14 Places to Visit in Himachal Pradesh
Hills and valleys with crisp, clean air, snow clad peaks, sparkling rivers and a landscape abounding in nature’s bounty characterise this state.
Himachal is a tourism friendly state where the simplicity of rural living is visible along with specially developed infrastructure for tourists. Colourful fairs are held all over Himachal to celebrate to the festival of Dussehra.
The hills of Himachal Pradesh contains the ancient trade routes to Tibet and Central Asia and have contributed to the spread of Buddhism in those regions. Even today, the influence of Buddhism is evident in specified areas of the state.
Himachal Pradesh offers an option of holidays ranging from a peaceful break in its quiet valleys to opportunities for trekking, mountaineering, white water rafting and angling for the adventurous.
Tourist Places to Visit in Himachal Pradesh : –
Dharamsala popularly known as the Scotland of India , is once of the 80 hill station established by the British between 1815 and 1847 and has one of the most spectacular setting for a hill station.Thais hill station is closest to the perennial snowline and is built along a spur of the Dhaula Dhar range.The town varies in the height from1250 metres at the bazaars to 1768 metres at McLeodjang.Dharamsala is surrounded by deodar forests and provide a superb view of the great granite mountains that almost overhang the town.
About 19 km away from Dharamsala is McLeodganj which has a strong Tibetan influence.Monks in deep red are a common sight in this town and it is the headquaters of the Dalai Lama in India.The Dalai Lama settled here after his flight across the Himalayas following the chinease invasion of Tibet in Oct. 1959.The Tibetan community has tended to take over the hospitality business and provide cheap and clean hotels and small friendly resturants.
The following words might help you in having an exchange in Tibetan:–
Tashi Delek(hello, good luck)
The Namgyal Monastery with the center of Tibetan Studies, is known as Little Lhasa and is a major attraction in McLeodganj.This cathedral opposite the Dalai Lama’s residence.resembles the centre of the one in Lhasa and is a five minute walk from main market.It contains large gilded bronzes of Buddha,Avalokitesvara and Padmasam-bhava Dalai Lama often leads the prayer when he is in residence and if you sign up at security office an audience with him is possible.The other major attraction is the Church of St John-in-the Wilderness which has attractive stained glass windows.Lord Elgin, one of the few viceroys of British occupied India, to die in office is buried here, according to his last wish, as it reminded him of his beloved native Scotland.The Nechung Monastery in Gangchen Kyishon has a Tibetan library with a good range of books, magazines and photo-copying facilities and a museum.The central Tibetan Administration Offices are located here and you can also attend lectures & classes of Tibetan culture and Buddhism. Dharamsala is among top tourist places to visit in Himachal Pradesh.
From McLeodganj there are a nuber of interesting walks like the 2 km stroll to Bhagsunag which has a spring and a temple or to Dharamkot, 3 kms, has very fine views.If you feel energetic enough, you can continue on towards the snowline.10 kms from the McLeodgsnj bus stand is Dal Lake, the site of an annual fair held in September.It is a pleasant walk to the lake.At the footof the Dhaula Dhar is Triund which is an 8 km trek.A further 5 kms is snowline where a Forest rest house is situated.At an altitude of 1983 metres is Kareri, a picturesque spot where a rest house is located in the cool depths of a pine grove.The beautiful Kareri Lake,further away from this spot is set amidst green meadows and forests of tall oak and pine. McLeodganj is among top tourist places to visit in Himachal Pradesh.
Tourist attractions to Visit in Dharamsala are Bhagsunath, Dall Lake, Dharamkot, Triund, Kareri, Chamunda Devi, Lord Elgin’s Memorial, Kunal Pathri, Machhrial and Tatwani, Nurpur, Dehra Gopipur.
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Call it dream land,adventure land,paradise or simply,Himachal Pradesh, which means land of snowy mountains; atreat for the eyes and a retreat for the body and mind.Snug among the lofty Himalayas with rolling meadows racing rivers,icy cold glaciers,warm and friendly people,green forests,ancient temples,heart-winning handicrafts and spirited festivity… all representing the immense diversity of the state with each region locked in its typical culture.
Himachal Pradesh certainly has everything one may be looking for.Winter,spring,summer or autumn, anytime is the right time to be in Himachal Pradesh-especially in the Kangra Valley.
