Updated May 22nd, 2024 at 11:55 IST

Planning A Trip To The Hills This Summer? Here’s Why That Is A Bad Idea

While Uttarakhand's hills are undeniably beautiful, the current circumstances make it a less ideal choice for a peaceful summer vacation.

Yamunotri is a part of Char Dham (along with Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath) | Image: Uttarakhandtourism

Summer often beckons travellers to the cool respite of the hills, and Uttarakhand is typically at the top of the list for many. With its beautiful landscapes, soul-soothing greenery, and cultural richness, it's no wonder this region is a preferred escape from the sweltering heat. However, this summer, the idyllic picture of a peaceful getaway might be disrupted by the reality on the ground. The commencement of the Char Dham Yatra has led to an overwhelming influx of tourists, resulting in excessive traffic and long congestions on the roads, making Uttarakhand less than ideal for a stress-free vacation.

Char Dham Yatra's impact

The Char Dham Yatra, a significant pilgrimage circuit that includes Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath, attracts millions of devotees annually. The yatra season, which typically begins in April and extends through the summer months, has once again seen a massive turnout this year. Over 26 lakh pilgrims have registered for the pilgrimage.The sheer volume of pilgrims, combined with regular tourists, has led to unprecedented congestion on the roads. Long traffic jams are common, especially on the narrow, winding routes leading to these holy sites. Travellers can expect delays lasting several hours, which can turn a scenic drive into a frustrating ordeal.

Traffic is a major deterrent | Image: Unsplash

Furthermore, the infrastructure in many parts of Uttarakhand struggles to accommodate the sudden surge in visitors. Accommodation can be scarce, and local resources are often stretched thin, leading to potential discomfort and inconvenience for tourists. Thus, while Uttarakhand’s hills are breathtaking, the timing may not be favourable for a leisurely vacation right now.


Alternative destinations

North East India

Consider exploring the relatively untouched and less crowded regions of North East India. States like Meghalaya, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh offer stunning landscapes, pleasant weather, and unique cultural experiences. Shillong in Meghalaya, known as the "Scotland of the East," boasts picturesque hills and serene lakes. Sikkim's capital, Gangtok, provides a gateway to the majestic Himalayas with fewer crowds and more peace.

Himachal Pradesh

Jibhi in Himachal Pradesh | Image: Unsplash

While Himachal Pradesh is a popular destination, it still has many lesser-known spots that offer a peaceful retreat. Places like Tirthan Valley, Jibhi, and Chitkul are not yet overrun by tourists. These locations provide a perfect mix of natural beauty, adventure activities, and a relaxing atmosphere without the hustle and bustle. The cool climate and scenic views make Himachal an excellent alternative for those looking to escape the heat.


Published May 22nd, 2024 at 11:55 IST