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Getting to Himachal

There are five major zones that draw the maximum visitor or act as base camps for most of Himachal – Shimla, Kullu and Manali, Dalhousie and Chamba, Kangra- Dharamshala-Palampur and PaontaNahan. From these routes one can explored "off-beat" destinations also. A wide range of accommodation like tourism hotels, private hotels, guest houses, home stays, rest houses etc. are available in these areas.

Shimla
By Air: The airport is at Jubbarhatti, 23 km from Shimla city and is connected to Delhi. Taxi/cabs are available. By Rail: Shimla is connected by a broadgauge line up to Kalka (90 km). The journey between Kalka and Shimla takes about six hours and is one of the finest ways of enjoying the landscape. The quaint rail car, which runs on this stretch, takes about five hours. A luxury coach that accommodates six persons has recentely been introduced and can be attached to any train of your choice. The Shivalik Express is a deluxe train on this route. Delhi (380 km), Chandigarh (120 km) and Kalka (90 km) are from Shimla. By Road: Shimla is connected by road to all major cities in north India. Taxi cabs for Shimla are available at Delhi, Chandigarh, Ambala and Kalka. Several state-run transport corporations including the Himachal Tourism Development Corporations ply Volvo ac and deluxe buses from Delhi and Chandigarh. Buses can also be chartered.

Dharamshala, Kangra and Palampur
By Air: The airport at Gaggal is 14 km from Dharamshala, 10 km from Kangra and 23 km from its twin town Mcleodganj. Palampur is 40 km away. Taxis are available. By Rail: Pathankot is the closest broadgauge railhead and is 85 km from Dharamshala and 124 km from Palampur. Taxis are available. You can opt for the narrow gauge train for a taste of the area. It connects Pathankot to Jogindernagar. The station feeding Dharamshala is Kangra Mandir (20 km) and the one for Palampur is Maranda. By Road: Dharamshala is accessible from National Highway No. 20 and is well linked to the region. It is 12 km from Gaggal town. Palampur is 38 km from Dharamshala and even independently is well linked. Dharamshala is 17 km from Kangra. An interesting variation of the standard can be made by taking the train from Delhi up to Jalandhar or Una and then traveling by road. En route you can visit the shrines of Chintpurni, Jawalamukhi and Bajreshwari Devi (Kangra). The shrine of Naina Devi is also easily accessible if you opt for the Nangal railway station. The road distance from Jalandhar to Dharamshala is 165 km along this route.

Kullu and Manali
By Air: The airport at Bhuntar is the common base that feeds these towns. This is 10 km from Kullu and 50 km from Manali. Public transport buses and taxis are available. By Road: Kullu and Manali are connected by an extensive network of road with the northen region. Air-conditioned and non air-conditioned deluxe coaches are run by HRTC, HPTDC and by private sector operators. National Highway No. 21 runs through the valley and connects Chandigarh and Delhi. Kullu is 535 km from Delhi.

Dalhousie and Chamba
By Air: The closest airport is at Gaggal (Kangra) near Dharamshala which is 125 km (Approx) from Dalhousie and 170 km (Approx) from Chamba via Banikhet route. Taxis are available. By Rail: The nearest railhead is at Pathankot 85 km from Dalhousie and 120 km from Chamba . Taxis are available. By Road: Both Dalhousie and Chamba are well connected by road. Taxis and regular coaches connect the towns.

Nahan, Paonta and Renuka (Sirmaur)
By Air: The closest airport is at Chandigarh. By Rail: The nearest railhead is at Ambala and Kalka. Taxis are available. By Road: From Ambala, Chandigarh & Kalka and Dehradun. Regular bus service connect the towns. Paonta Sahib is 45 km and Renuka is 38 km from Nahan.

