Our first encounter with cherry blossoms

siddharthandshruti cherry blossom

Cherry blossoms – or the Sakura, as the Japanese call it – are something all travel bloggers have on their bucket list. We do too. Although we are yet to go to Japan, we had an unlikely yet beautiful encounter with cherry blossoms on our trip to the quaint village Kanatal in Northern India.

siddharthandshruti cherry blossom

We were driving to Kanatal from the Dehradun airport after an early flight. Half asleep in the car and dreaming of the cozy bed awaiting us in the resort, we suddenly saw delicate pink blossoms out of the window. Could it or could it not be? Cherry blossom trees? Was our mind playing tricks? Nope, there they were, in plain sight. Jogging down memory lane, we remembered a story by Ruskin Bond called ‘The Cherry Tree’.

The Ruskin Bond connection:

This wonderful short story by Ruskin Bond tells the tale of young Rakesh and his experience with planting a cherry tree. In the course of the story, the tree gets eaten by a goat and cut by a woman while cutting grass, enduring hardships but living a full life. It thus echoes the Japanese philosophy that the sakura embodies both beauty and mortality.

The winding road around Dehradun and Mussoorie is flanked by these charming trees. Most people drive past them nonchalantly and locals think you are crazy when you get down from your car and start posing with the tree. Cherry blossoms range from white to pink. The ones we encountered were almost white with a pinkish tint.

Unlike the rest of the world, cherry blossoms bloom here around November instead of March-April. As of 2016, Shillong in the North East of India has started an autumn cherry blossom festival. It was the first of its kind in India. Although we really wanted to visit, our 2016 was fully planned. Meeting these delicate beauties made up for the regret we felt at missing it.

Our first encounter with the delicate cherry blossoms in India! Click To Tweet

Cherry blossoms around the world:

Here are some glimpses of cherry blossom trees in different parts of the world. If you are planning a trip around March-April, you can like the Japanese, have picnics below the transient and exquisite cherry blossom. Hanami festivals celebrate the beauty of the cherry blossom and for many are a chance to relax and enjoy the beautiful view.


Photo Credit: Yong Thye


Photo Credit: Eugenijus Radlinskas


Photo Credit: Mr Hicks46

New York

Photo Credit: calamity_sal


Photo Credit: susanfunk


Photo Credit: Ana Elisa Ribeiro

Have you been to any of these cherry blossom festivals? We would love to know what your experience was like. Let us know in the comments below.

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cherry blossoms pinterest image

40 Comment

  1. This is a wonderful post ……. Cherry Blossoms is one of the most photographed!! Now whenever one drives to Kanatal from the Dehradun will remember this 🙂 Me too !

    1. Siddharth Prabhu says: Reply

      Thanks! Remember that cherry blossoms mostly grow in the lower foothills so you’ll see most of them during the steep climb towards Chamba and very few in Kanatal itself.

  2. They are one of the best in Washington DC…I was lucky to see them last year (wrote a post on that too)!

    1. Siddharth Prabhu says: Reply

      Great! We’d love to read your blog post if you could drop a link in the comments.

  3. Beautiful pictures! I have never been to Japan but I have always heard that it is beautiful and your photographs are a testament to that. Well done. Nice post!

    1. Siddharth Prabhu says: Reply

      Thanks Raymond. Glad you liked the post. 🙂

  4. Oh it’s so beautiful! My university (in SC, USA) had lots of cherry trees in their botanical gardens and I always loved seeing them bloom in Spring. How fun to see photos of them all over the world!

    1. Siddharth Prabhu says: Reply

      We would love to visit South Carolina sometime as we’ve heard the Fall colors there are some of the best in the world. We’ll keep an eye out for cherry trees as well. Glad you enjoyed our post.

  5. David says: Reply

    I would have never pictured cherry blossom in India, but there you go! I’ve yet to see them in Japan either, but remember seeing them in Copenhagen and it really was quite the sight!

    1. Siddharth Prabhu says: Reply

      We were really surprised too; quite an unexpected (and delightful) encounter.

  6. I love cherry blossoms. I’ve seen them in Washington DC. I’d love to visit Sweden and Japan during cherry blossom time.

    1. Siddharth Prabhu says: Reply

      We’d love to see the gardens in DC sometime too. Do send us a link to your blog post in case you write about your trips.

  7. Your photos are so pretty! I love cherry blossoms! I grew up in Washington, D.C. and I loved going to the cherry blossom festival every year.

    1. Siddharth Prabhu says: Reply

      Thanks Julia. 🙂

  8. Robin says: Reply

    Ahhh, these make me so excited for spring to finally be here! There were cherry trees lining the street where I grew up that have gradually gotten sick and been removed, but I absolutely loved seeing them every year. I planted some in the front yard of my own house last year and can’t wait for them to bloom!

