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Location: Himachal Pradesh Altitude: 1,560m Places of Interest: Choordhar Peak, Kairighat, and Renukaji Best Time To Visit: April to September Once just a brief stopover on the Kalka-Shimla highway, Barog town has grown to be destination in itself. Surrounded by pine trees and oak trees, Barog is located in an idyllic setting. The magnificent Choor Chandni or Choordhar peak, which poetically translates 'Mountain of the Silver Bangle', is clearly visible from Barog, and when the moonlight lavishly pours itself on the slopes of the peak, it appears as though countless shimmering, silver bangles are sliding down in the night. The night may have been romantic but the morning in Barog is very captivating and enthralling. The pines of Barog are full of cavort and pleasantries. Barog's railway station, on the KalkaShimla, is one of the most picturesque stations, modelled in the Scottish-style. This building has existed since 1903, when the line was opened and is built on a curvature. The belly of the Choordhar Mountain holds the longest railway tunnel on the Kalka-Shimla route-exactly 1,143m long. PRIME ATTRACTION Renuka: The largest lake in the state of Himachal Pradesh that is said to embody Goddess Renuka, the mother of Parshurama. Rajgarh: A pleasant area, dotted with several orchards and delightful picnic spots such as Habban and Nacchna. Solan: Solan's prime attractions are the old Jatoli temple and the Shalooni Devi temple. There is also an ancient brewery and distillery near Solan. On the nearby Rajgarh Road, is the impressive Horticultural and Forestry University? The town also boasts of some fascinating specimen of old colonial architecture. Kumarhatti: 63-km away from Kumarhatti is the point to Nahan and Dagshai. Dagshai was a British cantonment, surrounded by pine trees; it has an old church and a boarding school. An alternate road is being developed at Kumarhatti to emerge at Solan and will eliminate the climb to Barog and the decent thereafter. Kasauli: At 200m above sea level, is a hill station living in the 19th century. The narrow road goes up and down the hillside, offering magnificent vistas, including the twinkling lights of the plains of Punjab at night. Subathu: A former British cantonment, Subathu boasts the ruins of an old Gurkha fort. Kairighat: Once a dak bungalow, Kairighat now functions as a fine economy hotel, under Himachal Tourism. HOW TO GET THERE Rail: Barog is well connected with all the major places in the state places by mountain train and the experience of travelling in them can be a memorable one. Road: Barog lies on Shimla-Kalka highway and regular buses and taxis ply from both of these places. NEARBY CITIES Solan: 08-km Dharampur: 25-km Kalka: 37-km Shimla: 56-km Chandigarh: 62-km
Location: 37-km from Nahan, Sirmaur District, and Himachal Pradesh Altitude: 672m above sea level Also known As: Renukaji Dedicated to: Goddess Renuka With a circumference of 3214m, Renukaji is the largest natural lake in Himachal. Shaped like the profile of a reclining woman, this is regarded as the embodiment of the goddess 'Renuka'. Near the lake's feet is another lake held sacred to her son, 'Parshurama'. Both have temples built around them and the main temple to Renuka is regarded to have been built overnight in the 18th century. The lake rests in a long valley and the surrounding slopes are covered with a variety of vegetation and thick woods. Boating is available on the lake. OTHER ATTRACTIONS Renuka has a mini zoo with spotted deer, lion-tailed macaques, nilgai, mithun, barking deer and Himalayan black bears - and a lion safari. Fishing is possible on the river Giri, at nearby Jataun. HOW TO GET THERE Road: road and lies in Sirmaur district connect Renuka lake. It is 123-km from Parwanoo, 60-km from Paonta Sahib and 37-km from Nahan. FAIRS & FESTIVALS RENUKA FAIR: This fair takes place in November. The Kharif crops have been harvested and at the legendary Renuka lake, a fair graces its banks. There is trade, recreation and amusement. Idols of Lord Parshurama and Renuka are ceremoniously dipped in the sacred waters of the lakeand it is a time when a lot of matchmaking is done. Water Sport Competitions are held on the Pong Dam and Gobind Sagar.
Location: Himachal Pradesh Altitude: 1,927m Attractions: Monkey Point, Sanawar, and 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 centuries. 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 ups and downs the hillsides and offers 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, smallpox, cholera and snakebite. 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.
PRIME ATTRACTION Dharampur: 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. Sabathu: 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. Dagshai: 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 comprise of a military public school and numerous military barracks. Monkey Point: 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. Sanawar: 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. HOW TO GET THERE Air: From Kasauli the nearest airport is Chandigarh. Shimla is nearest airport for Solan. Rail: 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. Road: Solan and Kasauli are well connected by road buses; coaches and taxis are also easily available from Chandigarh and Delhi. CLIMATE 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. NEARBY CITIES Sanawar: 6-km Dharampur: 15-km Sabathu: 30-km Dagshai: 19-km Kalka: 35-km Solan: 44-km Chandigarh: 61-km Shimla: 77-km
Location: Himachal Pradesh Altitude: 2,195m Places of Interest: Chaurasia, Manimahesh, Chhatri, and Kugti Best Time To Visit: July to September Enveloped within the high mountain ranges, the original capital of Chamba district, Bharmaur also known as Brahmour, is a fascinating little town. Mainly popular for it’s several ancient temples and monuments that reflect the town’s glorious past. It is also the base for the famed Manimahesh Yatra and for various marvelous treks in the region. Known as 'Brahmpur' in the 6th century, it was the seat of power of Chamba State for some 400 years till AD 920, all the temples present in Bharmour stand on a level area, which is called the Chaurasi after the 84 Siddhas, who are believed to have meditated in Bharmaur over 1,000 years ago. These Siddhas hailed from Kurukshetra and visited Manimahesh.
The oldest temples in the complex are those of Lakshna Devi and Ganesh. Both these temples are made in the hill style with gable roofs and rubble masonry. The tallest temple in the whole complex is of Manimahesh, built in shikhara style of architecture. The temple has a Shiva Lingam on a raised platform. The other temple in shikhara style is of Nar Singh. Lord Vishnu in his avtar as Nar Singh (also spelt as 'Nrusimha') has been cast vividly. There is a bronze 'Nandi' of life size, which stands facing the Manimahesh temple. There is a small water source called "Ardh Ganga" in a corner of the temple complex. Bathing in its water is considered religiously significant. The country around Bharmour is regarded as belonging to Lord Shiva and is sometimes called Shiva-Bhumi. Being the home of nomadic shepherds Gaddies it is also called 'Gadderan'. Bharmour is also known for its delicious apples and local blankets. PRIME ATTRACTION Chaurasia: Life in Bharmaur centres around the temple square-Chaurasia, which owes its name to the 84 shrines built within its periphery. The beautiful shikhara of Manimahesh temple dominates the square. A life-size image of Nandi in polished brass stands before it. Manimahesh: This place 34-km away from Bharmaur is at a height of 4,170m and is an important place of pilgrimage. The view of the towering peak of the Manimahesh Kailash (5,656m) and its mirror image in still waters of a little lake are quite fascinating. Bands of pilgrims wend their way up the arduous track to bathe in the icy lake and to worship at the little temple there. Thousands of people come for the main pilgrimage, the Manimahesh Yatra in the months of August / September. Himachal Tourism Tents are also available here. Chhatrari: The Shakti Devi temple in Bharmour is of great archaeological importance. This place is 40-km away from Bharmaur and 45-km from Chamba via road. The village is inhabited mostly by the Gaddies who are semi-postral lot, engaged in rearing of sheep and goats. Situated at a height of 6,000 feet, it's famous for its remarkable hill-style temple of Shakti Devi. The temple of Chhatrari is regarded as one of the holiest ones competing with well-known temples of "Lakshna Devi" at Bharmour and of "Bhawani" at Kangra. Kugti: The last inhabited village of Bharmaur is not too far from the Kugti Pass (5,040 m) and is on the challenging trail from Bharmaur to Keylong. Overlooking splendid forests of conifer, Kugti has a little forest resthouse too. The famous temple of Keylong Wazir is just 2-km away from here. ADVENTURE Trekking: Treks of 5-8 day duration, viable from June to October include: Bharmaur to Triloknath / Udaipur in Lahul over the Kalicho Pass (4,803m). Bharmaur to Udaipur over the Chobia Pass (4,996m). Bharmaur to Manali over the Kugti Pass (5,040m). Bharmaur to Manimahesh (4,170m). A branch of the mountaineering Institute, Manali, at Bharmaur organizes treks and provides information and equipment like tents, sleeping bags etc. HOW TO GET THERE Road: Bharmaur is 65-km away from Chamba along an attractive hill road that follows the river for much of its route. During the yatra days, the Himachal Pradesh Road Transport Corporation (HPRTC) provides special bus services between Chamba and Bharmaur. Chamba is 56-km drive from Dalhousie, which is well linked by road with public and private transport. Bharmaur is situated 80-km away from Dharamsala. NEARBY CITIES Manimahesh: 34-km Chhatrari: 40-km Chamba: 65-km Dharamsala: 80-km Dalhousie: 121-km
Location: Himachal Pradesh Altitude: 670m Places of Interest: Vyas Cave, Swarghat, Bhakra Dam, and Nanina Devi Best Time To Visit: July to September Bilaspur is a place where the echoes of the past mingle with the tomorrow. The new town, on the bank of the Gobindsagar Lake of the Bhakra Dam is 64-km from Kiratpur on the ChandigarhManali National Highway No-21. In the dim past, many centuries ago, Rishi Vyas came to the bank of the Satluj River to do penance in the verdant and fertile district abounding in low hills, forests, grazing lands, rivulets and streams. In the Vyas Gufa, which draws a continuous host of tourists and pilgrims, the Rishi who penned the Mahabharata, lived as he prepared himself for the arduous task, which he was about to perform latter in another Gufa in the Uttrakhand way up in the celestial heights of the mighty Himalayas. The ancient Lakshmi Narayan and Radheyshyam temples, along with the Vyas Gufa, escaped being submerged by the swirling water of the dam as modern man's monument to nature clashed with the old. The Satluj, which rises in the snows of the Tibet, after crossing the Dhauladhar in the lower regions of the Himalayas above Rampur, create wide terraces, in the highly developed and populated town of Bilaspur. The 225m high Bhakra dam is the highest in the world. A link with the past is still provided by Nalwari, the most important fair of Bilaspur, which is held every year in the third week of March. Bilaspur, formerly the seat of the ruler of the State is now submerged in the Gabind Sagar; it was situated on the southeast side of the Satluj. Bilaspur Township is situated just above the old town of Bilaspur at a height of 6,70m above in sea level. The new Bilaspur Township can be truly described as the first planned hill town of the country. The pleasure of a visit will be enhanced manifold when a motor launch is preferred as the means of travel, gliding through cool and enchanting waters of the lake. PRIME ATTRACTION Kandror Bridge: While the town is situated on the lake created by the highest bridge in India, Kindror Bridge is the second highest bridge in the world and is 22-km from Bilaspur. Bhakra Dam: Situated at Bhakra village of Bilaspur, about 13-km upstream from Nangal township, it is one of the highest straight gravity dams in the world. The lake is about 90-km long, covering an area of about 168-sq-km of which 90% is in Bilaspur and 10% in Una district. Late Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru dedicated the dam to nation on November 20th, 1963. The view of vast dam and green jungles around is fascinating indeed. Bahadurpur Fort: On the top of a hill known as Bahadurpur the highest point (1,980m) in the district near Tepra Village in Paragana Bahadurpur, after covering a distance of about 40-km from Bilaspur. The beautiful woods of deodar and ban trees embellish this range. It is just 6-km above Namhol, from this high place the Ratanpur Fort, Swarghat, the Fatehpur Fort, the Naina Devi hill, plains near Ropar and the mountains of Shimla can be seen. This Fort was built prior to 1835, but now is in its ruins. Sariun Fort: To the eastern side of the Tiun range, on the lifty range and peak of Sariun like this stronghold at an elevation of about 1,500m above M.S.L and is about 58-km.from Bilaspur. Tradition holds that the fort was originally built by the same Raja of the erstwhile Suket State and was subsequently wrested by the ruler of Bilaspur, the local people entertain a superstition according to which, the stones once forming part of the Fort are not used in any residential building. Tiun Fort: Relics of this fort is situated on the top of a hill known as the Tiun range, at distance of about 55-Km.from Bilaspur, on the Ali Khad crossing Ghumarwin-Ladraur motorable road and about 10-km from Ghumarwin.
Shri Naina Devi Ji: A notable place of worship in the district is the temple of Shri Naina Devi Ji, situated on the hill top which rises some 9,15m above the sacred town of Anandpur Sahib in Ropar. The temple stands on the very summit of the hill above a small bazar and is reached by a long flight of stone steps or by a cable car. The New Town: The ultimate effects of the colossal construction were to generate many thousands KW of electric energy, which combined with a canalization of the waters has extended irrigation over ten million acres, to help in feeding the teeming millions. The Gobindsagar reservoir behind the dam is 80-km long on whose banks have sprung the new township of Bilaspur. Two big generating stations have been built just below the Bhakra Dam, each with a capacity of 600 millions watts. Deoli: Asia's biggest mirror carp hatchery is situated here, at a distance of 13-km from the town. Markand: Himachal has always been the favorite stamping grounds of the ancient Rishis or Sage. Here they performed penances and sought cures for mankind in their orisons or prayers. Markand is 25-km from Bilaspur, is where Maharishi Markand performed the strictest austerities on his body to delve into the secrets unknown to man. A dip in the sacred waters over here is a sure cure, it is believed, for infant diseases and sterility. There is also a famous shrine about 20km from Bilaspur, in tehsil Sadar named after renowned Rishi Markandeya, who lived and worshiped there. According to a legend, a tunnel connected Markand and Vyas cave and the two rishis, Vyas and Markand used to visit each other through this sub-terrain path. In addition to a shrine there is also a water spring of ancient fame where a night fair is held annually on Baisakhi day. Vyas Cave: The name of sage Vyas is well known in this part. Situated at the foot of the new township, the belief is that Vyas Rishi meditated in this cave. The origin of the town, Vyaspur is believed to have been derived from this cave. Lying on the left bank of river Satluj, this place is famous as a pilgrimage too. Swarghat: Swarghat is ideally situated about 40-km.off Bilaspur on the Bilaspur-Chandigarh road. Perched at an elevation of about 1,220m from sea level, Naina Devi temple and Bhakra Dam are also approachable from here. There is also a temple dedicated to Lakshmi Narayan. FAIRS & FESTIVALS The Nalwari or Annual cattle fair are held at Bilaspur for four or five days in March / April months, the occasion is marked by wrestling and other amusements. Cattle are brought from Nalagarh and neighboring parts of Punjab to sell over here. HOW TO GET THERE Air: Chandigarh and Bhuntar are the nearest airports, located at 135-km and 131-km from Bilaspur. Rail: The nearest broad gauge railway station is at Kiratpur Sahib and nearest narrow gauge railway station is at Shimla, which are connected by regular bus services. Road: Bilaspur is approachable by road from Shimla and Chandigarh. CLIMATE Situated in the hot temperature zone the climate of Bilaspur ranges from high temperature to sub tropical and snow rarely falls over here. NEARBY CITIES Deoli: 13-km Markand: 25-km Bahadurpur: 40-km Sarium: 58-km Tiun: 55-km Swarghat: 40-km Nangal: 13-km Chandigarh: 135-km Bhuntar: 131-km
NAINA DEVI TEMPLE
Location: Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh Presiding Deity: Goddess Sati Altitude: 3,995m Built By: Raja Bir Chand The most notable place of worship in the district is the temple of Shri Naina Devi. It is one of the 51 'Shakti Pithas'. THE LEGEND OF NAINA DEVI: According to a belief, Shiva's consort Sati once burnt alive in 'yagna' to avenge an insult. The distraught Shiva picked her corpse and gyrated his horrific dance. Then Vishnu, the preserver unleashed his discus and cut the body in to 51 pieces to save the earth from Shiva's wrath. Naina Devi is where Sati's eye are where believed to fell situated on the hill top of that name, connected which rises some 3,995m above the sacred town of Anandpur Sahib in Rupar district of Punjab. It is about 15-km from Ganguwal and about 18-km from Anandpur Sahib. From its situation at the top of the triangular hillock it commands a grand view of the holy Anandpur Sahib Gurdwara on the one side and the Gobind Sagar on the other. Raja Bir Chand built the temple. According to another legend, during the reign of the Raja Bir Chand, Naina, an Ahir, was rearing cattle on the flat summit of a hill above Jand Bhari when Naina observed that his cows were voluntarily dropping milk upon a white stone. He informed the Raja, who proceeded to the spot, and they’re found a beautiful image of the goddess Drug, close to the stone. A temple was forthwith built, and called Naina Devi. There are other interesting legends about the genesis of the temple of Naina Devi-, which could be the powerful 'Sakti-Pitha' of the by-gone times. According to one of the legends Shiva after the self-immolation of 'Sati', in the sacrifice of 'Daksha' carried the body of his consort over his shoulder roaming about here and there. Then in order to pacify the lord, 'Shani' and 'Indra' a stealthily entered the body of 'Sati' and dismembered it piece by piece. Whenever any of the limbs of 'Sati' was dropped, it was converted in to a powerful "Sakti-Pitha". One of the eyes of 'Sati' was believed to have been dropped at this place, earning it the name of Naina Devi. Recently temple is connected with ropeway.
Location: Himachal Pradesh Altitude: 2,250m Places Of Interest: Cricket Ground, Chail Wildlife Sanctuary, and Sadhupul Best Time To Visit: May-July & September - November The former 'summer capital' of Patiala, Chail is 43-km from Shimla and dwelling in the midst of a lush green setting. At 2,250m, it has the world's highest cricket pitch and a polo ground, the old palace, now a hotel and the possibility of some angling are added attractions. Chail is hiker's paradise. The area is very peaceful away from the hustle and bustle of Shimla. 3kms from the hotel is the world’s highest Cricket ground. Close by is a National Park, which has limited number of birds and deers. In 1891, Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala incurred the wrath of Lord Kitchener, the then Commander-in-Chief. As a result, he was banned entry into the summer capital of the Raj, Shimla. This enraged the Maharaja and he vowed to build a new and better summer capital for himself. He looked around and after quite some time realized it had all the while been in his possession. Chail, a little village close to Shimla, was a 'slice of heaven' surrounded by lush forests with a commanding view of the snow-capped Himalayas. He rebuilt the city according to his requirements and built himself a wonderful palace. The picturesque resort located amidst scented forests of chir pine and gigantic deodars. Chail is built on three hills, the palace is on Rajgarh Hill, and the Residency Snow View once occupied by
British resident is on Pandhewa Hill and on the third hill Sadh Tiba where Chail is situated. Overlooking Satluj Valley, Shimla and Kasauli are also visible at night from here. Chail has also the highest cricket ground in the world. Well kept and well maintained the ground is surrounded by huge trees of deodar and pine. On the other side of the town are situated the massive Himalayan ranges spectacularly gleaming in the sun and snow-covered every thing under it. PRIME ATTRACTION Chail Wildlife Sanctuary: Ghoral, Kakkar, Sambhar, Red Jungle Fowl, and Khalij, Cheer Pheasants are some of the inhabitants of the Chail wildlife sanctuary. Sidh Baba Ka Mandir: 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. Consequently, Bhupinder Singh shifted his venue and built a temple on the spot. Chail is a hill station visited by many tourists. The Deodar and Oak forests with grasslands around the township are the abode of wildlife. Chail sanctuary was notified on 21st March 1976 near Chail Town in District Shimla and covers an area of 10,854.36 hectares. One can see Sambar, Goral, Himalayan Black Bear, Red Deer, Silver-White Oak, Barking Deer, Indian Hare Common Langur, Leopard, Rhesus Macaque, Himalayan Yellow Throated Marten, Indian Porcupine, Common Giant and Kashmiri Flying Squirrel.and Chir Pheasants at Blossom and Jhajja. A Chir Pheasant breeding and rehabilitation programme has been started in 1988.Visitors are welcome to the Chir Pheasant Breeding Centres at both Blossom and Jhajja. Barking deer and Kalijin in the forests are sure to meet and greet the visitors at dusk and dawn. Sadhupul: 14-km from Kandaghat a beautiful tiny village of Sadhupul, and the bridge over the Ashwani stream, a popular picnic-spot. Cricket Ground: Surrounded by gigantic deodar and well-maintained Chail Cricket ground is the highest cricket ground in the world. Built in 1893, this cricket pitch located at the height of 2,144m is also used as polo ground. ADVENTURE: If one is interested in angling, the Gaura River is rich with mahseer fish. If one is an ardent trekker, there are a number of high-attitude trekking routes including the Kandaghat to Chail, Chail to Rajgarh and Chur-Chandni, and the Chail to Shimla via Junga trek. And if nothing else, the long pine scented walk with the utopic beauty of the place is there. During winters, skiing is possible at Narkanda. HOW TO GET THERE Air: There is always the option of flying to Shimla. Rail: The ideal way of covering the Kalka-Shimla track is by the toy train. It takes five hours from Kalka to get to Kandaghat. The toy train with a maximum of half a dozen bogies chugs through the most thickly forested tracks, breathtaking bends, deep ravines and never-ending tunnels. Road: Chail is about 86-km from Kalka via Kandaghat. The approach of Chail is along the Kalka-Shimla route. One has to take a detour from Kandaghat. From Kandaghat, it is an hour and a half journey by road to Chail. CLIMATE Chail and its surrounding areas are a delight for tourists in every season. It is charming in summer, fascinating in autumn when the fields and the forests are covered with a cloak of russet and gold and, of course, in winter it is nothing less than a paradise, when the snow casts its mantle and remains till the beginning of spring in April. NEARBY CITIES Sadhupul: 14-km Kufri: 25-km Shimla: 60-km Kalka: 86-km
Location: Himachal Pradesh Discovered In: 920 A.D Altitude: 726m. Attractions: Lakshmi Narayan Temple, Bajreshwari temples, Chamunda Shrine Best Time To Visit: Mid-May to Mid-October Dale of Milk and Honey: Chamba, the land of antiquity, art and scenic beauty, is a wonder in itself for every visitor. Situated at the height of 996 m. above sea level on the south bank of the Ravi River, the ancient Pahari capital was founded in 920 AD by Raja Sahil Verma, who named it after his favorite daughter Champavati. Chamba valley is noted for the magnificence of it's scenery-touching the fringe of the Shivaliks and having three well-defined snowy ranges, the Dauladhar, constituting the outer Himalayas, the Pir Panjal or the mid Himalayas, and the Zanskar range or the inner Himalayas. Chamba's serene beauty makes it the ideal holiday retreat. The land of mystic serenity, enchanting vistas, refreshing air, lofty mountain passes and slopes, provides ample opportunities to nature lovers. The place and adjoining areas have immense scope of leisure pursuits. The waters, hills, plateaus and the snowline, which can be sighted from any of the buildings and the main square, make a spectacle that can become an inspiration for many painters and poets. PRIME ATTRACTION Lakshmi Narayan Temple: Raja Sahil Verma built Lakshmi Narayan Temple, which is the main temple of Chamba town, in the 10th century AD. Built in Shikhara style, the temple consists of Bimana i.e. Shikhara and Garbh Griha with a small antralya. Lakshmi Narayana Temple has a mandapa like structure also. The wooden chhattries, the shell roof, atop the temple were in response to the local climatic conditions as a protection against snowfall. To the north of the palace at Chamba, there is a group of six stone Sikhara temples arranged in a row from north to south. Three of these temples are dedicated to Vishnu and three to Shiva. The northern most is that of the Lakshmi- Narayana- the principal temple of Chamba. THE LEGEND OF LAKSHMI NARAYANA TEMPLE: There is a curious legend current about the installation of image of Lakshmi Narayana in this temple. Desiring to raise a temple to Vishnu, the Raja Sahi Varman sent nine of this son to the marble in frog. Since it was considered unsuitable for making the Vishnu image, the slab was used for some other purpose like the making of three-faced image of Shiva and a small image of Ganesha, now preserved in the Chandra Gupta temple. The young princes were deputed again for the purpose. But were slain by robbers on their way back. Thereafter on receiving the news. Raja Sahi Varman sent his eldest son 'Yugkara' for the purpose. The robbers too attacked him, but with the help of a saint, he destroyed the robbers, and return to Chamba with the desired slab from which the image of Vishnu was made and installed in the temple. Chamunda Devi Temple: Located just one-km away from Chaugan, is the ancient temple of Chamunda Mata, overlooking the fortified Chamunda and the tempestuous river Ravi. A good place for picnic, it offers a panoramic view of the town as well as villages situated on the left bank of the river. Not far from Dharamsala is the famous temple of Chamunda Devi. It is an enchanting spot with glorious views of the mountains, the Baner Khud, Pathiar and Lahla forests. 15-km from Dharamshala a tiny village of Dadh on Palampur road is the famous temple dedicated to Goddess Chamunda Devi. On reaching the temple a glorious view of Dhoula Dhar on three sides and 'Baner Khud' flowing alongside the temple. The temple has artistic carvings on its lintel, pillars and the ceiling. Behind the main temple is a small shrine of Lord Shiva in the Shikhara style. There is another platform in front of this temple where two very old people trees provide shelter to the visitors.