Shimla

The Splendid World of Beauty
Popularly known as the “queen of hill stations”, Shimla mesmerises its tourists with its snow-capped peaks, cascading waterfalls, romantic lakes, beautiful valleys and pleasant climate. The land of Shimla is also dotted with massive colonial bungalows, a testimony to the glorious history of Shimla. Shimla is the capital city of Himachal Pradesh, the land of gods. Embark on a journey to Shimla and treat your senses to its various fabulous attractions. The best time to explore Shimla is between March-June and September-November. The wondrous Shimla is a famous destination for honeymooners. Walk hand in hand with your beloved and enjoy the pristine beauty of Shimla. Many a couple flock to Shimla throughout the year not only to enjoy the scenic beauty but also to enjoy each other’s company in a blissful environment.

Attractions of Shimla
The Ridge Road It is a wonderful and spacious space in Shimla offering overwhelming views of the mountain ranges. The famous Neo-Gothic Christ Church and the Tudar library are located on the Ridge.

The Mall It is a great shopping area of Shimla, lined with many shops and restaurants. A wide variety of handicrafts are available here. The Lakkar Bazaar located here is famous for its wooden objects. It is the best place to shop in Shimla.

Jakhu Hill Located at an elevation of 8000 ft, Jakhu Hill is the highest peak of Shimla. It is famous for its beautiful temple called Hanuman Temple, which is almost a home of monkeys. Although the monkeys don't harm anyone as all they need is some food, visitors are advised to be careful. The temple commands a wonderful view of the city. You can hire a taxi or pony to reach the temple.

State Museum Housing rare, ancient historic sculptures and paintings of Himachal Pradesh, the State Museum is the right place to acquaint oneself with the history of the state.

Chadwick Falls Surrounded by numerous deodar trees, the Chadwick Falls offers a very pleasant environment to spend some quality time with nature. There are some temples located near the waterfall, the other attractions of Shimla.

Viceregal Lodge Popularly known as the Rashtrapati Niwas, Viceregal Lodge is perched on the Observatory hills. It was once the residence of the then British Viceroy, Lord Dufferein. After India gained its independence, Viceregal Lodge served as the summer retreat of the President of India. Today, it is the Institute of Advanced Study.

Adventure sports Some of the adventure sports one can indulge in at Shimla are trekking, skiing, golfing, and river rafting, para-gliding, heli-skiing and fishing. So many options!

Kasauli

The Land of Fascinating Vistas
Kasauli, the land of superb vistas, is a charming hill station. Enveloped in a colonial influence, Kasauli is a wonderful town developed by the British before India gained its independence. It is located only 35 km from Shimla and is easily accessible. There is a legend attached to its creation. It was here that Lord Hanuman stopped while jumping from hill to hill, in his search for the Sanjeevani herb. Later a Hanuman Mandir was built at the spot where Lord Hanuman is believed to have rested his feet. The narrow winding roads of Kasauli are flanked by lush green flora. Like other hill stations of Himachal Pradesh, Kasauli is also endowed with immense natural beauty. Stroll through the narrow paths of Kasauli where you will not only enjoy the scenic beauty but will also get an opportunity to listen to the melodious chirping of some wonderful birds. The churches and bungalows built during the British rule in India are some of the amazing attractions of Kasauli.

Attractions of Kasauli
Monkey Point The very mention of Monkey Point makes tourists think that this place abounds in monkeys but don't worry this is not the case. The place derives its name from the great Hindu mythology. Monkey Point is the highest point of Kasauli. This is an excellent place to treat your senses to breathtaking scenic beauty.

Barog Barog was once just a stopover but over the years it has gained popularity of being a great tourist destination. The beautiful destination of Barog has an arresting environment, which leaves the visitors enchanted. Barog also offers fantastic views of the Choor Chandni, which is popularly known as the “mountain of the silver bangle”. Another famous tourist attraction in Kasauli is the junction of Upper and Lower Malls, lined up with several shops stocked with amazing handicrafts.

Manali

The Valley of Gods
Encompassed in sheer natural beauty, Manali is a fascinating hill station located in the majestic Himalayan Mountains of Himachal Pradesh. Be it adventure, scenic beauty, salubrious climate or rich cultural heritage, Manali offers it all. Perched at an elevation of 2625 m, Manali is a part of Kullu district. It is held in high regard by the Hindus as it was once the abode of the Saptarshi or seven sages. Manali was named after a sage called Manu Rishi who once lived here and inscribed the first constitution of India called "Manu Samriti". The word Manali literally menas "The Abode of Manu" . It is also one of the choices of Bollywood film makeres for shooting.