  9. One of our favorite trees ever! We are so excited for cherry blossom season here in Portland, Or. We would love to see them in India one day. Gorgeous pics! 🙂

  10. Awww, cherry blossoms are so pretty! I love that the locals were staring at you snapping pics Haha! Shameless selfies all the way

  11. Jenn | By Land and Sea says: Reply

    Aren’t cherry blossoms so pretty and fragrant? I love them! Beautiful photos!!

  12. Stunning ! I have always wanted to plan a trip around seeing these !

  13. Lisa says: Reply

    Isn’t it all just lovely? I would love to visit there that time of year and experience this. Reminds me of Washington DC when they bloom there. Your pictures captured the beauty for sure!
    Lisa recently posted…Take Time To Visit Our National Parks This YearMy Profile

  14. Shona says: Reply

    Japan’s cherry blossoms are so well documented I’ve not even thought of them being elsewhere. Good to know!
    Shona recently posted…Queensland: Hastings Street, Noosa Heads!My Profile

  15. How beautiful to encounter your first cherry blossoms. How interesting that they bloom in India in Nov verses March-April. Wonderful photos, thanks for sharing 🙂 #feetdotravel
    Stephanie (1AdventureTraveler) recently posted…Mardi Gras Glossary That Will Make Carnival Fun!My Profile

  16. Really beautiful and so cool that you got to see this in India. I didn’t even realise in how many places you can see the cherry blossoms! Awesome experience and thanks for sharing – would love to see this for myself one day

  17. We would have never pictured blossoms trees in India! Thanks for sharing a wonderful post with us. We also like the fact that you told us the tale about the blossom trees and we loved that you put pictures about how blossoms trees look different in different parts of the world! Keep up the great work! Patrick and Cécile from Travel4lifeblog:)

  18. These flowers are so small but so so beautiful! I love that you’ve dedicated a whole blog post to them as well!
    Annalise recently posted…Bangkok’s High-Rise Buildings and HierarchiesMy Profile

  19. sophie says: Reply

    look at those beautiful flowers , i just the picture and I am already in love with them :* You have written an amazing tale here! Nicely studied by you guys 🙂

  20. What a magic experience and I love your photos! I’ve seen the cherry blossoms in bloom at Washington DC and in Central Park, New York but would love to see them in Japan one day!

  21. Oh lucky you! I love cherry clossoms so much I got ’em tattooed on me. 🙂 Would love to one day see them in real life.



  22. Wow! So far the most useful travel article of 2017 so far. An alternative to the tourist fiesta of the Japanese Sakura. Plus, plus: one more beautiful reason to push for that India trip! 🙂

  23. Alissa says: Reply

    This post is so sweet, I love it!! I live in Maryland and we have the BEST cherry blossom trees in the spring. I could wander around outside for days looking at them, they are so lovely. Thanks for sharing this story and putting a smile on my face! Enjoy your travels 🙂
    Alissa recently posted…My Travel Goals And Plans For 2017 (And Beyond!)My Profile

  24. Great photos! I have yet to see cherry blossoms in person but I plan to someday. The locals just don’t appreciate them as much because it’s normal to them. I would have gotten out the car to pose with them too!
    ThriftyTrails recently posted…Nara Photoblog: Where The Deer Roam Free in JapanMy Profile

  25. Beautiful and I bet smelled wonderful! #feetdotravel
    Paul and Carole recently posted…Day out at Nikki Beach, Koh Samui, ThailandMy Profile

  26. Very very beautiful pictures. It’s a great moment to see the cherry blossoms, especially in many parts of the world. Thank you for your sharing. Really love this <3

  27. Sarah says: Reply

    Amazingly beautiful!! We always had a cherry blossom tree in our garden when I was growing up so they will definitely always have a special place in my heart <3 beautiful post!
    Sarah recently posted…The Best Pop-Up Burgers in Bath, UKMy Profile

  28. Barry says: Reply

    What an interesting place. From the pictures you took, I would have never of guessed its North India.

  29. The post is beautifully written. Truly cherry blossoms are in every travellers bucket list. The Ruskin bond analogy is beautiful. And thank you for mentioning the Shillong cherry blossom festival. Would love to visit it.
    Sandy N Vyjay recently posted…Review of Hotel Ibis Bangkok NanaMy Profile

  30. Cherry blossom is just so stunning and yes, it’s on my bucket list!! Forgive my ignorance though, but I did not know that they were in other places around the world and not just Japan – how silly of me! I guess I just haven’t read a post such as this that showed other places to visit so thank you so much for providing me with this information, I really appreciate it and have pinned this for future reference. #feetdotravel

  31. Nice post, things explained in details. Thank You.

  32. Wonderful post. Truly cherry blossoms are on every traveler’s list and it is such a delight to see the full-blossomed trees. I was already planning to visit Kanatal and now your post has given me an another reason for it. Thanks for the info on Shillong’s Cherry Blossom festival too.
    Suruchi recently posted…Tourist or Traveler – Don’t know who we are?My Profile

    1. Thanks Suruchi. It was such a surprise for us. We would also love to visit Shillong for the cherry blossom festival next year.

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