Running alongside the beautiful Kullu valley,the rolling green of Kangra Valley unfold before the scenic white ridge of the Dhaula Dhar range.It is one of the snowy ridges which has verdant forests on one side and cheerful hill culture on the other.The Kangra Valley is situated between the Dhaula Dhar and the Shivalik foothills in the state of Himachal Pradesh.the valley starts near Mandi and runs north-west to Shahpur near Pathankot Named after the town of Kangra,the largest and main centre,at present is Dharamsala. The entry points to Kangra Valley, Kalka in the south and Pathankot in the west, offer rail services to the interior.While journeying on the Kangra Valley line, the train traveller gets to watch the spectacular countryside. Kangra is among top tourist places to visit in Himachal Pradesh.
Besides the natural beauty of Kangra Valley,its cheerful people, hill paintings, temples,forts and adventure sports attract thousands of tourists every year from the world over.The people of the valley are well built and are known for their edicated services to the nation as soldiers.
The Gaddis of Kangra or the nomadic shepherds of the valley, came from chamba and found their way across the Dhaula dhar in quest of grazing pastures of their sheep.They are easily recognised by their distinctive attire which consists of a lon rope tied aound their waist.They lead a simple life with a few needs and even fewer worries and have permanent villages in the valley where they pursue agriculture.During summer men roam with their sheep and goat in the higher meadows.Here, they live a hard and adventurous life,often having to scare away leopards and bears.Their courageous and faithful sheep dogs are of great help.The valley is situated at a distance of 248 kms to the east of Shimla.the nearest airport is Gaggal, 7 kms away from Kangra.Private Airlines operate flights from Delhi.It can be approached by road from New Delhi via Ambala,Ludhiana and Hoshiarpur.Pathankot is linked to the valley by a superb narrow gauge mountain railway which takes three and a half hours to reach its destination.
Seventeen kms from Dharamsala and over looking the gushing torrent of the Banganga river lies the ancient town of Kangra.The town stepped in romance has a rich historical past Kangra became a Mughal province in 1620,when the then prince,Shah Jahan captured for his father, Emperor Jehangir.In the 18th century Raja Sansar Chand Katoch II recaptured the fort from the Mughals and extended the boundaries of Kangra into the Chamba and Kullu valleys.The glory of the valley is brought out in the invaluable and delicate Kangra paintings that the Raja commissioned to express his love for a comely Gaddi maiden and the beautiful land she dwelled in.Under Raja Sansar Chand II the region prospored.
During the mid 18th century, a new style of painting developed, based on Mughal miniature painting, but with a different subject matter.The theme was derived from Radha-Krishanalegends and depicted the ruler and the gods in a local setting.In 1744-73 Raja Govardhan Singh of Guler gave shelter to many artists who had fled from Mughals and thus gave birth to the famed Kangra School of Painting.
Another attraction in the town is the Kangra Fort which was the seat of power of the Katoch Rajas.It is said to have been founded by Susharma Chand Katch, an ally of the Kauravas during the Mahabharata war.It was the ancient capital of the Katoch kingdom and a symbol of power in the Punjab hill states.The fort stands on a steep rock dominating the valley and a narrow path leads up to the fort which was once protected by several gates and had the palace of the Katoch kings safely perched at the top.The Kangra fort, where the Raja held court for nearly 25 years, was adorned with paintings and attracted art lovers from great distances.About forty thousand of these paintings are preserved in temples, palaces and in museums at Chamba, Chandigadh and Delhi.
The Brajeshwari Devi Temple in Kangra town acheived a reputation fo wealth in gold, pearl and diamonds and tempted many invaders over centuries.Mahmud Ghazni sacked it in 1009, Muhammed- bin- Tughlaq plundered it in 1337,Sikander Lodi destroyed the idols in the early 15th century and yet the temple was sacked again by Khawas Khan in 1540.In the intervening years the temple was rebuilt anf refurbished several times but in the great earthquake of 1905 both the temple and the fort were badly damaged.The present temple was built in 1920 and stands behind the crowded.colourful bazaar.The state Govt. maintains the temple and the diety sits under a silver dome with silver umbrella.
Baijnath, Jwalamukhi, Masrur and Palampur are mojor tourist attractions to Visit in Kangra Valley.