Attractions of Manali

Vashist Village It is a beautiful village in Manali, flocked by the tourists for its natural hot springs and Buddhist temples. Most of the population of this village consists of Buddhists.

Solang Village Offering fabulous scenic beauty, the Solang Village is a captivating destination and the credit goes to its “snow point”. You can treat yourself to mesmerizing views of the glaciers and the snow-capped mountain ranges at the snow point.

Rotang Pass The Rotang Pass promises to enchant its visitors with its celestial beauty. Located at an elevation of 13,050 feet above sea level, Rotang Pass is a destination of unspoiled beauty. Rotang Pass is synonymous with ice and the best time to visit it is June.

Hadimba Devi Temple The history of this temple dates back to 1553. Its flawlessly carved doorway and four tiered pagoda roof are notable.

Manu Temple Dedicated to the great sage Manu, the temple is visited by many a visitor.

Manikaran Known for its hot spring, Manikaran is located at a height of 1700 m. The hot spring is considered sacred because it is here that goddess Parvati, the consort of lord Shiva, lost her earring. It is considered auspicious to take a dip in this hot spring.

Arjun Gufa There is a legend associated with this Gufa and it goes that Arjuna, one of the pandavas, meditated here to earn Pasupata Astra from Lord Indra.

Adventure in Manali A Jeep safari is an interesting way to explore Manali. The best route for a Jeep Safari is from Manali to Leh, which remains open only from June to September.

Mountaineering in Manali Manali offers exciting opportunities for mountaineering. Apart from offering entertainment and thrill, this expedition gives an opportunity to view the scenic beauty of Manali.

Snow Skiing in Manali The snow covered stretches of Manali are perfect destinations for snow-skiing. The training courses and facilities for snow-skiing are made available by the Directorate of Mountaineering and Allied Sports. Tourists can hire skiing equipments from HPTDC office at a reasonable price. However, indulge in this adventurous activity only if you are physically and mentally healthy.

Solan

Solan, a land named after goddess “Shoolini”, is an attractive destination for holidaymakers. Located in the Solan district in Himachal Pradesh, Solan city fascinates its tourists with its several attractions. It is popularly known as the “mushroom city of India” as it is has a

mushroom centre situated in Chambaghat. Solan city is ideally sandwiched between Chandigarh (Punjab) and Shimla(Himachal Pradesh). This city was established by the British during their hey-days in India. Perched at an elevation of 1467 m, Solan is a also known as the industrial hub of Himachal Pradesh. During the winters Solan takes on a new looks altogether, to be more precise it looks like a celestial destination as it gets cloaked in snow. The area surrounding this wonderful city abounds in vegetables such as peas, tomatoes, ginger and beans.

Attractions of Solan

Solan Valley Steeped in scenic beauty, Solan valley offers picturesque views of its surroundings. Go for a nature walk and treat your senses to fresh air and pleasant environment. Lush green vegetation is great refreshment to the body, mind and soul. Away from the hustle bustle of city life, the Solan valley offers peace in plenty.

Gurkha Castles Most of the Gurkha castles are in ruins but yet there is something charming about them. Retaining their old-world charm, some of the castles have stood the test of time.

Kamura Fort This magnificent establishment is located at an altitude of 2,600 m and is visited by many a tourist. It is an assortment of houses encircled by beautiful fields and orchards.

Dr. Yashwant Singh Paramar University Of Horticulture and Forestry This University is the first of its kind in Asia. Sprawling over an area of 550 hectares in Solan district, the University was established in 1985 by Dr. Y.S.Paramar, the first Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh. There are around 14 departments in the university.

Sholoni Devi Temple This beautiful temple is dedicated to goddess Sholoni Devi. This temple is famous for its Sholoni Devi fair, which is celebrated with great fervour every year in the month of June. The fair reflecting the great cultural heritage of the Solan district is flocked by visitors from far and wide.

