With impressive snowy peaks and foaming river sliding through flourishing valleys, Himachal is a perfect adventure destination in India. From exciting trekking to heart-pumping rafting, the state offers great pleasure to adventure lovers, seeking some never explored experiences. The twisted geography of interwoven mountain chains further adds to the holiday pleasure, making Himachal Pradesh a perfect location to unwind.
The state of Himachal Pradesh is a heaven for those seeking some moments of serenity in the lap of Mother Nature. The state offers sheer topographic diversity dipped in the waters of nature. From sky-kissing Trans-Himalayan desert to flourishing emerald deodar forests, far-stretched apple orchards to snow blanketed Himalayan mountain ranges; every corner of this state oozes exquisiteness. Visit the Great Himalayan National Park to explore some of the virgin coniferous forests. The park has been nestled with vast areas of alpine pastures and glaciers. Travellers also love to travel around the Pin Valley National Park located in the cold desert Ibex of Spiti Valley. The park is famous for spotting Snow leopards and large herds of Ibex and Bharal. Other than these, Gopalpur Nature Park near Palampur, Manali Nature Park near Manali, Kufri Nature Park near Shimla and Suketi Fossil Park located on the bank of Markanda River are some of the best delights for nature lovers.
Himachal Pradesh has enough lures for wildlife enthusiasts. Visit the Renuka Wildlife Sanctuary, 40 Km from Nahan, to eye Asiatic Lion apart from Black Bear, Barking Deer, Goral, Jackal and Leopard. Simbalbara Sanctuary in Paonta Valley of Sirmour District is also renowned for offering picturesque vistas and housing Goral, Sambhar and Chittal. Travellers also love to visit the Churdhar Sanctuary adorned with landscape of fields, forests and ravines. Churdhar peak is highly popular among trekkers and acts as a perfect abode for both nature as well as adventure devotees. Another location blessed with plenty of wildlife is the Daranghati Sanctuary situated n the upper area of Shimla's Musk Deer District. Those visiting here get to spot musk deer, Goral and Thar, residing peacefully in their natural habitat.
Himachal Pradesh embraces enormous range of heritage sites narrating stories of the past world. A string of ancient forts and colonial mansions breathe here, making the landscape of the state look even more impressive. Visit the thousand year old Buddhist Padam Palace monastery of Tabo in Spiti to experience rich cultures of the bygone era. The village of Pragpur is another destination that beautifully preserves marvellous architecture and cobbled streets. Most of the forts in Himachal Pradesh are privately owned, with many converted into heritage hotels including Hotel Taragarh Palace and Cloud Ends Villa in Kangra, Hotel Naggar Castle in Kullu and Hotel Rajmahal Palace in Mandi. Some of the must visit historical lures of Himachal Pradesh include Bahadurpur Fort, Sariun Fort and Satgarh Fort in Bilaspur, and Chamba Fort and Taragarh and Lodhargarh Forts in Chamba. Apart from this, palaces that must be included in the travel itinerary of the devotees of architecture include Rang Mahal and Akhand Chandi Palace in Chamba, Jandrighat Palace in Dalhousie, Sultanpur Palace in Kullu and Raj Mahal in Mandi.
The state also houses a number of museums exhibiting the paintings, artefacts and war memories of the past. Visit the Bhuri Singh Museum in Chamba to see paintings of Bhagwat Purana and Ramayana in peculiar style. The War Memorial in Dharamshala is another popular museum here which has been raised in the memory of those who fought bravely to safeguard the motherland.
The pristine air of Himachal Pradesh makes it a perfect haven to meditate and go deeper to understand the powers of divinity. Tranquillity reverberates from every nook and corner of this state. With so much to offer, Himachal Pradesh has become a perfect hub to achieve spiritual wellbeing.
Being a multi-religious land, Himachal Pradesh houses good number of temples, Gurudwaras, Churches and Monasteries. Visit majestic Hindu temples like Bajreshwari Devi, Chamunda Devi, Jwala Ji, Chintpurni Devi, Naina Devi, Shiva temple, Lakshmi Narayan temple and Bijli Mahadev. Explore the peace oozing churches like Christ Church, St. John's Church and St. Francis Church. Pay a visit to the pearly white Gurudwaras such as Paonta Sahib, Manikarn Sahib and Rewalsar Sahib. Or visit Monasteries such as Guru Ghantal Monastery, Kye Monastery, Dhankar Monastery, Tabo Monastery and Nako Monastery. A trip to Himachal Pradesh can turn even an atheist into the believer of god.
