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Published by: ANK SHRINIVAASAN on Oct 01, 2008
Copyright:Public Domain


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The British Empire may have ceased to exist, but its echoes linger on in Shimla (2130m). As the 'summer capital' of the British in India. This was the country's focus for the better part of every year and now, it is the state capital of Himachal Pradesh. Today, it's well developed facilities; easy accessibility and numerous attractions make it one of India's most popular hill resorts. Placed in the lower ranges of the Himalayan Mountains, it is surrounded by pine, deodar oak and rhododendron forests. Towards the north lie the snow-covered high -ranges, while the valleys broad whispering streams and swaying fields. Within the town are a host of splendid colonial edifices, quaint cottages and charming walks. Shimla holds a variety of shopping, sport and entertainment.

ALTITUDE:2130m above sea level.
BEST SEASON: Throughout the year. Snowfall in winter.
TEMPERATURE: Between sub zero in winter and 30* C in summer.
CLOTHING: Light Woolens in summer, Heavy Woolens in winter.

HOW TO GET THERE: The airport is at Jabbarhati 23kms away. Shimla is connected to Kalka
by an enchanting narrow gauge railway line - where even a quaint rail - car plays. By road,
Chandigarh is 125kms, MANALI is 285kms, Chail is 45kmsand Delhi is at a distance of
400kms.From Delhi, the driving time is about ten hours. From Delhi, MANALI and Chandigarh,
luxury coaches and taxis ply to Shimla.
CLIMATE: In winter, the temperature can drop below freezing point when heavy woolens are
required. Summer temperatures are mild and light woolens / Cottons are recommended.
THE RIDGE: This large open space in the heart of town presents excellent views of the mountain
ranges. Shimla's landmarks - the neo-Gothic structure of Christ Church and the neo - Tudor
library building - are here.
LAKKAR BAZZAR: Popular for its woodcrafts and souvenirs, this is just off the Ridge.
JAKHOO HILL: At 2455m, this is the town's highest peak and vantage point for shimla's famous
views. The summit crowned with a temple dedicated to LORD HANUMAN. The hill is full of
paths and narrow roads that are enjoyable walks.
MASHOBRA (12KMS): At 2149m, a thick forest surrounds this beautiful suburb. From here,
track leads down to Sipper that is an exquisite glade shaded by ancient deodar trees. There are
old temples on a side and a fair is held every April.
KUFRI (16KMS): At 2501m, this is famous for its wide views and ski slopes. An enjoyable walk
leads up to Mahasu Peak.
NALDHERA (22KMS): At 2044m, this is nine holes, golf course. The British Viceroy, Lord Cursor
who was so enchanted by the place that he gave his daughter Alexandra, "NALDHERA" as per
second name, designed it.
FAGU (22kms): At 2510m, Fagu has some enchanting views.
CHAIL (45kms): This was the former summer capital of the Patiala State. Himachal Tourism
now runs the palace as a luxury hotel.
TATTAPANI (51KMS): At 656m, there is hot sulphur springs here. Himachal Tourism has a
restaurant and a Tourist Bungalow at Tattapani.
ST. MICHAEL'S CATHEDRAL: This dressed - stone church with fine stained glass has a
cruciform design. It is located just off the Mall, below the District Courts.
THE GLEN: At 1830m, this is a thickly wooded ravine through which a stream flows. It is a
popular picnic spot.
ANNANDALE: Surrounded by a thick deodar forest, this large glade has an ancient temple on an
BIHARGAON (04KMS): Approached either past the cemetery below St. Edward's School, or
through Tutikandi, this village has splendid examples of traditional Himachal architecture.
PROSPECT HILL AND KAMNA DEVI (06KMS): At 2125m, and crowned by a temple dedicated
to Kaman Devi, the hill offers spectacular views of the area.
SANKAT MOCHAN (07KMS): This is a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman.
CHANDWICK FALLS (08KMS): At 1586m, these rained falls are approached through summer
TARA DEVI (11KMS): A thickly wooded hill whose peak has a temple dedicated to Tara Devi.
ADVENTURE AND FISHING: There are numerous walks within and close to Shimla. And there

are many soft to medium treks that can use Shimla as the base. Some treks are to the Caliper, to the Kullu Valley over the Jalori Pass or the Bashleo Pass, Shimla to Chail, Shimla to Junga and Shimla to Tattapani. Angling for trout can be done on the river Pabbar, near Rohru.

SHOPPING: There is an enema range of goods that Shimla has to offer. This includes
handicrafts, wood and metalwork, shawls, pullovers, local tweeds, caps, Tibetan carpets and
pickles, jams and squashes.

Overlooking the vast Govind Sager reservoir of the Bhakra Dam, Bilaspur is on the main highway between Chandigarh and Mandi. It has some old and interesting temples. A little ahead of the town is a well-located Restaurant Lake View with a fine outlook over the reservoir.

ALTITUDE:Around 673m above sea level.
TEMPERATURE:Warm in summer, cold in winter.
SEASON:Throughout the year.
CLOTHING: Cottons in summer, woolens in winter.

HOW TO GET THERE: Bilaspur is on the N.H.21 between Chandigarh and Mandi. The nearest
Airport is Chandigarh. The nearest railhead is Chandigarh.
GOVIND SAGAR (673M): The biggest man made lake in Himachal, Govind Sager is surrounded
by low-lying wooded hills. It has facilities for various types of water sports and for angling.
NAINA DEVI (915M): Just 57kms from Bilaspur and 34kms from Kiratpur is the famous shrine of

Naina Devi. The temple, up on a hill, has a panoramic view of the town of Anandpur Sahib, of the low-lying ranges and the River Sutlej. A colorful fair, the Shravana Astami Mela, is held in July / August every year.