Kinnaur

The most striking feature of the beautiful district of Kinnaur is its geographical location. It is hemmed in by Tibet in the east and boasts of three majestic mountain ranges namely the Zanskar, Greater Himalayas and Dhauladhar. The district encompasses mesmerizing valleys of Sutlej, Spiti, Baspa and their tributaries. Pay a visit to these valleys and enjoy the arresting scenic beauty of Himachal Pradesh. The views of the forests, orchards, fields and hamlets are simply awe-inspiring. During your visit to the Kinnaur district don't forget to taste the 'high on quality' apples, chilgoza and dry fruits, which are famous across the country for their taste and quality. Kinnaur district was open to tourism in 1989 and today it is fast gaining the reputation of being a wonderful tourist destination of Himachal Pradesh. The old Hindustan-Tibet road connecting Himachal Pradesh to Tibet passes through the Kinnaur valley along the bank of the river Satluj. The most propitious time to visit the district is in April and May and in September and October. Retaining the rich cultural heritage of their past generations, the people of the Kannaur district are simple and friendly. Their customs and traditions add more colour to the already charming Kinnaur district. The district is considered sacred as at one point of time the Pandavas made this district their temporary home while they were in exile. According to the ancient Hindu mythology, the people of Kinnaur are known as Kinners, halfway between men and gods. Hinduism and Buddhism are the two main religions followed by the people of Kinnaur. The land of Kinnaur is dotted with several beautiful monasteries and temples where devotees from far and wide come to offer prayers. The fascinating topography of the district offers ample opportunitues for adventure sports such as trekking, wildlife safari and boating. The most exciting trekking route of the district is the 'Parikarma of Kailash'. You can enjoy boating at the picteresque Nako lake and go wildlife sighting at the three wildlife sanctuaries namely the Lipa-Asrang Sanctuary, Rakchham Chhitkul Sanctuary and Rupi Bhaba Sanctuary. These sanctuaries are home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Reckong Peo, a mesmerizing tourist attraction of Kinnaur district offers a spectacular view of the Kinner Kailash Peak. The notable attraction here is a 79 feet high rock that resembles a Shivalinga, changing colour as the day comes to a close. Moorang is a beautiful village encircled by the high mountain ranges. Overlooking the river Satluj, the fort at Moorang is believed to be built by the Pandavas.

Narkanda

Perfectly endowed with sheer natural beauty, Narkanda is a town located in the Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh. Narkanda is magnificently bordered by the Shivalik Ranges. Located at an elevation of 2708 m on the Hindustan-Tibet road, Narkanda is the renowned skiing destination of the state. During winters, the land of Narkanda looks like a heavenly destination offering fabulous opportunities for skiing. The mesmerizing land of Narkanda invites the tourists to enjoy nature at its best. For skiers, Narkanda is truly a paradise. Come December and the skiing enthusiasts start flocking to Narkanda to quench their thirst for adventure. The skiing season ends in March. Choices are available for both beginners and the expert skiers. The ideal location of Narkanda on the ridge of the last watershed before the Himalayan range is truly a feather in its cap. Narkanda leaves the visitors spell-bound with the bewitching views of the snowcapped mountains. Don't forget to carry several rolls of film to capture the pristine beauty of the snow covered mountains. Hattu Peak is a superb attraction located around 2,000 feet higher than Narkanda. Located near Narkanda, Hattu Peak is a famous camping site. Plan a stay at the camps here and you will surely remember the experience for long. Hattu Peak also offers spectacular views of sunsets. You can also pay a visit to the Devi temple located on this peak. Dedicated to the goddess, the temple becomes a venue for a colourful annual summer fair, which is held in May. Walk through the jungle track from the temple to reach a mountain top meadow called the Joh Bagh. Located near Narkanda are the wonderful orchards where fruits like cherry, apple etc are grown in plenty.

