With inputs from Shalini Raj, Travel Curator and Founder, Journey Weavers.
1. Chopta, Uttarakhand
Impromptu mountain trip? Chopta is an ideal out-of-the-box destination to unwind, that you can explore in four days. Around 450 kms from Delhi, Chopta is located at an altitude of around 3,500 meters with a wild panoramic view of the wild ranges of the Himalayas. Whether going by bikes or four-wheelers, Chopta is around 14 hrs drive from Delhi touching Rishikesh, Srinagar, Rudraprayag, Ukhimath. From Chopta, one can trek upto the Tungnath that has the world's highest Shiva Temple at an altitude of 3,600 meters. From Tungnath, one can further trek upto the Chandrashila top and can enjoy a wild 360 degree view of the wild ranges of the Himalayas, standing right in front of their faces.
2. Pangi Valley, Himachal Pradesh
Worth a five-day trip, Pangi valley is located in Northern Himachal. One can reach Pangi valley in 3 days, traveling through Pathankot, Chamba valley and Sach Pass which is one of the most dangerous passes in Asia. Pangi valley is yet not much commercialised and people have visited the region to research herbs. But, the best part indeed is the ride from Bairagarh in Chamba valley to Kilar is Pangi through the Sach Pass. An 80 kms drive at an altitude of 4,500 meters, one can surely experience what offroading truly means.
3. Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh
Studying about Himachal in geography, everyone has read about Lahaul-Spiti, but little anyone knows about the wild beauty one can experience here. Himachal Pradesh, mostly having the wilds located in the northern part, Spiti is a must-do for any traveller to enjoy the wild rocky sculptures all around. Around 2,000 kms roundtrip from the national capital, one can either enter via Manali or Shimla, depending on how they want to complete the circuit. Visiting Spiti, one must surely keep his stay in Dhankar, Komic, Langza, Chandratal, Key. Kaza being the most commercialised place in Spiti, one can surely have a stay as a base and visit to Langza and Komic which is Asia's highest village connected by a motorable road.
4. Narkanda, Himachal Pradesh
A night-drive from Delhi, Narkanda in Himachal is a must-tick in a traveller's checklist if they can't afford extended holidays. The road from Shimla to Narkanda is well maintained and the drive is really pleasing through the lush green mountains. Around 400 kms from Delhi and well-known for apples and cherry orchards, one can drive through Shimla, Theog enjoying the mesmerising views while cruising through.
If you have the heart to drive through the river beds and waterfalls, this is the route for you. Take the challenge and drive from Kargil to Zanskar to enjoy serenity beyond explanation. Located in Ladakh, Zanskar is around 250 kms from Kargil. One needs to start by 6 a.m. or before to reach Padum by evening as one can maintain hardly 20 kms/hr speed on this route. Reaching there, one can enjoy the perfect Buddhist culture for a day before heading back to Kargil and carrying on their journey in Ladakh.
6. Auli, Uttarakhand
Located around 500 meters from Delhi, Auli is the perfect destination if one is fond of skiing. One of the locations in Uttarakhand witnessing great footfall between December and March, Auli is surely a great plan for travellers who love winter snowfall. One can drive through Rishikesh, Devprayag, Karnprayag, Srinagar and break the journey into 5 days for the 1,000 kms round-trip.
( With inputs from IANS )