India’s six best spring destinations - Hindustan Times
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India’s six best spring destinations

Feb 28, 2024 02:54 PM IST

Mid-February to late April is the ideal time of year for mild-weather hikes through blooming fields, open-air festivals, tea picking and more.

Many would argue that the spring season in India is undefined, but for the travelling kind, it is the beginning of the first harvest of tea leaves in Darjeeling, the full bloom of rhododendrons, and the time when elaborate festivities are held across cities in India paying ode to the local flora. From hiking routes, indigenous cultural programmes and views that make you want to spring into a spring mood, these destinations just might inspire you to celebrate an off-season walk through Uttrakhand’s Valley of Flowers, take in a blooming view of Yumthang from a hot spring or plan a luxury staycation in Darjeeling’s rolling hills.

From hiking routes, indigenous cultural programmes and views that make you want to spring into a spring mood, these destinations just might inspire you to take a spring break.
From hiking routes, indigenous cultural programmes and views that make you want to spring into a spring mood, these destinations just might inspire you to take a spring break.

A trek of a lifetime in Uttrakhand’s Valley of Flowers

In 1980, the Indian government announced the Valley of Flowers National Park which went on to be recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002 for its endemic alpine flowers. While the bloom can be observed all year round in its different phases, from late March to May you can see the meadows peaking with blooming blue poppy, yellow saxaul, red spider lily and more.

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Lose yourself in a sea of tulips in Kashmir

If an annual trip to Kashmir is on the book, make it during the spring season—the last week of March to the end of April—for 2024. The Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden, known as the Model Floriculture Center, is Asia's largest tulip garden and plays host to the annual Tulip Festival, held at the onset of spring. Opened in 2007, it is spread across approximately 30 hectares in Srinagar and aims to promote floriculture and tourism in the Kashmir Valley. “With 1.5 million tulips of about 48 varieties of flowers, including hyacinths, daffodils, and ranunculus, alongside tulips, you can enjoy,” explains couple Himani and Sagar

Walking through Yumthang’s Rhododendron-lined valley

Let’s face it: a wide carpet of rhododendrons painting the Sikkim Valley of Flowers sanctuary red is about as magical as it gets. Located at a distance of 150 kilometres from the capital Gangtok, Yumthang is home to Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary where you can spot over 20 species of the state flower from February to mid-June. “Spot Rhododendron niveum and Rhododendron ciliatum on guided tours, stop to bite into Sikkimese Crabapple, take a detour to visit the Lachung Monastery and after a day of viewing the pretty red-pink flowers, soak your tired muscles at the Yumthang Hot Spring,” says travel creator Aakanksha Monga.

A blooming sight (and taste) of the sweetest apricots in the world

Ladakh’s Apricot Blossom festival can give Japan’s Cherry Blossom viewing a run for its money and win, especially when it comes to expenses. Organised by Ladakh Tourism between mid to late-Aprill, this event, attendees can see local handicraft exhibits, sample and buy apricot-derived products like jams and syrup, take part in deep-rooted traditional activities in Dha-Hanu villages all while learning about the exclusive GI-tagged Raktsey Karpo Apricot (locally known as Chuli).

Tea picking in Darjeeling during the ‘first flush’

While April to June is the prime time for tourism in the hill station, heading out a bit early is ideal to catch the Darjeeling tea leaves during their ‘first flush’ of the season. The term ‘first flush’ can be defined as leaves picked during the first-ever harvest and lead to local immersion unlike any. After learning how to pick the prized ‘two leaves and a bud’, experiencing tasting sessions and understanding the colonial history, travellers can opt to stay on the estate in dedicated accommodation, stone houses and even villas like Makaibari Tea Estate, Glenburn Tea Estate and more. Pro tip: Like hiking much, don’t book a return ticket without planning out a trek to the Sandakphu mountain.

Cherry blossoms bathing Bangalore in pink

Introduced by the British to remind themselves of the spring season back home, today, tabebuia pink flowers bloom in Bengaluru every spring. Botanists John Cameron and Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel famed for shaping the Lal Bagh are credited for planting the first seeds after which horticulturist SG Neginhal planted them across the city as avenue trees in the 1980s. With the iconic Cubbon Park in Ashok Nagar leading among the popular places to spot the blossoms, the residential blocks of Jayanagar, HSR Layout, Koramangala, AECS Layout and Indiranagar, are worth exploring.

Lose yourself in a sea of tulips in Kashmir

If an annual trip to Kashmir is on the book, make it during the spring season—the last week of March to the end of April—for 2024. The Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden, known as the Model Floriculture Center, is Asia’s largest tulip garden and plays host to the annual Tulip Festival, held at the onset of spring. Opened in 2007, it is spread across approximately 30 hectares in Srinagar and aims to promote floriculture and tourism in the Kashmir Valley. With 1.5 million tulips of about 48 varieties of flowers, including hyacinths, daffodils, and ranunculus, alongside tulips, you can expect cultural events, music shows, and culinary showcases during the season. “Beyond the garden, you can trace the blooming meadows to the foothills of the Zabarwan Range and hunt for hyacinths and daffodils beyond the tulips,” explains couple travel creators Himani and Sagar.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Sneha Chakraborty writes on travel, food, culture, gadgets and lifestyle for the Daily Entertainment and Lifestyle supplement, HT City.

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