Kufri

A Destination for Adventure Sports
Kufri is an amazing destination for those who are inclined towards adventure sports such as hiking and skiing. Kufri is a wonderful hill station located in the Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh. The word

Kufri is derived from the name Kufer, which literally means pond. It is easily accessible from Shimla as it is only 13 km from it. Kufri was once a part of Nepal and was developed into a tourist destination by the British. Kufri is the perfect place for adventure lovers. The picturesque surroundings, pleasant climate and opportunities for adventure sports make Kufri a popular destination of Himachal Pradesh. Tourists from far and wide come here to explore its tourist attractions. The beautiful valleys and forests of Kufri are visited by many adventure enthusiasts. During the winters the view of the snowcovered mountains in Kufri are simply fascinating. Indulge in a Yak ride in Kufri and spice up your holidays. The best time to visit Kufri is from December to February. During the winter season one can enjoy the charm of snowfall in Kufri.

Attractions of Kufri

Himalayan National Park Himalayan National Park is home to a wide variety of wildlife. Rich in flora and fauna, the Park has a good population of avian species. Some of the wildlife spotted here are musk deer, ibex, black and brown bears and pheasants. Enjoy a safari in the Himalayan National Park and satiate your thirst for wildlife.

Indian Tourist Park Blessed with mind-boggling scenic beauty, the Indian Tourist Park is a wonderful place for photography. Being a famous picnic spot of Kufri, it is flocked by many a visitor.

Mahasu Peak Mahasu Peak is the highest peak in Kufri, offering breathtaking views of its surroundings. The path leading to the peak is surrounded by wooded forests of spruce and deodar. The Mahasu Ridge offers a great opportunity for skiing. The slopes at Mahasu Peak are best for beginners. During the winters Mahasu Peak gets flooded with adventurous tourists.

Sports Festival It is a unique and exciting festival celebrated in the month of February. It is organized by the Himachal Tourism where many courses for beginners are organised. However, the skiing competition is the main highlight of the festival. Highly skilled skiers flock to this place to participate in the event.

Horse and Yak Safari Tourist can explore the natural beauty of Kufri on a horse or Yak safari. It is truly an interesting and adventurous way to explore any place.

Kullu

Dotted with several beautiful temples, Kullu valley is popularly known as the “Valley of Gods”. Kullu is ideally located on the banks of River Beas, which is very picturesque. In ancient times Kullu used to be known as 'Kulantapitha' and this name also finds mention in the great Hindu epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharata. There are several tourist attractions in Kullu.

Attractions of Kullu
Bijli Mahadev Temple It is a famous and unique temple in Kullu. The striking feature of this temple is its high staff that periodically draws lightning, which shatters the 'Shivlinga'. The 'Linga' is then pieced together by the pundits using butter.

Bajeshwar Mahadev Temple The history of this temple dates back to the 8th century. The arresting stone carvings and sculpture in the Shikhara style draws attention.

Jagan Nath Temple This beautiful temple offers impressive views of Kullu valley.

Malana It is a small village offering great opportunities for trekking. The village also has a famous temple called 'Jamlu'.

Kasol Located on the banks of Parabati River in Parbati valley, Kasol is a place which slopes down to a broad stretch of clear white sand.

Adventure sports of Kullu Go for a fishing expedition in Kullu, the most promising places for which are Katrain, Raison, Kasol and Naggar, Sainj valley and Hurla khud. Tourists can enjoy river rafting at the River Beas. Some exciting trekking routes are also available in Kullu.

Dussehra Festival of Kullu Kullu is renowned for its Dussehra celebrations, which continue for days together. Kullu valley looks colourful and lively during the festival. The people wear colourful clothes, feast on amazing delicacies and enjoy life to its fullest.

Spiti Valley

The Abode of Heavenly Deities
Perched high in the beautiful Himalayan mountains, Spiti Valley is an enchanting tourist destination of Himachal Pradesh. The word Spiti literally means the “middle country”. Endowed with salubrious climate, the valley is famous for its numerous monasteries. In praise of this wonderful valley, Rudyard Kipling, a famous English author, said “it is a world within a world and a place where the Gods live”. This mesmerizing valley receives heavy snowfall during the winters. Majority of the population of this valley follow Buddhism. Sandwiched between the Zaskar and the Great Himalayan ranges, Spiti valley becomes a field of snow during the winters.