From this platform a bird's eye view of most of the land marks in the town including Chaugan, Circuit House, most of the temples and river Ravi can be had. Archaeological Survey of India is looking after the temple. There is a Shiva 'Lingam' under the rock where the temple of Chamunda is sited. There are no legends about the Lingam. The idol is called Nandikeswar. So the sacred site is called 'Chamunda Nandikeshwar'. THE LEGEND OF CHAMUNDA DEVI: In Jallandar Mahatmya, Chapter VI reference is made to 'Chamunda Nandikeshwar' and people believe the reference is to these two deities 'Chamunda' and 'Nandikeshwar'. The legend associated is well known. In 'Satya Yuga' two 'Daityas' (demons), 'Shumbh' and 'Nishumbh' engaged themselves in deep meditation and were blessed by Lord Brahma with immense power. The Daityas deified 'Indra' and other Gods. The Gods were terrified of the Daityas and resorted to Jadrangal village and propitiated 'Jagadamba Devi'. The Devi was pleased and promised to rescue them from the Daityas. She created a Devi out of her body, a beautiful person 'Kaushika'. Kaushika was given the assignment of destroying Shumbh and Nishumbh. The two Daityas heard of her beauty and wanted to bring her to them. They failed to persuade her to come to them through a 'doot' (messenger) who was scornfully sent away. Kaushika sent word through the messenger that she could only be won by a war. A dreadful war started. Kaushika Devi created 'Kalika' Shakti from her forehead and Kalika cut off the heads of 'Chund' and 'Mund', two brave and fearless commanders of the two Daityas. The destruction of the Daityas followed and the three worlds were relieved of the Daityas. Kaushika Devi blessed Kalika Shakti and asked her to be seated at Jadrangal village and be known as Chamunda. She would fulfil the desires of the needy persons. This mythological story is based on Devi Bhagwati, Markandey Puran and Durga Saptsati. There is another story about the siting of Chamunda. She was seated first on a higher mountain near a fort built by Raja Chandra Bhann of Kangra. A blind devotee of Chamunda pleaded with the Devi to shift to a lower place where he could go more easily. The Devi agreed and came down to the present lower site. The Chamunda Devi was installed in a cave. It is said the temple was built about 700 years back. The great earthquake of 1905, which had created havoc in this area, did not cause any damage to the temple. The snow line starts at Illaqa. Those who want to do a return trip in one day are advised to start very early in the morning. There is a Forest Rest House. Katasan Devi Temple: Another popular temple of the Chamba district, it is about 30-km from the town near Baira Siul Project. This calm and peaceful spot is ideal for picnic lovers and one can witness a full view of the valley from its premises. Maharaja's Palace: This palace belongs to the erstwhile rulers of Chamba and the most outstanding buildings in the town. Of these, Rang Mahal or 'the Painted Palace', with towers on either side, is undoubtedly the most interesting one. There is one room in the building, the walls of which are painted with murals depicting episodes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Rang Mahal: also Raja Umed Singh built known as the ‘Painted Palace’, in the mid-18th century. The architecture of the palace reflects Mughal influences. Later on, Jit Singh and Charat Singh made certain additions. It became the women's residence until 1947 and now houses a college. The wall paintings are splendid and represent one of the most extensive hill collections. The Paintings follow stories of Lord Krishna. Bhuri Singh Museum: A veritable storehouse of exquisite paintings of the famous Kangra and Basholi schools, as well as a mass of epigraphically material on the history of Chamba. Also housed in the museum are woodcarvings, ancient manuscripts and murals from Rang Mahal. Bhuri Singh Museum was opened on 14th September 1908 and is named after Raja Bhuri Singh who ruled Chamba from 1904 to 1919. This museum is very near to Chamba’s Chaugan.
Bhuri Singh donated his family collection of paintings to the museum. The idea to open a public museum came from J. Ph. Vogel, an eminent Indologist, who was serving Archeological Survey of India. Through an intensive exploration he discovered, read and analyzed old inscriptions dispersed far and wide in the territory of Chamba State. These inscriptions mostly in Sarda script shed important light on the mediaeval history of Chamba. The Prasastis of Sarahan, Devi-ri-kothi and Mul Kihar are now preserved in the museum. Paintings of 'Bhagwat Purana' and 'Ramayana' in peculiar style are inspired by Basohli idiom of painting, whereas Krishna, Sudama, Rukmini 'Vivah' and 'Usha-Anirudh' and portraits in prime Guler-Kangra style were executed by the artists who were patronized by the Chamba rulers. The old museum building, which merged well with the landscape of Chamba, was pulled down and the present concrete monolith was inaugurated in 1975. ANTIQUITIES ON DISPLAY: The embroidered Chamba-Rumals are related in style since pahari painters made their drawings though the household ladies did the embroidery. Besides these major items of collections, there are coins, hill jewellery and costumes- both traditional and royal, arms and armour, musical instruments and various decorative objects. Carved doors from the old palaces, frescoes as well as emgire used by Chamba's erstwhile rulers are also on display. Chaugan: This public promenade situated in the heart of the town is a grassy maiden less than one-kilometer in length and about seventy-five meters wide is a busy local trading center for villagers from the surrounding hills. Each year Chaugan is the site for the 'Minjar' procession, a fair that lasts a week and comprise of large number of sports and cultural activities. Church of Scotland: The Presbyterian Church and Mission House of the Church of Scotland lie opposite the Museum. Khajjiar: The lush green meadow with a small lake is surrounded by thick pines and crowned by forests. A little away from the lake is the Khajji Nag Temple, which was built, in the 12th century. Bharmaur (1981m): This idyllic ancient capital and the surrounding land, often referred as 'Switzerland of the East', have been the original capital of the district of Chamba for 400 years. Bharmaur has temples from the 8th to 10th centuries built in the classic 'Pahari' style peculiar to the hills. This region is also home to semi-nomadic shepherds, the Gaddis. Jhamwar: Located amidst wooded forests, Jhamwar is famous for its apple orchards. Saho: Situated on a high plateau and beside the banks of River Sal, this village is famous for its temple dedicated to Lord Chandra Shekhara or Shiva the moon-crowned God. Manimahesh (4267m): Located, 97 km away from the district Chamba, this lake, at the base of the peak Manimahesh Kailash, is celebrated for its holiness. A beautiful and ancient shikara or spire style temple marks the spot. Salooni (l829m): Situated at a height of 1,829m. (6,000 ft.) and 56-km away from Chamba, Salooni offers a breath-taking panoramic view of the snow-covered hills and peaks. Bandal Valley: 27-km. from Salooni, this is where the Himachal border meets Jammu and Kashmir. Sarol: Just 11-km from Chamba is situated the remarkable picnic spot of Sarol, where along with lovely landscaped gardens and Sarol's Sheep-Breeding Center, there is a Apiary or Bee-keeping Center. Chatrari: The village is inhabited mostly by the Gaddies, who are semi-postral lot engaged in rearing of sheep and goats. Situated at a height of 6,000 feet, Chatrari famous for its remarkable hill-style temple of Shakti Devi. It consists of a small Cell or sanctuary in which one of the rare brasses by the master craftsman 'Gugga' is enshrined. The walls of the temple are built of rubble masonry alternating with beams of wood. The Pangi Valley: The Pangi Valley is not green, but the desolate, craggy territory has an awesome grandeur of its own. At an altitude of over 2,438-m. (8,000-ft.), in the midst of its wild rugged hills flows the great river Chandrabhaga in a deep and narrow gauge. The Pangiwals,
inhabitants of these cold, hard lands have a reputation for pretty faces, beautiful dances and scenic splendor. The Mindhal temple is the principal shrine of the region. Pangi Valley in the upper part of Chamba District is a remote world in itself. This hidden valley located between Pir Panjal and the Greater Himalayan Zanskar ranges is cut off from the rest of the world. Killar the headquarters of this area has a helipad. During winter and spring this valley is completely cut off. River Chanderbhaga aka Chenab gorges through it. From Kilar, trekkers can go west to Badarwah, Jammu & Kashmir and east to Lahul, Spiti, and Manali via the Rohtang Pass. The major tribe inhabiting this area is Pangwal. These rugged people, who are Hindus, have their unique customs, traditions, and institutions. It looks as if time has come to a standstill in this peaceful place. In the northern part of the valley in the Zanskar hills live the Bhot tribals. They are a mixture of Aryan and Mongolian races. Their religion is Buddhism mixed with a primitive form of the Hindu religion and myths. The foaming river, the high crags of the gorge and the difficult terrain are a challenge for intrepid trekkers. The Sach Pass 4,428m open the way to several trek routes. Thick forest the habitat of varied wildlife surround the Pang I Valley and the numerous side valleys - Saichu, Hunam, Sural Nallah, that are also endowed with remarkable natural beauty. The temple of Mindhal Basan Devi in Pangi is an important shrine. Appropriately, the people of Pangi are as attractive as the tract they inhabit. There is a rest house also available in Pangi. Killar: Located in the deep narrow gauge of the Chenab River, Killar can be reached through the Sach Pass and is also known as a Trekker's Paradise. ADVENTURE: Chamba offers both short and 'out and back' treks and longer treks such as through Bharmour, Triund to Dharamsala. In Killar one can trek northwest to Kishtwar in Jammu & Kashmir or turn east to Kishtwar and cross Umasi-La Pass into the Zanskar valley. Towards the southeast trek to Keylong and Mandi and while trekking from Killar to Lahaul one will come across a beautiful place, Purthi, known for the best forest nurseries and a historical Rest House situated on the bank of Chandra Bhaga. Duration of these treks, which are operational from June to October, is 5 to 8 days. Shorter treks include the 8-km walk to Sarol, 24-km trek to Bhandal or to Chhatrari, which is en route to Bharmour. HOW TO GET THERE Air: The nearest airport is at Gaggal in Kangra valley, 180 km from Chamba. Indian Airlines operates its flights on the Delhi-Dharamsala sector. Rail: Chamba town is 122-km from Pathankot, the nearest broad gauge railhead, which is linked by direct trains to Amritsar, Bombay and Calcutta. Chamba is well connected with places in and outside the state. Road: Daily bus service is available for Dalhousie and jeeps on hire are also available but it is relatively expensive. FAIRS & FESTIVALS Chamba's annual Suhi Mata Festival, who lasts for four days in early April, commemorates Rani Champavati, the wife of the 10th century Raja Sahil Verma. Only women and children participate in the festival, dancing on the Chowgan before processing with an image of Champavati and banners of the Rajput solar emblem to the Suhi Mata temple. Manjar Fair is a week long festival of singing and dancing at the start of August to celebrate the growth of maize. The Manimahesh Yatra to the sacred tarn of Manimahesh is held immediately after the festival of Janamashtmi. Chrewal, Badronjo or Patroru is a festival of fire and flowers and a time for purification of the fields during the month of August. In same month several places in Chamba celebrates the Gugga fair, which is connected with the worship of 'Gugga', the Nag Devta. SHOPPING: Chamba is a good place to pick up metal work. The distinctive silver tribal jewellery is sold by weight in the bazaars, while outside the Lakshmi Narayana temple complex; coppersmith’s manufacture curved ceremonial trumpets and brass hookhas. Rumal embroidery and leather goods from Handicrafts Center, Rang Mahal are also worth a buy.
CLIMATE Chamba is 726m. Above sea level. The maximum temperature of Chamba town in summer is around 36 Celsius. Winter temperature comes down to almost OoC. Heavy woollens are required in winter and light woollens or tropical clothes in summer. NEARBY CITIES Dalhousie: 29-km Kangra: 86-km Dharamsala: 95-km Shimla: 257-km Kullu: 278-km
Location: Himachal Pradesh Discovered In: 1854. Founded By: Lord James Ramsay, Marquis of Dalhousie, Khajjiar. Best Time To Visit: Mid-May to Mid-October. Sanctuary for an Embattled Peer 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 British governor-general Lord Dalhousie established the gateway to the Chamba Valley, this colonial town in 1854. Covering an area of 14 sq.-km and surrounded by alpine vegetation, Dalhausie has charming architecture and panoramic views of both plains and the whitecap views of the mountainous ranges. PRIME ATTRACTION Subhash Baoli: 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 at an altitude of 2,085 meters (6,678 ft.). Satdhara: On the way to Panjpulla, at an altitude of 2,036m. (6,678 ft.), these seven springs are reputed to have great therapeutic value as they contain mica with medicinal properties. Panjpulla: Just 2 km away from the town lays the 'five bridges' memorial, built in memory of Ajit Singh, one of India's well-loved freedom fighters. A natural tank and creams give the spot a fitting serenity. Jandhri Ghat (2036 m): Around half a kilometre away from the Subhash Baoli, Jandhri Ghat enfolds an elegant palace in the midst of tall pine trees. Chamba's erstwhile rulers governed from here till the advent of Lord Dalhousie. The palace houses a number of shikhar trophies. Beside the palace, Jandhri Ghat offers heavenly spots for picnicking-gushing streamlets in the midst of fragrant pine-scented breezes. Bakrota Hills and the 'Round' (2085m): Less than 5 km from the town centers, the Bakrota Hills frame a breathtaking view of the further snow-clad peaks. The 'round' is a walling circuit around the hill, very popular with residents. Kalatope (2440m): 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. Dainkund (2745m): 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.
Bara Pathar: 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. Khajjiar (1951m): 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-spared 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 its center 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. Shaped like a saucer, this huge bowl of 7 emerald-turned meadows, 1.6-km long and 0.9-km broad, lies embedded beneath a dense pine forest, surrounded by high mountains, and fringed by gigantic deodars. Along its fringes, amidst the thick forests above the woods and in the center of the glade, is a small lake fed by streams that traverse the green carpet. Hutchinson wrote, "Khajjiar is a forest glade of great beauty, 6,400 feet above sea level". Khajjiar is often referred as the "Gulmarg of Himachal Pradesh". On 07-07-1992, Mr. Wily T. Blazer, Vice Counselor and Head of Chancery of Switzerland in India, brought Khajjiar on the world tourism map by christening it "Mini Switzerland". He also put a signboard of a yellow Swiss hiking footpath showing Khajjiar's distance from the Swiss capital Berne-6, 194-kms. Khajjiar is among the 160 locations in the world that bear topographical resemblance with Switzerland. The Counselor also took from Khajjiar a stone, which will form part of a stone collage around the Swiss Parliament to remind the visitors of Khajjiar as Mini Switzerland of India. PRIME ATTRACTION The Lake: Set in the rolling green turf is a small lake. The earth is 'spongy' due to dense growth of weed called 'vacha' over which dust has formed a thick layer of earth. Golden Devi Temple: Adding to the charms of Khajjiar, which also hugs a golden-domed Devi temple, is a golf course set in the midst of the idyllic surroundings. The golden spire of the Devi's abode beckons one to the fringe of the lake. Khajji Nag Temple: A little away from the lake is the temple of Khajji Nag belonging to 12th century AD In the mandapa of the temple one can see the images of the Pandavas and the defeated Kaurvas hanging from the roof of the circumambulatory path. The sanctum of the temple has been beautifully carved from wood. 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 Dalhausie is by road. Punjab and Himachal Roadways run services, as do private operators. CLIMATE 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 tropical in summer. NEARBY CITIES Chamba: 29-km Kangra: 89-km Dharamshala: 99-km Shimla: 275-km Kullu: 300-km
Location: Himachal Pradesh Established Between: 1852. Places of Interest: Kangra Art Museum, St. John's Church, and McLeodganj Best Time To Visit: Mid-May to Mid-October. Queen of the Hills 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 meters 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 fervor. 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 traveler’s base camp, which 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 colorful 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. PRIME ATTRACTION 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. This treasure trove of Kangra Valley arts, crafts and rich past, displays artifacts that date back to 5th century. It includes a gallery of Kangra’s famous miniature painting and a representative collection of sculptures, pottery and anthropological items. The Kangra museum also has a good collection of elaborately embroidered costumes, woodcarvings and Jewellery of the tribal people. The Shamianas used by the local royalty, jali's, pandals and lintels are also included in the collection of coins and manuscripts. The museum also has a section dedicated to the contemporary artists, sculptures and photographers. A library is just below the museum. This art museum was inaugurated in 1990 and is located just above the Kotwali Bazar, Dharamsala. War Memorial: 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. Just over 2-kms from Gandhi Chowk is Martyr's Memorial at Panjpulla (five bridges), which commemorates Ajit Singh, a supporter of Subhash Bose and the Indian national Army during World War II. Dal Lake: 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. 7-km upward from Dharamsala, between Forsyth Ganj and McLeod Ganj lies the charming St. John's Church. It was built in 1852 and is dressed in Grey stone with some fine Belgian stained
glass windows donated by Lady Elgin. The church is popularly known as the church of St. John in Wilderness. Under the shade of deodar branches, a memorial has been erected over the body of the then British Victory of India, Lord English who died in Dharamsala in 1863. There is a well-tended old graveyard on the grassy slopes. In April 1998, thieves tried to steal the old bell but could only move it about 300m. All valuable items have since been sent to Kangra and Palampur for safekeeping. 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. Kunal Pathri: These are the rock temples from which the place derives its name. Kunal pathri is a 3 kms flat walk from Kotwali Bazaar. Dharmkot: 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. Norbulinka Institute: 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. Chinmaya Tapovan: 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. Andretta: Situated just 13-kms away from Palampur lays this dwelling place of artist S.Sobha Singh. It houses a gallery of some of his major works and a pottery center. McLeodganj: 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. Originally home of the seminomadic Gaddi tribe, McLeod Ganj is today the residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This mid 19th century place was developed as a British Garrison. The place was an important administrative point for the whole Kangra valley. Today Macleod Ganj has developed as headquarters of the exiled Tibetan Government and is situated just before the Upper Dharamsala. The impressive monastery has got larger than life size images of Buddha, Padmasambhava and Avaloketeshwara. To preserve the rich manifestation of the Tibetan culture the institute of Tibetan performing arts was established over here. In April and May a festival is organized here, which includes the traditional plays, dances and many more such events. The large Tibetan population of the region and the presence of traditional architectural designs have enhanced the area. But the most important example of the Tibetan architecture is the Tsuglagkhang or the Dalai Lama's temple. The magnificent images - a gilt statue of Shakyamuni; then facing Tibet is the Tibetan deity of compassion, Avalokitesvara and that of Padmasambhava who introduced Buddhism and tantric teachings to Tibet in 8th century. The house also has a collection of scared text called the Khagyur based on the teachings of Buddha. Also included in the temple is a collection of works on art, philosophy, literature, astrology and medicine.
