HIMACHAL – The Dev Bhumi –“ Lands of God”
Attractions: Neughal Khad, Andretta, Tea Factory
Best Time To Visit: March to June and Mid-September to November.
Palampur is the tea capital of northwest India. Set on the rising slopes of Kangra Valley before they merge with the Dhauladhar ranges. But tea is just one aspect that makes Palampur a special resort. The abundance of water and proximity to the mountains has endowed it with a mild climate. The town has derived its name from the local word “plum’, meaning lots of water. Palampur was a part of the local Sikh kingdom and later on, came under British rule.
The place enjoys a healthy climate and the pine-scented air is said to have curative properties. The scenery presents a sublime and beautiful contrast- the plain presents a picture of rural loveliness and repose, while the hills are majestic. Behind this town stands the high ranges of Dhauladhar Mountains, whose peaks remain, covered for the most part of the year. Situated in and about the middle of the Kangra Valley, it is convenient base to explore the surroundings.
This hill station is not only known for its numerous tea gardens and paddy fields but it also known for its colonial architecture and temples. Palampur and places around it are popular for adventure sports like hang-gliding and trekking.
Close to the temple of Bundelmata temple is this 300-meter-wide chasm through which the Neugal stream flows.
The charming village spread below the thickly wooded hill and sprawling plains of the Kangra Valley was once the home of the famous painter Sardar Sobha Singh and the playwright Ms. Norah Richards. Now Andretta is a center for various artistic activities such as pottery and is just 13-km away from Palampur.
Noted for its ancient temple, which was built in 804 A.D. and dedicated to Shiva Vaidyanatha. Its tall shikhara carved in stone is framed by the imposing snow-capped peaks of Dhauladhars. The linga enshrined in its sanctum is one of the 12 jyotirlingas in the country. Every year during the Shivratri fair, thousands of pilgrims descend on Baijnath for the colorful fair and festivities. It is 16-km from Palampur and 56-km from Dharamsala.
Bir and Billing:
Sheltered by the mountains and surrounded by tea gardens, Bir serves as a landing ground for hang & Para gliders as well as known for its Buddhist monasteries and Tibetan handicrafts. One of the best aero-sports sites in the world, Billing is 14-km from Bir. The mountain ranges set like an amphitheater, offer opportunities for high altitude and cross-country flying for more than 200-km. Know more about Bir Billing.
The famous temple dedicated to the goddess Chamunda is 25-km away from Palampur.
Situated 13-km away from the town, Gopalpur consists of a mini zoo.
The cooperative society tea factory provides an insight into the processing of Kangra Tea.
Temple of Bundelmata:
Walk through tea gardens and open fields or drive to reach this temple built about five centuries ago.
A few kilometers from the city of Palampur is Al-Hilalal, a place of unparalleled charm. During the conquests of Kangra by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, this place was a military bastion.
Several trek routes lead out of Palampur, particularly over the Dhauladhar Mountains towards the town of Chamba. Treks of 5-8 days duration are viable from May to October. Some of the interesting treks from Palampur include Palampur to Holi over the Shingar pass, Palampur to Dharamsala via Indrahar Pass and Baijnath to Manali over the Thamsar pass.
Twenty-eight kilometers from Palampur is an important center for the adventure sport of hang/paragliding. It also has numerous Buddhist monuments and is famous for its Tibetan handicrafts. The town of Billing, which is 42 km from Palampur and 14 km from Bir, is also an important center for hang-gliding.
There are ample opportunities for the angler between 1st March to 1st June and 1st September to end of October for Mahaseer fishing in and around Dehra Gopipur, Nadaun and Pong Dam.
HOW TO GET THERE
Palampur does not have an airport or railway station. The nearest railway station is at Maranda, which is 2-km from Palampur and on the narrow-gauge line between Pathankot and Joginder Nagar. The main bus station is located 1-km south of the main Bazaar. There is frequent bus service from Palampur to Dharamshala, Mandi, and Pathankot. Travelers can also make use of taxis to travel to these towns from Palampur.
WHERE TO STAY
Hotel T-Bud is run by the HTPDC at Palampur. One of the most luxurious places to stay in the region in is Taragarh at the Taragarh Palace, 8-km to the east of Baijnath.
The weather in Palampur is moderate. Summers are mild and winters are cold but pleasant. It experiences southwestern monsoon rains in July-September.
FAIRS & FESTIVALS
In the month of March, Holi’s riot of colours and celebration of spring comes with laughter and vitality. There are exuberant celebrations at Palampur and Sujanpur.
Location: Himachal Pradesh
Discovered In: 920 A.D
Best Time To Visit: Mid-May to Mid-October.
Located at a height of 2250 metres Chail is one of the smallest Himalayan hill resorts. When Bhupinder Singh, Maharaja of Patiala, was expelled from Shimla, he decided to create his own summer capital, which was Chail. Lying just 45 kms away from Shimla, surrounded by a thick cover of deodars and situated at a higher altitude, Chail was a perfect choice in the British-controlled Shimla.
Chail is a resort in the real sense of the term. Rajgarh palace with it’s elaborate furnishings, comfortable log huts and cottages, dense forests, and serene walks, sprawling lawns, a childrens park, a lover’s hill and sport facilities make chail worth a visit. It also provides good, opportunities for fishing and trekking and boasts of the world’s highest cricket pitch and polo ground.
Sai Baba Temple:
Maharaja Bhupinder Singh had originally intended this to be the site of his palace, and had even started building it, but as is believed, a `sidh’, saintly person appeared in the Maharaja’s dream, and declared that this was the place where he had meditated. As a result, Bhupinder Singh shifted his venue and built a temple on the spot.
Built in 1893, after levelling a hilltop, this cricket pitch at 2444 m is the world’s highest cricket and polo ground.
Ghoral, kakkar, sambhar, red jungle fowl, and khalij, cheer pheasants are some of the inhabitants of the Chail wildlife sanctuary.