The best time to visit Spiti Valley is from June to October.

The rural culture of Himachal Pradesh can be best seen and experienced in the Spiti Valley. The valley is sparsely populated with a density of two persons per square kilometre. Agriculture is the main occupation of the people of Spiti Valley.

Spiti Valley is dotted with numerous fields where barley, buck-wheat, peas and some other vegetables are grown in plenty. The main Spiti Valley is divided into eastern and western valleys, which are connected with Ladakh and Tibet on the eastern side and Kinnaur and Kulu on the western side.

Attractions of Spiti Valley Spiti Valley is famous for its shales (a rock of fissile or laminated structure formed by the consolidation of clay or argillaceous material). These shales or ammonites play an important role in the field of geology. Shaligram, one of the shale formations found here, is the rarest one, and is considered auspicious.

Adventure in Spiti Valley Mountain climbing, river rafting in the Chandrabagha, rock climbing, angling, para-gliding and trekking are the fascinating adventures tourists can enjoy in the Spiti Valley. The valley also has some interesting camping sites such as Sarchu, Darcha, Jispa, Gemur, Tandi, Koksar, Sissu and Chota Dara.

Key Monastery Located on the top of the mountains of Spiti, the Key Monastery is one of the most famous monasteries of Spiti Valley. In fact, it is the oldest and the largest monastery in Himachal Pradesh. The beautiful sculptures of the monastery are noteworthy. The religious training provided in the monastery entails singing, dancing and playing pipes and horns.

Tabo Monastery Known for its murals, paintings and sculptures, the Tabo Monastery is known as the 'Ajanta of the Himalayas'. It is one of the oldest monasteries in Himachal Pradesh.

Dharmshala

Cloaked in nature's pristine beauty, Dharamshala is the perfect place to get soaked in peace and scenic beauty. It is the most beautiful place in the Kangra Valley in Himachal Pradesh. The land of Dharamshala is endowed with pine-clad hills, beautiful streams and rivers, lofty peaks, ancient temples and pagoda-shaped monasteries. There is much to explore and experience in Dharamshala. It is popularly known as the residence of the Dalai Lama and a center of Tibetan Buddhism. The mesmerizing Dhauladhar Mountains form the backdrop of Dharamshala, offering picturesque views. Dharamshala is ideally located on the high slopes in the upper regions of Kangra Valley. The town is divided into two sections: the Upper and Lower Dharamshala, which differs almost a thousand meters in height. Upper Dharamshala is called McLeod Ganj, retaining a British colonial atmosphere, whereas lower Dharamshala is the commercial center.

Attractions of Dharamshala Apart from natural beauty, the land of Dharamshala has a lot to offer.

Kangra Art Museum Showcasing Kangra valley's cultural heritage in the form of various arts and crafts dating back to the 5th century, Kangra Art Museum is a must- see destination of Dharamshala. A gallery in the museum is dedicated to the miniature paintings, sculptures, pottery and anthropological items.

War Memorial Built in memory of the heroes of Himachal Pradesh, the War Memorial is located in a refreshing environment.

Dall Lake Hemmed in by Deodar trees, the Dall Lake is a beautiful lake located a mere 11 km from Dharamshala. Spend some time by the lake in the lap of nature. It is a popular picnic spot.

St. John Church Located just 8 km from Dharamshala, St. John Church is visited by many a tourist.

Tatwani and Machhrial A 25 km drive from Dharamshala will bring you face to face with the two wonderful attractions: hot water springs at Tatwani and a waterfall at Machhrial.

Bhagsunath Temple It is an ancient temple located 11 km from Dharamshala. There are several fresh water springs near the temple, considered sacred by the Hindus.

Kunal Pathri This place is famous for the beautiful rock temples.

Dharmkot Pay a visit to this fabulous place located 11 km from Dharamshala to capture the picture-perfect views of the Kangra Valley and Dauladhar ranges.

Chinmaya Tapovan It is a peaceful ashram housing a 9 m high idol of Lord Hanuman, a Ram temple, a meditation hall, a school and a health center.