PRIME ATTRACTION The Residence of Dalai Lama: The Dalai Lama settled in Macleod Ganj in 1960 and his residence on the south edge of town has become his permanent home in exile. His own quarters are the modest, and government offices take up most of the walled compound overhanging the valley. Tsuglagkhang: In front of the private enclosure of the residence of Dalai Lama, Dharamsala’s main Buddhist temple, Tsuglagkhang, shelters images Do Shayamuni, Padmasambhava and Avaloktesvara, all sitting in meditation postures and are surrounded by offerings from devotees. Gompa Dip Tse-Chok Ling: The small Gompa Dip Tse-Chok Ling is located on the bottom of a steep track. The main Prayer hall has an image of the Shakyamuni. The monks who lived in the Gompa have made two huge drums covered in goatskin and painted around the rim. The butter sculptures, which are made during Losar, are destroyed in the next Losar festival. This Gompa is also famous for the fine and detailed mandals. Library of Tibetan Works & Archives: The library of Tibetan works and archives stores almost 40 % of the original Tibetan manuscripts and is a repository of the rich Tibetan culture. The library also has a photographic archive. At Gangchen Kyishong are the Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute. Dal Lake: The small, murky Dal Lake, connected to Dharamkot by a path down through the wooded slopes, is the scene of an animal fair and Shivate festival in September. Bhagsu: Bhagsu is a village on the banks of a mountain stream. A path meanders up boulderstrewn slopes from here, through a slate quarry, to the waterfall that feeds the stream. Each September pilgrims come to bathe in the waters of the tank of Bhagsu's Shiva temple. Triund: Triund is 17-km from Dharamsala and lies at the foot of the snow clad Dhauladhar at a height of 2,827m. It is a popular picnic and trekking spot. Dharamkot: Dharamkot is the starting point for the short walks to the high plateau at Triund (2,975m), or further over the high passes to the Chamba valley. Masrur: 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. Kareri: Set amidst a sylvan surrounding is a rest house, located in the cool depths of the pine grove. Surrounded by green 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: Triund is a popular picnic spot at a 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 view of the mountains and the valleys makes Triund an ideal picnic spot and trekking spot. Trilokpur: On the way from Pathankot, 41-km from Dharamsala are the unique cave temples with a stalactite and stalagmites dedicated to Lord Shiva. Sujanpur Tira: 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. Jawalamukhi: 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. A golden spire, a gift from the Emperor Akbar, tops the temple. The famous temple of Jwalamukhi is 30-km. from Kangra and 56-km from Dharamshala. The Flaming Goddess: Jwalamukhi is 34-km from Kangra and 56 km from Dharamsala. Recognized as one of the 51 Shaktipiths of India, Jwalamukhi's Devi Temple, tended by the
followers of Goraknath, is set against a cliff. The picturesque temple, built against a wooded spur, in the Indo-Sikh style, has a dome that was gilded by Mughal Emperor Akbar. An eternally burning flame that issues from a hollow rock in the sanctum is considered the manifestation of the goddess Devi. During March-April and September-October every year colourful fairs are held during the Navaratra celebrations. THE LEGEND OF JWALAMUKHI is a famous temple of goddess Jwalamukhi, the deity of flaming mouth, built over some natural jets of combustible gas, believed to be the manifestation of the Goddess. The building is modern with a gilt dome and pinnacles, and possesses a beautiful folding door of silver plates. Under the gaze of the Dhauladhar range and set amidst the undulating hills that character subHimalayan Himachal Sati's tongue is believed to have fallen at Jwalamukhi and the goddess is manifest as tiny flames that burn a flawless blue through fissures in the age old rock. Raja Bhumi Chand Katoch of Kangra, a great devotee of goddess Durga, dreamt of the sacred place and the Raja set people to find out the whereabouts of the site. The site was traced and the Raja built a temple. The burning flames and the complex have come to be known as Jwalamukhi. The temple located on a small spur on the Dharamsala-Shimla road at a distance of about 20-kms from the Jwalamukhi Road Railway Station attracts lakhs of pilgrims every year. No idol is located in the temple but only the flames, which come out from the crevices of the rock, are worshipped. They are natural jets of combustible gas. There is a small platform in front of the temple and a (check usage) big mandap where a huge brass bell presented by the King of Nepal is hung. Usually milk and water are offered and the ahutis or oblations are offered to the sacred flames in the pit, situated in the center of the temple in between the floor pillars supporting the roof. The deity is- offered Bhog of Rabri or thickened milk; Misri or candy, seasonal fruits, milk and arti are done. There is a mystic Yantar or diagram of the goddess, which is covered with; shawls, ornaments and mantras are recited. The puja has different 'phases' and goes on practically the whole day. Arti is done five times in the day, Havan is performed once daily and portions of "Durga Saptasati" are recited. Maharaja Ranjit Singh paid a visit to the temple in 1815 and the dome of the temple was goldplated by him. Just a few feet above the Jwalamukhi temple there is a six-feet deep pit with a circumference of about three-feet. At the bottom of this pit there is another small pit about one and a half feet deep with hot water bubbling all the time. Chamunda Devi: 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. Not far from Dharamsala is the famous temple of Chamunda Devi. It is an enchanting spot with glorious views of the mountains, the Baner Khud, Pathiar and Lahla forests. 15-km from Dharamshala a tiny village of Dadh on Palampur road is the famous temple dedicated to Goddess Chamunda Devi. On reaching the temple a glorious view of Dhoula Dhar on three sides and 'Baner Khud' flowing alongside the temple. The temple has artistic carvings on its lintel, pillars and the ceiling. Behind the main temple is a small shrine of Lord Shiva in the Shikhara style. There is another platform in front of this temple where two very old people trees provide shelter to the visitors. From this platform a bird's eye view of most of the land marks in the town including Chaugan, Circuit House, most of the temples and river Ravi can be had. Archaeological Survey of India is looking after the temple. There is a Shiva 'Lingam' under the rock where the temple of Chamunda is sited. There are no legends about the Lingam. The idol is called Nandikeswar. So the sacred site is called 'Chamunda Nandikeshwar'. THE LEGEND OF CHAMUNDA DEVI: In Jallandar Mahatmya, Chapter VI reference is made to 'Chamunda Nandikeshwar' and people believe the reference is to these two deities 'Chamunda'
and 'Nandikeshwar'. The legend associated is well known. In 'Satya Yuga' two 'Daityas' (demons), 'Shumbh' and 'Nishumbh' engaged themselves in deep meditation and were blessed by Lord Brahma with immense power. The Daityas deified 'Indra' and other Gods. The Gods were terrified of the Daityas and resorted to Jadrangal village and propitiated 'Jagadamba Devi'. The Devi was pleased and promised to rescue them from the Daityas. She created a Devi out of her body, a beautiful person 'Kaushika'. Kaushika was given the assignment of destroying Shumbh and Nishumbh. The two Daityas heard of her beauty and wanted to bring her to them. They failed to persuade her to come to them through a 'doot' (messenger) who was scornfully sent away. Kaushika sent word through the messenger that she could only be won by a war. A dreadful war started. Kaushika Devi created 'Kalika' Shakti from her forehead and Kalika cut off the heads of 'Chund' and 'Mund', two brave and fearless commanders of the two Daityas. The destruction of the Daityas followed and the three worlds were relieved of the Daityas. Kaushika Devi blessed Kalika Shakti and asked her to be seated at Jadrangal village and be known as Chamunda. She would fulfil the desires of the needy persons. This mythological story is based on Devi Bhagwati, Markandey Puran and Durga Saptsati. There is another story about the siting of Chamunda. She was seated first on a higher mountain near a fort built by Raja Chandra Bhann of Kangra. A blind devotee of Chamunda pleaded with the Devi to shift to a lower place where he could go more easily. The Devi agreed and came down to the present lower site. The Chamunda Devi was installed in a cave. It is said the temple was built about 700 years back. The great earthquake of 1905, which had created havoc in this area, did not cause any damage to the temple. The snow line starts at Illaqa. Those who want to do a return trip in one day are advised to start very early in the morning. There is a Forest Rest House. Nurpur: 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. ADVENTURE SPORTS 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, and 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 Air: Dharamsala can be approached by air from Delhi and the nearest Airport is at Gaggla, just 13-km away from the town.
Rail: 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. Road: 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. SHOPPING Dharamsala offers mainly the handicraft items, which are manufactured by the local artisans. The Kotwali Bazaar is one of the main shopping areas in the town. The main attraction of the town is Tibetan carpets. These carpets are delicately woven and are decorated with vivid colors. The Motifs on these carpets are either inspired from nature or from the monuments or carry a description of some folk story of the Tibetan cultural heritage. Over all, these carpets carry a totally different style and attraction from their counterparts in Kashmir or the Persian carpets. Further the local handicrafts are also available in the market. Tibetan Textile can be purchased from the office of Tibetan handicrafts. One can always bargain items like the traditional hat, the Chubas, the traditional wear for the Tibetan women, bags, trousers etc. CLIMATE 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 woolen 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. NEARBY CITIES Dalhousie: 92-km Mandi: 115-km Kullu: 183-km Shimla: 185-km Manali: 223-km Chandigarh: 225-km
Location: Himachal Pradesh Established in: 1972 Places of Interest: Deot Sidh Temple, Nadaun, and Sujanpur Tira Best Time To Visit: July to September Hamirpur is another area situated at lower elevation and comparatively warmer but has some hilly ranges covered with pine forests. Hamirpur town is the headquarter of this district, which lies on Shimla -Dharamshala road. Hamirpur was a tehsil of district Kangra and accorded the status of district only on 1st September 1972. It has four tehsils and one sub-tehsil. This district is also known as "Birbhumi", because it has produced so many Veers. It is also the 100% literate district and has also got the highest female ratio in the state of Himachal Pradesh. PRIME ATTRACTION Deot Sidh Temple: devotees throng the cave temple of Baba Balak Nath all the year round. It is situated on the border of Bilaspur-70km, Hamirpur-30km and is well connected by roads from all sides. During Navratras, there is a continuous stream of visitors to receive blessings of the Baba. Nadaun: This town became famous when the Kangra rulers shifted their Capital here after they lost Kangra Fort to the army of Jahangir. However, it lost its glory when Raja Sansar Chand recaptured Kangra Fort and became the strong ruler of Kangra valley again. It is situated on the Shimla-Dharamshala road on the bank of Beas River, 20-kms from Hamirpur town and 43-km from Kangra. It is peaceful town with a good Rest House, an Old Palace and Shiva temple. The Palace building at Amtar still houses some of the paintings of that time. Jawalajee (also spelt as Jawalaji) temple is also not very far and can be visited from here.
Sujanpur Tira: It is 22-km.from Hamirpur towns. This place had been the capital of Katoch Dynasty and the old fort is worth visiting. It has a huge ground, where the annual Holi fair is held for 4 days, besides being used for sports activities. The Sainik School is also located here. It is also a religious center and the well-known temples located over here are of Narbadeshwar, Gauri Shankar and Murli Manohar temple. ADVENTURE: Nadaun provides excellent facilities for Mahaseer fishing in the Beas River flowing close by. Another attraction is the river rafting from this place to Dehra and further. There are beautiful camping sites for anglers. Sujanpur Tira is suitable for adventure sports like paragliding, angling, rafting and trekking in and around the area. HOW TO GET THERE Rail: The nearest broad gauge railway station is Una and nearest narrow gauge railway station is Ranital and is connected by regular bus service. Road: Hamirpur is approachable by road from Shimla, Chandigarh and Pathankot. NEARBY CITIES Nadaun: 20-km Sujanpur Tira: 22-km Bilaspur: 40-km Kangra: 63-km
Location: Himachal Pradesh Altitude: 1,220m Places of Interest: Macchiyal Lake, Bir, and Baijnath Best Time To Visit: Mid-May To Mid-October In 1925, the enterprising Raja Joginder Sen of Mandi created and elaborate hydel power scheme near the village of Sukrahatti, which was then renamed Jogindernagar (also spelt as Joginder Nagar) after him. After tunneling and piping the water over several kilometers from the river Uhl to Joginder Nagar, a team of engineers headed by Col. Battye built the Shanan powerhouse. Later, the H.P. State Electricity Board added another set of turbines at nearby Bassi. Joginder Nagar has everything for a quiet and relaxing holiday and leaves options open for trekking, fishing, sightseeing, and picnics and enjoyable drives in the area. PRIME ATTRACTION Macchiyal Lake: 6-km from Hotel Uhl is this small but enchanting lake held sacred to Machendru Devta. Bir: 16-km from Jogindernagar, this is a Tibetan settlement with a beautiful monastery. Baijnath: This exquisite temple is 23-km from Jogindernagar, where Lord Shiva is worshipped as Vaidyanath, which means "The Lord of Physicians". The original temple was built in 804 AD. Here king Ravana is said to have supplicated Lord Shiva for the boon of immortality. One of the most remarkable monuments of the Beas Valley is the temple of Baijnath. The village of Baijnath is situated 23-miles east of Nagarkot, as the crow flies, close to the Mandi border and on the main road, which leads from the Punjab plains through Kangra, Kullu, Lahul, and Ladakh to Central Asia. Known as Kirangama, its name was changed after the temple was dedicated to Lord Shiva in his form as Vaidyanath or the "Lord of Physicians". The Temple is a good example of Nagri style of architecture. The Baijnath temple is orientated due west. It consists of a puri or adytum, 8-feetsquare inside and 18-feet outside, surmounted by a spire of the usual conical shape, and of a mandapa or front hall, 20-feet-square inside, covered with a low pyramid shaped roof. The adytum, which contains the linga known as Vaidyanatha, is entered through a small anteroom with two pillars in antis. This linga enshrined in the sanctum is one of the 12 jyotirlingas in the country. The roof of the mandapa is supported by four massive pillars connected by raised benches, which form, as it were, a passage leading up to the entrance of the sanctum.
The architraves resting on these pillars divide the space of the ceiling into nine compartments, each of which is closed by means of corbelling slabs. In front of the mandapa rises a stately porch resting on four columns. "The shafts of these pillars", Ferguson remarks, "are plain cylinders, of very classical proportions, and the bases also show that they are only slightly removed from classical design". "The square plinth, the two torsos, the covet or hollow molding between are all classical, but partially hidden by Hindu ornamentation, of great elegance but unlike anything found after wards". The same author at considerable length discusses the capitals of the pot-and -foliage type. Both the south and north wall of the mandapa are adorned with a graceful balcony window. The four corners are strengthened by means of massive buttress-like projections in the shape of halfengaged - miniature sikhara temples, each containing two niches in which image slabs are placed. Smaller niches in slightly projecting chapels are found between the corner projections and the entrance and balcony windows. Cunningham and Ferguson that the Baijnath temple had undergone a thorough restoration at the bands of Raja Sansar Chand Katoch (AD 1776-1824) assumed it. But Sir Aurel Stein, who had the advantage of personally inspecting the temple in December, 1892, expressed the opinion that the building "has not under gone such very great alterations as the earlier describers state. "He points out, that the doorway of the adytum is still decorated with the images of the river goddesses mentioned in the inscription. Only the roof seems to be modern; and according to the statements of the local priests - it was renovated in the days of Raja Sansar Chand II". A life-sized stone Nandi, believed to be the carrier of Lord Shiva stands at the entrance. Also are other miniature shrines and memorial stones within the complex said to have been built around 804 AD The temple of Baijnath, although situated at no great distance from the center of the earthquake of the 4th April 1905, but suffered slight injury from that catastrophe. The neighboring smaller temple of Sidhnath, on the contrary, completely collapsed. Every year during Shivratri Fair, pilgrims descend on Baijnath for the colourful fair and festivities. Bassi Powerhouse: 6-km from the hotel, this forms the second phase of the Jogindernagar power generation scheme and is an attractive picnic spot too. Jhatingri (2130m): 12-km from Joginder Nagar is this enchanting spot atop a hill. Surrounded by a thick deodar forest, the ruins of the “summer palace” of the Mandi rulers are located over here and the vistas it unfolds are breath taking. Barot (1830m): 40-km by road from Jogindernagar, and covering 12-km by the haulage trolley, Barot packs an enormous range of outdoor activity. The reservoir of the power project is located here, and there is a Trout Breeding Center, making it a wonderful place of angling. Across the river Uhl is the Nargu Wildlife Sanctuary home of the ghoral, Himalayan black bear and a variety of pheasants. ADVENTURE A variety of treks and hands as well as paragliding are possible in Jogindernagar. Barot is one of finest places for angling in Himachal Pradesh. HOW TO GET THERE Air: The airport at Bhuntar is at a distance of 110-km and the airport at Gaggal, a distance of 60km from Jogindernagar. Taxis and buses are available from these places to Jogindernagar. Road: Jogindernagar is connected by road and is 55-km from Mandi and 65-km by Kangra. Rail: Jogindernagar is the terminus of the narrow gauge rail track from Pathankot. CLIMATE: In winter, temperature can hover just above freezing point when heavy woollens are required. During summer, the climate is hot and cottons are recommended. NEARBY CITIES Bir: 16-km Jhatingiri: 12-km Baijnath: 23-km
Palampur: Barot: Dharamsala: Mandi: Bhuntar: Gaggal:
34-km 40-km 59-km 56-km 110-km 60-km
Location: Himachal Pradesh Altitude: 1,425m Places of Interest: Karol Ranges, Chail View Palace, and Shiva Temples Best Time To Visit: April to June & October to November Situated at an altitude of 1,425 meters on Kalka- Shimla highway, Kandaghat suddenly shot into prominence when late Maharaja Bhupinder Singh, the ruler of Patiala State was expelled from Shimla. Maharaja Bhupinder Singh built his first palace at Kandaghat known as "Chail View Palace", which is presently housing the Government Polytechnic College for Women. At that time businessmen, Laureates, Physicians and other people from almost an ll. Spheres of life were pulled out from Patiala with attractive incentives and were given all possible facilities to settle down at Kandaghat, Chail and around it. Later in the pre-independence days Kandaghat was called "Kohistan District," it was the seat of the Deputy Commissioner and was also the "Summer Capital" of the Princely State of Patiala. After independence it was called "Pepsu". According to the "Reader's Digest World Atlas" the name of Kandaghat "A Micro Dot in History" is imprinted in bold letters. PRIME ATTRACTION Chail View Palace: Though, now a college for women, the personal chambers of the Maharaja are still maintained in the pristine glory and magnificence and can be viewed by any visitor. Shiva Temples: One with a religious and archeological bent of mind can visit the temple of Lord Shiva. Folklore dates this temple to about 350-400 years ago. Though in between it was repaired and restructured by his highness Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala. Karol Ranges: The highest in the region, these ranges house a historical Krishna temple at the inception of a cave, which was supposedly dug by the legendary Pandavs. How deep the cave runs is just a guess. Folklore says that this cave ultimately emerges at Pinjore near the historical Mughal Gardens. Baba Thada Mulla: About half a kilometer trek downhill takes you to a local deity "The Baba Thada Mulla" where women are not permitted to worship. One can also witness a magnificent waterfall approximately 250-feet high. It is said, that wishes are fulfilled in exactly seven days and of course a sacrifice of a black goat is essential as thanksgiving. Residential hotels and eating-places are innumerable at this place. HOW TO GET THERE Air: Jubbar Hatti is the nearest airport is about 80-km from Chail Rail: Nearest railhead is Kandaghat 29-km from Chail on narrow gauge line. Road: Chail is 29-km from Kandaghat, 61-km from Shimla via Kandaghat and 43-km via Kufri. NEARBY CITIES Chail: 29-km Kufri: 43-km Jubbar Hatti: 80-km
Location: Himachal Pradesh Altitude: 615m. Places of Interest: Jawalamukhi, Kangra Fort, and Brajeshwari Temple
Best Time To Visit: Mid-May To Mid-October. Once known as an important seat of administration, Kangra the capital city of Chand dynasty tells a story of glory, which has faded into history. One of the most picturesque valleys of lower Himalayas, the valley, sheltered by the sublime Dhauladhar hills, is green and luxuriant. The temple of Brajeshwari Devi is very famous in the area. It is believed that in the bygone era this temple was very rich and each time it was plundered it was always able to restore itself. The valley also comprises of the famous Kangra fort, which was taken over by the British in 1846 on clause of a treaty. In 1905 an earthquake destroyed both the temple and the fort, but the temple was rebuilt. The town was attacked by Mohammed Ghaznavi and conquered by Emperor Feroz Tuglak and Maharaja Rant Singh. Prior to this episode, Kangra was the capital of the great Hill State, its renowned ruler being Maharaja Sansar Chand Katoch, a great patron of arts. It was during his reign that the Miniature and Rajpur Schools of hill paintings flourished. Close to Kangra is Nagarkot a beautiful area with the fort perched on top of a ridge overlooking the confluence of Manjhi and Baner rivers. Kangra valley provides a tremendous contrast in nature of places to be visited. Dharamshala is full of Buddhist air whereas ancient Hindu Temples such as Brajeshwari, Baijnath, Jawalamukhi and Chamunda Devi dot the countryside. PRIME ATTRACTION Brajeshwari Devi Temple (Bajeshwari Devi Temple): Known once for its legendary wealth of diamonds and pearls, this temple was subject to successive depredation by invaders from the North. Mohammed of Ghazni is known to have departed with a king's ransom in gold, silver and jewels in 1009. Earthquake of 1905 destroyed it completely. Rebuilt in the present form in 1920, it continues to be a busy place of pilgrimage. Mr. F. Cunningham's District Gazetteer of Kangra has the following account of the Bajreshwari temple in Kangra: - 'the temple of Bajreshwari or Vagreshwari Devi at Kangra is - perhaps the most famous in this district. It is said to have been founded by the divinity of that name at a famous 'Ashwamedh' or horse sacrifice, which was held on the spot. The famous Mehmood of Ghazni is said to have invaded the district and destroyed the temple, building a mosque on its ruins. It was, however, restored and is said to have been visited by Akbar together with his celebrated Divan Todar Mal. There are some temples in the vicinity, which, are, said to have owed their origin to Todar Mal. Finally, Maharaja Ranjit Singh visited and under his orders the domes of the temples here and at Jawalamukhi were guided. Subsequently devotees from Amritsar subscribed together and presented the temple with marble floor." THE LEGEND OF BRAJESHWARI TEMPLE: cording to legend there was a severe and prolonged drought in Kangra area of Beas basin and hundreds of people started dying. A few devotees fasted and did 'havan' and penance to propitiate goddess Durga. It is said the goddess showed them the spot, where the breasts of Sati had fallen and wanted a temple to be built for the Goddess Bajreshwari at that place. Bajreshwari was another manifestation of Sati. This mythical origin of Bajreshwari Devi and the temple enshrining her is firmly believed throughout Himachal Pradesh. Thousands of people visit the temple and the rush is greatest during the Navratra days. The valuable jewels and other articles offered to the deity by the devotees attracted the invasion of Sultan Mehmood of Ghazni in 1009. It is said the temple was plundered and gold, silver and jewels were carried away. Sultan Mehmood left a small garrison at the place. But thirty-five years later the Hindu princes under the guidance of the Raja of Delhi regained possession. A replica of the idol was enshrined. In 1360 Emperor Feroz Tuglak again invaded Kangra and the temple was again plundered and desecrated. Emperor Akbar is supposed to have visited the temple with his divan Todar Mal and restored the temple to its previous glory.
The temple was razed to the ground by an earthquake in 1905, but a new one came up the very same year, thanks to the Kangra Restoration Committee. Jawalamukhi: 30-km from Kangra, 56-km from Dharamsala, near the Beas river and on the side of cliff, is one of Hindu dome most famous shrines. Built against the side of a rocky spur, the temple is dedicated to the manifestation of the Devi of fire also called the "Flaming Goddess". A blue flame fed by natural gas, shoots out of the rock in the sanctum in which the goddess, Jawalamukhi, manifests herself. Kangra Fort: The remains of the fort of the Kotch Raja's of Kangra are located on a strategic height, overlooking the Ban Ganga and Manjhi rivers. At the top of the fort there was also a place of the Kotch kings. The earthquake of 1905 in Kangra destroyed both the palace and the fort. It is now in its ruins. Nadaun: Nadaun is a pretty town situated on the left bank of river Beas and is 13-km from Jawalamukhi. It was the favourite residence of Raja Sansar Chand who built himself a palace at Amtar on the riverbank 2-km from the town. This historic town, which was once the capital of the Kotch rulers, derives its name from demon Nandan. Sujanpur Tira: Just 30-km away from Nadaun, situated on the banks of the foaming Beas, the historical town Sujanpur Tira was built by Raja Sansar Chand, who had ascended to the throne when he was only ten years old. The palace was the winter residence of Sansar Chand and the Alampur palace on the other side of the river Beas was his summer resort. ADVENTURE the Kangra Valley offers exciting opportunities for trekking, rock climbing, mountaineering and fishing. The Kangra Valley is the proverbial home of various fishes such as Mahaseer as also the Mali, Soal, Bachwa, Gid and Shangri. 3.5-km from Palampur is a predominant Buddhist town of Bir and 14-km from Bir is Billing, a beacon for "Hang-gliders" all over the world. In the month of May or June a tented colony is set up by H.P tourism to facilitate Hang-gliders. HOW TO GET THERE Road: Kangra is well connected by road with Dharamsala, which is 18-km away. Rail: Nearest broad-gauge railhead at Pathankot is 86-km away and one is situated at Mukarian is 30-km. Kangra Valley express is a narrow gauge train, starting from Pathankot and continues to Bajinath. Air: Kangra airport is 7-km away and has got straight flights from Delhi SHOPPING Amid the crowded streets of the Kangra town, the central bazaar brims with puja essentials such as red powder, coconuts, tinsel and sugar.
