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Amritsar is the spiritual centre of the Sikh religion. Thousands of devotees flock to this holy city to visit The Golden Temple and pay homage to Sikh Gurus. Famous for its golden dome, the temple is the crown jewel of Amritsar city. It is home to the Akal Takht, the primary authoritative body in Sikh religion.
Having a long drawn history, Amritsar is a rich potpourri of cultures. Many scholars believe it was here that the grand Hindu epic Ramayana was written by sage Valmiki. Being strategically located, one can venture out from Amritsar to explore the ethereal beauty and splendor of the Himalayas.
One can take cabs from Amritsar to Dalhousie to reach this timeless hill station. In the lap of the mountains, this destination is for those who seek the awe and childlike wonder of nature, far away from the maddening crowd.
Dalhousie attracts lovers, poets, writers, honeymooners, artists, monks and nature-loving romantics who have heard the call of the wild and have been guided by the heart to seek to experience the transcendental. Counter-culture musicians, hippies of the Flower Power generation, spiritual seekers are among the frequent visitors to this hill station spread over five hills.
Major tourist attractions include Khajjiar, a picturesque valley also known as Switzerland of India, the “breathtaking” trek to Dainkund Peak, Upper Bakrota and Subhash Chowk.
Known all over the world as home to His Holiness Dalai Lama, and the Tibetan government-in-exile, this abode in the mountains is a world in itself. Tourists agree that it is convenient to travel by availing Amritsar to Dharamshala car rental services.
One can explore the mysteries of Tibetan Buddhism traditions here. McLeod Ganj has a long been pit stop for backpackers and hitch-hikers from all around the world. One can even attempt at meeting the great ambassador of peace, His Holiness Dalai Lama. The town is surrounded by Yoga retreats and meditation centers; many a weary soul find respite here in the crisp cold air of the mountains and the therapeutic environment.
Manali is a quaint little hill station situated on the river Beas. Nestled in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh near Kullu valley, this serene mountain getaway has long been a favorite of wanderers, film-makers and travel enthusiasts alike. A taxi from Amritsar to Manali can take you there in comfort and style.
Manali's top attraction is the snow-capped mountains of Rohtang Pass. Other places of interest are Beas Kund and the trek offered there, the Hidimba Devi temple which is surrounded by majestic cedars, the Kalath hot water springs, and Vashist hot water springs. If waterfalls attract you, a trek to Jogini and Rahala waterfalls will cure your itch! One can also spend a lazy day in Old Manali which is famous for its colonial-style guest houses and lovely orchards.
Located merely 26 kilometres from Dalhousie, Khajjiar is a remarkable hill station which boasts of green meadows, calm lakes and lush green forests. Coined “Mini Switzerland”, many trekkers treat Khajjiar as their base camp while setting out to conquer challenging peaks.
As one travels on the meandering paths of Khajjiar, one feels at par with the white clouds, the silence of the snow-capped mountain peaks juxtaposed with the whistling wind slicing through the trees only deepens Khajjiar’s mysterious ambience. Old people and children can ride on horses and mules if trekking is too cumbersome for them. One can trek from Dalhousie to Chamba via Khajjiar, or to the Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary.
To conclude, the snow-capped Himalayan mountains hold many secrets, and since time immemorial those who are struck by wanderlust have looked towards these mystic mountains to quench their thirst and conquer their fears.