Mandi, at the lower end of the Beas Valley, 760m above sea level, is a 400 years old town strategically located on an old trade route into Tibet. It has picturesque old buildings, narrow streets and colorful bazaars. Mandi is also famous for its beautifully sculpted stone temples of Panchvaktra, Ardhanarishwar, Triloknath and Bhutnath.

Lying in a little hollow in the hills, in the vicinity of Mandi, is the lake at Rewalsar with its curious
floating islands of reed.

It is believed that the Buddhist sage and teacher Padmasambhava departed for Tibet from Rewalsar, to spread the message of Buddha. Buddhist pilgrims come every year to the ancient Nyingmapa monastery on the banks of the lake. There is a temple and the Hindus and Sikhs also hold gurdwara by the lake as it sacred.


Close to Mandi, Sundernagar (1,174m) is on the edge of a fertile valley. On top of a hill near by are the Sukhdev Vatika and the temple of Mahamaya. A part of the huge Beas - Sutlej Project is located here.

TEMPERATURE:Warm in summer, cold in winter.
SEASON:Throughout the year.
CLOTHING: Light Woolens in winter.

HOW TO GET THERE: Well connected by road and on the main Highway between Chandigarh
to Manali. The nearest airport is Bhuntar, near Kullu 60Kms. The nearest railhead Joginder
Nagar is 60kms from Mandi

Kullu (1220m) was once known Kulanthpitha ' the end of the habitable world'. Beyond rose the forbidding heights of the Greater Himalayas, and by the banks of the shinning river Beas, laid the fabled 'Silver Valley'.

Kullu got its first motor able access only after Independence. The long entries of seclusion have however allowed the area to retain a considerable measure of its traditional charm. 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 'silver valley' has nature's treasures that lie carelessly scattered as flowers on the high meadows. This wealth nestles by every tree in the splendid forests; it bursts forth in the looms and in the fruit of every orchard. Here are riches, which cannot be measured, and echo down the ages with the words of every myth and ancient largest and glow in the warm smiles of its gentlepeople. There is pleasure in every step you take in these enchanted valleys and in every gurgle you hear in the clear mountain streams.

ALTITUDE: 1,219m
TEMPERATURE: Ranges from 38.8*C in summer to 2*C in winter.
SEASON: April to June and Sep. to Nov.
CLOTHING Cottons in summer and heavy woolens in winter.

HOW TO GET THERE: The airport at Bhutar is 11kms from Kullu, where taxis and buses are
available. The closest narrow gauge railhead is at Jogindernagar, 95kms from Kullu. By road the
distance from Delhi (via) Mandi is 560kms, and from Shimla the distance this is 245kms.
CLIMATE: In winter, the temperature gets quite low when heavy woolens are required. It is
pleasant in summer and cottons are recommended.
RAGHUNATH TEMPLE: In the 17th century. Raja Jagat Singh of Kullu committed a great wrong.

To a tone for the sin, he sent a senior counter to Ayodhya for a statue of Lord Ragunath - Lord Ram. This temple was built by Raja Jagat Singh to house the image and even today, is greatly revered.

BIJLI MAHADEV TEMPLE (14KMS): At 2460m, this is getting on a spur that offers some

spectacular views. The temple is famous for its high staff that periodically draws lighting that shatters the 'Shivlinga' and scorches the building. Using only better as adhesive, the 'Linga' is then carefully pieced together by the temple pundit.

BASHESHWAR MAHADEV TEMPLE, BAJAURA (15KMS): One of the most charming temples
in the Kullu Valley, this is renewed for its intricate stone carvings.
OTHER TEMPLE:The Vaishno Devi Temple (JAI MATA DI), the Devi Jagannathi Temple at
Bakhi and the Vishnu Temple at Dayar other important shrines around Kullu.
KAISDHAR (15KMS): A high meadow fringed by deodar trees. A picturesque spot.
KASOL (42KMS): An open glade by the banks of the river Parvati. Clean white sand separates
the lush green grass from the waters. A spot for trout. Himachal Tourism has a Tourist Hut here.
MANIKARAN (45KMS): At 1737m, here are hot sulphur springs that bubble next to the icy

waters of the Parvati River. Both Hindus and Sikhs revere the place. Treks from here lead to Pulga. Khirganga and Mantalai a stretch of considerable natural beauty. The route finally reveres the Pin Parvati Pass (4802m), which opens into the Sultej Valley. At manikaran, Himachal Tourism runs the Hotel Parvati.

SHOJA (69KMS): At 2692m, this is a vantage point for a complete panorama of the Kullu area -
snow peaks and valleys, meadows and forests, rivers and streams.
RAISON (13KMS): By the banks of the Beas - and on the Kullu - Manali highway - Himachal
Tourism runs a camping site here. Ideal for a taste of adventure.
NAGGAR (23KMS): for 1400 years this was the capital of Kullu. In 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 Roe rich, Naggar also has three other old shrines.
KULLU DUSSHERA:When Dusshers 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 Raghunath. This is a
time when the valley is at its colorful best.
SHOPPING:Shawls, local tweeds, rugs (namdas'), foot wear ('pull an'), baskets, natural oils
(almond and olive), and caps.
FISHING AND ADVENTURE: The Kullu Valley has numerous places for trout fishing. These
include Katrain, Raison, Kasol and Naggar: then along the river Tirthan near Larji, in the Sainj
Valley and in the Hurla Khud.

The valley is the nucleus of several trek routes; some major ones are over the Chanderkhani Pass to Malana, over the Jalori Pass or Bashleo Pass to Shimla, and over the Pin Parvati Pass to Sarahan.

The River Beas offers excellent opportunities for white water rafting.

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