Location: Himachal Pradesh Altitude: 1,927m Attractions: Monkey Point, Sanawar, and 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 ups and downs the hillsides and offers 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, smallpox, cholera and snakebite. 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. PRIME ATTRACTION Dharampur: 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. Sabathu: 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. Dagshai: 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 comprise of a military public school and numerous military barracks. Monkey Point: 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. Sanawar: 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. HOW TO GET THERE Air: From Kasauli the nearest airport is Chandigarh. Shimla is nearest airport for Solan. Rail: 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. Road: Solan and Kasauli are well connected by road buses; coaches and taxis are also easily available from Chandigarh and Delhi. CLIMATE 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. NEARBY CITIES Sanawar: 6-km Dharampur: 15-km Sabathu: 30-km Dagshai: 19-km Kalka: 35-km Solan: 44-km Chandigarh: 61-km Shimla: 77-km
Location: Himachal Pradesh Altitude: 1,951m. Places of Interest: The Lake, Golden Devi Temple Best Time To Visit: May-July & September-November Shaped like a saucer, this huge bowl of 7 emerald-turned meadows, 1.6-km long and 0.9-km broad, lies embedded beneath a dense pine forest, surrounded by high mountains, and fringed by
gigantic deodars. Along its fringes, amidst the thick forests above the woods and in the center of the glade, do streams that traverse the green carpet feed a small lake? Hutchinson wrote, "Khajjiar is a forest glade of great beauty, 6,400 feet above sea level". Khajjiar is often referred as the "Gulmarg of Himachal Pradesh". On 07-07-1992, Mr. Willy T. Blazer, Vice Counselor and Head of Chancery of Switzerland in India, brought Khajjiar on the world tourism map by christening it "Mini Switzerland". He also put a signboard of a yellow Swiss hiking footpath showing Khajjiar's distance from the Swiss capital Berne-6, 194-kms. Khajjiar is among the 160 locations in the world that bear topographical resemblance with Switzerland. The Counselor also took from Khajjiar a stone, which will form part of a stone collage around the Swiss Parliament to remind the visitors of Khajjiar as Mini Switzerland of India. PRIME ATTRACTION The Lake: Set in the rolling green turf is a small lake. The earth is 'spongy' due to dense growth of weed called 'vacha' over which dust has formed a thick layer of earth. Golden Devi Temple: Adding to the charms of Khajjiar, which also hugs a golden-domed Devi temple, is a golf course set in the midst of the idyllic surroundings. The golden spire of the Devi's abode beckons one to the fringe of the lake. Khajji Nag Temple: A little away from the lake is the temple of Khajji Nag belonging to 12th century AD In the mandapa of the temple one can see the images of the Pandavas and the defeated Kaurvas hanging from the roof of the circumambulatory path. The sanctum of the temple has been beautifully carved from wood. HOW TO GET THERE Air: The airport at Gaggal in Kangra is at a distance of 18-km. Rail: The closest railhead is at Pathankot, 120-km away. Road: Khajjiar is connected by road and is 26-km from Dalhousie and 24-km from Chamba. It is 520-km from Delhi. CLIMATE In winter, temperature can lower just above freezing point when heavy woollens are required but summer is quite pleasant time in Khajjiar and light woollens or cottons are recommended. NEARBY CITIES Gaggal: 18-km Dalhousie: 26-km Chamba: 24-km Pathankot: 120-km
Location: Himachal Pradesh Altitude: 2670m Places of Interest: Reecong Peo, Kalpa, Sangla Valley, and Puh Best Time To Visit: May to October Located in the dizzying heights of the Himalayas, with passes that remain closed for six months linking them with the rest of the world, Kinnaur, is the land of fairytale and fantasies. Today, this area has been opened for the daring and adventurous; to discover what had been hidden from the world for centuries. Kinnaur has got the spectacular terrain of lush green valleys, orchards, vineyards, snow-clad peaks and cold Desert Mountains. This border district of Himachal Pradesh is also rich in flora and fauna and its culture and languages is different from other parts of the state. Also known as the tribal district of Himachal Pradesh, Kinnaur is situated 250-km away from Shimla and is situated on the National Highway No.22. The landscape varies from the luxuriant green orchards of the scenic Sangla valley to the stark magnificence of the of the Hangarang valley. The peak of Kinner Kailash dominates the massive
snow clad ranges that provide a regal dignity to the scene, and Kalpa is one of the biggest and beautiful villages of Kinnaur district. The gushing rivers of Kinnaur abound in Trout-the angler's prize catch, their waters have over the centuries chiseled beautiful gorges across this picturesque land and nurtured one of the most unique societies on there banks. In the lush land live the descendants of the Kinners- the demigods of the Hindu pantheon, whose deeds have been immortalized in epics and the poems of ancient Sanskrit poets. There are thirty-three Buddhist monasteries and temples in Kinnaur's breathtaking beautiful setting. The Nyingma-pa, Drug-pa sects are all well represented over here. PRIME ATTRACTION Recong Peo (2290 Mts., 38 Km from Sangla village): Recong Peo is Kunnaur's district headquarters and has recently built a gompa, where His Holiness the Dalai Lama conducted a 'Kalchakra' ceremony in 1992. The ancient settlement of Kalpa with spectacular views lies just above Recong Peo. Here is the Hu-Bu-Lan-Kar gompa said to have been founded by Rinchensang-po in 950-1055 AD Kalpa (2759m): Beyond Recong Peo, 14-kms from Powari, on the link road, is the main village of the District-Kalpa. Across the river, facing Kalpa is the majesty of the Kinner Kailash range. This is a spectacular sight early in the morning as the rising sun touches the snowy peaks with crimson and gold light. Chitkul (3450m): This is the last and highest village in the Baspa valley. Situated on the Right Bank of Baspa river and there is a road along the left bank from Karcham. There are 3 temples of local goddess Mathi; the main ones are said to have been constructed about 500 years ago. Nichar (2150m): This village is situated between Taranda & Wangtu on the left bank of Satluj about 5-kms above Wangtu. The scenery is enchanting and Ghoral, antelopes, black & red bears are seen sometimes in higher ranges. Kothi: Kothi is also called Koshtampi. It is little below Kalpa, and is overshadowed by the Kinner Kailash peak. The village with its attractive temple, gracious willows green fields, a fruit tree makes an altogether lovely landscape. Goddess Shuwang Chandika temple is also located in the village. Puh: Locally pronounced Spuwa, is the tehsil headquarters 71-kms from Recong Peo. It is situated above the National Highway No.22, having all modern amenities as well as green fields; vineyards, apricot, almond and grape orchards enhance its beauty. The local god is called Dabla, who neither has any dwelling nor possesses an ark. The only manifestation of the deity is a pole with a small idol set on its upper portion and adorned with Yak tail hair and long pieces of colored cloth. The whole being called Fobrang, it is occasion brought to the Santhang. Rakchham (2900m): Rakchham is situated on the Right Bank of river Baspa. Its name has been derived from "Rak" a stone and "Chham" a bridge. The location of the village is striking. Ribba (2745m): Ribba or Rirang is another largely populous village at a distance of 14-kms from Morang, the tehsil headquarters. Ribba is situated between the villages of Purbani & Rispa. In the local dialect 'Ri' stands for chilgoza and 'rang' means a peak of a mountain. Another village Rispa is known for its grapes. Leo: About 105-kms from Recong Peo perched on a small rocky eminence, on the right bank of the Spiti river is the headquarters of sub-tehsil Hangrang in Puh subdivision. The temple of Jamato is worth visiting. Lippa (2438m): Situated near the left bank of Taiti stream, this village can be approached from Kalpa by the old Hindustan-Tibet road to Jangi-Lippa-14-kms. Ibex are said to be found near the forest. The three Buddhist monasteries over here are dedicated to Galdang, Chhoiker Dunguir and Kangyar. Morang (2591): This village is situated 39-kms away from Kalpa on the left bank of river Satluj. The location is very beautiful and approach to this picturesque village is through apricot orchards. The local deity is Urmig and there are three structures dedicated to the deity each existing in
Thwaring, Garmang and Shilling. Generally these are empty as the ark of the deity remains in the fort. On a sacred day the ark is taken to the above named places. The ark has got 18 'mukh', made of silver, gold and brass and they represent the 18 days of the great epic Mahabharat. Chango (3058m): At a distance of 122-kms from Kalpa, is a collection of 4 hamlets in Pargna Shuwa, sub-tehsil of Hangrang on the left bank of river Spiti. It is encircled on every side by high hills, which is a witness to the presence of a former lake. Buddhism is generally practiced here but there are some local Hindu deity too namely Gyalbo, Dabla and Yalsa. Nako (2950 Mts., 107 km from Recong Peo): 7-km on a side-road from bifurcating near Yangthang, the village is built around an emerald-like lake. On its northern side are four Buddhist temples with stucco images and murals. Within the village, two temples house large prayer wheels. Near Nako is a rock where a footprint-like impression is ascribed to Padmasambhava. Situated about 2-kms above the Hangrang valley road and is 103-kms from Kalpa on the western direction of the huge mountain of Pargial. This is the highest village in the valley and the existence of lake formed out of the masses of the ice and snow above ad beauty to the village. Local village deity is Deodum and another Lagang temple with several idols exists over here. Sumdo/Kaurik: On the border of Spiti at a distance of 104-kms and 124-kms respectively from Kalpa, are the entry points to Spiti valley. There is a Police Check Post to assist and help the visitors. Kinner Kailash Circuit (Parikrama): One can undertake this holy Parikrama from Morang and return to Kalpa / Karcham in 7-8 days. Kanum: This is a complete monastic village and dates back to the time of Rinchensang-po. 'Kanum' means 'a place of sacred books'. It has seven large and small temples and several reliquaries. VALLEYS Baspa/Sangla Valley: This valley starts 57-kms short of Kalpa, which has been named after a beautiful & populous village Sangla. Sangla is situated on the Right Bank of Baspa River 17-kms from Karcham. Journey from Karcham onwards is enjoyable and adventurous throughout the valley. The natural scenery all around and the eternal snow view are picturesque and charming. It is also known as Baspa Valley since Baspa River flows through this area. This is the most charming valley in the entire District of Kinnaur. HOW TO GET THERE Air: Nearest airport is at Jubberhatti, 30-km from Shimla. Rail: Nearest railway point is at Shimla. Road: Regular buses run daily from Shimla. NEARBY CITIES Recong Peo: 38-km Kalpa: 50-km Lippa: 64-km Morang: 89-km Puh: 109-km Chango: 172-km Nako: 157-km Sumdo: 154-km Kaurik: 174-km
Location: Himachal Pradesh Altitude: 2,759m. Places of Interest: Recong Peo, Kothi, and Morang Best Time To Visit: June to October
Beyond Recong Peo, just 14-km away from Powari, on the link road, is the main village of the District - Kalpa. Across the river, facing Kalpa is the majestic Kinner-Kailash range. This is a spectacular sight early in the morning as the rising sun touches the snowy peaks with crimson and gold light. Kalpa was also the favorite resting-place for several of the British colonialists. Known as the Chini when it was the main town in Kinnaur, Kalpa is the legendary winter home of Shiva, during the winter, the god is said to retire to his Himalayan home from here and indulge his passion for hashish. In the month of Magha or January/February, the gods of Kinnaur supposedly meet here for an annual conference with Shiva. Kalpa is the district headquarters, situated at a distance of 260-km from Shimla and 51-km from Sangla. Two wide link leads to Rekong Peo and then to Kalpa. Kalpa is surrounded with vineyards, which are protected from the ravages of bears by large sheep dogs especially trained for this purpose. There is also a temple dedicated to 'Narenas' gods. PRIME ATTRACTION Recong Peo: Up a side road from the main thoroughfare through Kinnaur are the two main towns of Kalpa, the former capital and Recong Peo the current capital of Kinnaur. Filled with incredible views of the mighty Kinnaur Kailash Mountain, among several others, Kothi: Just 3-km from Recong Peo, Kothi has a temple dedicated to the Goddess Chandika Devi. Set against the backdrop of mountains and groves of deodar the temple has an unusual architectural style and fine sculpture. An exquisite gold image of the goddess is enshrined in the sanctum. Powari: Situated, 70-km, from Rampur, Powari is the last major stop of N.H.22 with a petrol station. The link road to the district headquarters Recong Peo, takes off to Powari. Morang: Morang is one of the largest villages in Tukpa Pargana of Tehsil Morang. From Powari, Morang is 26-km and is situated at an altitude of 2,276m. It's a beautiful village and the approach to it is highly picturesque, encircled by lofty mountains on three sides except westward, where it is open. There is an ancient fort inside the village, believed to build by the Pandavas. SHOPPING the visitors can buy Kinnauri shawls and caps from the Handicrafts Emporium in Kalpa. Kalpa has earned its name because of good quality Chilgoza, which grow over here in abundance. CLIMATE from April to October the climate in Kalpa is temperate. Light woolens for the early mornings and evenings are recommended. Night temperatures are low and sometimes the area can be quite windy.
Location: Himachal Pradesh Altitude: 3,435m. Places of Interest: Kamru, Rakchham, Sangla, and Morang-Chitkul Trek Best Time To Visit: May to November Chitkul is the last and highest village in the Baspa valley. It is situated on the Right Bank of Baspa River. There is a road along the left bank from Karcham. Also known for its alpine meadows and snow-scapes, there are 3 temples of local 'Goddess Mathi', the main ones are said to have been constructed about 500 years ago. PRIME ATTRACTION Karchham: The N.H.22 that follows the old Hindustan-Tibet route goes past the villages of Jeoti, Wangtu, Tapri and Karchham. Karchham is located on the conflux of the Satluj and Baspa rivers, which is the start of the picturesque Baspa or Sangla valley. Kumru: The village of Kumru is a dense cluster of houses and is surrounded by fields and orchards. The main gate of Kumru has an image of Buddha whose blessings must be sought before entering the village confines. Rakchham: It is situated about 13-km on the way to Chhikul from Sangla, on the Right Bank of the Baspa River and is famous for its panoramic beauty.
Sangla: The central villages in the scenic valley of Sangla are 18-km from Karchham. A link road that goes off the NH into the Baspa valley offers enchanting visit at every curve. There are saffron fields, orchards and higher up, as the climbs the steep inclines lovely alpine meadows. Sangla is built up at a sharp slope with the houses rising in tiers.
BASPA (SANGLA) VALLEY
Location: Himachal Pradesh Main Center Have: 2,680m Also known As: Sangla Valley Sangla Valley, also known as Baspa valley, is by far the most beautiful valley of Kinnaur. It starts from Karchham-1, 999m (31029'N, 78011'E) where the Baspa River, coming from the east joins the Satluj (also spelt as Sutlej). The road for Baspa Valley branches off from Hindustan - Tibet road at the river junction and after turning south, crosses the Satluj over a bridge to reach Karchham. The road then veers southeast to arrive at Chitkul (31021'N, 78025'E) via Sangla. Right up to its confluence with the Satluj at Karchham, the Course of the Baspa River, its source is through a narrow guage. It is the most romantic and beautiful valley of Kinnaur district situated most of the important villages. It has green pasturelands on both side and the meadow nearer the valley is full of flowers and fruit trees. The upper parts of the valley are almost half of its total length and as far as the village named Chitkul, there are barren ranges covered with snow all the year round. Sangla situated at an elevation of 2,680m is also the Tehsil Headquarter with a small population. A temple known as Bering Nag dedicated to Jagas God and a Buddhist monastery is worth a visit. Famous Fair Fulaich is celebrated every year in the month of August-September over here. Fisheries Department has established a Trout farm at Sangla and the river has plenty of trouts. The tourists can obtain license for fishing from the Fisheries Officer. The village houses are unique examples of wooden architecture. About a kilometer backward to Sangla, there is a Saffron Farm. Tibetan wood carving Center also exits here. The valley opens up beyond Sangla and is full of wooded slopes as far as Chitkul is like a fairyland. The quaint little houses, temples, gompas, and the people of Baspa valley conjure up a perfect image of Shangri-La. Sangla village is built on a slope with houses rising one above the other with gigantic KinnerKailash peak (6,050m) towering from behind is also famous for Kamru Fort. This fort was the place where so many rajas of Kinnaur were crowned. Now this fort is dedicated to Kamakshi Temple. The Goddess idol was brought from Guwahati (Assam), where the main temple is situated on a hillock. Phaffra, Ougla, Bathu, Apples, Chuli, Bami, Walnut, Chilgoza, Almond and Saffron are the main crop of this valley. Baspa valley is connected with Garhwal by several passes situated along the southern ridge of the valley. The Shinka, Kimlay and Borsu Passes lead to the famous Har Ki Doon Valley. The trail over Lamkhaga pass descends to Harsil (2,620m) near Gangotri on the banks of the Bhagirathi River. Another trail branches off at the base of Lamkhaga Pass, climbs upto a 5,151m high pass, and joins the main trail on the western side of the pass, which meets the Harsil road-head near Gangotri. Another popular trail climbs northeast from Chitkul and after crossing Charang Pass (5,266m), goes down northeast to Rahtak where two paths cross; the trail left (N.W.) and follows down the Tirung Gad to Thangi and then turns north to Morang (31036'N, 78027' E), situated on the left bank of the Satluj river. The bewitching scenery and the eternal snow view are a memorable sight for mankind.
Location: Himachal Pradesh Altitude: 2,510 m
Discovered in: 1819 Main Attractions: Annual Winter Sports Festival and the Carnival Places of Interest: Mashru Peak, Himalayan Nature Park, and Indira Tourist Park Best Time To Visit: April to June & November to February Some great Hiking, some skiing, some beautiful scenes and a cool environment that's what Kufri are all about. It is famous for its trekking and hiking trails. Adventure-seeking travelers throng Kufri in winters to enjoy skiing and tobogganing along its snow-covered slopes. The Skiing season spreads between November to February and the tourist inflow is at its peak during winters. Kufri is a tiny hill station located 19-kms from Shimla on the National Highway No.22. It has a Himalayan Nature park and close by is the Indira Tourist Park with HPTDC's Cafe Lalit. Indira Park provides some great views of the nearby places. Here one can enjoy a Pony or a Yak Ride. The region around Shimla including Kufri was once a part of the Kingdom of Nepal. This region remained obscure from the rest of the world until the British 'discovered' it in 1819. The British made Shimla their summer capital in 1864 and it remained so until 1939. As Shimla gained importance, Kufri also began to be recognized as an important place to visit near Shimla. PRIME ATTRACTION Mashru Peak: One can hike through thick forest around Kufri to the Mahasu Peak- the highest peak in Kufri. Himalayan Nature Park: The Himalayan Nature Park, which has a collection of animals and birds, found only in Himachal Pradesh. Indira Tourist Park: The Indira Tourist Park is near the Himalayan Nature Park and provides panoramic view of the locations around. Shimla: The capital city of the state of Himachal Pradesh is only 19-km from Kufri and an important destination on the tourist map of India. The British developed Shimla as an important hill station and the summer capital of India to escape from the heat of Delhi. This sprawling hill station set amongst the picturesque Shivalik range and Shimla hills has a number of tourist spots and important temples, apart from its beautiful natural surroundings. Fagu: Fagu is just 6-km away from Kufri, an interesting picnic spot set amongst forests and orchards. ADVENTURE Kufri, near Shimla is one of the oldest places in India to be associated with skiing and the slopes are still in use during winter. Above Kufri, the Mahasu ridge also has some good slopes. There is a range of slopes, including a beginner's run, an advanced slope and slalom run. Himachal Tourism offers ski courses, instruction and has equipment on hire at Kufri. HOW TO GET THERE Road: Kufri does not have an airport or a railway station. However, regular buses ply from Shimla, Narkanda, and Rampur to Kufri. Travelers can also hire taxis from Shimla to reach Kufri. The area around Kufri can be explored on horseback. FAIRS & FESTIVALS an annual winter sports festival is organized every year in the month of February in Kufri. Skiing enthusiasts and adventure seekers participate in this festival. CLIMATE the weather in Kufri is alpine. Summers are mild while winters are cold. It experiences southwestern monsoon rains in July-September and heavy snowfall in DecemberJanuary.
