Cherry blossom season in Japan is one of the most popular experiences on a traveller’s bucket list. But what if we told you one could be privy to views just as spectacular right at home? Here’s a handy guide to the best destinations to see cherry blossoms in India.
Each spring, Japan comes alive with delicate cherry blossoms. Across the country, the landscape is filled with almost painterly splashes of pale pink or white. While late March or early April is the best time to visit, you don’t have to fly all the way to Japan to witness this spectacle. Here’s where you can see cherry blossoms right here in India.
Even as winter begins to set in, clusters of cherry blossoms erupt across the Khasi hills in Northeast India, reminding you that spring is just around the corner. Buds begin to sprout by October and by November they’re in full bloom, so mark your calendars. Each year, Meghalaya’s capital city Shillong also hosts the International Cherry Blossom Festival which features live music, pageants, dance recitals and other cultural events, as well as stalls where you can sample local cuisine.
You can also take in the beauty of these pale flowers across Sikkim, especially at Khangchendzonga National Park, a bioreserve in the north of the state. While they belong to the same genus, the species of cherry blossoms found here varies slightly from Japan’s sakura trees―but they’re every bit as beautiful! If you really want to make the most of the season, book a stay at the Cherry Resort in south Sikkim. The property is set amid the lush Temi tea gardens, which are dotted with cherry trees. A bonus? 360-degree views of Mt Khangchendzonga.
Nagaland’s capital city, Kohima, is another spot in northeastern part of India where you can enjoy gorgeous views of cherry blossoms against clear blue skies. You can spot the vibrant flowers all along Longkum village. Another great spot is The Heritage, an erstwhile colonial bungalow in Kohima that’s now run as a homestay.
Make a trip to the village of Mashobra in Shimla in March and you’re in for a real treat. The orchards here don’t just offer cherry blossom sightings but also apricot, peach, plum, apple and pear trees that fill the landscape with swathes of pastel pink, white and purple blooms. The Nilaya is a quaint hotel that serves as a picturesque base for your cherry blossom adventures. If you’re up for a hike, head further north to Narkanda where you’ll see plenty of cherry blossoms as well. The sparsely populated town is easily accessible by road and has plenty of guesthouses and homestays that will welcome you with Himachali hospitality. You might spot cherry blossoms at Dharamshala too. While the town is known for being a backpacker’s paradise, if you’re looking for a more luxurious stay, head to Adivaha, a restored heritage building that’s now a plush resort.