A long and enjoyable drive through lush forests and quaint villages takes one to the small but thoroughly popular hill station of Kufri. Its main attractions are the Himalayan Nature Park, and the exciting trek and horse rides that leads to the divine Mahasu peak.
Halfway between Kandaghat and Chail is the tiny village of Sadhupul, and the bridge over the Ashwani stream, a popular picnic – spot.
Several trek routes lead out of Chail up to the Choor peak and to Simla. During winters, skiing is possible at Narkanda. The Giri river at Gaura, 29 km away, is ideal for fishing – enthusiasts.
HOW TO GET THERE
Air: – The nearest airports are at Chandigarh (120 km), and Simla (63 km).
Road: -From Simla, via Kufri, the distance is 45 km and via Kandaghat the distance is 61 km. Kalka is 86 km away. Regular buses for Chail leave from Simla, Chandigarh, and Delhi.
Location: Himachal Pradesh
Discovered In: 1854 A.D
Attractions: Subhash Baoli, Kalatope, Dainkund, Khajjiar
Best Time To Visit: Mid-May to Mid-October.
Dalhousie is a quiet town, with a sense of enchantment. This hill station spreads over five low-level hills at the western edge of the Dhauladhar range, just east of the Ravi River. The picturesque town is interspersed with the colonial-era buildings, low roofed stalls and hotels. The pine-covered slopes around it are intersected with paths and treks, which are ideal for short undemanding walks.
The gateway to the Chamba Valley, this colonial town was established in 1854 by the British governor-general Lord Dalhousie. Covering an area of 14 sq.-km and surrounded by alpine vegetation, Dalhousie has charming architecture and panoramic views of both plains and the whitecapped views of the mountainous ranges.
Commanding a view of the snowcapped mountains, 1.6-km away from the G.P.O. (check spelling) Square, the spring of Subhash Baoli is situated.
5 Km from Dalhousie, Kalatope is a pleasant getaway, with a panoramic view, an enchanting palace, and a forest rest house. Kalatope is situated 10-km away from G.P.O. Square at an altitude of 8,000-ft. Walking along the secluded and forested road through upper Nakorota hills, one reaches Lakkarmandi. The home of dhogri families, Lakkarmandi is nestled between 8,600 feet high Dayan Kund peak on its right and Kalatope on the left. The little Kalatope Sanctuary has a variety of wildlife such as ibex, deer, bears and leopards.
At an altitude of 2,745 m and 10 km from the town, this tall peak outside town affords a bird’s-eye view on a clear day, of the hills, valleys and the river Beas, Ravi and the Chenab threading their silvery way down to the plains.
Set amidst thick forest is the small temple of Bhulwani Mata, in the village of Ahla, on the way to Kalatope. A fair is celebrated in July to venerate the goddess. It is 4 km away from the town.
Just 27-km from Dhoudar the beautiful little plain of Khajjiar is one of the favourite retreats for visitors. The saucer-shaped meadow, ringed by pines, has a lake set in the middle, complete with a floating bland. A little golden-spired temple of Khajjinag belonging to the 12th century and a picturesque golf course complete this pretty picture. A picturesque spot with an emerald, saucer shaped meadow set amidst a dense deodar forest, it has a lake as it’s centre with a floating island, a forest rest house, a little temple with a golden spire and a golf course. Accommodation is available at the tourist bungalow, Hotel Deodar and at Youth Hostel and the PWD Rest House.
HOW TO GET THERE
Air:- The nearest airport is at Gaggal (Kangra), 140-km from Dalhousie.
Rail:- The nearest railhead is Pathankot, which is well connected to Amritsar, Jammu, Delhi and Jalandhar.
Road:- Onward journey from Pathankot to Chamba and Dalhousie is by road. Punjab and Himachal Roadways run services, as do private operators.
Dalhousie ranges between 1,525m and 2,378m high from sea level. The maximum temperature of Dalhousie in summers is 30*C and the winter temperature comes down to almost O*C. Heavy woollens are required in winter and light woollens or tropicals in summer.
The Kangra valley is one of the most picturesque valleys of lower Himalayas. The valley, sheltered by the sublime Dhauladhar range, is green and luxuriant. It provides a tremendous contrast in nature of places to be visited. Dharamshala is full of Buddhist air whereas ancient Hindu Temples like Bajreshwari Devi, Chamunda Devi, Baijnath Shiv temple and Jwala Devi ji dot the country side.
The history of Kangra valley dates back to the Vedic times more than 3500 years ago. The area was exposed to successive invasions, the last being the British domination of the princes of many small the hill states. Despite the onslaughts and political upheavals, the arts and crafts of the region continued to develop and found lyrical expressions. Crafts like the exquisitely designed shawls and miniature paintings of this region are internationally appreciated.
Discovered In: 1852 A.D
Attractions: Kangra Art Museum, St. John’s Church, McLeodganj, Dall Lake
Best Time To Visit: Mid-May to Mid-October
Set against the backdrop of the dramatic Dhauladhar mountains, Dharamsala is perched on the high slopes in the upper reaches of Kangra Valley. The town is divided into two distinct and widely separated sections, Upper and Lower Dharamsala, which differ almost a thousand metres in height.
Today, Dharamsala has become the synonymous to the Tibetan government in exile and the home of Tibetan leader Dalai Lama. Even if the Tibetan community dominates the town, still it has retained the colonial lifestyle and British fervour.
Dharamsala over looks the plains and is surrounded by dense pine trees and Deodar forests. A nearby snowline with numerous streams and cool healthy atmosphere makes the surroundings very attractive.
Dharamsala is a busy bazaar town and has established itself as the travellers base camp, who come to explore the nearby mountains. The Kotwali Bazaar provides the entire colour and characteristic of a small town, which is mixed with the simple life style.
The colourful temple and Gompas, which reflect the culture of Tibet, adds attraction for the visitor. The Kangra museum gives an overview of the rich past of the region and on the other hand there are institutes that have been established to preserve the Tibetan art, cultures and traditions.
