SHILLONGThere is an other-worldly beauty and serenity to Shillong that commends itself to travellers of the modern age, as indeed it did to colonial-era Britons who christened the city the ‘Scotland of the East’. Meghalaya’s capital is rich in scenic delights, with a profusion of waterfalls, lakes and rolling hills. Among the more scenic sights are the Elephant Falls in Upper Shillong; the Umiam Lake, which offers spectacular sunset vistas; and the Wards Lake, with its lotuses, ornamental wooden bridge and dancing fountain. For some lively interactions, go shopping at the Bara Bazaar, where cheery Khasi women set up shop.
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SRINAGARThe relative calm of recent months in Jammu and Kashmir has amplified Srinagar’s numerous charms, and visitors are flocking there in droves. The Dal Lake, with its charming, canopied shikaras and houseboats, is the epicentre of tourist attractions, although other, smaller lakes provide more secluded enjoyment. Romance abounds also in the Shalimar Gardens, and the chinar tree-lined avenues. Gulmarg and Pahalgam are a comfortable drive away. Srinagar’s syncretic culture is exemplified in its profusion of temples and wooden mosques. Savour a sumptuous wazwan meal at Ahdoo’s (www.ahdooshotel.com).
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