Location: Himachal Pradesh Altitude: 1,220m Main Attractions: Kullu Dusshera, Bijli Mahadev Temple 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, laid 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. PRIME ATTRACTION Raghunathji Temple: 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. Situated at an altitude of 2,438 metres one can reach this temple by a tough but rewarding climb through a 6-km long trek. From the temple site, a panoramic view of Kullu and Parvati valleys is available. Sixty-foot high staffs of Bijli Mahadev Temple glistens like a silver needle in the sun; this is a visible even from Kullu. THE LEGEND OF BILJI MAHADEV: The Rig-Veda has a prayer of Maharishi Vashishta to Lord Rudra to absorb the excessive electric current within him. It is said Lord Rudra acceded and absorbed the excessive electricity current and saved mankind. According to legend this episode took place at the 'Sangam' of Parvati and Beas rivers. This is one of the very popular stories in the mythological background of Beas basin, in Himachal Pradesh. As expected the devotees had set up a temple and the 'linga' in it, is named Bijleshwar Mahadev or Bijli Mahadev. There is a popular story too. After about 12 years regularly there is a frightful lightning and the 'linga' is reduced to pieces. It is said that Lord Shiva absorbs the energy discharged from the atmosphere and saves the world. The temple pujaris or priests collect pure cow's butter and the broken pieces of 'linga' are put in the butter, which works as an adhesive, and the 'linga' is reset. The work of resetting the 'linga' is carried out in secrecy by the pujaris and the Kardars or employees of the temple. Two Nandis or bulls face the door of the temple. The big wooden pole of deodar on the ground of the temple is said to receive the first brunt of the electric shock. The doorframes have a delicate and superb carving. The fair held in the month of 'Sravan' at this place attracts thousands of people. HOW TO GET THERE Tapu cross bridge over Beas river from Akhara Bazar, take local bus up to Trambali get down at Kinza, almost mid-way to the temple-trek 6-km in thick jungles to reach Bijli Mahadev. 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. Sultanpur Palace: It contains some fine examples of the Kullu style of miniature painting, characterized by simple rural scenes and the lack of human subjects. Naggar: 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. Taken, as an excursion from Kullu or Manali, Nagar also known as Naggar, is a very lovely village set on a hill surrounded by forests? Naggar was the capital of Kullu valley in the 16th
century and the monuments in the region are witnesses to the glory it had once lived in. Glaciers surround the upper Beas region from three sides, the highest peaks being 21,760 ft and 23,050 ft. The Chanderkhani pass at 12,200 ft. leading to the Malana valley is close by and over here, in summers; the vegetation grows up to a height of 10,000 ft. Raja Sidh Singh, who built the Naggar Castle, about 504 years ago, has been converted into a hotel. The gracefully built castle has a temple in the courtyard and also houses a small museum. The temples in this area are also worth a visit such as the Grey sandstone Gauri Shankar temple, the Chatar Bhuj temple, Tripura Sundri Devi temple and the Murlidhar temple. Naggar Castle: Now converted into a hotel since 1978 is an imposing structure. It was built by using a local stone, the layers of which are punctuated by long pieces of cut wood. It rises, to be topped by a Grey slate roof. Wooden brackets and carved windows are being restored to capture the originality of the castle. The style of construction ensured a lot of resilience in the structure, and it successfully withstood the mighty and disastrous earthquake of 1905. It is said that the stone for building the edifice was to be brought from the other side of river Naggar. Inside this castle is a small temple that could have passed unnoticed had it not been for the powerful legend associated with it. It is believed that it was decided to make Naggar the celestial seat of all the gods in the world. Akhara Bazaar: Known as one of the main bazaar, where Kullu caps, shawls, 'pattoos', gudmas, 'puhlas' and 'namdas' or rugs are sold in plenty. Banjara Temple: 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. Parvati Valley/Manikaran: 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. High up under the snowy peaks, of the Parvati Valley is situated the hot springs at Manikaran. The water from the steaming springs is noted for its healing properties. The springs in the area are hot enough to boil rice in it. Manikaran, a place of pilgrimage for Hindus and Sikhs, has a temple and a Gurudwara. It is also a good spot for trout fishing. Sri Ramchandra temple is located in the center of the town and one can have a very good look in and around this temple. The Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji Gurudwara provides some extraordinary sights. One can enjoy a dip in the hot waters from the springs. There are altogether three baths, one is located under the Gurudwara itself and the other two are privately owned and located in guesthouses THE LEGEND OF MANIKARAN While wandering of in the forests of the Himalayan ranges Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati came across a place now called Manikaran. The mountainlocked area, the lush green patches and the forests charmed them and they decided to stay there for sometime. For as long as eleven hundred years they remained at this place. At one time, when the Lord was relaxing with the Goddess, in the beautiful waters of a stream running by the side, the 'MANI' (Jewel) in an earring of the goddess dropped somewhere. Parvati was much distressed and there was a thorough search but efforts to find out the jewel failed. Lastly, the Lord ordered his attendants, to trace out the jewel, wherever it may be. That was also unsuccessful. Lord Shiva got enraged, as a result of which his third eye opened. With the opening of the third eye of the Lord Shiva, a very ominous event, there was a great commotion over the universe. The entire universe was very upset and apprehended a great calamity. 'Shesh Nag', the serpent god, was approached. In order to subside the anger of Lord Shiva, Shesh Nag hissed and hissed and there was a flow of boiling water, which passed over the area and out came a number of precious stones of the type, which were lost. Lord Shiva was pacified. The
water still continues to be hot. Before the earthquake of 1905, which affected this area also, it is said, that this boiling water used to rise, to about ten-feet high. The visiting deities are given a ceremonial bath. The second chapter of 'Brahm Puran' recites the story of Manikaran as given above. The place is described as one of hot and cold waters and the divine pair had repaired there for water sports known as 'Jal-Krida'. Fragrant and attractive flowers graced the place and by a bath at the 'Sangam' one is eternally blessed. The Brahm-Puran enjoins the pilgrims pass a night awake at Manikaran and do puja or 'Raat-Jagran'. Thereby the pilgrims obtain the full virtue of the world. The story of the loss of the jewel and the frantic search and ultimate recovery is vividly described. The tract is Lord Shiva's own and a pilgrimage at this place is adequate and one need not visit Kashi and other places of pilgrimage. Lord Ramchandra Temple: There are several temples in the Mani Karan village. The most important is that of Lord Ramchandra. The Pandas or priests of the village claim that the idol of Rama was brought from Ayodhya and installed in this temple by the Raja of Kulu but this lacks a historic confirmation. There was also an idol of Lakshman the younger brother of Lord Rama Chandra, which has now disappeared. On the left hand side of the Lord is the idol of Goddess Sita. The temple is very old and on one of the stones in its wall, the history of the temple is written which is not legible. Temple of Lord Shiva: There is another very old temple of Lord Shiva, which got tilted during the earthquake of 1905. The great prestige with which Manikaran is held is seen by the fact that the Devatas of Kulu valley pay regular visits to Manikaran. The followers of the individual deities at different places are carried ceremoniously in a procession to Manikaran on specified auspicious days. Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji Gurudwara: The place is also held sacred by the Sikhs. The Janam Sakhi or the 'Twarikh Guru Khalsa' by Giani Gian Singh mentions about the visit of Guru Nanak Dev to this place. It has been mentioned that accompanied by his disciple Bhai Mardana, the Guru reached Jwalamukhi temple after visiting Kalanaur, Gurdaspur, Dasuya, Triloknath, Palampur and Kangra. The Guru then proceeded towards Mandi and after visiting Chamba and Kulu, he came to Bijli Mahadev. After preaching at all these places Guru Nanak Dev came to Mani Karan. The Janam Sakhi or the "Autobiography of Bhai Mardana" mentions the miracles did by the Guru. The Guru came to Mani Karan along with his Five 'Piaras' or followers. Hot Springs: By taking bath here and by drinking water of this place, people go to Heaven; this is said of the Manikaran tract since the times immemorial. It is just like 'Kashi Kshetra' and there is no doubt about it. On examination it is understood that the Manikaran hot spring is said to have got Uranium and other radioactive minerals. Harinder Mountain & Parvati River: On the northern side, there is a mountain, which is named as Harinder. Merely a look at this mountain will make a person free from all evils and on the south is the Parvati River. Kulant Pith: Out of all sectors 'Piths' of the country, this sector, which is called 'Kulant Pith', is the superior most. Here, the most sacred place of pilgrimage is Manikaran, and in it the 'Vishnu Kund' is the purest of all. Lord Shankara was mightily pleased to stay here and this is absolutely true. No other tank in the world could be more pure than these high rising tanks. Even a drop of water from the tanks will make one free of all evils. Narad, on account of the influence of the Shankara's eye, said that this sacred place causes the disappearance of anger and evils. One who eats the food cooked in this boiling water goes to the Vishnu Lok. Kaisdhar: A picturesque spot, situated across a steep hill known for its magnificient scenery and innumerable walks. Kasol: 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. Shoja: At 2692 m, this is a vantagepoint for a complete panorama of the Kullu area-snow peaks and valleys, meadows and forests, rivers and streams.
Raison: 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 splendor. Katrain: 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: Largi is a small hamlet, 34-km south of Kullu via Aut, offers the best trout fishing and scenic beauty in the valley. The resthouse 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: 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. Deo Tibba: 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. Banjara: 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. Nirmund: Situated in outer Seraj of Kullu district, Nirmund is at present a block headquarters. Known as 'Chhoti Kashi', it was once a seat of great scholars and intellectuals. Bathad: 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. Malana: 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 lays 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 lays 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 Kullu Dussehra 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 Maiden thronged by gaily-dressed, good-humored crowds, folk dances, exhibitions, cultural programs are held to mark the festivities. At the end of April, a colorful 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. More traditionally, over two hundred deities converge on Kullu for its unusual Dussehra Celebrations. They pay homage to Lord Raghunathji while Music and colour fill the "Silver Valley". Dussehra at Kullu commences on the tenth day of the rising moon, i.e. on 'Vijay Dashmi' day itself and continues in seven days. A feast of Rhythm and Harmony: On the first day the idol of Lord Raghunathji saddle on a gaily attired chariot and attended by village gods mounted in colorful palanquins, is pulled from its fixed place in Dhalpur Maiden to another spot across the Maiden by Big ropes. The local
people regard the pulling of ropes sacred. This forms a huge procession. All the gods of the valley has to visit Kullu on Dussehra in order to pay homage to Raghunathji. On the following days in the mornings and in the evenings the gods are invoked and paraded. The people remain busy buying, selling, singing and dancing during all the seven days of the festival, which concluded with the burning of the Lanka. The chariot of Raghunathji is taken near the banks of Beas on the last day of the festival where a pile of wood grass is set on fire, which symbolizes the burning of Lanka and is followed by the sacrifice of chosen animals. The birth of Dussehra in Kullu lay in royal fads and it nourished on religious, social and economic factors and ultimately came to be well established, because of the inborn love of the hill-men for fun, frolic, displayed in community singing and dancing. Numerous stalls offer a verity of local wares. This is also the time when the International Folk Festival is celebrated. DHOONGRI FAIR 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. 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 Air: The airport at Bhuntar is 10-km from Kullu, where taxis and buses are available. Rail: The closest narrow gauge railhead is at Jogindernagar, 95-km from Kullu. Road: 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 maiden. The main bus stand is by river in the northern area of the town. SHOPPING Kullu shawls occupy a place of pride in handicrafts of the district. These exquisite specimens of art adorning the fair damsels of this fairyland are popular among tourists as precious souvenirs. Other famous products of Kullu include caps, gadmas, rugs or'namdas', local tweeds, footwear or pullun', baskets and natural oils of almond and olive. The Himachal State weaving co-operative, Bhutti Weavers colony is 6 km south of Kullu, which has retail outlets, Bhuticco in many towns. There are also Govt. Handicrafts Emporium, Himachal Khadi Emporium and Khadi Gramudyog. CLIMATE In winter, the temperature gets quite low when heavy woolens are required. It is pleasant in summer and cottons are recommended. NEARBY CITIES Kasidhar: 15-km Kasol: 42-km Manikaran: 45-km Shoja: 69-km Raison: 13-km Naggar: 23-km Manali: 40-km
LAHAUL & SPITI
Location: Himachal Pradesh Altitude: 6,500m Formed In: 1960
Best Time To Visit Lahaul- mid June to Late October Spiti- August To October Lahaul and Spiti are two remote Himalayan valleys of Himachal Pradesh lying on the Indo-Tibet border. Strange, exciting, primitive, these valleys are incomparable in mountain scape, in the rugged beauty of their rocky escapements and the splendor of their snow covered peaks. Lahaul is marked by a central mass of uniformly high mountains, massive glaciers, passes, lakes and gushing rivers. The two rivers, Chandra and Bhaga, which rise on either side of the Baralacha La, flow through the narrow Chandra and Bhaga valleys. Lahaul is a land of fascinating Buddhist art and culture. Often called as the 'middle country', Spiti is a cold desert regarded as a "World within a world" and "Palace where the gods live". The monasteries of Lahaul-Spiti are rich repositories of ancient murals, thanks, woodcarving and golden images of Padmasambhava. PRIME ATTRACTION Tandi: Between Gondhla and Keylong is Tandi, where Chandrabagha or Chenab River meets the road. A legend says that there were two lovers, Chandra being the daughter of the Moon and Bhaga the son of the Sun god. To perform there eternal marriage, they decided to climb to the Baralacha La & from there they ran in opposite directions. Chandra being active and smart easily found her way & reached Tandi after covering the distance of 115-km. Soon Bhaga was found coming with great struggle through the narrow gorges to Tandi where consequently both met and the celestial marriage was performed. Bhaga covered about 60-km distance, which was very difficult. Trilokinath: Trilokinathmeans the Shiva. A Temple is situated in the village, which is about 4 kms short of Udaipur on the left bank of Chenab River. Devotees from far off places come to pay their respects at this unique temple. This Shiva temple was given a look of Buddhist shrine by Guru Padmasambhava by installing the 6-armed image of Avalokiteshvar. In August, a big festival named Pauri is held for three days when people including the sadhus and followers of various religious sects gather to receive the blessings of Lord Trilokinath. Udaipur (2743m): In olden times this village was known as Markul, derived from the name of the local goddess Markula Devi. The temple here is unique and famous for its wooden carving on its roof and ceiling. Later on, Raja Udai Singh of Chamba changed the name to Udaipur. This place is situated near the confluence of Chenab and Mayar Nallah, therefore, became a starting point for Mayar valley and further on to Zanskar and other peaks. This is a green area rather the whole Chenab valley is greener than the Lahaul valley. Keylong (3340m): Keylong 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. There are hotels, tourist bungalows and rest houses to stay. Kardang Monastery (3500m): It is about 5-km from Keylong across Bhaga River, believed to be built in 12th century. The Monastery has a large library of Kangyur and Tangyur volumes of Buddhist scriptures in Bhoti. Kardang village was once the capital of Lahaul. In Lahaul is the 'KHARDANG GOMPA', a monastery that lies on the mountainside opposite to the Kyelong village. It is believed to be built in 12th century. Khardong village was once the capital of Lahaul. The monastery is about 200 years old and the head Lama is called 'Narbo'. The architecture and sculpture of the monastery are typically 'Lahaul and Spiti' style. One of the most revered places of the Durga-Pa Sect, the monastery also has a large library of Kangyur and Tangyur volumes of Buddhist scriptures in Bhoti and a huge repository of some exquisite thank paintings, musical instruments such as lutes, drums, horns and old weapons. The frescoes are colorful and the murals fascinating. This monastery has a huge prayer drum containing strips of paper upon which is the sacred mantra 'Om Mani Padme Hum'. This mantra has been written a million times.
Shashur Monastery: Situated on a hill about 3-km far from Keylong, towards north on the same slope. During June/July months, this monastery attracts lot of visitors when Lamas perform devil dance. It was founded in the 17th century AD and belongs to Red-Hat sect, located among the blue pines. The paintings over here represent the history of 84 Buddha's. At a distance of around 1.5-km from Keylong is the Shashur monastery. Shashur means "in the blue pines". Lama Deva Tyatsho of Zanaskar, Ladakh, who was a missionary of Nawang Namgyal, the king of Bhutan, in the 17 A. D, founded it. Deva Gyatsho renovated the present monastery and stayed till his death. When he was being cremated, his heart did not burn and was enclosed in a black image of Gyatsho. A statue of Namgyal is also installed in the gompa. The Gompa belongs to the Red sect of the Tibetan Buddhist. They are also known as the 'Gelugpa' and have spiritual links with the Lion Cave Temple of Bhutan. This gompa has a 15-feet 'Thankha' and invaluable wall paintings depicting all the siddhas of Buddhism. This monastery is famous for its ritual-plays, which are enacted by the lamas while donning masks and exotic costumes. The three-storey tall structure is significant in architectural terms. Due to the narrowness of the site, the complex has been planned vertically, yet it conforms to the ancient mandala concept. In the month of June/July Chham is celebrated in the monastery. Kye Monastery: It is situated 12-km north of Kaza and serves the western population of Spiti. Known as the oldest and biggest monastery of the valley, Kye Monastery is located at 4116m. Above Kye village. It houses beautiful scriptures and paintings of Buddha and other goddesses. Many Lamas get religious training here such as dancing, singing and playing on pipes and horns. It has murals and books of high aesthetic value. Thang Yug Gompa: It is located 13-km above Kaza, serving the western part of central Spiti. Situated in a secluded place in the narrow gauge of Kaza Nallah, it generally has a Lama from Tibet. Above this there is a long plateau, which leads to Shilla peak. Kungri Gompa: It is situated in the Pin valley about 10-km from Attargo where Spiti River has to be crossed to enter Pin valley. It is serves the population of Pin valley. Dhankar Monastery: It is situated about 25-km east of Kaza and serves eastern part of central Spiti. Dhankar is a big village and erstwhile capital of Spiti Kingdom. On top of a hill there is a fort, which use to be the prison in olden times. The Monastery has about 100 Lamas and is in position of Buddhist scriptures in Bhoti language. Principal figure is a Statue of "Vairochana" or Dhayan Buddha, consisting of 4 complete figures seated back to back. It has relics in the shape of paintings and sculptures. The 'DHANKAR GOMPA' casts its subtle spell upon a person. Anyone, who visits it, finds himself unable to forget this place. It is about 25-km east of Kaza and serving eastern part of central Spiti. Dhankar is a big village and erstwhile capital of Spiti King. Dhankar means " a place in the mountains unreachable for strangers" and which is home to another monastery associated with the Great Translator, Rinchen Zanggpo. On top of a hill there is a fort, which used to be the prison in olden times. The Monastery has about 100 Lamas and is in possession of Buddhist scriptures in Bhoti language. Principal figure is a Statue of "Vairochana" or Dhayan Buddha consisting of 4 complete figures seated back to back. It has relics in the shape of paintings and sculptures. Set against a lunar landscape of crumbling cliffs, the 'Lha Opa Gompa' dates back to the 12th century. The main interest, however, lays in the small chapel on the uppermost peak behind the village of Dhankar- the 'Lkhang Gompa'- with its brilliant murals depicting the life of the Buddha. Probably printed in the 17th century, the dominant bright red pigment has survived especially well. Although some work has been vandalized, the scenes depicting the Buddha's birth in the heavenly realm, his birth and life in Kapilvastu and his rejection of worldly ways are spectacular. Tabo Monastery: This is another big gompa for serving the population of eastern side. It belongs to the 10th century and is located 50-kms from Kaza. It is a famous gompa next to Tholing
Gompa in Tibet, comprising of about 60 Lamas and a large collection of Scriptures and wall paintings. Murals of this gompa have a great similarity to that of the Ajanta paintings. The rugged hills around Tabo house a tiny hamlet that is home to some 350 people. The Tabo monastery also referred to, as Tabo Chos-Khor- 'doctrinal circle' or 'doctrinal enclave' is a complex that holds nine temples, 23 chortens, a monks' chamber and an extension that houses the nuns' chamber. On the sheer cliff-face above the enclave are a series of caves, which were used as dwellings by the monks and include andassembly hall'. Faint traces of the paintings that once embellished the rock face can be discerned. Even today, Tabo holds the distinction of being the largest monastic complex in Spiti. Constructed in 996 AD, Tabo was the brainchild of the great translator and teacher, Rinchensang Po. The Temple of the Enlightened Gods (gTsug Lha-khang): This is also known as the Assembly Hall (Du-Khang) and forms the core of the complex. It houses a vestibule, an assembly hall and a sanctum. The central figure in the assembly hall is the four folds Vairocana. In Vajrayana Buddhism, he is regarded as one of the five spiritual sons of the Adibuddha, who was the selfcreative primordial Buddha. He is portrayed here in a posture "turning the wheel of law". On brackets arrayed along the walls and with stylized flaming circles around them, are life size stucco images of what are commonly known as the Vajradhatu Mandala. These image number thirty-three in all, and are the other deities of the pantheon. With five Bodhisattvas of the Good Age placed within, the sanctum is immediately behind the assembly hall. The walls around the stuccoes are elaborately adorned with wall paintings that depict the life of the Buddha. The Golden Temple (gSer-khang): believed to have been layered with gold, Senge Namgyal, ruler of Ladakh, exhaustively renovated this shrine in the 16th century. The walls and ceiling are covered with murals. The Mystic Mandala Temple or Initiation Temple (dKyil-hKhor-khang): a massive painting of Vairocana, who is surrounded by the eight Bodhisattvas, embellishes the wall facing the door. Mystic mandalas cover the other areas. It is here, that the initiation to monkhood takes place. The Bodhisattva Maitreya Temple (Byams-Pa Chen-po Lha-khang) - This shrine houses the image of the Bodhisattva Maitreya that is more than six-meter high. The temple has a hall, vestibule and sanctum. The array of murals within also depicts the monastery of Tashi-Chunpo and Lhasa's Potala palace. The Temple of Dromton (Brom-ston Lha-khang) - The temple lies on the northern edge of the complex and is said to have been founded by Dromton (1008-1064 AD), an important disciple of Atisha. The doorway is intricately carved and murals cover the inner walls. The above shrines are said to be the earliest in the Tabo complex and the following are later additions: The Chamber of Picture Treasures (Z'al-ma): This is an anteroom of sorts attached to 'the temple of enlightened gods'. It too is covered with paintings, which are in the Tibetan style. The Large Temple of Drom ton (Brom-ston Lha-khang): The second largest temple in the complex, this has a floor area of over seventy square meters, while the portico and niche add another forty-two square meters. The front wall sports the figure of the Sakyamuni, flanked by Sariputra and Maha Maugdalayana. The other walls depict the eight Medicine Buddha’s and Guardian Kings. The wooden planks of the ceiling are also painted. The Mahakala Vajra-bhairava Temple (Gon-khang): temple enshrines the protective deity of the Geluk-pa sect. Fierce deities people the room and it is only entered after protective meditation. Often it is also called known as 'the temple of horror'. The White Temple (dKAR-abyum Lha-khang): The walls of this shrine are also intricately adorned leaving a low dado for the monks and nuns to lean against Gemur: It is 18-km from Keylong in Bhaga valley where devil dance is held during July in the Local Gompa. The place is situated on Manali-Leh highway.
Sarchu: It is the last border point between Himachal and Ladakh, where HPTDC put up a tented colony for the convenience of the tourists during summer season. It is situated at a distance of 116-km from Keylong. Kee Gompa: A picturesque collection of Tibetan style buildings set on a small hill is the largest in Spiti. Along the road, it is 14-km from Kaza, but the best way to get here is on foot, a 10-km hike along the path. The 'KI (KYE) MONASTERY' serves the western part of Spiti and the most prominent feature of the valley. It lies about 14-kms north of Kaza and holds the honor of being the oldest and biggest monastery of Spiti. It is a well-known religious training centre for the Lamas, whom one will find dancing, singing and playing on their pipes and horns. One will also find murals, books, scriptures and paintings of Buddha and other Goddesses. This monastery is an outstanding example of the monastic architecture, which developed during the 14th century in the wake of the Chinese influence. The Mongols plundered the monastery in the middle of the 17th century. In the 19th century, it again suffered three brutal attacks. The successive trails of destruction and patch-up jobs have resulted in a haphazard growth of box-like structures, and the complex now resembles a defensive fort. Among the other important monasteries in the Spiti valley are an ancient temple at Lha-Lun, and another temple complex at Dhankar. The temples at Dhankar seem to be precariously dangling between heaven and earth Kibar: 15-km northwest of Kaza is Kibar or Kyipur, which at 4,205m. Is reputed to be the highest village in the world. It is 200 km from Manali, and there's a bus to Kaza via Keylong and the bus trip takes 8 hours. Kunzum Pass (4590m): As Rohtang pass is a gateway to Lahaul so Kunzum pass is the gateway to Spiti from Kulu & Lahaul. After crossing Rohtang pass and driving 20-km, one has to turn right from Gramphoo. While going to this pass, the panoramic view of Bara-Sigri glacier, known as the second longest glacier in the world, is enthralling and inspiring. There is a temple at the top of this pass dedicated to goddess Durga. As Rohtang Pass is a gateway to Lahaul so Kunzum pass is the gateway to Spiti from Kullu & Lahaul. After crossing Rohtang Pass and driving 20-kms, one has to turn right from Gramphoo. While going to this pass, the panoramic view of Bara-Sigri glacier, known as the second longest glacier in the world, is enthralling and inspiring. There is a temple at the top of this pass dedicated to Goddess Durga. After seeing this pass one can drive to Batal for a night stay in the Rest House. The view from the top is breathtaking. On one side is the Spiti valley and to the other are numerous Chandra-Bhaga range peaks. On way back from Gramphoo one can either return to Manali, 71-kms or can go to Leh via Keylong, Darcha, Baralacha La, Sarchu, Tanglang La by road. From Tandi, 8-km short of Keylong one can also drive to Pangi valley along the Chenab River to Udaipur, Trilokinath and Tindi and thereafter by trekking to Killar. From Killar to Chamba/Dalhousie/Delhi or to Kishtwar- Jammu - Delhi. CLOTHING Cotton in summer and woolen in winter Losar (4080m): Situated near the confluence of Losar and Peeno streams, this village is worth a visit being the first big village of the Spiti valley and because of its Location. Yak and horse riding are other charms to add to its beauty and unique experience. Kaza (3800m): 224-km from Manali, 197-km from Keylong and 425-km from Shimla, Kaza is a Sub Divisional Headquarter of Spiti Valley. It is situated at the foot of the step ridges on the left bank of Spiti River. Once it was the headquarter of Nono, the chief of Spiti. It has all modern facilities and is connected by road with Manali & Shimla except in the winter months. Kibber (4205m): It is locally known as Khyipur, one of the highest villages in the world at an altitude of 4205 m above sea level in a narrow valley surrounded by mountains from all sides.