Kangra Art Museum:
This treasure trove of the Kangra valley’s arts, crafts, and rich past, displays artifacts that date back to the 5th century. The museum also includes a gallery of Kangra’s famous miniature paintings and a representative collection of sculptures, pottery, and anthropological items.
Set amidst the pine groves is a war memorial, built on the entry point of the to Dharamsala to commemorate the post independence war heroes of Himachal Pradesh. A web of narrow paths and landscaped lawns lead towards this monument.
Surrounded by high and green Deodar trees is the lake, which fills a mountain bowl. Situated 11-kms away from the town, this lake is easily approachable by road and makes an enchanting and serene picnic spot.
St. John’s Church:
One of the most poignant memories of the British Raj is the church of St. John, situated in the wilderness. This charmingly dressed stone church is located just 8-km from Dharamsala on the way to McLeod Ganj. Under the shade of Doedar branches, a memorial has been made over the body of the British Viceroy, Lord Elgin who died at Dharamsala in 1863.
Tatwani & Machhrial:
There are hot springs situated at Tatwani, 25-km from Dharamsala but on the way, at Machhrial, is a waterfall twice as big as the one near the Bhagsunath temple.
The Shrine of Bhagsunath:
Just 11-km from the town center of Dharamsala is the ancient temple of Bhagsunath. There are many fresh water springs close to the temple, which are considered sacred by the Hindus.
These are the rock temples from which the place derives its name. Kunal pathri is a 3 kms flat walk from Kotwali Bazaar.
Just 11-km away from Dharamsala, located on the crest of a hill lie this attractive picnic spot, which presents a panoramic view of the Kangra valley and Dauladhar ranges.
Just four kms from Dharamsala, Norbulinka was established to preserve and teach the ancient Tibetan arts. The shady paths, wooden bridges, small streams tiny water falls make this place look like heaven. Here one can watch the wooden carvings and the tangka paintings, golsithing and embroidery being done. The nunnery close to the institute is a place where women are taught the advanced levels of Buddhist philosophy.
Just 10-km from the town is the tranquil ashram complex set up by the great exponent of the Gita–Swami Chinmayananda. Situated on the banks of Bindu Saras, the ashram includes a 9m high image of Hanuman, a Ram temple, a meditation hall, a school and a health & recreation center.
Situated just 13-kms away from Palampur, lies this dwelling place of artist S.Sobha Singh. It houses a gallery of some of his major works and a pottery center.
Originally home of the semi-nomadic Gaddi tribe, McLeodganj is today the residence of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. This mid 19th century place was developed as a British Garrison. The place was developed as an important administrative point for the whole Kangra valley. Today the place has developed as headquarters of the exiled Tibetan Government. The impressive monastery has larger than life size images of Buddha, Padmasambhava and Avaloketeshwara.
Fifteen richly carved monolithic rock temples sculpted in the splendid style of the Kailash temple at Ellora and dating back to the 8th century are to be found at Masrur, just 15 km south of Kangra. Images of Ram Sita and Lakhsman can be found in the sanctum of the main temple.
Set amidst a sylvan surrounding is a rest house, located in the cool depths of the pine grove. Surrounded bygreen open meadows and forests of tall oak & pine at a height of 3250m is situated the picturesque Kareri Lake, which is just 13-km from the rest house and 22- kms from Dharamsala.
Triund is a popular picnic spot at an height of 2827 m. The area is on the foothills of Dhauladhar range and is 17-kms from Dharamsala. The snow line starts at Ilaqua, which is five kms from Triund. The breathtaking views of the mountains and the valleys makes Triund an ideal picnic spot and trekking spot.
On the way from Pathankot, 41-km from Dharamsala are the unique cave temples with a stalactite and stalagmites dedicated to Lord Shiva.
This place is famous for the wall paintings and the temples. Sujanpur Tira also has fort, which is worth visiting. It is 8- km from Dharamsala and in particular the festival of Holi is a major event here and attracts many visitors to this area.
Dedicated to the “Goddess of Light”, the temple is one of the most popular Hindu temples in northern India. In this temple there is a copper pipe through which natural gas comes out, the priest of the temple lights this and the blue flame emanating is worshipped as the manifestation of Goddess. The temple is topped by a golden spire, a gift from the Emperor Akbar. The famous temple of Jwalamukhi is 30-km. from Kangra and 56-km from Dharamshala.
Not so far from the town is the famous temple with the majestic Dhaulandhars as a backdrop. It is an enchanting spot with glorious views of the mountains, the Baner Khud, Pathiar and Lahala forests.
Named after Nurjehan the consort of the Mughal Emperor Jehangir, it has an ancient fort and an exquisitely carved Krishna temple. Nurpur is also famous for its fine Pashmina shawls and textiles.
Dharamsala is one of the most popular starting points for treks and rock climbing over the ridges of the Dhauladhar range. There are tailor-made treks in the Kangra valley around Dharamsala and adjoining places. The trekking season starts from May and goes on to October. The most frequented route from Dharamsala to the Chamba valley, over the Indradhar Pass (4350m), is arduous trek but the most novice trekkers can manage to complete it within five days.
There are many easy walks of small treks around McLeodganj and Dharamsala such as Toral Pass (4575m) that start from Tang Narwana (1150m), which is 10-km from Dharamsala. A 2-km stroll takes one to Bhagsu, then a little further a 3-km walk will bring the trekkers to Dharamkot. If one wishes to go on a longer walk then he can walk 8-km to Triund. The snow line of Ilaqa Got is just a 5-km walk.
The most difficult route is towards the north, a five to six day trek across Bhimghasutri Pass (4580), covering near-vertical rocky ascents, sharp cliffs and dangerous gorges. An easier four or five day trek from Dharamsala crosses Bleni Pass (3710m) in the milder ranges of the northwest, weaving through the alpine pastures, woods and passing through few streams, before terminating at Dunali, on the Chamba road.
The area is rich in small rivers and streams, which give ample opportunity for angle fishing. The 20-km stretch of the river Beas between Nadaun and the Pong Dam offers ample of opportunities in angling for Mahaseer.
