The best way to learn is by travelling. So this vacation, pack your bags for a learning experience that goes beyond classrooms.
M is here and with it comes the best ‘H’ word in the dictionary — Holidays! Whether you plan a trip with your family or friends, India has plenty to offer.
Lloyd D’Souza, a frequent traveller, suggests getting away from the scorching heat by journeying to the north of the country. “Dharamsala, Manali, Simla, and Ladakh should be on the top of your list if you’re looking for adventure, a taste of culture and to meet new people,” he says.
Ladakh in Jammu & Kashmir
“Overlooking the sparkling blue Pangong Lake, an overnight camping trip is much-needed post a year of serious studying and exams,” suggests Neelu Singh, Director and CEO, Ezeego1.
Travel for: Endless discoveries. The unplugged landscapes, rich culture, dazzling blue lakes and exotic wildlife will have you wishing you could cancel your return ticket. Do not miss river rafting and visiting Ladakh’s monasteries. According to Karan Anand, Relationships Head, Cox & Kings, a visit to Sankar Gompa, Diskit and Spituk monasteries is a must.
Explore: The various colourful festivals at Thikse, Chemrey, Spituk and Matho. Daniel D’Souza, Head Sales, India and NRI Markets, SOTC Travel, suggests, “A yak safari to navigate your gang through the glacial valleys of Leh Ladakh.” Karan also recommends trying to spot the majestic Snow Leopard and riding out to explore the Khardung La Pass, the highest motorable road in the world.
Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh is easily accessible to teenagers. “Take a train to Delhi, explore the capital for a bit and then simply hop onto a night bus to Dharamsala, Manali or Simla,” suggests Lloyd.
Dharamsala is “home to many Tibetan refugees”, Lloyd tells us; either their grandfather or father moved to Dharamsala years ago. If you’re someone who likes to chit-chat, you might find a lot of interesting stories here. Lloyd recommends scouting out good, but inexpensive accommodation once you reach Dharamsala, as you won’t find good deals online. “Once you arrive, spend the first hour or two looking for a good place to stay. You might have to shell out approximately Rs 3000 for something really fancy, while safe and clean accommodation is available for Rs 700. If you’re up for a little adventure, you could share a room for around Rs 200,” he shares.
You’ll also find a lot of international backpackers who’ve been on the go for six months or more. “Most of them are between the age group of 17 to 25 years; they’ve saved up money from internships or part-time jobs at restaurants and then take off to explore the world. Most, being solo travellers, are happy to share their stories with you,” adds Lloyd.
Travel for: A visit to Namgyal Monastery, where if you’re lucky you might get to see the Dalai Lama. Watch a 30-45 minute movie on the Tibetan refugees and learn interesting facts about them; their weapons, clothes and more are on display at the monastery’s museum. There are several other monasteries, shrines and temples that are worth a visit too.
Explore: Dharamsala’s cricket stadium that is surrounded by mountains. Also pop in at the tea estates and companies, where they show you how tea is packaged; you can buy some chai to share with your family back home.