Gette village, at a short distance away from kaza, is the highest in the world with a height of 4270m. TREKKING: In Lahaul, the trek route goes from Darcha in the Bhaga Valley over the Shingo La pass to Zanskar. The trailhead, on the main highway, can be reached by bus from Manali, 145-km south. The trail itself winds up the east bank of the Barai or Khade Nala over the pass to Kurgiakh, the highest village in Zanskar. From Kurgiakh, it takes seven more days to hike down the Tsarap Lingti Valley to Padum. Among the more amazing sights en-route is the famous Phuktal gompa, a four-hour side trip from the main path. Lahaul's other trekking route, which follows the river Chandra north to its source at the Baralacha Pass, makes a good extension to the Hampta Pass hike. Alternatively, one can catch the daily Kaza bus from Manali to the trailhead at Batal, below Kunzam La. About 3-km beyond the bridge, a track bifurcates left off the main road to climb towards Chandratal Lake, a relentless seven-hour slog from Batal. The next campground is at Tokping Yongma torrent. Tokpo Yongma, the second of the two torrents, is quite precarious. From Baralacha la, crossed by the Manali-Leh highway, the trail to Zanskar via the 5435m high Phirtse La is a challenging alternative to the Darcha-Shingo La-Kurgiakh route above. This tenday trek involves lots of difficult stream crossings and strenuous camping. HOW TO GET THERE Road: Lahaul is connected with road from all parts of the country. Manali is the point where buses from various stations come. From here, one can take bus/taxi to any destination in LahaulSpiti, Pangi & Leh during the months between June to November depending upon opening and closing of Rohtang pass, the gateway to this valley. National highway 21 passes through this valley enroute to Leh. Other two directions are from Shimla via the Spiti Valley, along the road, which runs up to the Tibetan border through Kinnaur and from Zanskar and Ladakh over the Shingo La and Baralacha La passes. The Shingo Lo gives access to Lahul from Zanskar while the Baralacha La is on the Leh-Manali road and provides access to Lahul from Ladakh. CLIMATE: Lahaul's climate is very much similar to that of Ladakh and Zanskar, which border it to the north. Beyond the reach of the monsoon, the valley sees little rain in summer, when the sun is strong and the nights are cool. Between late October and late March, heavy snow closes the passes, and seals of the region. Less rainfall in both valleys enables climbers & trekkers to enjoy a long and unbroken season in perpetual sunshine and explore the wilderness and grandeur of the inner Himalayan. This unique feature makes Lahul-Spiti as an ideal destination for tourists and trekkers in the month of July, August and September. NEARBY CITIES Gemur: 18-km Manali: 115-km Sarchu: 116-km Kaza: 197-km
Location: Himachal Pradesh Altitude: 4,079m Places of Interest: Kibber, Kunzum Pass, and Kaza Best Time To Visit: June to October Situated near the confluence of Losar and Peeno streams, Losar village is worth a visit being the first big village and because of its Location. Yak and horse riding are other charms to add to its beauty and unique experience. Being the last habitude spot, the population of this village is about 242. There are four shops, a school, a Post Office and a Health Centre in the village. Kunzum Pass (4590m): 76-km from Kaza, Kunzum provides chief access to Lahaul valley by the great Kunzam range. Kunzam is safer and provides easier ascent and descent. While going to
this pass, the panoramic view of Bara-Sigri glacier, the second longest glacier in the world is enthralling and inspiring. There is a temple at the top of this pass dedicated to Goddess Durga. The view from the top is breathtaking, on one side is the Spiti valley and to the other are numerous Chandra-Bhaga range peaks. Kaza (3800m): 224-kms from Manali, 197-kms from Keylong and 425-kms from Shimla, Kaza is a sub-divisional Headquarter of Spiti valley. It is situated at the foot of the step ridges on the left bank of Spiti River. Once it was the headquarters of Nono, the chief of Spiti. It is connected by road with Manali & Shimla except in the winter months. Kibber (4205m): Locally known as Khyipur, Kibber one of the highest villages in the world at an altitude of 4,205m above sea level in a narrow valley surrounded by mountains from all sides. Surrounded in summer by lush green fields, Kibber stands at the head of a trail that picks its way north across the mountains, via the high Parang-La pass (5,557m) to Ladakh. The village of Kibber locally known as Khyipur, is perched on a vast rocky-stretch of land. In Kibber, stone, instead of mud or unburned brick so commonly used in the houses of the Spiti valley has built all houses. Even at this height, the village has plenty of cultivable land and Barley and peas are cultivated once in a year. There is also a Buddhist Gompa known as Yaktin Gompa located over here. HOW TO GET THERE Air: Nearest airport is at Jubberhatti, 30-km from Shimla. Rail: Nearest railway point is at Shimla. Road: Regular buses run daily from Shimla. NEARBY CITIES Kaza: 60-km Kibber: 76-km Dhankar Monastery: 84-km Pin Valley National Park: 89-km Tabo Monastery: 106-km Kunzum Pass: 136-km
Location: Himachal Pradesh Important As: Himachal's famous Tourist Resort Altitude: 2,050m Places of Interest: Vashisth Hot Sulphur Spring, Rohtang Pass, and Hadimba Temple Best Time To Visit: May 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. Also popular as a hill resort destination, Manali presents some excellent and well-equipped accommodation choices for the tourists. In the past decade Manali has turned out to be one of the best hill resort destination of India, particularly in those resorts, which cater Indian domestic tourists and honeymoon couples. But the ideal places to stay are the small guesthouses, providing a tranquil atmosphere of the Himalayas for those who are looking for solitude. Manali literally means the 'Home of Manu'. Manu is the mythological character that 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.
PRIME ATTRACTION Hadiamba 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. 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. From the name of the forest parkland this temple derives its name. This temple was erected in 1553 and is dedicated to Goddess Hadimba. THE LEGEND OF HADIMBA TEMPLE: Hadimba, a 'Rakshashi' in the Mahabharat has been deified and is worshipped in this area. According to Mahabharat 'Hadimb Rakshash' ruled some of the sub-mountainous tracts of the Himalayas. His sister was Hadimba or Hidimba. In their wanderings the Pandavas, along with their mother, after escaping from the wax house unhurt came to the territory of Hadimb Rakshash. Bhima fell in love with Hadimba, the sister of the ruler. Bhima could marry her only after killing the brother. The pair-lived in the valley for about a year after which Bhima joined his brothers and mother. Hadimba gave birth to a son who was named 'Ghototkachh'. Till Ghototkachh was a minor, Hadimba looked after her country. She retired to the inner hills, for meditation, when her son Ghototkachh, a great warrior took over the country. Ghototkachh was a good administrator. Dhungri was the place near Manali where Hadimba had resorted for meditation. A temple of Hadimba in 'pagoda' style was raised and she became Devi Hadimba. Hadimba had supernatural powers owing to 'tapashya' and was kind to her people. Hadimba became the patron-deity of the Rajas of Kullu. The Tilak ceremony of every Raja of Kulu has to be done with the permission of the goddess and after worshipping her a, buffalo is sacrificed. Certain ceremonials where the patron deity is closely associated have to be performed in the Dussehra festival of Kulu. The Dussehra festival is held at Dhalpur Maiden and as mentioned the idol of Raghunathji is taken there. From his temple the goddess Hadimba blesses the ceremonial horse. The ceremony is called as 'Ghor Pooja'. The pagoda type wooden temple of the goddess at Dhungri is according to Hira Nand Shastri, the antiquarian about 500 years old. No idol is enshrined and only a footprint on a stone is kept within. Raja Bahadur Singh who built the temple is commemorated by a fair held on the first of Savan annually named as 'Bahadur Singh Re Jatar.' This Mela is also called as Saroohni, which is symbolic of the completion of the transplanting of paddy. Hadimba goddess has been humanized by the people and made their own. On the first of 'Jaith', or 14th of May, another Mela is held to celebrate birthday of the goddess Hadimba. This Mela is held in the Dhungri forest. It lasts for three days. Thousands of men, women and children participate in the Mela. Rice-bear (Lungri) flows among both men and women who make themselves merry in music and dance. There is another indigenous ceremony. The deities, Kartikswami of Simsa, Chhandal Rishi of Parsha, shrishti Narayan of Aleo, Shriganh of Jagatsukh, Vishnu of Shajla, Maladevi of Sial and Sankh Narayan of Nasogi, are brought in processions with proper music by their followers to Dhungri. On the 4th day, the fair shifts to the temple of Manu in the village Manali. The Dhungri forest provides a grand setting to the assemblage of hill women in their colorful clothes. 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. Tibetan Temple: 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 centre. 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.
Old Manali: 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. Rohtang Pass: 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. Arjun Gufa: 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 Altitude: 800m. Main Attractions: Shivratri Festival Best Time To Visit: May to October. Built along the Beas River is the historic town of Mandi, the gateway to the Kullu valley. Literally meaning market, Mandi was on the salt route to Tibet. This place offers better option to break journey to the Kullu valley. A district headquarter, Mandi is also renowned for its 81 old stone temples with exquisite carvings, thereby earning it the title of 'Varanasi of the Hills'. The town also has some remains of old palaces and notable examples of the 'colonial' architecture. The Shivaratri Bhutnath celebrations in the Bhutnath temple attract tourists every year in large numbers. There are also two lakes near Mandi, which provide a good breather for the visitor. About five kms from the main town is the Tarana hills and on the top of the hill is Rani Amrit Kaur Park. From here one gets very good view of the nearby areas. The park has enclosed the Syama Kali temple, which was, built some where in the 17th century. In the days of yore, the pious sage, Mandavaya performed long and severe penance and practiced unthinkable austerities on his body, on the Right Bank of the river Beas, near the present town, which then took his name. PRIME ATTRACTION Triloknath Shiva Temple: It is built in the Nagari style with a tiled roof. The temple at the centre of a group of sculpted stones shrines, overlooks the river and offers good views. Inside the temple, Lord Shiva has been depicted as the lord of the three worlds; at the Panchvakhra he has five faces, expressing his five aspects. Bhutnath Temple: Practically synonymous with Mandi and located in its very heart, this temple is as old as the town itself, dating back to the 1520's. It has a Nandi or god Shiva's bull facing the ornamental double arch to the sanctuary. The modern shrines nearby are brightly painted. In the month of March, the festival of Shivratri is a major event and Bhootnath Temple is its focus. Syamakali Temple: Also known as the Tarna Devi Temple, this temple is situated on the Tarna Hill, which rises above the town. Raja Syama Sen built the temple in the 17th century after a particularly trying time when the goddess gave him success. At the top of Mandi town there is a temple of Shyama Kali deity, which is another manifestation of the consort of Lord Shiva. THE LEGEND OF SHYAMA KALI TEMPLE: It. is said that the divine 'Sati' use once started dancing and in her joy she lost herself and went on with a fierce dance putting the three worlds in danger. Shiva, her husband, was approached to do something and Shiva quietly laid himself on her route of dance. When, Kali had put her feet on prostrated Shiva she came to herself and stopped. In this manifestation, the spouse Kali is painted black oil the face and she looks fierce with her garland of skulls and tongue protruding out of remorse for treading on her husband's body. Raja Shyam Sen ruled Mandi from 1664 to 1675 and he was a great devotee of the deity Kali. Raja Jit Sen of Suket, ruler of the adjoining State, insulted Shyam Sen and Shyam Sen invaded
Suket. He prayed and invoked the blessings of Kali before he set out. On his victory he was said to have built the temple and installed the deity. She is popularly known as 'Tarna Devi'. The Sikh kingdom after the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1839 passed through bad times. During the rule of Maharaja Kharak Singh of the Sikh kingdom the army became almost uncontrollable. Kharak Singh had left all the powers in the hands of his son Naunihal Singh. Naunihal Singh hit upon the strategy of invading Mandi and Kullu to give an opportunity to the army for fight and loot. Mandi and Kullu had given no cause for the invasion. However, General Ventura led a strong Sikh force to Mandi. General Ventura stopped within seven miles of the Mandi town and demanded some payment, which was made. Raja Balbir Sen of Mandi was called upon to visit the General in his camp on the pretext of receiving a Khilat On his arrival the Raja was imprisoned and Mandi town was occupied. Balbir's imprisonment was followed by the capture of the Kamlah fortress and the Raja was sent as a prisoner to Amritsar and confined in the fort of Gobindgarh. Kullu was next invaded. One Goshaon, a clever Minister of Raja Balbir Sen, left the State in the disguise of a domestic servant and went to Lahore. He managed to gain the confidence of the rulers and had he sent to Gobindgarh fort to work for the prisoner. The clever Minister who gave out that Raja Balbir Sen had great spiritual powers (Sidh Purush) and could cure incurable diseases hatched a plot by his spiritual power. Some cases came to him and got cured by a touch of the Jhanda Sahib (flag post of the Gurudwara by the site of the fort). Maharaja Sher Singh who had become the ruler of Lahore heard of this and when there was a very heavy rain and floods, Raja Balbir Sen was brought to stop the rains and flood. It is said that Raja Balbir Sen prayed and prayed to the goddess Shyama Kali and took a vow that if the calamity was ended and he was released he would decorate the interior of the deity's temple with gold leaf. It is said that the prayer of Raja Balbir Sen did work and the rains were stopped. Balbir Sen was released with full honors and Mandi State with all that had been looted was restored to him. The Raja fulfilled his vow. Since then the Shyama Kali is held in very great veneration and the temple is visited by thousands of pilgrims every year. Ardhanarishvara Temple: This 7th century specimen of temple architecture, enclosed structure of Lord Shiva in a composite form with the right half as male and the left half as femalesymbolizing the male and female principles of cosmic evolution. The Ardhnari temple at Mandi is comparatively a modern temple. The right half of the stone image in the temple represents Lord Shiva and the left half his consort Parvati. Shiva has his typical knotted hair and wearing a garland of skulls, an entwined serpent, a musical instrument in one hand and a Damru or drum in the other. The divine consort Parvati is shown wearing a diadem, a pair of earrings and a ring on the nose. The icon is well executed from all standards. There is a slab joined to the image on which the vehicles or Vahan of the deities- the bull and the lion, are artistically carved. The images of 'Bhairon' and Lord Hanuman are also there. The temple consists of a cella, porch and a mandap. The carvings of the temple are of a high order. Ardhnari icons are rather rare in Northern India and the presence of this icon here is rather strange. Revalsar Lake: About 25-km from Mandi, and 14-km from Ner Chowk is the Revalsar Lake, famous for its seven floating islands of reed. It is maintained that prayer or breeze can move all seven of them. Here are three shrines - a Buddhist monastery, where elaborate rituals are performed, a Sikh gurudwara and a Hindu temple. It was from this place that the Sage Padma Sambhava, a zealous teacher of Buddhism, left as a missionary to preach the doctrine of "The Enlightened" in Tibet. Shaped quite like a square and with a shoreline of 7,35m, this dark jewel rests on a mountain spur and is protected by a variety of dense vegetation. Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists hold the spot sacred alike.
LEGEND OF REWALSAR LAKE: Legend has it that the great teacher and 'tantric',
'Padmasambhava' used his enormous powers to take flight to Tibet from Rewalsar. Also known as 'Guru Rimpoche', the "Precious Master". It was under Padmasambhava's influence that 'Mahayana' Buddhism took root in Tibet - and at Rewalsar waters, his spirit is said to reside in the tiny islands of floating reed that drift over the waters. A RELIGIOUS HARMONY: There are three Buddhist monasteries at Rewalsar. Commemorating the month-long stay of Guru Gobind Singh in 1738, Rewalsar has a gurudwara that was built in 1930 by Raja Joginder Sen of Mandi. Rewalsar has three Hindu temples, which are dedicated to Lord Krishna, Lord Shiva and to the sage "Lomas". A small zoo also is maintained near the lake. The lake of ‘Kunt Bhyog’ (1,750m above sea level) lies above Rewalsar -as does six other lakes of legend. These are associated with the escapes of the 'Pandavas' from the burning palace of wax- and episode from the epic, Mahabharata. Prashar Lake: 40-km on the banks of the lake is a storyed pagoda-like temple dedicated to sage Parashar. Linked by road to Mandi is an interesting 14-km trek that is possible along a steep track from Kataula, which is easily accessible from Mandi. The beautiful Prashar Lake is located high in the mountains, 40-km north of Mandi. It is here that sage Prashar is said to have meditated. On the lake's edge is a three-storeyed pagoda-like temple dedicated to the sage. Capped with a roof of slate tiles, the temple has a wealth of woodcarving. It is said to have been built by Raja Ban Sen of Mandi in the 14th century Its remarkable setting is enhanced by a frame of snow-draped peaks, and visible from the lake's edge, the waters of the river Satluj flow due south. The lakeside and the nearby villages are sites of various festivals held at different times of the year. Sundernagar: Famous of its temples 26-Km from Mandi towards Shimla and at a height of 1,174m (3,852 ft) on the raised edge of the fertile valley, the beautiful town of Sundernagar is known, also for its shady walks amidst towering trees. On top of a hill and visited by thousands of devotees every year, the Sukhdev Vatika and temple of Mahamaya. The biggest hydroelectric project in all Asia, the Beas-Sutlej Project, irrigating nearly one-fourth of the northern plains of India, has brought unprecedented prosperity to Sundernagar. The Beas-Sutlej Link colony is the biggest colony in Himachal Pradesh. Janjehli: At a distance of 67-km from Mandi, Janjehli is a paradise for hikers, offering treks up to a height of 3,300m. (10,827 ft). After covering 32-km by a motorable road up to Gohar, the rest of the journey is on foot. In the midst of thick forests, 15-km from Gohar, at Bajahi is beautifully located, well furnished, Rest House, to stay overnight, from where Janjehli is a scant 20-km away, after going through bridle path. Kamlah Fort: Situated on the border of Mandi with Hamirpur, this fort was built by Raja Surat Sen in 1625. Pandoh: Just 16-km away from Mandi, Pandoh is an earth and rockfill dam. Shikhari Devi: 15-km from Janjehli is situated the ancient temple of Shikhra Devi and is surrounded by some marvellous landscapes. HOW TO GET THERE Air: The nearest airport is Bhuntar about 57-km from Mandi. Rail: The broad gauge railhead is at Pathankot, a distance of 210-km. From Pathankot the narrow gauge railway connects Joginder Nagar, which is 55-km from Mandi. Road: Mandi is well connected by road to other places. The main bus stand is just above an open playing field, where the National Highway- 21 continues along the left bank of river to Pandoh. FAIRS & FESTIVALS: In February-March, Shivaratri fair is held in Mandi. In weeklong celebrations, full of music and dance, temple deities from hills and around are taken in procession with chariots and palanquins to visit the Madho Rai and Bhutnath temples.
Shivratri Fair: The town of Mandi with its ancient temples revels in the Shivratri fair for a whole week. On elaborately decorated palanquins, hundred of local deities are carried to the town. Accompanied by folk bands, they make their first stop at the 'Madho Rai' temple and then go to pay obeisance to Lord Shiva at the Bhootnath temple. Festivities-music and song, dance and drama follow this. Yet, all the while the atmosphere is surcharged with deep religious devotion. SHOPPING: In town look for good handicrafts near Bhutnath temple and in Seri Bazaar. Mandi raw silk has acquired wide fame. Click here to buy Handicrafts from Himachal Pradesh CLIMATE: In winter, the temperature can however around freezing point when heavy woolen clothes are required. During summer, the climate is hot and cottons are recommended. NEARBY CITIES Pandoh: 16-km Rewalsar: 25-km Sunder Nagar: 26-km Bhuntar: 57-km Jogindar Nagar: 55-km Janjheli: 67-km
Location: Himachal Pradesh Altitude: 2,000m Discovered in: 1848 Places of Interest: Residence of Dalai Lama, Tsuglagkhang temple Best Time To Visit: July to September Originally home of the seminomadic Gaddi tribe, Mcleod Ganj is today the residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This mid 19th century place was developed as a British Garrison. The place was an important administrative point for the whole Kangra valley. Today Macleod Ganj has developed as headquarters of the exiled Tibetan Government and is situated just before the Upper Dharamsala. The impressive monastery has got larger than life size images of Buddha, Padmasambhava and Avaloketeshwara. To preserve the rich manifestation of the Tibetan culture the institute of Tibetan performing arts was established over here. In April and May a festival is organized here, which includes the traditional plays, dances and many more such events. The large Tibetan population of the region and the presence of traditional architectural designs have enhanced the area. But the most important example of the Tibetan architecture is the Tsuglagkhang or the Dalai Lama's temple. The magnificent images - a gilt statue of Shakyamuni; then facing Tibet is the Tibetan deity of compassion, Avalokitesvara and that of Padmasambhava who introduced Buddhism and tantric teachings to Tibet in 8th century. The house also has a collection of scared text called the Khagyur based on the teachings of Buddha. Also included in the temple is a collection of works on art, philosophy, literature, astrology and medicine. PRIME ATTRACTION The Residence of Dalai Lama: The Dalai Lama settled in Macleod Ganj in 1960 and his residence on the south edge of town has become his permanent home in exile. His own quarters are the modest, and government offices take up most of the walled compound overhanging the valley. Tsuglagkhang: In front of the private enclosure of the residence of Dalai Lama, Dharamsala's main Buddhist temple, Tsuglagkhang, shelters images OD Shayamuni, Padmasambhava and Avaloktesvara, all sitting in meditation postures and are surrounded by offerings from devotees.
Gompa Dip Tse-Chok Ling: The small Gompa Dip Tse-Chok Ling is located on the bottom of a steep track. The main Prayer hall has an image of the Shakyamuni. The monks who lived in the Gompa have made two huge drums covered in goatskin and painted around the rim. The butter sculptures, which are made during Losar, are destroyed in the next Losar festival. This gompa is also famous for the fine and detailed mandals. Library of Tibetan Works & Archives: The library of Tibetan works and archives stores almost 40 % of the original Tibetan manuscripts and is a repository of the rich Tibetan culture. The library also has a photographic archive. At Gangchen Kyishong are the Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute. Dal Lake: The small, murky Dal Lake, connected to Dharamkot by a path down through the wooded slopes, is the scene of an animal fair and Shivate festival in September. Bhagsu: Bhagsu is a village on the banks of a mountain stream. A path meanders up boulderstrewn slopes from here, through a slate quarry, to the waterfall that feeds the stream. Each September pilgrims come to bathe in the waters of the tank of Bhagsu's Shiva temple. Triund: Triund is 17-km from Dharamsala and lies at the foot of the snow clad Dhauladhar at a height of 2,827m. It is a popular picnic and trekking spot. Dharamkot: Dharamkot is the starting point for the short walks to the high plateau at Triund (2,975m), or further over the high passes to the Chamba valley. HOW TO GET THERE Air: Dharamsala can be approached by air from Delhi and the nearest Airport is at Gaggla, just 13km away from the town. Rail: Pathankot is 85 kms 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. Road: 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 NEARBY CITIES Triund: 17-km Gaggal: 13-km Dharamsala: 10-km Palampur: 50-km Pathankot: 85-km
Location: Himachal Pradesh Altitude: 9,32m Discovered in: 1621 Main Attraction: Bhawan Dwadshi Places of Interest: Nahan Town, Suketi Fossil Park, and Trilaukpur temple Best Time To Visit: December to March A well-laid out picturesque town of Nahan is situated on an isolated ridge in the Shiwalik hills, overlooking Greenfield. Known for its cleanliness and dust free streets, saints and princes are linked with the origin of Nahan. Raja Karan Prakash founded the city as a capital in 1621. Another version recalls a saint who lived with a companionable Nahar on the site where the Nahan palace now stands. "Nahar" means a lion and probably the town takes its name from this saint. At an altitude of 9,32m, Nahan is a good base for visits to the surrounding pilgrim areas viz. Renuka, Paonta Sahib, Trilokpur temple and the Suketi Fossil Park. It has a pleasant climate throughout the year and is watered by man made lake and decorated with temples and gardens. It is also the headquarter of Sirmaur district.