Thanks to the abundance of geographical diversity, Himachal Pradesh offers enough opportunities to let you challenge the daredevil inside you. Raft through the foaming rivers or trek through thick forests, climb on the snow-clad mountains or plan a camp on one of the serene sites. For the lovers of river rafting, locations like rafting Sutlej at Tattapani near Shimla on the Beas near Kullu, the Ravi near Chamba and Chandra in Lahaul are best retreats. The lower regions of the state such as Kangra, Una, Hamirpur and Bilaspur are perfect to partake in mountain cycling expedition. If you wish to fly high life a bird, then indulge in paragliding at Bundla Dhar near Bilaspur, Solang valley near Manali in the Kullu district. In addition to this, visit Shimla housing an ice-skating rink with the largest open-air area with naturally frozen ice.
Despite the popularity of Himachal Pradesh, the state still houses some treasure troves away from the reach of mankind. Visit Barog in Solan, a beautiful escape nestling with pine and oak forests. Barot in Mandi is another hidden gem known as a trout breeding centre. Bhaba Pass in Kinnaur offers the most striking trek routes in Himachal, whereas Churah in Chamba is an isolated haven resting atop the plateau beetling the river Ravi.
Himachal Pradesh is known for souvenirs which remind you about your trip to this beautiful destination forever. Those visiting Shimla can visit the Mall road to bag some Kinnauri handmade woollen items while mingling with the locals. Manali is also known for woollen shawls selling on the Mall road or the Kashmir and Tibetan Emporiums. To buy some great Tibetan goods visit Dalhousie’s Thandi Sadak. Mcleodganj’s Kotwali Bazaar is also popular for exhibiting Tibetan handicrafts and beautiful carpets narrating stories from Tibetan mythology.
Himachal Pradesh is a hub of cultural diaspora. It is impossible to weave the vibrancy of local cultures residing here in words. However, they can surely be experienced by partaking in various festivals celebrated here. The locals welcome the New Year with the famous Halda festival where they come together to perform dance and music around a bonfire. Sazo is another most awaited festival of Himachal Pradesh celebrated in the month of January to bid adieu to the village deities. Travellers must also partake in the Himachal Winter Carnival which promotes the culture of the state every year.
Doongri Festival of Kullu celebrates Hadimba Devi’s (wife of Bhima) birthday and is perfect to catch glimpses of local dance and musical performances. Those visiting Himachal Pradesh during February or March must partake in the Mandi Shivaratri Fair. Being home to 81 temples of Lord Shiv, Mandi organises a grand Shobha Yatra in this fair where deities are carried in their chariots.
Apart from being blessed with breathtaking vistas, Himachal Pradesh brings to you an assortment of food items good enough to make you fall for gluttony. Though the delectable pahari cuisine served here is simple, its taste lingers on the tongue forever. Savour the flavours of Dham (kidney beans, green lentils and rice in curd), an important participant in all the local festivities. Mittha is a famous local dessert prepared with sweetened rice and generous amount of dry fruits. Sidu (local bread made from wheat flour) is another famous dish of Himachal Pradesh cooked every day by the locals. For the lovers of non-vegetarian food Kullu Trout (shallow fried in mustard oil with spices) is a must try.
Himachal Pradesh can be visited any time of the year depending on your interests. The romantic lovebirds can flock here during spring months (March and April) to spend some moments of togetherness amidst beautiful landscapes. Summers months (May and June) are considered as peak season when streams of travellers flock here to escape the scorching summer heat. Monsoon season (July-August) is also pleasurable; however, sometimes heavy rains make the outdoor activities difficult. Winter months (November - February) transform Himachal Pradesh in a snow clad gem, letting travellers participate in skiing.
Three main domestic airports in Himachal Pradesh include Jabbarhatti near Shimla, Gaggal near Kangra and Bhuntar near Kullu, linking the state to Delhi and Chandigarh. Those planning to flock here via Railways must know that the terrains of the state are stunning yet difficult. Himachal Pradesh is not linked by trains except for two narrow gauge rail lines between Kalka - Shimla and Pathankot - Joginder Nagar. Road travel is extremely popular among travellers provided the three National Highways crossing the state.
Travelling in Himachal Pradesh bids sheer pleasure, letting you eye the most vivid facades of nature. Pathankot - Jogindernagar line is the longest railway line in the state with railway tracks passing through Shimla, Solan and Una. For reaching Shimla, one needs to hop on the narrow gauge railway line from Kalka.
State transport provides bus services for travelling from one city to another. Travellers can find regular bus services connecting Shimla, Kullu, Manali, Chail, Solan, etc. Those seeking a more private journey can book taxis providing inter-city and intra-city services.
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