HOW TO GET THERE
Dharamsala can be approached by air from Delhi and the nearest Airport is at Gaggla, just 13-km away from the town.
Pathankot is 85-km and is the nearest railhead for Dharamsala. Trains from all over the country make a stop over at Pathankot and from here it is a three-hour journey to Dharamsala.
From Manali too bus services are available to this place. One can drive from Delhi via Chandigarh, Kiratpur, Bilaspur and it’s an 8-hours journey. From Delhi and Shimla, luxury buses ply to Dharamsala.
WHERE TO STAY
Dharamsala’s accommodation options include HPTDC’s hotels, private hotels, guest houses, PWD and Forest rest houses, which are located in and around the place and are available at resonable prices.
As Dharamsala is located in the Himalayas, the climate is very pleasant during the summers but in winters the cold is very bad. Temperature can drop below the freezing point during the winters and heavy woollen clothes are required. During the summers the weather is mild and light woolens and cottons are recommended. The best time to visit the place is during the summers when the cold has shed its biting teeth and there is plenty of Sunshine. But avoid coming here during the monsoon months, as there is a danger of landslides.
Location: Himachal Pradesh
Attractions : Monkey Point, Sanawar, Dharampur
Best Time To Visit: April to September
77-km from Shimla and 35-km from Kalka, at 1,927m, Kasauli is a quaint little town that seems to exist in a time wrap of an era that reminds one of the 19th century. Its colonial ambience is reinforced by cobbled paths, quaint shops, gabled houses with charming facades and scores of neat little gardens and orchards. Mixed forests of chir-pine, Himalayan oak and huge horse chestnuts surround Kasauli. Its narrow road slither up and down the hillsides and offer some magnificent vistas.
Kasauli is one of the small towns developed by the British during the ‘hey day’ of the empire, and reached by a branch road from the Kalka-Shimla road. The quite beautiful hill-station of Kasauli has a Pastur Institute that produces the anti-rabies vaccine against mad dog-bite and, at the same time, treats victims who have fallen prey to the dead disease, Hydrophobia. The institute in Kasauli set up in 1900, is the oldest in India, taking care of pet, police and army dogs as well as their masters.
Side by side another institute produces other vaccines, this is the Central Research Institute affording immunity from Typhoid, small-pox, cholera and snake-bite. The Shimla Hills stand on water – parting between the Sutlej and the Giri, a tributary of the Yamuna.
South of Shimla is the Panchmunda ridge, which is crossed by a railway through a tunnel, the longest in the Kalka-Shimla run at Barog, where a series of fissure to springs occur at its flank. The first ridge above Kalka rises abruptly to pine-clad Kasauli at a height of 1,927m and is joined by a 12-km bridle path. The distance by road, however, from Kalka is 36.5-km.
The highest point in Kasauli called Monkey point is just 4-km from the Kasauli bus stand. The Monkey Point commands an excellent view of the distant plains of Chandigarh region and the river Satluj, tracing a silvery trail through the scene. A small temple is also situated on the top of the hill, which is dedicated to Lord Hanuman. According to a legend, at the end of Ramayana when Lord Hanuman was returning from the Himalayas after obtaining Sanjivany Booty or the Magical Herb, his foot touched the hill and thus the top of hill is in a foot shape. On a clear and starry night the gorgeous view of Chandigarh can be seen from the Monkey Point.
Just 6-km from Kasauli, Sanawar houses one of the best schools in the country. The Lawrence school is almost one hundred-years-old and a major attraction of the town.
Just 15-km from Kasauli on the National Highway No.22, Dharampur is situated. Amidst the healthy air of the fragrant pines, Dharampur has one of the best hospitals in India for the cure of tuberculosis. It is also connected by Kalka-Shimla railway line.
A little cantonment town has a Gurkha fort built in the early years of the 19th century, situated at an altitude of 1,437m. This cantonment town quartered the British soldiers at the time of British Empire. A diversion road from Dharampur 15-km away leads to the Sabathu town.
Another little cantonment at an altitude of 1,925m just 19-km from Kasauli, it is accessible by a link road, which diverts from Dhrampur. Dagshai is perched on a small hill and comprises of a military public school and numerous military barracks.
HOW TO GET THERE
From Kasauli the nearest airport is Chandigarh. Shimla is nearest airport for Solan.
Nearest railhead is Kalka in Haryana, which is 40-km from Kasauli and 44-km from Solan. Solan is also connected with narrow gauge railway line from Kalka.
Solan and Kasauli are well connected by road buses, coaches and taxis are also easily available from Chandigarh and Delhi.
In winter, temperature can lower just above freezing point when heavy woollens are required. During summer, the climate is mild and light woolens or cottons are recommended.
Location: Himachal Pradesh
Discovered In: 1220m.
Attractions: Kullu Dusshera
Best Time To Visit: Mid-May to Mid-October.
Kullu was once known as Kulanthpitha, which means the end of the habitable world. Beyond rose the forbidding heights of the Greater Himalayas, and by the banks of the shining river Beas, lay the fabled ‘Silver Valley’.
Here is the core of an intricate web of numerous valleys – each of which is a visual delight and seems more beautiful than the other. The mountain scapes remain spectacular whether in brilliant sunshine or in the haze of the mist. The ‘Silver Valley’ has nature’s treasures that lie carelessly scattered as flowers on the high meadows.
The town of Kullu has long been a centre of faith. In the 17th century, Raja Jagat Singh installed here an idol of Lord Raghunathji, which he brought from Ayodhya. As a mark of his penance, he placed the idol on his throne and it became the presiding deity of the valley.
In the 17th century, Raja Jagat Singh of Kullu committed a great wrong. To atone for the sin he sent a senior courtier to Ayodhya for a statue of Lord Raghunath – Lord Ram. This temple was built by Raja Jagat Singh to house the image and even today, is greatly revered. The shrine houses an image of Shri Raghunath in his chariot.