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Situated in the north west Himalayas, Shimla is the Capital of Himachal Pradesh. It was once famous as the summer Capital of “The Raj” .Though evocative of a bygone era,it is today a thriving Capital of a State,famous for its snowcapped peaks,apples,pine forests,flowers and gentle smiling people.
Visitors come to Shimla to walk down its famous Mall Road and also to experience Shimla in its many hues from Spring flower to autumn leaves, from the soothing green & gentle breeze to its winter snows.It is truely a “Destination for all season”. Shimla is among top tourist places to visit in Himachal Pradesh.
A special delight is to travel by one of the few remaining mountain Railways in the world-the toy train of Shimla-as it wind through 90km journey up the mountain.
Tourist attractions to visit in Shimla are Jakhoo Hill, Glen, Summer hill, Chawick fall, Prospect hill, Institute of Advance studies, zoo, sankat mochan temple, vavbahar, Taradevi temple, Tibetan monastery, Dhengu mata temple, Aviary at old Raj Bhawan and museum.
Naldehra, Tattapani, Wildflower hall, Mashobra, Craignano, fruit research station, kufri, indian holiday home, chail, barog, kasauli, kiari bungalow, solan, Bon Manastry,Oachhghat, fagu, theog, narkanda, kotgarh, rampur, hatkoti are the tourist attractions to visit near Shimla.
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- Adventure sports in shimla, Skiing, Trekking, golfing, treks route
- Places to visit near Shimla, Tourist places near by
- Places to visit in Shimla
Valley Of The Gods
Kullu, “the valley of the Gods”, has a unique charm. Long regarded by the ancient Hindus as the furthest limit of human habitation. Kulantapitha-its original name is mentioned even in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Kullu is famous for its Dussehra celebration as also for its red delicious, Royal Delicious and Golden Delicious Apples. Each season has its special charm as do the helpful and charming people of valley. Kullu is among top tourist hill station places to visit in Himachal Pradesh.
Situated on the banks of the Beas river and fringed by Deodar trees, it is truely akin to paradise. With the river Beas flowing through it, Kullu Valley, stretching to Manali, is a narrow fertile strand 80 km long. From Kullu you can trek to Malana village, the people of which are regarded by anthropologists to be the descendents of Alexander the Great’s Army.
Raghunathji Temple, vaishno devi temple, Jagannath temple, Bijli Mahadev temple, kaishdhar, Bajeshwar Mahadev, Kasol, Manikaran, Largi, pulga and khirganga, banjar, shoja, Raison, Katrain, Naggar, Malana are tourist attractions in Kullu.
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On the way to Manali you come cross Rohtang La(3,980 m) where a panorama of bare rock, snowfields and glaciers are visible from here, while at a short distance from the pass lies the lake of Dashair(Sarkund).
Past Rohtang pass, towards Manali, visit Rahalla falls, the picturesque village of Kothi and Nehru Kund.
After the legendary Great Flood,the ark of Vaivasvata, seventh incarnation of the ancient law-giver Manu, came to rest in Manali-whish is named after him. As the waters subsided, there arose a place of breathtaking natural beauty. Placed before a backdrop of high snow clad mountains are fertile valleys and fast-flowing streams, a variety of wild flowers and dense forests. Today Manali is one of the India’s prime holiday destinations. Manali is among top tourist hill station places to visit in Himachal Pradesh.
Tourist attractions to visit in Manali, are vashisht, manu temple, Hadimba temple, travel, solang valley, monastery.
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STARK & FORBIDDING
At once start and forbidding-Lahaul has an ethernal beauty. The word Lahaul is regarded as a derivative of the Tibetan Lho-Yul-‘southern country’ or of Lhahi-yul ‘country of the gods’. Its attraction include the Buddhist monasteries, passes, glaciers, lakes and rivers.
PATCH OF GREEN
Leave early for Keylong, district headquarters of Lahaul-Spiti. This is over a rugged road past the Kunzam pass(4551m).A chunk of green in an arid area, Keylong has willow-lined watercourses, fields and a market.
En route,sights include a frontal view of Shigri peak from Kunzam pass, while a trek route branches off to Chandra Tal(4,270 m), a lake almost a kilometre long and between a low ridge and the main Kunzam range.