PRIME ATTRACTION Nahan Town: The gentle level walks of Villa Round, Military Round and Hospital Round are evocative of the cities past. The hub of Nahan's activities is Chaugan, Bikram Bagh and KhadarKa-Bagh. Gift shops, Rosin & Turpine factory and local temples are among the other major attractions. In the heart of Nahan town is Rani Tal, where a large temple and a tank from the days of ex-rulers of Sirmaur State can be seen. Ducks and cranes are seen playing in the Rainfall Tank, and Rainfall Garden further adds to the charm. Giri Nagar: Situated at a distance of 7-kms from Dhaula Kuan, this town has a powerhouse of 60 M.W. capacities, constructed after diverting the Giri River through a 6-kms long tunnel. Trilokpur Temple: Raja Dip Prakash built it in 1573 and is situated at a distance of 23-kms from Nahan and 6-kms from Kalka-Ambala highway, the gateway to Nahan from Haryana. Trilokpur is a place of great religious importance. The temple of the goddess Mahamaya Bala Sundri is very famous and attracts lakhs of pilgrims from all over northern India, especially from Haryana and Himachal. A fair is held twice a year during the Navratras in April and October when a large number of devotees visit this temple and pay their respects to the goddess. Suketi Fossil Park: Suketi Fossil Park displays life size fiberglass models of pre-historic animals whose fossil, skeletons were unearthed here. The park is first of its kind in Asia to be developed at the actual site where fossils were discovered. At a distance of 21-kms from Nahan, the Suketi Fossil Park is located on the bank of Markanda River and is approachable by a link road 4-kms from Kalka-Ambala highway from Haryana. Located on upper and middle Shiwaliks, consisting mainly of soft sandstone and clay rocks, the park at present has six sets of life-size models of Stegodonganesa Sivatherium, Hexaprotodon-Sivalensis, Colosschelys Atlas, Paramachaerdus and Crocodile, the animals which once thrived in the region. Dhaula Kuan: On the road to Paonta Sahib 20-kms from Nahan, it is worthwhile to stop and see a sprawling orchard consisting of citrus plants and mangoes and a fruit-canning factory of various kinds of juices, jams, pickles and canned fruits. A little away from Dhaula Kuan is Kastasan Devi temple where Raja Jagat Singh defeated the advancing army of Rulam Quadir Rohilla in a great battle. Their victory is commemorated in the Devi Temple, built in gratitude by the Raja. Dhaula Kuan also has a research station of H.P., KVV where useful research on tropical fruits is carried out. HOW TO GET THERE Air: Nearest airport is Chandigarh, with Delhi as an alternative. Rail: The nearest railway stations are Ambala, Chandigarh and Kalka, which are connected by a regular bus service. Road: Nahan is approachable from many directions by road: via Dehra Dun through Paonta Sahib; via Kalka-Ambala from Haryana and via Solan from Shimla. There are regular bus services linking it to the other towns like Manali, Delhi and Haridwar. FAIRS & FESTIVALS: Nahan celebrates Bawan Dwadshi towards the end of the monsoon, when fifty-two idols of local gods are carried in procession to Jagannath temple, where they are floated ceremoniously in a pool and are restored at midnight to their niches. BALA SUNDARI FAIR: The Bala Sundari fair is held at Trilokpur near Nahan, this coincides with the sacred days of the Navratras. SHRAVAN SANKRANTI: Shravan Sankranti is celebrated at Nahan, in the month of July, at Arki. Buffalo fights mark the Sair Fair that is cunducted in the honour of Banar devta of Shari. The Rampur Jatar is held near Jubbal in district Shimla. NEARBY CITIES Paonta Sahib: 42-km Suketi 21-km Trilokpur: 23-km Dhaula Kuan: 20-km Giri Nagar: 27-km
Location: Himachal Pradesh Altitude: 2,708m Places of Interest: Hattu Peak, Hattu MataTemple Best Time To Visit: December to March Narkanda, at 8,100 feet, 440-km from Delhi and is a two hours drive from Shimla. It is slightly higher than Shimla (7,400 feet) and the road linking the two runs almost near the crest of the mountain with a gradual ascent. One is constantly treated to a bird's-eye view of the different valleys as the road twists and turns from one spur to another. Especially breathtaking is the view of Narkanda from Fagu, a small village enroute. What gives Narkanda its awe-inspiring view of the snowy peaks is the fact that it is located on the ridge of the last watershed before the Himalayan range. Below Narkanda, to the north is the Sutlej Valley and beyond it is the snowy massif. The ridge on which Narkanda stands is the watershed between the Sutlej on the north and the Giri River. The sleepy town of Narkanda sits astride the watershed between the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal. The area around Narkanda is also the orchard region of Himachal, where cherry, apple etc are grown. One can see empty and packed crates of these fruits on the roadside, at various points on the way. Narkanda is also an upcoming hot spot for adventure sports such as skiing. PRIME ATTRACTION Hattu Peak: A better view of Narkanda is obtained from the nearby Hattu peak, which is nearly 2,000 feet higher than Narkanda, and just over an hour's trekking distance from it. Hattu Mata Temple: The ancient temple of Hattu Mata is alive with skiers. ADVENTURE: Narkanda is basically a transit point between Shimla and Rampur; the place is famous for hiking and skiing. The only peak available for skiing is Hattu Peak, which is 6-kms away from Narkanda. There are good opportunities for cross-country skiing around Narkanda, if one has required equipment and experience. HOW TO GET THERE Road: The fact that Narkanda is on the National Highway connecting Shimla to Kinnaur means that there is never a shortage of buses connecting one with Shimla. Shimla is at a distance of around 60-km and it takes only two hours to drive down to Narkanda from there. NEARBY CITIES Hattu Peak: 6-km Shimla: 60-km
Location: Himachal Pradesh Altitude: 1,220m Places of Interest: Neugal Khad, Andretta, and Tea Factory Best Time To Visit: March to June and mid-September to November The Tea Capital of North India: Palampur is the tea capital of northwest India. Set on the rising slopes of Kangra Valley before they merge with the Dauladhar ranges. But tea is just one aspect that makes Palampur a special resort. Abundance of water and proximity to the mountains has endowed it with mild climate. The town has derived its name from the local word "pulum', meaning lots of water. Palampur was a part of the local Sikh kingdom and later on came under the 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 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. PRIME ATTRACTION Neughal Khad: Close to the temple of Bundelmata temple, is this 300-metre-wide chasm through which the Neugal stream flows. Andretta: The charming village, spread below thethickly 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 centre for various artistic activities such as pottery and is just 13-km away from Palampur. Gopalpur: Situated 13-km away from the town, Gopalpur consists of a mini zoo. Baijnath: Noted for it's ancient temple, which was built in 804 AD and dedicated to Shiva Vaidyanatha. The imposing snow capped peaks of Dhauladhars frame its tall shikhara carved in stone. 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 colourful fair and festivities. It is 16-km from Palampur and 56-km from Dharamsala. One of the most remarkable monuments of the Beas Valley is the temple of Baijnath. The village of Baijnath is situated 23-miles east of Nagarkot, as the crow flies, close to the Mandi border and on the main road, which leads from the Punjab plains through Kangra, Kullu, Lahul, and Ladakh to Central Asia. Known as Kirangama, its name was changed after the temple was dedicated to Lord Shiva in his form as Vaidyanath or the "Lord of Physicians". The Temple is a good example of Nagri style of architecture. The Baijnath temple is orientated due west. It consists of a puri or adytum, 8-feetsquare inside and 18-feet outside, surmounted by a spire of the usual conical shape, and of a mandapa or front hall, 20-feet-square inside, covered with a low pyramid shaped roof. The adytum, which contains the linga known as Vaidyanatha, is entered through a small anteroom with two pillars in antis. This linga enshrined in the sanctum is one of the 12 jyotirlingas in the country. The roof of the mandapa is supported by four massive pillars connected by raised benches, which form, as it were, a passage leading up to the entrance of the sanctum. The architraves resting on these pillars divide the space of the ceiling into nine compartments, each of which is closed by means of corbelling slabs. In front of the mandapa rises a stately porch resting on four columns. "The shafts of these pillars", Fergusson remarks, "are plain cylinders, of very classical proportions, and the bases also show that they are only slightly removed from classical design". "The square plinth, the two toruses, the cavetto or hollow molding between are all classical, but partially hidden by Hindu ornamentation, of great elegance but unlike anything found after wards". The same author at considerable length discusses the capitals of the pot-and -foliage type. Both the south and north wall of the mandapa are adorned with a graceful balcony window. The four corners are strengthened by means of massive buttress-like projections in the shape of halfengaged - miniature sikhara temples, each containing two niches in which image slabs are placed. Smaller niches in slightly projecting chapels are found between the corner projections and the entrance and balcony windows. Cunningham and Fergusson that the Baijnath temple had undergone a thorough restoration at the bands of Raja Sansar Chand Katoch (A.D. 1776-1824) assumed it. But Sir Aurel Stein, who had the advantage of personally inspecting the temple in December, 1892, expressed the opinion that the building "has not under gone such very great alterations as the earlier describers state. "He points out, that the doorway of the adytum is still decorated with the images of the river goddesses mentioned in the inscription. Only the roof seems to be modern; and according to the statements of the local priests - it was renovated in the days of Raja Sansar Chand II".
A life-sized stone Nandi, believed to be the carrier of Lord Shiva stands at the entrance. Also are other miniature shrines and memorial stones within the complex said to have been built around 804 A.D. The temple of Baijnath, although situated at no great distance from the centre of the earthquake of the 4th April 1905, but suffered slight injury from that catastrophe. The neighbouring smaller temple of Sidhnath, on the contrary, completely collapsed. Every year during Shivratri Fair, pilgrims descend on Baijnath for the colourful fair and festivities. Chamunda Devi: The famous temple dedicated to the goddess Chamunda is 25-kms away from Plampur and Yatri Niwas here provides an excellent accommodation for the visitors. Not far from Dharamsala is the famous temple of Chamunda Devi. It is an enchanting spot with glorious views of the mountains, the Baner Khud, Pathiar and Lahla forests. 15-km from Dharamshala a tiny village of Dadh on Palampur road is the famous temple dedicated to Goddess Chamunda Devi. On reaching the temple a glorious view of Dhoula Dhar on three sides and 'Baner Khud' flowing alongside the temple. The temple has artistic carvings on its lintel, pillars and the ceiling. Behind the main temple is a small shrine of Lord Shiva in the Shikhara style. There is another platform in front of this temple where two very old peepul trees provide shelter to the visitors. From this platform a bird's eye view of most of the land marks in the town including Chaugan, Circuit House, most of the temples and river Ravi can be had. Archaeological Survey of India is looking after the temple. There is a Shiva 'lingam' under the rock where the temple of Chamunda is sited. There are no legends about the lingam. The idol is called Nandikeswar. So the sacred site is called 'Chamunda Nandikeshwar'. THE LEGEND OF CHAMUNDA DEVI: In Jallandar Mahatmya, Chapter VI reference is made to 'Chamunda Nandikeshwar' and people believe the reference is to these two deities 'Chamunda' and 'Nandikeshwar'. The legend associated is well known. In 'Satya Yuga' two 'Daityas' (demons), 'Shumbh' and 'Nishumbh' engaged themselves in deep meditation and were blessed by Lord Brahma with immense power. The Daityas deified 'Indra' and other Gods. The Gods were terrified of the Daityas and resorted to Jadrangal village and propitiated 'Jagadamba Devi'. The Devi was pleased and promised to rescue them from the Daityas. She created a Devi out of her body, a beautiful person 'Kaushika'. Kaushika was given the assignment of destroying Shumbh and Nishumbh. The two Daityas heard of her beauty and wanted to bring her to them. They failed to persuade her to come to them through a 'doot' (messenger) who was scornfully sent away. Kaushika sent word through the messenger that she could only be won by a war. A dreadful war started. Kaushika Devi created 'Kalika' Shakti from her forehead and Kalika cut off the heads of 'Chund' and 'Mund', two brave and fearless commanders of the two Daityas. The destruction of the Daityas followed and the three worlds were relieved of the Daityas. Kaushika Devi blessed Kalika Shakti and asked her to be seated at Jadrangal village and be known as Chamunda. She would fulfil the desires of the needy persons. This mythological story is based on Devi Bhagwati, Markandey Puran and Durga Saptsati. There is another story about the siting of Chamunda. She was seated first on a higher mountain near a fort built by Raja Chandra Bhann of Kangra. A blind devotee of Chamunda pleaded with the Devi to shift to a lower place where he could go more easily. The Devi agreed and came down to the present lower site. The Chamunda Devi was installed in a cave. It is said the temple was built about 700 years back. The great earthquake of 1905, which had created havoc in this area, did not cause any damage to the temple. The snow line starts at Illaqa. Those who want to do a return trip in one day are advised to start very early in the morning. There is a Forest Rest House.
Temple of Bundelmata: Walk through tea gardens and open fields or drive to reach this temple built about five centuries ago. 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 it's 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. Tea Factory: The cooperative society tea factory provides an insight to the processing of Kangra Tea. Al-Hilal: A few kilometres from the city of Palampur are Al-Hilal, a place of unparalleled charm. During the conquests of Kangra by Maharaja Renjit Singh, this place was a military bastion. Trekking: 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. Hang/Paragliding: 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. Hang-Gliding is a new sport practiced at Billing, 14-km from Bir and is said to be among the finest sites for hang-gliding in the world. An annual hang-gliding tournament is also held over here. About Hang-Gliding: Hang-glider is an aircraft to which undercarriage and solely the pilot’s legs provide take off power. It consists of 3 aluminum tubes pivoted at the nose, a trapeze or cross bar for control and a decor tail. They are of various sizes and weights ranging from 7 to 25 kg. A parachute assures the safety of the pilot. They are made of high quality material to withstand different heights, wind force and gravity to which they are exposed. The alit-meter, vary-meter and wind-speed meters, and indicators are used for right movements and safe landing. To make further improvement, a small engine and wheel with extra seat have now been added for comfortable flying. Hang gliders are portable and can be carried on back or in a jeep to the starting point. These can be made ready quickly. Using air current without an engine power usually performs hand gliding. The pilot is suspended in a swing harness from the centre of the keel and maintains control wholly by weight shift arrangement with the help of airframe. To take off, the pilot runs on a down hill approximately 40-degree slope and is airborne the moment he crosses the gliders stalling speed, which vary from 15-km to 30-km per hour. Soaring can be done by using ridge lifts created by wind striking the hill face or by hot air columns known as "thermals" that keep rising upward from the sun heated surface. One can fly as long as one wishes once he has acquired good experience. Fishing: 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 Rail: 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. FAIRS & FESTIVALS Holi: 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.
SHOPPING: Palampur is an ideal place for the purchase of exquisite Kangra tea, local handicrafts, Tibetan carpets and pullovers. CLIMATE: The weather in Palampur is moderate. Summers are mild and winters are cold but pleasant. It experiences southwestern monsoon rains in July-September. NEARBY CITIES Maranda: 2-km Gopalpur: 13-km Bir: 14-km Baijnath: 16-km Andretta: 13-km Billing: 42-km
Location: Himachal Pradesh Altitude: 4,70m Places of Interest: Renuka, Subathu, Dagshai, Pinjore, and Kasauli Best Time To Visit: July to September Along the National Highway No.22, as one cross the state border of Haryana into Himachal, there comes the town of Parwanoo. A couple of decades ago, this was a sleepy little village but today, it is a pulsating industrial town. Fruit based products, plastics, motor parts and watch components roll out of Parwanoo's factories. For a tourist, Parwanoo is a convenient base station to see and visit a number of nearby areas. PRIME ATTRACTION Renuka (132-km): With a circumference of roughly 2.5-kms, this is the largest lake in Himachal. Fed by underground springs, it is shaped like the profile of a reclining woman and is regarded to be the embodiment of the Goddess Renuka. With a circumference of 3214m, Renukaji is the largest natural lake in Himachal. Shaped like the profile of a reclining woman, this is regarded as the embodiment of the goddess 'Renuka'. Near the lake's feet is another lake held sacred to her son, 'Parshurama'. Both have temples built around them and the main temple to Renuka is regarded to have been built overnight in the 18th century. The lake rests in a long valley and the surrounding slopes are covered with a variety of vegetation and thick woods. Boating is available on the lake. Renuka has a mini zoo with spotted deer, lion-tailed macaques, nilgai, mithun, barking deer and Himalayan black bears - and a lion safari. Fishing is possible on the river Giri, at nearby Jataun. Dagshai (28-km): A one time British cantonment, this small town is surrounded by pine trees and also has an old church. Subathu (16-km): Still a cantonment, it has also got the remains of a Gurkha Fort. Pinjore (10-km): Parwanoo is an excellent base to visit the famed Mughal style gardens at Pinjore. The Celebrated Mughal Gardens: Lying at the foothills of the lower Shivalik ranges are one of the most fascinating Mughal Gardens, also known as Yadavindra Gardens. The Gardens are only 22 kms from Chandigarh and 14 kms from Panchkula town. The gardens have a charm that is unparalleled. The fascinating Mughal Gardens are perhaps the only Mughal garden, where one descends to the last step. Nawab Fidai Khan, a cousin of Aurangzeb, and an architect of repute planned the architecture of the gardens. He also designed the Badshahi Mosque at Lahore. The Nawab was also the Governor of the Province and it was during his tours, that he chanced upon the rare beauty of this valley. The Nawab realised the beauty of the place and set to work. He planned the Garden on the classical Charbagh pattern, giving the area central waterway. Both sides of this
waterway were covered with the patches of green bordered with flowers and shaded by trees like the traditional palm, the cypress and magnolia. But the Nawab could not stay here for long. Frightened by local goiter stricken women, the courtiers of the Nawab fled. The palace fell in the hands of the Raja of Sirmaur who had planned this move. In 1775 AD, Maharaja Amar Singh of Patiala bought Pinjore and consolidated it in his lands. He restored the beauty of the Gardens and frequently visited it, till in 1966, the Gardens were handed over to Haryana when it was formed as a new state. The Gardens were the first and only centre of tourist attraction at the time. Kasauli (37-km): A charming hill station with lots of 'old world' charm. HOW TO GET THERE Air: The closest airport is at Chandigarh, 22-km away. Rail: The nearest broad gauge railhead is at Kalka, only 4-km away. Road: Regular buses and taxis are available from both Chandigarh and Kalka. CLIMATE: In winter, the temperature can get quite low when heavy woolens are required. It is pleasantly warm in summer and cottons are recommended. NEARBY CITIES Kalka: 4-km Dagshai: 28-km Subathu: 16-km Pinjore: 10-km Kasauli: 37-km Renuka: 132-km Chandigarh: 22-km
Location: Near Mandi, Himachal Pradesh Places of Interest: Rewalsar Lake, Mini Zoo Main Attractions: Sisu fair, Baisakhi Best Time To Visit: Mid-May to mid-October Located on a mountain spur, an hour's drive from Mandi brings one to this dark jewel- like lakeplace called Rewalsar. With water, woodland and high hills, it presents a variety of natural beauties and the spot is sacred for Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs. It was from here that the great Indian teacher and 'Tartaric' Padmasabhava left for Tibet. The Tibetans knew him as 'Guru Rimpoche', the Precious Master. It was under Padmasambahava's influence that Mahayana Buddhism spread over Tibet. There are islands of floating reed on Rewalsar Lake and the spirit of Padmasabhava is said to reside in them. It is here that the sage Lomas did penance in development to Lord Shiva, and the Sikh Guru Gobind Singh also resided here for one month. There are islands of floating reed on Rewalsar Lake and the sprit of Padmasabhava is said to reside in them. It is here that the sage Lomas did penance in devotion of Lord Shiva, and the Sikh Guru Gobind Singh also resided here for one month. The Sisu fair held in late February/early March and the festival of Baisakhi are important events at Rewalsa PRIME ATTRACTION Monasteries: At opposite ends if the lake there are two Tibetan monasteries. The Bhutanese also have one. Gurudwara: Raja Joginder Sen of Mandi built this Gurudwara in 1930. It commemorates Guru Gobind Singh's visit, when he sought to evolve a common strategy with the hill rulers against the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. Temples: At Rewalsar there is three Hindu temples. These are dedicated to the sage Lomas, to Lord Krishna and to Lord Shiva.
Mini Zoo: The forest department maintains a small zoo at Rewalsar. Above Rewalsar, the 'Seven Lakes' are also of great interest. Rewalsar Lake: 24-km from Mandi is a famous lake, which is equally sacred to Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs. It was from this place that Padmasambhava, a zealous teacher and a missionary left for Tibet to preach the doctrine of "The Enlightened". HOW TO GET THERE Air: The airport at Bhuntar is at a distance of 89-km. Taxis/buses are available from this place to Rewalsar. Rail: The closest railhead is at Pathankot; 234-km away from Pathankot the narrow gauge railway connects Joginder Nagar, which is 80-km from Rewalsar. Pathankot is linked with many big cities through broad gauge. Road: Rewalsar is connected by road and is 24-km from Mandi CLIMATE: In winter, the temperature can hover around freezing point when heavy woolens are required. During summer, the clime is mild and light woolens/cottons are recommended. NEARBY CITIES Mandi: 24-km Jogindar Nagar: 80-km Bhuntar: 89-km Manali: 131-km Dharamsala: 171-km Shimla: 174-km
Location: Himachal Pradesh Also known As: The Summer Refuge Altitude: 2,159m. Places of Interest: The Mall, Christ Church, Kufri, and Narkanda Best Time To Visit: April to August & December to January Shimla (also spelt as 'Simla') derives its name from goddess 'Shayamla Devi', which is another manifestation of Goddess Kali. The capital of Himachal Pradesh came into light when the British discovered it in 1819. Till then, it was a part of the Nepalese kingdom. In 1864 Shimla was declared as the summer capital of India. After Independence, Shimla became the capital of Punjab and was later named the capital of Himachal Pradesh. In 1903 a rail line was constructed between Kalka and Shimla. Shimla has been blessed with all the natural bounties, one can think of. Dwelling on a panoramic location, the hilly town is surrounded by green pastures and snow-capped peaks. The spectacular cool hills accompanied by the structures made during the colonial era create an aura, which is very different from other hill stations. Bulging at its seams with unprecedented expansion, Shimla retains its colonial heritage, with grand old buildings; among them are the stately Viceregal Lodge, charming iron lampposts and Anglo-Saxon names. The Mall, packed with shops and eateries, is the centre of attraction of the town, and Scandal Point, associated with the former Maharaja of Patiala's escapades, offers a view of distant snowballed peaks. PRIME ATTRACTION Christ Church & St. Michael's Cathedral: Built in 1846-1857, Christ Church is the second oldest church of Northern India. The Church overlooks the ridge and is one of the landmarks of Shimla. The clocks on Christ Church were added later but none of them are functional now. The Church's exquisite beauty comes with the stained glasses that are fitted on its windows. The towns other important churches are St. Michael's Cathedral and Roman Catholic Cathedral, which is just off the Mall.
