In Northern India lies a state renowned for its picturesque, landscape of rolling hills, mountains and valleys, called Himachal; the area boasts experiences that will leave even the most, well-travelled tourists speechless. Its mountainous landscapes and shifting climates make it a great place for your next adventure.
Being one of the most beautiful, natural landscapes to be found in India, there is an endless list of things to discover and explore in Himachal. Whilst we cannot write about them all we implore you to search beyond our suggestions and satisfy your inner adventurer by finding out more for yourself. But to help you get started navigating the exciting experiences to be found there, we have put together a list of a few of the most highly recommended places to visit in Himachal.
Kullu and Manali
Quietly situated amongst the valleys and peaks of Himachal is Kullu and Manali, this vast area of sprawling green is a great place to visit if you’re ready to get stuck into your next sporting adventure. Kullu is home to wild rivers and rafting, canoeing and kayaking are popular activities in the area; privately operated companies provide opportunities for you tame these waters and guarantee to get your adrenaline pumping.
If the prospects of navigating these tumultuous waters are not ticking the right box, there are also countless walking routes in the area, interweaving themselves between all the beautiful scenery. Amongst, the mountain paths is one of Kullu and Manali’s most interesting, historical attractions, the Hadimba Temple. Dedicated to the Goddess Hadimba, it was erected amongst the haunting woodlands of Manali in 1553 and has been worshipped by the people of Mahabharat for years.
If you want to go even further off the beaten path, the village of Malana offers visitors a chance to escape modern civilisation entirely. Commonly believed to be founded by descendents of Alexander the Great, this village is a roughly a two-hour trek (or a cab drive from Kasol) and will give you an insight into one of the oldest republics in the world.
Lahual and Spiti
The valley of Lahual and Spiti is home to one of the most striking lakes in Himachal, the Suraj-Tal; the lake is the third highest lake in India (and 21st in the world) and is situated just below the Bara-lacha-la pass. Its name literally means Lake of the Sun God, and its natural beauty does not fail to live up to the name. Suraj-Tal is usually covered with glistening snow for most of the year, yet, when the snow melts away it reveals the lake’s cool blue waters; visitors can often be found swimming and enjoying water activities. The lake is believed to have healing powers, so besides the fun you get from bathing in the warm water, expect to emerge feeling spiritually cleansed.
Kalka and Shimla
Take a step back in time and take a trip on the Kalka-Shimla toy train; historically built in 1903 to transport British expatriates to their summer homes in the capital of Shimla, this train is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Expect to follow the track for 96km in the mountains through idyllic valleys, rocky peaks and peaceful forests, to your destination. There are multiple tourist train services that allow you to travel in whatever style you please, whether it’s in total luxury on the Shivalik Deluxe Express or on the one stop Rail Motor Car with its transparent roof and on-board food service.
One of the most culturally captivating areas in Himachal is the area of Dharamshala. The area is called home by the Dalai Lama and the exiled Central Tibetan Administration; this Indo-Tibetan community has long lived peacefully, side-by-side with its multicultural Indian neighbours. The area is not short of activities and day trips, such as a boat ride through the Deodar forest on the Dal Lake to visit the Kangra Fort. This ancient example of architecture dating back to the 4th Century B.C. is considered to be the oldest and largest fort in India and visitors have an opportunity to enter and explore the grounds. Other activities include visiting the Kangra Art Museum and finding your inner peace at the Dalai Lama Temple Complex.
A trip to Himachal is guaranteed to be magical anytime of the year, but climates vary significantly depending on how high you are up the mountains and what time of year you arrive. For warmer climates the spring and summer months are recommended, but if you want to trek through the fluffy snow, winter is the perfect time for you.