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What is it about sitting in the middle of a meadow with a soft river flowing by, with majestic mountains on your sides, which makes you feel at one with Mother Nature herself? What is about these beautiful valleys in India that speak to us, compel us to visit them when the opportunity for our next holiday arrives?

If you, too, are mesmerised by the idea of exploring glorious valleys with rich histories, then here’s a list of 4 valleys in India to help you start planning your next big holiday:

  • Gurez Valley, Kashmir.

As the mighty Kishenganga flows by, you look into the horizon and spot the Habba Khatoon peak. Set against a gorgeous sunset, you can imagine the life of the Kashmiri poetess after whom the pyramid-shaped mountain is named. That, is a typical day in Gurez Valley, an offbeat destination for the discerning traveller. Around 120kms from Srinagar, be ready to experience the iconic kashmiriyat hospitality throughout Gurez where the locals will invite you into their homes with a wide smile and regale you with stories of harmony from the valley! 

Best time to visit: The summer months, that is April to September is the best time to visit Gurez. The valley is cut-off from the rest of the world for about 6 months of the year, including winter, so it is advisable to check its accessibility before heading to this heaven on Earth.

  • Betaab & Baisaran Valleys, Kashmir.

Stroll along the Lidder River and get lost in the views offered by the tall chinars, pines, and willows against the snow-clad mountains. You can spend anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days lazing around at Betaab & Baisaran Valleys. To give you an idea of just how stunning the valleys are, here are two facts- Betaab Valley is a hit amongst Bollywood directors, while Baisaran Valley is called ‘mini-Switzerland’! It is best to discover the valleys on foot, and maybe just lie down whenever you fancy it! 

Pro-tip: if you have started your journey from Srinagar in a tourist cab, you will have to change your vehicle at Pahalgam, the entry town to the valley. 

Best time to visit: The valleys offer you a different experience depending on the time of year. Winters will offer you a chance to make snow angels while summers will allow you to take unhurried walks through the meadows. 

  • Kangra Valley, Himachal Pradesh

The biggest valley in India, Kangra is worth a whole year of holidays! You can head to Bir for an adventurous paragliding course, or spend a few peaceful days at Dharamsala-the administrative headquarters of the district and abode of The Dalai Lama. Right from the historic rock-cut Masroor Temples, to the skilful trek to Triund, Kangra Valley has something to offer to every traveller. 

Best time to visit: Kangra Valley is open throughout the year. As the largest valley in India, you can expect Kangra to show you a different side of itself depending on the time of the year.

  • Ziro Valley, Arunachal Pradesh.

If listening to the soft sounds of a passing stream in the middle of a valley is too cliché for you, then head to Ziro for some lively music played at the annual Ziro Festival of Music one of the famous festival of North East India. A 4-hour drive from the state capital of Itanagar will take you to town of Ziro where you can observe the terrace paddy fields, and take part in the local culture and traditions of the Apatani people, who also are the hosts of the annual music fest. Ziro is definitely the best valley in India for fans of the independent music scene in the country.

Best time to visit: Summers are the best time to visit Ziro. Winters are a good idea only if you are comfortable with the temperatures dropping to -10 °C and lower. Access to the valley during monsoon might be sketchy due to flood-like situations around, so plan the trip only after careful thought and checking advisories.

Where to stay while exploring the different valleys of India?

Whether you are an enterprising solo traveller or a family consisting of three generations of adventurers, there are different accommodations for every need. Check out resorts in Kashmir, Ladakh resort, and North East India hosted by Club Mahindra if you are looking for a pleasant stay which also offers local experiences and cuisine! 

When we talk about a valley in India, we are talking about a diverse range of experiences you can have. Word of advice: don’t think too much about ‘what’ you will do at your holiday, just decide the ‘when’ and march on!

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