The most prominent building on the Mall is the yellow Christ Church, reputed to be the second oldest church in northern India. The silhouette of this can be seen on the skyline for miles around. It was designed by Colonel JT Boileau in 1844, but consecrated only after 1857. Colonel Dumbleton donated the clock in 1860, and the porch added in 1873. In Shimla 75 years of reigning as summer capital, a long line of officials and other notables of the Raj came to the church for their Sunday prayers. The seasonal influx would be so great at times that space would pose a big problem. Now, of course, the congregations have dwindled and there is no lack of space. It still has those lovely stained glass windows for which it is so famed. Check out the one that represents the virtues of Faith, Hope, Charity, Fortitude, Patience and Humility. But around the chancel window used to be a beautiful fresco designed by Rudyard Kipling's father, Lockwood Kipling, who was the principal of Mayo School of Art in Lahore. But nothing of it remains today. Note the interesting brasses and plaques too that are present over here. One can discreetly have a look inside the church, or attend English-language services every Sunday during the tourist season. The other main church in Shimla is St Michael's Cathedral just below the Central Telegraph Office Himachal State Museum & Library: The museum is located 2.5-km west of the scandal point and opens daily except on Mondays and public holidays. It has got a good collection of ancient historical sculptures, paintings, coins, photos and other items from all over the state as well as outside it. It has also got a library, which houses many historical books and manuscripts. Housed in a charming colonial building, Inverarm, the State museum is located atop a hill that rises above the Chaura Maiden. A selection of Himachal's rich heritage is displayed over here. It is a stiff 1500m hike to the museum, but well worth the effort; its diverse collection includes contemporary and antique works of art, well displayed in a colonial mansion. The gallery houses the magnificent Pahari miniature paintings, which are the examples of the last great Hindi art form to flourish in northern India before the deadening impact of the Western culture in the early 19th century. Stone sculpture of considerable antiquity and artistic merit assorted bronzes, arms and armour, dolls, anthropological items and numismatic finds are also on display. Among the museums paintings are dozens of Moghul and Rajasthan miniatures and a couple of fine 'Company' watercolors. Also worth checking out are the striking contemporary oils of the Himalayas, a small collection of the 19th and 20th century deity masks from Kullu and Saharan and a remarkable collection of temple bronzes. One room is devoted to Mahatma Gandhi, packed with fascinating photos of his time in Shimla, and amusing cartoons of his political relationship with the British Viceregal Lodge & Botanical Gardens: On the Observatory Hills is located Viceregal Lodge, which is also known as "Rashtrapati Niwas". This magnificent building was the residence of the British Viceroy Lord Dufferin. This lodge was completed in 1888 and it is said that mules carried every brick for the building. This is a six-storey building and is surrounded by well-maintained gardens and lawns. The lodge has now been converted into Institute of Advanced Study and is further 2-km from State Museum. SHOPPING CENTRE: The Mall: This is the main shopping centre of Shimla with restaurants. The Gaiety Theatre, which is a reproduction of an old British theatre, is a center of cultural activities. A passenger lift of HPTDC can be taken from the Cart Road and the Mall. Lakkar Bazaar adjacent to the Ridge is popular for its woodcrafts and souvenirs. Prospect Hill: Crowned by a temple dedicated to Kamna Devi 15-minutes walk from Boileauganj on Shimla-Bilaspur road. The hill at an altitude of 2,155m offers a spectacular view of the area. The Ridge: The large open space in the heart of town presents excellent view of the mountain ranges. Shimla's landmarks - the Neo-Gothic structure of Christ Church and the new - Tudor Library building is worth seeing.
Jakhu Temple: Dedicated to Lord Hanuman, this temple is at an altitude of 2,455m near the highest point of Shimla ridge. It offers a fine view over the surrounding valleys, out to the snowcapped peaks, and over the town itself. The temple is a 45-minute walk from the Mall. Jakhu is a vantagepoint for witnessing the changing skyline as the sunrises or sets. No visit to the state capital Shimla is complete without visiting Jakhu Hill. This hill looms over Shimla town and is the geographical nucleus. The Hanuman temple at the top of Jakhu hill is the highest point in town. The steep climb is rewarding for the fine views it offers over the surrounding valleys, out to the snowcapped peaks and over Shimla itself. The temple is only 2-km from the ridge at a height of 2,438m, but it could be an hour's walk for a person not used to mountain climbing. The temple is one of the most favored spots for the tourists apart from the pilgrims. The Legend: Hanuman, the faithful ally of Lord Rama of the Ramayana an epic, was the monkey God with whose help Lord Rama was able to defeat the arch-demon Ravana, the king of Lanka. The faithful nature of Hanuman is often illustrated by his representations being found guarding forts and palace entrances. The British never placed Hanuman on top of Jakhu hill to guard the township. The temple site predates the British Raj. An episode in the Ramayana had Lakshman, Rama's brother mortally wounded in a battle with Ravana's forces. Hanuman was sent to fetch the mythical medicinal 'Sanjivini' herb from the Himalayas in order to cure the wounded. The legend about the temple is that Hanuman rested at Jakhu Hill after collecting the herb. After resting, he journeyed back to the battlefield of Lanka. There are many monkeys around the temple, but surprisingly they don't attack people unless fiddled with. Pilgrims offer them eatables, which they readily accept. The approach to the temple is through a dense forest of Deodars, though many find the climb tiresome. Ponies are available for a to and fro ride to the temple. The path towards the temple starts just left of Christ Church. After the hard hack up, the temple itself, a red and yellow brick affair crammed with fairy lights and tinsel comes as something of an anti climax. The shrine inside houses what are believed to be the footprints of Hanuman? Sankat Mochan: On Shimla-Kalka road is the famous "Lord Hanuman" temple. Situated at an altitude of 1,975m, it commands an excellent view of Shimla town. Tara Devi: On Shimla-Kalka road this holy place is accessible by rail, bus and car (11-km). From the station / road - one can visit the temple either on foot or by taxi / jeep. Chadwick Falls: Surrounded by thick forests, one can reach these falls by taking about 45minutes (7-km) walk from Summer Hill Chowk. 02-km beyond the Summer Hill and 7-km west of the ridge from Shimla are the Chadwick Falls, which was once the site of a 67-m aquatic spectacle. Today there is a silent gorge, which is flocked by many picnickers. Chadwick Falls is really worth visiting during or just after the monsoons - from July to October. Fagu (22-Km) 2,450m: Situated on Hindustan-Tibet Road (22-km), at a height of 2,450m Fagu is gifted with some enchanting views. Bharari Spur: It is a less explored area within the town. From here, one can take a long haul by foot through the thick cedar forest to the Hot Springs of Tattapani, or to the ruins of Kiar Koti. Institute Of Advanced Studies: Housed in the former Viceregal Lodge, it was built in 1888. A spectacular English Renaissance Grey stone structure. The entry in the institute is by ticket and only on Sundays the grounds are open for the public. Annadale: Surrounded by deodar trees, this glade has an ancient temple on the edge. Summer Hill: At an altitude of 1,283m, Summer Hill is a picturesque spot on Shimla-Kalka Railway line offering shady walks in quiet surroundings. The Father of Nation, Mahatma Gandhi during his visit to Shimla lived in the elegant Georgian House of Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur located here. HP University is also situated over here.
Himalayan Aviary: Close to the vicarage lodge is the Himalayan Aviary or the Himalayan Bird Park. This park is a natural habitat of numerous species of birds found in Himachal such as Himalayan Monal, Pheasants, Peafowl’s and National Bird of India, the Peacock
Location: Near Mashobra, Shimla District, and Himachal Pradesh Famous As: Scenic Spot Main Attraction: The Annual Fair Held At the Temple Of Deothi A Natural Delight: Wide at places for once it was proper road, the steep path plunges down the hillside. In a few places have mosses mixed with grass dared impose themselves for centuries of use and immeasurable quantities of pouring rain and melting snow have worn down the thin topsoil. Exposed tree roots snake across the deeply embedded boulders that lie under the fine dust. Prised loose from the rock, some small stones are littered and tumble as unsure feet hit them. Somewhere crushed to a shapeless fibre and somewhere flawlessly intact, pine and spruce cones lie sprawled in the sunshine along the path's sloping edges. By its sides, neatly sliced along the wooded hill, are grain filled fields, orchards and banks of dancing daises. The Valley Of Trees: The path to Sipur begins at Mashobra and its tree lined shaded ends at Sipur where seven springs feed the slim brooks that slither through the rich grass. But it is the centuries old Deodar (Himalayan Cedar) trees that have given these acres of land a unique character. And they are sacred. No one may cut them and the villagers who cross by dust themselves before leaving the glade lest some fallen needles from the branches have settled on their hair and clothes. This trees- like the glade- 'belong' to the local deity seep, whose personality has now merged with Lord Shiva's (as elsewhere in the state, many local deities are identified as versions from the central pantheon of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Often, the local tutelary deity could be a man deified even in his lifetime). The Legend: How much these trees meant to Seep can be gauged from the local legend that speaks of the time when he was away on a pilgrimage. Villagers from the adjoining valley stole one of the Cedars and when Seep came to know of it, he rained a hail of iron on the thieving village. While geologists may have other explanations for the devastated look of the hillside on the way to Naldehra, even today, people from Seeps side of the hill do not marry in the other belt. The stolen tree is in the village of Shanel and as it had been uprooted from its actual home, it has an 'upside down' appearance. While most Deodars grow straight and stately, this has a series of multiple trunks, quite like roots reaching for the heavens. Who Seep was is not really clear, but he is supposed to have been brought centuries ago when the founders of the erstwhile princely state of Koti are said to have migrated to the area. At the time of this migration, this tract was controlled by local strongmen, Mavis, who also wished to share in the worship of seep, but the people who had brought him would not allow this. The upshot was that the Mavis would desecrate the temple, which had been built in the village of Nehra. Speaking through his worshippers, seep declared that he wished to move from Nehra, adding that a line of ants would soon march through the village and where they finally circled a mound was where he finally wanted to reside. The line of ants did come the story goes, and they marched through the woods and stopped on a spur that juts out of the hillside. The Temple Of Deothi: Here, at the village of Deothi is Seeps actual temple - he only visits the glade of Sipur, which is named after him, thrice a year. Rebuilt at various times, and most recently in the last quarter of the 19th century, the temple at Sipur is a superb example of vernacular temple architecture. Interestingly, folk carving on an eavesboard depict two figures obviously colonial Englishmen by their dress - shooting a tiger. Sipur is the site for an annual fair
held on the second Sunday of April and the walk between Sipur and Deothi through woods is a naturalist's delight. HOW TO GET THERE Air: Shimla has an airport, 22 km away, from the main city with regular flights to Delhi. Chandigarh airport, 120 km away on the plains, has flights at more regular intervals. The flights to Shimla may be called off, during the winter months of December, January and February, so you will need to check them up in advance. Rail: Kalka is the nearest railhead from Shimla. Road: Sipur is just 12-km from Shimla, which is very well connected by road to all the major cities within the state as well as from other state. There are regular state transport buses and private ones plying from Shimla to Sipur, as it makes quiet a good hop over destination for a day from Shimla. NEARBY CITIES Shimla: 12-km Kasauli: 80-km Bilaspur: 81-km Kalka: 90-km Chandigarh: 117-km
Location: Himachal Pradesh Altitude: 932m Places of Interest: Nahan, Paonta Sahib, Bhangani, and Sirmuri Tal Best Time To Visit: Mid-May to mid-October. Himachal Pradesh is not only the land of snow and high mountains but also has lower hills known as Shivalik, where too the tourists can spend their vacations, see the wonders of nature like the big lakes, wild life parks/ sanctuaries and the fossil parks etc. One such area is district Sirmaur, where a triangle of 3 important tourist places namely Nahan, Renuka and Paonta Sahib, have attracted many tourists all round the year. The district headquarter of Sirmour is Nahan and has a pleasant climate throughout the year. The Sirmaur district has the Shivalik hills in the south and the northern parts are made up of the forests and ravines of the first and second belt of the Himalayan ranges. The places here have man made lakes as well as natural ones, temples, tea gardens and ruins of ancient and not so ancient forts. This district connects the hills of Uttar Pradesh to the hills of Himachal. Trilokpur is a place nearby that holds a fair, twice in a year, dedicated to the Goddess 'Bala Sundari'. The highest peak of the area is the 'Churdhan peak', which one can visit by passing through the villages of Dadahu, Sangrah, Bhawai, Gandhuri and Nahura. The Renuka Lake is a place of interest for the pilgrims as well as the general tourists and is the most beautiful lake of Himachal. Its shape is said to be that of a sleeping woman. In November, the Renuka Fair is held in honour of the mother of Parshu Ram i.e. Renuka Devi. PRIME ATTRACTION Nahan: Nahan a historic town pleasantly located on a ridge of Shivalik hills, has an outlook over green forests and valleys with the Churdhar Peak 3,647 meters dominating the scene. It is good base for short or long treks as well as to visit the other nearby places including Suketi Fossil Park. Nahan has three popular waking circuits, the Villa round, Hospital round and Military round, which are worth doing before starting any trek. The Chaugan a green ground is at the heart of the town, which has princely affiliations cherished remains of the old royal capital, Sirmouri Tal in the form of sculpture are displayed at Circuit House. Nahan is also famous for its Bawan Dwadashi Festival, held every year in month of September. Paonta Sahib: It is a sacred city dedicated to the memory of Guru Gobind Singh the tenth Guru of Sikhs is situated on the right bank of river Yamuna and 45-km from Nahan on Nahan-
Dehradun road. It is religious place for Sikhs with a Gurudwara. Paonta means, "foot" and the particular name has been derived after this because either the Guru set foot here or according to alternative story he lost his paonta or ring while taking bath in river Yamuna. It also said that the Yamuna flows without a ripple here because Guru calms down its turbulent water. Thousands of devotees throng here at the spring festivals of Holi and Baisakhi. Two Hindu temples are also situated over here, dedicated to Lord Rama and Lord Krishna. Paonta Sahib, a city sacred to the memory of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, is also a bustling township with growing industries. It retains tangibly memorials to the martial Guru in the form of his weapons and a majestic Gurudwara and recalls his presence even in the name of the city which is derived from "paon" meaning "foot" either because he set foot in this place or according to an alternative story, because he lost an ornament which he wore on his foot called a "paonta" while bathing in the river Yamuna which flows here. Overlooking the river is the Gurudwara where Guru Gobind Singh held court and wrote the major portion of the "Dassam Granth". The Guru also built the Paonta Fort in over hundred acres of land, which housed not only his followers, but as many as 46 famous poets. Regular poetry reading sessions and symposiums were organized to encourage the sort form. The guru left Paonta Sahib after the battle of Bhangani with Raja Fateh Shah, in which he defeated the errant ruler's army after thirty days of battle. Paonta Sahib is distinguished by its association with the Sikhs and attracts them by the thousands at the spring festivals of 'Baisakhi' and ' Holi'. There are also two Hindu temples, one dedicated to Lord Rama called Devi Ka Mandir and built by a princess, and the other is sacred to Lord Krishna. Gurudwara Paonta Sahib (200m): This site was Guru Gobind Singh's home for over four years and it was here that he wrote the 'Dasam Granth'. Within its precincts are the 'Sri Talab Asthan', where he disbursed salaries and the 'Sri Dastar Asthan', where he judged the turban-tying competitions. At the Kavi Darbar Asthan, poetic symposia were held. There is also a memorial of 'Kalpi Rishi' and a museum that displays pens of the Guru and weapons of the time. Yamuna Temple (200m): This ancient shrine is immediately below the Gurudwara and is dedicated to the Goddess Yamuna. Gurudwara Bhangani Sahib (23-km): This commemorates Guru Gobind Singh's first battle when he defeated Raja Fateh Shah and his allies. Gurudwara Tirgarh Sahib (22-km): This Gurudwara is built on the hillock from where Guru Gobind Singh shot arrows at the enemy. Nagnauna Temple (16-km): Built in a hollow near the village of Puruwalla, this temple is closely allied with the legend of Sirmour's erstwhile ruling house.
Gurudwara Shergarh Sahib (12-km): At this spot Guru Gobind Singh beheaded a dangerous man-eating tiger with a single swipe of his sword. Shiva Temple, Patlian: 5-km from Paonta Sahib, surrounded by fields and sal trees, the 'linga' in this temple is supposed to be steadily increasing in size. Katasan Devi Temple: 30-km from Paonta Sahib, also known as Uttam Wala Bara Ban, this is on the Paonta Sahib-Nahan road. Local people revere the shrine. At this spot, the forces of Sirmour defeated the marauding armies of Ghulam Qadir Khan Rohiolla.
Balasundari Temple, Trilokpur: Legend has it that the Devi's 'pindi' appeared in the bag of salt brought by a local trader, Raja Deep Parkash of Sirmour in 1573. Close by is a recently built Shiva temple. Ram Temple: Within Paonta Sahib and also known as the ‘Mandir Shri Dei Ji Sahiba’, this is located near the Yamuna Bridge. With exquisite marble work, his wife, who originally belonged to Sirmour, built this in 1889 in the memory of Raja Partap Chand of Kangra. The Kirpal Dass Gurudwara is just past the temple. Bhangani: The exploits of Guru Gobind Singh are recalled again at the battlefield of Bhangani, 23-km from Paonta Sahib, where the Guru defeated the combined forces of twenty-two hill rulers, three of whom died fighting. Their wives, in grief, immolated themselves and monuments in Bhangani were raised to the dead rulers and their wives. Meanwhile, the victorious Sikhs found, they had further cause of jubilation in the timely birth of the Guru's first son. He was called, appropriately 'Ajit' meaning the 'invincible.' Sirmuri Tal: Situated about 16-km northwest of Paonta Sahib on the river Giri, it is the site of ancient town of Sirmour. A legend surrounds the ruins of the old capital of the Rajas of Sirmuri Tal. It is said to have been destroyed by the curse of a court dancer when the king reneged on an oath to giver her half of his kingdom if she crossed the rivers gorge on a rope. This she did but the wily Raja offered her the entire kingdom if she could dance her way back. As she was half way across, he cut the rope hurling the helpless girl into the river. Floods followed which swept away the city, the raja and the royal house in fulfillment of the dancer's curse. So complete was her revenge that the kingdom was left without an heir until the king of Jaisalmer was invited to occupy the throne. The place has a haunting charm. HOW TO GET THERE Air: Chandigarh is nearest airport, which is 87-km from Nahan. Rail: Ambala is the nearest Railhead 63-km from Nahan. Road: Nahan is well connected by road. Regular buses and taxis available from Ambala and Chandigarh. Regular bus services linking it to the other towns like Manali, Delhi and Haridwar are also available. NEARBY CITIES Nahan: 90-km Paonta Sahib: 135-km Renuka: 112-km Simuri Tal: 128-km Ambala: 153-km Chandigarh: 177-km
Location: Himachal Pradesh Altitude: 1,350m. Places of Interest: Shalooni Devi Temple, Barog, and 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 cooperation, 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. PRIME ATTRACTION Barog: 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 ShivTemple: This is a very old temple and every year an annual fair is organized here on the occasion of Mahashivratri, which makes it a must see place, just 6-kms away from Solan. 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. Giri Picnic: Enjoy your picnic amongst the cool waters of Giri, 20-kms from Solan. Karol Tibba: 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. 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. HOW TO GET THERE Air: From Kasauli the nearest airport is Chandigarh and Shimla is the nearest airport from Solan. Rail: The nearest railhead is Kalka in Haryana, which is 40-km from Kasauli and 44-km from Solan. Solan is also well connected with narrow gauge railway line from Kalka. Road: Solan and Kasauli are also well connected by roadway buses, coaches, and taxis, which are easily available from Chandigarh and Delhi. CLIMATE: Solan is a bracing hillstation throughout the year but hotter as compared to Shimla. At the time of summer in Solan, cotton clothes are recommended as the temperature rises to 35 Celsius and light woolen to heavy woolens are required in winters as the temperature dips to -2 Celsius. NEARBY CITIES Barog: 8-km Kalka: 44-km
Location: Himachal Pradesh Main Attraction: Baba Bhar Bhag Singh Mela Places of Interest: Chintpurni Temple, Bangana-Lathian-Piplu, and Dera Baba Best Time To Visit: July to September Una has been carved out of Hoshiarpur district of Punjab in 1966 where the hilly areas of Punjab were transferred to Himachal Pradesh and the whole area is warm. It shares its borders with
Kangra, Hamirpur and Bilaspur and acts as a gateway to these regions. Efforts are being made to develop some places in Nangal and Bhakra areas. PRIME ATTRACTION Chintpurni Temple: It is located on Dharamshala-Hoshiarpur road on a ridge. Thousands of devotees visit this temple every year. The main fair is held during the 10 days of "Shukalpaksh" in August. A winding road goes up to the temple dedicated to 'Bhagwati Chinmastika' or Goddess 'Chintpurni' who grants all wishes. A popular place of pilgrimage, Chantpurni is about 75-km from the town Una and 100-km from Jalandhar. THE LEGEND OF CHINTPURNI TEMPLE: Along with hundreds of mythical legends about the origin of a temple in different parts of India, the very popular temple of Chintpurni temple is of the same type. The legend is that one 'Bhagat Mai Dass' was a great devotee of Durga deity and worshipped her with great devotion and never bothered over mundane affairs. He was a married man and his family along with others had shifted from Patiala side to village 'Rapoh' in Una district of Himachal Pradesh. The legend is that one-day Bhagat Mai Dass was going to his father-in-law's place and felt tired while by a jungle and slept under a tree. He had a dream: a young girl appeared before him and wanted him to stay there and worship her. He woke up in bewilderment. He came back to the particular spot from his father-in-law's place and went on praying to Durga. The girl appeared this time in human form and told him the whereabouts where he would find her in the form of a 'pindi' (a round stone-ball). He should install the Pindi in a temple. The Devi blessed him that he would have no fright, as it was a 'Devasthan' (site of Gods) though so deserted. She disappeared and Mai Das discovered the Pindi and installed it in a temple. It is believed that the place is where the toes of 'Gati' goddess had fallen being cut off by the 'Chakra' of Vishnu Lord, when he was cutting away the pieces of Sati's dead body carried by Lord Shiva in his 'Tandava Nritya'. The Pindi represents Sati's feet and is a manifestation of her. Chintpurni Devi is believed to fulfill the desires of a person who comes there and devotedly worships her. The temple is very popular and attracts thousands of pilgrims every year. The jungle has almost disappeared. The Mantram repeated in the 'Puja' is said to have been revealed by the Devi herself when she appeared in human form. The main fair is held during the 10 days of "Shukalpaksh" in August, in addition to many other religious festivals. In recent years the temple has been renovated with the help of major donations from devotees all over the country. Bangana-Lathian-Piplu: This area falls on the Una Barsar- Hamirpur road. Piplu is situated on the top of Sola Singh Dhar from where the view of Gobind-Sagar Lake is fascinating. This area attracts tourist during the winter season especially, when they propose to visit other religious places like Jogi Ponga and Naina Deviji. Dera Baba Bharbhag Singh: The place has famous Gurudwara where thousand of Sikhs visit every year to receive the blessing of Baba Bharbhag Singh, who was a saint and established this Gurudwara which was earlier known as Dera. It is about 40-kms from Una town and one can reach this place by bus directly or by train upto Una or by air upto Chandigarh. The Gurudwara is situated on the top of the hill and is surrounded by Ecyluptus trees. HOW TO GET THERE Rail: Una is well connected by broad gauge rail. Road: Una is approachable by road from Shimla, Chandigarh and Pathankot. FAIRS & FESTIVALS: A famous fair also known as Baba Bhar Bhag Singh Mela is held at Dera Baba in the month of February in honour of Barbhag Singh ji who was reowned for his magical powers. This fair is held at the time of holi and is famous for the treatment of mental problems and is unique fair of its kind in the country. A large number of visitors suffering from mental problems come to this fair and are treated at the gurudwara by the priest called 'Masands'.
NEARBY CITIES 75-km
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