Gramphoo(51km short of Keylong) is where the roads to Kaza, Keylong and Manali meet, and Khoskar(5 km ahead) hosts a major festival every january.Sissu(3,120 m,28 km short of Keylong) has marshy plains that are a stopover for migratory birds and its monastery houses an image of Lahaul’s patron deity, Gyephang. Gondhala 3,160 m,i6 km short of Keylong, has an eight storeyed timber-and-stone tower and every July the village hosts a large fair and masked dances commemorating victory over the Tibetan King Langdarma, an enemy of Buddhism. Here a sheer cliff rises over 1500 m from the riverbed and forms a spectacular sight. Keylong has hotels and rest houses.
Based at Keylong, visit Buddhist gompas and savour nature’s spectacular sights. Some suggestions are -Guru Ghantal(8 km) regarded the oldest gompa in Lahaul and said to have been founded by the religious leader Padmasambhava in the 8th century.Kardang(5 km) has a library of Buddhist scripture and exquisite thangka paintings.Shashur(3 km) is surrounded a rare patch of woodlands and its 17th century gompa hosts Shashur Tseshe festival in june.Tayul(6 km) means the ‘place that is choosen’ and has a huge statue of Padsambhava.Baralacha La (4,890 m, 75 km) is an 8-km-long pass where the paths from Zanskar, Ladakh, Spiti and Lahaul meet; Suraj Tal(4,800 m) is a lake just below the summit of the pass and is the source of the river Bhaga. Sanchu,on the route to Leh, is the last point in Himachal and has a tented colony for tourists.Trilokinath(53 km) has fine stone carving and Udeypur(53 km) has an ancient temple.
Spitis subdivision headquaters Kaza has essential facilities and a market. The hikim, Komik and Langja monasteries may be visited from Kaza. En route from Tabo, visit Dhankara gompa, a master piece and once the ruler of Spiti’s castle 3(3,870 m,7 km by aside road from Schichling). Accomodation at Kaza is offered at hotels and rest houses.
Based at Kaza, visit ki (key) and Kiber. Return to Kaza.Ki(4116 m,12 km from kaza) is one of Spiti’s important monasteries, while Kibber(4205m,8 km fromKi village)has a population of over 400 and is the highest permanently inhabited village connected by a motorable road. Both are bases for treks.
RECONG PEO AND KALPA
With all the majesty of the 4,573 m high kinner kailash in direct vision,Recong Peo id Kinner’s new district headquarters. By Kinner Kailash’s side is a 79-foot high formation that resembles a Shivalinga; it changes colour as the day passes. A few hundred netre higher than recing Peo,and 12 km by road is Kalpa, the old headquarters. The rest houses are here as is a seasonal camp. And for the local flavour, if you fill this is a far better place. The village of Kothi and Kalpa from a contiguous boundary with Recong Peo. Kalpa’s temples are fascinating and the Narayan-Nagini temple is an exemplary piece of Kinnauri workmanship. At hand is monastery built a few years ago-where his holiness the Dalai Lama conducted a Kalchakra ceremony.
Kalpa or Recong Peo can be another stopover, or the base for the region’s several treks-including the Kinner Kailash parikrama which takes about a week. If driving,it is also wise to fill your tank here, or at Powari on the national highway. There is no petrol station after this till KAZA.
Kinnaur can best be likened to that delicacy unique to the region – the chilgoza. Like the tasty kernel of the chill pine, it takes some effort getting ti it, but the rewards are quite delicious. Close to the border of Tibet, entry was restricted even for Indian Nationals till 1993-and foreigner still have to register themselves.
Road Through High Ridges
With barely 77 villages and no urban centres, Kinnaur is a s parsely populated area and has barely 10 person per sq.km. The old Hindustan-Tibet Road passed through Kinnaur along the high ridges. Then lower down the valley, came the national highway in the 1960s and this is Kinnaur’s lifeline.An engineering feat, it has long stretches chiseled out of sheer rock face-quite like a tunnel with one wall missing.