Bijli Mahadev Temple:
Set on a spur that offers some spectacular views, this temple is famous for its 20m high rod that periodically draws lightning, which shatters the ‘Shivalinga’ and scorches the building. Using only butter as adhesive, the ‘linga’ is then carefully pieced together by the temple pundit.
Basheshwar Mahadev Temple, Bajaura:
This 9th century Shiva Temple is renowned for its intricate stone carvings.
The Vaishno Devi Temple:
4-km along the Kullu to Manali road is this temple with a small cave having an image of goddess Vaishno or Durga.
Jagannathi Devi Temple:
This temple is in Bhekhli village, 3-km from Kullu. It’s a stiff climb but from the temple one can catch fine views of the town.
Known as one of the main bazaar, where Kullu caps, shawls, ‘pattoos’, gudmas, ‘puhlas’ and ‘namdas’ or rugs are sold in plenty.
It contains some fine examples of the Kullu style of miniature painting, characterised by simple rural scenes and the lack of human subjects.
For 1400 years Naggar remained the capital of Kullu. Its 16th century stone and wood castle is now a hotel run by Himachal Tourism. Here, a gallery houses the paintings of the Russian artist, Nicholas Roerich. Naggar also has three other old shrines
On the banks of the river Beas, about 200 m off the Kullu Mandi road at Hat or Hatta, is situated a massive pyramidal structure temple, decorated with images of Durga, Vishnu and Ganesh in the outer 3-sided shrines. Floriated scrollwork can be seen on the exterior walls. Inside this Shiva temple is a large yoni-lingam. It is 15-km from Kullu.
At 1737 m, here am hot sulphur springs that bubble next to the by waters of the Penal river. The place is revered by both Hindus and Sikhs Treks from here lead to Pulga, Khirganga and Mantalai’ a stretch of considerable natural beauty. The route finally reaches the Pin Parvati Pass (4802 m), which opens into the Sutlej valley.
A picturesque spot, situated across a steep hill known for its magnificient scenery and innumerable walks.
An open glade by the banks of the river Parvati, Kasol makes a good holiday destination. Clean white sand separates the lush green grass from the stone, this place is well known for trout fishing.
At 2692 m, this is a vantage point for a complete panorama of the Kullu area-snow peaks and valleys, meadows and forests, rivers and streams.
By the banks of the Beas-and on the Kullu-Manali highway- Himachal Tourism runs a camping site here. This place is ideal for a taste of adventure and for spending a quiet holiday in solitary splendour.
At about midpoint on Kullu-Manali road, this is the home of lush orchards and famous for bee-keeping and trout fishing. Khatrain is the widest point in Kullu Valley and is overlooked by the 3,325 m Baragarh peak.
Largi is a small hamlet, 34-km south of Kullu via Aut, offers the best trout fishing and scenic beauty in the valley. The rest-house there is in a stunning location where two Himalayan torrents, the Sainj and Tirthan, meet. Fishing permits can be obtained from Kullu and Largi itself.
Jagatsukh is the most ancient Kullu capital, situated on the left bank, between Nagar and Manali. Around the Jagatsukh secondary school playground there are two ancient temples – the small shrine of Gaurishankar and the larger chalet-roofed temple to the goddess Sandhya Devi, the stone base of which is much more ancient than the 19th-century wooden verandah and roof.
Also known as Indralika, this 2,953 metres (9,687 ft.) high snow dove Jagatsukh, has a legend around it, with Arjuna. He started performing ‘tapa’ at this mountain, under the advice of Maharishi Vyas, in order to obtain the powerful Pasupata Astra from Indra.
It is about 58-km from Kullu at an altitude of 1,534m (5,000 ft.). Banjar is famous for its panoramic beauty and trout fishing in river Tirtham.
Situated in outer Seraj of Kullu district, Nirmund is at present a block headquarter. Known as ‘Chhoti Kashi’, it was once a seat of great scholars and intellectuals.
A beautiful spot at a distance of 67-km can be approached by road from Kullu. It is recognized for adventurous games such as hunting, trout fishing and breathtakingly beautiful sites.
30-km from Khatrain, near the beautiful Chandrakhani Pass, which offers striking views of Deo Tibba is the mysterious village of Malana. The village is basically famous for its temple of Jamlu and its distinct and fully reserved social and cultural set up.
Pulga, Khiranga and Mantalai:
Almost level walk of two hours along Parvati river is Gattigarh, the rest place for trekkers. Around 4-km ahead on right side of river Parvati lies Pulga, which looks like the twin sister of Manali. Khiranga hot water fall is situated in beautiful natural setting and its water contains medicinal property. One thing has to be noted that taking bath in its water will put greasy touches to the body, unlike Manikaran, where one feels the touch of dryness. Covering another two kilometers from Khiranga lies Mantalai.
Chandra Khanni Pass:
The tough climbing trek-route of Chandra Khani Pass lies east of Khatrain. The whole area looks wonderfully striking and colorful when the flowers in various brilliant hues, are in blossom.
WATER & ADVENTURE SPORTS
The Kullu valley has numerous places for trout fishing. These include Katrain, Raison, Kasol and Naggar, then along the river Tirthan near Lad, in the Sainj Valley and in the Hurla kund. The river Beas offers excellent opportunities for white water rafting.
The valley is the nucleus of several trek routes. Some major ones are over the Chanderkhani Pass to Malana and Pin Parbati Pass to Sarahan. The Jalora Pass lies 5-km beyond Shoja and gives access to the outer Seraj region of the Kullu Valley. From Chamba to Udaipur (Lahaul) over Sach Pass, can be completed by trekkers within a day span of nine or ten days.
HOW TO GET THERE
The airport at Bhuntar is 10-km from Kullu, where taxis and buses are available.
The closest narrow gauge railhead is at Jogindernagar, 95-km from Kullu.
By road, the distance from Delhi via Mandi is 530-km and from Shimla this is 240-km. From Delhi and Shimla, luxury buses ply to Kullu. There’s a bus and taxi stand on the opposite side of maidan. The main bus stand is by river in the northern area of the town.
