The northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh is home to some of the best hill stations in the country. It comes as no wonder that the state is one of the most visited tourist destinations in India.
If you are craving an adventure-filled vacation coupled with picturesque views, Himachal Pradesh is the place to be.
But first, make sure you know where exactly to head and what awaits you here.
Take in the Sights
Snow-capped mountain peaks, lush green valleys, hot springs, streams, lakes- Himachal Pradesh has it all.
- The capital of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla, was not known as ‘the queen of the hills’ for nothing. Walk the long winding roads of Shimla, breathe in the fresh deodar-scented air, gaze at the mountain peaks from the Ridge, or take a train ride up to Kalka and you’ll know how the capital got its nickname.
- A few places around Shimla are well-known too. Worth seeing are the Lavi Fair and the Padam Palace in Rampur; the Wild Flower Hall in Charabra; the scenic splendor of Mashobra, Prospect Hill, and the Chadwick Falls; and the Himachali architecture in Bihargaon.
- About 155 miles from Shimla lies the hill station of Manali. There are several ancient monuments and temples here. Nature lovers will rejoice with the views this place has on offer. As a bonus, you get to see the Beas Kund, Dassaur Lake, and hot water springs.
- Dalhousie is another famous hill station in the western part of the state. It was founded in 1854 and still retains its old-world charm. The British-era buildings and monuments lend Dalhousie a colonial feel. The lush rhododendron vegetation and oak, pine, and deodar trees will take your breath away.
- If you’re looking for spiritual solace, the hill town of Dharamsala will charm you with its temples, churches, and Buddhist monasteries. The deodar and pine forests with crystal clear streams and snow-peaked mountains make a perfect backdrop for couples looking for a romantic getaway.
Partake in Fun and Adventure Activities
Himachal Pradesh has a lot to offer to those enthusiastic about indulging in adventure activities.
- If you’re willing to see the beauty of Himachal Pradesh, there can be no better way to do it than by going trekking. Trek through the Pin Parvati pass, the Sar pass, the Chanderkhani pass, or the Hampta pass, or trek up to the Triund Glacier, the Mani Mahesh lake, or Beas Kund for thrilling and captivating sights of Himachal Pradesh.
- The rivers of Himachal Pradesh are revered by many but they also provide ample opportunities for indulging in water sports. Tourists from over the world enjoy rafting in the white waters of the Beas. You can also go rafting in the Satluj near Shimla, the Gobind Sagar near Bilaspur, the Ravi near Chamba, the Chamera Lake near Dalhousie, and the Chandrabhaga (Chenab) in Lahaul.
- Angling is another favorite water sport for tourists visiting Himachal Pradesh. The state is considered to be an angler’s paradise due to the presence of trout in high numbers. You can fish for brown and rainbow trout in the Maharana Pratap Sagar reservoir in Kangra, and the rivers Chenab, Satluj, Ravi, and Beas. Trout can be found in the months from April through October. You can fish for Mahaseer if you happen to visit Himachal Pradesh in the months from September to April. Mahaseer can be found in the river Giri, and the Kangra valley and its streams- the Sainj, the Parbati, the Tirthan, and the Hurla.
- There are also options to go rowing, canoeing, kayaking, water-skiing, surfing, sailing, and swimming in Himachal Pradesh.
- The Solang valley in Manali offers workshops on skiing. You can also go zorbing, paragliding, parachuting, and ice skating here. Narkanda, on the Hindustan Tibet road, has dense forests and apple orchards, apart from famous slopes that are perfect for skiing and other winter sports. Kufri is another place you’ll love skiing.
Glimpse into the Past
Historical forts, colonial mansions, temples, churches, and monasteries can be found throughout the state of Himachal Pradesh.
- The War Memorial in Shimla was built to commemorate the post-independence war heroes of Himachal Pradesh.
- The Rang Mahal in Chamba was built in the 18th century to serve as the abode of the king Umed Singh. The carvings and paintings on the doors are the main attraction of the Rang Mahal. At the Himachal Emporium here, you can purchase traditional handicrafts too.
- You can see Gurkha Castles in the Sirmour, Solan, Shimla, and Bilaspur districts in Himachal Pradesh. These castles are among the key historical tombstones in the state.
- Visceral Lodge is a well-known landmark in Shimla. It served as the residence of Viceroy Lord Dufferin and is now used by the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS). The state drawing-room, wood-paneled dining room, and the ballroom are worth seeing.
- Padam Palace once served as the winter capital of the former prince state, Bushair. The palace is now a major attraction in Rampur due to its architectural style and craftsmanship.
- Tabo Monastery in the Spiti Valley was founded by Rinchen Zangpo in 996 AD. It is the largest monastery in the Spiti region and a must-visit to admire the stucco and wall paintings that depict the life of Buddha.
- The Namgyal Monastery was founded in 1575 by the Third Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso. This monastery is a renowned center for learning and mastering the major texts of Buddhist Sutra and Tantra.
If you are planning to see the Himalayas in all their glory, there could be no better place than Himachal Pradesh.