white-water rafting here, while visiting. 

3) Kasauli

Streets of Kasauli
Streets of Kasauli                                                                                       Image Credits: Gautam Valluri

Feels like the town is straight out of a storybook – a little town surrounded by the mountains, with British-styled buildings. They say that the lights of the town like pinpoints in the valley below. Nestled amongst the Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh, would love to see the British culture that still prevails in Kasauli by way of its architecture, the churches and the little streets of the old British cantonment. Of course, one cannot forget the thrill of the photographer who would love to carry back the pictures of pure nature and greenery that surrounds the town.

4) Kasol

Parvati River in Kasol
Parvati River in Kasol                                                                                 Image Credits:Parthiv Haldipur

 A little town near Kullu in Himachal Pradesh, this place caught my fancy because of the pure nature that you can experience here. The Gushing waters of Parvati River through the valleys of Himalayas and the lovely trekking trails. Aah! Makes me want to head there right away. And when it comes to the cultural influence- guess what- it’s the Israeli influence here. They say that this influence shows in the clothing, food, shopping and the music available in the town. Israel in Kasol – Interesting, huh?

5) Mcleodganj, India

The stunning location of Gyuto monastery
The stunning location of Gyuto monastery, Mcleodganj

Now this is unusual and I think the picture above would have given away the Cultural influence. Mcleodganj is a small town near Dharmasala in Himachal Pradesh. A headquarter of the Tibetan Government in Exile, this place is called the Little Lhasa and has a huge settlement from Tibet. What would it be like to get a feel of Tibet in India, and that too, in a beautiful town surrounded by the same mountains as in Tibet. There are quite a few things to do in Mcleodganj other than just visiting these Tibetan hubs. What makes it even more charming is the ease with which you can easily reach Mcleodganj.

Writing this post has already given me a thrill, imagine what it would be for me to actually be there. Imagine the thrill of discovering, understanding and living 5 unique cultures within the same country in a span of 10 days. Someday, I hope to do this route of the Big Five at one go but for now, it stays on my bucket list. 🙂

Do share your views about the “Big Five” in the comments below. Would love to know what you think of the same.

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