WHERE TO STAY
In Kullu accommodation is plentiful and inexpensive with options varying from govenment and private hotels to guest houses and tourist lodges.
In winter, the temperature gets quite low when heavy woollens are required. It is pleasant in summer and cottons are recommended.
FAIRS & FESTIVALS
When Dussehra celebrations come to an end in the rest of the country, they begin at Kullu. Over 600 local deities come to pay homage to Lord Raghunathji. Enthusiasm marks the festival, with every road leading to Dhaulpur Maidan thronged by gaily-dressed, good-humoured crowds, folk dances, exhibitions, cultural programs are held to mark the festivities.
At the end of April, a colourful 3-day Cattle fair attracts villagers from the surrounding areas. During the Hill Fruit Show, sponsored by Department of Horticulture, Himachal Pradesh, best Kullu fruits are on display.
May gushes in with a whole series of river rafting festivals and water sports Regattas, throughout the state. Focused around the goddess Hadimba Devi, Kullu celebrates the Dhoongri fair.
Mandi is a small scenic beautiful town at the center of Himachal Pradesh. A few hours before the Himalayan resorts Kullu and Manali in Himachal Pradesh, once considered ‘the end of the habitable world’. The town has both mythological and historical significance and boasts of a unique temple architecture. It is also referred to as Chhota Kashi as there are many ancient temples in the city and on the banks of river Beas. The river Beas flows through the town and hills, which makes this town more scenic.
Weather at Mandi
The weather at Mandi in May is expected to be pleasant.The maximum and minimum temperatures during May month are 38.8 & 23.30C, respectively. The months July to September are the season for rainfalls.
How to reach
Mandi is well connected by road to other places. From Chandigarh (200 km) one can travel by road to Mandi via Bilaspur. This would take about 5-6 hours. Shimla, Pathankot, Delhi, Dharamsala and Manali are all connected to Mandi by road. Mandi is actually the heart of Himachal since all buses passing from north to south and from east to west touch Mandi, making reaching Mandi a not so challenging option.
The nearest airport is Bhuntar (Kullu) about 57-km from Mandi.
The nearest railway stations are Joginder Nagar and Shimla by narrow gauge train, Chandigarh and Kalka by broad gauge train which are connected by regular bus services. From Pathankot the narrow gauge railway connects Joginder Nagar, which is 55-km from Mandi.
Location: Himachal Pradesh
Discovered In: 2050m.
Attractions: Vashisth Hot Sulphur Spring, Rohtang Pass, Hadimba Temple
Best Time To Visit: March to October
The Kullu valley has an ancient town in its lap called Manali. Surrounded by towering peaks at an arm length, Manali’s major asset is its proximity to the snowline. It is a flourishing orchard industry, a popular honeymoon destination and trailhead for numerous treks as well as a great countryside ideal for adventure sport lovers.
Manali literally means the ‘Home of Manu’. Manu is the mythological character who is supposed to have survived when the world was drowned in Flood. He then came to Manali and recreated human life. Thus, the area of Manali is sacred and Hindus treat the temples over here as pilgrimage. and present time we are organizing holiday package in manali, Delhi- manali – Delhi tour With Volvo.
Hadimba Devi Temple:
Hadimba or Dhungiri temple in Manali is one of the most important temples in the region. This four-story wooden temple is located in the middle of a forest called the Dhungiri Van Vihar.
Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa:
This Gompa dominates the Tibetan area around the bottom of the Mall in Manali. The Tibetan refugees built the Gompa in the late 1960’s. The Gompa is covered with brightly coloured frescoes and a mid size Buddhist statute. It also carries a list of the martyrs killed in occupation of Tibet of 1987 to 1989.
The old Manali area is located some 3-km from the present day Manali. The old Manali is covered with guesthouses, which look ancient now, and orchards where the livestock move at will.
Temple of Manu:
Slippery stones paths lead through the old village houses up to the temple of Manu. Manali is named after the sage Manu who meditated when he came in this area.
Rohtang Pass is the highest point, 4,112m, on the Manali-Keylong road, 51-km from Manali town. It provides a wide panoramic view of mountains rising far above clouds, which is a sight truly breath-taking.
Tibetans have a base in Manali too. There is a large modern Tibetan temple to the South of the bus stand and also a small handicrafts center.
On the left bank of the Beas, 5-km from Manali near the village of Prini, is the ‘Arjun Gufa’ or the cave of Arjuna. In here Arjuna practiced austerities to get Pashupata Ashtra or weapon from Lord Indra.
Location: Himachal Pradesh
Attractions: Shalooni Devi Temple, Barog, Bon Monastery
Best Time To Visit: April to June & September to November.
Blessed with a pleasant climate all the year round, Solan is the district headquarters of Mashru, another city established by the British, is named after the Goddess, Soloni Devi, whose temple is located in the southern end of the town. Solan also remained capital of east, while Bhagat State for many years.
Solan is well known for its brewery 4.8 km from town started in 1835 with Anglo-German co-operation, and known as Dyer-Meakin Brewery, producing excellent larger beer and quality whisky. In 1950, it was taken over by the late Major Mohan, renamed Mohan-Meakin Breweries in 1966.
Chir pine clothes the Shimla Hills, which yields resin and timber, while apricots and walnuts grow all over the hills, maize and paddy are the two leading grains. Vegetables and Shimla variety of green chillies are extensively grown in the Shimla Hills. The area surrounding Solan in very rich in peas, tomatoes, ginger and beans.
Just 8-km from Solan and 37-km from Kalka, Barog is situated at the height of 1,600m. One can have a panoramic view of Churdhar Peak (3,647m), which poetically translates into ‘Mountain of the Silver Bangle’. Barog was an important stop on the railway line in the earlier part of the century. Now it has longest tunnel on Shimla Kalka narrow gauge railway line. The major attraction is Barog height resort situated at the top of the hill, which offer the picturesque view of the surrounding area.
Bon Monastery (Yung Drung Ling):
12-kms from Solan, this monastery is the second oldest monastery in the world after the one present in Tibet.