With turbulent torrents, two large rivers race through Kinnaur-the Sutlej and the Spiti. Several streams feed these rivers and their valleys are breathtakingly beautiful. The slopes are covered with forests while the basins hold orchards, fields and picturesque hamlets. Kinnaur holds two of the world’s mountain ranges-the Zanskar and the Greater Himalaya. Snow traverses the peaks which vary between 5,180 m ans 6,770 m.There are only gaps for passes.As one advances through the district and cuts past the Greater Himalaya, the arid landscape-hallmark of the trans-Himalaya-also arrives. The Monsoon remain south of thin impassable barrier. Winter are along and summer short.
Kinnaur is home to some of India’s oldest tradition and legends. The Pandava brothers are said to have spent several years of their exile in these tracts-an episode from the epic Mahabharata. There are several gateways or tanks attribute to them. Ancient texts have gone to the extent of placing the people of Kinnaur -the Kinner-as halfway between men and gods. The religion is an interestingmis of Hinduism and Budhism and every village has its own diety.All of Kinnaur’s travel destinations lie along the valleys. After Sarahan,the first of Kinnaur’s attraction is Nichar that lies on a side road 16 km off the highway from Sholding Khad. Here is a forest, a variety of wildlife and interesting architecture. The Nichar temple has remarkable carvings.
SCOPE FOR TROUT FISHING
It is the valley of the Baspa river also called Sangla valley after the main village-that is the perhaps the most beautiful. From the turn off at Karcham, to the lofty Chung Sakhago pass it is about 95 km long. Till Chitkul, roughly halfway up the valley, it is fairly populous and heavily cultivated. The advances is along a narrow road and the valley is also tight. It suddenly opens up at Kalpa and hereafter, the water of the Baspa also seem unhurried. And in season this is an excellent area for trout fishing.
Sangla village has a couple of hostels and rest houses. Deeper in the valley near Batseri and at Chitkul, there is excellent tented accommodation through summer and autumn.
A kilometer or so above Sangla village stands the tower-like fort of Kamru-a ailent sentonel that has stood guard over all this beauty through time. Till they moved to Sarahan and later Rampur, this was the original seat of the rulers of Bushair. The main gate of Kamru village has an image of the Buddha whose blessing are sought before entering the village.Locals believs this image prevents the smulling in of ghosts or demons.With elaborate woodwork, the tower holds an image at KamaKhaya Devi. The best time to visit to Kinnaur-as well as Spiti and Lahaul-is from April to October. Light woolen and a jacket are suggested.
174 km. It is regarded as the Shonitpur of old.And here in a truly splendid setting, Banasura of legend once ruled. With the Bhimkali temple complex, Sarahan is reserved as one of the 51 sacred Shaktipeeth.
Below Sarahan-in the valley and miles out of its source in Mansarovar, tumbles the river Sutlej. Across lies snow-covered Shrikhand and a host other white-draped peaks some so sacred that none may climb them.Around Sarahan there are fields, orchards, villages and unusual architecture, forests and fast flowing streams.As the mists of myth gave way to verifiable history, the beautiful spot of Sarahan became the capital of the princely state of Bushair. The Raja moved here from Kamru, the original seat in Baspa valley. In the 18th century another shift was made to Rampur on the lower boundaries of the state. Bushair was regarded as one of the wealthiest states of the region and was a major entry point for trade with Tibet, Ladakh, Kashmir and Khazakistan.
A WORLD OF ITS OWN
Ribba and Nako are not on the main road, but are two of Kinnaur’s most captivating villages. Surrounded by orchards and vineyards, Ribba also has the distinction of brewing the best local liquors-ghanti, anguri or chuli. With a lake in its middle, Nako’s houses seem half buried in the ground- and the lake water often seep in. Nako is the base for the trek to the peak of Pargial and the monastery of Tashigang, where the image of what is said to grow here.
WHERE GODS LIVES
Along the highway, Chango is the last village of Kinnaur, and in its monsoon-free aridity grow the finest apples of the area. Called ‘middle country’, Spiti is a cold desert which Rudyard Kiplong in Kim called “world within a world’ and a place “where the gods lives”.
Founded in 996,the Tabo gompa has exquisite frescoes and stucco statues, and is called ‘Ajanta of Himalayas’. The largest monastic complex in Spiti, the old section has nine temple,23 chortens a chamber for monks and another one for nuns. There are several caves and contemporary structures too. In trans Himalayan Buddhism, Tabo’s sancity is next only to Tibet’s Tholing gompa. Accommodation at Tabo consists of rest houses and basic hotels.
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