Jatoli Shiv Temple:
This is a very old temple and every year an annual fair is organised here on the occasion of Mahashivratri, which makes it a must see place, just 6-kms away from Solan.
Enjoy your picnic amongst the cool waters of Giri, 20-kms from Solan.
This place has a historic value as Pandavas lived here during their ‘Agyatvas’ period. Covering a 2-hours trek from the resort will take one to this wonderful place, an ideal place for nature lovers.
Toy Train Ride:
Just enjoy this ride with children while going to Shimla and return back with memories to cherish for the rest of your life.
Sholoni Devi Temple:
The temple of Goddess Sholoni Devi is situated at the southern part of the town and Solan was named after Devi Sholoni. The famous Shalooni fair is held here every year in the month of June over here, which is dedicated to Goddess Sholoni Devi.
Dr. Yashwant Singh Paramar University of Horticulture & Forestry:
This forestry & horticulture university is the first one in Asia. It is spread over an area of 550 hectares in village of Naunj on the Solan-Rajgarh road in district Solan and is 15-km from the town. This university was established on 1st December 1985, the founder being Dr.Y.S.Paramour, the first chief minister of Himachal Pradesh. It is divided into 14 departments, which are looked after by a faculty of over 200 scientists & teachers. It offers under graduate, postgraduate & doctoral courses in horticulture, forestry & allied disciplines.
Attractively sited near the confluence of two side streams of the river Bhagat this is a small village which also has religious significance.
Tandi (2,673 m) :
This has the confluence of rivers Chandra and Bhaga. A folktale about the place speaks of Chandra, the daughter of the moon and Bhaga, son of the sun. Both fell in love and decided to have a marriage that would last forever and to sanctify this, they decided to circle of all of Lahaul and then meet. After great difficulty, they managed to reach Tandi where they were united.
Trilokinath (2,760 m) :
Its shrine is revered by both Hindus and Buddhists and both pay homage to a single image. The Hindus regard ‘Trilokinath’ as Bhagwan Shiva, while the Buddhists regard the image to be that of Avalokiteshwara, the personification of compassion and infinite light. It is the site of an important fair called ‘Pori’ held in August.
Chandra Tal (4,270 m) :
6 Km from the Kunzam Pass, this lake is surrounded by snows and acres of scree and its deep blue-waters have a circumference of 2.5 Km. The lake is planned for incorporation in the Ransar Convention of international wetlands.
Baralacha La (4,890 m) :
This means ‘the pass with the crossroads on the summit’. And here meet the paths from Zanskar, Ladakh, Spiti and Lahaul. It is 8 Km long and is on the Manali-Leh route. This is also the watershed for the Chandra, Bhaga and Yunam rivers.
Gondhla (3,160 m) :
On the right bank of the river Chandra, this is en route from Manali to Keylong. Gondhla has level stretches of cultivated land and its most distinctive feature is the eight-storeyed timber and stone tower that was the residence of the local ‘thakur’, chief. The monastery has historical importance and every July, this is the site of a large fair where masked dances commemorate the victory over Tibetan King, Langdarma, an enemy of Buddhism. Opposite Gondhla, a sheer cliff rises over 1500 m and forms a spectacular sight.
Ki (Kye, Kee) Monastery (4,116 m) :
12 km from Kaza, the Ki Monastery lies high above the left bank of the river Spiti. It is a collection of rooms and a labyrinth of corridors that do not follow any defined plan, but seem to have grown over the years. Portions of the structure are three stories high, while other are lower. No definite date can be ascribed to the construction of the Gompa -that acted both as monastery and as a fort. Some scholars believe this to have been built by Dromton (1008 – 64 AD).
Keylong- Keylong (3,340 m):
is the district Headquarters of Lahaul Spiti on the main road to Leh over Rohtang. It is an oasis of green fields and willow trees, water streams surrounded with brown hills and snow capped peaks.
Chander Tal :
At an altitude of 4,300 metres and 6 Km from the Kunzum Pass in Lahaul & Spiti district that connects Spiti Chander Tal Lake and Lahaul areas. Surrounded by snows and acres of scree, this deep blue-water lake has a circumference of 2.5 Km. This is the source of the river Chandra.
Tabo (50 km from Kaza, 3050 m) :
At first glance, Tabo seems nothing more than a cluster of large mud huts. But inside, a series of amazing galleries of wall paintings and stucco statues emerge. Founded in 996 AD, it is often called the ‘Ajanta of the Himalaya’, after the almost legendary art-treasure site in Maharashtra. In terms of area, this is the largest monastic complex in Spiti and the old section has nine temples, 23 chortens, a monks’ chamber and a nuns’ chamber. There are several caves and contemporary structures that form a part of the Tabo complex. In Trans Himalayan Buddhism, Tabo’s sanctity is next only to Tibet’s Tholing monastery.
Kibber (4,205 m):
Located 8 Km away from Ki Village, till recently Kibber was the highest permanently inhabited village of the region connected by a motorable road. It also acts as the base for several high altitude treks. The Kibber Sanctuary that lies past the village has blue sheep and ibex and covers an area of 1,400 square kilometers.
Dhankar (3,370 m) :
Driving between Tabo and Kaza, on a side road lies the monastery of Dhankar. In local parlance, a ‘Dhankar’ is a fort – and that is what this monastery once was. Perched high over the valley, this is a superb example of Spiti’s traditional architectural skills. This was once the castle of the ruler of Spiti, the Nono – and today, Dhankar is a repository of Buddhist scriptures in the Bhoti script. Above the monastery lies the Dhankar lake.
Hill Station in North India
Himachal Pradesh, one of the most popular tourist destination in India, is thronged by tourists all the year round. Plan trip to Himachal and soak in the best of adventure, scenic beauty, natural attractions, flora and fauna and many temples and monumental heritage.
All the cities in the state can be categorizes as hill stations and offers the tourists with great ambiance and picturesque surroundings. Shimla, the ‘Queen Among all Hill Stations’ is the capital of the state and also the most visited hill stations. Manali, Kullu and Kufri too are ideal hill stations for all those who seek the thrill of adventure and pleasure of panorama. Visit the small hill stations like Dalhousie and McLeodganj for an enthralling holiday experience.
The mighty Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh plays as the prefect host some of the most cherished sports – Skiing. Kufri, Manali and Narkand are the most famous destinations for enjoying skiing. Hattu Peak and Rohtang pass can also be visited for indulging in this sport. Heli skiing is a popular upcoming winter sport that can be enjoyed at Hanuman Tibba, Rohtang Pass, Deo Tibba and Chanderkhani Pass near Manali.
Among all the festivities in Himachal Pradesh, Kullu Dussehra is the most popular one. The vibrancy and the various cultural enigma of Himachali people can be best enjoyed during this festival. Held in the month of October in Kullu, the main draws of the festival includes grand processions, week-long fairs, International Folk Festival, Phool Yatra, Nainadevi fair and Folk Music and Watching the Dances of Gaddi Shepherds are some of the main attractions that tourists can bask during the frenzy of Kullu Dussehra.
Fruits orchards are one of the rare and unique attractions that tourists an enjoy visiting only during their trip to Himachal Pradesh. Kotagarh, Mandi and Kullu are just small excursions away from Shimla and are the ultimate destination for those who want to enjoy a visit to the verdant orchards of peaces, plums, apples and guava. These enchanting fruit gardens and plantations have made Himachal Pradesh the most famous horticulture destination in India.
Passes in HP
Plan an adventure tour to the various passes in Himachal Pradesh, that makes excellent holiday destinations. Rohtang Pass, Pin Parbati Pass, Baralacha Pass and Kunzum Pass are a few places where one can enjoy trekking, mountaineering and even skiing. There are various small temples and villages around these passes that tourists should not miss. These passes are the most exuberant places and the fact that they are not much explored make them an irresistible attractions of Himachal Pradesh.
Himachal Pradesh is one of the few state in India, which is equally popular for the various small but exuberant heritage villages. These destination have remained unexplored since ages, thus giving them a charming edge over other famous cities in the state. Naggar, Rukhala, Paragpur and garli are a few names in this segment. The main attractions in these small hamlets includes monuments, apple orchards, trekking trails and museum attractions.
Besides, all the wonderful holiday options that Himachal boasts of, there is yet another reason that works as a magnet in drawing people toward this destination. Himachal Pradesh is the dream destination for any honeymoon couples. Solitary enchantments in Dalhousie, adventure thrill in Kullu, opulence in Shimla and Manali and a mix of calmness and romance in Lahaul and Spiti are some options honeymooning couples can look forward to in Himachal Pradesh.
Besides the various water sports and winter sports, tourists can look forward to enjoy various mountain sports, camping, aerosports and trekking as well. Bir and Billing are the ‘para gliding’ capital of the country. For trekking and mountain sports the passes are the best destination. Camping can be enjoyed in Chail, Tabo, Hatu and Sangla Valley.
The state of Himachal Pradesh is renowned for its various shopping hubs. Kullu Shawls, Kullu Caps, Tibetan Carpet, Buddhist Paintings, Woolen Pullovers, Mailing Postcards with Buddhist and Hindu Motifs Apples, metal wares, Pickles, Jams and Juices, Traditional Jewellery are some of the main articles that can be bought in the various markets across the main cities.
Toy Train Ride
While in Himachal, tourists ought not to miss the toy train ride, that will take one on a scenic journey from Kalka to Shimla. This unique train shoots off from Kalka at around 5 : 30 in the morning and covers the 95 kms distance in 6 hours. The train crosses 103 tunnels, 20 railway stations and more than 900 curves and the slow speed at which the trains runs makes it possible for the tourists to enjoy kaleidoscope views of the surrounding. Be it summer or winter, the abundant state of Himachal has something to offer to all the tourists. Plan a visit to Himachal Pradesh and revel the multi attractions and activities.
While rafting the following items apparel are suggested to be carried along: pants, socks, bathing suit / trunks, outdoor / sports shoes, cap/hat, sun glasses, rubber slippers, camera, warm clothing and prescription medicines. For the raft, shorts, a tee shirt and floaters are best. No jeans please.
Register Yourself as River Rafting Operator
Travelling to Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti?
Drink plenty of fluids and eat regularly to avoid dehydration and altitude sickness. Petrol pumps on the route are at Shimla, Theog, Narkanda, Rampur, Powari, Recong Peo, Kaza, Keylong, Sarchu and Manali. If driving, essential spares and extra fuel are recommended, a sturdy vehicle is suggested. Government hospitals are at Recong Peo, Kaza and Keylong. Dispensaries are available elsewhere. Prescription medicines and sun screen lotion should be carried along. If crossing the high passes, good health is essential. The best time to travel to these areas is between April and October. While planning your trip, it is suggested that you check on general road conditions and confirm if the high passes are open to traffic. Foreigners visiting the upper reaches of Kinnaur and Spiti require a permit. For details regarding this, please contact any office of Himachal Tourism.
Numerous forts, palaces, temples, monasteries and residences of heritage prominence are found all over the state of Himachal. The thousand year old Buddhist Padam Palace monastery of Tabo in Spiti with its fine wall-paintings and stucco statues has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The village of Pragpur with its age-old and well preserved architecture and cobbled streets has been declared a ‘Heritage village’. Many of Himachal’s forts, palaces and residences are privately owned, and naturally, the discretion of their use rests with their owners. Yet, we are proud to have them as a part of our rich heritage. Some remarkable places within or easily accessible from the main holiday stations are – Padam Palace, Rampur, The Palace Sarahan, Jandrighat Dalhousie, The Palace, Jubbal. The Palace, Sunni. The Palace, Nahan. Many traditional farmhouses all over Himachal, are also making accommodation available on their premises. These will provide visitors an insight into local lifestyles, cuisine and culture. With nostalgia and comfort skilfully interlaced, here is a window that invites you to share a bygone era and hold its enduring charms.
Kotla Fort :